Courts, Rulings & Lawsuits
Ninth Circuit in split decision rejects qualified immunity for LAPD cop who shot, killed offender beating another officer
On October 29, 2018, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Officers Edward Agdeppa and Perla Rodriguez were dispatched to a fitness gym in Hollywood, California on a complaint of a trespasser causing a disturbance. Both officers activated their body-worn cameras and an employee directed them to the men’s locker room where they encountered Albert Dorsey.
Ninth Circuit upholds California ban on indiscriminate honking
The First Amendment doesn't protect Californians who honk their car horns in support of street protests, or for any other reason besides alerting other drivers of safety concerns on the road, a divided Ninth Circuit panel ruled Friday. In 2017, Susan Porter participated in a protest outside of Congressman Darrell Issa’s office in Vista, California, over Issa’s support of former President Donald Trump and his policies.
Judge lacked power to reassemble jurors to determine if allegation of prior was valid
Once a judge told jurors, “You are all excused from jury duty,” he was powerless to order the bailiff to gather them for further deliberations after the prosecutor pointed out that no determination had been made by them as to whether a prior had been validly alleged, Div. Five of the First District Court of Appeal has held. “[W]e conclude that the court lost jurisdiction over the jurors before they were ostensibly reconvened, thus rendering their verdict as to appellant’s prior serious felony conviction a nullity,” Napa Superior Court Judge Monique Langhorne, sitting on assignment, said in the published portion of an opinion, filed Tuesday.
Veteran deputy DA sues AG’s office for invasion of privacy
A veteran Los Angeles County prosecutor is suing the state of California, alleging her home address, birthdate and other private information was temporarily made public last June on an Attorney General’s Office website listing holders of persons authorized to carry concealed weapons. Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges privacy violations and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Federal judge cites PORAC President Brian Marvel’s declaration in order enjoining unsafe handgun act
On March 20, 2023, Central District Judge Cormac J. Carney issued a preliminary injunction in Boland v. Bonta barring enforcement of the deceptively titled “California’s Unsafe Handgun Act” (UHA), ruling that “Californians have the constitutional right to acquire and use state-of-the-art handguns to protect themselves.” This ruling is of particular importance to California peace officers given the introduction of SB 377, which would eliminate the peace officer exemption from the UHA, thereby prohibiting officers from purchasing or selling the modern handguns they bear while on duty.
Connolly asks that bid to bar Lowenthal from resentencing proceeding be sent out of county
The lawyer for Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patrick E. Connolly yesterday filed a request that his client’s motion to disqualify another judge of the same court, Daniel J. Lowenthal, in a proceeding in which a convicted murderer/robber is seeking resentencing, be shifted to another county for a determination. That’s the standard procedure when challenges-for-cause, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure §170.3, are brought against a judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court.
LA's release of officers' photos touches off a legal mess
The settlement of a lawsuit filed over a prolonged California Public Records Act request has the press, the city of Los Angeles, the LAPD, the police union, and certain police officers, all blaming - and in some cases suing - each other. On Wednesday, the city filed a lawsuit against the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and Knock L.A. reporter Ben Camacho, along with 50 other unnamed defendants, seeking the return of photos of certain police officers Camacho obtained via a public records request he submitted to the LAPD in 2021.
C.A. reinstates taxpayers’ suit challenging program for collection of DNA samples
Div. Three of the Fourth District Court of Appeal yesterday ordered reinstatement of a taxpayers’ action aimed at barring Orange County from collecting DNA samples from alleged misdemeanants who render consent in exchange for a dropping of charges, a reduction of them, or for leniency. The opinion by Acting Presiding Justice Eileen C. Moore reverses a judgment of dismissal which followed Orange Superior Court Judge William D. Claster’s sustaining of demurrers without leave to amend.
Judge denies former Dodger Yasiel Puig's request for federal prosecutors to turn over documents
A federal judge on Monday rejected former Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig's bid to force prosecutors to turn over a mass of documents that would allegedly lend credence to his claims of race-based selective prosecution for lying to investigators in an illegal gambling case. U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee denied the request by Puig to compel the government to produce what he claims is evidence that would prove agents have different standards when dealing with Black suspects.
Federal appeals court upholds Justice Department’s use of key obstruction law in January 6 cases
The federal appeals court in Washington, DC, has upheld the Justice Department’s use of a key criminal charge against hundreds of January 6 rioters, saying they can be charged with obstructing Congress. The appeals court said obstruction can include a “wide range of conduct” when a defendant has a corrupt intent and is targeting an official proceeding, such as the congressional certification of the presidential election on January 6, 2021.
