Los Angeles District Attorney
George Gascon pushing to drop death penalty for man convicted of murder (Video)
Eric Siddall, VP of Los Angeles ADDA, on George Gascon calling the death penalty ‘racist’ and ‘expensive’, says liberal DA’s policies result in more crimes.
Los Angeles DA seeks to lift death sentence for man convicted in 1994 killing of two Japanese students
The office of embattled Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has asked a judge to lift the sentence of a man condemned to die for killing two college students during a 1994 carjacking, according to court documents obtained by NBC News. The 264-page resentencing recommendation, filed July 11 in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Deputy District Attorney Shelan Joseph, seeks to change Raymond Oscar Butler’s death sentence to life without the possibility of parole.
Gascón wants death sentence dropped for killer of two South Bay college students
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has asked a judge to reverse the death sentence of a man convicted of slaying two Marymount California University students during a 1994 carjacking in a San Pedro supermarket parking lot. In a 264-page resentencing recommendation filed earlier this month in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Gascón said Raymond Oscar Butler, who was 18 when he killed Takuma Ito and Go Matsuura, should instead be resentenced to life in prison without parole because at the time he suffered “significant, cognitive impairment,” meaning his brain was not developed enough to regulate his behavior.
Barger blasts Gascón over not seeking resentencing in criminal court
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger on Friday laced into District Attorney George Gascón over the release last year of a man who, at age 17, fatally shot a man in the course of a 2015 robbery and received a sentence in 2016 of 50 years-to-life in prison - a release that might not have taken place had county prosecutors opposed the man’s motion under Proposition 57 to be resentenced as a juvenile.
Los Angeles bans observers from watching George Gascon recall count
Monitors will not be allowed to view the vote-counting process to recall District Attorney George Gascon because the county of Los Angeles does not view the event as an election, county officials say. However, opponents insist that the law clearly states that the recall is an election and the process should be public. Support from Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic politicians helped usher far-left Gascon into office two years ago, and the recall campaign wants to make sure the voter petitions are accurately counted to place the measure on a ballot.
California attorney rips Gascón for soft-on-crime policies: 'He needs to start enforcing the laws’ (Video)
California attorney Kathy Cady representing Louis Amela’s family responds to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon blaming guns for violence
LA DA Gascon losing a second top adviser amid recall effort and public fury over crime
Alisa Blair, a key deputy to Democratic Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon who spearheaded his juvenile justice directives, is leaving her post. She told Fox News Digital Friday she will be taking a position as the policy and special projects director for the Community Based Public Safety Collective, a national progressive neighborhood-oriented public safety think tank.
Gascon under fire for murder release
Political reporter Tom Wait reports on the latest controversy surrounding LA County DA George Gascon, after a convicted murder, Andrew Cachu, who was released has been arrested yet again for very serious crimes.
Courts & Rulings
C.A. rejects two-year robbery-at-knifepoint sentence
A recidivist who, while on parole for a crime that entailed causing a death, committed the robbery of a woman at knifepoint and faced the apparent prospect of a sentence of 41 years to life in prison, will not be allowed to enjoy the benefits of a deal reached between his lawyer and a judge for a two-year sentence in exchange for a guilty plea, under a decision of Div. Three of the Fourth District Court of Appeal.
SCOTUS limits Miranda rights in recent ruling
A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling brought on new questions regarding the reading of Miranda rights in civil cases. The court ruled that police officers will no longer be able to be sued in civil court for improper Miranda warnings. This move is looked at as an effort by the conservative court to further erode Miranda rights, which originally came about due to a case in Arizona back in the early 1960s.
Blocking postings on web pages breached First Amendment
Public officials who maintain web pages on which comments can be posted violate the First Amendment rights of critics whose messages are barred, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held yesterday. In an opinion by Circuit Judge Marsha S. Berzon, a three-judge panel affirmed a judgment by District Court Presiding Judge Roger T. Benitez of the Southern District of California in favor of Christopher and Kimberly Garnier, parents two children who attend classes in the Poway Unified School District.
California Supreme Court upholds death penalty for Charles Ng in notorious '80s sex slave murders
The California Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the conviction and death penalty for one of two men implicated in at least 11 notorious horrific torture-slayings in the mid-1980s in which the duo kept their victims hidden in a secret bunker in the Northern California woods. Thirty-seven years later, authorities are still trying to identify the remains of some of their victims. Charles Ng, now 61, was convicted in 1999 of killing six men, three women and two baby boys in 1984 and 1985.
