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Los Angeles, CA

The End of Prosecutorial Immunity

I am a whistleblower having revealed in 2009 a secret "directive " penned by the Los Angeles District Attorney to his deputies concerning the methodology in which Los Angeles prosecutors hide exculpatory evidence from defendants and their counsel. The directives (three in total) were initially disclosed to California's Attorney General, the California State Bar Association, other senior-level Los Angeles District Attorneys, superior court judges, and most-recently. . . the press. A significant lawsuit would later be waged against the Los Angeles District Attorney by other civil rights attorneys including the A.C.L.U. (See reference below). What's the remedy? Courts addressing criminal matters must insist that prosecutors scour their files for evidence that may be deemed objectively exculpatory -- including the background data the state collects concerning witnesses the prosecution may offer at time of trial. The jeopardy of potential criminal contempt proceedings must be expressly placed on the table for offending prosecutors who would otherwise sit on evidence and allow innocent men and women go to prison. Violations revealed to the California State Bar should be investigated and punished with disbarment insofar as hiding evidence obstructs the administration of justice -- and in these particular cases, involves wrongful incarceration. Any "informed " discussion in this area of concern requires the reader to review the two significant cases which define both prosecutorial immunity and the Constitutional obligation of prosecutors to reveal information to the defense that may undermine allegations of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The two cases are: Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409 (1976) [https://en.wikipe dia.org/wiki/Imble r_v._Pachtman]; and Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) [https://en.wikipe dia.org/wiki/Brady _v._Maryland]. Simply summarized, in Imbler, the court tailored a plan for prosecutorial immunity as a matter of public policy given a prosecutors dual role as public advocate, investigator, and legal administrator. It was widely understood (and remains the case) that a prosecutor duty is to "seek justice" and not simply convictions. However, competitive human nature has chipped away at that time-honored tradition and has resulted in morally corruptible litigants who dare not undermine their win/loss record by revealing seemingly insubstantial discovery material to the "enemy." The Brady case referenced above requires a prosecutor to provide a defendant with exculpatory evidence which might assist the defendant in obtaining an acquittal. Brady acknowledges the ease in which prosecutors evade their Constitutional duty to reveal data and avoid compliance or minimal oversight. Most certainly, the determination of whether evidence contradicts guilt sets forth a most unharmonious role for a prosecutor; an advocate who already made an initial determination of guilt sufficient to justify her criminal filing. The Los Angeles District Attorney established a Public Integrity Division intended to prosecute public corruption. But the investigators and prosecutors of that division share offices, resources and are under the same "Directives " Steven Cooley secretly placed into practice years ago directing L.A.D.A. prosecutors to hide evidence. It is farcical to expect that the D.A.'s offices will prosecute Brady violations against its own -- for following directives concocted by its leader. Instead, claimed violations should be directed to the California Attorney General's Offices and the State Bar. For more information concerning the litigation the A.C.L.U. is pursuing against the L.A.D.A. following my revelation of the D.A.'s directives in late 2009, see: Jeffrey Douglas v. Steve Cooley and the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, et al.; Los Angeles Superior Court; Case No.: BS138170.  (Sep 18, 2015 | post #1)

Los Angeles, CA

Judge Rejects D.A. Retaliation Against Defense Attorney S...

