The United States of America v Howard O. Kieffer 2

In addition to his Website, further research on the Internet might return results that he graduated from Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C., is a member of the American and Federal Bar Associations, is an Executive Director of Federal Defense Associates, is licensed to practice law anywhere in the United States, including its territories and the District of Columbia, is known to be a post-conviction specialist, is the producer of a listserv which is an email discussion group that in this case permitted “paralegals and legal assistants to have a chance to network and share their ideas, experiences, and opinions through his bopwatch.org Website which many defense lawyers subscribe to,” as well as noting that he worked on cases in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio and Colorado, and was admitted *pro hac vice (see footnote) in almost 20 federal cases nationwide. At the time, his listing on findlaw.com stated that he is a member of the American Bar Association and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Further research would also disclose that he was a frequent poster on the respected legal Website SCOTUSBlog and was quoted as an expert in both the Washington Post and Washington Slate online magazine.

A continued search might find his secondary Website guiltyornot.com (cached) which in appearance closely resembles bopwatch.org and the overall content is almost the same. A third Website mentioned: postconviction.org (cached) appears to also be a duplicate of the other two sites. All three of the sites have a sign up area for his aforementioned yahoo legal platform discussion group.  

If you performed a search of cases that he was a part of you’d find he was co-counsel of record in United States v. Olsen, 1997 WL 67730 (9th Cir. 1997) and that in 2004 he filed a motion to alter or amend the federal sentence of Thomas James Martin’s which went in his favor. You might also find he was the “moving party” (counsel requesting a motion) where he “asked for reductions of sentences where people had already accepted a guilty plea for charges such as wire fraud,  possession of child pornography and marijuana distribution.”

But if you performed the same search before 2004 your search results may have differed substantially.

More likely than finding any search results portraying him as an advocate in the field of criminal defense it is more probable that you would discover that he was a man in need of someone to supply it.

A pre-2004 search would most likely reveal results presenting Mr. Kieffer as a criminal. His criminal record includes felony convictions for grand theft as well as filing false tax returns.

Dating back to 1976, Kieffer was convicted of possessing over $48,000 in stolen checks. That conviction was set aside at a later date because of his age; he was twenty years old at the time of the conviction.

According to a 1984 Los Angeles Times article, Kieffer was described as a con-artist who swindled an elderly woman out of her property. According to the article, he illegally deeded himself the house. After fleecing her for the property he then used it as collateral for a separate loan. The loan was eventually foreclosed upon, and the woman lost her home. Kieffer was convicted of grand theft.

After being released on probation, he was violated when he fraudulently used an employer’s credit card to purchase furniture for himself.

The filing of false tax return conviction took place in 1989. At the time, according to news stories, Kieffer had created fake companies and salary information on W-2 forms to collect income tax returns during a five-year period which netted him well over $200,000 before he was caught by the IRS. He was sentenced to serve five years in prison.
 
His first appearance as an attorney came in 1992 when he filed his own appeal before the 9th Circuit while he was in federal prison.

More recently he had been ordered by two federal courts to show proof of his standing in the legal community.

With recognition to Mr. Kieffer’s deeds and without refusals or modifications by other courts, the probability now exists for a swell in federal wire fraud prosecutions.  With the Kieffer case apparently establishing such a minimal requirement for interstate contact, it would essentially appear that any use or interaction of a Website could be utilized to prompt a federal jurisdiction.

To read an additional recent article posted on my blog on the topic of wire fraud click here.

*(pro hac vice) (proh hock vee-chay): A Latin word translated to signify "for "this time only," the expression denotes the application of an out-of-state attorney to act in a specific court for a particular trial or hearing, although they are not licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the case at trial is being prosecuted. This type of application is generally granted, but on occasion the court will request or require a relationship with a local attorney who will essentially vouch for the applicant.