Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

FYI for my investigator buddies..

Expand Messages
  • Jurydoctor@aol.com
    Criminal Law Lawyer s case a wake-up call for lawyers on use of private eyes July 14, 2008 By: Amanda Bronstad
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 14, 2008
    • 0 Attachment
      Criminal Law
      Lawyer's case a 'wake-up' call for lawyers on use of private eyes

      July 14, 2008 By: Amanda Bronstad
      (http://oascentral.law.com/RealMedia/ads/click_lx.ads/dailybusinessreview.com/L23/1627558858/Middle1/ALM
      media/Z_House_LawJobs_080429_RON_300/LawJobs300x250.gif/7a62783052555a74617841
      4144657066?x)
      (http://oascentral.law.com/RealMedia/ads/click_lx.ads/dailybusinessreview.com/L23/1591555578/Middle2/ALMmedia/z_house_ALMEvents_CMO.Summt
      /CMO_08_300x250.gif/7a62783052555a746178414144657066?x) egardless of what
      happens in the criminal case against Terry Christensen, the Los Angeles lawyer
      accused of paying celebrity sleuth Anthony Pellicano to illegally wiretap some
      of his opponents, many lawyers are thinking twice about the way they work with
      private investigators.

      Christensen, managing partner at Christensen, Glaser, Fink, Jacobs, Weil &
      Shapiro, and Pellicano, who was recently convicted on dozens of related claims,
      are scheduled to go to trial on July 16 on wiretapping and conspiracy to
      commit wiretapping charges.

      Prosecutors, armed with dozens of recordings of conversations between
      Pellicano and Christensen, intend to prove that Christensen paid more than $100,000
      to Pellicano to illegally wiretap Lisa Bonder Kerkorian, the ex-wife of
      Christensen's client, billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, in a child support case.
      If convicted, Christensen could face up to 10 years in prison. U.S. v.
      Pellicano, No. 2:2005-cr-01046 (C.D. Calif.).

      The cases against Christensen and Pellicano, coupled with last year's
      criminal case involving a Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) internal investigation in which
      telephone records were illegally obtained, have prompted lawyers to take a
      closer look at their own use of private investigators.

      "What this shows is you can't just let your investigator go out there and
      investigate and take the fruits of what he provides and use it," said Mark
      Mermelstein, of counsel to the Los Angeles office of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe,
      who specializes in white-collar criminal defense. "As a lawyer, you really
      need to be on top of what your investigator is doing, and how your investigator
      is gathering information, to make sure your investigator is not running afoul
      of the law."

      A 'WAKE-UP CALL'

      John Caragozian, corporate secretary and senior counsel at Sunkist Growers
      Inc., and an expert in Los Angeles on privacy issues, called both cases "a
      wake-up call for lawyers.

      "The Pellicano revelations, which include the Christensen case, and the HP
      revelations," he said, "have woken up some lawyers as to what their liability,
      criminal or civil, may be with regard to private investigators they've hired."

      Prosecutors allege that in early 2002, in the midst of the child support
      case, Christensen and Pellicano wiretapped and discussed dozens of Bonder
      Kerkorian's phone conversations, including those with her attorneys, in order to
      "secure a tactical advantage in litigation," according to the indictment.

      In one conversation, Pellicano told Christensen to "be careful about this
      because there is only one way for me to know this." In another, he told
      Christensen that "if we continue to get this kind of information with their strategy,
      we're really killing 'em."

      Pellicano passed on information that he claimed was Bonder Kerkorian's "exact
      words" and noted that "there is no way, except with my unique techniques,
      that you would know this," according to the indictment.

      Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Saunders of the Central District of
      California, lead prosecutor in the case, declined to comment.

      Since being indicted two years ago, Christensen has filed multiple defense
      motions, most of which have focused primarily on suppressing evidence and
      procedural matters.

      Christensen's lawyer, Patricia Glaser, a partner at Christensen Glaser, said,
      "I know of no evidence that Mr. Christensen either in advance or during the
      time had knowledge of Mr. Pellicano's allegedly illicit behavior." She declined
      further comment.

      The Christensen case has shined a light on lawyers who hire private
      investigators.

      "Attorneys are noticing it because of the issues related to the
      representation of a client and prosecution related to that," said Peter Henning, a law
      professor at Wayne State University Law School who specializes in attorney ethics
      and white-collar crime. "A lawyer is being prosecuted essentially for what he
      did to represent a client. That's always a concern with lawyers."

      Under ethics rules, a lawyer is responsible for the conduct of those he hires
      to assist in a legal investigation, he said. But the Christensen and HP
      cases, he said, broaden that potential liability to include criminal charges.

      In the HP case, California prosecutors charged five individuals, including
      HP's former chairwoman, of illegally obtaining confidential information as part
      of an internal investigation looking into whether board members leaked
      information to the news media.

      The defendants were accused of pretending to be someone else -- a tactic
      referred to as pretexting -- in order to obtain the information.

      Last year, charges were dismissed in effect against all the defendants; one,
      a private investigator, has pleaded guilty in a related federal case.

      Michael Pancer at the Law Offices of Michael Pancer in San Diego, who
      represents Kevin Hunsaker, former senior counsel and director of ethics at HP, and
      one of the defendants in the case, said the Christensen case could make
      "attorneys be more questioning about what the investigator is doing."

