Blog Jay Leiderman Law

Why does Criminal Defense Lawyer Jay Leiderman choose to represent activists and hackers?  This interview that appeared int eh Cryptosphere answers those questions.

The fabulous Raincoaster did an interview with me when I was leaving prison.  I was visiting an inmate, I wasn’t incarcerated.  We were at this tiny airport where they land only tiny planes.  I stepped into the tiny bathroom to try to get some privacy for the interview.  It was quite a moment.

After a three hour delay, the good folks at this undisclosed airport (the case is still pending) moved us from the waiting room into the small pre-boarding room.  The full plain load, about 20 of us, were in this pretty small place, packed in.  And then I got the call.  Can I do that interview now?  Well, it’s still a half-hour before we board.  Sure.  But I’n not going to be rude, and talk on my cell phone in the midst of my fellow sardines.  So I tried to go back by the metal detectors.  No way.  I had only one more choice: the bathroom.  And in I went, and a great interview was all that took place in there.  I promise. Good thing we were done and just chatting when the knock on the door came. Some poor lady had been waiting twenty-five minutes.  We were about to board a plane with no bathroom. I had to hang up.

Interview

Criminal Defense Lawyer Jay Leiderman speaks outside the federal courthouse in New York City after the Jeremy Hammond sentencing

The interviews centers around the FBI’s arrest of activists and the subsequent turning of those activists into informants.  Once a friend, now a snitch.  It is devastating to both a community and a movement.

I’ll give you just one small part from the introduction, and then I invite you to read the entire interview that emerged from a tiny bathroom in a tiny airport waiting for a tiny airplane in an undisclosed location.  Here goes:

The knock at the door. The blinding lights, the shouted orders, the helmets, the uniforms, the guns, the confusion, the melee.

The raid.

When it’s all over, and the FBI is sifting through everything from your Friends list to your Playstation, who do you call? If you’re a hacker or a member of Anonymous, California criminal defense lawyer Jay Leiderman is going to be somewhere on that list.

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Businessman Operated Bitcoin Ponzi Scheme, Judge Says (“A Texas federal judge ordered a man who operated a bitcoin-based Ponzi scheme to pay $40.7 million in penalties and disgorgement.”)
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“Our study contradicts commonly held beliefs that medical marijuana is being overused by healthy individuals,” the authors write. “The most common reasons for use include medical conditions for which mainstream treatments may not exist, such as for migraines, or may not be effective, including for chronic pain and cancer.”
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 Jay Leiderman – Internet Crimes Defense Lawyer – Defense of Hacking, Fraud, Embezzlement, Identity Theft and other criminal charges in State and Federal court

 Jay Leiderman is a criminal defense lawyer based in Ventura, California. Jay has been practicing for 15 years and was certified as a criminal law specialist by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization in 2006. 

Jay on his way to federal court to
represent a client charged with violating
the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
To contact Jay Leiderman please click: http://jayleiderman.com/htm/contact.phpor call 805-654-0200
The Atlantic Magazine called Leiderman the “Hacktivist’s Advocate” for his work defending hacker-activists accused of computer crimes, or so-called (“Hacktivism”) especially people associated with the hacktivist collective Anonymous.
Other noteworthy cases Leiderman defended include People v. Diaz, which went to the California Supreme Court and made law on the ability of police to search a cell phone, Louis Gonzalez, who was falsely accused of rape, attempted murder and torture by the mother of his child and was jailed for 83 days before he was released and ultimately found factually innocent, the Andrew Luster or so-called “Max Factor” heir habeas corpus proceeding, wherein his sentence was reduced by 74 years (his capture launched the career of “Dog the Bounty Hunter).Leiderman tried and won the first-ever trial of medical marijuana defendants in San Luis Obispo County, California County, and is the lawyer for the lead defendant in Ventura County, California’s first ever concentrated Mexican Mafia prosecution– the largest case in the history of Ventura County.
Leiderman co-authored a book on the legal defense of California medical marijuana crimes, which was published by NORML, the National Organization For the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He is also a founding member of theWhistleblower’s Defense League, “formed to combat what they describe as the FBI and Justice Department’s use of harassment and over-prosecution to chill and silence those who engage in journalism, Internet activism or dissent.” Leiderman frequently comments in diverse areas of the media about criminal and social justice issues. He also lectures around the state and nation on various criminal defense topics.
For more please visit: http://www.JayLeiderman.com
To contact Jay Leiderman please click: http://jayleiderman.com/htm/contact.phpOR CALL 805-654-0200
Here are some profiles of Jay Leiderman and quotes from news stories:

Jay addresses a packed house at DefCon XX
“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.”
The quote below is from a profile of Jay Leiderman done by the Atlantic Weekly Magazine : “We have an opportunity here to make the courts, as these cases wind their way up, understand privacy issues, emerging tech issues, against the backdrop of civil rights and through the prism of free information.”  The profile was titled: Hacktivist’s Advocate: Meet the Lawyer Who Defends Anonymous
Jay Leiderman getting interviewed about a high profile case
Jay Leiderman was also profiled by his hometown paper, the Ventura County Star in an article entitled Ventura attorney represents high-profile hackers in a red-hot area of the law
Find the best defense attorney you can’ was the title of an article in the Columbia Journalism Review discussing the best lawyers to hire in a case involving cybercrime.  The author wrote: 
Jay busy at work, thinking of the next creative defense
to win his next case.  Between his two computer
screens, phone and laptop, Jay employs
a lot of technology to defend criminal cases

“Hackers being prosecuted under the CFAA don’t just need digital experts; they need good defense against a law vague enough to encompass most anything” 

 

Leiderman was also quoted in the esteemed New Yorker Magazine when one of his noteworthy cases was profiled.  

From “The Sabu Effect” An Interview With Jay Leiderman: The knock at the door. The blinding lights, the shouted orders, the helmets, the uniforms, the guns, the confusion, the melee.
The raid.
When it’s all over, and the FBI is sifting through everything from your Friends list to your Playstation, who do you call? If you’re a hacker or a member of Anonymous, California criminal defense lawyer Jay Leiderman is going to be somewhere on that list. 


“Investigators like to wave around the word ‘gang.’ They use it to strike fear in the heart of the community. It tends to also involve a lot of puffery and allegations that maybe perhaps aren’t 100 percent solid,” Leiderman said in a Ventura County Star article about his aforementioned Mexican Mafia case.  

The Los Angeles Times featured Leiderman’s case involving a man falsely accused of rape and kidnap: Could this be happening? A man’s nightmare made real

It stated: Leiderman thought it was not enough that the government dropped charges. He wanted the criminal justice system to recognize Gonzalez’s innocence affirmatively. There is such a thing as a declaration of factual innocence, he explained to Gonzalez. A judge can grant it. It is exceedingly rare – so rare that many cops and lawyers go a career without seeing one. It means not just that prosecutors couldn’t make a case against you, but that you didn’t do the crime. The case remained on the docket of Ventura County Superior Court Judge Patricia Murphy, who had earlier ordered Gonzalez held without bail. Leiderman petitioned the judge, trying not to get his client’s hopes up. He laid out the case, pointing out the holes in West’s story and the numerous alibi witnesses. Prosecutors did not want Gonzalez declared innocent. They knew a jury wouldn’t convict him but said they couldn’t be positive of his innocence. [ ] Ventura County’s chief assistant district attorney, later explained their reasoning: The attack West described was “improbable, but it wasn’t physically impossible.” In January 2009, nearly a year after Gonzalez’s arrest, Leiderman called him excitedly: The judge had sided with them. Gonzalez was soon holding a certified copy of the judge’s order declaring him factually innocent.

Jay uses social media and other
non-traditional forms of communication,
such as jabber, to securely interact with clients

“The warrant did not give the power to rummage through the journalist’s files,”Leiderman said, adding “there is no indication of why all this information needed to be seized”.

From: The Guardian article “Federal agents accused of unwarranted search through journalist’s computer” 
There is a strong argument to make, as Jay Leiderman demonstrated in the Guardian in the context of the Paypal 14 hacktivist persecution, that the “denial of service” tactics used by hacktivists result in (at most) trivial damage (far less than the cyber-warfare tactics favored by the US and UK) and are far more akin to the type of political protest protected by the First Amendment.

From:How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations” by Glenn Greenwald

“The days of ‘Let’s haul this kid in front of the judge, scare him and send him home with a warning’ are long since gone,” says attorney Jay Leiderman. “Prosecutorial discretion is a great thing if it’s exercised, but it doesn’t happen in any meaningful way these days, because prosecutions are so politicized.”

Jay Leiderman was asked to write an article for the Guardian newspaper.  He said: “Our best and brightest should be encouraged to find new methods of expression; direct action in protest must not stifled. The dawning of the digital age should be seen as an opportunity to expand our knowledge, and to collectively enhance our communication. Government should have the greatest interest in promoting speech – especially unpopular speech. The government should never be used to suppress new and creative – not to mention, effective – methods of speech and expression.” 

