Blog Jay Leiderman Law

Some people just wont stop suing for no reason at all other than they are miserable human beings.  They are known as vexatious litigants.  This is a short treatise on New York law and vexatious or nuisance litigants.

Disclaimer: none of this is legal advice, this is just the musings of an attorney that does not even practice in New York. I was asked a question about this issue and took about 10 minutes to look at the law behind it. Vexatious or nuisance litigants are a pox on the legal system.  The research 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 New York law. If you are actually involved in a nuisance lawsuit in New York, you should consult a New York attorney. Having said that, let’s begin.


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

Let’s take a hypothetical example of an awful person who sues you just to be a nuisance, just to get you back for some perceived slight, even though he or she has no legal or factual basis to maintain a lawsuit. For example, you give testimony in court to a judge and that person does not like what you say. Unless they are found factually innocent after a hearing or trial, they are disallowed from suing you. You have what is called an absolute litigation privilege in every jurisdiction there is, including New York. See Panzella v. Bums, 169 A.D.2d 824 (N.Y. App. Div. 1991)

New York Law and Vexatious or nuisance litigants


The privilege goes back all the way to common law in England, that’s how ingrained it is. See, e.g., Marsh v. Elsworth, 36 How. Pr. 532, 535 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1869) (citing Brook v. Montague, 79 Eng. Rep. 77 (K.B. 1606)); Mower v. Watson, 11 Vt. 536, 540-41 (1839) (citing Buckley v. Wood, 76 Eng. Rep. 888 (K.B. 1591) and Hodgson v. Scarlett, 171 Eng. Rep. 362 (C.P. 1817)).


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Jay Leiderman and Stanley Cohen poster from Anonymous Video

Jay Leiderman and Stanley Cohen are two attorneys that have moved to the forefront of the war on hackers, otherwise knows as the “Nerd Scare.”  Anonymous Video keeps the hope alive by publicizing the plight of incarcerated members of Anonymous, most, if not all of whom are political prisoners.  They were gracious enough to make this poster of Jay Leiderman and Stanley Cohen. Jay and Stanley have been vocal critics of the government crackdown on hacktivists.

Jay Leiderman and Stanley Cohen

Jay Leiderman and Stanley Cohen in a flattering poster made by @AnonymousVideo

Stanley Cohen is an attorney and human rights advocate.

He has been prosecuted and sentenced to 18 months in prison on tax charges. Among the others he has represented are Hamas, hackers, Occupy activists, the homeless, anti-war protesters, Muslim clerics, American Indianactivists,[1] supporters of Peru‘s Shining Path guerrillas, Black Bloc anarchists, Anonymous in the PayPal 14 case.

Controversial US lawyer Stanley Cohen has found himself in the international headlines on a number of occasions He defended Osama Bin Laden’s son-in-law, Sheikh Suleiman Abu Ghaith; he defended himself in another courtroom on tax charges, ultimately pleading guilty and accepting a prison sentence; and he led the doomed efforts to secure the release of Abdul Rahman Kassig from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Stanley Cohen has been a disciple of leftist celebrity lawyer William Kunstler with whom he helped in 1986, Larry Davis, a black man accused of robbing and killing drug dealers. In 1990 Cohen teamed up once again with his mentor Kunstler. They joined Lynne Stewart ( who was indicted for this case) for the defense of the sheikh Abdul Rahman Yasin, the mastermind of the World Trade Center bombingin 1993.

As activist and attorney for human rights Cohen has been many times in Gaza Strip for helping Palestinians. One of his clients was Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook, member of Hamas; he also defended Hezbollah and al-Qaeda members such as a relative of Bin Laden, his son in law, case that generates harsh criticism.

He has been “banned from Israel and Egypt and, possibly, Jordan and Kuwait because of” his “legal work and politics- seen by some regimes as dangerous to their “security.

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Jay Leiderman quoted in the Daily Dot 25 August 2016.  Jay is a frequent commentator in various forms of media.  He is regarded as an expert in the computer fraud and abuse act (CFAA) codified at 18 USC 1030.

Here’s how much prison time the Leslie Jones hackers could face if they’re caught (Jay Leiderman quoted)
Dell Cameron — Aug 25 at 2:38PM | Last updated Aug 25 at 2:38PM

Jay Leiderman quoted

Comedian Leslie Jones starred in the remake of Ghostbusters and is part of the Saturday Night Live cast. She has been the target of a lot of racial hate and trolling in recent months and now her website has been hacked.

Jay Leiderman quoted: Here, Jay gives an opinion as to what charges hackers might face if they are arrested and convicted of hacking SNL/Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones.  Some pertinent quotes:

Jay Leiderman, a California-based attorney known as the “hacktivist advocate” for his work defending online activists, told the Daily Dot that, if caught, the criminal hackers could “theoretically” face more than 30 years in prison.


