Courthouse Jester: John Steele’s performance in Los Angeles

By Mysterious Anonymous

Since I made it to the Spring Street Courthouse again to see Friday’s performance, SJD asked me to write up my impressions as a community representative. I had a super-busy weekend so I didn’t think there would be anything left to say by the time I found time, but I came up with an editorial angle that might be more entertaining to people who have come to read this site not because they have read about John Steele on Techdirt and Ars Technica, but because they were actually threatened by Steele | Hansmeier, Prenda or one of their other guises.

I had seen John Steele previously at the April 2 hearing where he plead the 5th, but I had never actually seen him perform, and the take-home lesson from last Friday’s hearing is…

John Steele is an idiot.

I had assumed Wright was simply calling Steele’s bluff by scheduling a hearing on Steele’s motion for reconsideration. Surely, given Steele’s history of trying to avoid Wright’s courtroom, Steele was bound to no-show even with his own motion scheduled for a hearing, giving Wright justification to deny the motion by default. But Wright’s plan was far more devious than that. After briefly chewing Steele out for filing documents that have nothing to do with anything, Wright had Steele staring at his own request to substitute counsel (or in Steele’s case go pro se) that had an incorrect mailing address… When Steele was there to complain about not being served by mail…

Unhappy troll

Things went all downhill. Steele basically couldn’t put a sentence or an argument together. As covered in detail elsewhere, Wright had gone over Steele’s filings in meticulous detail, found the inconsistencies, and grilled Steele with pointed and specific questions. Steele was desperate, pathetic, grasping for straws. He could barely answer any of Wright’s questions and never had a straight, specific answer, it was always an appeal to emotion, or his rights, or a wild conspiracy to deny Steele said rights. Wright repeatedly asked him to make an argument, explain a problem, and/or state some facts to back up anything he was saying, and Steele just couldn’t do it. He did manage to keep talking, we all know Steele can’t keep his mouth shut, and that is true no matter how deep of a hole he digs himself. Steele’s mouth kept running but the garbage coming out became less and less intelligible. It sounded like “blah blah blah MY RIGHTS blahbaddy blah 5TH AMENDMENT blah blah blah PATTERN OF FRAUD blah.”

The incoherence, paranoia, ego. Unbelievable. John Steele is so full of shit that I won’t even try to describe how full of shit he is. If you had tried to explain to me that a person could be that full of shit before I saw John Steele performing in Los Angeles, I would not have believed it was possible.

For those who have been intimidated and scared by Steele in the past: There is no evil genius here. There is no master plan, no craft, no clever, no intelligence. Just a bully who got lucky a few times bluffing laypeople with no understanding of the law. Now that he must practice his profession against real opponents he is a complete and utter failure. Such a failure that Wright joked about the Ninth Circuit having a reserved parking space for him. Such a failure that many attendees were wearing government ID badges. Investigators from the DOJ and IRS? Maybe. We can hope. But they looked a bit young to be seasoned investigators, so I think it is likely that John Steele has become a celebrity in the courthouse, and anyone who could slip away from work was there to watch him make a fool of himself.

John Steele has become the Court Jester of the Central District of California.

He brings shame to the University of Minnesota for having such low standards it awarded him a JD.

He brings shame to the state bar exam preparers of Illinois that created an exam so weak that John Steele could pass it.

He brings shame to every lawyer in every state where Prenda has filed cases, for having such collectively low standards and ethics that they call this scum their peer.

I would like everyone who has been threatened by Steele, intimidated by Steele, harassed by Steele, who has lost sleep because of Steele to know that John Steele was very, very unhappy on Friday. John Steele was mad. John Steele was worried. John Steele wore a deeply concerned and unhappy face that I wish all of you could have seen (I had to work to suppress the urge to break courtroom protocol and try to sneak a picture of Unhappy John Steele; it would have made great memes). I was grinning from ear to ear the whole time, and like many other attendees could not keep from chortling and snorting with derision, glee and surprise at the contemptible foolishness of John Steele.

John Steele is struggling to deal with all the trouble John Steele has made for himself and behaved like he’s coming apart at the seams. His final words in the courtroom, a bellowed “It’s called cutting and pasting!” are a suitably pathetic example of how ridiculous this sad excuse for a man has become.

Everyone who has worked with or for Prenda should read this, and read everything else about Friday and their current state of affairs, and be scared. Very, very scared. Because their mastermind is a clueless buffoon of little ability who went all in with an empty hand and had his bluff called.


SJD, 7/16/2013

On 7/9/2013 John Steele filed an apoplectic reply to Ranallo/Pietz/Heller response. The caveat is that, as a manual filing, it was stamped only on Friday (right before the hearing), and appeared on Pacer only today.

You’ve read the story above, now read Steele’s BS through the glasses of Friday’s event: it is entertaining.


