Peter Barta

Peter Barta 2 Peter A Barta Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgTime for a quick update on a past Lawyer of the Day Weekend. From New York Newsday:

A former Legal Aid Society lawyer pleaded guilty Wednesday to illegally using a hidden videocamera to spy on female co-workers as they changed clothes in their offices.

Peter Barta, 32, of Queens, used a camera hidden in a clock to videotape five co-workers in the public defense agency’s Manhattan offices, recording at least one woman with her breasts and buttocks bared….

Barta, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful surveillance, a felony, in exchange for a conditional discharge. The case will be dismissed and sealed after he completes a year of counseling.

Barta will be automatically disbarred. But clerking doesn’t constitute the practice of law, which is why you don’t need to be admitted to the bar to do it. Maybe Peter Barta can land a clerkship with this fine jurist?
Legal Aid lawyer plead guilty in coworker voyeurism case [New York Newsday]
Voyeur lawyer pleads guilty to oogling co-workers [AP]
Inside the Apartment of a Peeping Tom [Gothamist]

Peter Barta 3 Peter A Barta Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPGIf you’re tired of reading about Peter Barta, the Legal Aid Society lawyer who allegedly videotaped his female colleagues as they were changing their clothes in the office, then skip this post.
But if you’d be interested in reading an email from a law school classmate of his, you can check it out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Reading the Bartameter (Part 4): A Georgetown Law Classmate Weighs In”

In a recent post about Peter Barta, the Legal Aid lawyer who allegedly videotaped his female colleagues as they were getting undressed, we ranked on policy debaters.
Maybe we should take it back. From a highly informative reader email:

John Hughes John M Hughes debater Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgNot all former policy debaters are creeps. Here’s a list of former policy debaters who are current or future legal rock stars:

Justice Samuel Alito, Judge Merrick Garland, Larry Tribe, Louis Kaplow, Erwin Chemerinsky, NYU President John Sexton, Jonathan Massey, David Boies, Tom Goldstein, Rebecca Tushnet, Annie Kastanek (OT 2007/Kennedy), and John Hughes (OT 2005/Thomas; pictured at right, captured in mid-debate).

Former policy debaters, please accept our apologies. We did extemp and L-D debate in high school, and we generally viewed C-X debaters with suspicion. They struck us as kids who talked reallyreallyfast, warning constantly of nuclear war. But maybe we were wrong.
To paraphrase the “ignorant tipster” from the Oona O’Connell story: “We feel kind of bad that we prejudged them. Sorry to sound like an afterschool special. But you know what? Perhaps we learned a lesson today. Good on you. ‘The more you know.'”
Earlier: Reading the Bartameter (Part 3): What Is Up With Those Policy Debaters?

Legal Aid Society New York Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgIn the discussion about Peter Barta, the Legal Aid lawyer who allegedly made secret videotapes of his female colleagues getting dressed in the office, one question keeps coming up, again and again.
This comment is representative:

“[C]an someone explain why people are getting dressed/undressed at the Legal Aid office in the first place?”

We were curious ourselves. So we undertook an ATL investigation, contacting a few sources with firsthand knowledge.
If you’re curious, the results of our investigation appear after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “More Than You Ever Cared To Know About Legal Aid Lawyers and Their Attire”

Peter Barta 2 Peter A Barta Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe continue to follow the story of Peter Barta, the Legal Aid lawyer who allegedly made secret videotapes of his female colleagues getting dressed. Tales like this — along with associate pay raises, of course — are the raison d’etre of ATL.
After we quoted a tipster stressing that Peter Barta did policy or cross-examination debate in high school, rather than Lincoln-Douglas debate, commenters argued vociferously over whether C-X or L-D debaters get laid more. One commenter helpfully provided a link to the website for alumni of the Stuyvesant High School debate team. Here’s the entry on Barta:

Peter Barta ’92 – Debated with Eric Yuen. Came back and coached for a while. “After NYU, I went to law school at Georgetown. Now, I work as a public defender with the Legal Aid Society in Manhattan. Essentially, I’m still debating.” (3/12/03)

