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, many are now recognizing that the "payments" are, in fact, "bribes".)
For example, on
"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.'"
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.")
"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.
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
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. California
David Yaffe swore an oath to defend the Constitution. He must be held fully accountable for violating it.
UPDATE: Richard Fine files Notice of Farr Hearing, set for Wednesday, May 26th at 9:30 am, Judge Yaffe's courtroom (Dept. 86) LA Superior Court. (Dr. Fine's incarceration for "contempt of court" should have been limited to five days under the Farr Doctrine.)
UPDATE: Yaffe repeatedly refuses to hold Farr Hearings, taking the filing fees but not holding hearings.
UPDATE: See results of "RateTheCourts.com" concerning Yaffe. It seems he earned solid "F"s across the board, even from staff, from those who've encountered him. The most telling one was this:
"I was called as a witness on a case before Judge Yaffe. Earlier, I was having dinner in a restaurant and was sitting near Judge Yaffe and I heard him discuss details of the case with attorneys representing a government entity. It looked like the dinner tab was picked up by the attorneys. Later, I saw the same attorneys in court when I was called to appear in court. The Judge did not remember me. I think it was because my presence was out of context. I feared that he would recognize me nad he would get start screaming mad like he has done in the past. I felt "FREE" once I left the court building. I never thought our court system was this crooked. It looks to me that it is NEVER about the law, but always about WHO one knows (Judge Yaffe)."
Oil on panel
Image credit: "There was a crooked man ..."