Controversial judge faces psych exam after doubts over rulings

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High Court of Murcia to subject judge to a psychological examination to see if he is in an appropriate condition to go on doing his job.

18 January 2008

MURCIA - The family-affairs judge Fernando Ferrín Calamita made headlines last year for rulings in which he expressed his contempt for homosexuals, granted the custody of several young girls to their father because the mother was a lesbian, and prevented a woman from adopting the daughter of her same-sex wife.

These actions resulted in the initiation of reprimand proceedings in the General Council of the Judiciary. Now the High Court of Murcia is going to subject the judge to a psychological examination, to see if he is in an appropriate condition to go on doing his job.

In a ruling issued on 4 December, the court has ordered that two doctors are to prepare a report on the mental health of the magistrate, who in recent years has often been on health leave for work-related stress.

According to judicial sources quoted by the Murcia daily La Opinión, this investigation might result in the judge leaving the family-affairs court, to be transferred to a jurisdiction that would not pose problems of conscience related to his connections with the Catholic Church. Other judicial sources maintain that the court's intention is to induce the obligatory retirement of the judge, aged 50, by declaring him permanently incapable of performing judicial functions.

As proof of this possible incapacity, the court might adduce some statements made by the judge to justify his actions in one concrete case of adoption: "You don't have to be an expert to know that a boy needs a father and a mother, and that if one of those is absent, he grows up crippled," wrote the magistrate. In his rulings he has: asserted that the father and the mother "are essential to the harmonious development of the child;" said that he is "against divorce;" and criticised the law that allows homosexual couples to adopt.

Ferrín Calamita ran into problems 20 years ago in his very first posting as a judge in the seaside town of Chiclana, near Cádiz, when he ordered police to arrest two girls on the beach - one topless and the other nude - because he felt "offended" by the sight of them. Their conduct was not illegal.

[Copyright EL PAÍS / TONO CALLEJA 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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