Courts, Rulings & Lawsuits

Settlement of matter before commission need not be approved by county counsel

A judge erred in determining that a settlement agreement between three ousted Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and the Sheriff’s Department was void because it had not been approved by the county counsel, the Court of Appeal for this district has found. The accord was reached as appeals were pending before the Los Angeles County Civil Service Commission. The county then backed out of the deal.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Man petitioning to be relieved of registration as sex offender does not waive privilege

A man who pled guilty in 1995 to a misdemeanor involving annoying or molesting a child and has had the conviction expunged does not, by petitioning for an order relieving him of the obligation to register as a sex offender, impliedly waive the privilege against disclosure of his psychiatric and medical records, the Appellate Division of the San Diego Superior Court held in an opinion posted yesterday.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

OC judge throws out plea deal in case involving alleged Chilean burglary ring

Four South American men accused of being a part of an organized burglary ring that targeted Orange County homes await their sentencing after a judge threw out a plea deal that would have given them each two years in prison. Judge Scott Steiner took the deal off the table after the sentencing brief revealed new information on their alleged crimes. It included the victim impact statement of a 6-year-old who wrote about her piggybank being stolen.


LA County attorneys denied deputy’s therapy records in retaliation suit

A judge has denied a request by attorneys for Los Angeles County to release the therapy records of a deputy who sued the county, alleging her career has been derailed because a recruit the plaintiff found to be physically unfit brought about a backlash from former Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s wife. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Cherol J. Nellon ruled Thursday that the county did not follow the proper procedures in seeking the records regarding Deputy Lina Pimentel’s mental health in the plaintiff’s suit alleging retaliation, discrimination and harassment.


Ninth Circuit holds that false claim to citizenship to police does not trigger inadmissibility

In a precedential decision interpreting the false claim of citizenship ground of inadmissibility, INA § 212(a)(6)(C)(ii)(I), the Ninth Circuit held that such a claim made to police officers during a criminal arrest does not trigger inadmissibility. Ramírez Muñoz v Garland, - F. 4th -, 2023 WL 4168884 (9th Cir. 2023). In reaching its conclusion, the Ninth Circuit rejected the Board’s broad interpretation of this inadmissibility ground and instead found persuasive the Third Circuit’s reasoning in an earlier, precedential decision. 


Bubba Harkins’ defamation lawsuit against Angels and MLB settled before going to trial

Three years of legal wrangling that featured hundreds of hours of depositions, thousands of pages of court documents and several pretrial hearings ended with a four-word statement from the attorney representing former Angels visiting clubhouse manager Brian Harkins: “The case has settled.” Harkins reached a confidential agreement with the team and Major League Baseball to settle his defamation complaint on Monday morning, ending the lengthy legal battle between the sides just hours before the “sticky stuff” case was scheduled to go to trial.

Los Angeles Times

Ninth Circuit upholds constitutionality of hate statute

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday affirmed, in a 2-1 decision, the conviction of a man for attempting to commit racially motivated violence, with Circuit Judge Sandra S. Ikuta dissenting, maintaining that the statute under which the defendant was prosecuted is unconstitutional. Circuit Judge Ronald M. Gould wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Superior Court Judge Edward R. Korman of the Eastern District of New York, sitting by designation.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Measure J, L.A. County’s 2020 criminal justice reform measure, is constitutional, appellate court finds

An appellate court has ruled that a sweeping Los Angeles County criminal justice reform initiative known as Measure J is constitutional, potentially paving the way for millions of dollars to be invested in social services and a host of community-based jail diversion programs. A three-judge panel of the state’s 2nd District Court of Appeal on Friday reversed an L.A. County Superior Court judge’s ruling in 2021 that struck down the voter-approved initiative.

Los Angeles Times

New laws don’t bar prosecution of woman for infanticide

Div. One of the Fourth District Court of Appeal on Friday gave a green light to the trial of a woman for murder based on the death of her daughter shortly after her birth at home, holding that two statutes that went into effective Jan. 1 do not shield her from potential criminal liability. However, the court said, that liability would pertain only to her conduct following the birth, including not telephoning 911 when it was evident the newborn needed medical attention based on difficulty breathing and bleeding after the umbilical cord was severed.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

California’s top court sides with USC in student misconduct case

Private California colleges do not have to give students accused of sexual misconduct or intimate partner violence the opportunity to cross-examine their accusers during live hearings, the California Supreme Court ruled on Monday. Colleges must provide accused students meaningful opportunities to respond to allegations before they are disciplined, Associate Justice Joshua Groban wrote in the opinion.

