Patterico's Pontifications


Yagman Seeks Reversal By Selling His Pal Erwin Chemerinsky Down the River

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:36 pm

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.


Stephen Yagman Disbarred

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:52 pm

It’s been a long time coming, but the magic moment is here:

The California Bar Journal explains:

Controversial civil rights attorney STEPHEN G. YAGMAN [#69737], known for his longtime crusade against police brutality, was summarily disbarred Dec. 22, 2010. Yagman, 66, had been on interim suspension since Aug. 23, 2007, following federal convictions of one count each for tax evasion and bankruptcy fraud and 17 counts of money laundering. The State Bar Court’s review department found that because bankruptcy fraud is both a felony and involves moral turpitude, it meets the criteria for summary disbarment. It rejected Yagman’s argument that the crime does not constitute moral turpitude.

. . . .

Prosecutors denied that Yagman was targeted for his civil rights battles and Judge Stephen V. Wilson, who presided over the 2007 trial, said he became convinced of Yagman’s guilt and “the jury was right.” Wilson called Yagman’s testimony “transparently untrue in so many areas.”

An appeals court upheld the conviction.

When we last checked in with Yagman, partisan hack Erwin Chemerinsky was fighting for Yagman’s license. Chemerinsky is from the Reinhardt/Pregerson school of legal thought, where principles and logic don’t count, and sneering liberal self-righteousness is central. But even Erwin couldn’t manage to convince the State Bar that Yagman’s license should survive convictions of numerous felonies in which the government proved intent to defraud beyond a reasonable doubt. The State Bar’s short decision is here (.pdf).

Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye.



Yagman’s Prison Address

Filed under: Crime,Scum — Patterico @ 12:02 pm

In an Alan Mittelstaedt piece notable for its lack of connection from reality (Chuck Philips made a simple mistake! Yagman will be vindicated on appeal!), there appears one useful bit of information — Stephen Yagman’s new address . . . in prison:

Stephen Yagman
FCI Butner Low
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 999
Butner, NC 27509

Make sure to send him a friendly note.


L.A. Times Quotes Yagman in Rafeedie Obiturary — While Omitting a Few Salient Details

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 3:25 am

An L.A. Times obituary of federal judge Edward Rafeedie is mostly complimentary — but just had to lob this little grenade:

Rafeedie had detractors. In the case of Jarek Molski, who filed 400 lawsuits alleging violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act, Rafeedie ruled that Molski could not file any more suits in Los Angeles federal court without approval from a judge. The jurist called Molski a “hit-and-run plaintiff” and accused the disabled man’s attorney of assisting in the “abusive litigation practices.”

Stephen Yagman, who represented Molski’s attorney, called Rafeedie mean-spirited and cruel. “This judge is trying to bar the door to the federal courthouse,” Yagman said in 2005.

Of course, the paper didn’t mention that Rafeedie’s decision was upheld by the plaintiff-friendly Ninth Circuit, which thought Molski was faking his injuries. Or that Yagman is a felon who is entering federal prison today. Or that judges found that Yagman had a practice of saying rude things about conservative judges, to get them to recuse themselves and allow him to steer his cases to more sympathetic liberal judges.

As long as they’re hiding all that, why not quote Yagman’s more inflammatory statements about Rafeedie? There are plenty to choose from — like his claim that Rafeedie was a “fucking fat ugly asshole” and “fascist judge” with a “weird-shaped head” that “looked like a Martian.” (Yes, those are real quotes from Yagman about Rafeedie.)

Hey, if you’re going to piss on his grave anyway, why not fully empty your bladder? And why not show Yagman to be the unbalanced criminal he really is?


Yagman to Surrender to Prison Officials on March 31

Filed under: Crime,General,Scum — Patterico @ 9:59 pm

When we last checked in on the endless saga of Stephen Yagman’s efforts to avoid prison, he was supposed to be appearing in Judge Wilson’s court on March 17. Patrick Range McDonald of the L.A. Weekly reports that the hearing actually occurred today, and that Yagman was ordered to surrender in one week, on March 31.

At the U.S. Federal Courthouse in downtown today, civil rights attorney Steve Yagman has finally been ordered to surrender to prison authorities on Monday, March 31, at a federal prison and medical facility in Butner, North Carolina. The renegade lawyer, who’s made a career of battling the LAPD and the feds, will soon no longer be a free man.

Read Patrick’s post to see how Yagman tried to weasel out of it yet again.


Yagman to Finally Be Incarcerated?

Filed under: General,Scum — Patterico @ 6:45 pm

Regular readers know I have been following the saga of Stephen Yagman’s bid to avoid incarceration for months. It looks like he may be finally going in on St. Patty’s Day:

According to the U. S. Attorney’s spokesman Thom Mrozek, Federal Judge Stephen V. Wilson is being asked to order the incarceration of convicted Civil Rights Attorney Stephen Yagman who has been free on Appeal following his conviction earlier this year of 19 felony counts, including tax evasion, bankruptcy fraud and money laundering. The hearing in Los Angeles Federal Court is scheduled for Monday, March 17, 2007 at 11 a.m. Judge Wilson had acquitted Yagman on six counts, after the jury conviction on all counts and now is being asked to order incarceration following the denial of Yagman’s appeal.

