* God's On The Federal Bench
J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles - January 3, 2001
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Consultant in Contempt for LAPD Leak
A legal consultant who defied a judge's protective order and leaked confidential LAPD personnel records to a television reporter was found in criminal contempt Friday by a Los Angeles federal judge.
"You can't cherry-pick the American system of justice," said U.S. District Judge William Keller,* shaking his finger at self-described whistle-blower Robert Mullally.
Mullally, 57, of Scottsdale, Ariz., faces as much as six months in prison when he is sentenced March 27.
He admitted leaking the records to former KCBS-TV investigative reporter Harvey Levin for a 1997 expose that accused the LAPD of ignoring domestic violence complaints against its own officers.
Levin's two-part series triggered a probe by the LAPD's inspector general, who recommend sweeping changes in how the department handles domestic violence cases.
The report found that members of the force who battered their spouses were rarely prosecuted and often faced only light in-house discipline.
Mullally had obtained the files on 79 officers while working as a consultant to attorney Gregory Yates, a specialist in police abuse cases.
In 1996, a federal magistrate ordered the department to turn over the records to Yates in connection with a damage suit that he brought after a police officer murdered his estranged wife and boyfriend and then shot himself to death. The officer had a history of domestic violence known to his superiors. Yates sued the Police Department.
At the city's request, the magistrate issued a protective order mandating that information from the files could be used only in connection with the suit and could not be disclosed until trial.
Mullally, who had worked as a consultant on other police malpractice cases, set about analyzing how the LAPD handled domestic violence complaints against the 79 officers. He found that, despite overwhelming evidence of abuse, many officers were given nothing more than wrist slaps.
The city settled the suit with Yates the next year for $1.5 million, dashing Mullally's hopes that the problem would be exposed publicly.
That's when he says he decided to take the files to KCBS' Levin.
Mullally acknowledged his role only after the city attorney's office filed a complaint with the state bar, accusing Yates of leaking the documents.
Mullally did not testify during the daylong hearing. One of his attorneys, James Weinstein, a law professor at Arizona State University, argued that Mullally had a 1st Amendment right to publicize the contents of the personnel files because they contained information of criminal wrongdoing that was being covered up by the police.
Co-counsel James LeBow contended that Mullally should not be held in contempt because the protective order expired when the lawsuit was settled.
Keller rejected both arguments. To ignore Mullally's defiance of the protective order would "inflict a serious wound" on the judicial system, Keller said.
Speaking to reporters after his conviction, Mullally said, "I am willing to take my punishment. What's really disturbing to me is that to this day neither the judge nor the U.S. attorney has looked at the underlying evidence and decided, 'Maybe we should be investigating this domestic abuse that's going on inside the LAPD.' "
Copyright 2000 Los Angeles Times* I personally know Federal Judge William H. Keller, and have had opportunity of making him a plaintiff in one of my lawsuits. His name was drawn again in another Federal case brought by me, of which he thereafter removed himself and the case transferred to another Federal judge.William Keller once served as the U.S. Attorney for seven counties in Central California, centered in Los Angeles and the publicity of him as a pro-government Federal Judge is not lacking. He loves police action and even joked about it in his courtroom.He once went after Attorney Stephen Yagman for merely expressing his opinion outside in front of the courthouse that Keller was "perhaps the worst Judge on the Federal Bench." Even Channel 2, CBS commentator Michael Tuck exposed Judge Keller as thinking and acting like he was God. His commentary title was, "It Is Great To Be A King," and posed the idea that better than being a king was to be a Federal Judge.One would be hard put to find any private attorney who would be pleased with drawing William Keller on their Federal case. I was once asked by an attorney who the Federal Judge was on my case. When I said, "William Keller," instantly the attorney retorted, "Oh, that's too bad!"Please notice the paragraph above that reads, "At the city's request, the magistrate issued a protective order mandating that information from the files could be used only in connection with the suit and could not be disclosed until trial."Note the words, could not be disclosed until... Once a case is disposed of, trial or not, the "until" is satisfied, despite Keller misunderstanding of the English language. "Until" defines a point of conclusion! But that's our secret. Don't tell Judge Keller, as he believes "until" means "never." Remember, he just loves police action. It's time for JAIL4Judges folks!J.A.I.L. is an acronym for (Judicial Accountability Initiative Law)
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