Patterico's Pontifications


The L.A. Times’s Tipster on Kozinski’s Porn: Cyrus Sanai (UPDATED: Commenter Claims to Be Sanai, Makes New Accusations)

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Judiciary,Kozinski — Patterico @ 9:13 pm

[UPDATE: A commenter purporting to be Cyrus Sanai has left a comment to this post, with several other allegations against Judge Kozinski.]

[UPDATE: The commenter is indeed Sanai. He sent me images that he copied from Kozinski’s site. I have reproduced them here.]

It has been revealed who tipped the L.A. Times about the porn on Alex Kozinski’s web site: Cyrus Sanai.

[Roger Jon] Diamond [defense attorney for obscenity defendant Ira Issacs] volunteered to the court that a Beverly Hills attorney, Cyrus Sanai, had recently called him and indicated he had a dispute with the 9th Circuit and knew about the material on the judge’s Web site.

“He called me to get my view and I said, ‘It’s not right, don’t do it,'” Diamond said without elaborating on what that attorney planned to do.

Sanai said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that he informed the newspaper about the pornographic images on the judge’s Web site.

Sanai said he discovered the graphic material in December on Kozinski’s Web site, which he was monitoring as part of a long-running dispute he has with the 9th Circuit tied to his parents’ divorce case. After downloading the files, Sanai said he began contacting reporters at various publications in January in an effort to publicly expose them.

Sanai said he hoped disclosure of the material in the media would bring attention to what he called widespread ethical problems on the 9th Circuit.

The court “refuses to acknowledge the existence of judicial ethics,” Sanai said. “I expected people to be shocked and revolted.”

If that name sounds familiar, it should. Sanai is a lawyer who had a public dispute with Kozinski in which Kozinski ripped Sanai a new one. I posted about this in September 2005, in a post titled Ouch! in which I said:

Don’t cross Alex Kozinski.

. . . .

If lawyer Cyrus Sanai had much of a professional reputation before (which I doubt), it’s gone now.

I guess this is Sanai’s way of saying to Kozinski: don’t cross Cyrus Sanai.

Details in the extended entry.


Kozinski’s Porn Stash Revealed (UPDATED With Link to Possible Picture) (UPDATE: Kozinski’s Son Uploaded Material?) (UPDATE: Trial Suspended)

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Kozinski — Patterico @ 5:37 pm

Here’s a headline that’ll grab your attention: 9th Circuit’s chief judge posted sexually explicit materials on his website. And in an especially ironic development, the judge is Alex Kozinski, who is presiding over the first obscenity trial here in L.A. in years:

One of the highest-ranking federal judges in the United States, who is currently presiding over an obscenity trial in Los Angeles, has maintained a publicly accessible website featuring sexually explicit photos and videos.

Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, acknowledged in an interview with The Times that he had posted the materials, which included a photo of naked women on all fours painted to look like cows and a video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal. Some of the material was inappropriate, he conceded, although he defended other sexually explicit content as “funny.”

I’m not inclined to be judgmental about this. I’m fairly certain I have no depictions of naked women on all fours painted like cows . . . but still. Let he who has never viewed porn cast the first stone.

More details on Kozinski’s collection:

Kozinski said he would delete some material from his site, including the photo depicting women as cows, which he said was “degrading . . . and just gross.” He also said he planned to get rid of a graphic step-by-step pictorial in which a woman is seen shaving her pubic hair.

Kozinski said he must have accidentally uploaded those images to his server while intending to upload something else. “I would not keep those files intentionally,” he said. The judge pointed out that he never used appeals court computers to maintain the site.

The sexually explicit material on Kozinski’s site earlier this week was extensive, including images of masturbation, public sex and contortionist sex. There was a slide show striptease featuring a transsexual, and a folder that contained a series of photos of women’s crotches as seen through snug fitting clothing or underwear. There were also themes of defecation and urination, though they are not presented in a sexual context.

The interesting issue is whether this mandates recusal from the obscenity trial.

Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor who specializes in legal ethics, told The Times that Kozinski should recuse himself from the Isaacs case because “the public can reasonably question his objectivity” concerning the issues at hand.

Gillers, who has known Kozinski for years and called him “a treasure of the federal judiciary,” said he took the judge at his word that he did not know the site was publicly available. But he said Kozinski was “seriously negligent” in allowing it to be discovered.

“The phrase ‘sober as a judge’ resonates with the American public,” Gillers said. “We don’t want them to reveal their private selves publicly. This is going to upset a lot of people.”

Gillers said the disclosure would be humiliating for Kozinski and would “harm his reputation in many quarters,” but that the controversy should die there.

He added, however, that if the public concludes the website was intended for the sharing of pornographic material, “that’s a transgression of another order.”

“It would be very hard for him to come back from that,” he said.

Well, I doubt very seriously that the public would conclude that. And there are no hypocrisy charges to level, since Kozinski is a well-known libertarian. He’s probably embarrassed, to be sure — but not half as much as a lot of other people would be in a similar situation. The article notes that Kozinski “has developed a reputation as a champion of the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression. Several years ago, for example, after learning that appeals court administrators had placed filters on computers that denied access to pornography and other materials, Kozinski led a successful effort to have the filters removed.”

