Courts, Rulings & Lawsuits

Initiative wasn’t defied by law redefining ‘street gang’

The California Supreme Court held yesterday that a prohibition in Proposition 21 against altering its terms except by voters or by a two-thirds vote of both the Assembly and the Senate was not breached by legislation narrowing the definition of “street gang,” rendering applicable to fewer defendants its requirement of the death penalty or life imprisonment without possibility of parole where there is a murder with a gang enhancement.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

US judge temporarily blocks California law banning concealed carry of handguns in many public places

US District Judge Cormac J. Carney issued a preliminary injunction on Wednesday blocking a California law that prohibits concealed carry permit holders from carrying firearms in most public places. The case is in the US District Court for the Central District of California. Carney found that the California law violates the Second Amendment of the US Constitution.


Lawsuits against California State Bar and State move forward, court rules

A motion to dismiss a case filed against the State of California, State Bar of California, former State Bar Board of Trustees Chairman Ruben Duran, Senior Trial Counsel Eli David Morgenstern, Assistant General Counsel Suzanne Grandt and attorney Kenneth Catanzarite was denied in an Orange County Superior Court last month.

The Davis Vanguard

Drug-sniffing dog searches fall under Fourth Amendment protections, NY appellate court rules

Law enforcement’s use of drug-sniffing dogs on individuals now qualifies as a search under the Fourth Amendment, according to a Tuesday ruling from New York’s high court. It’s been an issue long unresolved by the United States Supreme Court, which has taken an “incremental” approach to the issue for the past four decades, according to Associate Judge Anthony Cannataro.

Courthouse News Service

Lawyer in DWP billing case must return $1.65 million fee

Tarzana attorney Michael J. Libman on Friday lost in his challenge to an order by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu M. Berle to disgorge $1.65 million received as fees in a class action against the City of Los Angeles based on overcharges for water and electricity, but the Court of Appeal did relieve the lawyer and his firm of an order imposing discovery sanctions in the amount of $116,000.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Judge orders city to produce records in worker’s airport death

The city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles World Airports have been ordered to produce multiple records to fulfill a woman’s request for information concerning her husband’s 2022 death while working at Los Angeles International Airport. Petitioner Tiffany Abraham sought the records from the city and airport under the California Public Records Act concerning the death of her spouse, 36-year-old Cristofer Abraham. 


Candidate’s ballot designation as ‘mayor’ is disallowed by registrar-recorder’s office

The Los Angeles County Office of Registrar/Recorder yesterday bounced the ballot designation submitted by Steve Napolitano, a candidate for Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 39, finding that “Attorney/Mayor, City of Manhattan Beach” is impermissible. His ballot designation is now "Attorney/Councilmember, Manhattan Beach.”

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Argument analysis: Justices skeptical of government’s reading of immigrant-removal provisions

Pereira v. Sessions, which was argued yesterday morning, implicates two questions, one narrow and one broad. The narrow question is a basic one of statutory interpretation. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, ten years of continuous physical presence, along with certain other factors, must be accrued before immigrants lacking two or more years of lawful residence, and otherwise removable, can qualify for a discretionary form of relief from removal known as “cancellation of removal.”


$5 million judgment in case of fired firefighter stands

The Third District Court of Appeal yesterday upheld a judgment in an action based on the firing of a fireman without an opportunity to be heard which, with an award of attorney fees included, amounts to more than $5 million. A theory put forth by the plaintiff was that the disregard of his rights was so arbitrary as to shock the conscience, thus constituting a violation of substantive due process. Justice Jonathan K. Renner wrote the opinion, which was not certified for publication. 

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Courts & Rulings

Man charged with murder in road rage incident that killed 4-year-old boy

A California man has been charged with murder in connection with a road rage shooting that killed a 4-year-old boy last week, prosecutors said. Byron Burkhart, 29, is accused of pulling up alongside a vehicle and firing eight shots into the car while driving on the Sierra Highway in Lancaster on Friday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office said.

ABC News

Gascon releases new promotion list - vocal cop hater is now Chief of Staff along with multiple anti-law enforcement aides promoted at LA DA office

A proud anti-law enforcement staff member of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office was promoted to Chief of Staff according to a promotion list released Friday, December 15th. Tiffany Blacknell, who has served in the District Attorney’s office as a grade 4 prosecutor, special advisor, and chief of communications, is set to begin her new position on January 16th, 2024.

