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Correction

Paul Gallegos did not pull a Stunich

On September 8, 2006, The Humboldt Herald reported that Humboldt DA Paul Gallegos was guilty of “pulling a Stunich” when he was accused of plagiarizing portions of two editorials that appeared in the Times-Standard. Eureka lawyer Andy Stunich faced accusations of plagiarism in the blogosphere in July when it was discovered that an editorial by him in the Eureka Reporter contained portions of writings that appeared on another website.

There are several differences between Gallegosgate and Stunichgate. When the accusations of plagiarism surfaced, Gallegos apologized and voiced humiliation. In contrast, Stunich argued that the copyright on the sentences he borrowed was probably invalid. He then claimed he had permission to use portions of the work.

Also, as repeatedly pointed out here, the Stunich editorial appeared in the ER, which had threatened to bring Lucifer’s hammer down on anyone who dared submit a letter or editorial written by someone other than the person offering it for publication. The Gallegos editorials, on the other hand, were not published in the Eureka Reporter, but appeared in the T-S.

Mr. Stunich has demanded a correction from this blogger that Mr. Gallegos did not “pull a Stunich.” Based on the above-mentioned differences, I agree.

Whether or not Stunich’s actions legally constitute plagiarism is not for me to say. The experts, however, have voiced their opinions. The ER quoted Lee Bowker, PH.D as saying “The taking of even a single line from another source without attribution is plagiarism.”

The North Coast Journal stated this week that “Andrew Stunich did not commit plagiarism. Repeat: He did not commit plagiarism. All right? He merely took someone else’s words and put them under his own name.” Fair enough.

Andy’s latest response to this situation has been posted on Eric Kirk’s blog, and will reportedly be published in the ER. While I disagree that Stunich has been “viciously attacked” for his actions, I understand why he feels defensive. However, criticisms posted on this blog have largely been directed at the Eureka Reporter for their hypocritical handling of the situation.

  1. Anonymous
    September 15, 2006 at 9:11 pm | #1

    The North Coast Journal stated this week that “Andrew Stunich did not commit plagiarism. Repeat: He did not commit plagiarism. All right? He merely took someone else’s words and put them under his own name.”

    A skunk by any other name would smell as foul.

  2. Anonymous
    September 15, 2006 at 9:53 pm | #2

    “There are several differences between Gallegosgate and Stunichgate. When the accusations of plagiarism surfaced, Gallegos apologized and voiced humiliation. In contrast, Stunich argued that the copyright on the sentences he borrowed was probably invalid. He then claimed he had permission to use portions of the work.”

    So Gallegos was reasonable and humble in response to the petty harassment by the Arkley Reporter. Harassment that was interfering with his job as Humboldt County’s District Attorney.

    Stunich, on the other hand, pompously insisted that plagiarism was not plagiarism, even though he only got permission for the words he plagiarized AFTER he plagiarized them. And then only because it was publicized.

    I’m sure glad Gallegos is the D.A., and not Stunich.

  3. Anonymous
    September 16, 2006 at 4:16 pm | #3

    I read that after Paul Hagen left the D.A.’s office he joined the Eureka law firm “Bragg, Perlman, Russ, Stunich, Rudolph & Eads”. Is this Stunich the very same Andy Stunich late of “non”-plagiarism fame? :o

  4. Heraldo
    September 16, 2006 at 5:15 pm | #4

    Is this Stunich the very same Andy Stunich late of “non”-plagiarism fame?

    That’s the one.

  5. Anonymous
    September 16, 2006 at 6:13 pm | #5

    Is that law firm generally conservative politically, like Stunich?

    Hagen will continue working on environmental issues there, so I wonder why exactly he was removed from the D.A.’s office.

  6. Anonymous
    September 16, 2006 at 9:42 pm | #6

    Hey Ken ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, you’re stilll just a nutcase!

  7. Anonymous
    September 16, 2006 at 10:10 pm | #7

    “A skunk by any other name would smell as foul.”

    Yeah, Stunkich must be feeling pretty self-satisfied now. He used his legal weight to bully people, to threaten people who said his plagiarism was plagiarism.

  8. Anonymous
    September 16, 2006 at 10:34 pm | #8

    However, criticisms posted on this blog have largely been directed at the Eureka Reporter for their hypocritical handling of the situation.

    Now criticism should largely be directed at Stunich. Perhaps in the future the term “pulling a Stunich” will come to mean using threats of litigation to force people to say that theft is not theft, and lieing is not lieing.

  9. Andy Stunich
    September 17, 2006 at 7:10 am | #9

    You say That I claim that I had permission when in fact I sent you the proof that you can verify with Mr. Brumfield.

  10. Anonymous
    September 17, 2006 at 5:16 pm | #10

    Say Andy, since you’re around, would you be willing to answer the question above about your law firm? Is it basically conservative, politically?

    How would you characterize yourself politically? Are you an ally of Rob Arkley Jr.?

