Session June 28, 2017
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Shelby County No.
CT00085414 Donna M. Fields, Judge
lengthy hearing, the trial court granted an order of
protection to the appellee based upon its finding that the
appellant was stalking and harassing her. The trial court
denied the appellant's counter-petition for an order of
protection. The appellant raises ten issues on appeal. For
the following reasons, we affirm and remand for further
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Affirmed and
Chumney, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Devine Mafa.
Brett McAfee, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Shayla
Brandon O. Gibson, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which J. Steven Stafford, P. J., W.S., and Kenny Armstrong,
BRANDON O. GIBSON, JUDGE
Facts & Procedural History
parties to this appeal have been involved in three separate
lawsuits. Shayla Purifoy worked as a staff attorney at
Memphis Area Legal Services and represents victims of
domestic violence. Devine Mafa is an occupational therapist
who came to the United States from Zimbabwe around 2000.
March 2013, Ms. Purifoy testified at an order of protection
hearing involving Dr. Mafa. The petitioner in that proceeding
was a student Ms. Purifoy knew from coaching a mock trial
team. The student had previously dated Dr. Mafa and was
seeking to extend an order of protection against him; Dr.
Mafa was also seeking an order of protection against the
student. Ms. Purifoy testified very briefly, for
approximately five minutes, about factual matters. She
testified regarding the mock trial team's cell phone
policy and whether the student would have had access to her
phone at a time when she allegedly sent messages to Dr. Mafa.
Ms. Purifoy was also asked if she had seen Dr. Mafa outside
of court, and she described an incident in which she had
observed him being detained by police outside a bar called
the Silly Goose. The proceeding was eventually dismissed,
with no order of protection being entered in favor of either
the student or Dr. Mafa.
eight months later, in early December 2013, Ms. Purifoy
received a "friend request" from Dr. Mafa on
Facebook. Dr. Mafa's Facebook page was not titled with
his own name but was under the alias "Steele Balz."
However, Ms. Purifoy recognized that the page belonged to Dr.
Mafa because some of her mock trial students had showed her
the page in the past. Ms. Purifoy did not accept Dr.
Mafa's friend request. Shortly thereafter, Ms. Purifoy
was contacted by some of her colleagues who alerted her to
the fact that Dr. Mafa was posting videos about her publicly
on Facebook. One video contained the written title:
"Arrest this BLACK MAN BECAUSE HE'S BLACK. MY
PROSECUTION BY AN #ANGRYBLACKWOMAN - ESQ SHAYLA NICOLE
PURIFOY." The other video contained a caption stating
that Ms. Purifoy lied and "used Racial Codes on the
stand" that would make the KKK smile and honor her as
the grand wizard. In the lengthy videos, Dr. Mafa
"ranted" about his experience with Ms. Purifoy and
spoke directly to her, stating things like,
For you as a black woman, you should know better. You should
have your mind checked out. You should know that you
don't do that. . . . [Y]ou are a shame. Shayla Nicole,
you are a shame. You should be ashamed of yourself. Anyway, I
had to rant to you a little bit... .
.... You should be ashamed of yourself, Shayla Nicole. I
didn't know your name then. I know it now.
Mafa stated in the video that Ms. Purifoy could get disbarred
for her actions and mentioned calling "the Board"
but said that he was not going to do that to another black
professional. However, he said, "that hurt me. It
crushed my heart." Dr. Mafa said in the video he
initially thought that Ms. Purifoy was beautiful and elegant
but that he no longer did. In the second video, Dr. Mafa
called Ms. Purifoy "a racist lawyer" and said that
her actions rose "to a level of impropriety when it
comes to the Board of Professional Responsibility." He
said he hoped that one day he could forgive her, but he also
compared her actions to someone going to war with chemical
weapons and said, "that's not acceptable, you'll
be held responsible."
December 14, 2013, Ms. Purifoy contacted Dr. Mafa by sending
him a private message on Facebook. She asked Dr. Mafa to
remove her photographs from his posts and to discuss any
issues with her directly rather than posting in a public
forum. She explained that she testified truthfully under oath
and asked him not to tarnish her reputation in the community.
