Latest on Kozinski and Cyrus Sanai

by Ted Frank on June 16, 2008

As Patterico reports, Cyrus Sanai is shopping around a CD that he claims consists of downloaded material from Judge Alex Kozinski’s web site server.

Leave aside the arguable privacy violation. (I don’t think I fully endorse Lessig’s view on this–accessing a directory on a public website may be slightly creepy, but it’s not the same as breaking and entering a house to peer inside the photo albums in the den; it’s not even at the level of obnoxiousness as a guest inspecting the medicine cabinets of a host’s bathroom.) But one should view the contents of the CD (when its contents can’t be confirmed from search-engine caches or other third-party sources) only with the understanding that a Los Angeles Superior Court judge has previously found that Sanai “intentionally altered court documents” to mislead the court about required service of legal documents. (Update: Sanai says he has appealed this ruling, in a several-year-old litigation, on grounds of bias. Sanai also says the original judge, who the judge who made this ruling replaced, was also biased, though the appellate court made no such finding when it agreed to remand the case on a technicality to a second judge.)

You will recall that similar alterations of court filings resulted in legal discipline in Utah. In California, such a finding merely results in, well, nothing–the court didn’t even immediately sanction Sanai. How many other attorneys out there are practicing like this without so much as a slap on the wrist from the California bar?

And Judge Kozinski’s wife, Marcy Tiffany, a prominent attorney in her own right, defends her husband, and is rightly critical of the LA Times for timing its story for maximum disruption of a jury trial–she kindly mentions this site.

Earlier: June 15 and June 12.

{ 2 trackbacks }

The Rude News » Blog Archive » Alex Kozinski & The Ninth Circus Court
06.17.08 at 12:28 am
Cyrus Sanai: Kozinski investigation “is part of a litigation strategy”; second Sanai v. Saltz sanctions order
06.17.08 at 2:05 pm

{ 18 comments }

1 Jim Treacher 06.16.08 at 10:28 am

“accessing a directory on a public website may be slightly creepy, but it’s not the same as breaking and entering a house to peer inside the photo albums in the den; it’s not even at the level of obnoxiousness as a guest inspecting the medicine cabinets of a host’s bathroom”

How about taking pictures of the stuff in your medicine cabinet and then convincing the LA Times to print them?

2 frankfromfresno 06.16.08 at 12:24 pm

Sending one’s wife out to your defense is pretty lame-o.

Kozinski needs to get a PR firm on his side right away so he can stop making these bone-headed moves. He’s already tried to throw his son under the train, claiming that some of the material may have been posted by him. It just gets worse and worse.

3 Joe Bingham 06.16.08 at 12:30 pm

I like the diary on the park bench analogy.

4 Daniel 06.16.08 at 12:47 pm

Oh and the picture of the woman with a man penetrating her is funny how?, maybe it is fine art?, how would Tiffany describe that one. What about a strip show of an aroused transsexual, I am not sure what is funny about that and putting it online is hardly the actions of an innocent person, not very ‘family values’.

The bottom line is the judge has a collection of inappropriate images that are available online and is unfit to judge a trial about pornography.

5 Bill Poser 06.16.08 at 1:26 pm

If the contents of the CD do accurately reflect what we have been told is on Judge Kozinski’s web site, I would think that Mr. Sanai would be engaged in copyright infringement. Judge Kozinski may find that he has an unexpected ally in the RIAA.

6 Micke 06.16.08 at 4:05 pm

OUCH ! with all the books I own,I can only dream of all the sexy,or pornography,or art? I have in my house .
I hope no ones comes and steals it…only to denouce me to the Good Citizen Committee !

7 Cyrus Sanai 06.16.08 at 4:15 pm

Mr. Frank,

The order you post is currently on appeal before the California Court of Appeal. I will be vindicated on that issue, just as I was vindicated when Judge Grimes was removed as the prior judge on the case.

I will say this; Judge Green had a financial interest in this case because his wife was at that time a partner in a small law firm that represented the corporate behemoth that I was suing.

