Los Angeles District Attorney
Families feel ‘tricked’ by LA County DA George Gascón over resentencing of death row inmates
The daughter of a construction manager who was brutally murdered three decades ago said her family was “tricked” by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, which is pushing to commute the killer’s death sentence to life without the possibility of parole - despite their opposition. Other families said they are also feeling “unheard” and manipulated by embattled LA County District Attorney George Gascón, who is a fierce opponent of the death penalty.
Outspoken prosecutor who clashed with D.A. Gascón now target of internal investigation
A prosecutor who clashed with Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón over a controversial case involving a transgender defendant is now the subject of an internal investigation and also has been accused of making offensive remarks about the defendant. The investigation into Shea Sanna, a deputy district attorney, stems from allegations that he misused county resources, released confidential information and made inappropriate public statements, said Greg Smith, Sanna's attorney.
District attorney continues Three Strikes challenge
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced on July 14 that he is appealing the court of appeals ruling mandating the filing of a strike in all eligible cases. The decision sets a dangerous precedent, he said. The court is effectively taking the charging decision out of the prosecutor’s hands - the core function of a prosecutor’s office, Gascón said.
Los Angeles DA Gascón seeks to overturn death sentence of man who murdered two Japanese students
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón asked a Superior Court Judge to overturn the death sentence of a man who murdered two Japanese students in 1994.Gascón wants to change the death sentence of Raymond Oscar Butler, 47, to life in prison without parole, reported NBC News. Butler, then 18-years-old, fatally shot Marymount College film students Takuma Ito and Go Matsuura through the backs of their heads during a failed carjacking at the parking lot of a Ralph’s supermarket in San Pedro, California, on March 25, 1994.
Courts & Rulings
U.S. Supreme Court holds that a violation of an individual’s Miranda Rights does not provide a basis for a § 1983 claim.
In a recent opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in which held that the “use of an un-Mirandized statement against a defendant in a criminal proceeding violates the Fifth Amendment and may support a § 1983 claim” against the officer who obtained the statement. The 6-3 majority found that Miranda does not extend to claims made under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
LA-area CHP officer settles suit alleging sexual harassment by judge
A Black California Highway Patrol officer who acted as a driver for justices of the Second District Court of Appeal has tentatively settled her lawsuit against her employer, in which she alleged she was sexually propositioned by one of the court's justices. Lawyers for plaintiff Tatiana Sauquillo filed court papers on Thursday with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michelle Williams Court notifying the judge of a conditional settlement and that a request for dismissal will be filed by Jan. 23. No terms were divulged.
California can’t impose ‘sprawling’ enviro regulations on Tribes’ casino plans
California cannot seek environmental concessions from five Native American Tribes during negotiations to renew their contracts to operate “Las Vegas style” casinos, a federal appeals court held. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Thursday the state violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) by demanding nearly 30 pages’ worth of “sprawling” environmental regulations, as well as tort and family-law changes with no direct relation to gaming activities.
US federal appeals court upholds Federal Aviation Administration drone identification rule
The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Friday upheld the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) rule on drone identification. Brennan v. Dickson was brought by Tyler Brennan, a drone user, and the drone equipment retailer owned by Brennan, RaceDayQuads LLC, challenging the FAA over its Remote Identification Rule of April 2021. The rule requires drone manufacturers to begin producing drones with remote ID.
Remote-testimony option doesn’t bar change of venue
A statute enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic authorizing testimony via remote technology did not form a valid basis for a San Francisco Superior Court judge denying a motion for a change of venue to San Diego County where the action was over a death occurring in that county and with most of the witnesses residing there, the First District Court of Appeal has held.
C.A. disallows attorney-fee award before final judgment
The First District Court of Appeal on Friday reversed an order granting roughly $1.1 million in attorney fees to a group of tenants who won, by means of summary adjudication, on their sole cause of action on a contract that provided for fees to the prevailing party, with the justices explaining that once the non-contract claims are adjudicated, the tenants might not be the overall victors.
Man accused of shooting Lady Gaga’s dog walker is recaptured months after mistaken release
Almost four months after he was mistakenly freed from custody in Los Angeles, a man accused of shooting Lady Gaga’s dog walker in a robbery was captured Wednesday, officials said. James Howard Jackson, 19, was arrested in Palmdale, a city north of L.A., the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said. Jackson is charged in the Feb. 24, 2021, shooting of dog walker Ryan Fischer.