New York's Chief Judge, Sol Wachtler in 1985 said district attorneys now have so much influence on grand juries that "by and large" they could get them to "indict a ham sandwich." In Los Angeles, in an attempt to bypass judicial oversight, the L.A.D.A. indicted famed civil rights attorney, Sean Erenstoft of Los Angeles after Erenstoft sued a prosecution witness in a civil matter to obtain the discovery that District Attorney, Wendy Segall was hiding from his client. The evidence ultimately obtained using civil discovery procedures lead to the dismantling of the L.A.D.A.'s case against Erenstoft's client. After nine months in jail, his client went free. But Segall struck back and sought Erenstoft's indictment for "dissuading a witness." The witness? Segall's so-called victim who was guilty of a domestic violence exchange with Erenstoft's client. Of course, the D.A. didn't bother to prosecute the battery that Erenstoft otherwise articulated in his civil complaint that survived a demurrer shortly after its filing. Later, Judge Stephen A. Marcus dismissed the case against Erenstoft citing that "Erenstoft was doing his job until [the L.A.D.A.] took issue." By then, the damage was done and the California State Bar disbarred Erenstoft and invited him to take the Bar exam (again) before they would consider his re-application for admission. It appears that the D.A.'s retaliatory conduct to side-line the civil rights patriot worked for the time being. Judge Marcus concluded the Superior Court hearing by stating that he was dismissing the case so that Erenstoft can get back to career. During his forced sabbatical, Erenstoft has been counseling litigation practitioners throughout the United States. His once scarlet letter now serves as a badge-of-honor insofar as Erenstoft's aggressive litigation strategies have lead to a renewed examination of the Brady [evidence] obligations that prosecutors owe to the defense. Even today, the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office is under attack for having systematically failed to comply with their statutory and constitutional obligation to produce information to defense counsel. This is a fact. The result is that well-intended defense counsel are unable to represent our clients effectively. As officers of the court, we have a duty to maintain the integrity of the criminal courts and ending the practices and procedures that corrupt the truth-seeking goal of our courts. There is a substantial public interest in the enforcement of the constitutional duties to disclose information by prosecutors because disclosure of information is critical to the administration of justice. Public officials such as prosecutors take the same oath as I did when I became an attorney. . . to uphold the Constitution and the law. Despite the unequivocal mandate and clear duty imposed by Brady and its progeny, the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office has adopted formal policies that: (1) prohibit the disclosure of exculpatory evidence unless a reviewing deputy deems it true by "clear and convincing evidence," (2) mandate suppression of exculpatory evidence if a deputy finds it relevant to a pending administrative or criminal investigation, and (3) mandate suppression of exculpatory evidence if a deputy unilaterally determines, pre-trial, this it is not likely to affect a verdict. Nowhere in Brady or the law is there any allowance for the subjective determination by clearly biased prosecutorial officers.  (May 21, 2015 | post #1)

Los Angeles, CA

Sean Erenstoft Speaks with Napa Residents about Water Res...

A vicious, four-year drought may be close to catching up with California's winemakers, and it's the small producers of inexpensive wine that are likely to be hit hardest. It’s too soon to call a wine shortage, but California’s ongoing drought is causing problems for Napa’s famous vineyards. The AP reports that vines are ripening early, while farmers, heeding the call to conserve water, are planting fewer crops: Vineyard owners are pruning earlier than usual and on a shorter schedule, Domenick Bianco of Renteria Vineyard Management said. If the Valley does not see late winter or spring rains, 2014 will yield a smaller crop. “Water amount determines yield. If you use 80 percent less water than last year, you could see 80 percent of the crop,” Bianco said. We’ve been warned that this kind of thing could start to happen. A study from last year predicted that, as a result of climate change, traditional wine country regions like Napa may experience sharp declines in production by 2050. Other regions may end up benefiting from their new climates — Vermont vintners say rising temperatures have allowed them to produce new, warmer-weather varieties — but, as with coffee, wine is one of those fragile commodities that will get hit hard by climate change, and could end up serving as a bellwether for what’s to come. Many winemakers do have access to underground aquifers, which will keep them in business for the time being. But Napa’s looking ahead to a future where water resources are further limited. E&E News has more from a recent gathering of over 100 local grape farmers: Growers are also worried about next year’s supplies. As a perennial plant, the grapevine takes two years to bear fruit, so buds that emerge this year won’t ripen until next year. A dry year this year could hamstring bud development, said Mark Matthews, a viticulture professor at the University of California, Davis. During his annual visit to California's wine country, civil rights attorney, Sean Erenstoft spoke with Napa wine growers about drought-tolerant vines and the tough decisions facing the industry. He visited properties where the decision had already been made to let the vines fail on acres of land in which supplemental watering was otherwise required. The decision to let a parcel go without water "is like letting your children go without a meal" Erenstoft reports. Many of these vines are decades old and have served the family business with their yields of fruit and thereby sustain the effort of winemaking. While the vines of California are remarkably tolerant to drought (particularly the Zinfandel), there is evidence that the plants are producing less fruit. If this trend continues, we may likely see the prices rise even more precipitously than we already are.  (May 21, 2015 | post #1)

