Thursday, September 07, 2006


Could this be why Paul Gallegos had to go to LaVerne - an unaccredited Law School? Plagiarism? It will not only get you an "F", it can get you kicked out of school. Sheer speculation on my part.

But it's not just the lifted phrases that are interesting here, it is Gallegos' instinctive, immediate, denial. It is part of his pattern. Deny, then admit, defend obliquely, then blame someone else. It shows up in the Pelican Bay incident, the Victim Witness debacle, and many more. If you are looking for the "tell" phase, the one that indicates an untruth is about to follow, try "certainly," "absolutely" and "at the end of the day."

I pity Richard Salzman, who now has to find a way to cover for Paul Gallegos yet again. He must be getting tired. But you can't blame this one on politics, there is no political campaign in play, and Gallegos did this to himself. You can't blame the Eureka Reporter, though the Orks will surely try, because that is the same as saying that everything that is critical of Paul must be censored. (Which did seem to be the theme of his plagiarized piece.)

by Heather Muller , 9/7/2006

Significant portions of a guest commentary submitted by Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos, and printed in the Saturday edition of the Times-Standard, appeared earlier in an academic paper written in 2000 about a World War II-era Western starring Henry Fonda.

Gallegos’ commentary appeared as a “My Word” guest column in the Times-Standard, under the title “Vigilantism a force of anarchy.” In it he argued that vigilantes put the rights of all people at risk by overriding the safeguards of due process — an argument legal scholar Robert Louis Felix made six years earlier in “The Ox-Bow Incident,” a paper written about a 1943 film by the same name.

“There’s certainly nothing earth-shattering about the thoughts,” said Felix, a professor emeritus of legal research at the University of South Carolina School of Law.

But it was not just the thoughts that Gallegos used. In at least 10 instances, complete sentences and parts of sentences from the 2000 paper — found on the Internet by using the Google search engine — appeared in Gallegos’ submission.

“There’s such a thing as fair use, which means that within certain limits work can be quoted for academic purposes. I’m saying quoted now, not lifted. I think clearly phrases are taken out of the article,” Felix said.

“If I knew that the article had been read and parts of it lifted without any intention to acknowledge or attribute it, I’d be offended.”

The movie, based on a 1940 novel by Walter van Tilburg Clark, tells the story of three innocent men who are lynched for a crime that didn’t occur.

“I couldn’t say if this is a crime or not, but in academic circles we call it plagiarism,” said Lee Bowker, Ph.D., emeritus dean of Humboldt State University’s College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Bowker had not seen the two articles and spoke only in general terms about a problem that is common on college campuses. “The taking of even a single line from another source without attribution is plagiarism. That’s the academic standard,” he said. “It’s an extremely serious offense. It’s so serious that presidents of universities have been fired for it. Faculty members have had their tenure revoked. A single instance proved against a faculty member can ruin that person’s career.”

“I would not accuse him of plagiarism,” Felix said, “but it’s difficult to imagine he wrote this particular (opinion) piece without some knowledge of the article.”

Reached by phone Wednesday afternoon, Gallegos initially said he was not specifically aware of the article Felix had written, but later said that he believed he had read it, adding that he had read a lot of articles about the “The Ox-Bow Incident.”

“It’s one of my favorite stories. ... As a prosecutor, I loved the story.”

When asked if he knew that swaths of his “My Word” commentary had previously appeared in Felix’s article, Gallegos responded, “No. I was not aware of that.”

“Obviously the question here is whether I intended to take direct quotes without attribution, and no, I didn’t intend that,” he said.

“Certainly when you’re getting ideas sometimes you write them back in a way that sounds very similar.”

But Gallegos maintained that he did not intend to represent Felix’s work as his own. “If I’ve done that, I certainly apologize to the professor.”

Felix said his paper had originally been presented at a 2000 meeting of the American Culture Association in New Orleans. A version of the article has been collected in “Screening Justice,” a book of essays about law and film.

Felix said he does not know who currently holds the copyright on the article.

Paul Gallegos

From “Vigilantism a force of anarchy”
Times-Standard (Sept. 2, 2006)

Vigilantism is a force of anarchy without much promise of justice.

Since absolute truth regarding guilt is not possible in all cases, some toleration of error is necessary.

… manages the risk of error in a way that is most favorable to the citizen.

If the accused is found guilty, the system has worked.

If the accused is found not guilty, the system remains intact …

Vigilantism is when all or most of the functions of the administration of justice are performed by one person or persons.

When the legal system is adhered to, the system demonstrates its commitment to … laws … .

… our legal processes have greater importance than getting the right results.

Today, I see a growing tendency for individuals or a group of individuals to disregard our established practice in the administration of justice: orderly progression within the limits of official power and rational decision making.

Robert Louis Felix

From “The Ox-Bow Incident”
Legal Studies Forum (2000)

Vigilantism is a force of anarchy without much promise of correction.

Since absolute truth regarding guilt is not possible in all cases, some toleration of error is necessary.

… manages the risk of error in a way that is most favorable to the accused.

If the accused is found guilty, the system has worked ...

If the accused is found not guilty, the system remains intact …

… vigilantism, in which all or most of the functions of administration are performed by the same persons …

When legal forms are adhered to, the system demonstrates its fidelity to law.

… adherence to legal forms needs more to commend it than getting the right results.

(T)he novel and the film provide narrative and dramatic illustrations of the evils caused by the deliberate or misguided failure to observe established practice in the administration of criminal justice: orderly progression within the limits of official power and rational decision making.

Copyright (C) 2005, The Eureka Reporter. All rights reserved.

a copy of THE OX-BOW INCIDENT in case the link goes down
TS - Paul Gallegos' My Word
ER - A second Gallegos column raises questions about attribution


  1. good post Rose

  2. "...According to his wife, and Stoen, Gallegos is extremely well-read... ....At the moment, Gallegos is reading a book dating from Roman times on the rules of etiquette, a book George Washington read. "That's the type of primary source material he reads," Stoen says, "that's the level of zest for life he has.... ...Throw one more stereotype in the trash. The surfing DA is an intellectual...."

  3. I remember Tim Steon's statement about PG reading a book that George Washington read, WOW. I was soooo impressed.

    Paul is extremely well read ! He's on the internet looking for phrases and work product to steal (plagiarize).

  4. What a lying, cheating, stupid SOB. There are those of us out there who strive to communicate in the written form with vocabulary, grammer and intellect to get our messages across. This DA of ours is an embarassment and a disgrace. Get him OUT OF THERE! Nancy

  5. Yeah, and you're supposed to believe that he just happened to remember 17 phrases by one author on one 500 word piece - and miraculously, in the other piece, he just 'happened' to remember only phrases used by Bobby Kennedy.

    Funny, any lesser person would have had to have the text they were copying right in front of them for that to occur. I guess that's what being a "visionary" gets you.

    Chauncey Gardner was a 'visionary' like that.

    Then, you saw the spin masters at work. Joan Dunning and Jamie Flowers working off the same Salzman talking points with their letters to the editor defending Gallegos. the usual suspects.

    BUT, they sent their letters before the second plagiarism surfaced - guess they have a bit of egg on their faces. How long will people continue to believe in the Emperor's beautiful golden robes?

  6. Jamie Flowers has the whole chicken on his face.


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