Fourth Circuit is first to rule that livestreaming police is protected speech, but questions remain about officer safety
It is well-established that recording police is protected by the First Amendment. But a U.S. appeals court has ruled for the first time that livestreaming in real-time is also protected speech. However, that wasn’t the end of the court’s analysis. That means police need to understand what law enforcement interests might outweigh the free speech protection of livestreaming - and under what circumstances.
LA DA George Gascón ignores medical examiner’s cause of death, charges 7 cops, 1 nurse
Well, it didn’t take long for that - what a buddy of mine on the job used to call - “air thief,” LA County DA George Gascón, to blip on my radar screen again. Recently, NPA reported on the toxic, Soros-funded district attorney losing a $1.5 million retaliation lawsuit to one of his assistant DAs. More than a dozen of Gascón’s assistant DAs have filed similar lawsuits against him.
The heat is on
On a Tuesday afternoon in mid June, 2022, two El Monte Police Department officers - Michael Paredes, 42, and Joseph Santana, 31 - responded to a report of a stabbing during a domestic violence dispute. On arriving at the scene, they were ambushed and fatally shot by Justin Flores, 35. Flores was a multiple offender, and known to local law enforcement, but critics say he was free to walk the streets due to the soft-on-crime policies of Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón (D), himself a former Los Angeles police officer.
Ex-deputies involved in Guardado shooting indicted in separate abuse case
Two former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies have been indicted on charges of violating the civil rights of a skateboarder they allegedly forced into the back of their cruiser and threatened before crashing the vehicle in 2020, prosecutors announced Thursday. According to a five-count indictment, Miguel Vega and Chris Hernandez - who were also involved in the highly publicized 2020 killing of 18-year-old Andres Guardado - were charged with conspiracy, witness tampering, falsification of records and deprivation of rights. 
2 Whittier officers charged in shooting that paralyzed unarmed man, Gascón says
Two former Whittier officers who shot an unarmed robbery suspect in 2020, leaving him paralyzed, are now facing criminal charges, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced Wednesday. The two former detectives were identified as Cynthia Lopez and Salvador Murillo. Gascón said the two fired several rounds at Nicholas Carrillo, who was running away from his car on foot and unarmed.
Has L.A. D.A. George Gascón delivered on his police accountability promises?
Yatoya Toy stood outside the Los Angeles County district attorney's office in February, pointing at images from a cellphone video showing her brother Anthony Lowe being fatally shot by Huntington Park police as he fled on the stumps of his amputated legs. Lowe was a suspect in a stabbing and armed with a knife, but Toy had two questions: How could a man who used a wheelchair be a threat to police? And what was Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón going to do about his death?
Family of El Sereno stabbing suspect believes tragedy could have been prevented
New details are emerging about the past of a suspect accused of randomly stabbing two people in El Sereno; one a father of three who survived, and the other a high school senior who died of his injuries. The Los Angeles Police Department arrested David Zapata on suspicion of murder and attempted murder March 8 following the attack on 17-year-old Xavier Chavarin, who was stabbed to death.
Tory Lanez’s motion for new trial trashed by prosecutors: 'It lacks substance
Tory Lanez has filed a motion for a new trial following his Megan Thee Stallion shooting conviction - but Los Angeles County prosecutors have said his claims “lack substance.” A copy of the prosecution’s Response to the Defendant’s Motion for a New Trial which was filed on Thursday (April 6), revealed that attorneys Alexander Bott and Kathy Ta filed the opposition on behalf of the District Attorney’s office.
California doctor charged after video allegedly shows her poisoning husband's tea with liquid drain cleaner
A Southern California dermatologist has been charged with poisoning her husband by pouring liquid drain cleaner into his tea, authorities said Wednesday. Yue "Emily" Yu, a 45-year-old doctor from Irvine, was indicted by a grand jury on three felony counts of poisoning and one count of domestic battery with injury, the Orange County District Attorney's Office said in a statement. She faces a maximum sentence of eight years and eight months if convicted on all counts.
Attorney General Bonta brings enforcement action against Los Angeles County due to illegal and unsafe conditions, lack of outdoor exercise and education at County’s juvenile halls
California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced today that the California Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a motion to enforce specific provisions of the 2021 stipulated judgment requiring Los Angeles County to remedy illegal and unsafe conditions of confinement at its two juvenile halls.