Los Angeles, CA

Sean Erenstoft Volunteers to Aid in Ebola Relief Effort

The world's largest Ebola virus outbreak is now showing signs of receding. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), which initially declared Ebola a global health emergency in 2014, the response has now moved to a second phase, as the focus shifts from slowing transmission to ending the epidemic. For the first time since the week ending June 29, 2014, there have been fewer than 100 new confirmed cases reported in a week in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. As of January 28, 2015 the total number of probable, suspected and confirmed cases of Ebola was over 22,000, with almost 8,800 deaths. In Liberia, only three counties have yet to become Ebola-free. Efforts have moved from rapidly building infrastructure to increasing capacity for identifying and managing cases and community engagement. Small sporadic outbreaks continue to be reported in urban centers and porous border towns, where people are vulnerable to cross-border transmissions. With the onset of the dry season, it is expected that more people will be on the move, which poses a risk of potential spread. As a result, increased surveillance and sharing of information is needed in the border districts of Guinea-Bissau, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali and Senegal. Although there are signs that the virus outbreak is lessening, the crisis has created urgent needs in child protection, education, health and livelihoods across the region, which is home to 22.3 million people. Children are always among the most vulnerable in an emergency. Since the initial Ebola outbreak, children and their families have been exposed to extreme distress due to loss, family separation, isolation and overall disruption of society. Children have been especially frightened by prolonged confinement at home or isolation units and by witnessing the suffering of family members. Although the number of new Ebola cases is declining, orphans and child survivors continue to face abandonment and stigmatization in their communities. Areas of concern are: Some areas of continued concern are: • When unaccompanied or separated children are admitted to treatment centers or become orphaned, they risk psychosocial distress and exploitation. They are in urgent need of family tracing, reunification and reintegration, alternative care, psychosocial support and assistance in meeting day-to-day needs. • Children's access to health care has been compromised. Already weak health systems suffered under the strain of the outbreak, which reversed considerable gains made in recent years to curb maternal and child deaths. • UNICEF estimates school closures affected the education of more than 5 million children. Once children are out of school, many never return. As a result, they become at risk of engaging in exploitative situations, such as child labor. This past April (2015), renowned civil rights attorney, Sean Erenstoft travelled to South Africa to volunteer with GOECO (http://www.goeco. org/area/volunteer -in-africa/south-a frica/cape-town-or phan-care) to lend his assistance in the midst of this catastrophe. He was met by a very organized group of citizens and albeit his service was relatively brief compared to many of the other volunteers, the time was well spent and rewarding. If you endeavor to travel and visit South Africa, Sean Erenstoft highly recommends that you spare a bit of your time tending to the next generation.  (May 21, 2015 | post #1)

Sherman-Oaks, CA

Sean Erenstoft Lectures on Criminal E-Discovery with Pane...

Judge Dismisses L.A.D.A.'s S.L.A.P.P. Suit Against Civil Rights Hero Los Angeles, California (June 2, 2014) Sean Erenstoft who once took aim at prosecutorial refusal to disclose criminal discovery and thereby filed a lawful civil suit against a prosecution witness to obtain the discovery was vindicated when charges of "dissuading a witness" were dismissed by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge. In making his ruling June 2, 2014, Judge Stephen A. Marcus cited Erenstoft's effort at representing his then client against the D.A.'s office until the D.A.'s office took exception and took aim at Erenstoft personally. Indeed, the S.L.A.P.P. litigation effort promoted by the D.A.'s office was launched just seven (7) days after Erenstoft threatened to expose L.A.D.A. corruption and the policy of hiding Brady evidence during his tenure handling the famous "Bling Ring" case. The indictment sought by then Deputy District Attorney, Wendy Segall pertained to an unrelated matter Erenstoft handled against her nine (9) months prior. By seeking the S.L.A.P.P. litigation via indictment, Segall avoided judicial scrutiny that would have resulted in a more timely dismissal. Tags: erenstoft, sean, s.l.a.p.p., dismissal, vindicated, sean erenstoft  (Sep 16, 2014 | post #7)