Dr. Mafa did not respond to this message or remove the posts.
December 19, 2013, Ms. Purifoy filed a complaint in circuit
court against Dr. Mafa alleging defamation in the form of
libel and negligent or intentional infliction of emotional
distress. She sought an immediate temporary restraining order
and also permanent injunctive relief regarding the public
posts and video statements. That same day, the circuit court
entered a temporary restraining order enjoining Dr. Mafa from
posting Ms. Purifoy's name or pictures online or in any
format; contacting Ms. Purifoy, her family, or her employer
directly or indirectly; entering the building where she
worked for any purpose; being present in any location where
she was located; or speaking publicly about the case. Dr.
Mafa was also ordered to remove all posts about Ms. Purifoy
complaint and temporary restraining order both contain a
certificate of service indicating that they were mailed to
Dr. Mafa's residence. Service on Dr. Mafa was attempted by
the sheriffs office and a private process server, but their
attempts were unsuccessful. However, Dr. Mafa apparently
became aware of the lawsuit because another lengthy message
was posted on his Facebook page later in December, with the
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF TENNESSEE FOR THE THIRTIETH
JUDICIAL DISTRICT AT MEMPHIS SHELBY COUNTY
SHAYLA NICOLE PURIFOY plaintiff
THE GREAT Steele Balz AKA #GOD
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs complaint
Hey Yee Lord, Judge in the chamber wearing the black hood
looking all important, comes he before yee this scholarly
defendant named Steele Balz. He seek[s] to dismiss and throw
away this docket into the trash where the pigs reside. . . .
[Communication decency act CDA 47 U.S.C. 230-c-l provides
gives him his godly powers to speech as he pleases on the
computer. . . .
.... Your judgement for her would change American law and
warn you. [W]e are watching you judge.
Christmas, Dr. Mafa continued to post additional pictures of
Ms. Purifoy, apparently obtained from a Young Lawyers
Division bulletin, juxtaposed beside pictures of his
ex-girlfriend (the student from the mock trial team).
December 31, 2013, Ms. Purifoy and Dr. Mafa had an encounter
at the Silly Goose bar. Ms. Purifoy had previously informed
the bouncer that she was trying to obtain service of process
on Dr. Mafa. When she arrived with a friend on New Year's
Eve, the bouncer told them that Dr. Mafa was inside. Ms.
Purifoy called the private process server then proceeded
inside. The private process server never came. Ms. Purifoy
and Dr. Mafa had a brief encounter at the bar, but their
versions of what occurred vary tremendously. According to Ms.
Purifoy, she approached Dr. Mafa and said something along the
lines of "Don't you think you shouldn't be
here?", but Dr. Mafa acted like he did not know Ms.
Purifoy, so she turned and walked away.
next day, Dr. Mafa's Facebook page contained another
photograph of Ms. Purifoy and a lengthy post about the New
Year's Eve encounter, stating that "2014 started
with WAR for me." According to Dr. Mafa's post, he
was near the bar and saw Ms. Purifoy approaching him and
pointing at him, then she cursed at him and told him that he
had better leave. Dr. Mafa's post said that Ms. Purifoy
"looked kinda cute last night and my heart
softened." He continued to describe her body and
appearance and said she "was turning me on" by
making wild gestures. The post stated that Ms. Purifoy
"was almost close to punch me last night, i would have
liked it." The next day, on January 2, Dr. Mafa
contacted the Memphis Police Department and reported that Ms.
Purifoy had assaulted him on New Year's Eve. According to
Dr. Mafa's later testimony about the events, Ms. Purifoy
approached him from behind and hit him in the back of the
head then started punching him in the forehead and chest. Dr.
Mafa said he became so scared that he almost lost
hearing in the defamation suit, the circuit court entered a
permanent injunction on January 13, 2014, prohibiting Dr.
Mafa from doing the acts previously enjoined by the temporary
restraining order. Dr. Mafa did not appear at the injunction
hearing, but the circuit court's order states that Ms.