But still, it’s hard to see how a judge who has depictions of defecation and “cavorting” suggestive of bestiality can preside over an obscenity trial featuring defecation and bestiality. Especially when it’s revealed in such a public way, during the trial. (The story is currently at the top of the L.A. Times web site.) The jurors would spend the trial wondering if the judge planned to copy the videos once the trial is over. It’s just a bad situation all around.

I agree with Prof. Gillers. Judge Kozinski should recuse himself.

UPDATE: A Google search for “women painted as cows” with all filters turned off yields this completely not safe for work image of a fully naked woman painted as a cow. Either this is a widespread phenomenon, or this is one of the pictures Kozinski had on his site.


UPDATE x2: In an e-mail to David Lat, Kozinski says that his son uploaded some of the material to a shared server. It doesn’t sound like he’s trying to pretend he never saw it, just that it was his son who uploaded the material to the server. (Via Howard.)

UPDATE x3: Kozinski has suspended the trial to allow the parties time to consider whether to request that he be removed.

UPDATE x4: A commenter at Ace’s links another not safe for work picture of a naked woman painted as a cow. Maybe it is a widespread phenomenon . . .

UPDATE x5: After reading comments here, I think I may have found the video with the man and the aroused farm animal. Might as well link that too! Once again, this is all decidedly not safe for work, but I do think — assuming this is the material we’re talking about, and we don’t know that — that it sheds light on whether the material Kozinski had is truly offensive, humorous, or something else.

UPDATE x6: Wow. It has been revealed who the tipster was: attorney Cyrus Sanai. He had disputes with Kozinski in the past; indeed, I have blogged about them. This is worth a new post.

UPDATE x7: I have spoken with the tipster to the L.A. Times, who sent me some of the images he downloaded from Kozinski’s site. You can view them here.

Ultimately, he may have a bigger and more lasting problem with the issue of whether he chose to share .mp3’s. We’ll follow up on that in coming days.

Radley Balko: I Don’t Personally Experience a Problem with Illegal Immigrants in Alexandria, Virginia

Filed under: Immigration — Patterico @ 12:48 am

Radley Balko:

I’m seeing a lot from the comments section about how people who defend illegal immigrants “don’t actually have to live with them.”

I’ll go ahead and call bullshit, here. Ryan Sager wrote a nice piece back in 2006 pointing out that, in fact, the regions of the country most hostile to immigrants (legal or otherwise) tend to be the areas with the fewest immigrants. And American citizens who actually live among higher concentrations of immigrants tend to have much higher opinions of them. There are exceptions, like Prince William County, Virginia. But in general, exposure to immigrants tends to demystify them.

Hey, I have a high opinion of a lot of illegal immigrants. They tend to have a great work ethic, for one thing. And they’re plenty demystified to me. But I still consider illegal immigration to be a problem.

But then, I live in L.A. I don’t live on the front lines of the immigration problem like Radley Balko:

I happen to live in the Chirilagua area of Alexandria, Virginia, home to the largest Salvadoran population in the U.S. The only time I‘ve ever felt unsafe in my neighborhood was after an unfortunate altercation with a U.S. citizen, not an immigrant. In fact, regular exposure to immigrants (and yes, most of the immigrants in my neighborhood are illegal) has only made me more fond of them. They work hard. They’re exceedingly polite. They want a better life for their kids. They sell delicious pupusas. What’s not to like?

I dunno. Overwhelming the freeways, the jails and prisons, the school systems, and the emergency rooms? How about that?

But of course, Balko doesn’t see these issues as problems, because he doesn’t experience them:

If there’s been some massive drain on Alexandria’s public health system, I haven’t felt it.

Right. Because you’re in Alexandria, Virginia.

CJR: Here’s What’s at Stake for the Supreme Court . . . If You Completely Ignore History

Filed under: Abortion,General,Judiciary,Media Bias — Patterico @ 12:10 am

Zachary Roth at the Columbia Journalism Review has this odd and quite untrue passage:

In recent presidential elections, anyone paying a basic amount of attention to the race has gone to the polls understanding one clear and compelling difference between the candidates: that the Democrat would pick judges who would vote to uphold Roe v. Wade, ensuring that abortion remains legal, and that the Republican would, in all likelihood, pick judges who would vote to overturn it, opening the door to state-level abortion bans. As a result, we’ve all been admirably well informed about the impact of our vote on this key issue.

This must be some new meaning of the phrase “in all likelihood” that I am unfamiliar with.

Let’s look at the judicial appointments since Nixon, and how they have voted or opined on Roe and/or Casey (which affirmed the central holding of Roe):

Burger: Joined Roe majority
Blackmun: Wrote Roe
Powell: Joined Roe majority
Rehnquist: Dissented in Roe

Stevens: Joined Casey majority

O’Connor: Joined Casey majority
Scalia: Dissented in Casey
Kennedy: Joined Casey majority

Souter: Joined Casey majority
Thomas: Dissented in Casey

Roberts: Refused to join Thomas opinion saying Roe is bad law
Alito: Refused to join Thomas opinion saying Roe is bad law

That’s 12 justices. Fully seven voted in the majority in Roe or Casey. That’s a majority.

Only three voted against Roe or Casey.

The views of two are unknown, but they pointedly refused to join an opinion saying Roe is bad law.

Since when does 3 out of 12 constitute a great success rate?

So: what’s this “in all likelihood” nonsense?

If Roth had said that Republicans “try” to appoint Justices who would overturn Roe, that would be fine. But let’s be clear: “in all likelihood,” they are going to try . . . and fail.

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