PG&E is in a world of hurt, still, over the California fires that its shoddy power line maintenance contributed so heavily to starting. However, the Federal district judge overseeing a related court case has overstepped his own bounds.
William Alsup, a US district judge in Northern California, ordered PG&E to respond “on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis” to the Journal article published July 10.
This is just plain wrong. Leaving aside the fact that newspaper articles, no matter how seemingly well-documented, are not evidence of anything—they’re only allegations, and they were not brought to Alsup by any parties to that case; he went and got them all by himself.
Beyond that, the cited article didn’t even contain identifiable evidence. “Documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal” was the paper’s primary source, and not a single citation or link was provided to any of those…documents…so even their existence could not be independently verified, much less the newspaper’s interpretation of them checked.
Alsup is not a feudal-era English judge; he doesn’t get to do his own investigation into a case before him. Especially should he not bring newspaper articles, which don’t even remotely approach evidence, into the matter.