Sherman-Oaks, CA

Criminal Defense Attorneys Take on Wendy Segall

Los Angeles, California (June 2, 2014) Sean Erenstoft who once took aim at prosecutorial refusal to disclose criminal discovery and thereby filed a lawful civil suit against a prosecution witness to obtain the discovery was vindicated when charges of "dissuading a witness" were dismissed by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge. In making his ruling June 2, 2014, Judge Stephen A. Marcus cited Erenstoft's effort at representing his then client against the D.A.'s office until the D.A.'s office took exception and took aim at Erenstoft personally. Indeed, the S.L.A.P.P. litigation effort promoted by the D.A.'s office was launched just seven (7) days after Erenstoft threatened to expose L.A.D.A. corruption and the policy of hiding Brady evidence during his tenure handling the famous "Bling Ring" case. The indictment sought by then Deputy District Attorney, Wendy Segall pertained to an unrelated matter Erenstoft handled against her nine (9) months prior. By seeking the S.L.A.P.P. litigation via indictment, Segall avoided judicial scrutiny that would have resulted in a more timely dismissal. Tags: erenstoft, sean, s.l.a.p.p., dismissal, vindicated, sean erenstoft  (Sep 16, 2014 | post #3)

Sherman-Oaks, CA

Vindictive Los Angeles Prosecutor Takes Aim at Defense At...

Los Angeles, California Los Angeles Prosecutor, Wendy Segall was cited for her vindictive behavior during a recent meeting of influential criminal defense attorneys who noted a recent spate of problems stemming from their inability to exact lawful criminal discovery from Segall’s “Stalking and Threat Assessment Team.” Given the intricacies of cyber-stalking (which Segall’s office prosecutes), unique forms of discovery are required to prove (or disprove) the dispatch of offensive data over the internet. This information has been woefully overlooked by the Segall as she counts on the mere label of “stalker” or “terrorist threat” to stong-arm defendants she prosecutes. Astute defense attorneys have called upon Segall to produce the foundational proof that substantiates Segall’s otherwise vacuous claims of cyber-bullying. Research on Wendy Segall reveals that Wendy Segall prosecuted a man for crimes when she knew she had no evidence to prove a crucial element of the crime. In the matter of People v. Ghaffari, the 2nd Appellate District overturned a conviction Segall had obtained when she otherwise painted the defendant reprehensible with a comprehensive and repetitive recitation of unflattering allegations. The jury was said to have improperly confused Ghaffari’s unsavory conduct with his relatively innocuous online speech. It was the unethical prosecutorial conduct which carried the case past the jury despite Wendy Segall’s knowing lack of evidence. (See, Daily Journal, Friday, September 29, 2000 – Court Reverses Jury in Cybersex-Chat Case). Wendy Segall has become so vindictive in her scheme to prosecute without first securing foundational evidence that when defense attorneys have served her office with formal written discovery requests (allowed under the Penal Code), Segall tasks her special investigator, Eric Cheung to investigate the defense attorney. Besides the obvious mis-use of County resources exemplified in having her own office investigate criminal defense attorneys, Segall continues to refuse to provide specific discovery required to prove the origin of email, text, and other suspect electronic data. Segall prefers, instead, a strong-arm tactic of alleging multiple counts against a defendant; retaining them in jail under the bail schedule; and then letting a defendant plea several months later to one strike-count and a stipulation to a prison psychiatric evaluation which takes an additional 90 days. In essence, Segall regularly abuses the bail schedule and the Evidence Code to allege crimes she knowingly cannot prove. Defense attorneys should approach Ms. Segall with caution. She is a dangerous addition to the L.A.D.A. insofar as she ignores the accused’s right to information and uses DA resources to take aim at her attorney opponents. Attempts at addressing the Defense Bar’s concerns have fallen of deaf ears insofar her boss, Bill Hodgeman, appears to have no desire to check Segall’s vindictive behavior.  (Jun 7, 2011 | post #1)

Sherman-Oaks, CA

Sean Erenstoft Speaks at Beverly Hills Hotel About Prosec...

