Unknown To Many, Judicial Candidate Tara Flanagan Was Once Joel Young’s Attorney

May 30, 2012 | In September 2011, I called 18th Assembly candidate Joel Young to talk about, at the time, a little-known domestic violence allegation filed by an ex-girlfriend in March of that year. Young said he couldn’t comment on advice from his lawyer. But, because everybody in local politics is within a few degrees of separation from each other, it is not surprising that Young’s attorney was Tara Flanagan—the same Tara Flanagan running for Alameda County Superior Court judge next week rebranded as a fighter of domestic violence and anointed star of the LGBT community.

Transcripts of Young’s domestic violence case reveal not only conflicting narratives of a women’s advocate representing a man who alleged struck his girlfriend in the face so viciously that an emergency room nurse initially believed she had sustained a broken orbital bone, but also of a gruff and unruly lawyer who refused to obey judge’s orders just a year ago. Flanagan’s involvement in Young’s case last year and his support for his candidacy is not known among many of her supporters until now, nor is it very well understood. Why would a attorney set to run for a well-sought after spot on the bench represent a politician running for state office rapidly gaining political baggage at a break neck press, not to mention the detestable allegation of striking a woman nearly half his size? Flanagan’s campaign Web site even trumpets her awarding of “Outstanding Domestic Violence Prosecutor.” At a candidate’s forum in Hayward in April, Flanagan said her involvement as Young’s attorney does not merit support for the person or the issue, she was just practicing law. “People don’t understand that,” she added.

However, Flanagan’s involvement in attempting to cleanse Young’s tarnished reputation after litigation piled up in May 2011, ultimately became more than that of a client and attorney. Sometime last summer, female acolytes of Young, mostly from Oakland’s African American community, cobbled together a group of over 50 women to help Young’s now faltering campaign for the Assembly. Led by Oakland Councilwoman Desley Brooks, they called themselves “Women for Joel.” On that list of community leaders and public officials was Flanagan. Her name also pops up on Young’s infamous list of campaign endorsers, albeit, willingly, in this case.

In court transcripts from Young’s hearings to block his ex from obtaining a restraining order against him, Flanagan exhibited a bulldog demeanor towards the accuser and showed odd disdain for Alameda’s Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobsen’s authority in the court room. Solidly built with a sturdy head, Flanagan, at one point refused to approach the bench after the judge summoned her audience with the opposing attorney. Jacobsen then questioned Flanagan’s line of disparaging remarks against Young’s accuser. Just as difficult it was to call Flanagan to the bench, it was far more difficult for Jacobsen to rid her from his presence. In the middle of a packed courtroom, in attendance for a murder trial scheduled to follow Young’s hearing that day, Flanagan became unruly in open court. The ruckus was so great that Jacobsen instructed a bailiff to escort Flanagan from the court room. Flanagan loudly protested saying she had a right to be in the court room and it was open to the public.

At Young’s next hearing, Jacobsen unleashed a long rant chastising Flanagan for her past behavior. The fallout from the spectacle ran a collision course with Flanagan’s prospects of running for judge. Soon, thereafter, Flanagan switched from imposing stares of a mountain lion into a perfectly purring pussy cat in short time. She apologized profusely to Jacobsen in court and proceeded to take hold, once again, of her signature issue defending battered women. Flanagan spoke at numerous events on the subject in the time since representing Young, but aside from some in the law community, very few known about Flanagan’s unsavory link to Young. To the political establishment, it’s just water under the bridge. Over the past few month’s hundreds of signs dot the East Bay touting Tara Flanagan for county judge—the pick of the Democratic Party.

Categories: Alameda County Superior Court, Desley Brooks, domestic violence, Joel Young, June primary, lgbt, Morris Jacobsen, Tara Flanagan

16 replies

  1. Nothing surprises me anymore. If nobody cares about Joel beating the shit out of a girl, why would they care about who his lawyer is?


  2. By MW:

    If I was allowed to set up the rules for the judicial system, then every time a lawyer vehemently asserted something that was totally ridiculous, and such as for instance insisting someone who was almost certainly guilty and/or a world class sleazeball was innocent and/or a decent human being, and perhaps even a pillar of the community, then the lawyer would be required to check either Box A or Box B.

    Box A, and which would be directly underneath a paragraph stating that the lawyer really and truly believed his or her statements, and was also absolutely sure his or her judgement was not possibly being affected in any way by any fees or salary he or she might possibly be collecting in regard to the case, would declare said lawyer was making any and all such assertions and statements under penalty of perjury.

