Ivan Von Staich, Convicted Murderer Who Scored Win in Parole Bid, Has Menaced Courts for Years
Von Staich had cut his teeth as a jailhouse lawyer in the 1970s. Behind bars in Riverside County for arson, the Lake Elsinore man had posed as another inmate who was being released. He was later re-captured, charged with the additional escape counts and convicted. But he later appealed the decision in People v. Von Staich, demanding a full review of his entire case based on the escape counts.
Such an admonishment did not deter Von Staich from challenging in court his felony charges related to the escape from Orange County Jail. He claimed in court in early 1989 that Sheriff's Deputy Frank Nin handcuffed himself inside a restroom in the rooftop jail recreation area to help Von Staich and Clark escape--in exchange for a promised $10,000.
But that's no defense, this is: that Von Staich was trying to escape the beatings inflicted by his deputy jailers, producing photos of his face haven been bashed in October 1985. Deputy Distict Attorney William Overtoom conceded in closing arguments that Von Staich took a beating by deputies, but the prosecutor noted the inmate had plenty of opportunities to inform authorities before his escape. Overtoom called much of Von Staich's escape tale "a wagon full of baloney."
But the jury bought it, and the escape charges were dropped. Perhaps that's what emboldened Von Staich to file reams and reams of lawsuits, motions and appeals that have tied up the state and federal courts for years. Nearly all have been related to the murder conviction, with the large majority filed in the federals appeals courts in Santa Ana (Fourth Circuit) and San Francisco (Ninth Circuit).
Turned down once on a motion to the Fourth Circuit for a new murder trial, Von Staich on Feb. 6, 1989, filed a second claiming Cynthia Topper was then saying she may have partly been responsible for Von Staich killing Robert Topper in self-defense. That motion was ultimately knocked down after prosecutors argued she may have been coerced in her frail state of mind.
In Ivan Von Staich v. Robert G. Borg, Ninth Circuit justices disagreed in February 1993 with Von Staich's contention that he was deprived a fair trial because the trial judge allowed evidence to be admitted of his prior incarceration in federal prison.
In Ivan Von Staich v. California Department of Corrections (CDC), Ninth Circuit justices in April 2007 agreed with the California Supreme Court that the CDC had not violated Von Staich's due process rights by failing to set a maximum term for his second degree murder conviction.
Ninth Circuit justices in November 2007 found Ivan Von Staich v. Ben Curry, warden moot because Von Staich was seeking a parole hearing he'd already received. The U.S. Supreme Court denied Von Staich's appeal of the Ninth Circuit ruling in Octobr 2010.
In another Ivan Von Staich v. CDC, Ninth Circuit justices in October 2010 found a federal court had not abused its discretion by rejecting Von Staich's arguments concerning the validity and repudiation of the settlement agreement, concluding that Von Staich had not demonstrated any "extraordinary circumstances" warranting relief from judgment.
In Ivan Von Staich v. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ninth Circuit justices in October 2010 rejected Von Staich's attempt to have grooming violations removed from his prison file, alleging the citations violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000. As the justices noted, the grooming violations had already been removed from his central file.
He's even sued the parole board. In Ivan Von Staich v. California Board of Prison Hearings, et al, he claimed his equal protection rights with respect to his suitability to parole were being violated, demanding that a parole hearing be held sooner rather than later. A federal court dismissed the complaint in February 2007.