John Steele Keeps Playing Games With Judge Wright

from the probably-not-a-good-idea dept

When your credibility is already in serious question in a courtroom situation, in part because of a long series of games you played with the court, where the court has made it clear that it believes those games were intended to fraudulently deceive the court, anyone with a few brain cells would recognize that it’s probably best not to continue playing games with that court. But, then there’s John Steele. Steele appears to be unable to resist trying to play more games with Judge Wright’s court. The latest is that, back on Tuesday July 2nd, Judge Wright had scheduled a hearing for Friday July 12th in the Prenda case. John Steele has continued to pretend that he is unaware of filings in the case — a somewhat unbelievable stance and which, if true, would only suggest that Steele himself failed to abide by court rules that require him to provide an updated email address, which would be an acceptable means of service. The rules are pretty clear:

However, Steele filed a motion on July 8th, claiming that he had only just heard about the hearing on July 12th, saying it was delivered by mail, and claiming that it would be impossible for him to attend the hearing in person.

On July 2, 2013, the Court issued a notice (ECF No. 200) scheduling a hearing for July 12, 2013, on the undersigned’s motion for reconsideration. The undersigned resides in Florida and just received notice on July 8, 2013 via U.S. Mail. The undersigned has a previously scheduled family matter that prohibits his in-person attendance at the July 12, 2013 hearing. Further, nine days’ notice–over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, in particular–is a prohibitively narrow window of time for to receive notice of a hearing via U.S. Mail, and schedule travel arrangements to appear cross-country. Finally, attending a hearing in California is an extremely expensive proposition as it requires plane fare, a hotel room and other incidental expenses.

Of course, as noted above, the court’s rules have already made it clear that electronic notification is sufficient here, and Steele therefore should have received notice on the 2nd, not the 8th, and if he did not, it would be his own fault for not having the correct information in the system (and, honestly, does anyone actually believe that Steele is not paying attention to the details of this case, when he’s been shown to pay very close attention in the past?).

Separately, the “oh it’s so expensive” excuse is somewhat amusing, considering this is the same Steele who has claimed to have made millions from copyright trolling, and bragged to his critics about how he’s about to go buy an expensive luxury sports car (with list prices around $100,000) with all the money he’s making. That was just a few months ago. Seems fairly incredible to plead poverty months later…

It shouldn’t be that surprising, then, to see that Judge Wright denied Steele’s request very quickly, while also noting that Steele appears to have lied in his motion. In the original motion, Steele claimed that a Court clerk told him that he “would have to file a motion if he wished to participate in the hearing telephonically.” However, in the denial of the request, Wright notes: “Mr. Steele was advised by telephone on July 8, 2013 by the clerk, that his request for a telephonic appearance regarding his motion set July 12th is denied, and did NOT advise him to file such motion as stated in his motion.”

So after already being told such a request was denied, Steele files the motion claiming that the clerk told him to file a motion, which the clerk did not. Did Steele not think that the clerk would talk to Judge Wright? So, what are the odds that Steele actually shows up on Friday?

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Companies: prenda, prenda law

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Comments on “John Steele Keeps Playing Games With Judge Wright”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Best guess on odds?

Steele shows up in court come friday: 75%/25% against.

(Assuming he does show up)Steele again says nothing other than ‘I plead the fifth’ either directly or through a lawyer: 99%/1% for.

(Following case)Steele again cannot keep his mouth shut and whines about how he ‘wasn’t allowed to present his side of things’ after having plead the fifth(again): 100%/0% for.

Also, minor typo:
‘claimed that a Court clear told’ I imagine is supposed to be ‘Court clerk told’.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

ain't 'self-policing' fun ? ? ?

…and profitable !

ANY organization or institution which operates secretly WILL become corrupted…
it is only a matter of when, not if…

ANY ‘self-policing’ profession WILL be corrupted; again, not if, but when…

doesn’t take a fucking rocket scientist to think that one through…

art guerrilla
aka ann archy

Jim Tyre says:


I’m no fan of Steele – I am an EFF Fellow and you know what the Prenda folks think of EFF. But your interpretation of the rules is wrong. (Which is different from saying that Wright was wrong, Wright was right, for other reasons.)