Purifoy testified under oath. The circuit court's order
references testimony that notice had been sent to Dr. Mafa
via certified mail and that attempts were made to serve him
by the sheriffs office and a private process server. The
order states that "Defendant [h]as indicated through his
own communications that he is aware of this filing (see
attachment)." The permanent injunction enjoined Dr. Mafa
from posting Ms. Purifoy's picture or name online or in
any format; contacting Ms. Purifoy or her family or employer;
entering the buildings where she worked for any purpose; or
being in any location where she was present.
days later, on January 23, Dr. Mafa went to the Family Safety
Center in Memphis. Ms. Purifoy maintains an office at the
Family Safety Center, and she had previously provided
pictures of Dr. Mafa to the security personnel at the Family
Safety Center's security checkpoint. As a result, Dr.
Mafa was not permitted to enter the building. According to
Dr. Mafa, he went to the Family Safety Center in order to
obtain an order of protection against Ms. Purifoy based on
the alleged attack at the Silly Goose on New Year's Eve.
Dr. Mafa claimed no knowledge of the fact that Ms. Purifoy
maintained an office there. Despite the "motion to
dismiss" posted on his Facebook page in December 2013,
Dr. Mafa also claimed that this incident at the Family Safety
Center on January 23, 2014, first made him aware of the
defamation suit filed by Ms. Purifoy, as the security
personnel informed him that there was a court order against
him. On February 12, 2014, Dr. Mafa made his first appearance
in the defamation suit, filing a motion to set aside the
permanent injunction order on the basis that he had no notice
of the proceeding before the entry of the injunction. Rather
than seeking dismissal, however, Dr. Mafa's motion asked
the court "to set aside the previous order of default
entered in this matter and to reinstate the temporary
injunction, and set a new hearing date that will give
Defendant time to investigate and answer this
February 20, 2014, Ms. Purifoy's identical twin sister
allegedly saw Dr. Mafa in the employee parking lot of the
Family Safety Center as she left the building after-hours,
shortly after 6:00 p.m. Dr. Mafa was allegedly parked right
across from her car, where he was leaning against his vehicle
smoking a cigar. She drove away without incident but informed
Ms. Purifoy of the encounter.
February 26, 2014, Ms. Purifoy instituted this action by
filing a petition for order of protection in circuit court,
alleging that Dr. Mafa was stalking her. On the same day
the petition was filed, the circuit court entered an ex parte
order of protection pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated
section 36-3-605(a) upon finding that Ms. Purifoy was under
an immediate and present danger of abuse. The ex parte
order of protection prohibited Dr. Mafa from contacting,
stalking, threatening, abusing, or coming about Ms. Purifoy
for any purpose. The ex parte order of protection provided
that a hearing would be held two days later on February 28,
hearing was held on February 28, 2014. We do not have a
transcript of the hearing in the record before us, but the
written orders entered after the hearing address matters from
both the defamation case and the order of protection case.
The circuit court entered a "Transfer and Joinder Order,
" which states:
Comes now the Plaintiff, Shayla Purifoy, by and through her
attorney of record, Marty McAfee and makes an oral motion to
transfer the Petition for Order of Protection and Hearing
from Division III to Division 1, due to a related matter,
CT-005435-13, being heard in Division I. Plaintiff also
requests that such matter be joined with docket number
CT-005435-13, as a separate cause of action, due to judicial
efficiency. This does not preclude Plaintiff from receiving
separate remedies available through each cause of action but
allows related matters to be heard simultaneously as the
Court deems appropriate.
Transfer and Joinder Order was signed by the judge approving
the transfer, Judge Karen Williams, and also by the judge
accepting the transfer, Judge John McCarroll. Judge McCarroll
also signed a "Continuance Order" on February 28
stating that the motion to set aside the permanent injunction
(filed in the defamation case) came before the court and was
continued until a later date when the petition for order of
protection would also be heard. The order states that
"[t]he Petition for Order of Protection, [and] Ex Parte
Order of Protection . . . were filed by Plaintiff and
hand-delivered to Defendant Devine Mafa/Defendant's
Attorney (circle) in court on February 28, 2014 at 11
AM." The court entered another ex parte order of
protection and set a hearing for April 4, 2014. On April 4,
however, a continuance order was entered continuing the
hearing on both matters "at the request of [Dr.