California bill will release death sentenced murderers after 20 years
The California Senate Public Safety Committee voted on a bill Tuesday to give the state’s worst murderers, who have been sentenced to death or life without the possibility of parole (LWOP), the opportunity to have their sentences invalidated and make them eligible for parole. Senate Bill 94, authored by Senator Dave Cortese (D-Santa Clara), specifies that criminals convicted of murder with special circumstances before June 5, 1990, and sentenced to death or LWOP would be provided with a public defender to petition for recall and resentencing.
A California law forced police to release shooting footage. Now videos follow the same script
Ken Pritchett clicks his mouse and the logo of a Southern California police department pops up on a computer monitor the width of his shoulders. Another click and the image flips to a three-dimensional map. A glowing orange arrow indicates the direction a man ran as he tried to evade police. “Right here, this is the path he took in the alley,” Pritchett said, switching from the map to a still image highlighting an object in the man’s hand. “Then you can see him turn toward the officers. He wants to die. This is suicide.”
Local officials to call for changes in state law for public safety
Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin, Sheriff Chad Bianco and other law enforcement officials will gather Wednesday to call for changes in state law to bolster public safety, mainly by undoing the effects of a decade-old legislative act that shifted many former state responsibilities onto counties. The officials will specifically address ongoing impacts of Assembly Bill 109, the Public Safety Realignment Act of 2011, during a briefing at the DA’s headquarters on Orange Street in downtown Riverside.
Sacramento shooting suspect cut prison time in half. California Republicans want to end that
One year later, Sacramento’s deadliest mass shooting continues to shape discussions in the California Capitol. They revolve around one question: would lives have been saved if one of the suspects had served out his full prison sentence? California voters in 2016 created the opportunity for inmates to reduce their time behind bars. They passed Proposition 57, a ballot measure intended to draw down the state’s prison population.
Los Angeles City/County
Probation officer stabbed in neck, face at troubled L.A. County juvenile hall
A probation officer was stabbed in the neck in one of Los Angeles County's long-troubled probation halls Monday night, just days before a state oversight board is expected to vote to shut down the facility. The officer, described as a supervisor, was cut across the face and neck sometime after 9 p.m. while working in the Secure Youth Track Facility of Barry J. Nidorf Hall, according to several law enforcement sources with direct knowledge of the situation.
Lobby of LAPD station damaged after man walks in with flaming shopping cart
The lobby of a Los Angeles Police Department station in Exposition Park is closed indefinitely after a man walked in with shopping cart lit with flames late Thursday, officials said. The incident occurred around 11:25 p.m. at the LAPD’s Southwest Station, located at 1546 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. A man walked into the station with a shopping cart on fire and the building’s front doors, ceiling and lobby chairs also caught fire, police said.
A big question remains amid LAPD photo scandal: Just who is an undercover officer?
As fallout continues around the Los Angeles Police Department's release of undercover officers’ pictures, the question of who actually works undercover is far from settled. Should it only be officers involved in the most sensitive assignments - embedded with drug cartels, terrorists and other criminal networks - who grow beards, dye hair, shed their identities?
Former aides say L.A. Controller Kenneth Mejia blurred boundaries
As a Pikachu costume-wearing, corgi-toting leftist candidate, Kenneth Mejia’s unorthodox style helped fuel his insurgent campaign for Los Angeles city controller. But less than six months after Mejia, 32, trounced a career politician to win the job, two former employees allege that he created an uncomfortable work environment where personal boundaries were often blurred in both the controller’s office and on the campaign.
LA County Decarcerationcarcerati
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors needs to take a smarter approach to the jails
Pretty much everyone in the region knows that Los Angeles County jails are in miserable shape. There are too many inmates with too few cells amid terrible supervision in dangerous conditions that too often lead to death for the crime of being imprisoned. The ACLU analysis of the situation nails it: the jails’ current situation is “gross overcrowding that leads to people with severe mental illness being shoved by the hundreds into unsafe housing, without access to psychotropic medication, and living without adequate food, showers, or basic hygiene.”
Prescription for mayhem
On the night of April 4, three suspects connected to a carjacking and shooting crashed a car in my neighborhood of Venice Beach, taking off on foot. For hours, sirens wailed, choppers flew overhead, and police warned residents to stay indoors, given that the suspects were at large and likely armed. According to progressive ideology, these long and difficult manhunts could be avoided altogether if Los Angeles County would move to a “cite and release” policy.
California Bill would protect undocumented immigrants from deportation for reporting crimes
Local state Assembly Member Miguel Santiago and Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón joined several immigrant organizations in Los Angeles Monday to announce proposed legislation that would protect undocumented immigrants from repercussions for reporting certain crimes. Santiago, whose district includes Los Angeles, introduced Assembly Bill 1261, also called the Immigrant Rights Act, in February of this year.
