Patterico's Pontifications

11/26/2008

New Ethics Complaint Filed Against Kozinski

Filed under: General,Kozinski — Patterico @ 7:06 pm

But it relates to an old allegation:

A retired federal court executive alleged Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco, broke into a judicial computer security system to restore access to pornographic Web sites, according to a filed complaint.

Ralph Mecham, who headed the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in Washington for 21 years until retiring in 2006, made the allegations in a complaint yesterday to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. . . . Mecham said U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist became “enraged” because a committee of federal judges disobeyed his recommendation to discipline Kozinski after he disabled computer filter software meant to block sexually explicit Web sites in 2001, according to the complaint.

“Tell Kozinski to watch pornography at home and not in his own court,” Rehnquist told Mecham, according to his complaint. Mecham said he wants Kozinski to resign or be impeached by Congress because he allegedly destroyed government property and bragged about it.

I have been fascinated by this complaint since June, when I first read Mecham’s letter regarding the incident. To me, the issue comes down to this: was Kozinski merely disabling a filtering system? or the court’s security system?

If he was merely disabling a filter that prevented judges and court employees from downloading porn, as Kozinski has claimed, then he’s a libertarian hero. Judges and their employees need to be able to access all kinds of material to do their jobs.

Analogously, my office flirted with blocking MySpace access, but ultimately reversed its decision — and that’s a good thing. I don’t screw around on MySpace for fun at work, but I have used MySpace to pull pictures of gang member defendants throwing gang signs — thus strengthening gang allegations in shooting cases.

If court employees are abusing their access to porn or other inappropriate materials, that’s a problem and should be dealt with — but filtering is not the answer.

If, by contrast, Kozinski was disabling the security firewall, as Mecham claims, then Kozinski’s actions were incredibly reckless and merit discipline. Courts deal with some of the most sensitive national security secrets that the government possesses. It is paramount to have unbreachable security for court computers.

I’ve never been able to figure out which is true. Did he disable a filtering system, or the security firewall?

I know it’s an old allegation, but I still hope it gets investigated and resolved. It’s that important.

26 Responses to “New Ethics Complaint Filed Against Kozinski”

  1. Its an old allegation and it does not need another investigation.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  2. This is a transparent ploy to draw out Cyrus the Virus, David Petranos Esp., and MKDP. Thank you, and bless you, Patterico.

    JD (5f0e11)

  3. True, JD, we enjoy having toys to play with on Thanksgiving.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  4. There has not been enough denouncing around here lately.

    Cyrus made an appearance on another thread just today, saying I was behaving like a “jackass” or some such. I feel certain he will weigh in here.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  5. Lawyers not playing nice? Who knew.

    Da'Shiznit (089453)

  6. I think one of the Petranos may have been here recently under another name. Either way, surely this topic will interest them or they will have something to add.

    DRJ (a50047)

  7. DRJ – I suspect you are incorrect. Their brand of teh krazy is readily identifiable, much like the many identities of alphie/sniffles/parsnip.

    JD (5f0e11)

  8. I don’t think Cyrus is very happy with recent events:

    San Francisco Court Puts Kozinski Complaint on Hold (Update1)
    Email | Print | A A A

    By Cynthia Cotts

    Nov. 5 (Bloomberg) — An ethics committee of the federal appeals court in San Francisco issued an order to stop an investigation of a lawyer’s complaint alleging misconduct by Alex Kozinski, the court’s chief judge.

    Cyrus Sanai, a Los Angeles attorney, accused Kozinski of putting pornography on a public Web site and revived allegations that the judge broke into a computer security system in 2001 and disabled porn-detecting software.

    The ethics committee, officially the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council, on Nov. 3 directed that Sanai’s complaint be put on hold because “no exceptional circumstances” exist to warrant a transfer to a Philadelphia committee looking into an earlier complaint about Kozinski’s sexually explicit Web postings.

    “It’s appalling,” Sanai said yesterday in an interview. “It is a transparent effort to shield Judge Kozinski and the other subjects of the complaint from meaningful investigation.”

    blah, blah, blah, blah………….

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  9. I don’t screw around on MySpace for fun at work, but I have used MySpace to pull pictures of gang member defendants throwing gang signs — thus strengthening gang allegations in shooting cases.

    *goes and edits his Myspace page*

    Scott Jacobs (90ff96)

  10. Cyrus made an appearance on another thread just today, saying I was behaving like a “jackass” or some such. I feel certain he will weigh in here.

    Oh dear sweet merciful lord, PLEASE let him come by The Jury Talks Back…

    Scott Jacobs (90ff96)

  11. Write a post and bait him!

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  12. Report what daleyrocks just reported.

    daleyrocks, how come you didn’t sign up for the “Jury” site? I’d take you in a heartbeat.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  13. *goes and edits his Myspace page*

    What? You think I don’t already have it archived?

