Truesee's Daily Wonder

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

 

Man jailed for keying millionaire's car

A month in jail for keying car of Silicon Valley millionaire

Tracey Kaplan

 

Mercury News

10/02/2009 03:34:18 PM PDT

Updated: 10/02/2009 10:04:31 PM PDT 

 

 

 

Ending a bizarre four-year ordeal over a vandalized car, an amateur lawyer charged with keying Silicon Valley millionaire Steve Kirsch's electric vehicle was sentenced Friday to serve at least a month in jail.

Judge Joyce Allegro said if convicted vandal Howard Herships fails to comply with stiff probation conditions, she will put him behind bars for a year. Herships, 65, must also take three months of anger management classes, pay Kirsch $5,000 for his legal fees, and complete psychiatric counseling at the direction of probation officials. Allegro also barred the self-styled legal beagle from the unauthorized practice of law.

The sentence resolves a drama prolonged by Herships, who filed a mountain of motions a foot tall in a case ultimately involving seven judges, four prosecutors and more than 60 court appearances — over two scratch marks less than 6 inches long on the rear door of a Toyota RAV4.

Herships keyed the car in 2005 immediately after Kirsch, an avid anti-junk-fax crusader, won a court case against a friend of Herships' for sending multiple unsolicited faxes. The car was parked in the parking lot of the Palo Alto courthouse.

Damage to the electric vehicle: $653.13.

Cost of the case to taxpayers: No one kept tabs, but enough to purchase more than a few new $28,000 RAV4s.

Societal value of sentence, prosecutors say: Priceless.

Prosecutors insisted all along that this was no ordinary vandalism case, and the judge agreed, noted Deputy District Attorney Marisa McKeown, the young prosecutor who fielded dozens of phone calls and legal papers generated by Herships.

Allegro told the court Friday that she viewed the matter not only as a case of vandalism but also as perjury, contempt of court and witness intimidation, McKeown said.

Kirsch said he was relieved the case was finally resolved. "For that sort of behavior, there should be zero tolerance, and I'm appreciative of how the judge handled it," he said Friday after the sentencing.

Herships has been declared a vexatious litigant, or legal pest, by the San Francisco courts for filing repeated frivolous claims, meaning he cannot file any new actions in any state court without permission of the presiding judge. But no such restrictions apply in federal court. Kirsch said Herships "had the gall" to promise in a Sept. 5 e-mail that he would drop a federal lawsuit he filed against Kirsch over the car if Kirsch paid him $1.8 million.

"However, I am open to a counter-offer," Herships wrote.

Kirsch said Friday that he did not make a counteroffer. "However," Kirsch said, "the state has now made Howard an offer he can't refuse."

 

 

Howard Herships, who keyed millionaire Steve Kirschs electric car, was sentenced Friday to a year in jail - with all but one month suspended, meaning hell serve about a month in jail. (Santa Clara County Department of Corrections)


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