Mafia]." The order provided that the ex parte order of
protection and permanent injunction would remain in place
until the next hearing on May 30. On May 30, the matter was
continued again until July 17.
17 and 18, Judge McCarroll heard testimony regarding the
petition for an order of protection. The executive director
of Memphis Area Legal Services was called to testify as the
last witness, which led Judge McCarroll to advise the parties
that he had solicited contributions for Memphis Area Legal
Services in connection with a "Campaign for Equal
Justice." Dr. Mafia requested recusal, and Judge
McCarroll entered an order recusing himself that same day.
Also on July 17, Judge Gina Higgins signed another ex parte
order of protection by interchange and set the matter for
hearing on August 29.
Donna Fields signed an additional ex parte order of
protection on August 29 and set the matter for hearing on
September 26. A flurry of activity occurred in the case in
September before the hearing. Dr. Mafia sought to depose Ms.
Purifoy. Because he had also recently filed a pro se motion
to dismiss the defamation case that included outrageous
allegations against Ms. Purifoy,  she filed a motion for a
protective order precluding her deposition and a motion to
seal the case. Days before the hearing set for September 26,
Dr. Mafia filed a counter-petition seeking an order of
protection against Ms. Purifoy, alleging that she was
stalking him. Thereafter, his attorney moved to withdraw.
hearing before Judge Fields on September 26, 2014, she
granted the motion to withdraw filed by Dr. Mafia's
attorney and entered an order sealing the record. Judge
Fields indicated that her priority was to have a hearing on
the petition for order of protection prior to resolving the
defamation case. She asked Dr. Mafia to retain another
attorney as soon as possible and set the final hearing in the
order of protection case for October 2014.
Mafia filed a request for a thirty to ninety day continuance
to allow him to conduct discovery and retain another
attorney. He also requested an interpreter. At a hearing on
October 10, 2014, Judge Fields denied Dr. Mafia's request
for an interpreter, observing that he has two PhD's from
the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge in
England and "speaks perfect English." Judge Fields
also ruled against Dr. Mafa on some other matters and stated
that the ex parte order of protection would be extended once
again, until the date of the final hearing on October 27.
After the hearing, Dr. Mafa filed a motion to recuse Judge
Fields. He alleged that Judge Fields was biased against
Facebook users and that she did not have the patience to
allow him to articulate his speech. He also argued that
recusal was warranted because Ms. Purifoy was a lawyer who
had practiced in Judge Fields' courtroom. He claimed that
Judge Fields had demonstrated bias by ruling in Ms.
Purifoy's favor on various issues. In an amended motion
for recusal, Dr. Mafa further alleged that he had been
"regularly threatened with the bailiff." He
asserted that Judge Fields was biased against foreigners,
Facebook users, and non-attorneys. Ms. Purifoy filed a
response to the recusal motion arguing that recusal was not
warranted. She also represented that Dr. Mafa did not confer
with her attorney before selecting Friday, October 24, 2014,
as the hearing date for the recusal motion. In the response,
Ms. Purifoy's counsel represented that he had a prior
court date set on Friday, October 24, which could take
considerable time and cause him to miss the hearing on the
recusal motion. Counsel argued that no hearing was necessary
for the recusal motion and suggested that "this decision
can be made, subject to the approval of the Court,
at the beginning of the hearing set on Monday, October 27,
2014 or prior to this hearing." (Emphasis added.) The
record contains no action by the court in response to this
request for the court to decide the matter without a hearing.
