Blog Jay Leiderman Law


September 9th, 2016




The Lawyers of Distinction is pleased to announce that California State Bar Certified Criminal Law Specialist JAY LEIDERMAN of VENTURA, CALIFORNIA has been certified as a member.  The Lawyers of Distinction is recognized as the fastest growing community of distinguished lawyers in the United States.   Membership is limited to the top 10% of attorneys in the United States.  Members are accepted based upon objective evaluation of an attorney’s qualifications, license, reputation, experience, and disciplinary history.  Please see our website for further details concerning membership qualification.




Jay Leiderman is a criminal defense attorney in Ventura, California. He co-authored the first ever book on the legal defense of California medical marijuana crimes and has been called the “Hacktivist’s Advocate” for his work defending those accused of computer crimes. He has been recognized and won awards for going above and beyond to represent clients accused of all sorts of crimes. Jay frequently lectures around the state and nation on various criminal defense topics.



top 10% of attorneys in the United States

Lawyers of Distinction shall not offer membership to more than 10% of attorneys in any given state. Lawyers of Distinction uses it own independent criteria, including both objective and subjective factors in determining if an attorney can be recognized as being within the top 10% of attorneys in the United States in their respective field. This designation is based upon the proprietary analysis of the Lawyers of Distinction organization alone, and is not intended to be endorsed by any of the 50 United States Bar Associations or The District of Columbia Bar Association.


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How did Jay Leiderman’s case, that of Commander X charged with a simple DDos protest on the County of Santa Cruz website, make it’s way to be the feature story of the September 2014 New Yorker magazine?  

New Yorker

Author extraordinaire David Kushner

After 9 months of frequent calls, OTR encrypted chats, texts, emails and Skype sessions with author David Kushner, Jay Leiderman’s case and client – Commander X, was featured in the New Yorker magazine.  He was the centerpiece of the September 2014 issue.  Oh, the fact checking.  I forgot about the fact checking.  Once David and I were done with our frequent sessions, it came time for the New Yorker’s fact checkers to take over, and man, did they take over.  They need something to prove every single sentence.  I was one of only a few people that had a lot of information about the reclusive, mysterious and enigmatic Commander X.  Hence my extensive communications with David Kushner.  I think I spent over 12 hours split across two days with the New Yorker’s fact checkers.  That is the nuts and bolts of the story behind the story: Jay Leiderman’s case in the New Yorker magazine.

Without further adieu… Jay Leiderman’s case in the New Yorker magazine: The Masked Avengers How Anonymous incited online vigilantism from Tunisia to Ferguson (The Life and Times of Commander X)

“It appears as though the defendant has fled.”

 … Three months later, Doyon’s pro-bono lawyer, Jay Leiderman, was in a federal court in San Jose. Leiderman had not heard from Doyon in a couple of weeks. “I’m inquiring as to whether there’s a reason for that,” the judge said. Leiderman had no answer. Doyon was absent from another hearing two weeks later. The prosecutor stated the obvious: “It appears as though the defendant has fled.”

New Yorker

Free Commander X!

… Doyon is still in hiding. Even Jay Leiderman, his attorney, does not know where he is. Leiderman says that, in addition to the charges in Santa Cruz, Doyon may face indictment for his role in the PayPal and Orlando attacks. If he is arrested and convicted on all counts, he could spend the rest of his life in prison. Following the example of Edward Snowden, he hopes to apply for asylum with the Russians. When we spoke, he used a lit cigarette to gesture around his apartment. “How is this better than a fucking jail cell? I never go out,” he said. “I will never speak with my family again. . . . It’s an incredibly high price to pay to do everything you can to keep people alive and free and informed.”

Read the whole article here:

New Yorker

A highly stylized Jay Leiderman

Last but not least, lawyer Jay Leiderman, an actual New Yorker (born and raised) Lichtenstein style ;)

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California Penal Code § 995 provides, in relevant part, that an indictment “shall be set aside” where (1) “it is not found, endorsed, and presented as prescribed in this code,” or (2) “the defendant has been indicted without reasonable or probable cause.”  “Preliminary hearings and Penal Code section 995 motions operate as a judicial check on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion and help ensure that the defendant is not charged excessively.”  (People v. Plengsangtip (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 825, 835 [internal quotation marks and citations omitted].)  Courts ruling on a Penal Code section 995 motion look to whether the preliminary hearing or grand jury contained “sufficient competent evidence” to conclude there exists “probable cause to believe that a crime had been committed and that the defendant had committed it.”  (People v. Lopez (1975) 52 Cal.App.3d 263, 265-266.)  While the evidentiary showing required is low, the complete failure to present evidence on an essential element of a crime requires dismissal of the allegation.  (Thompson v. Superior Court (2001) 91 Cal.App.4th 144, 148 [“to withstand a section 871 or Penal Code section 995 motion to dismiss, the People must make some showing as to the existence of each element of the charged offense”].)  As ever, probable cause is evaluated by looking to the totality of the circumstances.  (See Illinois v. Gates (1983) 462 U.S. 213, 238.)


Penal Code 995 Motion

Ventura County, California Defense Lawyer and Certified Criminal Law Specialist Jay Leiderman on his way to court.


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Why is it forever necessary for one to defend a career choice?  On the Defense of Criminals is my personal statement, taking a historical and political view of why one would undertake the defense of criminals, and why every lawyer should, at least once in their career, undertake the endeavor.

