Friday, September 11, 2009

David P. Yaffe -- When Did Being "Honorable" Stop Being A Requirement For Being A Judge?


There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

Judge David P. Yaffe apparently has no fans ... in fact, he seems to be utterly reviled. Little wonder he's failed to act with any shred of honor in refusing to disqualify himself from judging cases in which LA County is a party while simultaneously receiving illegal payments from the County. (Given that LA County no longer loses lawsuits filed against it when decided by its judges, some are calling the payments "bribes".)

For example, on May 22, 2001, journalist Roger M. Grace of the Metropolitan News-Enterprise, reported with refreshing honesty:
"I can’t stand him. ... From what I’ve observed, Yaffe does, to his credit, read the briefs. And he has a substantial quantum of law memorized. To his discredit, however, he’s a nasty and arrogant SOB."
"Chief among the quirks is that he indulges in a fantasy of infallibility. He decides cases on bases not advanced by the parties, but conjured up by himself, and does not permit an opportunity to brief the propositions he’s interjected. After all, a proposition spawned by David P. Yaffe could not possibly be wrong."
"My negative perception of this jurist, I have found, is shared by others. If I bring up the topic of David Yaffe in conversations, I hear comments such as 'he’s crazy' and 'he’s a contrarian son of a bitch.' (Each of the persons so labeling Yaffe is a leading practitioner.) A Superior Court judge told me he avoided talking with Yaffe at a judges’ event, saying, 'I would have puked all over him.'"
In responding to Mr. Grace's questionnaire concerning Judge Yaffe, lawyers had these things to say:
A lawyer who says she appeared in Yaffe’s courtroom two or three times when he was in a trial department comments: "I never really had a pleasant experience with him," explaining: "I found him to be rude."
She notes that he "seemed to be consistent" — that is, consistently rude. It wasn’t like he was having a bad day," the attorney says. She recounts: "My reaction was: why is this guy a judge if he hates lawyers?"
If the presiding judge asked her opinion as to whether Yaffe should be returned to a trial department, she says, "I would recommend against it." Where does he belong? "Retired," she responds.
(In a letter last year to then-Presiding Judge Victor Chavez, I made a somewhat different suggestion: "The reassignment of Yaffe to some other court would be in the public’s interest. [¶] I believe he should be in Department 95. That, of course, has nothing to do with where he should preside.")
Another lawyer recounts:
"I served on a committee with him that revised the local rules in ’94, ’95. He was very jealous of judicial prerogatives.
"The goal of the committee was to make the rules uniform. ... We were trying to abolish the secret rules, the rules on the clipboard."
That goal, he observes, was not shared by Yaffe.
MUCH more at link.

On another site, Courthouse Forum, the following comment about Judge Yaffe was lodged:
The horror stories related by [Roger] Grace in 2001 are mild compared to the manner in which Yaffe has degenerated. In my experience, he has a fascist mentality and a sadist's heart.
In one case, the City denied the existence of a hearing audio tape that was central to the case. The city submitted false declarations under penalty of perjury about the tape's not existing. Petitioner insisted that it saw the meeting being recorded. Two days after Yaffe's adverse ruling, the hearing officer was caught trying to slip the "non-existent" tape back into the achieves. Within the required 10 days, Petitioner brought the tape to Judge Yaffe's attention, reminding him of the prior false representations that the tape did not exist. Rather than hear the Reconsideration Motion, Judge Yaffe promptly dismissed the entire case and refused to even hold a hearing on the perjury and withholding of evidence.
Yaffe acts more like a mob hit man than a jurist. While I doubt he actually kills people ... his job is to kill lawsuits that harm the special interests, primarily developers. The mob analogy is not out of line. The entire superior court system is run more akin to a mob operation than a system of justice.
Lawyers do not have to fear only retaliation from vindictive judges like Yaffe, but from a host of other judges. This systemic corruption of the California judiciary places attorneys ... in a double bind: When they are silent, they endanger the public by allowing men like Yaffe to remain on the bench, but if they speak up, they endanger their other clients to which they owe fiduciary duties.

More observations about Yaffe here.

David Yaffe swore an oath to defend the Constitution. If he is found to have violated that oath, he must be held fully accountable.


"The Flaying Of The Corrupt Judge Sisamnes"

1498-1499
Oil on panel
Bruges, Groenige Museum
http://www.aiwaz.net/gallery/flaying-of-the-corrupt-judge-sisamnes/gi637c101

Image credit: "There was a crooked man ..."
Scott Gustafson
http://www.scottgustafson.com/Gallery_DR_NR_CM.html

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I believe that the best description of David P. Yaffe is that he is like Roland Freisler of Nazi court fame, except that Yaffe is merely a wannabe with tiny testicles. Unfortunately, there is no war going on, so when Yaffe runs back into his courtroom to secure his precious documents, he's unlikely to be felled by a 500-pound Allied bomb (as Freisler was).

Yaffe has no business being on the bench. If he somehow remains, his courtroom decor should be changed to "pink" or even "brown".

Yaffe has humiliated himself and possibly left his family on the brink of destitution. His whole life as a jurist is for naught; he will remembered as a very small and ignorant man. There is not one positive thing that can be said about his life.

The world would have been far better off had he not even been born.

Brian O. Franklin

Capt.- Kirk S. said...

Well stated Brian, I concur. But I believe every "nice", and "legal" way to resolve this, has been exhausted. It's time for pitchforks and torches, this criminal needs to be dragged off that bench and hung. If we do one a week, eventually the rest might catch on.
Got any better ideas?
It's more than obvious, the "system" isn't going to do anything, except keep ignoring it. Every damn one of those that has the duty to act on these crimes, has been notified, and is aware of these horrific crimes, but chooses to do nothing. And, even if they did show an interest, they're criminals too, so who's gonna prosecute?