      Caragozian said he has noticed lawyers being more careful about the private
      investigators they hire, often confirming that they are licensed. But lawyers
      also need to change the perception that, in ignoring what their private
      investigators are doing or telling them not to engage in illegal conduct, they are
      insulated from liability, he said.

      "The lack of knowledge as to what the investigator did may well be a good
      defense in a criminal trial," he said. "It isn't a good defense in the event of a
      civil lawsuit."

      In the past, most attorneys tended to remain mum.

      "It was very common for a lawyer to say, 'Just find it,'" said Jimmie Mesis,
      editor-in-chief of PI Magazine, a trade magazine for private investigators,
      and public relations chairman for the National Council of Investigation and
      Security Services in Baltimore. "They really didn't care what [investigators] did,
      whether [it was] garbage dumpster diving or pretexting. It was just a
      statement of: 'Just do what you have to do to get it.'"

      In recent years, his members have noticed lawyers asking them more questions,
      particularly about their techniques, he said. But he downplayed the overall
      effect that the Pellicano and Christensen cases have had on the relationship
      between lawyers and private investigators. One reason for that, he said, is
      because Pellicano is a "poor example" of most private investigators.

      A UNIQUE CASE

      The specifics involving Christensen and Pellicano bear little resemblance to
      most cases in which private investigators are retained, said William T.
      Barker, a partner in the Chicago office of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal who
      specializes in legal ethics. He said most private investigators aren't hired to
      obtain sensitive information, such as the material involved in the Christensen
      case. Instead, they do more mundane tasks involving background checks and
      interviewing of witnesses. "There are lots of tasks that private investigators do that
      just don't run into these problems at all," he said.

      As a result, the Christensen case could have minimal effect on ordinary
      cases.

      "Once there is a trial, it may get more attention. If he gets convicted, that
      will [give] it more attention," Barker said. "A lot will depend on what the
      facts are as they come out."

      But although the Pellicano case is unusual, the fact that Christensen is
      facing potential jail time for the conduct of his private investigator is
      significant, said Mermelstein of Orrick.

      "Just because it's rare that a private investigator runs afoul of the law,
      and the lawyer gets charged, doesn't mean lawyers shouldn't be cautious," he
      said.

      Amanda Bronstad reports for the National Law Journal, an affiliate of the
      Daily Business Review.



      **************Get the scoop on last night's hottest shows and the live music
      scene in your area - Check out TourTracker.com!
      (http://www.tourtracker.com?NCID=aolmus00050000000112)


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Ricky Gurley
      ... (http://oascentral.law.com/RealMedia/ads/click_lx.ads/dailybusinessreview.com/L23/1627558858/Middle1/ALM ...
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 14, 2008
      • 0 Attachment
        --- In infoguys-list@yahoogroups.com, Jurydoctor@... wrote:
        >
        > Criminal Law
        > Lawyer's case a 'wake-up' call for lawyers on use of private eyes
        >
        > July 14, 2008 By: Amanda Bronstad
        >
        (http://oascentral.law.com/RealMedia/ads/click_lx.ads/dailybusinessreview.com/L23/1627558858/Middle1/ALM
        >
        media/Z_House_LawJobs_080429_RON_300/LawJobs300x250.gif/7a62783052555a74617841
        > 4144657066?x)
        >
        (http://oascentral.law.com/RealMedia/ads/click_lx.ads/dailybusinessreview.com/L23/1591555578/Middle2/ALMmedia/z_house_ALMEvents_CMO.Summt
        > /CMO_08_300x250.gif/7a62783052555a746178414144657066?x) regardless
        of what
        > happens in the criminal case against Terry Christensen, the Los
        Angeles lawyer
        > accused of paying celebrity sleuth Anthony Pellicano to illegally
        wiretap some
        > of his opponents, many lawyers are thinking twice about the way they
        work with
        > private investigators.


        I don't think that attorneys will think twice about the way they work
        with Private Investigators. I think that attorneys might be a little
        more careful about which P.I. they hire and about making sure that the
        P.I. clearly understands what the attorney wants once the P.I. is hired.

        Pellicano knew what he was doing was illegal.Christensen got himself
        in trouble by what he allowed Pellicano to do while he was working for
        him. Apparently the FEDs have tapes to prove this.

        I am going to go out on a limb here, but I know attorneys, they talk
        amongst themselves, and especially about the people they hire. That is
        how I get calls from other attorneys that I don't know. I think it is
        almost safe to bet that while Pellicano may have had one reputation
        with the public, he had a totally different reputation within the
        circle of attorneys there in his locale. I am sure that there were
        "red flags" amongst attorneys there in regards to hiring him. Ask some
        of the P.I.s in Los Angeles, CA., what Pellicano's reputation was
        "within the circle of those in the know"

        I know that if I am thinking about sending work to a P.I., and I hear
        or see numerous "red flags" about this P.I. having a history of
        working a case by illegal means or unethical means, I am simply going
        to move onto the next candidate. Christensen knew to do the same
        thing, he knew what he was in for when he entered into a business
        relationship with Pellicano.


        Rick.

        http://rmriinc.bestcyberinvestigator.com
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.