'He shot my arm off': Elderly store owner opens fire on would-be robber in Norco
The owner of a store that was targeted by would-be robbers turned the tables on one of the suspects by opening fire on him in Norco. Authorities said that at 2:45 a.m. on Sunday, four male suspects in a black BMW SUV attempted to rob Norco Market & Liquor, located in the 2800 block of Clark Avenue. Surveillance video obtained by FOX 11 shows a male suspect wearing a red and black sweatshirt and a ski mask entering the store before he points a rifle at the store owner who was behind the counter.
Judge reduces felony charge against councilmember's son
A county judge on Monday reduced a felony charge against Adam Friedman, son of Beverly Hills Councilmember Lester Friedman, related to a fake Instagram account created during the city's recent municipal election. The District Attorney charged Adam Friedman on July 13 with one felony count of identity theft and one misdemeanor count of internet/electronic impersonation, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office. The judge did not drop the second misdemeanor charge Monday.
Harvey Weinstein stumbles in bid for communications ahead of LA trial on rape charges
Former movie producer and convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein wants to review years of communications, including exchanges with family and close friends, and documents of the women who he's accused of assaulting and raping ahead of an October trial in Los Angeles. Alan Jackson, an attorney for Weinstein, argued at a hearing Monday that the requested information would be relevant to these women's state of mind at the time the alleged crimes occurred because it may shed light on their relationship with Weinstein and whether the encounters were consensual.
Slain UCLA student Brianna Kupfer's father is outraged over autopsy report leak
The heartbroken father of a UCLA graduate student brutally slaughtered in a random daylight attack in Los Angeles is outraged that the autopsy report containing graphic details of her savage murder was released to the press. "You have people who don’t really care about humanity and, for whatever selfish gain or for whatever reason, they act… without a conscience," Todd Kupfer told Fox News Digital.
Carson pastor accused of shooting LASD deputy won't face charges: DA
A Carson pastor accused of shooting his son-in-law - a deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department - during an alleged dispute at a Harbor City home will not be charged with a crime, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced Thursday. In a statement, the DA said evidence and witness statements led to the decision to decline charges on Gordon Mueller, a pastor at Believers' Victory International Church.
Ex-convict charged with firing shots near Hollywood Farmers' Market
Criminal charges have been filed against an ex- convict who allegedly fired shots near the Hollywood Farmers' Market, causing the popular establishment to shut down, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced today. Joseph DeLaCruz, 42, is charged with one felony count each of shooting at an inhabited dwelling, first-degree burglary with a person present, criminal threats, possession of a firearm by a felon, unlawful possession of ammunition, vandalism causing $400 or more in damage or destruction of property and discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, according to the District Attorney's Office.
New San Francisco DA revokes 30 drug case plea deals made by recalled predecessor
San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins (D) announced on Wednesday that she has revoked 30 plea offers for drug cases made by her predecessor, who was recalled from office. Former District Attorney Chesa Boudin (D) was ousted in a recall election in June, a rebuke of the progressive policies that he pushed like ending cash bail and offering defendants the opportunity to enter a rehabilitation program instead of prison.
New San Francisco DA goes after school-side fentanyl dealers, to revoke Chesa Boudin-era drug plea deal offers
The new district attorney in San Francisco announced Wednesday a new policy revoking plea offers for drug crimes made under ousted DA Chesa Boudin in an effort to crack down on rampant fentanyl dealing happening in the liberal city’s notorious homeless camps as well as just steps away from schools. San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said the new policy would prohibit dealers arrested with more than five grams of drugs from being referred to San Francisco’s community justice court (CJC).
State AG refuses DA Jenkins’s request to take Breed’s brother's case, plus case involving DA's husband's family
New DA Brooke Jenkins’s request to hand resentencing of London Breed’s brother to the state attorney general has been denied, and same goes for a case involving Jenkins’s husband’s cousin. New San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins was immediately confronted with an optics problem upon taking office: the resentencing of Mayor London Breed’s brother for an involuntary manslaughter case from 2000.
Prosecutors seek forfeiture of Michael Avenatti’s $4.5 million jet ahead of California sentencing for client embezzlement schemes
Federal prosecutors moved Monday to make Michael Avenatti’s seized $4.5 million jet an official piece of government property as part of his upcoming sentence in his client fraud case. A forfeiture application filed in the Central District of California Monday afternoon said Avenatti tried to relinquish his interest in the $4.5 million Honda HA-420 aircraft last month in a separate forfeiture case but was unable to file a notice as required.
Police union releases video in effort to refute CSULB professor’s racial discrimination complaint
The union that represents Cal State Long Beach police is pushing back against a professor’s accusations that he was racially profiled when an officer refused to unlock a door for him. In an effort to bolster their case, the union released body camera footage of the May 25 encounter and argued it shows professor Steven Osuna was being dishonest when he accused a campus police officer of discriminating against him.