Another [fantastic] update

SJD, 7/18/2013

Judge Wright issued an order on Steele’s motion for reconsideration, denying it and referring a purported attorney John Steele to Pro Se Clinic! This is probably the second-best (after the “Star Trek order”) by Wright in this case:

Based on these findings, the Court finds Steele’s Motion meritless and frivolous. Therefore, it is appropriate to consider whether sanctions should be awarded to Pietz and Ranallo for the expense of defending this Motion, one where Steele sought sanctions against them for their failure to serve.

Pietz and Ranallo are hereby directed to file a regularly noticed motion for Rule 11 sanctions against Steele in connection with his filing of this Motion. A hearing should be noticed for the motion no later than August 26, 2013. The Court hereby reminds Steele that failure to timely oppose the motion may result in the automatic imposition of the requested sanctions. L.R. 7-12.

Steele’s Motion for Reconsideration is hereby DENIED. Steele is advised that the Federal Pro Se Clinic is located in the United States Courthouse at 312 N. Spring Street, Room G-19, Main Street Floor, Los Angeles, California 90012. The clinic is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between the hours of 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Federal Pro Se Clinic offers free, on-site information and guidance to individuals who are representing themselves in federal civil actions. Steele is encouraged to visit the clinic for advice concerning his case.


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38 responses to ‘Courthouse Jester: John Steele’s performance in Los Angeles

      • Very nice post as it paints the courthouse scene and Steele’s inadequacy when confronted with a seasoned judge very vividly. Thank you!

        • I don’t know what arguing a case in family court is like vs. a civil trial, but it was clear to me that Steele simply did not know what he was doing or have the experience to handle himself when he actually had to answer pointed questions from a federal judge.

          Steele’s performance made it clear just how little intention these guys had of ever continuing to litigate a case once the defendant showed up in court. This is probably as deep as Steele has ever been in a lawsuit and I seriously doubt he has been anywhere near this deep before. This is why they always dismissed cases like this, and why they dismissed this one… but unfortunately for them they didn’t make a clean getaway this time.

  1. thank you for taking the time to go to court,write this article for all of us who don’t know a damed thing about the law! We needed to hear this

    • My pleasure, thank you for enjoying it.

      I think it is important for everyone threatened by Steele to understand that when you actually see him attempt to do his job, you literally end up laughing at him.

  2. Very well written post. And you are correct, he had nothing of substance to offer. Loved the part about him being shown his own substitution docs with the wrong address and not knowing what to say. You could cut the silence in the courtroom with a butter knife.

    @Dark Moe3

    • If memory serves the eventual response was something like “Uuuuh, I’m sure I saw it at some point… uuuuh.”

    • If only. I think somewhere along the line we established that they don’t make audio recordings as a rule in CACD and there have not been audio transcripts of the other hearings.

      It’ll still be fun to read the paper transcript and see how the court reporter renders all the blubbering. I’m sure with the appeals ongoing someone will order a transcript before too long.

  3. No one in the WORLD disputes the fraud. NO ONE! I AM OUTRAGE! LOL.

    He seems to have red herring on the brain. He should eat some of those Swedish fish and satiate his craving.

  4. In his 7/16/13 “Reply to Respondents Response to Motion for Reconsideration”, John Steele is still using the 1111 Lincoln Road address in Miami.

    Has Steele ever established that the location as anything more than a mailbox or a very occasional place for a business meeting? Would this address/site be a straightforward place to effect service in a legal process?

    The 1111 Lincoln Road building itself is primarily known as an distinctly designed expensively priced parking garage in South Beach:

    The SAME SUITE in the same building is used (per web listings) by many entities, including:
    some lawyers (Glaser, Kozlowski, Smith, Tandy), the Miami office of a fine arts organization, a speech pathologist, a psychologist, a mental health counselor, a resort development company, and the address of record for various company trademarks.

    Have Pietz or Ranallo or others gotten testimony about the specifics of this site from Prenda associates? Has anyone living locally been to this site? Circumstantial informational suggests a location where address-of-record-entities might be off site most of the time.

    • No surprises here.

      One basic tactic of Steele is to say distorted things in a confusing way and expect that judges will defer to his superior intellect while agreeing that Steele is in the right.

      I am not a psychiatrist and do not play one on TV. But, accusing another of the things the accuser is overwhelming guilty of, is classic psychological projection:

      Where does the outrageous trickery end and the emotional disturbance begin?

      Among the low-lights, for instance, Steele contends about “Respondents” in his in his Reply to Respondents Response:

      p.1 lines 1-2: [“Respondents”]are forced to resort to material misstatements of fact to compensate for the inadequacy of their arguments.

      p.3 lines 11-13: Other areas of inquiry are also yielding indications of fraud….P_____ [one respondent] and attorney Brett Gibbs have been collaborating behind the scenes during these proceedings in order to ensnare people from across the United States…

      p.3 line 17: [“Respondents”]“bizarrely assert”

      p4 lines 21-22: “[“Respondents”]…apparently believe that doubling down on their fraud is a wise strategy”

      p5 lines 16-17: “Instead, Movants believes that the Respondents are simply trying to bully their way out of now-exposed fraud…”

  5. John Steele is not and has never been the Prenda mastermind. As this article points out, he is just not smart enough.

    The true mastermind is Paul Hansmeier. He is several levels of smart above Steele and, odds are, the one writing most filings and directing the actions of Duffy and Steele.