Higher Ed Drive


Gunman who shot deputies was out for revenge, prosecutor claims

A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy testified Tuesday that she heard gunshots and that her vision went blank for a few seconds after she and her partner were shot as they sat in their patrol vehicle outside a Compton transit center in an attack caught on surveillance video. Wearing a sheriff's uniform while on the stand, Deputy Claudia Apolinar told the Compton jury hearing the case against Deonte Lee Murray that she didn't immediately know where she had been shot but felt a "warm sensation in my mouth" and tried to speak over a police radio to report what had happened to her and her partner on Sept. 12, 2020.

City News Service

Reseda man affiliated with violent white supremacist group charged in federal criminal complaint with drug and ammunition offenses

A San Fernando Valley man associated with a racially motivated violent extremist group is expected to appear in federal court later today after being charged this morning in a criminal complaint with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and being a felon in possession of ammunition. Ryan Scott Bradford, 34, of Reseda, was arrested at his residence Thursday and is expected to make his initial appearance this afternoon at United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.

U.S. Attorney’s Office Press Release

3 charged with robbery in probe of ‘scenic turnout' killings

Three people have been charged in the robbery of a man who was killed last week on Angeles Crest Highway and two robberies on the highway the week before, authorities said Saturday. The suspects charged Friday are believed to be among five allegedly armed gang members arrested Tuesday in Panorama City and a sixth suspect arrested that day in South Los Angeles.

City News Service

Locals charged for taking part in Capitol insurrection (Video)

60 people from California have been charged for their involvement in the January 6th insurrection. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4 News on August 1, 2023.


Lawyers for tech consultant Nima Momeni say he had no reason to kill Cash App founder Bob Lee

Attorneys for Nima Momeni, the tech consultant charged in the death of Cash App founder Bob Lee, said Monday that the two men had a cordial relationship and the defendant had no reason to kill him. The comments from Momeni's lawyers came during a preliminary hearing, where the prosecution presents its evidence and a judge decides if there is enough to move ahead to trial. The hearing will continue Tuesday, when Momeni's defense is expected to lay out more of their arguments.


Lead defendant in federal case charging white supremacist group with violence at political rallies extradited from Romania

The lead defendant in an indictment that charges three Southern California men linked to a white supremacy extremist group with planning and engaging in riots at political rallies across California has been extradited to the United States from Romania, the Justice Department announced today. Robert Paul Rundo, 33, of Huntington Beach, allegedly a founding member of the Rise Above Movement (RAM), was transported by special agents with the FBI from Romania to Hollywood Burbank Airport, where he arrived Tuesday evening.

U.S. Attorney’s Office Press Release


A possible end to incivility? Even on social media?

The California judiciary is so fed up with incivility that the State Bar Board of Trustees has submitted to the California Supreme Court proposed new rules and amendments for its consideration and approval, based on a lengthy (more than 200 pages) report by the California Civility Task Force. I wonder just how much of that incivility is at least somewhat a result of trial judges refusing to hammer misbehaving lawyers. Aren’t they in the best position to do that?

Above the Law

Oakland NAACP blasts local leaders, calls for state of emergency due to crime

The Oakland NAACP has called on city leaders to declare a state of emergency due to rising crime, calling the situation a "crisis," and has urged residents across the city to speak out against it. The group, alongside Bishop Bob Jackson of the Acts Full Gospel Church, issued the statement on Thursday, blasting both city and county officials, as well as social justice movements. 


Shoplifters looted $700K from California hardware store in 2022, local report says

Family-owned Dale Hardware in Fremont, California lost $700,000 last year after shoplifters repeatedly pillaged the store of merchandise, The Mercury News reports. Surveillance footage from the store shows thieves walking out with backpacks full of stolen tools. Store owners told Mercury News they’ve witnessed people take whole shopping carts full of unpaid goods in the past. 

The National Desk

Trump lawyer hints at a First Amendment defense in the Jan. 6 case. Some legal experts are dubious 

Donald Trump’s legal team is characterizing his indictment in the special counsel’s 2020 election interference investigation as an attack on the former president’s right to free speech. But the case is not merely about Trump’s lies but also about the efforts he took to subvert the election, prosecutors say. The early contours of a potential legal and political defense began to emerge in the hours after the charges were unsealed, with defense lawyer John Lauro accusing the Justice Department of having “criminalized” the First Amendment and asserting that his client had relied on the advice of attorneys around him in 2020.


