International Legal Wrangle Blamed on Clerk

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – An American-Iranian solicitor claims in a federal lawsuit that he was disbarred from the English legal system after Ventura County Superior Court records were falsified to make it look like he was guilty of a crime.
     Shahrokh Mireskandari, an Iranian-born U.S. citizen and a former partner in the London firm of Dean & Dean, sued the Clerk of the Ventura County Superior Court.
     Mireskandari seeks declaratory judgment that he did not plead guilty to any crime, and was never convicted of a felony. He also wants asks court to overturn his conviction and destroy all records of the criminal proceedings against him.
     The British tabloid the Daily Mail reported in June 2012 that Mireskandari had faked his legal qualifications from a mail-drop university in Hawaii, concealed criminal convictions, and bilked his clients.
     That investigation was the catalyst for Mireskandari’s eventual disbarment from the English legal system, the Mail reported on March 27 this year.
     The Mail claims that Mireskandari took a “leading role” in a fraudulent telemarketing business in Ventura in the early 1990s.
     That alleged scam is at the center of the former solicitor’s new federal lawsuit, which does not mention the nature of the charges detailed in the Mail stories.
     Mireskandari says in his 10-page complaint that he was never convicted of any crime, and was kicked out of the English legal profession “based on false, misleading or incomplete records from the Ventura County Superior Court.”
     The Mail reported that Mireskandari employed a teenager, Patricia Darcy, to make cold calls for the telemarketing scheme. Darcy told the Mail in a Sept. 10, 2008 story that Mireskandari had opened a Ventura office and run up debt under her name.
     Darcy was charged with consumer fraud, entered a limited guilty plea, and was fined and sentenced to community service, the Mail reported.
     In his recent lawsuit, Mireskandari claims Darcy masterminded the alleged scam.
     “From 1990 to 1991, plaintiff was subject to criminal proceedings in the Ventura County Superior Court,” the complaint states. “The allegations stemmed from a business arrangement plaintiff had with Patricia Darcy, in which Ms. Darcy performed all business tasks and record keeping, made all business decisions and was in actual control of the business. Plaintiff had no knowledge of wrongdoing. Upon determining these facts, the prosecutors agreed that plaintiff need not plead to any count that was a felony or a ‘crime of moral turpitude’ under California Law.”
     Facing four misdemeanor charges, Mireskandari claims, he took a plea bargain. Around the same time, he says in his complaint, Darcy pleaded guilty to 11 felony charges in separate proceedings.
     “On or before October 2008, the clerk of the Ventura County Superior Court destroyed the paper records pertaining to plaintiff’s criminal case and pleas. Apparently around the same time, defendant created a plastic microfiche purporting to be the case docket for the plaintiff’s case (‘the plaintiff fiche’). It is numbered 90C000627. This file was destroyed over 17 years ago, leaving the incomplete, inaccurate and incomprehensible microfiche as the only remnant of the record of those proceedings,” the complaint states.
     Mireskandari claims the microfiche of his case docket was “incorrect in almost every particular.”
     “(I)t is falsified in certain material particulars, or is materially misleading or is materially incomplete. One of the more obvious signs of this, is that whole pages from the Darcy fiche have been copied into the plaintiff fiche,” the complaint states.
     In testimony to the English Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, California Appellate Justice Elizabeth Baron assured the tribunal that the reproduction of the solicitors’ court docket was authentic, Mireskandari claims.
     Former chief clerk of the court Michael Planet told Mireskandari’s investigators that the microfiche was false, Mireskandari says in his complaint.
     He claims he discovered that Baron’s testimony relied on Peggy Yost, the court’s “custodian of records,” who, he claims, held no such title, and was only a deputy clerk.
     According to the complaint, Justice Baron pressured Yost to certify the case docket even though the clerk doubted its authenticity. Mireskandari claims Yost refused but provided the judge with a written confirmation that a computer printout of the case docket came from the microfiche.
     When she retired, Yost gave notes of her interactions with Baron to the court’s managing attorney Brenda McCormick, according to the complaint.
     “Ms. Yost asserted that Justice Baron barraged her with telephone calls insisting she certify the docket, despite the statements of clerk Planet and attorney McCormick that no such certification could be provided under the circumstances and in light of the type of document at issue. Yost was essentially forced to provide the authentication as a substitute for the certification, which clearly was extraordinary,” Mireskandari says in his complaint.
     Though the court admitted that the docket is “false, misleading and/or inaccurate, the clerk refuses to correct it or alert the English tribunal,” Mireskandari claims.
     The tribunal ordered Mireskandari to pay £1.4 million ($2.1 million) in costs, ruling that he had violated 104 rules governing solicitors conduct, the Mail reported in its March 27 story this year.
     The Courthouse News Service database lists Mireskandari as plaintiff in seven lawsuits since 2011. He sued the Law Society of England and Wales for discrimination in Superior Court in February 2012.
     In April that year, he asked the L.A. Federal Court to enjoin the Daily Mail and Associated Newspaper Ltd. from publishing his confidential educational records.
     Mireskandari challenged the disbarment in Federal Court last year. In that case, he named as respondent the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which initiated administrative proceedings against him.
     Mireskandari is represented by Andrew Rosenfeld of Menifee.
     Ventura County Superior Court did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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