According to Lynberg & Watkins, which represents Carmichael and the county, Doe’s lawsuit is “fatally flawed” in numerous ways. They argue that prosecutors have “statutory immunity” in their jobs, that the California laws Ralph claims were violated don’t protect Doe, and that the Constitution doesn’t guarantee anyone “anonymity.”

Indeed, according to the firm, Carmichael cannot be held liable for her on-the-job conduct “even if she acts maliciously,” though they don’t concede that she acted with malice.

“Not only were Elizabeth Carmichael’s statements made during the sentencing hearing privileged, but it is also well settled [in case law] that statements made by the DA’s office to the press are likewise subject to immunity,” attorneys S. Franklin Harrell and Shannon L. Gustafson wrote in their brief. “The DA’s office was under no duty to protect [Doe] from the psychological harm that might result from her speaking in favor of her family member after that family member had molested her.”

Ralph disagrees.

“What Carmichael said at her press conference was not germane to pending criminal matters—especially since it had already been tried, was a decade removed in time and violated numerous statutes having to do with the protection of sex-crimes victims, particularly those victimized while a minor,” he says.

Doe is also suing Southern California news outlets for invasion of privacy, though they referenced Carmichael’s assertion without specifically naming Doe.

Carmichael—who has described the Sikat/Hwang case as “egregious, heinous and disgusting”—declined to discuss the lawsuit. DA spokeswoman Susan Kang Schroeder says, “We have confidence that the justice system will vindicate us at the end of this lawsuit.”

In July, Doe’s case was assigned to Superior Court Judge Kazuharu Makino, who hasn’t set a trial date.

rscottmoxley@ocweekly.com

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