A judge today denied actor Laurence Fishburne an extension of a stay-away order against a man who allegedly came to his home New Year’s Day and said he was there to evict him.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carol Boas Goodson told Fishburne’s lawyer, Donald Etra, that he had not shown enough evidence that Anthony Francis had caused significant emotional distress to the actor, or that the man was a threat to his client’s safety.
“This is one of the thinnest cases I’ve seen in a long time,” Goodson said.
The judge said the case sounded more like a dispute over real estate than one in which a stay-away order was proper.
“This is probably somebody who is a little off, but he hasn’t done anything threatening,” Goodson said.
Etra said he was disappointed in the ruling and would again seek a stay-away order if Francis harasses the Fishburnes again.
Commissioner Alan Friedenthal had issued a temporary restraining order against Francis on Jan. 3 that expired today. It directed Francis to keep at least 100 yards from the 51-year-old actor, his wife, 43-year-old Gina Torres Fishburne, and their 5-year-old daughter, Delilah Fishburne.
The actor’s court papers stated that Francis left a letter in Fishburne’s mailbox on Christmas Day in which he claimed to own the home and wrote, “You are to leave this house immediately. This means all tenants are to evacuate ASAP.”
Francis, 52, left two numbers to call in case Fishburne had any questions.
Fishburne’s long-time security director, Mel Thompson, and Los Angeles police Officer One Winter testified that Francis was agitated and carrying an umbrella when he came back to the Fishburne home on New Year’s Day.
Thompson said Fishburne was not home at the time, but that his wife was present and “seemed to be very upset and frightened.”
Thompson said Gina Fishburne had called him and said Francis was outside the home’s security gate and demanding to be let onto the property. Winter said the man was wearing a tattered suit.
Francis was on parole for cyberstalking, Thompson said.
Francis has not been back at the Fishburne home since Jan. 1, he said.
Neither Fishburne nor Francis attended today’s hearing.