Friday, October 24, 2014, counsel for Ms. Purifoy appeared at
the hearing set by Dr. Mafa for his recusal motion. Dr. Mafa
did not appear. The transcript of the October 24 hearing is
in the record before us, and it indicates that the
"hearing" lasted two minutes, from 9:32 to 9:34
a.m. The transcript of the exchange between Judge Fields and
Ms. Purifoy's counsel spans only three pages. At the
outset, Judge Fields asked Ms. Purifoy's counsel if he
had received a copy of an email she had just received that
morning from Dr. Mafa, in which he stated that he was
"scared to come to [her] court" and "will not
be present for the motion" but demanded that Judge
Fields recuse herself or else he would file a board complaint
against her. When counsel answered in the negative, Judge
Fields replied that she was going to reset the recusal matter
for the beginning of the previously scheduled final hearing
on Monday. Because Dr. Mafa's proposed board complaint
indicated that a tape would be provided to support his
allegations, she asked counsel if there was a transcript of
the previous two court appearances and said she would like to
review those. Judge Fields also instructed counsel for Ms.
Purifoy to send a letter to Dr. Mafa telling him that if he
was recording the proceedings, he was to bring the tape and
the person who was making the recording to the next hearing.
Counsel for Ms. Purifoy then informed the court that he had
also received a message from Dr. Mafa, the night before the
hearing, which stated that Dr. Mafa had hired a private
investigator to conduct extensive research about Ms. Purifoy
and her attorney. Counsel for Ms. Purifoy informed the court
that it gave him "great pause" and "quite a
bit of concern" that Dr. Mafa had hired a private
investigator in the midst of an order of protection
proceeding. Judge Fields directed him to take the message to
the district attorney, stating, "This is getting out of
control." Judge Fields added, "I will not be
intimidated by some litigant who is representing himself pro
se, and if he's afraid of me, that's his problem. But
I suspect he's not afraid of me or you or anybody
Monday, October 27, 2014, Dr. Mafa appeared at the final
hearing on the order of protection matter with a newly
retained attorney. At the beginning of the hearing, Ms.
Purifoy's counsel mentioned his appearance at the Friday
hearing. Dr. Mafa's new attorney apologized on his behalf
for the fact that he did not appear. After a lengthy
discussion, Dr. Mafa's attorney announced that he was not
pursuing the board complaint against Judge Fields. A written
order was entered stating that Dr. Mafa had decided to
proceed and withdrew his motion for recusal upon
representations by the court that she could fairly and
impartially decide the matter. The trial court heard
extensive testimony over the course of two days regarding the
petition for order of protection filed by Ms. Purifoy and the
counter-petition for order of protection filed by Dr. Mafa.
The court heard testimony from Ms. Purifoy, Dr. Mafa, and
nine other witnesses. Several written posts and videos from
Dr. Mafa's Facebook page were entered into evidence. At
the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court announced her
ruling in favor of Ms. Purifoy. The trial court found that
Dr. Mafa was stalking and harassing Ms. Purifoy. The trial
court referenced the Facebook videos and written posts by Dr.
Mafa and concluded that they would give any reasonable person
reason to be afraid of what he might do. Aside from the
Facebook posts, the trial court found that Dr. Mafa was also
seen in the parking lot of Ms. Purifoy's place of
employment, at the Family Safety Center. The court also noted
that Dr. Mafa sent an email to Ms. Purifoy's attorney
stating that he had hired a private investigator to conduct
extensive research on her, despite the existence of the ex
parte order of protection and permanent injunction. The trial
court found that Dr. Mafa's email "was sent for
intimidation" and "can't be called anything but
harassment or intimidation." The trial court also
referenced proof introduced by Ms. Purifoy to suggest that
Dr. Mafa had experienced many "incidents in the legal
system" with numerous other individuals. The trial court
concluded that "Mr. Mafa is a man who deals in drama.
He's paranoid. He truly believes there's a
conspiracy, that everyone's out there to get him."
Based upon the court's conclusion that Ms. Purifoy was
rightfully afraid of Dr. Mafa, the trial court granted Ms.
Purifoy an order of protection against him for one year. The
trial court concluded that Dr. Mafa was not afraid of Ms.