Mary-Anne Roschik Beverly Hills, California Renowned civil rights attorney, Sean Erenstoft spoke today at the Beverly Hills Hotel before a gathering of Los Angeles attorneys to discuss strategies of taking on prosecution witnesses in criminal litigation. The discussion was prompted by a recent spate of questionable litigation stemming from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Stalking and Threat Assessment Team (STAT) charged with filing complaints against cyber-stalkers and other threat crimes. STAT has a long history of one-sided litigation against mostly male defendants. It’s chief prosecutor, Wendy Segall, has been called into question lately for her unwillingness to provide e-discovery relating to alleged cyber-crime; and for relying on corrupt witnesses who have either committed the same crimes themselves or committed battery and other domestic violence on the alleged male suspects. Civil rights attorney, Sean Erenstoft entangled with Wendy Segall when he served a written demand for discovery on STAT to provide foundational data proving the source of email allegedly sent by his client to the prosecution’s female witness. Unfortunately, Segall refused to provide the source data relying, instead, on hearsay statements by the witness who, herself, had battered the defendant repeatedly in a domestic brawl. Erenstoft implored local lawyers to rely on Penal Code section 1054.5 which succinctly outlines a defendant’s right to discovery. Erenstoft reminded, “whereas civil discovery requires formal written requests, criminal discovery is less formal.” However, he added, “counsel are reminded to place their discovery requests in writing nonetheless and rely on those writings to present formal motions to compel discovery from the prosecutor should she fail to provide the information sought.” Judges appreciate the formality of written discovery requests because it ensures a clear and concise record of evidence that the parties will rely upon at trial. Erenstoft was adamant about holding a firm line on discovery in criminal matters because all too often, prosecutors rely upon the summaries provided to them by officers and detectives. Erenstoft maintained, “Get to the heart of the matter by demanding the source data and avoid the prosecutor’s reliance on second-hand information.” When it comes to cyber-crimes, the paper print-outs relied upon by STAT are hearsay unless properly authenticated with source data which proves it is what the proponent says it is. Most of the time, judges are willing to allow the admission of paper print-outs on the mistaken assertion that the emails and other data are self-authenticatin g, business records, or contain other information denoting reliability. However, in this era of “ghosting” where hackers and other on-line marketers are capable of fooling email recipients about the source of the email they receive, it is imperative that proper routing data are coupled with the email offered as evidence to prove it is what the prosecutor says it is. Wendy Segall didn’t like this sort of demand and instead, simply refused to provide the data prompting Erenstoft to bring a formal motion to compel the data. Segall later dropped nearly all of the charges against Erenstoft’s client reluctantly admitting that she could not prove the bulk of her case. Erenstoft concluded by remarking about his own boughts with the DA in this regard and cautioned that this prosecutor is not beyond alleging claims against defense attorneys for “dissuading” or “bribing” a witness when civil suits are alleged against corrupt government witness who have violated civil and criminal laws and then go running to the police in a race-to-the-courth ouse. Erenstoft has been booked for a future discussion about the filing of lawful civil suits against corrupt government witnesses in June.  (May 20, 2011 | post #1)

