|Derrick Moore's mugshot from 9/11/2015|
I am not proud of this, as my primary television-viewing loyalty will always be to Judge Alex even if his show Judge Alex is only available in reruns, but if I am to be truthful, I must admit that I occasionally watch episodes of Judge Judy. Judge Judy's regular viewers congregate at various websites to discuss the cases, the verdicts, and the litigants. Some degree of consensus has been reached as to whom are the two most contemptible litigants ever to grace the TV screen via Judge Judy's courtroom. Those two infamous litigants are (or were) Wendy Moore, who left the keys of her car in the ignition of the car, allowing her son and the daughter of the defendant in the case to drive the car on Mrs. Moore's property, resulting in an automobile accident in which the defendant's daughter was killed, with Mrs. Moore wanting to be compensated by the deceased daughter's mother for damage to the car and for medical bills from injuries sustained in the accident by her son Derrick Moore; and Kelli Filkins, who perpetrated an ebay scam in which she artfully worded an ebay listing to state that bidders were bidding on pictures of two cell phone as opposed to the actual cell phones, on which the buyers thought they were bidding.
In Wendy Moore's case, the plaintiff Ms. Moore admitted to regularly letting her son, who was at the time reportedly a minor and not a licensed driver, drive the car on her property, and to keeping the keys in an unsecured location where her son could at any time have access to the car's keys without her permission or knowledge. Since that time Ms. Moore hasn't been in the public eye, but her son, the passenger in the auto accident that left the defendant's daughter dead, has since been charged with attempted first-degree murder, first degree residential burglary, assault resulting in great bodily injury, and assault with a stun gun. The charges carried several enhancements including using a deadly weapon, causing great bodily injury, and committing a serious offense within five years of a prior prison term. (I don't know anything about the nature of his prior convictions.) As is typical of such incidents in California, the arrest and charges are met with much fanfare and media coverage, but the trial and end result are much more difficult to find. I cannot locate the end result of this case. If Mr. Moore was exonerated, I would like to be able to report his exoneration, though it's unlikely he was totally cleared, as his defense to the attempted murder charge, according to his attorney, anyway, was that he was merely robbing the woman when he stunned her with a stun gun, beat her, and grabbed her neck; murder was never on his agenda, and he had no intention of killing his victim. I would assume that the defendant in these charges pled guilty to lesser charges in exchange for a lighter sentence, though I presently have no way of confirming this. I found Wendy Moore's Twitter account. https://twitter.com/mcwendy35 Both "Wendy" and "Moore" are common enough names that finding an isolated "Wendy Moore" is no guarantee of it being the same "Wendy Moore" as the one who appeared on Judge Judy, but if one reads far enough back on the Twitter account, Ms. Moore alludes to having flown to southern California to tape an episode of Judge Judy. In a post from less than two yeas ago, she disparages her son, refers to him as a hot mess, and alludes to referring him to the show Intervention. Better late than never, I suppose.
Kelli Filkins' case had, if anything, a less happy ending. Judge Judy suggested that criminal proceedings against Ms. Filkins for fraud would be appropriate. It seems that she did face criminal proceedings and was jailed for fraud. In the Filkins case, the defendant, Ms. Kelli Filkins, advertised for sale in the cell phone section of ebay two photos of cell phones. The original ad wasn't displayed so I cannot share the precise wording. I'm not sure if she said in the ad itself or in fine print connected to the ad that the items being purchased were photos rather than actual cell phones, but she did not place the ad in the "photos" section of ebay, and she made the mistake of listing specifics regarding the cell phones, including a weight of 4.6 ounces, number of pixels, GSM/PCS compatability, and text-messaging capabilities (this was before ALL phones had such capacity). Obviously, pictures of cell phones would not align with the specifications detailed. Even had Filkins prevailed on her claim of "It's not mah fuh-ohlt they cay-un't ruh-ayd," she would have sunk herself in listing the specifications of the actual phones. Judge Judy wouldn't have been inclined to let her slide even without the specifications, as Ms. Filkins' clear intent was to defraud.
Even without the product description discrepancy, Ms. Filkins might still have lost the case, as Scheindlin noted that a reasonable person would not pay in excess of four hundred dollars for two photographs of cellular phones and that the listings were clearly intended to scam potential purchasers. Scheindlin took particular delight, though, in using the defendant's own words pertaining to the specifications (primarily the weight) of the product she was selling to rule against her .