  11. Anonymous
    September 17, 2006 at 7:35 pm | #11

    “You say That I claim that I had permission when in fact I sent you the proof that you can verify with Mr. Brumfield.”

    You got permission only after plagiarizing the material, and then only because it was publicized. And you said that before you got permission, or “express consent”, you had “implied” consent. On what basis can you claim that you had implied consent?

  12. Andy Stunich
    September 19, 2006 at 3:54 pm | #12

    My law firm has no ideology. It is not a political institution, but most, but not all of my partners freely identify themselves as liberal. I consider myself a moderate. My partners and I have represented a broad spectrum of clients without regard to their ideology. We decide if they are worth defending on the individual merits and I have never defended or prosecuted a case I did not believe in.

    I have never met Mr. Arkley nor have I or my firm ever been retained to represent him. All I know is that he has made many generous donations for which, I believe, he should receive more gratitude so that he will, perhaps, be encouraged to do even more for the community. I also know a few people who work for him and they universally say that he is fair and generous toward them. Beyond that, I known little about the Arkleys as I do not follow the Arkley debate very closely. I do, however, believe that the ER is fair and as unbiased as a paper can get. The opinion page routinely runs opinions from a broad spectrum. I know of no daily paper that gave so much print space to the pro-Islam point of view as set forth by Dr. Aziz. Yet, they ran my counter-opinions as well.

    The material I used originating from Mr. Brumfield did not come from his web site. I do not think I ever heard of him or his website before the bloggers raised the issue. The portions of his history of Muhammad I used were taken from a website that claimed no copyright and gave no attribution as to the source. I have seen the material other places as well. I knew whoever wrote it would not care as it appeared many places, I used a small portion of the history, and knew that a religious website discussing Muhammad would support the use I made of the material.
    I also felt that copyright protection did not apply to the facts I used and/or that fair use would apply. When Captain Buhne broke the story, the ER e-mailed Mr. Brumfield with a copy of the story. He wrote back that he felt no copyright had been violated. You should note that his website expressly said personal use was OK. Whether using the material in a letter to the editor is personal use is unknown to me as I am not a copyright lawyer. But whatever the reason, Mr. Brumfield felt that no copyright was broken and I agree with his assessment. In any event, when I finally heard of the story from a friend in Ohio that saw it on the Internet, I wrote an e-mail to Barry Brumfield apologizing for the sarcastic accusation on one of the websites that he took the material from me and I assured him I would set the record straight. I never asked for express consent from him, but his unsolicited response was the consent I sent to everyone and he also wrote me that he strongly supported the use I made of his material and thanked me for my courage in speaking out. He gave me permission past, present, and future to use all his work with or without attribution and modified or not. He later called me on the telephone and he turned out to be a very nice man. He also took the time to e-mail the ER and anyone else who inquired and advised them of his consent. To be candid, I am not a copyright lawyer nor was I well-versed in the rules of plagiarism. I have obtained quite an education from the school of hard knocks. I can appreciate that, based on the full facts, some may still want to criticize me. That is fine as long as in all fairness all of the salient facts are disclosed. However, as I said before, given Mr. Brumfield’s consent, I do not see how anyone else can be heard to complain. I can tell that Heraldo still thinks ill of me over the incident and to him I offer my unqualified apology. To err is human and to forgive is divine. (I think Shakespear said it first) Please be divine. I hope this answers all of your questions.

  13. Anonymous
    September 19, 2006 at 4:45 pm | #13

    Yes it does, and thankyou very much for taking the time for such a lengthy reply. You seem like a nice man personally, and I certainly don’t take seriously the issue of your using Brumfield’s material from the other website. I also don’t think the charges of plagiarism against Gallegos were anything but petty harassment by the ER, for political purposes.

    I think when Heraldo was first raising the issue he was focusing on the ER’s hypocrisy, but then it got focused on you when you threatened litigation. But I don’t blame you for wanting to defend yourself and your name. I just think the ER shouldn’t have been harassing Gallegos for such a petty thing as the plagiarism of a few words written in a newspaper column.

  14. Anonymous
    September 19, 2006 at 4:56 pm | #14

    “To err is human and to forgive is divine. (I think Shakespeare said it first)”

    That’s a good bit of subtle humor! I didn’t catch that the first time. Yes, now we all better be careful of quoting anything without scrupulous attribution!

  15. Heraldo
    September 19, 2006 at 5:07 pm | #15

    Andy, I’m not sure what you are apologizing for. It could be for the initial use without attribution, or it could be for emphatically repeating (falsely) that bloggers (including, presumably, myself) “viciously attacked” you. Or perhaps you are apologizing for singling me out for threats of a lawsuit.

    You said Barry Blumfield “took the time to e-mail the ER and anyone else who inquired and advised them of his consent.” You wouldn’t know this, but I did email him and my inquiry went unanswered.