    But the alternative would be to check Box B. By checking Box B, the lawyer would be declaring, AND FORCED TO ADMIT, that: one, the previous statements were nothing but the standard lawyer's lies and garbage; and two, to most lawyers, and including that particular lawyer, the whole thing is nothing but a game, and a game in which usually the eventual winner is which lawyer can lie the most, be the sleaziest, and commit and engage in the most fraud for the purpose of fooling the jury.

    And furthermore since lawyers have far and away the highest rates of alcoholism and drug abuse of any major profession, every two hours any and all lawyers participating in the case would be tested for blood alcohol content and also for the possibility of any illegal drugs they might possibly have in their system.

    NOTE: It was due to the “DIARY GIRL CASE,” and which took place back in the 1990's, that I became aware of the fact that lawyers have far and away the highest rates of alcoholism and drug abuse of any major profession.

    More specifically, one of the lawyers in that case acted so crazily that therefore I did a bit of research on her. So it turned out that she had been personally involved in a series of incidents which had led to a lawsuit being filed against her, and in which the other party said that lawyer was an extreme and totally out of control drug addict.

    So that caused me to do the additional research that then informed me of the fact that lawyers have far and away the highest rates of alcoholism and drug abuse of any major profession.


  3. Thanks, Tavares! I put my ballot in the mail this morning.


  4. Shoot, she sounded like she did her job in defending the scum that is Joel Young. A lawyers somentimes must defend the innocent and the guilty. In this case she was handed down a women beater. But a good lawyer must perform for the benefit of her client. Young was smart to get a good lawyer to get him out of the jam. It seems like it worked. But Joel Young won't be elected. That is a given now. She will however. Frankly, she is better qualified than the two others running. They do not have a clue.


  5. So Flanagan is going to get a bum rap for providing a vigorous defense to someone accused of a crime? Is that not what a lawyer does? Is Young not entitled to a defense because he is running for office? I would hope that someone who wants to be a judge would want both sides to be represented well so that a jury can come to a just verdict. Or are we now automatically guilty in America?


  6. Warning! Flanagan is the last person you want making judgements.


  7. There's a difference between representing a client zealously and being disrespectful to the justice system. As attorneys, we are bound to ethical standards that are meant to ensure that we don't beat up on the victims or, much less, disrespect our judges. We have to have decorum.

    Additionally, very few people know this, but Flanagan's campaign has been breaking all sorts of laws. First, all her signs on San Pablo Avenue are illegally placed on public land. Second, she has employed Robocalls, which are also illegal.

    To elect a person who violates the law and ethics to be a judge would be a disservice to the community. The other two candidates are also more EXPERIENCED!!!


  8. Interesting that Judge Morris Jacobsen is listed as an endorser of Tara's candidacy on her website. He must not have been all that offended by her conduct in court!

    While I'm disappointed to hear that Tara represented Joel Young in this case, I'm still planning to vote for her. I'm sure the other candidates have defended unsavory characters in their careers as well.

    More on my thoughts here: http://theballot.org/2012/eastbayprimary


  9. FLANAGAN IS AN IDIOT. And I hate those signs everywhere! The dem party machinery is behind her so cities don't remove the signs even though they are illegal. Check out this UC Berkeley attorney's website: http://www.markwelchblog.com/2012/05/06/dont-vote-for-tara-flanagan-for-judge-illegal-campaign-signs/


  10. Edie, in the transcripts Judge Jacobsen insituates he once supported Flanagan in a prior race to 2011. So, his support this time around is not surprising.


  11. Tara Flanagan is a reckless thug. It is scary to think that this dude is a superior court judge. Like someone else mentioned, she is the last person you want making judgements that are going to severely impact your life. She is a feminist lesbian, so who's side do you think she is going to take, EVEN IF the woman is making vicious false accusations and telling bold faced lies in family court. Watch out guys, she is a rookie judge and is a man hater and should be removed from being a judge ASAP!!!!!


  12. Ditto the last comment!


  13. Absolutely agreeing with other commenters. She is completely biased towards women and ignores facts in a case in order to rule in their favor. And I am a woman. But guess what judge? Children need BOTH parents


  14. A thug is right! She ignores the facts and law. Lousy demeanor for the bench. Offers no support to self-represented litigants in terms of explaining what's going on or hearing them out. File a peremptory challenge ASAP if your case is assigned to her. Can't imagine she'll last much longer on the bench.


  15. I currently have no opinion about Judge Flanagan. However, it looks pretty ludicrous of the 3 anonymous commenters in 2013 to assume that as a lesbian she will always take the woman's side following an article which slams her for representing a male accused of violence against a woman. Did they even read the article, or are they just too homophobic to be able to think?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: