Friday, April 17, 2009

BOP listserv moderator Howard Keiffer convicted

Many criminal defense lawyers, prosecutors and judges are members of the BOP listserv, which was started by Howard Keiffer. Keiffer spoke at conferences around the country about the Bureau of Prisons and related issues. I emailed with him a couple times over the years... Turns out he wasn't a lawyer even though he appeared in about 20 different district courts. He was convicted this week in federal court. Here's the AP article:

A man accused of impersonating a lawyer in at least 10 states was convicted Wednesday of mail fraud and making false statements in what a government lawyer hoped would be the first of several federal prosecutions around the country.
It took only about an hour and a half for a federal jury in Bismarck to convict Howard O. Kieffer, who shrank in his chair and gulped as the verdict was read.
Authorities said Kieffer lied on his application to practice law in federal court, but still represented such clients as a former St. Louis Blues hockey player who pleaded guilty to plotting to kill his agent.
At the trial, two witnesses told the jury they each paid Kieffer at least $20,000 to appeal prison sentences for their loved ones, only to find out later that he wasn't a lawyer. Attorneys testified that they thought Kieffer was one of their colleagues because he seemed to know about federal court matters and because they saw him at attorney training seminars.
Kieffer's attorney, Joshua Lowther, called no witnesses, but he said the government did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The 54-year-old from Duluth, Minn., faces up to 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine; a sentencing date was not immediately set. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Hagler said Kieffer could be prosecuted in federal court in other states where he posed as a lawyer.

Here's an article by the ABA which goes into some depth about Keiffer. Worth a read.

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