    I appreciate that you now admit you used writings found on the web and only obtained permission for use after the fact. Admitting the truth of an error comes off far better than trying to cover it up. And while I can appreciate Mr. Brumfield’s granting of permission, past and future, I think it’s odd that he said permission had been granted to you as of April 1 (April Fools!), insinuating you received it prior to the publication of your May editorial. Truth and honesty are supposed to mean a lot to Christians, so I find this point interesting.

    Lawyers are also supposed to have a thing for the truth, but to paraphrase Ed Denson in a comment on Eric Kirk’s blog, lawyers just argue their argument, or their version of the truth. (My apologies to Ed if I got that wrong).

    I do not share your view of the Eureka Reporter, and find their handling of this situation is a prime example of their bias. Newspapers have a way of becoming the historical record of an area, for better or worse. One of the most important functions of the local blogs is the commentary on local news and the alternative forum for people to discuss not only current events but how the papers are reporting them (or not). Due to our unique situation of the “news war” between the ER and the T-S, the blogs become much more important.

    Anyway, I accept your apology. Despite the stress suffered by anyone involved, I’m confident important lessons were learned.

  16. Anonymous
    September 19, 2006 at 5:32 pm | #16

    “I do not share your view of the Eureka Reporter, and find their handling of this situation is a prime example of their bias.”

    It certainly is, and the ER was created by Rob Arkley Jr. to be a political weapon and a propaganda outlet.

    Mr. Stunich said “the opinion page routinely runs opinions from a broad spectrum”, and it is a good thing if the ER has given some print space to the pro-Islam point of view. That is uncommon in America. But has anyone ever seen the ER print an opinion that was critical the Arkleys and their various local projects, like the Balloon Tract?

  17. Eric V. Kirk
    September 19, 2006 at 5:57 pm | #17

    I can testify that Andy’s firm is a mixed bag. I have conversed with at one of Andy’s partners at the firm who is for the most part liberal. There are firms who tend one way or another because their line of work would select itself for it, but I’ve heard of only a few firms who have anything resembling a litmus test.

    That being said, my firm is liberal to the core. So to speak. When Les Scher first took me on, he picked my resume out of a stack of about 120 because I shared the last name with his favorite jazz musician, Rosahn Roland Kirk. The second reason was my resume which listed extensive public interest work of a progressive nature. The third was that I could tell him where Garberville was over the telephone without having to look it up.

    There were some other criteria, but those items got me the interview, although before I could be interviewed my wife had pretty much sold me on him when he called the night before. Among other things, she mentioned that I fry up the best latkas north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

    What disappointed me was that he never asked for my grade point average.

  18. Heraldo
    September 19, 2006 at 6:07 pm | #18

    What disappointed me was that he never asked for my grade point average.

    Ha! Are you baiting your, ahem, fan club?

  19. Andy Stunich
    September 19, 2006 at 6:32 pm | #19

    Heraldo, I accept your criticism, but I have previously written that the express consent came after the fact. I only argued that I had implied consent before hand. However, this is not the first time by any means that I said the express consent came after the fact. Mr. Brumfield put the date before the letter to the editor to show the past consent and not to try to decieve and so his staff could respond properly to inquiries. He is an honest guy. But anyway, thank you for accepting my apolagy. I hope that we have buried the hatchet. I hold no ill will against you and wish you the best of luck. And, you can be sure, I learned a good lesson.

  20. Anonymous
    September 19, 2006 at 6:47 pm | #20

    Although it seems to me like an overreaction to threaten a lawsuit, I respect Mr. Stunich for offering the olive branch. And you have my respect, Heraldo, for the outspokenness and excellence of your blog.

    By the way, congratulations on your counter recently passing the 10,000 hits mark!

  21. Les Scher
    September 19, 2006 at 6:49 pm | #21

    Mr. Kirk, I demand an immediate retraction of your heinous slander. You have claimed that our fine firm hires lawyers on the basis of:

    1. surnames resembling jazz musicians
    2. political bias
    3. minor geographical knowledge
    4. the ability to fry latkas

    I am finally going to take a look at your grade point average, and it better be good.

  22. Eric V. Kirk
    September 19, 2006 at 9:19 pm | #22

    Um. That would be libel, not slander. Libel is written. Slander if verbal.

    Okay, I’m really in trouble now!

  23. Anonymous
    September 20, 2006 at 1:03 am | #23

    “Um. That would be libel, not slander. Libel is written. Slander if verbal.”

    Very good, Eric. I was just testing you. You might possibly keep your job.

    Unfortunately, your grade point average is barely passable. A few freshly fried latkas delivered to my office, however, will persuade me that it is significantly higher.

  24. Heraldo
    September 20, 2006 at 7:58 am | #24

    OK, Andy, it’s water under the bridge.

    Thanks, Anon. 6:47! And thanks for participating.

  25. Learning
    April 15, 2013 at 4:30 pm | #25

    Silliness.

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