FAC Urges Court to Reject Attorney’s Attempt to Censor Vallejo News Site

On January 25, the Vallejo Sun published “Vallejo officer fired for Willie McCoy shooting had history of complaints before joining Vallejo police,” a story that details former Vallejo police officer Ryan McMahon’s history of misconduct complaints at other police departments before joining the Vallejo Police Department in 2017. McMahon is currently in arbitration to get his job back after he was fired for endangering another officer during a shooting that killed 20-year-old Willie McCoy, a Black man who was asleep in his car in a Taco Bell drive-through when police opened fire.

When seeking comment for the story, the Vallejo Sun contacted McMahon’s attorney, Lenore Albert, who refused to comment and warned Morris not to publish the story, saying: “Do not do a story on it, or else I will see you in court with an ex parte application to prohibit you from using it.” Albert filed an “ex parte application” to prevent the paper from publishing the story.

The same day the story was published, FAC filed this friend-of-the-court brief, writing that Albert’s attempt to censor the Vallejo Sun “would unquestionably violate the First Amendment.”


  • Lenore Albert has a history of anti-first amendment litigation. In one court case, Justice Protection Project v. XCentric Ventures, et al., Orange County Superior Court case number 30-204-00738725, she sued multiple persons, lawyers, and entities for alleged defamation (among other things). In doing so, Albert lost or partially lost anti-SLAPP motions to Yelp, Inc., Rip-Off Report, attorneys Mitchell Hannah, Devin Lucas, and David Seal, individuals Karen Rozier, Maegan Nickolic and Pam Ragland. Albert then lost or partially lost all appeals of those rulings. One case went to trial, where her defamation claims which remained after an anti-SLAPP motion were dismissed when the trial court judge granted a nonsuit motion. Albert then lost the appeal to that. Albert sued the current OC district attorney, Todd Spitzer, alleging he defamed her for saying Albert’s law license was suspended during her campaign for OC district attorney. Albert lost in trial court and on appeal.

  • Lenore Albert is presently awaiting the State Bar Court Review Department’s decision on her last discipline trial which occurred several months back. At that trial, State Bar Court judge Dennis Saab recommended she be suspended (again, for a third time) for 1 1/2 years plus other conditions. This was over unauthorized practice during prior suspension.
    (The poor shlep who she allegedly worked for at the time has already been disbarred for aiding and abetting her unauthorized practice, per a recent article on Law360).
    Albert sought review arguing her discipline should be less because her UPL was inadvertent and she didn’t understand or follow the rules correctly and alternatively that the Bar is interpreting the rules wrong and they are unconstitutional. The Bar argued that the typical discipline imposed in a third strike State Bar trial is disbarment, and that she should be disbarred due to intentional moral turpitude. The docs are available for free on the State Bar Court website which is public information.
    Oral argument apparently was in December 2023 and the decision should come out in the next few weeks.


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