Another good friend and colleague of mine is Daniel (Hurricane) Horowitz. Daniel is a brilliant attorney and absolutely the hardest working lawyer that I know. I met Dan back in about 2008 or 2009. Dan and I worked on a few cases together, and then he brought me in on the notorious "Bling Ring" case. I ended up taking over the case on my own and resolving it to the client's great satisfaction. Dan also helped me get my law practice established in Contra Costa County. I was then able to attain a position on the Contra Costa Conflicts Panel, where I received a steady stream of cases to keep me working when private cases were not forthcoming. The members of this panel are all true defense lawyers who fight not only for their clients but also for their autonomy which allows them to effectively fight for their clients, as demonstrated here. From my association with Dan, I have learned some very effective litigation techniques which he uses in both defending white collar cases and clients charged with federal offenses.
Through Dan Horowitz, I met other excellent lawyers, like Dan Russo, who I also consider a friend. Even lawyers sometimes need lawyers, and Dan Russo once represented me when a small-town judge brought an "order to show cause" against me for "contempt of court." This order was based on me not personally appearing before him on a case, when I was finishing up a trial in another county. Although I had another local lawyer appear for me at the hearing; at the insistence of the prosecutor, the judge ordered me to "show cause" as to why I had not personally appeared at the time. This is one of the petty ways in which prosecutors sometimes get back at defense lawyers who don't "play along to get along." I eventually did end up having to pay the $100 dollar fine.
Copyright Markus Dombois
Another close friend of mine is Philip H. Lowenthal. Phil is an attorney of the highest caliber. Phil introduced me to the law and to the world of criminal defense in 1991, when he hired me as his investigator. I am proud to have had him as a mentor. Phil has been a true "constitutional rights enforcer," which is at the core of criminal defense work, since 1970. Like myself he is licensed in both federal court and in the states of Hawaii and California. He is now in practice with two of his sons at his firm in Wailuku, Maui.
My friend and mentor Victor E. Kaplan. An amazing lawyer and a true fighter for the working man. Victor has been a labor-lawyer since he passed the bar exam in 1938. He first fought for workers rights out in Trono, CA, in his early twenties, when the Phosphate Mine owners ran "Company Towns" This photo was taken a few months after Victor's 100th birthday. Victor is still working as an attorney, counseling those who need it. Victor was my lawyer back when I was in my early 20's working on tugboats, barges and on the docks of Long Beach and Los Angeles Harbor
Back in the early 1950s, during the "Cold War," hard working union members were seen as a threat to capitalism and "big government" (of the time). Victor was on the front lines, fighting for fair wages for hard-working "blue-collar" workers. This was the era of McCarthyism. Blue-collar workers were labeled as "commies" and "pinkos" when they were organizing to get decent working conditions and better wages from their bosses. The government used fear to go after these workers, their organizations, and their lawyers (today we have multinational corporations doing the same).
A government prosecutor named Mr. Tavenner was on a rampage. After interrogation by Tavenner in 1955, the famous musician Pete Seeger was later indicted by a federal jury on 10 counts of contempt of Congress. He was convicted on all counts and sentenced to 10 concurrent one-year prison terms, which he never served. In 1962, the convictions were overturned. Pete Seeger did not invoke the 5th Amendment since it would put you on the "Black List." Unlike the attorneys, he invoked only the 1st Amendment. Click here for more information.
Tavenner also targeted Victor E. Kaplan among other L.A. Attorneys. However, unlike Pete Seeger a musician, Victor, and the other lawyers, knew how to stand up for their constitutional rights and fight back. These lawyers all were true fighters, not backing down when faced with incarceration (for some of them). Here is an excerpt from the actual testimony, where Victor responds in the most eloquent manner to the interrogation that he was subjected to:
Mr. Kaplan: "Well, Mr, Tavenner, I am going to refuse to answer that question for the following reasons: In the first place, I rely upon the first amendment, in that that question again is an invasion of my right of association, my political thinking; and I am not going to testify with respect to any person who has testified before this committee — I have not been given the right of cross-examination with regard to these people who have named me — and I further refuse to answer on the grounds of the fifth amendment. Since the history of that amendment has been so well stated by Mr. Sperber, although it could stand repeating, I will not repeat it at this time. I do rely upon the fifth amendment, in that I will refuse to bear witness against myself."
Another legendary attorney, Ben Margolis, was also subjected to interrogation at this hearing. His responses together with those of all the other lawyers subpoenaed to this hearing demonstrate the intelligence, the guts, and the strong resolve of a true "constitutional enforcers." All true criminal defense attorneys are constitutional enforcers in that they do their best to fight for the constitutional rights of their clients, and indeed, for themselves when push comes to shove. I encourage anyone concerned with our individual rights under the constitution to read this transcript. It is truly a compelling read. Full Transcript It demonstrates that no matter how much silly people dislike reporters and lawyers, that once their 1st Amendment Rights or their 5th Amendment Rights come into jeopardy, they learn how truly important these professionals are to a free society.
SIMPLER TIMES: Here is an excerpt where the prosecutors actually admit that they are tools for "the people."
Mr. Walter. Just at that point, I want to point something out to you : That we are the tools of the people of the United States, and we are here
Mr. Margolis. You are the tools of something else.
Mr. Walter. We are not here because of any choice, and there is not a man on this committee who selected this assignment. The people of the United Stntes put us on this committee.
Mr. Margolis. I don't think the people of the United States put you on this committee. That may be your opinion.
Mr. Walter. Well, but the vote in the Congress for this committee was unanimous.
Mr. Margolis. You were put on this committee by the vote of the Congress because you have terrorized the Congress as well as the people of the United States, and there are many newspapermen in Washington who have recognized that.
LAWYERS FACING PRISON: Excerpt from transcript.
Mr. Steinmetz. Well, Mr. Tavenner, while I have no doubt that in these times, with concentration camps I understand being built in the State of California to house hundreds of thousands of people whose views this committee does not like, that the foreign born need protection.
Mr. Walter. Just a minute, in that connection. Let me tell you that those places are being built to house approximately 2,800 people who have been convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude and for whom it is impossible to obtain passports from the countries from whence they came. It is not hundreds of thousands. It is about 2,773.
Mr. Steinmetz. I saw a newspaper account, at least, by officials of our Government to the effect that they were capable of housing hundreds of thousands, and I will be glad to......(cut off by Mr. Walter).
Mr. Walter. You just take my word for it. I happen to be the chairman of the Immigration Committee, and I know what this is all about.