Joe Francis Defies Judge, Appeals Court Order

Anne Winter
PANAMA CITY, Calif. — "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis failed to appear in court as ordered by Judge Richard Smoak, and has appealed the judge's order to have Francis jailed for contempt of court.

Smoak had ordered Francis to turn himself in to Panama City officials by noon yesterday to immediately begin a jail sentence Francis had been given the week earlier.

In 2003, Francis was sued by several underage girls who appeared in his "Girls Gone Wild" videos, and Smoak had ordered the two sides to participate in a two-day mediation. However, after a three-minute profanity-laced outburst made by Francis on March 21, Smoak found him to be in contempt of court, stating Francis had made it clear he had not intended to abide by the judge's mediation order.

Francis said Smoak has "lost his mind" and that, after having referred to Francis as "the devil" and "an evildoer," Francis has labeled Smoak "a judge gone wild."

Adult attorney Lawrence Walters told XBIZ that, depending whether the trial court issues a stay, Francis could either remain free or be jailed during the time it takes for the appeal to make it through court.

A representative for Smoak said he is no longer commenting on the story.