After scumbag civil rights lawyer Stephen Yagman was convicted of thirteen federal felonies, including tax evasion, money laundering, and bankruptcy fraud, one person stuck with him: his pal Erwin Chemerinsky. The well-known leftist law professor stepped up for Yagman in a big way — not only trying in vain to save Yagman’s bar card, but handling Yagman’s criminal appeal pro bono.
And while Chemerinsky may be (OK, is) a raging leftist with the common sense God gave a rotting potato, he is generally thought to be a legal scholar of the first rank. Nobody would ever say he screwed up Yagman’s appeal.
Nobody, that is . . . except for Yagman himself:
The normally voluble Yagman is keeping an exceptionally low profile, but he’s raising eyebrows anyway. He hopes to win back his old life by having his conviction overturned on appeal before the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
And to do that, among other things, Yagman hopes to convince the court that his good friend, Irvine School of Law Dean and legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky, misrepresented him and screwed up Yagman’s previous and unsuccessful appeal.
Last November, Yagman filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus to vacate his convictions. Key among his claims since then: that the government withheld evidence and that he got ineffective assistance from Chemerinsky, who worked pro bono on his appeal.
Top appellate lawyers in Los Angeles describe Yagman’s chances of convincing the court that Chemerinsky ruined Yagman’s appeal as “next to zero,” “forget about it” and “absolutely no way.”
That’s the thanks Chemerinsky gets. He is apparently taken aback:
Chemerinsky commented on the case by email to L.A. Weekly, saying, “I am sad that Mr. Yagman made these allegations. I worked very hard to provide him the best representation I could. I encourage anyone to read the briefs I filed and the transcript of the oral argument in assessing Mr. Yagman’s allegations.”
Yagman claims Chemerinsky didn’t have enough time to devote to his case. But Chemerinsky writes to the Weekly: “I devoted a very significant amount of time to writing the briefs and preparing the oral argument. I think that will be evident to anyone who reads the briefs or listens to the tape of the oral argument.”
I’m sure it’s evident to Yagman too. But, you know, when you’re a dishonest convicted criminal, you can’t let your actions be ruled by niggling scruples about minor issues — like the fact that you’re backstabbing your loyal friends.