Civilians, not officers, could soon respond to certain police calls in Long Beach
Long Beach could soon begin the process of hiring civilians who would respond to some lower-level crime calls instead of sworn police officers, an idea that the Long Beach Police Department originally proposed nearly two years ago as it tried to cut its budget. The community service assistant program will create 16 new civilian jobs at the department with duties will include responding to “priority 3” calls, which are requests for officers to respond to non-violent incidents.
Fired veteran LAPD sergeant seeks reinstatement
A veteran Los Angeles police sergeant who alleges she was wrongfully fired in May for refusing to pay for coronavirus testing while awaiting a decision on her request for a religious exemption from taking the vaccination is asking a judge to reinstate her with back pay. Former LAPD Sgt. Barbara Riggs’ Los Angeles Superior Court petition alleges the city violated the state labor code by requiring her to undergo and pay for COVID testing while her vaccinated co-workers had the option of being tested at the city’s expense.
George Soros says liberal prosecutors not to blame for crime spike, vows continued support
Liberal mega donor George Soros pledged that he has "no intention" of slowing down his donations to progressive district attorneys and dismissed the notion their policies were to blame for crime spikes nationwide. "Some politicians and pundits have tried to blame recent spikes in crime on the policies of reform-minded prosecutors," Soros wrote in an op-ed published Sunday in the Wall Street Journal.
City Attorney Mike Feuer calls for tougher rules for pregnancy centers that mislead on abortion services
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer on Thursday, Aug. 4 unveiled a proposed city law aimed at deceptive, misleading and false advertisements by pregnancy service centers that purport to offer a range of reproductive health services, including abortion, but in fact do not. In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade, which had protected abortion rights nationally, Feuer said at his news conference at City Hall that California could see thousands of women arriving from other states in search of abortion services.
Los Angeles County/City
Indicted LA councilmember sues city over terminated pay and benefits
LA City Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas, who was indicted last year on federal corruption charges, sued the city because his salary and benefits were terminated after the council suspended him because of his indictment. Ridley-Thomas, who has denied wrongdoing, seeks a court order that Controller Ron Galperin and the city of Los Angeles violated the city charter by depriving him of his salary and benefits without, he alleges, any legal authority supporting that decision.
LA County supes want power to remove a duly elected sheriff
During the past few months, I have been watching the January 6th Select Committee Hearings. As most US residents watched in horror and dismay as a large mob of attempted to overthrow not only our government, but also our whole election process. This mob wanted to overturn the election results of the 2020 Presidential election. I have always taken my voting rights very seriously.
Citizenship is no longer required for LA County jobs
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously with no discussion to allow LA county to hire non-citizens, except in positions where being a U.S. citizen is required by state and federal law. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted in favor to waive citizenship requirements for Los Angeles County. The motion was authored by Chair Hilda L. Solis, and co-authored by Sheila Kuehl. “Los Angeles County is a community of immigrants from each corner of the world,” said Chair Hilda Solis in a statement.
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. The fatal shooting was the first test of a law requiring the Justice Department to investigate police shootings of unarmed civilians.
The sheriff strikes back
A lot of people want to see Alex Villanueva fail. Progressive activists, local TV news stations, billionaire heiresses, some WeHo City Councilmembers and a sizeable portion of L.A. County voters - all of them would love to see the controversial sheriff lose his re-election race in November. They supported him on his road to becoming the first Democrat in 100+ years to hold the position. But he slipped his collar. He ended up being more moderate than they thought he would be. More critical. Less obedient. And so they turned their guns on him.
L.A. cracks down on homeless encampments near schools, over protesters' jeers
The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to prohibit homeless people from setting up tents within 500 feet of schools and day-care centers, during a raucous meeting where protesters shouted down council members and, at one point, brought the meeting to a halt. The new restrictions, approved on an 11-3 vote, dramatically expand the number of locations where sleeping and camping are off-limits.
Crime/Public Safety
LAPD confronted federal officials after agents escalated tensions at L.A. protest
A confrontation between U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents and a group of abortion rights protesters in downtown Los Angeles in May prompted L.A. police officials to call a meeting a week later to discuss how federal officers should respond at street protests, according to emails obtained by The Times. Those expectations, outlined by a Los Angeles Police Department sergeant in a follow-up email to meeting attendees, called for clearer communication about big protests and civil unrest between the LAPD and its federal partners and for a restrained role for federal agents on the ground.
