Carol Lam

Qualcomm Qualcom Above the Law blog.jpgWe briefly mentioned that Carol Lam, one of the controversial U.S. Attorney firing victims, is now the interim general counsel of Qualcomm. If you’d like to know about the scandal that caused her predecessor, Lou Lupin, to resign, check out the WSJ Law Blog:

It’s something no lawyer wants to get — a ruling from a federal magistrate saying, essentially: “come on down to court and explain to us why you don’t think you should be sanctioned for your behavior.” But that’s what lawyers at Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder, based in Cupertino, Calif., received earlier this week from San Diego federal magistrate Barbara Major.

The ruling was essentially a follow-up to a separate ruling made last week by San Diego federal judge Rudi Brewster. Judge Brewster held that wireless giant Qualcomm and its trial counsel, which included lawyers from Day Casebeer, committed “gross litigation misconduct” by withholding crucial evidence in a patent dispute brought by Broadcom. He ordered Qualcomm to pay legal fees to Broadcom, which could amount to $10 million.

Maybe the judge was biased against a firm whose name is a little too close for comfort to “case of beer.”
L’Affaire Qualcomm: Day Casebeer Asked to Defend Itself [WSJ Law Blog]

email e-mail message microsoft outlook Above the Law.jpgThis past weekend’s NYT Week in Review had an interesting article on how they don’t make U.S. attorneys like they used to. Here’s the lede, which discusses the email habits of some of the fired United States Attorneys:

The e-mail is pleading, imploring and often so very careful. In messages sent to their bosses at the Justice Department, federal prosecutors react to their firing.

One federal prosecutor, Margaret M. Chiara of Michigan, notes that her office’s firearms prosecutions are up, and that her firing “makes me so sad.” Another prosecutor, David Iglesias of New Mexico, asks a senior Justice Department official for a telephone conversation to set a day of departure, promising that “my call will be pleasant and respectful.”

Another fired prosecutor, Paul Charlton of Arizona, sends an urgent e-mail message to the Justice Department, asking that its spokespeople help explain to the news media why he was being fired, instead of his speaking to reporters himself.

The dismissed prosecutors sound like jilted lovers, trying to salvage whatever dignity they can after the abrupt termination of a long-term relationship.
Two quibbles with the article. First, one of the sources quoted, Professor Bruce Green, is identified as “a former assistant federal prosecutor.” He should have been identified as a “former federal prosecutor,” since that’s what he was (or a “former assistant U.S. attorney,” if one wanted to be more technical about it).
(The taxonomy of titles relating to U.S. attorneys and AUSAs is so frequently messed up. For example, former line attorneys get called “former U.S. attorneys” with regularity. It’s a pet peeve of ours.)
Second, Carol Lam, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California (S.D. Cal.), is credited with the Jerry Lewis investigation. We’ve been through this already, people: you’re thinking of Debra Wong Yang. See here and here.
Please get your Asian female prosecutors straight. Thank you.
Gone Is the Swaggering Prince of Prosecution [New York Times]
Carol Lam: Not Targeted Over the Jerry Lewis Investigation [Patterico's Pontifications]
Earlier: All Asian Female Prosecutors Look Alike — to Chuck Schumer

Carol Lam 3 Carol C Lam Southern District of California San Diego Yale College Stanford Law School.JPGDebra Yang Debra Wong Yang Above the Law blog.jpgHere are three fun facts:

1. Until her controversial ouster, Carol Lam (far right) was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California (San Diego).

2. Until she was tempted away from government service by a $1.5 million offer from Gibson Dunn, Debra Wong Yang (near right) was the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California (Los Angeles).

3. As far as we know, Eumi Choi continues to serve as First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Coincidence? We have to ask:

What is up with Asian-American women and leadership positions in California U.S. Attorney offices?

Their presence in these posts would seem like a great leap forward for diversity — but it’s causing problems. Just ask poor Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
Here’s what Senator Schumer wrote in a recent letter to President Bush:

In an email to the White House, [former Alberto Gonzales aide Kyle] Sampson refers to a “problem” with Carol Lam.

What was this “problem” and was Lam’s firing motivated by her investigation into former Congressmen Randy Cunningham and Representative Jerry Lewis?…

Mr. Sampson’s email was sent the same day [May 11, 2006] that the Los Angeles Times had broken the news that Ms. Lam’s investigation of former Congressman Randy Cunningham (R-CA) had expanded to include Representative Jerry Lewis (R-CA).

OOPS. Carol Lam wasn’t investigating Jerry Lewis. If you go to the article in question, you’ll see that the Lewis investigation was being conducted by the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles — then headed by Debra Yang.
When contacted for comment, Senator Schumer stated: “The notion that I have bias against Asians is ludicrous. My favorite restaurant in D.C. is Hunan Dynasty. And I know all of the waitresses there by name!”
Update: In response to these comments, we must clarify: the Schumer quote is a joke.
Schumer’s Five Questions [TPMmuckraker]
Lewis Surfaces in Probe of Cunningham [Los Angeles Times via Truthout]
Carol Lam: Not Targeted Over the Jerry Lewis Investigation [Patterico's Pontifications]


Carol Lam Carol C Lam Southern District of California San Diego Yale College Stanford Law School.JPGIt turns out that Eumi Choi may not be the most controversial Asian-American female in a U.S. Attorney’s Office. From the San Diego Union-Tribune (via TPM):

The Bush administration has quietly asked San Diego U.S. Attorney Carol Lam, best known for her high-profile prosecutions of politicians and corporate executives, to resign her post, a law enforcement official said.

Lam, a Bush appointee who took the helm in 2002, was targeted because of job performance issues – in particular that she failed to make smuggling and gun cases a top priority, said the official, who declined to be identified because Lam has yet to step down.

But there may be some personality issues here too:

Lam has had high-profile successes during her tenure, such as the Randy “Duke” Cunningham bribery case – but she alienated herself from bosses at the Justice Department because she is outspoken and independent, said local lawyers familiar with her policies.

If true, this is troubling. The DOJ needs more, not fewer, outspoken minority women. And if the powers-that-be can put up with Eumi Choi and Shanetta Cutlar, surely they can stomach Carol Lam.
Two good quotes re: Lam’s being canned for not stressing immigration offenses enough. First, from Michael Attanasio, a criminal defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor:

“This office has clearly made a priority of investigating and prosecuting white collar offenses and has had occasional success doing so. One would think that would be valued by any administration, even if it meant fewer resources were devoted to routine and repetitive border crimes.”

“Routine and repetitive border crimes” — nice. (Although modifying the reference to “success” with “occasional” was kinda catty.)
And from Professor Mario Conte, former chief of Federal Defenders of San Diego Inc.:

“What do they want her to do, lock up Mexico?”

No, not necessary. But if she could put up a big wall, that might be nice.
Lam Is Asked To Step Down [San Diego Union-Tribune via Talking Points Memo]
Carol Lam bio [U.S. Attorney's Office (S.D. Cal.)]
Carol C. Lam bio [Students & Leaders]