The rules you cite to apply only to attorneys of record in the case. Not parties of record, attorneys of record. Steele is an attorney, but here’s he’s pro se because he’s not admitted to practice in the Central District of California.

Pro se litigants optionally may register with CM/ECF so that they get the NEFs at the same time as the attorneys of record. But they are not required to register. If they are not required to register, then it cannot be held against them that they don’t.

(I have no faith in Steele’s claims about when he first learned of various things, I have no doubt that he follows threads here, on ArsT, on Popehat, on FCT, on DTD, etc., and checks PACER. I’m only commenting specifically about the rules.)

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I would argue that if you, as a pro se defendant, choose to not act in a manner common to an attorney, you can not claim ignorance of filings that attorney would otherwise get. He is, by not maintaining records and not following a case where he is liable for over 100k in damages, establishing willful ignorance. Ignorance of the law is no defense as they say, and choosing not to allow yourself to be served in a modern and timely manner (that he otherwise makes use of) is no reason that the court should force itself to bend itself to his will.

Moreover, other articles I have read indicate the filings were reported to the gmail address established as John Steel’s in previous filings by John Steel and others (specifically the filings about the bond posting). So he has recently used the email and therefore further established his willful ignorance of the actions of the court so as to play his own game.

The rules for attorneys function as a guideline for how a pro-se defendant should act if he is to successfully mount a defense. They may not be directly sanctionable, but the court could cite them as the actions he should have taken if he wanted timely notifications of filings and orders of the court.

Anon E. Mous (profile) says:

There comes a time when you think your smarter than you actually are, and Steele is starting to find this out.

Everyone knows that Steele is the real brains behind Prenda and Hansmeier is right behind him, with Duffy as a distant third.

Steele is playing games he knows it, we know it and Judge Wright knows this as well. Judge Wright in the last hearing that they all had to attend where everyone took the 5th gave the Prenda gang the benefit of the doubt and let them have a continuance and moved the hearing date further on the courts calendar.

Now if you all recall that was because almost everyone from Prenda filed a motion to appear by phone and it got denied, they then asked for another date which Judge Wright granted.

Now could Judge Wright grant Steele and extension, sure he could, but Judge Wright is familiar with the tactics of Prenda which are deny, deny deny and delay, delay, delay.

The mere fact that Steele was using a virtual office so he could say he had no physical office to be served at, no physical office address to be served at, and no fax or phone numbers to be gotten a hold of is just another attempt at avoidance to be served of filings and court directives.

We all know Steele desperately wants to avoid going into a courtroom and having to be sworn in under oath, because you can bet Judge Wright and Pietz would love to have Steele under oath an get it on the court record his answers to many questions.

I think Judge Wright may well grant Steele a further date, Steele however will still have to face the music and appear before Judge Wright.

Steele I imagine will lawyer up though and plead the fifth once again. There is no way he is going to want to get trapped into answering anything by Judge Wright and Pietz.

If Steele does appear I expect Judge Wright is going to grill him about the bond and why Steele is claiming to know nothing about anything with this case when correspondence and his filings show otherwise.

Either way I expect still to come out with some financial penalties out of this hearing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Johnny boy sounds like a liar and a coward. Usually those traits make excellent lawyers, but not in Johnny boy’s case.

I can’t believe this guy didn’t hire a lawyer to defend him, cuz his self defense tactics suck! Liar, liar, Johnny’s pants are on fire. lol

I hope the judge throws the book at this criminal.

mouth guard with fangs (profile) says:

mouth guard MMA fangs custom made dental care devices

john steele makes a visible fight with the judge and it makes it better for the judge to take a bad decision about the case in no more time all care devices these aspects are make funny by the lawyer it is a shame that he may cause a bad thing for honourable jugde of the court

DB says:

Extremely expensive?

He easily can do the trip, Florida to California, for under $1K, even at this late date. He won’t be flying first class, flying at the most popular times from the most convenient airport, or staying in five star hotels with that budget, but it’s easily feasible.