Don't carry guns, don't run from the cops, and if you do, expect to be treated roughly
So here we are again. An armed suspect runs from the police only to be pursued, subdued, disarmed, and arrested. In a sane world, the officers would be lauded for their efforts. Alas, the world is far from sane, and few portions of it are farther from sanity than Chicago and its surrounding communities. So, instead of being praised for removing an armed criminal from the streets, the officers find themselves villainized for using what the uninformed or willfully blind perceive as excessive force.
Northeast LA: B.L.E.N.D. election update
After my post a couple of weeks ago regarding the Northeast LAPD Division’s booster club, or B.L.E.N.D., and their Bylaws difficulties, it turns out that another group of the BLEND members sent an open letter to the BLEND Board regarding the elections held on July 18th. As time goes on, and more and more internal difficulties of BLEND come out, there are no winners. BLEND is a vehicle for the Northeast community to provide economic and other support to the Northeast Division of the LAPD. Period.
Road rage incidents in Los Angeles on the rise, according to LAPD report
The latest numbers from the Los Angeles Police Department reveal road rage is getting worse for drivers in Los Angeles. The report shows road rage incidents have increased since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and at an alarming rate. "It’s very unsafe and somebody has to do something about it because it’s just getting out of control," one LA driver told FOX 11’s Gina Silva.
Long Beach school officer charged with murder, posts bail
The former Long Beach Unified School District safety officer who was charged with murder in the shooting death of Manuela "Mona" Rodriguez in September is now out of jail. Eddie Gonzalez bailed out of a Los Angeles County jail on Thursday, according to the California State VINE service. Gonzalez, 51, was charged with one count of murder by LA County District Attorney Gascón in October for the shooting death of Rodriguez.
'I didn't even know I was kicked': Woman attacked in parking lot after birthday celebration
The Los Angeles Police Department is searching for the suspects who violently beat a woman in Hollywood. Officers responded to the 1700 block of N Las Palmas Ave. around 2:15 a.m. Saturday regarding an assault. Officers say the woman was arguing with two men when one of them punched and kicked her in the face. Before the assault, it appears the woman was also arguing with others. Video shared with FOX 11 shows the woman lying on the ground with a small crowd gathered around her.
Law enforcement leaders testify on officer safety (Video)
Law enforcement leaders testified on the increasing violence against police officers nationwide. The Senate Judiciary Committee convened the hearing to hear directly from police as senators consider legislation to address the issue The leaders urged Congress to act quickly to protect law enforcement everywhere. Topics included the dangers of anti-police rhetoric, social media campaigns and movements like “Defund the Police,” civilian access to assault weapons, and retention and recruitment issues.
FBI open to settling claims by gymnasts abused by Nassar
The FBI has reached out to attorneys representing Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles and other women who were sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar to begin settlement talks in the $1 billion claim they brought against the federal government, according to three people familiar with the matter. The FBI’s general counsel contacted the lawyers for Olympic gold medalists Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney and dozens of other women on Wednesday.
Is California headed for an economic downturn?
Some cautionary economic signals are gaining strength in California just a month after Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers adopted a record-breaking $308 billion budget. The Golden State is more likely than not to collect less from personal income, sales and corporation taxes than the $210 billion assumed in the 2022-23 budget, according to a Monday report from the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, which advises lawmakers on fiscal issues.
New York attorney general joins suit against Glock over subway shooting
Planning to defend a gun control measure passed last year, New York Attorney General Letitia James joined a lawsuit Friday against the gunmaker Glock filed by one of the people wounded during the April 12 shooting at a New York City subway station. Ilene Steur was among the 10 people shot when a gunman set off two smoke canisters then opened fire during rush hour in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Purported L.A. Antifa member to plead guilty to vandalizing courthouse
A Los Angeles woman pleaded guilty Monday to a federal vandalism charge for spray-painting graffiti on the front wall of the downtown federal courthouse two years ago during a rowdy street protest tied to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. Colleen Newton, 24, entered her plea to a class-A misdemeanor count of "depredation against government property" for spray-painting "BACON GETS FRIED," with the last word underlined, on the building's outside front wall during the July 25, 2020, protest, according to her plea agreement filed in the courthouse that was the target of the attack.
Chief financial officer of global public relations firm pleads guilty to fraud and falsification of corporate records
Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that Frank Okunak, the former chief financial officer of one of the world’s leading global public relations firms, pled guilty in connection with a decade-long scheme to embezzle over $16 million from his employer. U.S. Attorney Damian Williams stated: “ Frank Okunak, former CFO of one of the world’s leading public relations firms, admitted today to illegally embezzling over $16 million of the firm’s assets to pay for his posh lifestyle. Okunak now awaits sentencing for his decade-long fraud scheme.”
