William Faulkner Doherty was born in 1937 and died in July 2010. He was married and had three children. He later married Roxanne, whom he met at work. He amassed a fortune of 30-50 million dollars. Shortly before his death, executed a will which left his property to his children and nothing to his second wife (she did have her own stock interest in his business). Following his death, Roxanne contested the will.
The immediate question in such cases is what would motivate a man to disinherit his wife? The following section from the case seems to shed some light on his motivation. I also commend the writing of this section. Very often, the factual recitation in cases can be clear to the point of boredom. There is also the matter of selection of the pertinent facts to prove the point: A written decision is a justification for the court’s action. It is the court’s defense and explanation: it is offered as proof that the court is fair and just.
The following excerpt from the decision works very well. First, it paints a clear picture without being tedious. Second, this particular event taken from the thousands of pages of testimony and exhibits (the trial was 25 days long, which is a long trial) provides justification for the William’s decision to disinherit the wife, and thus justification for the Court’s decision to uphold his will:
“On the evening of June 16, 2010, the siblings were dining together at Michael’s home. First Michael and then Debra received phone calls from Roxanne. They knew from past experience that she would likely be inebriated by this time of the day; her speech was slurred and she sounded agitated. She told the siblings that she wanted their father out of the house and had put his belongings outside. The siblings immediately drove over to their father’s house. Roxanne was outside, looking agitated. By the front door were a suitcase and a blanket, and William’s walker and wheelchair. Debra and Michael went inside to talk with their father, who told them that Roxanne had tried to drag him out of bed, although he had been able to hang on to the bed frame. Roxanne had told him she was going to leave him in the road. She then called an ambulance to remove him from the house (although he refused to leave when it arrived).
“When deputies eventually arrived, they arrested Roxanne (who declared as they led her to the patrol car that no one could prove anything because there had not been any witnesses).”
Doherty v. Doherty (2014) C073408
“You can’t prove nothing” is always an admission of guilt, btw.