“Whomever did the hack could likely have liability under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act,” said Leiderman, who also worked on one of the Celebgate cases, which involved the theft and unauthorized publication of hundreds of celebrity nude photos.

If this can be construed as a hate crime, the punishment will be increased by one year


Since Jones’ private information was among the data stolen, the government may also pursue identity theft charges—which, according to Leiderman, “carries a two-year mandatory minimum and 15-year maximum because one of the documents involved is a US passport.”


“If this can be construed as a hate crime, the punishment will be increased by one year,” the lawyer added, emphasizing his assessment was based on a cursory review of publicly available details.

Read the full story here.

Jay Leiderman quoted

“Hacktivist’s Advocate” and California State Bar Certified Criminal Law Specialist Jay Leiderman


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Avoid the pitfalls of hiring the wrong attorney; learn how to hire a great criminal defense lawyer

Encountering the criminal justice system can be one of the most challenging and stressful periods of your life.  Selecting the right criminal defense lawyer for yourself or a friend or family member can be one of the most difficult parts of any criminal investigation, arrest or charges. Likewise, it stands out as easily the most vital. It is important that you locate a skillful and respectable lawyer whom you can trust to work with during. There are a few things to consider when searching for a lawyer.  After reading these 7 tips, you should be ready to hire a great criminal defense lawyer!

hire a great criminal defense attorney

Navigating the maze of lawyers available to hire for a criminal case can be tricky



  1. Be Cautious about “Top Search Results” and Flashy Marketing

Many internet marketing companies tell lawyers that they will “guarantee their website to be on the first page of Google.”

An internet search simply won’t do.  Lawyers today pay for something called “SEO” or Search Engine Optimization.  What SEO does is it tricks the Google ranking program, known as its algorithm, into putting their site at or near first.  It is the same as when lawyers used to name their practices AAA Legal Services just so that they could be at the front of the Yellow Pages.  Whether a lawyer’s page comes up high in a google search tells you nothing about their skill.  In fact, if they need to push their website up in search results – watch out!   They may not have the skill or reputation to get clients any other way!

Try not to be attracted by garish promoting plans or guarantees of some achievement. In fact, criminal defense lawyers are prohibited by ethics rules from guaranteeing any result.  Be suspicious of any lawyer who ensures you a particular result in a criminal case.  Consider this: In Ventura, California, if you plead guilty to a DUI, you get one of the two charges dismissed.  In fact, some lawyers advertise that they GUARANTEE they can get a charge dismissed for you.  Well of course they can!  You could get the charge dismissed by representing yourself!  Accordingly, be wary of guarantees.  A lawyer’s work and effort should speak for itself.

Be careful about lawyers who need a lot of cash in advance to handle a case just through beginning procedures.  Fees should be laid out in advance and are required to be in writing if the total value of the contract is expected to exceed $1,000.00.  A lawyer is required to give you a copy of this contract.

Don’t just use Google to search for “criminal defense lawyers” or “criminal lawyers” or “medical marijuana defense attorneys in Ventura.”  Once you find a few that you may be interested in calling, google their names separately.  Does more than their website show up?  Do you see State Bar Discipline?  Are their positive or negative reviews?  Is there even MORE advertising?

Legal cases often attract media attention.  Typically any lawyer that has practiced for a few years will have some newspaper articles about his or her cases.  Read them.  Winning or losing is not necessarily important, it is how strong the defense was.  Some cases have confessions, video evidence and strong witnesses.  So look in the article for how hard the defense fought, or if they were creative, or whether they got a good sentence for the client.

After a full internet search, you should have cut through much of the flash and are ready to dive into the substance.  You’ve now completed the first step in how to hire a great criminal defense lawyer.

   2.  Specialist Agencies/Bar affiliations

First, you can look for a lawyer who practices in the particular field that you need.  There are Criminal Law Specialists, as certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization.  These lawyers have passed an additional test and have been subject to review by Judges, prosecutors, their peers and a review panel.  Often you will determine that this is the best attorney for you, as they are backed by the State Bar.

Some lawyers handle all manner of cases and only do criminal defense sometimes.  Sometimes, a lawyer will say he or she  represents criminal defendants but has not handled a criminal case in years – – or ever!

If you are accused of a wrongdoing that could end up with you having a criminal record, you require somebody who is an accomplished and legitimate master of the courtroom. There are a few ways you can start your quest for the lawyer who will best address your issues. As mentioned above, you can go to the State Bar website and search for Certified Specialists in your area.  You can also call the local bar associations and ask for referrals to trusted counsel.

Often the best way to find a lawyer is to request a referral from someone that has used one in the past and was satisfied with the work that attorney performed.

You’ve now completed the second step in how to hire a great criminal defense lawyer.