The issue on that matter was that I submitted an entirely correct proof of service on a document. The other side called up the clerk and convinced her that someone else needed to be served, then told me they had engineered the documents rejection on that and other grounds. I went down to the Court, dealt with the first issue, then asked what the problem was with the proof of service. She asked if I knew who the agents for process of service were, I said I thought I did, and she handed me what I though was a service list. I wrote down the names next to the list.

The supposed “alteration” was requested by the clerk, and was done in front of her. Hardly wrongful. What I did not know is that the clerk then attached the altered version of the service list to the original proof of service. She did the alteration, not me.

The problem, however, is that the names of the agents of service of process were not the persons I served, and I never contended were served, and under California’s service of process law, would have been improper to serve. What I submitted to the trial court was correct, and I served the right people. I got snookered by the other side’s dishonest representations to the clerk, and then was slammed for by a biased judge. But again, I know that I will be vindicated before the Court of Appeal, as I was before.

Cyrus Sanai

8 Cyrus Sanai 06.16.08 at 4:16 pm

One more thing, Mr. Frank.

The LA Times did their review of the site independently of me. Moreover, much of the material that I downloaded is indexed by Yahoo off of Judge Kozinski’s site.

Cyrus Sanai

9 GolfAddict 06.16.08 at 4:24 pm

The website to file a California bar ethics complaint is here: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/state/calbar/calbar_generic.jsp?cid=10179&id=1144
or you can simply call 213-765-1200.

Cyrus Sanai’s state bar record, including bar number, is here:
http://members.calbar.ca.gov/search/member_detail.aspx?x=150387

10 GolfAddict 06.16.08 at 4:26 pm

Also, I’m looking at the “recent comments” display. It seems that Cyrus Sanai is as obsessed about this matter as he was about that ill-fated divorce case. Five of the last seven comments on this site are from Cyrus Sanai. He claims to not want to be involved, but then he obsessively checks message boards? Strange.

–> # Cyrus Sanai on Judge Zilly’s sanctions order against Cyrus Sanai; Kozinski recuses himself
–> # Cyrus Sanai on Latest on Kozinski and Cyrus Sanai
–> # Cyrus Sanai on Latest on Kozinski and Cyrus Sanai
# Micke on Latest on Kozinski and Cyrus Sanai
# Todd Rogers on June 16 roundup
–> # Cyrus Sanai on Judge Zilly’s sanctions order against Cyrus Sanai; Kozinski recuses himself
–> # Cyrus Sanai on Judge Zilly’s sanctions order against Cyrus Sanai; Kozinski recuses himself
–> # Cyrus Sanai on Judge Zilly’s sanctions order against Cyrus Sanai; Kozinski recuses himself

11 frankfromfresno 06.16.08 at 6:07 pm

I pulled up the appellate decision that supposedly criticizes Mr. Sanai and what actually happened is that the Appellate Court quoted a trial court stated reasons for sanctioning Mr. Sanai in a footnote and then REVERSED the trial court. Here is the relevant passage:

“Finding Mr. Sanai had not brought this action in good faith,FN36 the trial court awarded UDR $136,034 in fees, 25 percent of the total fees sought by all defendants in their consolidated attorney fee motion, pursuant to Civil Code section 1785.31, subdivision (e). We reverse the award on two grounds.”

FN36. The trial court commented: “Plaintiff has proliferated needless, baseless pleadings that now occupy about 15 volumes of Superior Court files, not to mention the numerous briefs submitted in the course of the forays into the Court of Appeal and attempts to get before the Supreme Court, and not one pleading appears to have had substantial merit. The genesis of this lawsuit, and the unwarranted grief and expense it has spawned, are an outrage.””

The first paragraph is the appellate court speaking and the second paragraph is a footnote in which they quote the trial court. The case is viewable to those with access to westlaw at: Sanai v. U.D. Registry, Inc.
Not Reported in Cal.Rptr.3d, 2005 WL 361327
Cal.App. 2 Dist.,2005.

I have no idea what Mr. Sanai’s conduct was in the trial court, but to suggest that the appellate decision sanctioned him is exactly wrong.

12 Ted Frank 06.16.08 at 6:11 pm

1) No one said the appellate court sanctioned Sanai.
2) The appellate court reversed on a legal technicality that the judge could not sanction Sanai under the statute he used to do so. It made no finding on the factual question of whether the trial court’s characterization was correct.

