Courts, Rulings & Lawsuits
Ninth Circuit rejects call by A.G.’s Office to decide appeal from habeas grant despite mootness
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday rejected the request by the Office of Attorney General that it decide the appeal from the District Court’s granting of a petition for a writ of habeas corpus even though the state retried the defendant in response to the writ and he was again convicted. Inmate Mario Arciga sought habeas relief based on alleged Batson/Wheeler error.
Supreme Court allows federal agencies to be taken to court
The Supreme Court was unanimous on Friday in ruling that constitutional claims against federal agencies can be brought in U.S. district court. "The challenges are fundamental, even existential,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the court. “They maintain in essence that the agencies, as currently structured, are unconstitutional in much of their work.”
Courts have no power to bar deportation of ex-convict
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held on Friday that when immigration officials turn down a deportable alien’s request for a discretionary waiver of ineligibility to remain in the U.S., the courts have no power to countermand that decision.
No need to inquire as to Indian ancestry of child taken into protected custody under warrant
Div. Two of the Fourth District Court of Appeal yesterday added to the burgeoning case law relating to the obligation of child-welfare agencies to make an adequate inquiry as to possible Indian heritage of a dependent child, holding, in a case with a different twist, that no inquiry need be made where the child is removed from the home pursuant to a protective custody warrant.
Stay of block on California handgun rules remains pending appeal
A federal judge in San Diego doubled down on a stay of his order forcing California to stop enforcing important components of its handgun control laws while the state appeals the ruling. In March, Chief U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw sided with a group of gun owners and gun lobbying groups who claim provisions of California’s Unsafe Handgun Act violate their Second Amendment rights.
C.A. affirms amputee’s conviction for assault
Div. One of the Fourth District Court of Appeal on Friday rejected the contention of an amputee that he lacked the ability to commit an assault because, when he stood on his one leg and thrust a knife at a restaurant manager in the kitchen of the establishment, he had to steady himself with one hand on a table and was incapable of inflicting harm.
Supreme Court to decide if postal worker should get pass for Sabbath Sunday
A decade ago, the U.S. Postal Service announced it was teaming up with Amazon to do something it had never done before: making deliveries on Sunday. While aiming to regain profitability, the agency created a new problem for employees like Gerald Groff, a devout Evangelical Christian who observes Sunday Sabbath. Groff worked for USPS for seven years as a rural carrier associate in Pennsylvania. In 2019, after failing to obtain religious exemptions from his Sunday shifts, Groff resigned from his post.
Court tosses Berkeley gas ban, but wider impact is unclear
The politically liberal enclave of Berkeley, California became the first U.S. city to adopt a ban on natural gas in new homes and buildings in 2019, which started a climate change-driven effort in dozens of other cities and counties that’s morphed into a heated debate about the future of gas stoves. On Monday, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco sided with the California Restaurant Association to halt the city’s effort, saying it violates federal law that gives the U.S. government the authority to set energy-efficiency standards for appliances.
Appeals court temporarily blocks House subpoena for ex-Manhattan prosecutor in Trump probe
A federal appeals court on Thursday temporarily blocked a House Judiciary Committee subpoena for testimony from a former Manhattan prosecutor who was involved in a criminal investigation of ex-President Donald Trump. The order by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York came just hours before the former prosecutor, Mark Pomerantz, had been directed by a federal judge to sit for a deposition with the committee.
L.A. County Deputy DA says violent offenders should demonstrate that they’ve ‘earned the right to be released’
In March 2023, the Dr. Phil episode “How Safe Are Our Streets?” explored claims that policies enacted by “woke” district attorneys and other elected officials reflect a “pro-criminal agenda” that puts the rights of violent offenders before the rights of victims. Others argued that progressive reforms are needed to fix a broken and unjust criminal justice system.
Latest indictments bring to 15 the number of officers charged for shootings, deaths under DA Gascón
Two Torrance police officers have been charged with voluntary manslaughter in the 2018 fatal shooting of Christopher Mitchell, according to an indictment unsealed Monday. This brings to 15 the number of on-duty law enforcement officers accused of crimes in connection with shootings or in-custody deaths under Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón - far more than his predecessors.
Los Angeles DA George Gascón: Menace to society
Los Angeles cannot be rid of district attorney George Gascón quickly enough. Two weeks after charging seven California Highway Patrol officers and a nurse with manslaughter in the case of a man who died from an overdose of methamphetamine, he now comes after two Torrance police officers for a shooting in which they had been cleared - with abundant justification - by his predecessor.
Man charged with murder of 39-Year-old man, attempting to kill several others standing near graffiti
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced today that Jamal Jackson was charged yesterday with murdering a man and attempting to kill several other men in Northridge over the weekend. “This callous act of violence against a group of individuals showed a total disregard for human life,” District Attorney Gascón said.