On the Defense of Criminals; An Essay by Jay Leiderman

4 July 2009

It is fashionable always to cast aspersion upon those that defend persons accused of committing crimes.  The viler the accused crime, the more vigorous defense the accused needs, yet, at the same time, the more vitriol the defense attorney will face.  I cannot speak for my brethren in the legal community, I can only state that what follows is my own brand of patriotism; I defend those charged with crimes because it is both my duty as a lawyer and as an American.  Each piece of resistance to the encroachment of overreaching governmental power is, in and of itself, a victory for freedom.  You may find that a striking feature of this essay is that I do not use the term “alleged” criminals.  I do thus with a single purpose in mind.  The proposition is well understood amongst defense attorneys: the more guilty the defendant, the more in need they are of committed and skilled representation.  Accordingly, please indulge me herein.

I can only state that what follows is my own brand of patriotism

defense of criminalsAs dawn was yet to break upon the United States of America an event came to pass that so aroused the passions and prejudices of a nation that it perhaps might, in its day, have shared equal billing with something like the recent mass shootings or even terrorist attacks.  In a period of rising tensions, clashes between British soldiers and the people of Boston grew commonplace.  One day in March of 1770, a lone soldier and then later several British soldiers became surrounded by an angry mob of a few hundred protesting patriots who were furiously addressing grievances to the soldiers.  Snowballs and other such things were allegedly hurled at the soldiers.  One reported that he had his rifle and bayonet grabbed one his rifle knocked from his hands.  The soldiers retreated into a semi-circle, bayonets raised, and shouted for the crowd to disperse. The crowd grew. Tensions escalated and broke open, spilling blood upon the streets of Boston. Soldiers had fired into the crowd despite the fact that the ranking officer, Captain Preston, did not so order.  Five people were killed and more were injured.  This incident became known as the Boston Massacre.

Patriots John Hancock and Samuel Adams used the event as a flash point.  The soldiers must face the death penalty, they said.  It would certainly be tough to pick a fair jury in Boston.  First, though, came the task of finding a willing lawyer to represent the nine soldiers at trial.  Time passed, and no one in Boston rose to the challenge.  Then, much to everyone’s surprise, at the request of Captain Preston, Sam Adams’ cousin John Adams accepted the task.  He understood that the defense of the unpopular, the scorned and the defenseless was our obligations as patriots, and moreso as soon to be Americans.  He understood that to offer the best defense to these objects of hate and symbols of imperialism was what made us, as Americans, unique and special.  He tried an earnest and prideful case to the vitriol of Colonial Boston.  He won acquittal for 6 soldiers and manslaughter verdicts with significantly reduced sentences for the two proven to have fired upon the crowd.  There was a second trial for the Captain Preston, and Preston was acquitted.

defense of criminals

Boston Massacre

the defense of the unpopular, the scorned and the defenseless was our obligations as patriots

Here is a portion of Adams’s simple yet elegant summation:

I will enlarge no more on the evidence, but submit it to you.-Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence: nor is the law less stable than the fact; if an assault was made to endanger their lives, the law is clear, they had a right to kill in their own defense; if it was not so severe as to endanger their lives, yet if they were assaulted at all, struck and abused by blows of any sort, by snow-balls, oyster-shells, cinders, clubs, or sticks of any kind; this was a provocation, for which the law reduces the offence of killing, down to manslaughter, in consideration of those passions in our nature, which cannot be eradicated. To your candour and justice I submit the prisoners and their cause. 

Not surprisingly, reactions to the verdicts varied. Samuel Adams expressed his displeasure in a letter signed “Vindex.”  On the other hand, Samuel’s second cousin, John Adams, found the verdicts deeply satisfying. Looking back at the trials after an illustrious career that had taken him to the White House, Adams said:

defense of criminalsThe Part I took in Defence of Cptn. Preston and the Soldiers, procured me Anxiety, and Obloquy enough. It was, however, one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested Actions of my whole Life, and one of the best Pieces of Service I ever rendered my Country. Judgment of Death against those Soldiers would have been as foul a Stain upon this Country as the Executions of the Quakers or Witches, anciently. As the Evidence was, the Verdict of the Jury was exactly right.

For these reasons, and more, I dedicate myself to the defense of the accused, be those accusations just or unjust. Therefore I remain humbly at your service.

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Much of this is taken from a post I wrote about New York vexatious and nuisance litigants that you can read by clicking on this hypertext link

Disclaimer: none of this is legal advice, this is just the musings of an attorney that does not even practice in Arizona. I was asked a question about this issue as it related to New York law and took about 10 minutes to look at the law behind it. I had previously been asked about Arizona. Vexatious or nuisance litigants are a pox on the legal system.  The research regarding this issue in both New York and Arizona was so accessible and clear that I felt I would take a few minutes more and write this post. I found it rather easy to explain to myself, so I’m hopeful that I can explain this to anyone that comes by this page. Take this for what it is worth, I’m a lawyer, but I’m neither licensed or versed in Arizona law. If you are actually involved in a nuisance lawsuit in Arizona, you should consult an Arizona attorney. Having said that, let’s begin.

Arizona Law and Vexatious or nuisance litigants



A lawsuit is brought against you for the purpose of nuisance, harassment, delay or other improper means


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