The Current Report

Street vendor activists accused of violence are held without bail by San Bernardino County judge

Edin Alex Enamorado, who grew a large social media following as an activist for street vendors and other marginalized groups, will be held without bail along with seven other people facing charges of violence during protests, a San Bernardino County judge decided Monday. The eight people were arrested Thursday morning on search warrants following what authorities called a months-long assault investigation. 

Los Angeles Times

Fatal stabbing on Metro Gold Line was self-defense, DA says, as suspect released

The suspect in the fatal stabbing of a 27-year-old man on the Metro Gold Line has been released from custody after investigators say it appears the incident was a case of self-defense from an unprovoked attack. A police investigation - including a review of surveillance video and an interview with the man initially considered a suspect - indicates that the man who was stabbed and later died, 27-year-old Jalil Sosa Illera, was the aggressor in the confrontation.


San Francisco prosecutors begin charging 80 protesters who blocked bridge demanding cease-fire

San Francisco prosecutors on Monday began charging 80 protesters who last month blocked traffic for hours on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge while demanding a cease-fire in Gaza. The protest came as San Francisco was hosting President Joe Biden and other world leaders for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.


California accuses Ralphs of discriminating against job seekers with criminal records

California sued Ralphs Grocery of discriminating against job applicants with the most minor criminal histories in violation of a state law that aims to remove such barriers against people who have had entanglements with the law. The California Civil Rights Department said Thursday that it had filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit against the Southern California grocery chain over alleged violations of the state's Fair Chance Act.

Courthouse News Service

DA's Race

Los Angeles prosecutors endorse Eric Siddall for DA

The prosecutors union - the Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) - has endorsed its former vice-president Eric Siddall to be the next District Attorney of Los Angeles County. “Eric Siddall is not new to this political battle; he’s been waging it for years,” wrote the ADDA board of directors. “We believe that he has the necessary political acumen, policy depth, and prosecutorial experience to take the fight directly to George Gascón this November, to beat him in the general election, and, once elected, to move the District Attorney’s Office forward in a new, constructive, and modern direction.”

California Globe

Veteran prosecutor McKinney challenges DA Gascon

In his bid to unseat District Attorney George Gascon in the March 2024 election, veteran prosecutor John McKinney promises to restore public safety, prioritize victims’ rights, and ensure the punishment fits the crime. “The surge in crime, homelessness, and despair in Los Angeles is unacceptable,” McKinney said Sunday at the Great Room Café in Redondo Beach. 

Easy Reader News

Gascon is butchering the criminal justice system by acting as a defense attorney

The thing you need to understand about district attorneys such as Los Angeles’s George Gascon is that they are not really prosecutors. They are defense attorneys using the district attorney’s office to help criminals be set free. Gascon has offered his clearest reminder yet that this is the case with his decision to promote Tiffany Blacknell to his chief of staff.

Washington Examiner


Retail theft drives possible return to tough-on-crime policies in California

California could be on the verge of a rightward correction in criminal-justice policy. The state was a leader in rewriting laws to move away from harsh sentences, prolonged incarceration and overcrowded prisons in the name of racial justice. Some of its largest counties replaced traditional-minded district attorneys with those who wanted to imprison fewer people for less time.


California Democrats wade into retail theft politics. Proposition 47 puts them under pressure.

California Democrats are taking on statewide retail theft, creating a dilemma for a party constantly facing “soft on crime” criticisms: how to tackle an issue of public concern without undoing criminal justice reforms. The Assembly Select Committee on Retail Theft met for the first time on Tuesday in Sacramento, just weeks before the full Legislature returns Jan. 3.

Sacramento Bee

What are the solutions for retail theft in California? Sacramento sheriff, prosecutors have ideas

How can California and the capital region solve retail theft? Law enforcement and policymakers explored the first steps Thursday during a hearing of the Little Hoover Commission, the state’s independent oversight agency, ahead of the Legislature’s first select committee hearing on the matter. The commission, an agency tasked with investigating state government operations and efficiency, has been studying the issue of retail theft since being asked to do so in a letter by more than 60 members of the Legislature.