     3. Excellent Communication Skills

Developing an attorney client relationship is the most critical part of defending your case as it progresses through the court system.  This point is simple: Does your lawyer listen to you?  Did the lawyer answer all of your questions at the first meeting?  Did he or she take time to explain how legal proceedings work and what to expect when you show up for court?  Did you discuss strategy or goals?  Will you be able to speak with the attorney, and not his or her staff, when you have a question?  How long can you expect it to take for the attorney to call you back?

Did you leave the meeting feeling rushed or were you made to feel as though your case was already important to the attorney?

Hire a great criminal defense attorney

Perhaps most importantly – will the attorney be in court for every one of your court dates, or will he or she send a “stand in”?  Will the attorney assign the case to a junior associate and not work on your case?

Moreover, do you feel as though the attorney can reasonably communicate your needs and wants to the prosecutor and judge?  Can he or she be forceful when needed and gentle when needed?

Does the attorney appear ethical?  Believe it or not, some attorneys ask clients to fabricate witnesses and testimony.  If a lawyer is willing to be dishonest with the court, the lawyer is willing to be dishonest with you.

You’ve now completed the third step in how to hire a great criminal defense lawyer.

     4.  The Lawyer’s Experience 

Some lawyers specialize in particular areas of criminal defense.  For example, some lawyers handle DUI cases exclusively.  This is great if you have a DUI, but isn’t helpful if you have an assault case.

Ask the lawyer who you are interviewing what their experience is.  Discuss other cases they have handled and what the results were.  Have they ever tried a murder case all the way through jury verdict?  That will tell you a lot about the lawyer’s experience right there.  When a lawyer has handled a murder case from beginning to end, that lawyer will often possess all the skills necessary to go to court on your case.

When was the last jury trial the lawyer did?  How many cases has the lawyer ever handled?  How many cases do they handle at any one time?  A lawyer that takes too many cases at any one time cannot give you enough attention.

You’ve now completed the fourth step in how to hire a great criminal defense lawyer.

  1. Potential expenses the case

The expense of a lawyer should be determined by how complex a case is. Lawyers will ordinarily request a retainer upfront.  It is important to ask what the fee covers and what it does not cover.  Most felony retainers, for example, cover the period from arraignment to a preliminary hearing and a second contract with a second retainer is often needed for the period from the preliminary hearing through trial.   Criminal case are ordinarily charged by a flat fee, meaning that there is no hourly charge.  Be careful, as some lawyers charge an initial flat fee and then try to charge an hourly fee thereafter.  This will add great expense to the case.

Some lawyers charge a fee from the beginning of the case to the beginning of trial or even through trial.  This is the standard for misdemeanor cases, but it tends to be a great bonus if you can secure that contract in a felony case.  It shows that the lawyer has a commitment to the case that will endure past the initial stages.

Perhaps the most important thing to note is this: Lawyers that advertise heavily and are much cheaper than other lawyers tend to have so many cases that they cannot spend enough time on your case, nor can they give your case the attention it deserves.  Beware of this.  In law, as in other areas, you get what you pay for.  Your criminal defense lawyer may be the most important expenditure of money you ever make.  Cutting corners on costs may cost you more in terms of your freedom than the money savings is worth.

You’ve now completed the first step in how to hire a great criminal defense lawyer.

  1. The Consultation Process

It is best to have a face to face meeting to figure out whether you feel comfortable with the lawyer. Meet the legal counselor and see if you can trust in his or her abilities.  Ask about a plan for your case.  Discuss your goals.  It is always wise to meet with more than one lawyer to ensure you are selecting the best one for you.

Hiire a great criminal defense attorney

One thing that is important to look out for is a lawyer that oversells himself or herself.  Some lawyers claim to be ex-District Attorneys and profess to have a special relationship with the prosecution.  First, this implies that special “favors” are done behind the scenes.  This simply isn’t the case.  Moreover, it is a direct statement that prosecutors are “crooked.”  They can lost their jobs by doing “favors” for lawyers.  Simply put, no one gets special treatment simply because of an out of court friendship with a prosecutor.

Worse yet, some lawyers claim that because they know the judges that they will get you a special deal.  Once again, this implies that judges are “crooked” and that they are willing to risk their careers to do a favor on every case just because they know  an attorney.  That simply isn’t the case.

Additionally, once a lawyer has been around a courthouse long enough, they know all the judges and prosecutors anyway.  The idea that judges would do one person a favor isn’t well taken in that if judges and prosecutors do a favor for one person they are likely to do it for everyone they have come to know well over the years.  Accordingly, taking this to its logical conclusion, judges and prosecutors would be doing favors on every case for everyone that they are friends with.  That is a ridiculous idea.  It simply isn’t true.

Beware of someone that claims that they will get special favors.

