Posts Tagged ‘Bay Area’


When representing the leader of a violent sect, don’t smuggle out of jail purportedly personal papers that in fact contain your client’s alleged hit list of witnesses, then lie to investigators about it [Lorna Brown, recommended for a two-year suspension, KTVU, Contra Costa Times; a disciplinary judge recommended against disbarment because Brown, who had represented Yusuf Bey IV of the notorious Your Black Muslim Bakery, “eventually admitted what she did and expressed remorse,” did not appear to realize the papers’ contents, and lacked a prior disciplinary record] In a character letter, “veteran Oakland criminal defense attorney James Giller, a former president of the Alameda County Bar Association, told the judge” that Brown has an excellent reputation: “She may have made a mistake but we all do that. We all screw up.” [Berkeley Patch] More: Ted Frank.

Parents check infant out of hospital against medical advice, CPS swoops down

They were seeking a second opinion on whether the baby needed heart surgery, and didn’t trust the care they were getting from Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento, so parents Anna and Alex Nikolayev went over to Kaiser Permanente to get a second opinion. Police and Child Protective Services then showed up at their house to seize five-month-old Sammy. “A judge ordered Monday that the child be moved to Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto, a decision which the Nikolayevs consider a win,” and also ordered that they obey all medical advice. [KSL, Today, Good Morning America (auto-plays)]

“Lawyer who sued 90-year-old Greenbrae shooting victim calls social-media criticism unfair”

Well, yes, he would, wouldn’t he? “By suing the 90-year-old Greenbrae man he allegedly tried to kill during a burglary, Samuel Cutrufelli lit a roaring grease-fire of vitriol on social media, much of it from gun-rights advocates.” Attorney Sanford Troy said of his client that “Mr. Cutrufelli is entitled to the presumption of innocence” and expects to get six if not seven figures from Jay Leone, the elderly man who shot him. “The prosecution says Cutrufelli entered Leone’s house, put a gun to his head, tied his hands with a belt and rummaged through his bedroom for valuables” before Leone managed to wriggle free and defend himself. Troy said the shooting arose from a drug deal gone wrong. Complicating his efforts, however, a jury has now proceeded to convict Cutrufelli on all counts after a few hours deliberation. [Gary Klien, Marin Independent Journal: Oct. 23, Oct. 26, Oct. 31]

Draining of disabled and elderly persons’ estates

The San Jose Mercury-News has an investigative series. Among the highlights: “At some point, this endless wasting of Danny Reed’s trust assets must stop,” said Judge Franklin Bondonno, throwing out $30,000 in fees billed to the special needs trust of a 37-year-old brain-damaged man, and regretting that he could not reach $145,000 previously billed. The “judge — in a highly unusual gesture — implored a higher court to overturn his decision.” Among recurring problems: “fee on fee” billing in which lawyers charge fees to persons under conservatorship for the legal effort expended in defending earlier fee bills. [editorial and links to articles in the series]

Judges roundup

The good, the bad, and the beyond belief:

Lawyer-dad: so what if my son cheated?

“The parents of a Peninsula high school sophomore are suing the school district for kicking the teenager out of an honors class because he cheated.” Jack Berghouse and his wife do not dispute that their son committed plagiarism, but their lawsuit claims “the school’s policies regarding punishment for cheating are vague and contradictory and shouldn’t be enforced.” [KCBS, KGO, San Jose Mercury News]

Free speech roundup

  • Berkeley: “Police chief sends sergeant to reporter’s home after midnight to demand article revision” [Poynter] In 1932, a New York Congressman convened a hearing to blast theater critics for harming the welfare of Broadway shows [Philip Scranton, Bloomberg]
  • “Blasphemy and free speech” [Paul Marshall, Hillsdale “Imprimis,” PDF] “Egyptian Christian Imprisoned for 6 Years for Insulting Mohammed” [Volokh]
  • What is it about Montana and election free speech these days? [Volokh] Judge denies Ron Paul campaign request to unmask source of anti-Huntsman video [Paul Alan Levy, earlier] “Eliot Spitzer Bucks Liberal Orthodoxy: ‘Citizens United Was Correct'” [TheDC] If you rely on the NY Times for what you know about Citizens United, you’re probably misinformed [Wendy Kaminer, Atlantic]
  • “In which Ben Bagdikian, alleged scourge of media monopolies, frets at the possibility of more TV channels” [BBC via Jesse Walker]
  • Guernsey as a haven for libel tourism? [Annie Machon] “Someday I will commission a study of the relationship between defamation lawsuit threats and illiteracy.” [@Popehat on Gawker item]
  • “Key Techdirt SOPA/PIPA Post Censored By Bogus DMCA Takedown Notice” [Mike Masnick]
  • Overly aggressive trademark lawyers? “Their mothers love them too, in a prone-to-sudden-weeping sort of way.” [Popehat; earlier on Louis Vuitton v. Penn Law case]