Court Rules Judge Wronged Soap Star

Part Of Ruling Serves As Warning To Judges

HONOLULU -- A state appeals court ruled that a soap opera star who spent time in Oahu Community Correctional Center should not have been imprisoned.

The decision could change the way all judges operate.

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Brenda Dickson starred in the "Young and the Restless" as Jill Foster Abbott in the 70s and 80s. Recently, she took center stage in Hawaii in a melodramatic divorce.

Dickson's defiance of her husband's lawyer and family court Judge Darryl Choy put her in OCCC for nearly four months. That left the soap opera diva without property or alimony.

"I have never seen a litigant more mistreated than Brenda Dickson," Dickson's attorney, Peter Van Name Esser, said.

Now, the Intermediate Court of Appeals has overturned the Dickson-Jan Weinberg divorce ruling. The court ruled that Choy abused his discretion and did not allow Dickson time to fight for her rights.

"I was ecstatic. It was so dramatic," Dickson said. "All of it was illegal, the thing, the whole mess."

The ruling also said Dickson was wrongly denied property and is entitled to many of her attorney husband's legal fees.

"This is a $5 million divorce case. It's going to make millions of dollars difference for her," Esser said. "It's actually $4.5 million. I've already added it up."

Dickson's time in jail is not even mentioned in the 85-page ruling, but it does include about 30 pages on the right to a fair trial in a divorce -- a warning to judges to be fair and flexible.

"They said you cannot arbitrarily deny a lady a day in court, which is what they did," Esser said.

The drama is not over. There could be a settlement or it could resume with an appeal or another trial.

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