    You’re not dealing with an amateur here, son.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  14. Patterico – I wrote a post for the Jury while waiting for surgery. Between the typos and 4-letter words …. Blogging under the influence is a bad idea.

    JD (5f0e11)

  15. What? You think I don’t already have it archived?

    Damnit!!! I’m doomed! My entire criminal empire is RUINED!!!

    *Shakes fist in anger* Curse you, Patterico!!

    Scott Jacobs (90ff96)

  16. Between the typos and 4-letter words

    I saw absolutely nothing wrong with it… :)

    Scott Jacobs (90ff96)

  17. I have used MySpace to pull pictures of gang member defendants throwing gang signs — thus strengthening gang allegations in shooting cases.

    Not exactly Professor Moriarty, criminal mastermind, are they? Remind me of the four gang-rapists a friend ran in. One came up to him with — I am not making this up — a condom tucked in but hanging out of his pocket. He didn’t put it all the way in his pocked, because it was used. His explanation: he was just a public-spirited citizen, who saw litter and picked it up. Another one said, “I didn’t rape that girl! I didn’t put it all the way in!” and a third, “It wasn’t rape! It was consexual.”

    The girl was 14 so it wasn’t all that consexual after all, I guess. I forget what the fourth guy did but it was something equally ingenious. Right up there with going on myspace and “friending” the rest of MS-13. You almost feel sorry for these clowns’ public defenders, till you remember they’re the termites gnawing at the very lintels and joists of society.

    Walter Duranty (88bf29)

  18. Patterico – I thought about it. I really did. Thanks.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  19. Rehnquist probably imagined Kozinski taking a spanner to the “inner tubes” or something.

    Milhouse (89df7f)

  20. “then he’s a libertarian hero. “

    The very basis of much real thought, cometary across the biosphere.

    Too bad the formal party of said name can’t seem to attract a real person to run.

    Seems most folks are really much more libertarian than anything else. I’ve a feeling another 7.2 trillion in instant debt, with ZERO say in the matter might get some to begin thinking! Too bad it will be two years before such thought and ballot casting will take place.

    But there is no room for truth in politics, especially when it could become a racial race, and all the, (MSM), need do is be quiet.

    The race is over, the msm will become bored, and some questions might be exposed. Though they totally disgraces themselves in this process, with will do nothing but drive the final nails into the self built coffins. (my opinion).

    Koz is like the recent Hypo? SOME THINGS ARE REALLY NOT OUR BUSINESS!!! Ever! NOT EVER!!

    Unlike the hypothetical I could pose as to when will any individuals, no matter their position in life, be considered their own business?

    What will it take for our society to learn to just, shut the fuck up, when it comes to what another desires to do, if not harming another in any way shape or form?

    Clean Libertarian thought there.

    I wish you all a very happy thanksgiving.

    TC (0b9ca4)

  21. Did he disable a filtering system, or the security firewall?

    It’s not necessarily an either / or situation. If the router’s firewall is also setup to block access to some domains, then the security and the filter are one and the same. He may have decided to disable the filtering by tinkering with the firewall settings. Some could say he was just disabling the filtering, while it could also be said that he was interfering with security.

    Anon Y. Mous (d1d784)

  22. This has been up for over 12 hours, with no Cyrus the Virus, David Petranos Esp, or MKDP ?! Has the earth quit spinning. If there was ever a more obvious dog-whistle …

    JD (e0ab0e)

  23. Come out, come out, wherever you are …

    AnnTM (e0ab0e)

  24. JD – I mentioned to Scott on one of his posts over on the Jury Talks Back that the Petranos are fighting Somali pirates at the moment. They followed a roast beef carver with fake master’s credentials over there and have designs on filing an admiralty claim on that Saudi supertanker. Just think, MK nutjob’s service horse could roam the deck without fear of sniper fire on a vessel such as that and thet could probably rig it to run on MK and David’s combined paranoia, resentments and hostility in perpetuity. Just sayin’.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  25. daleyrocks – You, my friend, are Da Man. That was brilliant.

    JD (e0ab0e)

  26. The federal judiciary always has had sophisticated Cisco firewalls in place. What Judge K disabled was a new (secret) addition from Internet Security Systems that could filter (and also monitor and capture) BOTH incoming and outgoing data on the judiciary’s networks. There were reports that the software actually was being used by Administrative Staff that work for Mecham to read judges’ email traffic. One of the senior staff at the Administrative Office resigned after Mecham denied that any snooping was underway. Such activity also has more than a few criminal issues worth sorting out.

    Snoopy (573153)


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