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Standing Committee on Discipline of the United States District Court for the Central District of California v. Yagman

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
55 F.3d 1430 (9th Cir. 1995)


Facts

Attorney Stephen Yagman filed a pro se lawsuit, then moved to disqualify the assigned judge, who had previously sanctioned him $250,000 personally. The court assigned the motion to Judge William Keller, who denied it and sanctioned Yagman. A few days later, a newspaper quoted Yagman stating that Keller had sanctioned three Jewish lawyers and was antisemitic. Yagman also told the reporter that Keller was “drunk on the bench.” Meanwhile, the publisher of the Federal Judiciary Almanac asked Yagman for comments on Judge Keller. Yagman sent a letter calling Keller “the worst judge in the central district,” “ignorant, dishonest, ill-tempered, and a bully,” and discussing the judge’s personal life. Then Yagman ran an ad soliciting lawyers Keller had sanctioned. Another attorney reported Yagman to the disciplinary committee after Yagman confided that he hoped to recuse Keller in future cases by criticizing him publicly. The court suspended Yagman from practice for two years. Yagman appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kozinski, J.)

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