Los Angeles City/County

L.A. County deputy recruit dies months after being struck by driver in South Whittier

A deputy recruit who was struck by a wrong-way driver while jogging with a group of recruits in South Whittier died Friday night after being hospitalized for eight months. Alejandro Martinez, 27, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Recruit, died at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center surrounded by his family, friends, L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna and other department members.


Dangerous toxic conditions in some of LA's Metro stations (Video)

KCAL News investigative reporter David Goldstein goes over the environmental report outlining the potentially deadly traces of drugs left behind by homeless residents who had camped out in train stations. Metro has never released the report and did not want to talk about it. 


Whittier officer ‘in good spirits’ after being struck twice in shootout with murder suspect

A shootout with a murder suspect in Whittier on Monday ended with a police officer struck twice in the lower extremities and the gunman shot in the hand, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said. Whittier officers were conducting surveillance on a suspect identified as Edgar Gonzalez, 25, authorities said. Gonzalez was wanted in connection with a targeted killing in Santa Fe Springs, according to sheriff’s homicide Lt. Hugo Reynaga.

Los Angeles Times

Gunman ambushes LAPD officers during unrelated traffic stop in South Los Angeles, bodycam shows

Authorities on Friday released body camera footage that shows Los Angeles police shooting a gunman after he spontaneously opened fire on officers who were conducting an unrelated traffic stop in South L.A. The incident occurred shortly before 1 a.m. on June 28 in the 7200 block of South Western Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Officers pulled over a black 2016 Lexus in the parking lot of a Jack in the Box. 


Three months later, L.A. City Controller Kenneth Mejia addresses staffers’ claims he acted sexually inappropriately

For the first time, Kenneth Mejia, the Los Angeles city controller well known for his youth-led campaign that vaulted him into the office of the city's chief accounting officer last year, hit back publicly at claims by ex-staffers that he is a “toxic” boss. "Those claims are very serious, and we understand that they're feeling hurt after colleagues were let go,” said Mejia during an appearance that aired on Spectrum News 1. 

Los Angeles Magazine

LAPD claps back at Mejia's fake math

Responding to a city report that found Black and Hispanic/Latino people were arrested at a "disproportionate rate" between 2019 to 2022, the Los Angeles Police Department denied the numbers point to discriminatory practices, noting that Black and Hispanic/Latino residents are also disproportionately represented among crime victims and reported offenders. "Arrest demographics are important in understanding the interplay between those engaged in criminal activity and arrest activity," according to an LAPD statement released late Tuesday. 

Westside Curent

Man allegedly hit by LASD projectile seeks deputies' personnel files

Attorneys for a 63-year-old man suing Los Angeles County, alleging that he was driving when he was accidentally struck in the head by a 40mm projectile fired from the Palmdale sheriff's station during a 2022 training exercise, want to review the personnel records of two deputies as well as investigative reports regarding what happened. Birch Wellington Pender's Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges battery, negligence, negligent hiring, training and supervision and civil rights violations.

City News Service

LA man settles lawsuit over LAPD projectile firing during 2020 protest

A man who was wounded by a Los Angeles Police Department officer who fired a projectile at his face during a May 2020 demonstration in the Fairfax district to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has reached an $860,000 settlement with the city, his attorneys announced Monday. In March, a federal jury in Santa Ana awarded Deon Jones, 31, a Los Angeles performance artist and entrepreneur, $375,000 in medical and punitive damages.


LAPD, union reach four-year contract agreement

An agreement between the union representing police officers, sergeants, detectives and lieutenants and the Los Angeles Police Department that will improve recruitment and retention has been reached Tuesday, according to the office of Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass. It is a tentative four-year agreement that addresses safety and adding more personnel to the department.

City News Service

Update re. LAPD’s community policing debacle

On June 28, 2023 the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council Public Safety Committee held a meeting at the Highland Park Recreation Center at 6:30 pm. The intent of this meeting was to discuss various issues surrounding the immediate Highland Park community, it's residents, stakeholders and business owners’ concerns over various public safety issues including traffic issues and major concerns over the May 20, 2023 Low Rider Car show.


Civil rights lawsuit filed against LA County probation officers over alleged assault involving teen

A civil rights lawsuit filed Tuesday against Los Angeles County, its former chief probation officer and various deputy probation officers at a juvenile camp in Malibu alleges officers used excessive force against a minor detainee and failed to share video of the confrontation with the district attorney's office, despite being urged to do so by county officials.


