Ron Kaye is a partner at the firm of Kaye, McLane & Bednarski. He specializes in representing criminal defendants and plaintiffs in civil rights cases. In 2010, he was named one of the 100 top attorneys in the State of California by the California Daily Journal. He was elected to be one of California's "Super Lawyers" for several years, including 2010, 2011 and 2012. In 2011, he was named by California Lawyer magazine a CLAY (California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year) award recipient for his outstanding work in civil rights cases the previous year.
Mr. Kaye is a graduate of UCLA Law School and has a Masters Degree from UCLA School of Urban Planning. He taught criminal law both at UCLA and in a seminar to members of the judiciary of the Kingdom of Bhutan. He also led a delegation investigating the murder of Jesuit Priests in El Salvador. Mr. Kaye is a former President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Lawyer's Guild. Before joining Kaye, McLane, and Bednarski, Mr. Kaye was a trial lawyer in the office of the Federal Public Defender for 8 years and worked at Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe-where he was on the Christopher Commission, investigating the corrupt practices of the LAPD.
In his criminal practice, he has represented numerous defendants at trial charged with a vast array of offenses. Mr. Kaye's last two trials have been acquittals. In one of those cases, a counterfeit software case, Mr. Kaye first vacated his client's conviction through a petition for habeas corpus, and then exposed to the jury the false testimony and unconstitutional behavior of the federal case agent. He also obtained a dismissal for three defendants in a large scale methamphetamine case when he uncovered that the agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency misrepresented the identity of the actual informant that negotiated the controlled substance transactions with the defendants. In a case against the leader of the medical marijuana movement in Southern California where the government alleged the client conspired to sell thousands of pounds of marijuana, Mr. Kaye argued and received a sentence of one year of probation for his client and, contrary to the two year prison sentence requested by the prosecutor. Mr. Kaye also represented an individual charged with engaging in illicit sexual activity with minors in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. After performing extensive investigation and taking depositions in Cambodia, and filing a motion to exclude the minors' eyewitness testimony based on a lack of reliability, the U.S. Attorney's Office dropped all charges reflecting this conduct.
In his civil practice, Mr. Kaye represents plaintiffs against municipal governments for engaging in excessive force and for causing false imprisonment. He was co-lead counsel in a civil action against the members of the Long Beach Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office for not disclosing evidence of his client's innocence and for engaging in a pattern of using fabricated confessions through the use of jailhouse informants. This wrong resulted in 24 years of wrongful imprisonment. This case resulted in the largest pretrial wrongful imprisonment settlement in California history - $7.95 million.
Mr. Kaye also has successfully sued custodial faciIities for excessive force, and for unconstitutional medical and mental health care for inmates. Mr. Kaye obtained what appears to be the largest custodial suicide settlement in U.S. history for $2.25 million against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. In that case, a minor, suffering from bipolar disorder and depression, was placed in the mental health unit of the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility. After being reprimanded by a correctional counselor, the minor covered her cell window -- contrary to policy -- and was found hanging for 8 to 10 minutes. Although the prison officials denied responsibility, Mr. Kaye demonstrated that the correctional counselors had a practice of allowing wards to cover their windows, and had recklessly allowed them to do so in direct violation of policy. In addition, Mr. Kaye demonstrated that the administration of the correctional facility had attempted to cover-up the incident by not accurately reporting the background facts to the Office of the Inspector General.
Mr. Kaye has also successfully sued the State of California and was able to change the law in California to permit convicted felons to obtain victims of crime benefits
Based on his extensive work uncovering the unreliability of jailhouse informants, in April of 2011 Mr. Kaye testified as an expert before the Califorina Senate's Public Safety Committee in support of legislation precluding the use of jailhouse informants in criminal trials without substantial, independent corroboration of their statements -- beyond information already known to the police. The legislation passed through committee and presently is being presented to the California legislature as a whole.