Stephen Yagman wasn’t one to quit. During his 35-year career, he relentlessly pursued civil rights actions against law enforcement officials, particularly those in Southern California. Even after filing for bankruptcy protection in 1999, he re-emerged to file a complaint against a federal judge, launching national reform of judicial disciplinary procedures.

It took a stint in prison on tax charges to slow Yagman down enough to simply take the time to pick up a good book — and he doesn’t mean law book. “I never had a real life outside,” Yagman said recently. “I only had a law life. I did legal work all the time, and it was nice not to do legal work all the time. There were many things I wanted to read, and I didn’t have time to read.”

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