Felons are grooming kids to commit crimes, and the law is on their side, sheriff says
Felons are recruiting juveniles to commit crimes on their behalf, taking advantage of softer laws for young suspects, according to one California sheriff. "A juvenile pretty much has to almost kill somebody to be placed in custody and remain in custody," Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco told Fox News. "Otherwise, it's a revolving door there. They're in one door and out the other, and that emboldens them."
Antioch Police racist texts investigation
Thousands of past and current criminal cases could be impacted or overturned as a result of alleged racist text messages sent by Antioch police, according to the Contra Costa County public defender. The text messages were uncovered as part of an FBI investigation into other possible crimes by police. "It's deeply concerning and troubling," Public Defender Ellen McDonnell said. "It goes to an entrenched culture of racism and homophobia in the Antioch Police Department."
California state bar advised to control spending, improve integrity of attorney probes
The State Bar of California must act to protect the integrity of its attorney investigations and slow a spending deficit that could cripple its operations, according to a new audit. In a report released Thursday, California State Auditor Grant Parks said that the state bar will have to increase its mandatory licensing fee in 2024 to keep operating because it often spends more than it gets in revenue.
Police probe who tossed puppy out of car during chase (Video)
Investigators are trying to figure out who tossed a puppy out of a moving vehicle during a chase in south Los Angeles County. Eric Leonard reports April 10, 2023.
Man fatally stabbed aboard Metro train in Long Beach
A man aboard a Metro A Line train in Long Beach was stabbed to death Wednesday in the third attack reported on the system in about a week. The stabbing was reported at about 3:30 p.m. to the Metro A (Blue) Line station in the 100 block of East 1st Street. A man involved in a fight suffered stab wounds to the upper body, authorities said. Video showed paramedics conducting CPR on the victim on the train platform.
Whole Foods closes San Francisco flagship store after one year, citing crime
An enormous Whole Foods in downtown San Francisco that opened just last year is temporarily closing. The company said concerns about worker safety forced it to shut down. Incidents of theft in San Francisco have gained national attention, though crime has generally fallen over the past six years. The nearly 65,000-square foot location at Trinity Place in the city’s Mid-Market neighborhood shut its doors Monday to “ensure the safety” of its employees, a Whole Foods spokesperson said.
Arrest made in SF killing of Bob Lee - tech exec’s alleged killer also worked in tech
Mission Local is informed that the San Francisco Police Department early this morning made an arrest in the April 4 killing of tech executive Bob Lee, following an operation undertaken outside the city’s borders. The alleged killer also works in tech and is a man Lee purportedly knew. We are told that police today were dispatched to Emeryville with a warrant to arrest a man named Nima Momeni. 
San Francisco crime problem runs deeper than rosy statistics from city, expert says
San Francisco crime statistics compare favorably to other major U.S. cities on the surface, but one expert argues the city's numbers have covered up a problem for over a decade. "Crime is worse than the data shows," Charles "Cully" Stimson, Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow and former prosecutor in San Francisco, told Fox News Digital. "People do not report these crimes because when you have a DA who's pro criminal and not going to enforce the law, the cops aren't going to go out and arrest somebody when they know the case is going to be no papered."
With thefts still high, California Prius drivers wait months for new catalytic converters
For several years, older Priuses have held the dubious distinction of being the No. 1 target of catalytic converter theft in California. Drivers whose converters have been swiped are now experiencing a second indignity: Thousands of Prius owners are ahead of them in line for the same part, and the delays could stretch on for months. Thieves target hybrids because their catalytic converters have a higher concentration of precious metals compared to cars that run solely on gas.
LAPD: Arrest made in hate crime involving Islamic Center building in Koreatown
A arrest has been made in the case involving a man who scrawled anti-Islamic hate words on the Islamic Center of Southern California’s Koreatown building over the weekend, authorities said Tuesday. The crime occurred about 12:40 a.m. Sunday at 434 S. Vermont Ave., according to a community alert with a surveillance photo circulated by the Los Angeles Police Department. Police had appealed for the public’s help to find the suspect, and on Tuesday morning the LAPD confirmed that an arrest had been made.
Scammers pretend to be from LASD, threaten to arrest victims if not paid for false fines
Scammers are pretending to be with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and using threats and intimidation to try and get people's money. The LASD says the scammers call people demanding they pay a fine for failing to respond to a jury summons or an outstanding warrant. The scammers will threaten to arrest people who do not immediately comply with their demand of payment via gift card, Bitcoin or a prepaid credit card.