Another thing to consider is that ex-prosecutors used to try to lock defendants up.  Lawyers that have been defense attorneys their whole careers have never worked to incarcerate individuals accused of crimes. Why would you hire someone who at one time worked hard to jail someone for the very crime for which you or your loved one is now being accused? Is that person one who believes in you and your case? Do they truly care about your rights? Did they care about them when they used to tell the judge to lock someone just like you up?

You’ve now completed the sixth step in how to hire a great criminal defense lawyer.

  1. Make sure to impart your data to Lawyer

Once you tell your lawyer what you believe the facts are in your particular case, ask the lawyer how he or she would approach your case.  Together, you should try to find out as much information as you can to gain the best result.  This will often mean gathering witnesses and documents, as well as other data.  Is your lawyer familiar with changing technology?  Many cases today can be won by using computers and technology to prove a defendant not guilty of a crime.  Using technology is often part of developing a creative defense that may win your case.

The more data you can offer a criminal defense attorney, the more precisely the legal counselor can offer to speak to you.

In a nutshell it is safe to say make an effort not to rush the choice of a lawyer. Find the best attorney you can.  Give yourself an opportunity to think about your choices. You ought to feel comfortable with the lawyer’s experience, reputation and your ability to communicate with him or her. That way you can be confident that your lawyer can get you the best result for your case.



Rachel Stinson Dubai Legal Blog tips for selecting criminal defense attorneys lawyers

Blogger Rachel Stinson

About The Author

Rachel Stinson has always had a knack for writing, food, fashion, and travel. Blogging has combined all four for her with an added bonus of bringing her enthusiastic audiences. Lately she has been working with Dubai law firms where she expresses her opinions in an unhesitating, engaging manner for all types of legal matters about Law Firms in Dubai like AlHanaee, for example.  This is her first foray into blogging about American lawyers, and she has partnered with Jay Leiderman Law to bring the reader helpful information about how to select the right criminal lawyer.


(Photo credits: Shutterstock)

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Count 17, if not dismissed for want of overt action, should be dismissed on the alternative basis that the prosecutor failed to present evidence on the element of specific intent.  Count 17 alleges a conspiracy to assault with a firearm in violation of Penal Code § 245(a)(2).[1]  (Indictment at p. 9.)  It is hard to conceive of the target crime being possible without the procurement of a gun, this being an assault with a firearm charge and all, but it was charged this way and an indictment was handed down nonetheless.

Conspiracy, a specific intent crime, requires proof “not only that the conspirators intended to agree but also that they intended to commit the elements of the offense.”  (People v. Horn (1974) 12 Cal.3d 290, 296.)  The elements of assault[2] are: the defendant (1) willfully committed an act which by its nature would probably and directly result in the application of physical force on another person; (2) the defendant was aware of facts that would lead a reasonable person to realize that as a direct, natural and probable result physical force would be applied to another person; and (3) at the time the act was committed, the person committing the act had the present ability to apply physical force to the person of another.[3]  (See People v. Miller (2008) 164 Cal.App.4th 653, 662-663.)  Further, when the charge is assault with a firearm, the prosecution must also prove that a foreseeable consequence of the act is the infliction of great bodily injury on the subject of the assault.  (People v. Cook (2002) 91 Cal.App.4th 910, 920.)


Mexican Mafia

Attorney Jay Leiderman is one of the few California State Bar Certified Criminal Specialists.


At best, the evidence demonstrates that the defendants agreed to issue a conditional threat to De Los Santos: pay up, or we hurt you.  While some conditional threats are punishable as assaults, the class of such threats is narrow.  Imposing assault liability for making a conditional threat requires that “[1] the condition imposed must be performed immediately, [2] the defendant has no right to impose the condition, [3] the intent is to immediately enforce performance by violence and [4] defendant places himself in a position to do so and proceeds as far as is then necessary.”  (People v. Stanfield (1995) 32 Cal.App.4th 1152, 1161 [citing People v. McCoy (1944) 25 Cal.2d 177, which upheld an assault conviction where defendant held a knife to victim’s throat and threatened to use it if victim made noise].)  To further impose conspiracy assault liability for an agreement to issue a conditional threat requires evidence that the co-conspirators had the specific intent to meet these four requirements.  (Horn, supra, 12 Cal.3d at p. 296.)  Here, the People have presented no such evidence.  Whatever agreement the defendants had, it cannot be punished as a conspiracy to assault with a firearm.  Count 17 must be dismissed.

[1] That subsection reads: “Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a firearm shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not less than six months and not exceeding one year, or by both a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and imprisonment.”  (Penal Code § 245(a)(2).)

[2] “An assault is an unlawful attempt, coupled with present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.”  (Penal Code § 240.)

[3] CALCRIM 875 largely harmonizes this statement, though it uses slightly different verbiage.

[4] Evidence was adduced that “toy” was code for a gun.


Mexican Mafia

Shackles may only be used after a showing of manifest necessity


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