Feds working to uncover full scope of court system data breach
A congressional oversight committee pressed one of the nation’s leading security advisers Thursday for an update into a security breach of the federal court digital document system dating back to early 2020. Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, noted that while the Justice Department released a memo identifying the breach in January 2021, it was only in March that the committee first learned “the startling breadth and scope of the courts’ document management system security failure.”
After learning lawyer’s remark was a 'serious covert insult,' judge refers incident to state bar
A San Diego judge has reported a lawyer to the State Bar of California for possible disciplinary action after learning that the attorney’s “See You Next Tuesday” remark was a “serious covert insult” directed toward two female defense lawyers. In a July 13 minute order, Judge Eddie C. Sturgeon of the San Diego County Superior Court said he had a duty to alert the bar about the remark by lawyer Timothy Allen Scott, report Above the Law and Law360.
Judge sanctions L.A. County for deleting illicit photos of Kobe Bryant helicopter crash
A federal judge on Tuesday sanctioned Los Angeles County for destroying photographs of human remains from the helicopter crash that killed basketball superstar Kobe Bryant and eight others, including his daughter Gianna Bryant. Under an order from U.S. District Judge John Walter, lawyers representing Vanessa Bryant in an upcoming civil trial will be allowed to question witnesses about the deleted photos and the decisions that led to it.
The Supreme Court weakened a unique California labor law. Will this case against Uber bring it back?
After the U.S. Supreme Court severely weakened a unique California law allowing workers to join one another and sue their employer over labor law violations, the state Supreme Court has agreed to consider reviving the law in a suit by an Uber driver. The Private Attorneys General Act, or PAGA, enacted in 2004, lets employees sue their employers, individually or collectively, in the name of the state for violating laws such as those regulating minimum wages, overtime, and meal and rest breaks.
High Court upholds death sentence, finding rejection of eyewitness testimony harmless
The California Supreme Court yesterday upheld a death sentence in a murder case over the protest of two justices that the trial judge prejudicially erred in disallowing testimony at the penalty phase of an eyewitness who recalls the shooter as being slim, which fits the description of the codefendant, while the appellant weighs in excess of 300 pounds.
Ninth Circuit boosts efforts to sue overseas copyright infringers
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals made it a little easier for U.S. book, movie and music publishers to sue overseas intellectual property pirates if they target the American market. The court on Thursday overturned a federal judge’s dismissal of a lawsuit by a California producer and distributor of Vietnamese music against a Vietnam-based website and app owner for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Supreme Court leak probe: So many questions, so few answers
Less than 24 hours after the unprecedented leak of the draft opinion that overturned Roe v. Wade, Chief Justice John Roberts ordered an investigation into the “egregious breach." Since then? Silence. The Supreme Court won't say whether it's still investigating. The court also won't say whether the leaker has been identified or whether anyone has been disciplined. Or whether an outside law firm or the FBI has been called in. Or whether the court will ever offer an accounting of what transpired. Or whether it has taken steps to try to prevent a repeat.
Court to determine employer liability when workers take COVID-19 home to families
Can a spouse or family member of an employee sue you if the worker brings COVID-19 into the home? California employers will find out when the California Supreme Court decides on a case in the coming months. The question being decided is whether a family member can sue the employer in a civil case or whether the issue is one covered by worker’s compensation.
California chief justice won’t seek a second 12-year term
The California Supreme Court’s chief justice said Wednesday that she will not seek a second 12-year term in November and will conclude her current term of office on January 1. The announcement by Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye will give Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, his third opportunity to appoint a justice to the seven-member high court, and his first to pick a new chief justice.
Los Angeles DA Gascon pushes gun control amid crime spike, backlash over releasing convicted murderer
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon praised California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s push for more gun control as he faces criticism over releasing criminals who have gone on to commit violent crimes. "Thank you, @cagovernor Newsom, for signing several important bills to protect Californians from #gunviolence including four bills supported by my office," Gascon’s office tweeted Friday in response to Newsom signing four bills that Gascon says will ‘help limit the availability of firearms and take on the growing menace of unlicensed ghost guns.’"
Progressive prosecutors are encountering pushback
When Alvin Bragg Jr. ran for district attorney of New York County last year, he broadly promised to decline prosecuting some defendants arrested for low-level crimes, prioritize treatment for mental illness and drug abuse, and to end the use of cash bail. Two days after officially becoming the Manhattan district attorney in January, Bragg, a former federal prosecutor and deputy state attorney general, issued a memo instructing assistant district attorneys to decline to prosecute people arrested for farebeating, certain trespasses, resisting arrest and additional crimes unless the defendant also allegedly committed a felony in the same incident.
