The emergency hearing was called by Sheen yesterday. His argument was that Mueller violated the terms of their custody agreement by refusing to submit to a drug test last week. Failure to submit to a test is viewed by the court the same as a positive reading, which would be a violation. As a result, Sheen was seeking a change to their custody order, which currently gives legal custody of their twin boys to both parents, but sole physical custody to Mueller.
If it seems odd that Sheen would make a play for full physical custody in the middle of his tour, consider too that he's currently dishing out $55,000 per month to Mueller in child support. If the children were in his primary care, no such payment would be required. Or, you know, he could just have been struck with a sudden desire to be a better father. (Better late than never, right?)
Prior to this morning's hearing, attorneys for both parties met in chambers to discuss how the morning would progress, as Sheen's attorneys were alone in wanting to keep the closed-door proceedings open.
Despite his arguments, Judge Hank Goldberg opted to keep the proceedings closed "in the best interest of the children" as "questions of abuse and other inflammatory issues" would be brought up.
Meanwhile, no such secrecy was required across town where, at the same time, a hearing in Sheen's $100 million breach-of-contract suit against Warner Bros. and Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre was taking place.
That hearing, taking place in Santa Monica, allowed cameras in the courtroom. Once again, Team Sheen, led by attorney Marty Singer, was on board with the open proceedings, though Lorre's lawyer Howard Weitzman pushed for another closed-door.
"This is a public forum," Judge Allan Goodman said. "The Supreme Court and the California Supreme Court has been clear the media is a substitute for the public."
Sheen is fighting to get paid for the eight episodes canned in the wake of his firing. His argument today is that he's not bound by Warner Bros.' arbitration clause and while his former employers want to solve their differences through arbitration, Sheen is seeking a public trial.
As always, watch this space.
—Additional reporting by Claudia Rosenbaum and Ken Baker
(Originally published on April 19, 2011 at 11:32 a.m. PT)