Judge approves settlement ordering Plaid to pay $58 million for selling consumer data
A federal court judge on Wednesday approved banking app Plaid's $58 million privacy class action settlement after consumers claimed the company had harvested and sold their financial data without consent. U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu’s order found that 11 plaintiffs from five lawsuits, led by James Cottle, won payment for all impacted customers whose data was sold by the tech startup Plaid using their banking login credentials.
The hidden privacy report in your phone you should start checking
More mobile phone users are concerned about how apps access, disseminate and process their data. And with good reason, many apps have been found to extract more information than necessary. Apple recently instituted several measures against app developers that play fast and loose with your data. The most significant change was the introduction of the App Privacy Report in iOS 15.2. But that is not the only weapon you have against data leakage.
California investigating third inmate slaying in one week
California prison officials said Monday that they are investigating the third slaying of an inmate by other inmates within the span of a week, at three different prisons. The latest was Friday at Pelican Bay State Prison far northwestern California, where officials say Fernando Torres Lopez attacked fellow inmate Uriel Otero in a dayroom. He was pronounced dead less than an hour later. Otero, 22, was serving a 25-year sentence from Monterey County for attempted second-degree murder with use of a firearm and inflicting great bodily injury during a street gang act.
Articles of Interest
A Russian thug and a fake Yelp account: An ex-doctor’s wild campaign against reporters
The text message came one night in April at 10:32 from an unknown number: “Restraining Order for Jack Dolan, aka Brittany Mejia”. “Please stop cyberstalking,” it read. Attached was a court order refusing to have contact with Newport Beach cosmetic surgeon Michael Mario Santillanes and was the subject of a Times investigation by the authors of this story into whether he still practiced medicine after his license was revoked in 2020.
Gavin Newsom is fighting a wealth tax that would fund his own climate goals
California environmentalists know how to fund Gov. Gavin Newsom’s aggressive plan to get gas-powered vehicles off the road: Tax the rich. What’s standing in their way? Newsom. The state’s ambitious, progressive governor is vehemently opposing a November ballot initiative to subsidize the electric vehicle market through a wealth tax. He declared the measure a “cynical scheme” by one of its key backers, ride-hail company Lyft, to meet a state EV mandate on the public’s dime.
Russian accused of using US political groups to spread propaganda
The U.S. Department of Justice unveiled an indictment Friday against a man from Moscow accused of secretly operating a yearslong scheme to promote pro-Russia propaganda in U.S. politics on behalf of the Kremlin. According to the indictment filed in Tampa federal court, from December 2014 until March 2022, Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov and at least three other Russian officials conducted a "foreign malign influence campaign that used various U.S. political groups to sow discord, spread pro-Russian propaganda, and interfere in elections within the United States."
Judge greenlights Marvel chairman's wife's lawsuit against Kasowitz law firm
A Palm Beach County, Florida judge has refused to dismiss a malicious prosecution lawsuit brought against law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres by the wife of Marvel Entertainment LLC chairman Ike Perlmutter. Judge Joseph Curley on Tuesday ruled that Laura Perlmutter does not need to wait to sue before an appeal is filed in an earlier lawsuit brought against her by a Palm Beach neighbor, Toronto businessman Harold Peerenboom.
Irvine attorney sues Alaska Airlines over child vaccination snafu
An Irvine attorney filed court papers Saturday alleging his family was denied boarding of a return flight from Mexico to Los Angeles in the spring unless their 2-year-old child received the coronavirus vaccination, then denied boarding again even after getting the child a shot and tested negative. Marc Y. Lazo's still-unofficial Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment and violation of the state Business and Professions Code. Lazo seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Pro golfers push back against the PGA Tour with antitrust lawsuit
A group of professional golfers filed an anti-lawsuit against the PGA Tour Wednesday, including six-time Majors champion Phil Mickelson. The 11 golfers allege that the PGA Tour is actively attempting to eliminate the Saudi Arabia backed LIV Golf to maintain their monopoly on the professional golf world. The lawsuit claims that the PGA Tour has prevented competitors access to the golfers that would be critical to the success of any competing tours, while also harming the golfers, who are still independent contractors, chances for any outside prospects.
CalPERS’ $29 billion loss is more than just a flesh wound
“Just a flesh wound,” protests the Black Knight in Monty Python’s famous “Holy Grail” comedy, challenging King Arthur to continue their duel even after all his limbs have been severed. Similar happy talk is coming from the management of California’s big public employee pension funds after CalPERS, the nation’s largest institutional investor, posted a loss of $29 billion. When CalPERS reported on its end-of-fiscal-year performance, its July 20th press release was headlined, “Challenging global public markets, strong private market returns lead to varied performance.” Varied performance, indeed.
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