Letterman, Polanski, and a “zombie attorney” in court!

October 5, 2009

Jeffrey Sklan business card
Dropped in on attorney Jeffrey Sklan last week…after putting my feet up on his antique partner’s desk, we proceeded to share our thoughts on current events. It was unanimous about David Letterman: it was handled perfectly by the comedian and whoever advises him. The story is over, except for the sentencing of the fool that tried to extort him.

The next topic was Roman Polanski. Neither of us could fathom the outpouring of indignation by his supporters, which we concurred was misplaced. Jeffrey wondered why the mother was never charged with pandering. Likewise, just when, exactly, was that (retired) district attorney lying? When he was on camera puffing up his role, or, when he recently revised his participation in the (ex parte) lobbying of Judge Rittenband? Convienently, Rittenband is dead, so we will probably never know.

” John,” he said, “The bottom line is that all of this is a distraction. Polanski made some interesting movies, but he is a puke.” Well folks, that’s as pithy as it gets. Leave it to my pal to get to the essence of the matter.

Jeffrey then told me an hysterical story, all the better because it is true . You will not read this anywhere else. An associate of his, attorney Michael Carney, was trying a criminal matter in East Los Angeles last week. Just as Carney was about to start cross examining the people’s star witness , not one, but four (4 !) district attorneys’ investigators asked him to step into an anteroom next to the trial court. Carney is 70 years old with a history of heart disease. Further, he is both a former marshal and district attorney. He thought he was going to be cuffed up by the aggressively rude investigators. “What is this all about?” he demanded.

“We need some ID, sir?”


“We believe you are impersonating an attorney”


After producing both his drivers license and California Bar card, the investigators became discouraged. Meanwhile, the jury had to take a recess after the Court was informed about the ruckus. Carney, understandably, needed some time to calm down and re-focus. So, who was he purportedly impersonating? Himself! The state bar had mistakenly listed him as recently deceased. The district attorney discovered this during the trial and called its own investigators, rather than ask Carney (or any of the judges in the building who have known him for years, including one with whom he attending the sheriff’s academy) about the obviously erroneous listing….

Apparently, someone then ribbed the deputy DA about the embarrassment that would attach if he lost a trial to a dead man…Carney, Irish sense of humor returning, then stated to the Court that if he was dead, he wanted a refund on his bar dues.

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