Two men charged in Dodger Stadium attack after Elton John Concert
Two men were charged in connection with the beating of a married couple in their 60s in the Dodger Stadium parking lot after an Elton John concert last November, authorities said Friday. Reece Hopkin, 38, and Chad Reeves, 42, were each charged with one felony count of battery with serious bodily injury. Hopkin also faces one felony count of vandalism or destruction of property, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
NewsConference extra: DA Gascón's Mid Term Report (Video)
NBC4’s Conan Nolan sits down for a one-on-one with LA County District Attorney George Gascón. The DA recently released what he called a “Mid Term Report.” He says progress is being made in terms of community safety and the treatment of the accused. He is running for re-election.
Armie Hammer sexual-assault allegations being reviewed by L.A. prosecutors
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office is reviewing a case brought against actor Armie Hammer, who has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women and who allegedly coerced others to engage in aggressive sexual activities. The case is "under review," D.A. communications director Tiffiny Blacknell told The Times on Monday.
Four Californians charged with delivering drugs to prisons with drones
Four people have been accused of using drones to deliver drugs into state prisons. The indictment was unsealed in Fresno’s federal courthouse and announced by U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert last week. According to court documents, the four suspects have been charged with coordinating drone deliveries of drugs - including methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine.
LA district attorney's office files rape charges against man accused of targeting women across SoCal
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gacson announced charges filed Thursday against an alleged serial rapist accused of targeting woman across Southern California. According to a tweet posted by the D.A.'s office, Matthew Werner, a 45-year-old Las Vegas resident, has been charged with three counts of sexual assault, including rape, against two different women.
‘A complete failure.’ California DAs, law enforcement blast Newsom crime sentencing policies
Law enforcement officials from two California counties joined together Wednesday to blast Gov. Gavin Newsom and what one called “soft on crime” elected officials. The district attorneys of Tulare and Riverside counties, as well as the Riverside County sheriff and Riverside chief of police, took part in a news conference to lament policies like Assembly Bill 109, Prop. 47 and Prop. 57 - state legislation meant to reduce some sentences and lighten overpopulated prisons.
Newly formed Law Enforcement West Coast Coalition heads to D.C.
In response to record low staffing levels amongst police departments nationwide, hampering the ability of local law enforcement to both respond to and proactively address rising crime in their communities - leaders from the four statewide organizations representing the West Coast’s rank-and-file established this Coalition to advocate for new laws, policies and programs to support recruitment and retention.
RivCo's Sheriff, DA's Office criticize CDCR Recidivism Report
Days after Riverside County's top law officials blasted the state's "soft on crime" policies, on Friday the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation released reports claiming that a voter-approved measure aimed at reducing recidivism is having a modest impact. The state announcement did not sit well with Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco.
Gaslighting the public on recidivism
A story posted in the online edition of the Sacramento Bee reports that after California’s 2016 adoption of Proposition 57, “The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act,” recidivism went down according to a report from state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). The initiative allowed criminals convicted of so called “non-violent” crimes such as drug dealing, car theft, grand larceny and burglary, to be released from prison early based upon their behavior while incarcerated.
Ninth Circuit upholds dismissal of Chinese dissident’s lawsuit against Yahoo
The Ninth Circuit on Thursday upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a Chinese dissident against Yahoo's parent company Oath Holdings, accusing Yahoo of actively helping the People's Republic of China's communist regime to identify the man as a pro-democracy dissident.
California looks to take away citizen’s rights to cooperate with police
In the West Coast’s constant string of efforts to keep the police officers of a community away from their community, California had decided to try to revoke consent searches. To try to understand the reasons for this effort, one must enter into the mind of the Utopian politician or activist who thinks that the police are always the enemy and people, including suspected lawbreakers, should be left alone.
Assembly Public Safety Committee votes down Proposition 47 reform
Despite robust support from the League of California Cities and other stakeholders, a bill that proposed modest, but meaningful reforms to Proposition 47 failed to pass out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee on Tuesday. It could be taken up at another hearing later this year. AB 1708 (Muratsuchi) would have increased accountability for repeat theft offenders and offered pathways for pre-plea diversion programming. If passed, it would have sent the issue to voters for approval at the next statewide general election.
Reporter asks judge to throw out LA lawsuit against him (Video)
A reporter is asking a judge to throw out the city of Los Angeles’ lawsuit against him, prompted by the release of the names and photos of police officers. The city itself had released the information. Eric Leonard reports April 18, 2023.
