Jeffrey Alan Dickstein is a lawyer formerly authorized to practice in California. The State Bar of California shows his address to be in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has also had addresses in Alaska, Montana, and Wisconsin.
The State Bar of California shows his status as "Not Eligible to Practice Law" as of November 3, 2012. This seems to be the result of a complaint that was filed regarding his conviction for criminal contempt of court. (See below.) He was first admitted to the bar on December 22, 1976.
Dickstein has at one time or another made the following claims:
- The 16th Amendment was not properly ratified.
- The tax laws cannot be enforced within the states of the United States because Congress has no power outside of the District of Columbia and federal territories.
- IRS Form 1040 does not comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act so no one can be penalized for failing to file a tax return.
Books, Web Sites, Videos, and Organizations
Dickstein has self-published a book, Judicial Tyranny And Your Income Tax, and has a website devoted to his defense of William Benson.
Dickstein once filed suit against the IRS for failing to comply with his Freedom of Information Act requests for copies of income tax assessments, but the suit was dismissed, the court finding that he had already received the information he requested. Dickstein v. IRS, 635 F. Supp. 1004 (D. Alaska 1986), aff'd in unpublished opinion, 88 TNT 106-28, No. 86-4295, 846 F.2d 1382 (1988). His request for legal fees was also denied, both because he did not "substantially prevail" and because he had represented himself and pro se litigants are not entitled to legal fees.
In several cases in which Dickstein was representing clients, courts have questioned his ethics or his competence (or both).
In 1986, Dickstein’s pro hac vice admission to the District of Alaska was revoked after local counsel refused to assume responsibility for Dickstein’s pleadings. Donnell v. United States, No. A84-416 Civil (D. Alaska 1/16/1986), as discussed in United States v. Collins, 920 F.2d 619, 623 n.2 (10th Cir. 1990), cert. denied, 500 U.S. 920 (1991).
In United States v. Summet, 862 F.2d 784 (9th Cir. 1988), Dickstein was "formally censured" for his contemptuous conduct during a criminal trial, and his pro hac vice admission was revoked.
In Paul Nutter, Jr., et al. v. United States, 88 TNT 78-9, No. CV-S-88-17-PMP (U.S.D.C. D. Nev. 1/21/1988), the court refused to admit Dickstein pro had vice because of his reported conduct in other cases, adding in a footnote that "Subsequent outbursts by Mr. Dickstein and his refusal to obey Orders of the Court … force [sic] the Court to have Mr. Dickstein removed from the Courtroom by a United States Marshal."
In Charles A. Roat, et al. v. Commissioner, 847 F.2d 1379, 88 TNT 116-24, No. 86-3857 (5/27/1988), Dickstein raised a number of tax-protester-type arguments on appeal. The court did not award sanctions for a frivolous appeal, but stated that "we publish this opinion in part to warn future appellants that the arguments we have rejected here have no place in this court."
In United States v. Kenneth Joseph Masat, 896 F2d 88, No. 88-2093 (5th Cir. 2/28/1990), one of Dickstein's clients appealed from his conviction on three counts of tax evasion on the grounds that Dickstein had provided ineffective counsel. The trial court had stated that Dickstein "seemed to be proceeding in such a way as to secure a conviction" and the 5th Circuit agreed that his arguments "seem to be adverse to his client's interests," but that Dickstein had been following his client's wishes and that his conduct did not fall below the constitutional standard for effective counsel. (According to the court, Dickstein had argued at trial that United States citizens owe taxes only on income derived from sources outside the United States, that only aliens have to pay taxes on income derived from within the United States, that the IRS had embezzled his client's tax refund, that either the IRS or the Code was a hoax, and that the Fifth Amendment protected his client.)
In United States v. Roy W. Collins, 920 F.2d 619, 90 TNT 248-20, No. 90-6077 (10th Cir. 11/27/1990), cert. den. 500 U.S. 920, the 10th Circuit affirmed the revocation of Dickstein's pro hac vice admission to the District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma (and his client's conviction for tax evasion), finding that several of Dickstein's pre-trial motions were based on arguments so frivolous as to constitute violations of Rules 3.1 and 3.3 of the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct and to provide evidence of Dickstein's lack of competence to provide effective counsel. The principal rulings of the court were as follows:
- "Dickstein's motion to dismiss advanced the hackneyed tax protester refrain that federal criminal jurisdiction only extends to the District of Columbia, United States territorial possessions and ceded territories. Dickstein's memorandum blithely ignored 18 U.S.C. section 3231 which explicitly vests federal district courts with jurisdiction over "all offenses against the laws of the United States." Dickstein also conveniently ignored article I, section 8 of the United States Constitution which empowers Congress to create, define and punish crimes, irrespective of where they are committed."
- "Dickstein's argument that the sixteenth amendment does not authorize a direct, non-apportioned tax on United States citizens similarly is devoid of any arguable basis in law. Indeed, the Ninth Circuit recently noted 'the patent absurdity and frivolity of such a proposition.' … His disregard of governing legal precedent is further portrayed by his reference to the "alleged ratification" of the sixteenth amendment in the face of uniform contrary authority. … Argument reflecting such contemptuous disregard for established legal authority has no place within this circuit."
