Public defender says judge drunkenly called him a “Jew boy” during a camping trip, files lawsuit.
Rory Kalin, a deputy public defender in Humboldt County, California has alleged that Judge Gregory Elvine-Kreis, at a 2019 Memorial Day outing, mocked his heritage, calling him a “Jew boy and pushed him off a boat.” Kalin has filed a lawsuit against the judge. Kalin also claimed the push aggravated a head injury he received in April 2019 when he was hit by a golf ball. He was hospitalized in for nine days, suffering from seizures, increased anxiety and panic attacks.” The plaintiff is still on medical leave.
Kalin said he attended a camping trip at Lake Shasta over Memorial Day weekend last year at the Antlers RV Park and Campground in Shasta County, which had been arranged by the wife of Kalin’s immediate boss, Luke Brownfield. “Many of the attendees were employed in the Public Defender’s Office, as well as their spouses, families and other acquaintances,” the suit indicates.
A 1994 advisory opinion from the California Judges Association’s Committee on Judicial Ethics suggests that “before attending an attorney-hosted social event with free food, beverage or entertainment, each judge must determine in advance of the event whether it is ethically proper to attend.” The opinion also states, “A judge should not attend such an event if attendance would undermine public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary or promote the private interests of another.”
“During the outing,” according to court documents, “Kalin observed Elvine-Kreis drinking large quantities of alcohol and becoming belligerent and intoxicated. While on a boat ride, Elvine-Kreis mocked Kalin, making fun of his Jewish heritage in a demeaning and unwelcome manner. The judge also told Kalin that he was dressed like an old man. He laughed loudly while making these statements.” The attorney remained silent during the verbal banter because Elvine-Kreis “is a judge that he regularly appears before in court,” according to the filing.
It continues, “Defendant then took his attack on Plaintiff a step further. He acted on his statements by then throwing the Plaintiff, fully clothed, without provocation or warning, off of the boat into Lake Shasta. This was an intentional shove, and plaintiff had no time to react.”
Kalin fully clothed and had many of his personal possessions lost or damaged in the incident. His cell phone was “completely ruined” and his wallet, prescription medication and car keys all fell out of his pockets.
Afterwards, Kalin was “shocked and humiliated” and went into his tent for the rest of the night to avoid the judge. Kalin’s wife was “brought to tears.” Also, while looking for Kalin, Elvine-Kreis allegedly mocked him again, asking Kalin’s wife, “Where is your girlfriend?”
The plaintiff believes his professional reputation changed and others at work began to “distance themselves” from him. The lawsuit stated, “Prior to his medical leave, Plaintiff was a highly valued member of the County of Humboldt Public Defender’s Office. His evaluations were always ‘above average’ and ‘outstanding,’ This changed, however, when he was subjected to harassment and discrimination by Defendant who maintains a relationship with the Public Defender’s Office.”
The suit seeks unspecified damages for “assault, battery, negligence, infliction of emotional distress, and religion-based interference with the plaintiff’s civil rights.” The request includes attorney fees and $50,000 in civil penalties.