Purifoy, and it found his testimony that Ms. Purifoy struck
him on New Year's Eve was not credible. The trial court
denied his request for an order of protection. The trial
court signed a standard form order of protection for Ms.
Purifoy at the conclusion of the hearing, and it also entered
a separate order with additional written findings thereafter
and incorporated by reference its lengthy oral ruling.
December 11, 2014, approximately six weeks after the
conclusion of the final hearing, Dr. Mafa filed a
"Request for Designation of Extra-County Judge Pursuant
to Shelby County Circuit Court Local Rule Twenty-One."
Dr. Mafa asked for an extra-county judge to hear the
proceedings going forward, including his motion to reconsider
or alter or amend or for new trial and Ms. Purifoy's
pending request for attorney's fees, due to the fact that
Ms. Purifoy practices as an attorney in Shelby County. The
following day, the trial court entered an order partially
granting Ms. Purifoy's request for attorney's fees
pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated 36-3-617.
Mafa filed a notice of appeal under the docket number of the
order of protection case and a separate notice of appeal
under the docket number of the defamation case, even though
that case had not yet been tried. The notice of appeal for
the order of protection case was also filed prematurely,
after the conclusion of the final hearing but before the
trial court entered its orders containing its factual
findings and resolving the pending post-trial motions. On
March 25, 2015, the trial court entered its orders granting
Ms. Purifoy's petition for order of protection, denying
Dr. Mafa's petition for order of protection, denying Dr.
Mafa's request for an extra-county judge, and denying Dr.
Mafa's motion to reconsider, alter or amend, or for new
Purifoy filed an additional post-trial motion in the trial
court seeking to correct a "clerical error" on the
judgment awarding her attorney's fees due to the fact
that it listed the docket number for the defamation case
rather than the docket number for the order of protection
case. Ms. Purifoy also filed a motion in the Court of Appeals
seeking a remand for correction of this "clerical
mistake." On October 5, 2015, this Court entered an
order granting Ms. Purifoy's motion for a remand
"for the limited purpose of correcting a clerical
mistake on an order contained in the appellate record."
This Court's order directed the circuit court clerk to
transmit a supplemental record to this Court after entry of
the corrected order. We denied a motion to reconsider or
vacate this order, filed by Dr. Mafa, explaining that any
differences regarding whether the record accurately discloses
what occurred in the trial court are to be submitted to and
settled by the trial court pursuant to Tennessee Rule of
Appellate Procedure 24(e). On December 22, 2015, we entered
an order dismissing the appeal that Dr. Mafa filed in the
defamation case, as it was apparent that there was no final
judgment resolving that matter.
the appeal of the order of protection case was on remand for
correction of the record, the parties discovered that a great
deal of the filings from the order of protection case had
been mistakenly filed in the record for the defamation case.
At a hearing before Judge Fields on April 1, 2016, the
parties' attorneys conceded that both parties had filed
various documents listing the wrong docket number. Later in
this same hearing, Dr. Mafa's counsel indicated that she
had "briefed in the Court of Appeals" an argument
suggesting that Judge Fields should be recused based on an ex
parte communication that allegedly occurred prior to the
final hearing. The following exchange occurred:
THE COURT: Is there a motion for recusal?
[Dr. Mafa's attorney:] No. I don't have a motion
before the court today. I don't.
Fields directed counsel to file a motion to recuse along with
a transcript of the allegedly improper
statement. Then, regarding the motion to correct the
record, Judge Fields directed the parties and their attorneys
to meet with the clerk, sort through the files for both of
the cases, and divide the filings between the two records
based on their substantive content, not the docket number
originally listed on the document.
