Hollywood man accused of cyberstalking Palm Beach County judge

David Lerner repeatedly filed motions 'of no legal merit,' affidavit says

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor

David Lerner is accused of cyberstalking Palm Beach County Judge Howard Coates Jr.

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - A Hollywood man is accused of cyberstalking a Palm Beach County judge who issued an injunction for protection against stalking two others earlier this year.

David Lerner has been held a Palm Beach County jail without bond since his Nov. 14 arrest at the South County Courthouse in Delray Beach.

According to a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office probable cause affidavit, Lerner appealed the July 13 ruling of Judge Howard Coates Jr. to the Fourth District Court of Appeal.

Lerner attempted to have the case reheard in front of Coates in August, but because the case was pending appeal and Coates didn't have jurisdiction, the judge prepared an order stating the legal basis for denying the rehearing.

"Even though there was a legal basis not to hear the case, Lerner began filing motions in the Clerk of Courts system," the affidavit said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement began investigating Lerner in October after he sent an email to Attorney General Pam Bondi in which he "discusses Judge Coate's alleged obstruction of justice."

According to the affidavit, Lerner wrote in bold type at the end of the email, "Something needs to happen and there needs to be an intervention here as this situation is about to blow up and someone could get hurt or killed. I will repeat that to hopefully get on your radar (again), this could BLOW UP OR SOMEONE COULD GET HURT OR KILLED. FEEL FREE TO EMAIL OR CALL ME OR PLEASE JUST HAVE LAW ENFORCEMENT GET INVOLVED IMMEDIATEYL BEFORE SOMETHING OR SOMEONE BLOWS UP OR POSSIBLY GETS HURT OR KILLED."

After FDLE agents met with Lerner, he continued to file motions "that were of no legal merit," the affidavit said.

Below are some of the filings:

"Affidavit Good Faith That Judge Coates is a Hoffed Mammal Genus Equus, of the Jackass-Clownage Variety," Oct. 26

"Motion to Baker Act the Honorable Judge Howard K. Coates Jr.," Oct. 27

"Motion to Impeach/Permanently De-Bench 'Criminal Coates,'" Oct. 28

"Notice That the Litigator Turned Corrupt Judge Continues to Contradict Himself and Has Been Betrayed by His Jackass Intellect and Lacks Standing and Jurisdiction and, Thus and Thereforce and Et. Al. and Etc., Has Been Rendered Invalid and Unforceable and As Such I Will Not Be Appearing Before Him," Oct. 29

Coates set a hearing for Nov. 14 to show cause about the continuous filings, but it only prompted Lerner to file more motions and send other emails, the affidavit said.

The judge issued an amended order on Halloween to prevent Lerner from filing any further "pleadings, motions, memoranda or other written submissions or requests for relief in this matter unless those pleadings are reviewed and signed by a member of the Florida Bar."

Judge Howard Coates Jr. ordered that David Lerner quit filing motions unless they had been "reviewed and signed by a member of the Florida Bar."

One of the motions that Lerner wrote took aim at Coates, who was fearful for his safety.

"YOU HAVE NO ONE TO BLAME BUT YOURSELF AND YOU CAN MAKE THIS STOP AT ANY TIME," the motion said, according to the affidavit. "DO THE RIGHT THING FOR YOUR FAMILY … IT'S YOUR ONLY 'OUT CARD,' PAL … I HAVE A RADAR LOCK AND I DON'T LET GO UNTIL I GET MY MAN."

Below the statement was a picture with the words, "YOU ARE MINE FOREVER."

Lerner persisted sending emails and motions, this time through the judge's division, as well as other members of the court system, the FBI and the Department of Justice.

In one of the 10 emails sent to Coates and others, Lerner acknowledged the order preventing him from sending any more correspondence, writing, "Looking forward to November 14th."

Deputies arrested Coates at the courthouse.

"Lerner willfully, maliciously and repeatedly cyberstalked Judge Howard Coates, making threats to him and his family," the affidavit said.

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