Monday, February 13, 2012

Attorney David Loy of the ACLU tells a blogger she must remove all mention of Stutz law firm from her website

The email below was sent to me by Mr. David Loy, head counsel of the San Diego ACLU, in April 2010.  Shockingly, Loy was trying to silence my criticism of public school attorneys.  At the time of this email, I had already filed an appeal that I would later win regarding an injunction by San Diego Superior Court Judge Judith Hayes.

Judge Hayes ordered me never in my life to mention the name of Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz law firm--not even to whisper it to my husband, or to seek counsel from a lawyer, or to report a problem to the police.  The Court of Appeal found this injunction to be unconstitutional and "exceedingly broad." 

But the San Diego ACLU chief counsel insisted that I should remove all mention of Stutz law firm from my website! In fact, since I had filed an appeal, the mandatory aspects of the injunction were stayed and I was not required to take down my web pages about Stutz. I think Mr. Loy knew this. It appears that Mr. Loy himself was intentionally trying to undermine the rule of law, even though he tried to appear to be championing it:

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...

Why did Mr. Loy go out of his way to try to get me to remove all mention of Stutz law firm from my blog?? I believe  that the answer lies in Mr. Loy's relationships with school attorneys.

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 regarding the defamation case against me by Stutz law firm. 

Mr. Loy 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.)

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, apparently taken at some ACLU event.

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. 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 courtroom chatting with Mr. Sleeth! Mr. Chaker later told me that he believed Stutz law firm might represent him pro bono. 

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 those who are tasked by local schools with the job of limiting free speech.

Loy refused to litigate abuses by school officials at Southwestern College and other schools, claiming that litigation is the worst option.  More than one of the beneficiaries of David Loy's gentle approach, including Southwestern's Raj Chopra, was later indicted.

Loy refuses to confront schools regarding issues that seriously damage thousands of students, but seeks media attention for his little settlements free speech for a few individual student reports and student newspapers.

But no, Loy doesn't just refuse to deal with the serious issues.  He actively works to undermine those who are trying to talk about the big issues.

Why did the ACLU board support Mr. Loy's actions? 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.

Update Dec. 2013: David Loy's pal Darren Chaker Sentenced to Federal Prison for Bankruptcy Fraud

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

431 438 041315

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