- "Dickstein … lacked any arguable basis in fact or law to argue that the noncompliance of the 1040 forms which defendant failed to file did not comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act: his argument is legally frivolous."
- "At best, Dickstein's motion to strike one of the prima facie elements [of tax evasion, which is that the defendant did not pay the tax due] from the indictment constituted gross ignorance. Under this scenario, the district court properly could conclude that Dickstein was unable to provide defendant with competent representation. … Conversely, if Dickstein knew that failure to pay taxes was an essential element of tax evasion and nevertheless moved to strike such allegations as surplusage, his motion constituted a material misrepresentation of the law."
- "Standing alone, the inadvertent citation to superseded authority [on the authority of an IRS Special Agent to issue a summons], while professionally wanting, does not constitute misconduct warranting disqualification. However, prior to his involvement in this case, Dickstein advanced the same argument concerning the third-party summons while defending a similar tax evasion case in the Western District of Kentucky. See rec. vol. X, doc 51, ex. G. The government's response to Dickstein's suppression motion in the prior case explicitly pointed out that the delegation order on which Dickstein relied had been superseded by subsequent authority. Id., ex. H. Thus, in the instant case, Dickstein directed the court's attention to legal authority with constructive knowledge that such authority had been superseded. As discussed below, the failure to disclose known dispositive contrary authority precluded Dickstein from providing competent and ethical representation to defendant."
The 10th Circuit rejected a collateral attack by Dickstein more than five years later when Dickstein (who had not been a party to the appeal in 1990) attempted to challenge the revocation of his pro hac vice status. United States v. Roy W. Collins, 82 F.3d 427 (10th Cir. 1996).
Dickstein's pro hac vice admission was also revoked in United States v. Holland, 66 F.3d 339 (10th Cir. 9/11/1995) (unpublished) for conduct that was "unprofessional and obstructive of the judicial process." See also, United States v. Dickstein, 971 F.2d 446 (10th Cir. 5/4/1992), rejecting an interlocutory appeal in the same case.
And Dickstein's pro hac vice admission was also revoked in United States v. Howell, 936 F.Supp 767 (D. Kan. 1996), reconsideration den. 936 F.Supp. 774, for "materially misleading" the court by failing to disclose his previously revoked admissions and his formal censure.
On May 7, 1999, Dickstein filed his own personal bankruptcy petition under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. He received his bankruptcy discharge on August 16, 1999 (In re Dickstein, U.S. Bankr. Ct. N.D. Okla., Tulsa Div., case no. 99-01766-R).
Most recently, Dickstein was convicted of criminal contempt for failing to continue to represent two clients, Claudia Constance Hirmer and Mark Steven Hirmer, in a criminal trial (No. 3:08cr79/MCR in the Northern District of Florida) after they were convicted and unable to pay his fees, despite previous orders by the court (and Dickstein's agreement) that he would be required to continue representing those clients through both the trial and appeals. Dickstein was convicted after a bench trial and sentenced to 90 days in custody. In re: Jeffrey Dickstein, Misc. Case No.: 3:10mc63/MCR/EMT (U.S.D.C. N.D. Fla. 10/25/2010), aff'd No. 10-15544 (11th Cir. 8/9/2011). In its order charging Dickstein with contempt, the district court had noted that a substantial part of Dickstein's fees were incurred in pursuing a frivolous (and unsuccessful) interlocutory appeal to the 11th Circuit and the Supreme Court on whether the 16th Amendment was properly ratified. (An "interlocutory" appeal is an appeal before a final judgment is entered, and are generally not allowed.) The order also noted that Dickstein had accused both the prosecutors and the judge of criminal conduct for denying his clients the right to present evidence about the 16th Amendment.
On April 22, 2011, the Office of Chief Counsel to the State Bar in California has filed a Transmittal of Records of Conviction of Attorney, Case No. 10-C-7932 (4/22/2011), reporting Dickstein's conviction for criminal contempt, a misdemeanor "which may or may not involve moral turpitude or other misconduct warranting discipline." The transmittal document also states that "The State Bar is monitoring Respondent’s appeal filed on 10/29/10." On June 24, 2011, Dickstein's status was changed to "inactive." Dickstein's conviction was affirmed on August 9, 2011, and on November 3, 2012, his bar status was changed to "Not Eligible to Practice Law."
On September 6, 2012, Dickstein sued the State Bar of California (and others) in federal court, alleging that the disciplinary proceedings against him violated his federal constitutional rights. The complaint was dismissed without prejudice under the federal abstention doctrine. Jeffrey A. Dickstein v. State Bar of California, et al., No. C-12-4676 MMC, 2012 WL 6553973, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177560 (USDC ND Cal. 12/14/2012). Before the district court dismissed the complaint, Dickstein petitioned the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for an injunction pending appeal, but the petition was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Jeffrey A. Dickstein v. State Bar of California, et al., No. 12-17334 (9th Cir. 12/13/2012).
Dickstein was for a time associated with Robert Bernhoft in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Dickstein's petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court, claiming that the 16th Amendment was not properly ratified, was denied in Claudia Constance Hirmer and Mark Steven Hirmer v. United States, No. 09-651 (U.S.S.C. 1/19/10).