Wednesday, July 19, 2006

U.S. v. Lyons (9th Cir. - July 19, 2006)

This is the second Ninth Circuit opinion in three days involving a criminal defendant named Lyons. The first one was a telemarketer (discussed here). This one is a forger of celebrity signatures. This must be "Publish Opinions About Incarcerating Pests You Don't Like" Week in the Ninth Circuit.

That said, who knew that we were so aggressive in prosecuting people who forge celebrity signatures? The defendant here, O. Stephen Lyons, forged the signatures of, inter alia, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jerry Garcia, Muhammad Ali, and Carmen Electra. The feds conduct a sting operation and bust him when he fakes the signature of Yul Brynner on a Villa Rides movie poster. (I loved, by the way, that Lyons called the informant to ask him whether Brynner had died before Sharpie pens were invented. Not something you want recounted at your trial for mail fraud, eh?)

So Lyons gets convicted, his conviction is (properly) affirmed by Judge Gould, and Lyons now gets to spend three years in prison. That seems like a lot, huh? For forging, inter alia, a Carmen Electra signature? Seems like it should be equally criminal to want one of those.