My last post about this ongoing saga was on January 31, when I noted that Yagman’s surrender was once again being delayed, while a federal motions panel ruled on his appeal of Judge Wilson’s denial of his motion for bail pending appeal. At the time, it appeared that Yagman’s appeal would only buy him a couple of weeks, but it has bought him about a month and a half. I nevertheless observed:

You can’t stay out forever, Yagman. The day will come when you have to surrender and head off to the pokey.

I’ll be here to gloat about it.

I’m still here, Yagman. And when you get taken into custody on Monday, I’ll be wearing green as I pop the cap on a bottle of beer to celebrate.

Do they have beer in prison, Yagman? I don’t think they do.


Yagman Gets Yet Another Reprieve

Filed under: General,Scum — Patterico @ 6:32 am

When we last checked in Stephen Yagman, he was supposed to surrender for his prison sentence on January 15. After the 15th, I wrote Patrick Range McDonald, who checked and told me that Yagman’s surrender date had been delayed until January 29.

McDonald has an update on Yagman’s case here. Turns out Yagman got yet another delay. It looks like he will have to surrender within a week or two, when a federal motions panel rules on his appeal of Judge Wilson’s denial of his motion for bail pending appeal.

You can’t stay out forever, Yagman. The day will come when you have to surrender and head off to the pokey.

I’ll be here to gloat about it.


Yagman Denied Bail Pending Appeal

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 8:55 pm

Stephen Yagman was denied bail pending appeal today. This development was reported in the San Jose Mercury News.

I don’t know if it was also reported in Yagman’s hometown Los Angeles Times. I can’t read their site from a mobile phone. I’ll let you know later whether they decide to report on this.

UPDATE: There is an “in brief” item about it here.


Yagman Sued, Whining That It Violated His Rights to Suspend His Law License for Getting Convicted of More Than a Dozen Felonies

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Scum — Patterico @ 9:19 pm

The APpublished in the San Jose Mercury News — reports:

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a prominent civil-rights lawyer’s suit against the State Bar of California over the interim suspension of his law license.

Stephen Yagman, who had high-profile cases against police and President Bush, alleged the bar violated his constitutional and civil rights by suspending him from practicing law in the state in July.

Well, August, actually. But who’s counting?

So, you get convicted of more than a dozen felonies, and it’s a violation of your rights to suspend you from practicing law?

Did someone repeal Rule 11? (For non-lawyers, that’s the rule that theoretically allows judges to sanction lawyers for frivolous lawsuits.)

Yeah, I know it hardly ever gets used. That’s part of the problem.

By the way: why am I reading about this in the San Jose Mercury News? Where’s the L.A. Times? Do they run only pro-Yagman stories?

Yagman Update

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:04 am

Yagman fan Alan Mittelstaedt at L.A. City Beat gives us an update on our favorite civil rights lawyer and convicted felon. The conceit of Mitterstaedt’s entry is that he is giving out presents to a list of L.A. dignitaries. Among the recipients is the “ACLU and L.A.’s civil-rights bar,” to whom Mitterstaedt would like to give:

An endless tape of the indecipherable meaningless words of a Pentecostal church gathering are what these dozens of well-fed, well-paid lawyers deserve for letting down L.A.’s most accomplished civil-rights lawyer, Stephen Yagman, in his greatest hour of need. The exception: Erwin Chemerinsky, who represented Yagman on Wednesday in a hearing to try to keep his license to practice law from being suspended. The rest of you should have been fighting to take his case. Yagman’s racked up more victories in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals than anybody on this planet. And now he could be off to the slammer because none of you came forward.

A couple of corrections.

First, the hearing Chemerinsky litigated was not “to try to keep [Yagman’s] license to practice law from being suspended.” It was already suspended, in August. The issue now is whether Yagman faces further sanctions. And given that he was convicted of over a dozen felonies, he looks well on the way to disbarment.

Second, Yagman will — not could — be off to the slammer next year. And it won’t be because civil rights lawyers didn’t attend his bar disciplinary hearing. It will be because he was convicted of tax evasion, bankruptcy fraud, and money laundering.

Speaking of Yagman going to the slammer, Mittelstadt has this:

What a great show Judge Stephen Wilson puts on in Division 6 at the federal courthouse downtown. On Monday, December 17, there stood Stephen Yagman’s lousy and whiny attorney, Barry Tarlow, pleading for more time to submit another brief in what sure looks to be a losing effort to keep Yagman out of prison while he appeals his tax-fraud conviction.

Tarlow’s reason: His brief was only 19 pages and prosecutors filed 62 pages of reasons why Yagman should start serving his three-year term on January 15. Mercifully, the judge didn’t find Tarlow in contempt, the way we did, and granted him until Monday to file more paper. For god-only-knows-why, Tarlow told the judge he wishes that a decision on bail could have been made at the time of Yagman’s sentencing last month. Did Tarlow forget his pointed exchange that ended that day with the judge telling the bad lawyer he should have filed a formal motion, setting out his 8 arguments, and not tried to fly by the seat of his pants?

So, on Monday, Wilson again slipped into preachy mode, and shared his unhappiness about Tarlow’s conduct three weeks ago. “It was somewhat insulting to me in the sense you wanted me to make a decision without carefully considering the matter. And that I couldn’t do.”

Responded Tarlow: “You came awfully close, your honor.”

Wilson: “I didn’t see any basis for granting the motion. Having said that, I’ll give you until next Monday to file some kind of responsive pleading, and that will be it.”

The sound you hear is not a bell jingling. It’s the cell door slamming shut.

It’s music to my ears.

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