The cite is given in the post, which acknowledges the fee award was reversed on other grounds, so I fail to see what you think you’ve uncovered.

13 frankfromfresno 06.16.08 at 7:33 pm

“The appellate court reversed on a legal technicality that the judge could not sanction Sanai under the statute he used to do so. It made no finding on the factual question of whether the trial court’s characterization was correct.”

Well it would be improper for a litigant to cite to that passage as authority for anything since the trial court’s decision was explicitly reversed. And after it is so reversed, an Appellate court need not wade into the facts. The lower court decision is irrelevant.

But, of course, you were not trying to adhere to the ethics required of attorneys filing papers, you were just making a blog post and the latter is less constrained by ethical considerations, obviously.

14 Ted Frank 06.16.08 at 7:50 pm

Again, the relevant information was given in the post. Readers can give it the weight they believe it deserves. The underlying opinion is “unpublished”, so it’s not authority for anything other than what happened in that particular case. The trial court found what it found, and it’s consistent with what other trial judges have found. All three trial judges, according to Sanai, were biased (along with a fourth who recused himself out of frustration with Sanai’s litigation tactics, along with Judge Kozinski before all of this broke), so perhaps he’s just had a severely unlucky streak of facing biased judges in four different jurisdictions.

15 GolfAddict 06.16.08 at 9:00 pm

>>>”But, of course, you were not trying to adhere to the ethics required of attorneys filing papers, you were just making a blog post and the latter is less constrained by ethical considerations, obviously.”

I’m moderately convinced that “frankfromfresno” is just a sock puppet for Sanai, given how obsessively Sanai is monitoring this discussion.

Let me make this more clear: A district court went out of its way to point out how unethical Sanai’s behavior was. The underlying ruling was reversed on a technicality, but the appellate court DID NOT DISAGREE that Sanai’s conduct was unethical. The fact that he won on a technicality doesn’t make his conduct before the district court any more ethical, it just means that he got a lucky break on appeal.

Nobody is citing the district court’s decision as precedent. Everybody is citing the district court’s colloquy to show that Cyrus Sanai is an unethical lawyer. The fact that the underlying ruling was reversed on a technicality doesn’t change the fact that a district court felt compelled to describe Cyrus Sanai’s conduct as a litigant as manifestly unethical. It wasn’t a holding of the court (vulnerable to being reversed) but an aside about the parties.

Shame on Cyrus for trying to portray the appellate court as somehow having vindicated his conduct, when nothing of the sort happened. Multiple judges in multiple jurisdictions have condemned Cyrus Sanai as an unethical litigant, and this is just the next stage of that saga.

16 Lawyer 06.16.08 at 10:45 pm

“Well it would be improper for a litigant to cite to that passage as authority for anything.”

That’s not true at all. A litigant would be perfectly legitimate in citing the case for the fact that a court had an extremely disfavorable view of Cyrus’s conduct and sanctioned him. This could easily be relevant in a case where, say, Cyrus’s mental state of mind (for an evidentiary ruling) or reputation is at issue (say, slander or libel).

That’s why, in citations, you’ll oftentimes see “rev. on other grounds” in italics in the citation. Just because one point of law got reversed doesn’t mean the whole opinion is gibberish.

17 GolfAddict 06.17.08 at 12:36 pm

FYI, Cyrus Sanai has now publicly admitted that this whole scheme to discredit federal judges is just “part of his litigation strategy” in the divorce case. See the coverage over at Patterico (http://patterico.com/2008/06/17/cyrus-sanai-responds/).

That is manifestly disgusting and a continued abuse of the legal system. What other federal judges will become targets if they dare to rule against Sanai? It’s time for him to lose his law license for harboring sour grapes and for taking out a grudge by trying to take down the bench.

18 Tony Tutins 06.18.08 at 2:32 pm

I’m moderately convinced that “frankfromfresno” is just a sock puppet for Sanai, given how obsessively Sanai is monitoring this discussion.

Certainly L’Affaire Sanai is the only issue that has ever motivated frankfromfresno to comment publicly on the internet: I notice if I do a web search for frankfromfresno -kozinski -sanai, no pages show up. However, when I do a web search for frankfromfresno, 207 pages show up.

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