Canoga Park, CA

Meet Brother Sam Singleton, Atheist Evangelist

Sean Erenstoft Speaks at Beverly Hills Hotel About Pushing Back Against Corrupt Prosecutorial Witnesses in Criminal Litigation Mary-Anne Roschik Beverly Hills, California Renowned civil rights attorney, Sean Erenstoft spoke today at the Beverly Hills Hotel before a gathering of Los Angeles attorneys to discuss strategies of taking on prosecution witnesses in criminal litigation. The discussion was prompted by a recent spate of questionable litigation stemming from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Stalking and Threat Assessment Team (STAT) charged with filing complaints against cyber-stalkers and other threat crimes. STAT has a long history of one-sided litigation against mostly male defendants. It’s chief prosecutor, Wendy Segall, has been called into question lately for her unwillingness to provide e-discovery relating to alleged cyber-crime; and for relying on corrupt witnesses who have either committed the same crimes themselves or committed battery and other domestic violence on the alleged male suspects. Civil rights attorney, Sean Erenstoft entangled with Wendy Segall when he served a written demand for discovery on STAT to provide foundational data proving the source of email allegedly sent by his client to the prosecution’s female witness. Unfortunately, Segall refused to provide the source data relying, instead, on hearsay statements by the witness who, herself, had battered the defendant repeatedly in a domestic brawl. Erenstoft implored local lawyers to rely on Penal Code section 1054.5 which succinctly outlines a defendant’s right to discovery. Erenstoft reminded, “whereas civil discovery requires formal written requests, criminal discovery is less formal.” However, he added, “counsel are reminded to place their discovery requests in writing nonetheless and rely on those writings to present formal motions to compel discovery from the prosecutor should she fail to provide the information sought.” Judges appreciate the formality of written discovery requests because it ensures a clear and concise record of evidence that the parties will rely upon at trial. Erenstoft was adamant about holding a firm line on discovery in criminal matters because all too often, prosecutors rely upon the summaries provided to them by officers and detectives. Erenstoft maintained, “Get to the heart of the matter by demanding the source data and avoid the prosecutor’s reliance on second-hand information.” When it comes to cyber-crimes, the paper print-outs relied upon by STAT are hearsay unless properly authenticated with source data which proves it is what the proponent says it is. Most of the time, judges are willing to allow the admission of paper print-outs on the mistaken assertion that the emails and other data are self-authenticatin g, business records, or contain other information denoting reliability. However, in this era of “ghosting” where hackers and other on-line marketers are capable of fooling email recipients about the source of the email they receive, it is imperative that proper routing data are coupled with the email offered as evidence to prove it is what the prosecutor says it is. Wendy Segall didn’t like this sort of demand and instead, simply refused to provide the data prompting Erenstoft to bring a formal motion to compel the data. Segall later dropped nearly all of the charges against Erenstoft’s client reluctantly admitting that she could not prove the bulk of her case. Erenstoft concluded by remarking about his own boughts with the DA in this regard and cautioned that this prosecutor is not beyond alleging claims against defense attorneys for “dissuading” or “bribing” a witness when civil suits are alleged against corrupt government witness who have violated civil and criminal laws and then go running to the police in a race-to-the-courth ouse. Erenstoft has been booked for a future discussion about the filing of lawful civil suits against corrupt government witnesses in June.  (May 20, 2011 | post #10)

Sherman-Oaks, CA

Sean Erenstoft Lectures on Criminal E-Discovery with Pane...

Catherine Hillsdale Los Angeles, California Renowned criminal defense attorney, Sean Erenstoft appeared for the first in a series of criminal litigation strategy forums designed to educate civil rights attorneys about prosecutor mis-management in the handling of cases involving electronically stored information (ESI). Erenstoft cited examples from his own practice pushing back against Los Angeles prosecutor, Wendy Segall who ignored defense calls for electronic discovery in connection with allegations against his client for cyber-stalking. Instead of address written requests for discovery, Segall tasked investigators to investigate the attorney who sought merely to obtain information for his client’s benefit. “While the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (2006) went a long way in recognizing the complications presented by electronic evidence, criminal defense attorneys and the prosecutors that indict and complain against cyber-crimes are a decade behind and have no formal procedural guide for ensuring due process for the accused.” Indeed, the consequences of Wendy Segall’s willful refusal to preserve critical evidence and ignore written requests by a defense attorney to obtain it, can be far more destructive in criminal cases. “Often-times, a prosecutor can serve a subpoena to trigger an obligation to help avoid the spoliation of evidence” Erenstoft cited. “However, they rarely do so to ensure secrecy and to, unfortunately, save a buck.” Erenstoft recommends tasking investigators to seek search warrants to help preserve the Fourth Amendment; maintain secrecy; and otherwise comply with the duty to thoughtfully (and completely) investigate crime. Once the duty to preserve evidence arises, Erenstoft explained, those in possession of hard-drives and other ESI must take prompt action to maintain the data. Erenstoft chose to communicate with the Los Angeles District Attorney in the matter he handled on behalf of an accused cyber-stalker. The criminal litigation setting posed special challenges to Erenstoft’s client who could not seek ESI data without alerting the custodians who might otherwise serve as government witnesses. It is not uncommon for defense attorneys to confer with the prosecution to effect the sort of preservation needed to ensure due process. For Erenstoft’s client, a balance was struck between the need to proceed to gather exculpatory evidence versus the need to build a defense in secret. “My experience with Deputy District Attorney, Wendy Segall was unfortunate on both efforts. Not only did she ignore my written discovery requests; but she ignored my efforts to meet-and-confer about the significant challenges that exist in proving cyber-stalking cases without source data.” Instead, the DA relied on “screenshots” to prove her case. “My challenges to the ‘screenshots’ fell on deaf ears” Erenstoft explained. “It seemed to me that Segall was less interested in getting to the facts of the case than she was saving a buck on investigating the gravamen of the accusation.” Erenstoft ultimately served a subpoena-duces-tec um to obtain the ESI which resulted in stalled plea-bargain efforts due to the apparent slight Erenstoft had delivered on Segall. Indeed, Segall retaliated against Erenstoft by tasking an investigator to investigate Erenstoft rather than take up the challenge of proving her case. Sean Erenstoft cited to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure – notably Rule 26(f) which calls upon counsel to meet and confer to address and avoid ESI problems. “In fact, many of the problems that a criminal attorney can encounter with ESI can be avoided by avid reference to the FRCP.” Erenstoft added, “Reference to the FRCP is needed at least until California’s Penal Code is amended to include references to the rights of the accused in acquiring ESI.” Erenstoft noted the myriad of problems that exist with the mishandling of ESI such as its destruction and the possibility of obstruction-of-jus tice pitfalls.  (May 11, 2011 | post #1)