Ms. Filkins marriage to the slimy Mr. Filkins (who was involved to some degree with the ebay scam but chose not to show his face on nationally syndicated TV and chose to allow his wife to suffer the consequences on her own) eventually ended. Ms. Filkins allegedly lost custody of her children for a time when she was incarcerated for fraud. According to her mother in later communications, Ms. Filkins paid for her misdeeds and later reformed. I'm not sure Ms. Filkins' mother's definition of having turned one's life around jibes with mine, but who am I to suggest that Ms. Filkins' life did not take a turn for the better?
If Ms. Filkins experienced good fortune, however, it was temporary. On January 26 of 2017, Ms. Filkins passed away. (In that sense, I suppose good fortune that any of us may have is temporary, as life will eventually end for all of us someday.) Some of the people who discuss Judge Judy and other TV shows on various internet forums are relentless. They learned of Ms. Filkins' death and discussed, among other things, whether or not it was THE Kelli Filkins and whether the resulting GoFundMe account could be just the latest in Ms. Filkins' scams. At the risk of sounding cold-hearted and merciless, I shall state my opinion that it was a fair question. A person who would cheat people out of hard-earned cash by using trick wording to hand over photocopies of pictures of cell phones in place of actual cell phones would probably also fake her own death and create a GoFundMe account to collect money to be given in the event of her death while she was still alive.
Ms. Filkins' mother has apparently taken up the hobby of googling her daughter's name, then blasting anyone who has anything remotely less than charitable to say about Ms. Filkins. Ms. Filkins' mother has every right in this land of the free speech and home of the brave to do just that, but those who pose the questions and suppositions have that same right to post their queries. I don't yet have any children, but I'm told that the most devastating thing that can ever happen to a parent is to have his or her child precede him or her in death. Ms. Filkins' mother has my sympathy in regard to her daughter's untimely death.
On the other hand, is it possible for a person to have behaved in a manner so despicable while he or she was alive that even once the person has passed on, people will have more unkind than kind things to say about the person? Apparently yes. Ms. Filkins' mother said that her daughter had paid for her mistakes, which may very well be true. The unfortunate aspect to it is that paying a fine or serving a sentence doesn't necessarily make everyone who was wronged whole again. Ms. Filkins left highly incriminating and false feedback on ebay concerning her victims, for which Judge Scheindlin could only offer the statutory maximum of $5,000. Even after losing her case on Judge Judy, Ms. Filkins trash-talked her courtroom opponents. And how many times might she have perpetrated similar scams when the victims couldn't locate her to seek restitution?
Ms. Filkins' mother would probably argue that Ms. Filkins did nothing to most of the people who are speaking ill of her on message boards. It doesn't really matter. If a person commits an action in opposition to society's mores, some members of society may have negative things to say about the person. As long as what is being said or written is neither untrue nor otherwise slanderous, it can be lawfully said or written. For many people, a moral compass keeps them from committing truly reprehensible acts. For others, it is only the fear of reproach that keeps them from acting as Ms. Filkins did. And when a person is caught in an improper act and is forced to pay his or her debt to society, forgiveness of the person is optional, not automatic.
Ms. Filkins' mother described how very cute Ms. Filkins had been as a child. Ms. Filkins was allegedly taught when she was four years old to tell adults that she was going to be a proctologist when she grew up. She would reportedly keep a very straight face as she spoke these words. Ms. Filkins mother thought this was a most adorable act. Posters on the message board questioned whether a four-year-old would be capable of telling others she planned to become a proctologist. Those posters must have known dull-witted or speech-impaired children if the children they were around could not have been taught to pronounce a relatively straightforward four-syllable word and couldn't have been taught in simple English what the term meant. (A proctologist is basically, in child-friendly language, a "butt doctor." That's all the child would have to hear, and the child would understand it if he or she were even approaching normal intelligence.) I don't have any trouble at all believing that four-year-old Kelli Filkins would hold back her laughter when telling adults that she planned to be a proctologist. It was much the same as watching her say to Judge Judy, "It's not muh fuh-ohlt they cay-un't ruh-ayd" as she struggled to stifle her smirk.
Ms. Filkins' mother may google her daughter's name again and end up here. If so, I'm sincerely sorry for your loss, ma'am, but sometimes a person reaps what he or she sows, and sometimes consequences to our actions are more far-reaching than any of us would ever imagine.
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