‘Shahs of Sunset’ Mike Shouhed charged in domestic violence case
For "Shahs of Sunset" star Mike Shouhed, 13 is especially unlucky - that's the number of criminal charges he's now facing following his domestic violence arrest. According to new legal docs, obtained by TMZ, the Los Angeles City Attorney hit Mike with a slew of misdemeanor charges, most notably domestic violence, battery and unlawfully attempting to dissuade a witness. Mike's also facing a couple of weapons charges ... including criminal storage of a loaded firearm and possession of an assault weapon.
Exclusive: Neo-Nazi marine plotted mass murder, rape campaigns with group, feds say
Federal prosecutors say a former U.S. Marine plotted mass murder and sexual assault to “decrease the number of minority residents” in the United States as part of his membership in a far-right neo-Nazi group, “Rapekrieg.” Matthew Belanger was arrested on June 10 in New York and charged with making false statements to a federal firearms licensee in order to make straw purchases of an assault rifle and handgun.
Justice Dept. obtains warrant to search phone of Trump election lawyer John Eastman
The U.S. Department of Justice obtained a new warrant on Wednesday to search the phone of former President Donald Trump's election attorney, John Eastman. Eastman advised Trump on the 2020 election and had his phone seized previously when investigators took it last month as part of an ongoing probe into Trump's actions to try and overturn the 2020 U.S. presidential election, The Hill reported.
Man convicted of assaulting officer to be released from prison
A man serving a 39-year state prison sentence for assaulting a Long Beach police officer was re-sentenced Thursday to time already served after his conviction on that charge was vacated due to a pending criminal case against the officer in connection with an unrelated arrest. In a statement, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón noted that now-former Officer Dedier Reyes was the only witness to the crime that resulted in Miguel Angel Vargas - who had a prior residential burglary conviction - being sentenced to 39 years following his 2011 conviction for one felony count each of assault on a peace officer with a semiautomatic firearm and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Cal State Long Beach police union defends officer accused of racially profiling professor
New body cam footage from a Cal State Long Beach campus police officer has been released, showing the moments an officer confronted sociology professor Dr. Steven Osuna. Earlier this month in an interview with CBSLA Reporter Lesley Marin, Osuna claimed that he was racially profiled by the officer. Osuna told Marin that he had locked himself out of his office building after preparing for a session for incoming transfer students.
New California gun control law mimics Texas abortion measure
California punched back Friday against two recent landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions as Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a controversial, first-in-the-nation gun control law patterned after a Texas anti-abortion law and urged other states to follow suit. He acted one month after conservative justices overturned the constitutional right to abortion and undermined gun control laws in states including California.
Los Angeles County/City
Investigation found undersheriff should testify on alleged deputy gangs
Los Angeles County Undersheriff Tim Murakami has refused to testify before the Civilian Oversight Commission about alleged deputy gangs in his department citing a medical issue. But a newly-obtained county document says he does “not have a covered disability” that would prevent him from appearing at hearings looking into alleged deputy gang activity within the sheriff’s department.
5 more fans allege security guard abuses in suits against Dodgers
Five more lawsuits were filed against the Los Angeles Dodgers Monday for alleged abuses of fans by security guards during games this year and in 2021. “Security guards cannot be permitted to act with impunity and the Los Angeles Dodgers organization must be held accountable for misconduct of their employees,” plaintiffs’ attorney Peter diDonato said in announcing the complaints brought in Los Angeles Superior Court.
B.L.E.N.D.: Business fund raising org for NE Division of LAPD may be in violation of Bylaws
Although most people have never heard of this 501(c)(3) corporation, it is basically a booster club to support the activities of the Northeast Division of the Los Angeles Police Department. Unfortunately, there are recent allegations that the nonprofit is out of control, with its head, Ray Patel, running amok in violation of their Bylaws. After having been unceremoniously ejected from the BLEND by President Patel, Caroline Aguirre stated that the BLEND had very tangled and potentially flawed Bylaws.
Recall Gascón committee sued by petition signature collecting company
A company that gathers petition signatures for state and local ballot measures sued the committee attempting to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón Monday, alleging in federal court that recall organizers owe the signature-collecting firm at least $469,596 for unpaid work. Let the Voters Decide alleges that the Committee for the Recall of District Attorney George Gascón contracted in February with the Florida-based company to obtain enough signatures to force a recall of the district attorney, according to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles.