Sherman-Oaks, CA

Sean Erenstoft Lectures on Criminal Litigation Strategy

At its monthly lecture series: Civil Rights Advocacy, First Amendment Advocates sponsored renowned trial attorney, Sean Erenstoft to discuss the use of civil litigation to level the playing field in criminal litigation matters. Notably, Erenstoft stated, “Usually, criminal litigation results from the race to ‘911’ whereby the first person to call the cops, gets his way with the DA.” As we all know, he added, there’s always two-sides to a story. And all too often, there are unresolved tort claims left unaddressed. Remember in law school how the call of the question in any torts test included: “Identify all torts.”? Well, that’s what I’m talking about here. Don’t forget that both parties have valuable civil rights. If you can identify them, address them, and find your way to exercise your clients’ First Amendment Right to “petition the government for the redress of grievances,” you have honored the oath you took when you were sworn in as an attorney. Erenstoft was the first attorney this decade to be challenged by the Los Angeles District Attorney for his aggressive litigation strategy of filing suit against a government witness who, herself, had suffered an arrest for battery on his client. Members of the criminal defense bar were amazed at the response by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office in finding fault with Erenstoft who had done little else than file a lawful civil suit against the alleged victim of a domestic violence exchange (consisting of cyber-stalking and the making of threats). Rather than authenticate the emails his client was said to have dispatched with the victim, the deputy prosecutor handling the matter tasked a D.A. investigator against Erenstoft in what was an unscrupulous use of state resources and, arguably entrapment. The D.A. had requested the victim to attempt to settle the civil suit and then accused Erenstoft of “dissuading a witness” via the civil litigation mechanism. Erenstoft denies that he broke any law but took responsibility for his actions. Erenstoft has been held out as a First Amendment Hero by a number of civil rights organizations, including this one. Sean Erenstoft serves the legal community by lecturing on litigation strategies, advocacy, and business affairs. Sean Erenstoft will be lecturing next in Riverside where he intends to unveil his summation on criminal discovery strategies.  (May 5, 2011 | post #1)