Riot breaks out at juvenile detention hall in Downey 

A riot that broke out at a juvenile hall in Downey led to the injury of staff members and at least one person escaping. According to a statement from the Los Angeles County Probation Department, the “major disturbance” occurred at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall around 8 p.m. Friday night. “[During the riot] youth assaulted staff, and one youth was able to exit the secure perimeter of the facility,” the L.A. County Probation Department said. “



California bar suspends 1,600 attorneys for violating rules set up after Tom Girardi allegedly stole millions

More than 1,600 attorneys have been suspended by the California State Bar for violating rules about client trust accounts that were set up after disgraced L.A. attorney Thomas Girardi allegedly stole millions of dollars from his clients. The Client Trust Account Protection Program, which went into effect last year, requires attorneys to register their client trust accounts annually with the state bar, complete a yearly self-assessment of their practices managing client trust accounts and certify with the state bar that they comply and understand the requirements for safekeeping funds.

Los Angeles Times

Anaheim corruption report alleges a criminal conspiracy, secret lobbying and influence peddling

A long-awaited outside investigation into political corruption in Anaheim made public Monday found a “potential criminal conspiracy” regarding $1.5 million in COVID-19 relief funds and alleged the city’s former mayor and the ex-head of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce participated in “influence peddling.”

Los Angeles Times

Santa Ana City Hall parts ways with controversial police union leader 

Gerry Serrano - the controversial Santa Ana police union president who city leaders said once threatened to “burn the city to the ground unless he gets what he wants” - has “separated” from City Hall, officials announced on Monday. The confirmation came in an email from city spokesperson Paul Eakins: “Mr. Serrano has been separated from City service pending retirement pursuant to a confidential personnel matter.”

Voice of OC

Alameda DA Pamela Price gets lit up by residents in Oakland (Video)

At a heated community meeting Thursday, residents of Oakland's Montclair neighborhood had a chance to confront the DA and the Oakland police department over rising crime. @AndreaKPIX reports.


Illegal medical lab discovered in California included bioengineered mice, infectious agents

An investigation into a warehouse in Reedley, California, uncovered a large-scale illegal medical lab complete with bioengineered mice, infectious agents, nearly 30 refrigerators and freezers, incubators and more. The investigation was prompted by a simple garden hose that was illegally attached and coming out of a wall in the back of the building.


A new right to know reason for police stops

Ever had the feeling that officers in a police patrol car pulled your vehicle over for some reason very much different from the vague one they stated? You’re certainly not alone - especially if you happen to be Black. Happily, as Bob Egelko reports in the San Francisco Chronicle, “a new state law, due to take effect next year, will require officers to tell people the reason they are being stopped before questioning them, unless an officer ‘reasonably believes that withholding the reason for the stop is necessary to protect life or property from imminent threat.’”

Orange County Register

Eight dogs on way to K9 training facility die from heat-related illness after truck's AC unit fails

At least 8 dogs being transported to a K9 training facility in Michigan City, Indiana died after the AC unit in the cargo area of a truck failed on Thursday, according to authorities. A driver was transporting the German Shepherds from Chicago O’Hare International Airport when the AC unit keeping the dogs cool stopped working, according to the Lake Station Police Department. There was a total of 18 dogs in the truck, according to the Humane Society of Hobart, NBC Chicago reported.

NBC News

Homeless Issue

SF’s $16M pivot on homelessness: Portion of business tax to now fund prevention services

San Francisco supervisors have approved an ordinance that will reallocate over $16 million in a city business tax towards shelter and homelessness prevention services. As part of the yearly budget also passed by supervisors at Tuesday’s board meeting, this ordinance will ensure revenues made from 2018’s Proposition C Homeless Gross Receipts Tax will temporarily shift from affordable housing for transitional aged youth and families to homelessness prevention efforts.

Bay City News Foundation

Alaska mayor proposes flying homeless to California

The mayor of Anchorage, Alaska proposed sending its homeless on one-way tickets to Los Angeles, San Diego, or other cities in warmer states to save the city money, citing the fact the cost of a one-way airplane ticket is cheaper than months of housing. Anchorage mayor David Bronson suggested the proposal in light of cold deaths last year, in which a record eight people died from exposure. This year, with an arena converted to a makeshift homeless shelter no longer available, new shelter is needed to keep people off the winter streets. 

