Fame whore Jay Dobyns’ eight-year-long, mostly secret lawsuit against the ATF seems about to actually end. In anticipation of that end, Dobyns told the Dobyns-friendly Arizona Republic that he wasn’t going to get richer because U.S. Court of Federal Claims Chief Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith was incompetent.
Dobyns was an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who became famous for hanging around with and prospecting the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in Arizona from early 2002 through July 2003. The very flawed and corrupt infiltration in which he participated was later called “Operation Black Biscuit.” The name was coined on the set of the defunct Fox reality series America’s Most Wanted. The ATF made Dobyns a celebrity and created a monster. Dobyns wrote a book about his biker adventures titled No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey To The Inner Circle Of The Hells Angels and was the subject of two more.
He soon annoyed his ATF supervisors who described Dobyns as “broken” and “unfit for duty.” Dobyns complained that he was threatened with retaliation by the Hells Angels and the ATF was doing nothing to protect him. He sued the Bureau and reached a $373,000 settlement in September 2007. Someone fire bombed his Tucson home in August 2008. Dobyns claimed the fire was a murder attempt that resulted from the ATF’s refusal to protect him. The ATF thought Dobyns set the fire himself and questioned his sanity. Dobyns then filed his current suit against the Bureau in October 2008. The ATF countersued for the royalties from Dobyns book.
It has been frequently reported that the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club was responsible for the fire at Dobyns home but Dobyns told The Aging Rebel “I have never said to anyone publicly or privately that the Hells Angels burned my house down. Find where I have. I have said that ATF let someone get away with it and in the process also get away with attempting to murder my family. Believe it or not but my beef is not with the Hells Angels. They are in my rear view mirror. My beef is with ATF.”
In August 2014, after a month long secret trial, Federal District Judge Francis M. Allegra ruled that the ATF owed Dobyns $173,000, which was his yearly salary in 2007. Dobyns had sought $7.2 million for pain, suffering and emotional distress and an additional $10 million for “economic damages.”
Allegra also suspected that the ATF’s lawyers had treated Dobyns unfairly during the long suit. Allegra ordered an investigation into the conduct of the government attorneys and in anticipation that the report would find those attorneys guilty of misconduct, Dobyns filed a motion for relief.
A week ago Judge Campbell-Smith, who now presides over the case, accepted the investigator’s report and overruled Dobyns motion. Although her decision, like most of the case, remains sealed the acceptance and ruling indicate she has ruled against Dobyns. Dobyns may yet find a way to continue his suit but he didn’t sound like it in comments published today in the Republic.
“I think she put her competence – or incompetence – on display,” Dobyns said about the judge. “Is it smart for Jay Dobyns, as a plaintiff before that court, to say that? Probably not, but I don’t care anymore. I don’t care if I offend her. I think her response was incomplete.”
Whether Dobyns likes it or not, the judge’s ruling may mean that his personal, bespoken spotlight is finally starting to dim.