Crime/Public Safety
Oakland to pay ex-police chief $1.5 million after wrongful termination verdict
The city of Oakland will pay former Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick a $1.5 million settlement following a jury’s verdict finding she was wrongfully fired for whistleblowing. The figure includes $337,635 in economic and emotional damages awarded by the jury - equivalent to a year’s worth of salary, $250,000 in litigation costs, and undisclosed amount of fees for her legal team at Keker Van Nest & Peters.
New police accountability laws up demands on state agencies
California Department of Justice agents realized they were short-handed just hours after a Los Angeles police officer shot and killed an unarmed man on Hollywood Boulevard. A 911 caller told police the man was threatening people on the morning of July 15, 2021, waving what appeared to be a pistol in a busy tourist pocket. The object in his hand turned out to be a lighter with a pistol grip.
San Pedro park shooting stemmed from dispute, involved over 50 gunshots, police say
Days after two people were killed and seven injured in a shooting Sunday at San Pedro’s Peck Park, authorities released new details about the violent incident amid festering concerns from residents over park safety and accountability from city officials. Investigators believe the gunfire started with a dispute between two people who showed up to a softball game at the park, LAPD Capt. Adrian Gonzalez said at a community meeting Tuesday night in San Pedro.
Suspect in wounding of off-duty LASD deputy released from custody with no charges
A man who was arrested in the shooting of an off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy in Harbor City has been released from custody and charges are not being filed at this time, officials said Wednesday. The shooting Monday night was considered the result of a domestic dispute and the suspect taken into custody was believed to be the deputy's father-in-law, a pastor at a local church.
Walmart gets an "F" in consumer counterfeit protection
Walmart shoppers already face the daunting challenge of identifying counterfeit, fraudulent, and replica products, but now with an unusual twist - Walmart is snubbing trademark owners and leaving counterfeit, infringing, and fraudulent products listed. The item you purchase may actually be fake, dangerous, or even deadly. Walmart is destroying U.S. companies and retailers and deceiving consumers while taking its transaction fee on each item sold.
Do you have a counterfeit car seat? Expert explains how to spot one
At East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, staff checks the car seats of every child when they leave the hospital and at community events. They report seeing nearly a dozen counterfeit car seats every year. A counterfeit car seat is a car seat that is non-regulated and is not crash-tested. Shenaiah Thomas, an injury coordinator for ETCH, is seeing more parents unknowingly purchasing counterfeit car seats while trying to save some money.
Court agrees with insurer: Amazon can be sued under New Jersey product liability law
Online marketplace Amazon can be sued under New Jersey product liability law for defective products sold by third-party sellers on its website. The federal district court in New Jersey sided with the New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Group in its representing an insured who purchased an allegedly defective hoverboard on Amazon.som. Filing as a subrogee of the insured, NJM asserted a strict lability claim under the New Jersey Product Liability Act (NJPLA).
California governor signs gun safety laws focusing on convicted abusers, schools and sale regulations
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a set of gun safety bills into law on Thursday that require more regulations on gun sales and dealers within the state as well as increased information sharing between schools and law enforcement agencies. The state - amid a series of high-profile mass shootings that have spurred a national conversation on gun ownership - has passed multiple new measures this month, including allowing for gun violence victims to file civil suits against companies that manufacture the firearms used in crimes.
Uvalde is not the face of policing in America
Regarding Peggy Noonan’s “The Uvalde Videos and the Future of Policing” (Declarations, July 16): I dispute that “a problem in U.S. law enforcement is a preoccupation with weaponry but ‘a total lack of clarity about the immediate-action part.’” For 35 years, I served in the Los Angeles Police Department. I wrote the LAPD’s protocols for active shooters, worked with other agencies on protocols and presented these at an International Association of Chiefs of Police convention.
Data privacy bill moves forward over objections from Gavin Newsom and two California Congress members
Legislation that would establish federal privacy protections for personal data is headed to the House floor over objections from a Bay Area member of Congress and Gov. Gavin Newsom that it would override the privacy law approved by California voters in 2020. The American Data Privacy and Protection Act, or ADPPA, would create the first nationwide rules for collection, retention and disclosure of personal information by technology companies and other organizations, including nonprofits.
Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby defeated in primary
Marilyn Mosby, a high-profile prosecutor who aligned herself with criminal justice reformers but ended up with legal problems of her own, has lost the Democratic primary for Baltimore state’s attorney to Ivan Bates, a defense attorney. Baltimore is heavily Democratic, and there is no Republican candidate in the race. Roya Hanna is an unaffiliated candidate who has filed to run in November’s general election.