The Center Square


Wilmington man gets 15 years for robbery spree

A Wilmington man who carried out a spree of armed robberies in the South Bay, including one in which he pointed a gun at a pregnant gas station worker, was sentenced Monday to 15 years in federal prison. Stevo Mijanovic, 20, pleaded guilty in March to two federal counts of robbery and one count of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. In addition to the 15-year prison sentence, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner ordered Mijanovic to pay $2,733 in restitution.

City News Service

Man sentenced for 17-year-old honor student's killing in Gardena

A young man convicted of murdering a 17-year-old honor student in Gardena was sentenced Wednesday to 52 years to life in state prison. Superior Court Judge Laura C. Ellison agreed with Deputy District Attorney Lindsay Kurtis' request for the maximum sentence for Marcos Medina, who was found guilty in June of one count each of first-degree murder for the Feb. 22, 2019, shooting of David Amaro-Poblano and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

City News Service


Orange County judge arrested on suspicion of murder after wife shot in Anaheim Hills home. 'It's a shock'

An Orange County Superior Court judge was arrested on suspicion of murder late Thursday after his wife was fatally shot in their Anaheim Hills home, according to law enforcement sources. Anaheim police arrived at a home in the 8500 block of East Canyon Vista Drive shortly after 8 p.m. after reports of a shooting. Law enforcement sources said officers made an emergency entry and found Sheryl Ferguson, 65, inside the residence suffering from at least one gunshot wound.

Los Angeles Times

Hollywood nightclub security guard beaten to death by multiple suspects: LAPD

Officials sought the public's help with an investigation after a security guard was beaten to death at a Hollywood nightclub early Sunday morning. Los Angeles Police Department officers were called to Dragonfly Hollywood at 6510 Santa Monica Blvd., near Wilcox Avenue, around 2 a.m. following an assault with a deadly weapon call. When they arrived, they were directed to the victim lying in the street who was not breathing.


Man dies after being stabbed by homeless man near Santa Monica Pier, police say

A man was fatally stabbed on the beach near the Santa Monica Pier Monday, and a homeless man has been arrested in connection with his death, according to police. Police were called out to the beach just after 2 p.m. Monday, after reports of someone assaulting another person. When officers got there, they found the 27-year-old stabbing victim near the bathrooms with at least one stab wound to the chest. 


Video shows L.A. deputy open fire on man ramming patrol car with SUV

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department released video Monday of a deputy opening fire on a 45-year-old man seen repeatedly ramming the deputy’s vehicle with his SUV in Bell Gardens last month. The incident occurred at around 4:30 a.m. on June 22 at the intersection of Eastern and Florence avenues, and was captured on nearby surveillance cameras, a witness’ cellphone camera and the deputy’s body-worn camera. 


Two U.S. Navy servicemembers arrested for transmitting military information to the People’s Republic of China

In two separate cases in the Southern and Central Districts of California, two U.S. Navy servicemembers were arrested for transmitting sensitive military information to the People’s Republic of China (PRC). “These individuals stand accused of violating the commitments they made to protect the United States and betraying the public trust, to the benefit of the PRC government,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. 

Office of Public Affairs Press Release

Clippers' Amir Coffey arrested on suspicion of carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle, police say

Los Angeles Clippers shooting guard Amir Coffey was arrested early Sunday on a firearms misdemeanor in Hollywood, authorities said. Coffey, 26, was a passenger in a vehicle that police pulled over for speeding shortly before 2 a.m., according to Los Angeles Police Officer Tony Im, a department spokesperson. Coffey was cited for carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle, Im said. He was released on his own recognizance from a county jail on $10,000 bail.


Articles of Interest

How a madam at Chinese massage parlors outside L.A. took on federal law enforcement

Mei Xing’s sex trafficking trial laid bare many secrets of the San Gabriel Valley’s massage parlors. Each time a masseuse had sex with a customer, Xing collected $40. The masseuse typically made at least twice that much in tips. Xing, who ran three massage parlors, could be a nasty boss, scolding or firing those who crossed her. Streetwise and strong-willed, she trusted no one. Yet she also socialized with many of the fellow Chinese immigrants she employed.

Los Angeles Times

Ninth Circuit revives sexual harassment suit based on music

Harassment doesn’t have to target a specific individual to be actionable under Title VII, a panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in a class action alleging sexual harassment. Eight former employees (seven women and one man) filed suit against S&S Activewear, alleging that the employer permitted its managers and employees to routinely play “sexually graphic, violently misogynistic” music throughout its 700,000-square-foot warehouse in Reno, Nevada.


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