Sacramento Bee

Frequently asked questions about courts interpreting California’s legislative process

The California Government Code, among other sources, provides a number of procedural rules for the State Legislature and the lawmaking process in this state. And a number of those statutory provisions have been the subject of litigation, so we have appellate court guidance in how to interpret them. What must occur for there to be a presumption of statutory amendments? 

California Globe

Ex-Mexico drug czar seeks new US trial after cartel bribery conviction

A former top Mexican law enforcement official convicted earlier this year on US charges that he took millions of dollars in bribes from drug traffickers is seeking a new trial, arguing he has come across evidence key witnesses lied on the stand. Lawyers for Genaro Garcia Luna, who as public security minister from 2006-2012 led the country's fight against drug cartels, said in a court filing on Friday that they had also found evidence that prosecutors' cooperating witnesses had improperly communicated with each other before trial.


Los Angeles County/City

LA public defender among 10 jailed Americans released from Venezuela in prisoner exchange

A Los Angeles County public defender is among 10 jailed Americans who have been released from custody in Venezuela in a prisoner exchange that freed a close ally of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and involves the extradition of a fugitive defense contractor who is at the center of a massive Pentagon bribery scandal.


L.A. surpasses both 300 murders and traffic collision deaths

Although there are still almost two weeks left in 2023, Los Angeles has already surpassed a pair of grim markers: The city has suffered more than 300 murders, and more than 300 people have died in traffic collisions. This marks the second consecutive year that the level has been reached in each category, though trends are going in opposite directions. Through Dec. 9, the city had tabulated 312 homicide victims.


Advocacy groups take LAPD to court over ‘violent’ traffic stop policy

A coalition of civil rights groups has taken legal action against the Los Angeles Police Department, seeking to force the agency to end an alleged practice of “high-risk” traffic stops, which the groups claim are based on faulty intelligence and undermine public trust in the police. The court filing Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court is a petition for writ of mandate on behalf of Community Coalition, Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles and Shailanee Sen.

Los Angeles Times

Detectives claim LAPD chief sought investigation of Mayor Bass over USC scholarship

Two detectives in the LAPD’s Internal Affairs Division say they were ordered to investigate Mayor Karen Bass shortly after her election at the behest of Chief Michel Moore, allegations the chief has strongly denied. The detectives filed the complaints with the Office of the Inspector General alleging that Moore called for Internal Affairs investigators to conduct an inquiry into a USC scholarship that Bass received.

Los Angeles Times

LAPD Chief should resign if Bass-probe report proves true, leaders say

Clergy and civic leaders Friday called for the resignation or removal of LAPD Chief Michel Moore if allegations prove true that Moore ordered two Internal Affairs detectives to investigate Mayor Karen Bass shortly after her election over her acceptance of a scholarship from USC. Moore has denied the allegations, which were first reported Wednesday by the Los Angeles Times. Allegedly, Moore's request for the investigation came at a time when Bass was considering whether to retain him as chief.

City News Service

Grandstanding Los Angeles city controller issues flawed LAPD Air Support audit

Accompanied by inordinate self-congratulation, on Dec. 11 the Los Angeles city controller’s office released what it touted as the “first ever” audit of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Air Support Division (ASD). The LAPD operates the nation’s largest airborne law enforcement fleet, with 17 helicopters and a twin-engine, fixed-wing aircraft. 

Jack Dunphy/PJ Media

Meet the Los Angeles Police Department Chaplain Corps: Motorcycles, priests with guns and a rabbi who escaped the Holocaust

Dividing time between his parish and his police family in the City of Angels, there’s a monsignor with a motorcycle, a man who’s both devoted to God – and a devotee of Harleys. Monsignor Frank Hicks revs the engine of his 2002 Harley Davidson V-Rod, the roar echoing through the underground garage of his Los Angeles church like a chrome crescendo.


Man behind Hollywood's 'Secret Service' runs for office with pro-police message in Beverly Hills

A pro-police, pro-transparency political candidate is shaking up the Beverly Hills City Council race by officially throwing his hat in the ring, Fox News Digital has learned. "I think that this is going to be a movement of concerned citizens who are just fed up with the status quo and the typical talking points and sound bites that they have seen through countless cycles of elections," Russell Stuart told Fox News Digital on Sunday in his first interview as a candidate for Beverly Hills City Council.