2nd prison guard pleads guilty in California inmate's death
California correctional officer Arturo Pacheco was upset while escorting a prison inmate, so he yanked the inmate's feet from under him, sending him crashing to the ground and ultimately killing him. A few months earlier, without provocation, he sprayed pepper spray at short range into the eyes of another inmate, later calling the incident “funny” in a text message, according to a plea agreement.
Ex-Long Beach police officer sentenced to prison for child pornography
A former Long Beach police officer who pleaded guilty to distributing child sexual abuse material was sentenced Monday to nearly six years in prison. Anthony Brown, 57, pleaded guilty in March to one count of distribution of child pornography, federal prosecutors said. In his plea agreement, he admitted to sharing at least one image while on duty at Long Beach Airport.
Ventura County detectives break up Southern California brothel ring
Investigators say illicit operations were in Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Palm Springs, Colton and Monterey Park. Ventura County prosecutors say eight people have pled guilty to charges they ran a half dozen brothels in Southern California disguised as legitimate businesses. The Ventura County Human Trafficking Task Force started an investigation in September of 2020, after seeing online ads offering sex.
Jeffrey Cooper sentenced to 8 years in prison, Academy member convicted for child molestation
Film Academy member Jeffrey Cooper, who was found guilty of 3 counts of child molestation, will face up to 8 years in prison. Seventy-year-old Cooper received an 8-year stint in state prison during the hearing in a Van Nuys courtroom, Deadline reported. He will also be formally registered as a sex offender. Almost simultaneously, two accusers of Cooper’s hit him with a civil lawsuit for “personal injuries and damages arising out of childhood sexual abuse.”
CDCR officials investigating the deaths of two incarcerated persons as homicides
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials are investigating two deaths of incarcerated persons, one at High Desert State Prison (HDSP) on July 22 and one at California State Prison, Sacramento (CSP-SAC) on July 23. On Friday, July 22 at approximately 7:35 p.m., officers at HDSP responded when incarcerated persons Joseph Gama and Alvaro Saldana attacked incarcerated person Albert Martinez in a maximum-security housing unit.
Articles of Interest
Yankees’ Aaron Judge in bitter legal battle with man allegedly trying to rip off his brand
A bitter, four-year legal battle involving Aaron Judge is in the hands of a panel of judges, who soon will decide whether a Long Island man can make money off the Yankees slugger’s signature catchphrases - just as the superstar is making his case to become the highest-paid player in baseball history. Michael P. Chisena says he beat Judge to the trademark office, so he owns the marketing rights to “All Rise” and “Here Comes the Judge,” popular phrases that have been connected to Judge.
Church of Scientology appeals to California Supreme Court for protection in Danny Masterson assault case
As “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson waits for his serial rape trial to begin this fall, a separate set of lawsuits pertaining to his sexual assault allegations are making their way through the California court system (via Variety). Several of Masterson’s accusers have said that the Church of Scientology, of which Masterson is a member, has organized a campaign of stalking and harassment against them.
Trevor Bauer's accuser says she didn't lie about abuse
A San Diego woman who alleges Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer beat and sexually abused her has denied that any of the accusations were “false, fabricated, or bogus,” her attorneys said in a court filing. Bauer has denied abusing the woman he met through social media. He sued her for defamation in April, claiming she lied about details involving their sexual encounters in order to destroy his reputation and career while enriching herself. After he sued, Major League Baseball suspended Bauer for two years.
'Sextortion' attacks on the rich and famous are on the rise. Here's how their lawyers discreetly fight back.
A young Manhattan CEO looked at his phone in horror. "I'm going to blow up you and your business," the screen read. It was a woman he'd met on Seeking Arrangements, the so-called sugar-daddy site. She'd told him she was of legal age. Now she was claiming otherwise. The CEO had already parted with some $40,000 in money and gifts, first willingly, and then, after their breakup, in response to her threats.
Amid roiled market, public pension funds’ declines not unexpected
California’s two public employee pension funds, the nation’s largest, have reported a decline in their investments for the fiscal year just ended. To anyone who’s even casually followed recent economic news, the results should not be surprising. It’s been a down year on Wall Street. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index recorded its worst first half of the year in 50 years, falling nearly 20 percent. The pension funds are significantly invested in equity markets, and their returns followed the same downward curve, though outperformed the market as a whole.
Plummeting stocks and a Moscow shopping mall. CalPERS is stuck with Russia investments
California lawmakers turned to the state’s two giant pension systems to punish Russia when the country invaded Ukraine in February, urging the funds to sell off Russian holdings. Four months later, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System still holds all of its public and private investments in Russia. Worth $765 million at the start of the invasion, they’re now valued at less than $195 million, according to figures the system provided last week.
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