Ventura County issues warning about mail scam targeting property owners
The Ventura County District Attorney's Office issued a warning to residents Thursday about a series of deceptive letters that have been sent to them containing threats of property seizure or asset levies by scammers. Investigators said the letters create a sense of urgency by including an (800) number to call. The letters were not issued by the Ventura County Treasurer-Tax Collector's Office, and property owners are encouraged to contact the office directly if they have any questions regarding their property taxes.
FBI warns against using public phone charging stations
The FBI recently warned consumers against using free public charging stations, saying crooks have managed to hijack public chargers that can infect devices with malware, or software that can give hackers access to your phone, tablet or computer. “Avoid using free charging stations in airports, hotels or shopping centers,” a tweet from the FBI’s Denver field office said. “Bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices. Carry your own charger and USB cord and use an electrical outlet instead.”
Heroin dealer who absconded prior to sentencing in 2018 and was recently found in Jamaica sentenced to over 10 years in prison
A former chef who pleaded guilty in 2018 to a heroin trafficking offense - and was a fugitive for more than four years before being arrested in Jamaica earlier this year - was sentenced today to 121 months in federal prison. Devon Bennett, 54, who resided in Hawthorne when he absconded prior to a sentencing hearing in September 2018, was sentenced this morning by United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer.
Articles of Interest
UCLA’s interim chief of police corrects historical errors in LAPD records
UCLA’s newly appointed interim chief of police, John Thomas, brings a unique perspective to his role, combining his extensive law enforcement experience with a passion for history. With almost four decades in the field, Thomas has made significant contributions to correcting historical inaccuracies in the records of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), particularly regarding the stories of two Black officers from the past.
Fox reaches settlement with Venezuelan businessman in election defamation, Lou Dobbs case
Fox Corp. has reached a confidential agreement to settle a defamation case filed by Venezuelan businessman Majed Khalil, who claimed that Fox News and former host Lou Dobbs had harmed Khalil's reputation by claiming that he was involved in a scheme to rig the 2020 presidential election. "This matter has been resolved amicably by both sides. We have no further comment," Fox News told Variety Magazine on Sunday.
Fox News attorneys committed ‘misconduct’ by withholding Trump lawyer tapes as evidence, judge rules
Recordings of conversations between Fox News employees and attorneys who tried to help Donald Trump overturn the 2020 election were improperly withheld as evidence in Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation case, the Delaware judge overseeing the $1.6 billion lawsuit ruled Wednesday.
More Boston police have been leaving the job since 2020, many joining the Fire Department
The number of officers who have voluntarily resigned from the Boston Police Department in recent years has ballooned from zero in 2018 to 36 last year, according to city data, a trend that is exacerbating a shortage of police. While a few of those officers have moved out of state or taken a job in a new industry, about 15 percent have joined police departments outside of Boston and nearly half have started careers in the Boston Fire Department, an interagency transfer that longtime officers say is unprecedented.
Chicago Cubs on trial over wheelchair access at Wrigley Field
Attorneys for the Chicago Cubs were in federal court for a bench trial Monday morning, defending the century-old baseball organization against accusations that it had violated the Americans with Disability Act. According to those accusations, recent $1 billion renovations to the Cubs' Wrigley Field in Chicago removed much of the 109-year-old stadium's wheelchair-accessible seating.
Experts in SIG Sauer case unreliable; Company wins another accidental discharge case
Gun-maker SIG Sauer has defeated another lawsuit alleging its P320 went off without the trigger being pulled. Kentucky federal judge Greg Stivers on March 29 granted SIG Sauer summary judgment after finding the testimony of two plaintiff experts unreliable. It's at least the second decision for SIG in the last year, as a New Hampshire federal jury ruled for it in a similar case in July.
Juul to pay six states $462 million to settle teen marketing claims
Vape giant Juul Labs has agreed to pay six states and the District of Columbia $462 million - its largest settlement to date - to resolve claims it marketed vape pens and other products to teens. California - which announced the settlement Wednesday - will receive the largest amount at $175.8 million. New York comes in second, securing $112.7 million, while Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Mexico will receive $31.7 million, $67.6 million, $41.7 million, and $17 million respectively. Juul will pay the District of Columbia $15.2 million.
Special delivery: Drones are smuggling contraband into California prisons, feds say
Walls and rules have never stopped prisoners from getting what they need. Drugs, phones and other contraband have been smuggled in by guards and visitors, flung over fences and even stashed inside hollowed-out pastries in care packages. Now, two men are accused of using an increasingly common technology to bypass prison walls: drones.
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