Most of the population travels with budget constraints, which is why the first class section is only the first few rows on planes.

Right now you can book a flight on Southwest, leaving today, FLL-LAX for $225, with the return flight on Saturday about the same. Hotel near LAX are reasonable, with $100/night getting you a brand-name hotel. The subway will get you right to the courthouse for almost nothing.

RyanNerd (profile) says:

Now wait a minute...

I had an unpaid speeding ticket that I had forgotten about.
Six months after the ticket was issued a cop shows up at my place of business with a warrant and arrests me and takes me to jail?!??
WTF? Is the city so short on cash that they are arresting people and jailing them for unpaid traffic tickets (the answer sadly is Yes).
During my ride to the jail I kept asking the arresting officer what crime I was accused of and how in the hell incarcerating a person who may or may not be guilty of the criminal act of speeding is serving the public interest? The cop told me 1) pretty much all offences are crimes including speeding and 2) stop whining and take it up with the judge.

So this begs the question: Why isn’t Steele and the rest of team Prenda in jail?

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Now wait a minute...

So this begs the question: Why isn’t Steele and the rest of team Prenda in jail?

I agree, and dream of the day when this is true, however there is one problem. Speeding is a crime (albeit, a very common and not entirely unsafe one, given the circumstances,) being a colossal douche-bag isn’t. There are many potential crimes Steele and the rest of team Prenda may have committed, but these need to be proved before they can go forward with jailing them.

Now, what you got arrested for was probably a warrant for failure to appear. When you sign the bottom of the ticket, you aren’t admitting guilt or innocence, you are just promising to appear in court to tell your side of the story. You were given notice to appear, and you apparently failed to do so. If Steele and Team Prenda do fail to appear, Judge Wright can do the same, issue a bench warrant for failure to appear and the marshals can get some fun tracking down Steele and placing the nice silver jewelry on both of his forearms.

I sat on a jury selection panel once where one of the prospective jurors had accidentally been called to two separate courtrooms at the same time, and he happened to go to the other court than the one I went to. When the clerk called roll of the prospective jurors sitting in the audience, he was noted by the clerk and the judge to be missing. The judge issued, right there, a $2K bench warrant for failure to appear in court for jury duty for the poor guy, who actually got selected as a jury member in the other court. After the jury was empaneled, and the rest of us were dismissed to return to the jury room, but right before we left, the judge announced that the court had made a mistake and that the juror with a bench warrant for a failure to appear had actually been assigned to two court rooms, and that he was serving in the other court, so the bench warrant would be struck. Now that would have sucked if that warrant had stayed, get arrested as a juror in one court because you failed to show up for jury duty in another court!

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Now wait a minute...

Thanks for this explaination. Failure to appear over a damn criminal traffic ticket?!? Sounds to me that we have become One Nation Under Arrest.

In most states, there are three levels of “crime”, four if you include municipal code infractions (which are sometimes treated with fines and sometimes treated as misdemeanors.)

Infractions, such as your speeding ticket, which is punishable by a fine; Misdemeanors, which are crimes whose punishment may be a fine and/or time in jail not to exceed 1 year; and Felonies, which are crimes whose punishment will may be over 1 year. Crimes tend to be put into these categories based on seriousness of the crime, the amount of damage it causes to others, and/or the mindset of the state senator/assemblyman who put the law forth as a bill (thus really stupid crimes like “hacking” end up being felonies, even if the hacker’s only intent was to explore, and damage was minimal and usually just affected a company that should have spent more on securing their stuff.)

However, one thing the justice system hates the most is people who don’t do what they want them to do, which is why bench warrants and other stuff exist, to keep due process working.

However, while technically right, your cop was a little bit of an asshole. You were being arrested because you failed to appear, not because you had a speeding ticket (which is an infraction and will never result itself in an arrest.) And while I agree that things have gotten a little out of hand when it comes to what people get arrested for, in your case, it is best not to argue with the cop (since whatever you say to them can be used against you,) and deal with the judge (hopefully with a lawyer present who is looking out for your best interests, and preferably one with much better sense of ethics than that of John Steele and Prenda.)

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