Hollywood star Brad Pitt’s appeal regarding the ongoing custody case with Angelina Jolie has been denied by the California Supreme Court. In September 2021, attorneys for Pitt petitioned the high court to review the case after judge John Ouderkirk was disqualified, effectively voiding a previous ruling that granted Pitt more time with the former couple’s five minor children.
According to People tabloid, on October 27, the high court upheld the appellate court’s disqualification decision in a ruling, simply stating, “Petition and stay denied.”
A representative for Pitt said that the court’s previous decision “was based on a technical procedural issue and the Supreme Court’s decision not to review that procedural issue does not change the factual evidence which led the trial judge to reach their clear conclusion about what is in the children’s best interests. We will continue to do everything that’s legally necessary based on the detailed findings of the independent experts.”
In a statement, Jolie’s attorney said that the actress welcomed the decision. “Ms. Jolie is focused on her family and pleased that her children’s wellbeing will not be guided by unethical behavior,” her attorney said.
In July 2021, Ouderkirk was disqualified for “failure to make mandatory disclosures” about other legal proceedings involving Pitt’s legal counseling, which ‘might cause an objective person, aware of all of the facts’ to doubt Ouderkirk’s impartiality in the case, the court opinion read.
In Pitt’s petition, his attorneys argued that disqualifying Ouderkirk “effectively upended the constitutionally authorized temporary judging system in California” and now “throws open the door to disqualification challenges. Jolie’s team argued that Ouderkirk, who had been serving as the couple’s private judge, could be biased in his rulings considering he had failed to disclose continuing or new cases Pitt’s attorneys had hired him to oversee.”
When Ouderkirk was hired in 2016, both sides listed their business relationships with the judge, and he has been extended twice during their five-year custody battle. At issue, according to the Appellate Court, were additional cases he was later hired to judge, which he didn’t disclose to Jolie’s
attorneys.Pitt’s attorneys claim in the petition that Jolie had been “made aware of Judge Ouderkirk’s significant professional history with Pitt’s counsel from the very start.”
However, for the time being the custody arrangement regarding their minor children — Pax, 17, Zahara, 16, Shiloh, 15, and twins Vivienne and Knox, 13, now adhere to the November 2018 agreement.