Fox News

Seeking redemption: A death row inmate's journey into LA County's largest psych ward

The yelling surprised no one. Yet still Craigen Armstrong was concerned. Ray was always acting out. This time he had just come back from medical and was standing at the glass wall, screaming at the sheriff's deputies on the other side. He was furious, accusing one of them of sleeping with his wife. Armstrong and the other inmates in the cell block hoped the disruption would blow over. But Ray only got louder and more frustrated.

Los Angeles Times


New firearms-related laws going into effect in California in 2024, later years

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law several firearms-related bills this year, including the country’s first statewide gun and ammunition tax and a change in the rules for carrying concealed weapons. Newsom’s signings came at the same time he launched a longshot campaign to amend the U.S. Constitution to limit firearms purchases and use.

Fox40 Sacramento

Mexican cartels are accessing a database used by the government to monitor their victims in real time

Mexican cartels are accessing an intelligence and security database used by government agencies to hunt down their victims in real time, sources told Vice News. The criminals can geolocate people through minute-to-minute location logs and obtain private information and documents through software called Titan, which is being shared on WhatsApp, according to the report.

Business Insider

California cops and firefighters are taking their pensions to Idaho’s ‘Little Orange County’

The recent mayoral election in this sleepy, conservative town nestled in the foothills outside Boise didn’t hinge on which Republican candidate was a fiercer supporter of former President Trump, or who was a stronger opponent of abortion. The key issue? Who was the least Californian. Both staunchly conservative candidates were refugees from the Golden State. The incumbent had arrived in 2003 from Orange County with little more than the shirt on his back.

Los Angeles Times

Justice Dept. launches database to track misconduct by federal officers

The Justice Department on Monday unveiled a national database to track serious misconduct violations by federal law enforcement officers, a move authorities said would help ensure that those officers are not unwittingly hired by other government agencies. President Biden called for the creation of the database in his executive order on policing in May 2022, which outlined dozens of steps aimed at bolstering accountability among federal officers and reducing the use of unnecessary force.

Washington Post

The little-understood reason why clearing homeless encampments became harder in California than most other states

Blocks from the White House, McPherson Square is a quiet, grassy downtown park where Washingtonians lunch and pigeons perch atop a statue of a Civil War general killed fighting the Confederacy. A year ago, it became the city’s largest homeless encampment, covered by tents and virtually off-limits to pedestrians. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser and the National Park Service have strictly enforced laws against camping on sidewalks and in parks. 

Los Angeles Times


Remains found in Encino trash bin are identified as missing Tarzana mother

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner said it confirmed that partial remains discovered five weeks ago in a trash bin in Encino belong to Mei Haskell, presumed dead since the arrest of her husband, who is also charged with the murders of Haskell's mother and step father. Mei Haskell's mother, Yanxiang Wang, and stepfather, Gaoshan Li, haven't been seen since early November and are also presumed dead by authorities.


A raid uncovers more than $1 million worth of cosmetics stolen from CVS, Sephora and 99 Cents Only stores

Responding to a recent surge in retail theft, the California Highway Patrol announced Thursday it had seized more than $1 million in stolen items and arrested a Los Angeles woman in connection to a Southern California retail theft ring. The Organized Retail Crime Task Force of the CHP conducted a raid on a warehouse in the city of Paramount and a business called The Makeup Store on Whittier Boulevard in Los Angeles, uncovering more than a million dollars worth of stolen cosmetics during the operation.

Los Angeles Times

Don’t want your car stolen? Here’s where to avoid parking in L.A.

Although the number of car thefts has been on the decline in the past two years, Los Angeles is still on pace to record 45% more stolen cars in 2023 than in the year before the pandemic started. A Times analysis of vehicle theft data in Los Angeles from 2013 to 2023 confirmed that vehicle thefts are most prevalent in higher-crime areas of the city, even though violent crime has dropped in those areas.

Los Angeles Times

Former NFL player Derrick Ward arrested in LA business heists

A former NFL running back who won a Super Bowl with the New York Giants was arrested in connection with robberies at businesses in the Los Angeles area, according to prosecutors and police. Derrick Ward was arrested Monday night, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. A case had not been presented to prosecutors for consideration of criminal charges, the office said early Tuesday.