“There’s no such thing as a DDoS ‘attack’,” Leiderman said. “A DDoS is a protest, it’s a digital sit it. It is no different than physically occupying a space. It’s not a crime, it’s speech.”

Leiderman “runs the gamut” at his practice, where he focuses on civil rights, marijuana and civil law, he told TPM. During our phone conversation, he was headed to state court to represent the owners of a medical marijuana facility, based in North Ridge, CA.

“He is a good person. He did a bad thing,” Leiderman told the judge.
From: Santa Paula man gets probation for drunken-driving crash that killed fellow officer
“Tin foil as reality,” a phrase hacktivist lawyer Jay Leiderman whipped outduring a panel for “The Hacker Wars,” permeated this year’s South By Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Tex. This new reality, brought on in large part through the revelations of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, created a situation where Snowden and two other major speakers – Wikileaks’s Julian Assange and journalist Glenn Greenwald – were physically unable to attend and instead used webcams to appear. 
 

Since the revelations of NSA surveillance and mass data collection, Leiderman has consistently referred to this as the “tin foil age.”  It is a reference to the days when if someone thought the government was spying on them they would be seen as crazy – the kind of person that would wear a tin foil hat to combat the government surveillance.  Now that we are all aware that our government is collecting mass data on so many people, we don’t think the tin foil hat wearing people were so crazy, hence “the tin foil age.”  

Jay Leiderman in the studio at the Huffington Post’s live internet Television broadcast.  Jay is a frequent commentator adn is asked to participate in various forms of media.


Luster’s attorney Jay Leiderman said his client was sentenced to 124 years in prison “for something that was worth a decade.” [Luster’s sentence was reduced from 124 years to 50 years, of which Luster will sreve 25, largely due to four years worth of hard work by Leiderman.]

From the LA Times article Max Factor Heir Andrew Luster Seeks New Trial
Jay on radio

I’m not saying we’re in a police state,” Leiderman says when talking about the restrictions, “but it sure looks like it when you evaluate the system of pretrial release.”

From: Anon on the run: How Commander X jumped bail and fled to Canada

Jay Leiderman interviewed on RT television news

“Based upon this case, the government’s new position is that you are required to be clairvoyant in terms of determining what a protected computer is and what a non protected one is,” he tells me. “From now on you have to be a psychic…because if it isn’t password protected but it’s a ‘protected computer’ you’re potentially going to be found guilty.” From the Suicide Girls blog “We Are Weev”

Jay Leiderman is a lifetime member of the NORML Legal Committee.
Motion to suppress (.pdf) in Matthew Keys case.

Jay Leiderman, an attorney famous for defending hacktivists. 

Leiderman is one of the three founders of the Whistleblower’s Defense League, A Legal Group Launches to Aggressively Challenge US Government Prosecutions of Whistleblowers

Jay getting interviewed for a documentary film in his office

Jay Leiderman co authored a book on the legal defense of Medical Marijuana crimes – the first of its kind in California.  It is available used on Amazon.com, as the book sold out entirely from the large printing that publisher NORML commissioned.   

Another theme that pervades Jay Leiderman’s talks, lectures and panel discussions involves the use of “big data.”   At a benefit for imprisoned information activists Barrett Brown and Jeremy Hammond, Leiderman said:

Information is the new currency
Information is the new aphrodisiac
Information is the new high.
He who controls the information controls your world.
And your government knows it.
Jay on a panel for “The Hacker Wars” documentary
at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, TX
“Hack has become a sort of all-encompassing term, when in fact some of this was social engineering, some of this was good old-fashioned regular ‘there’s a hole, I’m going to walk through it’,” said Leiderman. “If you left your front door open people wouldn’t really call it a break-in. To some extent Stratfor were unsecure to the point where it was like their front door was open and Mr Hammond allegedly, with some others, walked right in, and people are calling it a hack. “As far as I’m aware, nothing was really hacked in the classic sense,” he added.
From: Analysis: a case of government versus hacktivism

Outside the federal detention center in Seagoville, Texas, [we] sat in a car for two and a half hours while lawyers Jay Leiderman and Tor Ekeland went inside to visit Barrett [Brown]. 

The U.S. government has a particular disdain for activists with computer chops, folks often times referred to as “hacktivists.” …Well every action has a reaction and now California criminal defense attorney, Jay Leiderman, has started the Whistleblower Defense League. 
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The New Yorker Magazine: The Masked Avengers How Anonymous incited online vigilantism from Tunisia to Ferguson (The Life and Times of Commander X)

… 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.”
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