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With All Those Troubles

He Could Use a Lawyer

You might figure that an attorney with as many problems as Richard Degallegos would be eager to lie low and avoid the spotlight.

Acting on two dozen complaints, the State Bar recently took control of his law practice and branded him a “possible threat” to the public and legal profession. A judge sentenced him to five days in jail for contempt, and state and federal investigators are probing allegations that he misused clients’ money and botched their cases.

Far from shrinking from publicity, though, Degallegos has fought back furiously, insisting that he is being victimized by conspirators who include his ex-wife, his ex-in-laws, the San Diego County district attorney’s office and two disgruntled clients, all aided by the San Diego Police Department and the press.

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To press his case, Degallegos, 48, has mailed a “Who Framed Richard Degallegos?” kit to reporters. It contains a hot pink T-shirt, audio cassettes, a postcard and 75 pages of assorted poems, songs, laments and newspaper clippings. A sampler:

Vicious viper venom vile

Coil and coo caress defile

Marauding horde of poison words

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Across the plain like razor swords

To shred your foe in malicious glee

And stack in cords like limbs from tree.

Verse or no, Degallegos’ troubles are mounting. His Poway office is closed. Attorneys assigned to straighten out his clients’ cases are chagrined but not surprised by his counterattack.

“I think it’s a bizarre reaction, but then a number of Mr. Degallegos’ reactions are bizarre,” said attorney Diane Campbell. “He’s an aberration. I hope the public doesn’t think all lawyers behave like this.”

Hunger Consumes Rally

What do white supremacists eat? Pizza, if they can get it.

To help thwart last weekend’s “Aryan Woodstock” organized by Fallbrook’s Tom Metzger, the Napa County Sheriff’s Department remembered a truism of warfare: An army, even a ragtag one of skinheads, neo-Nazis and other fringe types, travels on its stomach.

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Assigned to keep the supremacists away from several hundred angry demonstrators, sheriff’s deputies refused to let Metzger’s daughter reenter the restricted rally area with $100 worth of pizzas. Cold, damp and hungry, the motley crew finally drifted away.

“The First Amendment says they have the right to freedom of speech,” explained a Sheriff’s Department spokesman. “It doesn’t say anything about eating pizza.”

Getting an Inside Look

The executives at The Sharper Image, the toy and gadget store for adults, are happiest when people are talking about the latest item in their ever-changing inventory.

In block letters on the cover of the chain’s media guide is the boast: “The Sharper Image receives national attention for its juicy catalogue of the world’s most unusual products.”

Products like the Golf Scope, the Japanese Acu-Massage table, eel-skin wallets, and

pulsating plasma art. Available at 66 stores, including Prospect Street in La Jolla and North County Fair in Escondido.

One of the products in the catalogue issued two weeks ago definitely has people talking--people like inspectors for the U.S. Postal Service. For $39, shoppers can buy a 13-ounce aerosol can of X-Ray Spray.

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Never again will you have to steam open your neighbor’s mail. Just apply some X-Ray Spray on the envelope and its contents are quickly visible and readable. It fades quickly, leaving no tattletale residue; after all, the spray is made by a New York firm specializing in surveillance products.

Postal investigators grumble that mail-snooping is a felony, although no official action is yet contemplated.

At corporate headquarters in San Francisco, Sharper Image execs are expressing wounded innocence and arranging photo opportunities for the press.

“We see X-ray as a gag gift,” says a spokeswoman. “We have a disclaimer on the can: ‘Caution: Unauthorized Access to U.S. Mail Prohibited by Law.’ We can’t imagine our customers using the product improperly.”


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