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Lawyer notches third December takedown of city attorney

Wins own case, pockets $83,000 in fees

Jan Goldsmith
Jan Goldsmith

In addition to a pair of settlements already announced this month, the lawyer representing both victors over city attorney Jan Goldsmith's office has declared a victory of his own.

Bryan Pease — whose clients included activist Ray Lutz (arrested for setting up a voter-registration table during 2011's Occupy movement) and members of the Animal Protection and Defense League (who claimed police harassment while protesting the Ringling Brothers' circus) — also faced charges brought by Goldsmith's office.

During the Occupy protests, a court ruled in favor of police who adopted the practice of arresting protesters who laid signs on the ground in Civic Center Plaza downtown.

"Based on that ruling, I began removing illegally posted signs from the Children's Pool Seal Rookery in La Jolla which were encouraging unlawful marine mammal harassment," says Pease, whose actions netted him two petty theft charges, both of which were dropped this week, according to a December 10 statement.

In addition to the city picking up the tab on a $60,000 settlement for Lutz (a private party responsible for initiating the arrest will pay another $45,000), Pease and co-counsel Todd Cardiff will collect $83,718 in legal fees from city coffers for services related to the trio of cases.

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Jan Goldsmith
Jan Goldsmith

In addition to a pair of settlements already announced this month, the lawyer representing both victors over city attorney Jan Goldsmith's office has declared a victory of his own.

Bryan Pease — whose clients included activist Ray Lutz (arrested for setting up a voter-registration table during 2011's Occupy movement) and members of the Animal Protection and Defense League (who claimed police harassment while protesting the Ringling Brothers' circus) — also faced charges brought by Goldsmith's office.

During the Occupy protests, a court ruled in favor of police who adopted the practice of arresting protesters who laid signs on the ground in Civic Center Plaza downtown.

"Based on that ruling, I began removing illegally posted signs from the Children's Pool Seal Rookery in La Jolla which were encouraging unlawful marine mammal harassment," says Pease, whose actions netted him two petty theft charges, both of which were dropped this week, according to a December 10 statement.

In addition to the city picking up the tab on a $60,000 settlement for Lutz (a private party responsible for initiating the arrest will pay another $45,000), Pease and co-counsel Todd Cardiff will collect $83,718 in legal fees from city coffers for services related to the trio of cases.

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Comments
7

I fail to see how the Reader can keep writing these articles about the City Attorney "losing cases." The City Attorney's goal is protect the interests of San Diego and its tax payers. In this case, that is what was done. Perhaps the Reader needs to learn the City Attorney's office is not "Judge, jury and executioner."

Just saying.

Dec. 12, 2013

James, I understand your point, however, it is the City's Attorney's Office that decided to pursue some of these cases, most notably the chalk case. And when public funds are used to pay for attorney's fees or hours spent or a lump sum needs to be paid to other party, I believe that should be reported.-dH

Dec. 12, 2013

I certainly don't disagree with the fact that disbursement of public money in the efforts to settle lawsuits against the city shouldn't be reported.

However, I will disagree with the assertion that these are "legal losses" for the office of the city attorney. When in fact, the office is doing what it exists to do. By doing this effectively it avoids excess loss for the taxpayers.

I just think y'all are going about this all wrong.

Dec. 12, 2013

I appreciate the comment. My opinion differs in that the current City Attorney has shown a willingness to play politics, as seen with his feud with Filner (before any claims of sexual harassment). His tactics included releasing closed session transcripts to the media the day they were requested, or, issuing memos questioning the officials he is supposed to defend. Because he is so quick to play politics, one must question the types of cases he pursues. Thanks again-dH

Dec. 12, 2013

Another thing that the CA's office does, under instruction by JG, is provide written or oral "legal" advice or analysis for the Council, concerning issues under protest by citizens and Council district constituents. That advice is often political, flawed, and overtly intended only to give cover to councilmembers' votes on questionable processes or issues. It is quite shameful and should be an embarrassment to anyone who has ever been to law school.

Dec. 13, 2013

The deputy city attorney who prosecuted Jeff Olson later left. She now works in the California AG's office here.

Dec. 12, 2013

Regardless of one's political orientation, this guy is just not delivering the product (basically public safety) that he was elected to do. Sadly, the city is loaded with low-information voters, and nobody can predict how they'll vote. They voted him into office, and now should be ready to replace him. We went through this with the DA. Miller prosecuted a couple cases that were without merit and so outrageous that even the near brain-dead could not ignore them. We voted for "not-Miller" and got Pfingst. He was worse, and he persecuted the Crowe case, and lost out to this current specimen from Bahston. Sadly, just because the voters reject this klutzy Goldsmith, it may not mean any real change. And it might, just might, make things worse, if that is possible.

Have fun, San Diego City voters!

Dec. 12, 2013

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