Ahead of likely U.S. Supreme Court decision, Governor Newsom announces new efforts to protect medication abortion access in California
Ahead of an anticipated U.S. Supreme Court ruling on medication abortion, Governor Gavin Newsom highlighted new actions California is taking to protect reproductive freedom, including medication abortion, alongside First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, members of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, Attorney General Rob Bonta, and reproductive rights leaders.
Los Angeles City/County
The LAPD has lost nearly 1,000 officers. Now, Mayor Karen Bass wants to rebuild the force
Ten years ago, the Los Angeles Police Department celebrated a historic hiring milestone, announcing the city had reached a target sought by at least two mayors and multiple police chiefs: 10,000 officers. That achievement was the culmination of an expensive seven-year campaign waged by then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, much of it during a global recession that ravaged the city's finances.
LA County probation officers attacked in juvenile halls
An insider at the LA County Probation Department told me their colleagues are being beaten up, cut, spat on, and stabbed. This employee paints a grim picture of life inside the county's juvenile detention centers and camps. Probation officers are in charge of maintaining the safety and security of kids who have appeared in juvenile court and then serve their sentence in one of the county's juvenile halls or camps
Judge: Black LASD sergeant can go forward with harassment, retaliation claims
A Black Los Angeles County sheriff’s sergeant who sued the county, alleging he was subjected to retaliation for complaining of discrimination because of his race as well as the presence of members of the Banditos internal clique of deputies at the East Los Angeles Station, can move forward with his complaint, a judge ruled Monday.
'Top shot' LAPD officer sues chief, department over demand she delete social media
A Los Angeles police officer whose sharpshooter social media posts drew widespread attention after she was involved in a fatal shooting filed a discrimination and retaliation lawsuit Tuesday against Police Chief Michel Moore and the department. LAPD Officer Toni McBride alleges that Moore blocked her promotions because she refused to remove from her social media feeds videos of her at shooting competitions or training at firing ranges.
Revolt by former staff makes a mess for City Controller Kenneth Mejia
On April 9, City Controller Kenneth Mejia felt the first droplets in what became a political tsunami over the following week. On Monday, tweets by former staffers describing the progressive champ as a “toxic” boss started zipping around City Hall. Two days later, Julia Wick of the Los Angeles Times published a blockbuster story that went deeper, including accusations that the rookie officeholder had been pressuring employees to move into his building, a step that - ka-ching - nets him $1,000 in referral fees.
ACLU asks for those running LA jail system to be held accountable for 'abysmal' conditions
A federal judge heard arguments Wednesday in the American Civil Liberties Union's request that Los Angeles County, the Board of Supervisors and Sheriff Robert Luna be held in contempt of court for "failures to comply" with court orders to address "abysmal" conditions at the jail system's booking center. Wednesday's four-hour hearing brought forth a litany of longstanding problems at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles, prompting the U.S. District Judge to schedule a June contempt hearing.
LA County Decarceration
‘Decarceration’ idea in California doesn’t last very long
A new word entered the California political lexicon the other day, when two of the five elected supervisors running America’s largest county decided they could greatly reduce crime by depopulating Los Angeles County’s many jails and other penal facilities. The new word: decarceration. This is the process of supposedly fighting crime by letting people out of jails and prisons, a favorite of the far left, the same folks that for several years have advocated defunding police everywhere.
Civil rights agency petitions court to force Tesla to comply with racial discrimination investigation
California’s Civil Rights Department announced a new legal action against Tesla over the company’s failure to comply with a subpoena in an ongoing, confidential investigation into claims of unlawful harassment and discrimination at the company’s Fremont factory. “Tesla’s failure to comply with my office’s obligation to investigate allegations of workplace misconduct shows a lack of respect for the rights and well-being of their workers,” agency director Kevin Kish said in a statement.
How will Newsom, legislators deal with growing revenue shortfalls?
When Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a 2023-24 budget in January, he acknowledged that the revenue estimates made six months earlier were way too optimistic and that the state had evolved from a nearly $100 billion surplus to a $22.5 billion deficit. Never mind. Nine months into the current fiscal year, it’s evident that revenue, principally from personal income taxes, will fall well short of that downward revision.
Sheriff’s deputy feared he would die after being shot
A Los Angeles County sheriff’s detective testified Thursday that he thought he was going to die after being shot in the neck by a man he had confronted in a parked car during a search near a Newhall apartment complex in 2017. “I hear a bang. Everything went pitch black,” sheriff’s Detective Albert White - who was a sheriff’s deputy at the time - told jurors during his emotional account in the trial of Monolito Guerra, 35, who is charged with attempted murder of a peace officer and other counts.