months later, on June 1, 2016, Dr. Mafa filed a written
"Memorandum of Law in support of the Motion for Recusal
of Judge Fields." He claimed that while reviewing the
appellate record, he and his counsel "learned for the
first time that the Court had an ex parte communication with
opposing counsel  on October 24, 2014." (This was the
date of the two-minute Friday morning recusal hearing, when
Dr. Mafa did not appear, before the final hearing commenced
on Monday, October 27, 2014.) Dr. Mafa referenced the fact
that Judge Fields directed counsel to take Dr. Mafa's
message about the private investigator to the district
attorney. Dr. Mafa alleged that this action "appeared to
form an inappropriate pact" between Judge Fields and
counsel for Ms. Purifoy and that he would not have withdrawn
his recusal motion the following Monday if he had known about
this instruction. Dr. Mafa argued that this statement,
combined with other statements and rulings made by Judge
Fields throughout the proceeding, entitled him to a new trial
before a different trial judge. Ms. Purifoy filed a response,
arguing that Dr. Mafa's recusal motion was untimely and
also lacked substantive merit.
29, 2016, the trial court entered an "Order to Correct
the Record" in both the defamation case and the order of
protection case. The court found that numerous documents were
filed by both parties with the wrong docket number, resulting
in each of the court files containing filings clearly meant
for the other case. The court found that the substance of the
motions and transcripts was not affected by the erroneous
numbering. As such, the court designated 63 separate filings
and transcripts to be moved to the appropriate court file
pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure
24(e).The parties also entered into a
"stipulation order" providing that all documents
from the defamation case would be included in the record in
this appeal as well. Because Dr. Mafa had already filed his
appellant's brief on appeal, he sought and was granted
permission to file a new brief.
August 30, 2016, Judge Fields entered an order addressing Dr.
Mafa's recusal motion. Judge Fields found that Dr.
Mafa's recusal motion was "replete with untrue,
misstated and mischaracterized statements (by lack of
context) which are carelessly presented, without proper
investigation." The court discussed numerous statements
and rulings that Dr. Mafa claimed showed bias and explained
why each claim was meritless. As for the allegedly
newly-discovered "ex parte communication" at the
October 24, 2014 hearing, the trial court found:
has repeatedly complained that [Ms. Purifoy's counsel]
Mr. McAfee had an ex parte communication with the Court, when
in reality it was Mafa who sent an email to the Court without
sending a copy to opposing counsel, which counsel appeared on
a date Mafa had set that motion. The email was not only an ex
parte communication, but was an outright threat that if this
Court did not recuse itself that he (Mafa) would file a
complaint to the Board of Judicial Conduct, which Mafa did
and which was dismissed.
On the Motion date, Mr. McAfee, on behalf of Purifoy,
attempted to call to the Court's attention an allegation
of some sort of criminal behavior. This Court dismissed him
and told him to go report that to the District Attorney, Amy
[Weirich], who has criminal jurisdiction, because Circuit
Court does not. Mafa felt that was an attempt on the part of
the Court to get him into trouble in Criminal Court, and thus
shows bias. It merely shows lack of Jurisdiction, and
(Paragraph lettering omitted.) In sum, the trial court found
that Dr. Mafa's allegations were "terribly distorted
and many untrue." The August 30, 2016 order concluded,
though, with the following paragraph:
However, in light of this Court's retirement date of
August 31, 2016, and not because of anything mentioned
herein, this Court has chosen to recuse herself and leave
Mafa and Purifoy to the next computer chosen judge. It is
this Court's fervent hope that she will be in a distant
state or country when this matter goes to
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that Judge
Donna M. Fields is recusing herself and refers this matter to
the clerk for a randomly selected judge to hear the remainder
of this matter.
December 23, 2016, Dr. Mafa filed a motion to consider
post-judgment facts in this Court, asking us to consider the
fact that Judge Fields had recused herself from both cases on
August 30, 2016. This Court denied the motion to consider
post-judgment facts on January 20, 2017. However, the circuit
court clerk supplemented the record on appeal with an
additional volume containing the order of recusal and related
filings, so they now appear in the record before us.
Mafa presents the following issues, as we perceive them, for
review on appeal:
1. Should the judgment be set aside due to the recusal of
2. Did the trial court err in denying the post-trial motion
for an extra-county judge filed pursuant to a local rule;
3. Did the trial court err in entering an order of protection
when Dr. Mafa was never served with a petition for order of
4. Did the trial court err in finding that Dr. Mafa stalked