    Part of his plan is to put the blowhard Steele out there to draw attention away from himself and make people think Steele is the one running the show.

    I keep seeing people say that Steele is the “mastermind” so it appears Hansmeier’s plan is working pretty well.

    • I have to disagree. Judging by the unsophistication of his extortion attempts (i.e. injecting himself as a lawyer for his father in class-action suits, then again suing on behalf of his wife and friend, suing Facebook, etc.), all these suits are no-brainer – which is why pimple-faced Hansmeier comes up with them. 🙂 I think we have rather a case of Dumb and Dumber! The question remains though: who’s the dumbest of them all? Mark Lutz is a life form below dumb so he doesn’t need to be considered.

    • EMinn – if you had been around the U of MN law school during the ’04-’07 period of time, I think you would have a different opinion; Steele is not the type of person to let anyone else “wear the pants” in any relationship/endeavor he is a part of (including his dealings with Paul).

    • I think we’re well past the point of letting the theory that Hansmeier is the brain die.

      That seems to have come about from him being the quiet and mysterious one, but his performance as AF’s deponent, his motion practice in CACD, and his sad attempts to become a professional class action objector have not exactly told the story of a legal genius.

  6. Steele’s efforts are straight from the playbook. He’s delaying and increasing expenses of the other side. He’s mirroring accusations of the other side.

    Sadly, this almost always works. Most times a judge sees similar accusations, assumes both sides have been bad, and ignores both complaints.

    But… “almost always”. The playbook approach works when the judge isn’t paying attention. It didn’t work here because the judge is essentially the opposing side, with the appeals court deciding later.

    I was really expecting a few questions about the other parties, and why entities were listed ‘pro se’. But I now see that the lack of questions is a good thing. Each party can have their own hearing, appearing in person for each hearing, each a week or so apart. In particular, each corporation that appears pro se can be sworn in, seated and questioned about their metaphysical state.

  7. Still waiting for an explanation of how all of those LLC’s listed in his filing can be appearing pro se. Bueller ? Anyone ?

    • That’s what I’ve been saying all along. Who represents the LLC’s? Or, perhaps, by no one stepping forward to claim they DO represent the LLC’s, we can now assume that the LLC’s are in fact Duffy, Steele and the Hans Brothers. Of course, I never doubted that for a minute.

      • They didn’t think that aspect through to even the next step.

        They hoped to complicated matters by splitting into individual pro se defendants. But now Steele, Hansmeier and Duffy can’t represent the shell companies.

        It’s possible that they will find a local lawyer willing to show up and represent the shells. That lawyer is certain to be asked who briefed them and where the check is coming from. Any lawyer smart enough to do the research is too smart to be stuck to these guys when the judge doesn’t release them from the case.

    • Also if it turns out they were the ones sharing the videos on bittorrent, that will also be MY defense. “Accuse me of illegally sharing your porn? NO U.”

  8. Wow, that update with Wright’s referral to the Federal Pro Se Clinic…

    I think I was on to something.

  9. I just love the second fantastic update. Now that’s a mocking from the bench if ever i have seen one.

    Its a case of you sir fail so badly i feel your opponents deserve sanctions and im going to tell them to ask for them and they will get them rather than expecting them to work for it.

    Oh and by the way heres a place the uneducated can go learn about the law. You may be an ex lawyer but your grasp of it sucks.

  10. Crossposting: I propose that copyright trolls be granted another nickname: mugu.

    For those unfamiliar with 419 Nigerian scam letters and the act of wasting their time (scambaiting), “mugu” loosely means “idiot” and is used by Nigerian scammers and scambaiters alike to refer to their victims.

    Why the word “mugu”? Nigerian scammers and copyright trolls profiled on this website all have the same following characteristics:

    – Elevated, pompous sense of twisted morals
    – Insisting that they deserve the money because of bullshit wool-over-the-eyes reasons
    – Getting angry at the victims when called out for it
    – “Legal” shenanigans
    – Ever-increasing payment demands
    – Actually very well off in monetary terms


    Original image source.

  11. Judge wright said…………..

    Steele’s Motion for Reconsideration is hereby
    . Steele is advised thatthe Federal Pro Se Clinic is located in the United States Courthouse at 312 N. SpringStreet, Room G-19, Main Street Floor, Los Angeles, California 90012. The clinic isopen on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between the hours of 9:30 a.m. to12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Federal Pro Se Clinic offers free, on-siteinformation and guidance to individuals who are representing themselves in federalcivil actions. Steele is encouraged to visit the clinic for advice concerning his case


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