Friday, February 24, 2012

The San Diego ACLU's odd relationship with local schools

ACLU's David Loy and Darren Chaker

See new posts re David Loy and earlier posts under his former name of David Blair-Loy.

The ACLU claims that it does not give legal advice regarding cases it refuses, but it turns out that this is false. The ACLU refused my case, but I was given very specific legal advice by San Diego ACLU attorney David Loy (formerly Blair-Loy) regarding the defamation case against me by Stutz law firm. In 2010 Mr. Loy wrote to me in an email that I must remove every mention of the names of Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz law firm, Daniel Shinoff and all the other Stutz attorneys from my website; he has never modified his position, even when I won in the Court of Appeal.

Why was Mr. Loy so determined to make sure that I obeyed the obviously unconstitutional order of Judge Judith Hayes? I'm a third-grade teacher, and I knew the injunction was unconstitutional. Clearly, Mr. Loy knew perfectly well that he was insisting that I obey an unconstitutional order. I did not follow Mr. Loy's legal advice; I would rather go to jail than obey that order. (And, in fact, Stutz law firm asked Judge Hayes to put me in jail, but she declined.) Instead, I appealed to the California Court of Appeal without the ACLU's help. Stutz law firm attorney Jack Sleeth argued before the Court of Appeal that my appeal should be dismissed because I disobeyed the trial court's order. Attorney Shawn Martin argued on my behalf that no Appeals Court had ever dismissed a case because an appellant disobeyed the very order that was being appealed.

The Court of Appeal asked Mr. Sleeth if he knew of any case law to back up his argument that since the injunction was a sanction, it therefore was not constrained by the Constitution. He said he had not been able to find any such case law, but he added, "I tried, believe me, I tried!" On August 5, 2011 the California Court of Appeal in San Diego ruled that Judge Hayes' (and Mr. Loy's) demand was "exceedingly unconstitutional."

As I walked out of the Court of Appeal after oral arguments, I was approached by Darren Chaker, who has a website sporting a photo of himself posing with a smiling David Blair-Loy. Mr. Chaker advised me to take down my website in exchange for Stutz law firm's agreement to not to make me pay attorney's fees. (Note to Mr. Chaker: the law does not allow attorney's fees in defamation cases.) I told Mr. Chaker that I would rather go to jail. He said, "I'm just advising you to do this because they are so nasty." Then Mr. Chaker went over to Jack Sleeth, and walked out of the building chatting with Mr. Sleeth!

So the question remains, why on earth would David Blair-Loy try to silence someone who criticized public school attorneys? Was he serving his own agenda, or the agenda of the board of the San Diego ACLU? Perhaps both. Loy's goal seems to be to maintain a reputation as "highly civil" with his fellow attorneys in San Diego, particularly Daniel Shinoff, who is often tasked by local schools with the job of limiting free speech.

But the ACLU board supported Mr. Loy's actions. Why? Were they trying to please big donors? I talked to board president David Higgins about this, but he claimed that he understood nothing about the law. I explained it to him carefully, but he continued to insist that he understood none of it. Why is such an individual in the position of board president of the San Diego ACLU? My guess is that he was chosen because he's willing to rubber-stamp every decision that David Loy makes, no matter how hostile it may be to civil rights. I conclude that Mr. Higgins does not really care about the constitution. I suspect he has a personal agenda that is limited to his own interests.

Here is the email sent to me by Mr. Loy:

to Maura Larkins
date Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 9:18 PM
...However, the law does not allow anyone - a government official or a private person - to disobey a court order because they believe it is illegal. Under the law, the proper course is to seek appellate review of an order, and/or a stay of the order, rather than to disobey it. The rule of law in our system depends on compliance with court orders until or unless they are stayed or reversed...

In fact, Mr. Loy gave bad legal advice. The truth is that once I filed my appeal, the mandatory aspects of the injunction were automatically stayed, and I was not required to take down my web pages about Stutz. I think Mr. Loy knew this. What was your motive for giving me legal advice, Mr. Loy?

Following is the 2010-2011 ACLU board in San Diego, each member of which tacitly or actively supported Mr. Loy's actions:

William J. Aceves
Candace M. Carroll--Sullivan Hill Lewin Rez & Engel
Paula Doss, J.D.--Director of Human Resources for Equal Opportunity at UCSD
Ruben Garcia
David R. Higgins, Ph.D.
Gregory G. "Greg" Rose
Hon. James Stiven--California Western University
Stephen Whitburn
Mary Cruz
Mark Adams
Pat Boyce
Linda Cory Allen
Michele Fahley
Deborah Fritsch
Kevin "KJ" Greene
Dwight K. Lomayesva
Mark Niblack
Susan Pollock
Yvonne Sanchez

Here is the 2011-2012 ACLU board in San Diego, some of whom are new and were not involved in Mr. Loy's actions:

Mark Adams
Nasser Barghouti (NEW)
Elizabeth Camarena (new)
Candace Carroll
Jeff Chinn (new)
Paula Doss
Michele Fahley
Ruben Garcia
Kevin "KJ" Greene
David Higgins, Board President
Jonathan Lin (new)
Dwight Lomayesva
Jim McElroy (new)
Mark Niblack
Susan Pollock
Greg Rose
Hon. James Stiven
Joanna Tan (AIG!!!) (new)
Stephen Whitburn
Paul Wong SDSU(new)
Andy Zlotnik (new)

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