And still acting like a horny high schooler. And living at home with mom.
As it turns out, though, Peter Barta is not the Stuy policy debate team’s most (in)famous alumnus. That honor surely belongs to Dick Morris, the noted political commentator and consultant.
Yes, THAT Dick Morris. The self-described “sex addict”. And devotee of toe-sucking.
A new nickname for C-X debaters: C-XXX debaters?
Stuyvesant Policy Debate Alumni [official website]

Peter Barta 2 Peter A Barta Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgThe reader tips about Peter Barta, the Legal Aid Lawyer who allegedly made surreptitious videos of his female co-workers getting changed, are starting to flow into our inbox. From a former colleague:

I used to work at the Criminal Defense Division (CDD) in Manhattan with Peter Barta. He would sidle up to female co-workers, bragging about his fluent Hungarian: “Did you know that the only language related to Hungarian is Finnish?”

Uh, yeah, I’m not an idiot. And if I didn’t know that already, I would have remembered from the seventeenth time you told me.

He would then mention, with no apparent self-consciousness, that he lived with his mother. Finally, he’d try to ask the girl — not me, I was too rude to him — out.

We’re repulsed. But at the same time, we can’t help wondering: Was Peter Barta just lonely and misunderstood? Could Judd Apatow, writer of The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, write a screenplay that would make Barta appear sympathetic — a lovable schlub, a la Ben Stone (Seth Rogen)?
Even our tipster has a soft spot for her former colleague:

Creepy as he was/is, what a sad way to end one’s legal career. (Though I suppose he should have thought of that before he recorded “bare breasts and buttocks” on a nannycam.)

Ah, the Bartameter. We hardly knew ye …

Food for thought: Would Peter Barta’s clock / camera be covered by the Skadden technology allowance?
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Peter Barta (scroll down)

Peter Barta 2 Peter A Barta Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgYesterday we named Peter Barta our Lawyer of the Weekend. Here’s what he allegedly did to earn this distinction, according to the NYDN:

A nerdy legal aid lawyer used a spy camera to videotape female colleagues changing their clothes — until the women turned the tables and caught him red-handed, officials said.

Peter Barta, 32, bought a $179 gizmo from Sharper Image that looked like a desk clock but contained a motion-activated camcorder, prosecutors said.

He allegedly planted the clock in co-workers’ offices and downloaded the racy images onto a tape seized at his Queens home.

We solicited information on Peter Barta from people who know him personally. One high school classmate had this to say:

I guess I’m not surprised that he resorted to these sorts of antics; he always seemed a bit strange. So sad that it’s come down to this in his 30s!

I feel badly. He wasn’t a bad guy, but I guess he was a bit off.

Peter Barta was described in news accounts as a master debater (hehe) at New York’s elite Stuyvesant High School. Another ex-debater chimed in as follows:

Please point out to your readers that Peter Barta was a POLICY debater. Those of us who did L-D [Lincoln-Douglas] debate do NOT want the good name of our event tarnished.

If you have firsthand information about The Bartameter, please email us (subject line: “Peter Barta”). Thanks.
Update: More about Peter Barta appears here.
Earlier: Lawyer of the Weekend: Peter Barta

Do you know this man? His name is Peter Barta, and he’s ATL’s Lawyer of the Day Weekend. If you did what he allegedly did — see here and here (plus more links collected below) — you deserve to be honored on more than one day.
Peter Barta 1 Peter A Barta Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
We’re preparing a more detailed post on Peter Barta that we’ll publish tomorrow. Right now we are collecting information about him from people who know him personally — from high school (Stuyvesant High School in New York), law school (Georgetown Law), work (the Legal Aid Society), or any other context.
We’ve heard from a few folks, but we’re hungry for more. If you have info to share, please email us (subject line: “Peter Barta”). Thanks.
Lawyer Accused of Secretly Filming Colleagues [New York Times]
Geek took secret pix of women – officials [New York Daily News]
Legal Aid Peeping Tom: “Nice,” “Has An Attitude” [Gothamist]
Jeepers, Creepers! [WSJ Law Blog]