Sherman-Oaks, CA

Criminal Defense Attorneys Take on Wendy Segall

There is an old legal axiom stating that “you are stuck with the witnesses who were on hand.” Attorneys use that axiom to explain to juries that the witnesses they will observe at trial are not chosen or volunteered. Indeed, they are seldom the people we would want to stake our freedoms on or trust our lives to. But, too often, yesterday’s strangers are today’s heroes. This point is made poignant by the following article: A prosecutor with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s “Stalking and Threat Assessment Team” has been posting corrupt witnesses to prove feeble claims of “stalking” against Los Angeles men. Claims of stalking are usually hard to prove and rely upon hearsay evidence and the testimony of investigators who are funded by the same grants as the District Attorney’s STAT team. (California Emergency Management Agency). Besides the obvious conflict of interest, hearsay evidence is typically relied upon to prove-up these cases. The she-said-he-said evidence is usually based on conjecture and un-sourced email which the District Attorney makes no attempt to authenticate properly. First Amendment Advocates of Los Angeles observed abuse by the Los Angeles District Attorney when it called attention to the filing of a lawful civil suit that renowned Los Angeles trial attorney, Sean Erenstoft filed on behalf of his client against a so-called “victim of stalking.” The gravamen of the complaint was based on his client’s claim of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress his client suffered at the hands of the so-called “victim” of the stalking. The victim had been arrested for the crime; and pictures of his client told the story of a well-curbed client who stood idle while he was beat by his ex-girlfriend. It was apparent that Erenstoft’s client had been late to file the civil suit. The victim had run to the police department to affect a restraining order which resulted, ultimately, in the filing of a criminal complaint against Erenstoft’s client. It proved to be a race to the courthouse. After the civil suit was filed on behalf of his client, Wendy Segall unethically took aim at defense attorney, Sean Erenstoft to thwart his use of the First Amendment (the filing of the civil suit) for the redress of grievances. As stated earlier, attorneys don’t have the luxury of picking eye-witnesses, but attorneys do have a duty to zealously defend their clients by citing the deficiencies of the witnesses who are called “victim” by the District Attorney.  (May 5, 2011 | post #1)

Sherman-Oaks, CA

Sean Erenstoft Issues Public Comment on Dispensary “Crack...

Renowned criminal defense attorney and civil rights advocate, Sean Erenstoft of Sherman Oaks, California spoke today at the Warner Center Marriott Hotel in Woodland Hills and addressed a number of attorneys about the Los Angeles City Attorney’s most-recent actions to curb marijuana dispensaries throughout the City of Los Angeles. He said, “The City is using its zoning ordinances to effectively prohibit the establishment of dispensaries and is calling on landlords of established dispensaries to evict their tenants on the basis that they are conducting unlawful activities.” (Such property uses are typically prohibited in most commercial leases and City Attorney, Carmen Trutanich appears to be providing fodder for landlords to evict their tenants and/or tipping his hand that landlords that do not evict their dispensary tenants could face imminent prosecution). Sean Erenstoft has represented a number of dispensary owners over their concerns about the right to patient privacy; and the City’s questionable and unconstitutional use of undercover resources to effectively invade the doctor-patient privilege. Erenstoft has been monitoring litigation on the topic and believes that the police are accessing personal information without a warrant or subpoena. Erenstoft explained: “The exercise of the City’s ability to restrict business expansion through zoning ordinances that actually lapsed prior to the dispensary registration deadline in November, 2007, effectively denied citizens their due process rights.” Dispensaries that registered timely (and the landlords who leased their property) probably suffered eminent domain and other civil rights violations. While Erenstoft has raised concerns about the rampant expansion of the marijuana trade in Los Angeles by citing to the fact that nearly 600 dispensaries have operated since California legalized marijuana, he explains that the City Council should consider redrafting the legislation to conform to the citations of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Anthony Mohr. Erenstoft applauded City Councilman, Ed Reyes in his decision to ask Trutanich’s office to draft a new ordinance that conforms to Judge Mohr’s stated concerns. Meanwhile, Erenstoft contends that the City should be restrained from bringing suit (or otherwise enforcing the criminal sanctions) against dispensary owners during the pendency of any rewrite. At present, dispensaries are being hailed into courts for alleged misdemeanor violations wherein fines levied seek $25,000 against individuals and separate fines of $5,000 per day (in which the dispensary operates). Sean Erenstoft has long supported Trutanich’s efforts at curbing the rampant growth of marijuana dispensaries especially near schools and places where minors congregate. Erenstoft declared during his exchange with reporters recently that he believes marijuana remains the number-one gateway drug for teens and would like to see dispensaries “distance themselves from the doctors who prescribe such drugs.” Sean Erenstoft referenced other examples where other professionals are restricted from ownership in “tangential trades which carry the inherent risk of financial self-interest.” Erenstoft is slated to appear at other continuing legal education seminars in May. He is currently on assignment providing litigation consulting for a number of Los Angeles-based firms. Sean Erenstoft was recently acknowledged as a civil rights “hero” for his bravery taking on corrupt government witnesses by filing civil suits against them for civil rights violations against accused criminal defendants.  (May 5, 2011 | post #1)