Compton residents say street takeovers have become common; LASD to partner with CHP to stop looting
Sheriff's deputies in Compton have returned to their patrol duties Monday following a chaotic weekend that involved a series of street takeovers and a mob of looters that left a trail of destruction at local stores. And, law enforcement officials say they are developing partnerships and a plan to stop the increasingly common occurrence of street takeovers in Compton.
Westlake High, family mourn teenager fatally struck in crash after driver's alleged crime spree
A 15-year-old boy has been publicly identified after being struck and killed in a rollover crash near Westlake High School in Thousand Oaks, involving a driver suspected in a daylong crime spree that included a stabbing. Wesley Welling "was a wonderful son, brother, friend. Who touched the lives of those around him," a statement on the fundraiser website said.
Los Angeles man arrested on complaint alleging he robbed 31 gas stations and stores and carjacked two motorists in crime spree
A Los Angeles man has been arrested on a federal criminal complaint alleging he committed armed robberies at Southern California convenience stores and gas stations during a 3½-week crime spree in which he also committed two carjackings, the Justice Department announced today. Namir Malik Ali Greene, 23, was arrested Monday and is charged with interference with commerce by robbery (Hobbs Act).
‘I survived the pandemic, but I’m not surviving the crime’: Break-ins shutter San Fernando Valley business
A San Fernando Valley business owner is out thousands of dollars worth of merchandise after burglars broke into one of her stores Wednesday night, the latest in a string of crimes she claims is forcing the closure of her company. Evette Ingram of Evette’s Beauty Supply said bandits stood outside her Tarzana store as if waiting for a bus, then broke in through a window before making off with about $25,000 worth of merchandise.
‘Snake burglar’ arrested for thefts targeting Riverside businesses
A career criminal dubbed the “Snake Burglar” was arrested Wednesday for allegedly committing over 70 thefts throughout Riverside. The suspect was identified as Christopher Michael Jackson, 32, a local transient, according to the Riverside Police Department. Jackson’s signature move typically involved removing a windowpane to break into a local business and upon entering, he would crawl along the floor to avoid triggering alarm systems or motion sensors, police said.
California utility companies propose charging customers based on how much money they make
Three major utility companies in California are looking to restructure customer billing, and part of that means customers could be charged based on how much money they make. Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric filed a joint proposal this week for a flat-rate charge based on income. The plan would break monthly bills in two parts: The fixed-income rate, plus a reduced usage charge based on consumption.
Former L.A. doctor sentenced to 7 years in federal prison for massive health insurance fraud scheme
A former doctor from West Hollywood was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for scheming to defraud private insurance companies and the Tricare health care program for U.S. military service members of hundreds of millions of dollars. Julian Omidi, who ran the 1-800-GET-THIN Lap-Band surgery business, fraudulently submitted nearly $120 million in claims related to his weight loss surgery business, according to the Department of Justice.
Torrance police officers plead not guilty in man's killing (Video)
Two Torrance police officers charged with voluntary manslaughter in the 2018 killing of a man pleaded not guilty Monday. Eric Leonard reports April 17, 2023.
Articles of Interest
Fox, Dominion reach $787M settlement over election claims
Fox News agreed Tuesday to pay Dominion Voting Systems nearly $800 million to avert a trial in the voting machine company’s lawsuit that would have exposed how the network promoted lies about the 2020 presidential election. The stunning settlement emerged just as opening statements were supposed to begin, abruptly ending a case that had embarrassed Fox News over several months and raised the possibility that network founder Rupert Murdoch and stars such as Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity would have to testify publicly.
‘Rust’ prosecutors drop charges against Alec Baldwin after questions over gun misfire
New Mexico prosecutors have dropped criminal charges against actor Alec Baldwin in the deadly “Rust” shooting, a dramatic reversal after numerous missteps by prosecutors. The development came after prosecutors received new information in the case - that Baldwin’s prop gun had been modified before being delivered to the low-budget western in October 2021, according to three people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to comment.
Groundwater gold rush
As storms battered California in March, the state’s inland breadbasket erupted with almond blossoms. It happens every year. The Central Valley - the source of 40% of America’s fruit and nuts - explodes in a riot of pink and white blooms. This year petals fluttered off branches into raging irrigation ditches that only a few months earlier had twisted across the dry dust like coils of snake molt. This is the first article in a Bloomberg Green series investigating how private investors are commandeering public water for profit.
Pension fund Calstrs braced for write-downs in $50bn property portfolio
One of the biggest public pension plans in the US is preparing to write down the value of its $52bn real estate portfolio in the latest sign that higher interest rates and the recent turmoil in the banking sector are causing pain in the property sector. The $306bn California State Teachers’ Retirement System (Calstrs) has ploughed an increasing share of its assets into real estate in recent years in a bid to diversify away from stocks and bonds, and benefit from the superior returns on offer to buyers of private assets.
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