Tether has frozen $435M USDT for U.S. DOJ, FBI, and Secret Service

The world’s largest stablecoin issuer has frozen 326 wallets containing $435 million worth of Tether (USDT) for the U.S. authorities, the company highlighted in a letter on Dec. 15. The assets were frozen to assist law enforcement authorities, including the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Secret Service.



The grave dangers of counterfeit Christmas gifts

'Tis the season of giving, a time when the warmth of joy and generosity fills the air. However, lurking beneath the glittering paper and festive ribbons lies a menace that threatens to cast a shadow over the holiday spirit – counterfeit Christmas gifts. While the allure of a bargain from online giants, including Amazon, Walmart, and eBay may be irresistible, the dangers associated with fake presents are far-reaching and can wreak havoc on both your loved ones and the holiday season itself.

The Counterfeit Report

Apple to halt sales of some Apple Watches in US

Apple plans to stop selling some versions of the Apple Watch in the United States as soon as this week to get ahead of what could be one of the most momentous patent disputes in years. The company confirmed to CNN it will no longer be selling its Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, starting Thursday on and from retail locations after Dec. 24. The news follows an ongoing dispute with medical maker Masimo over its blood oxygen feature.


FTC is investigating Adobe over its rules for canceling software subscriptions after years of customer complaints

Adobe Inc. said US regulators are probing the company’s cancellation rules for software subscriptions, an issue that has long been a source of ire for customers. The company has been cooperating with the Federal Trade Commission on a civil investigation of the issue since June 2022, Adobe said Wednesday in a filing. A settlement could involve “significant monetary costs or penalties,” the company said.



2 LA-area men agree to guilty pleas for illegally selling or buying tribal police badges

Two Los Angeles-area men who authorities said illegally sold or bought police badges from a southeastern San Diego County tribe have agreed to plead guilty to federal charges, prosecutors announced Thursday. Colin Gilbert, 80, of Marina del Rey, agreed to plead guilty to one count of making false statements, which carries a possible sentence of up to five years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

City News Service

Man sentenced to 12 years for killing nurse in unprovoked attack at downtown LA bus stop

A man pleaded no contest Tuesday to voluntary manslaughter for fatally striking a 70-year-old nurse in an unprovoked attack at a downtown Los Angeles bus stop last year. Kerry Bell, who admitted he had a prior strike for assault in Texas, was immediately sentenced to 12 years in state prison. He waived credit for 698 days he had already served behind bars since his arrest shortly after the Jan. 13, 2022, attack on Sandra Shells.


The never-ending story

When Bruce Davis stepped off a transfer bus at San Quentin State Prison in 2019, the news of his arrival spread quickly through the incarcerated community. A Manson family member now lived among us. Helter skelter. Swastikas carved into foreheads. Fanatical female cultism. All the hype surrounding Charles Manson still had pull 50 years after the fact, even here.

Alta Journal

Articles of Interest

Thirty years ago, Time asked if L.A. was 'going to hell.' Are we there yet?

The freeways are clogged with cars. Criminals point guns at the unsuspecting. A fire burns near shadowed foothills. The April 19, 1993, cover of Time magazine depicts a dark vision of Los Angeles. And the question it asks is even more ominous: “Is the City of Angels Going to Hell?” The accompanying story, titled “Unhealed Wounds,” is a portrait of a divided city in the wake of the 1992 riots sparked by the acquittal of the Los Angeles Police Department officers who had beaten Rodney King.

Los Angeles Times

Mark Meadows' bid to move election interference charges to federal court met with skepticism by three-judge panel

A recent 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling involving a Georgia man who claims to be an heir to the Moroccan kingdom may not bode well for Mark Meadows' attempt to move the election interference charges against him in Georgia from state court to federal court.

CBS News

Harvard president’s corrections do not address her clearest instances of plagiarism, including as a student in the 1990s

Harvard President Claudine Gay recently requested corrections for two of her academic papers, but she did not address even clearer examples of plagiarism from earlier in her academic history at the school, according to a CNN analysis of her writings. In response to accusations of plagiarism, the embattled Harvard president recently submitted corrections to two papers she wrote as a professional academic in 2001 and 2017. 


Law firm to cease on-campus recruiting at Harvard due to university president's congressional testimony

A law firm will cease on-campus recruiting of Harvard Law students due to the university president’s recent congressional testimony, telling Fox News Digital the move will be in place until there is a "sea change" on campus. Edelson PC law firm founder Jay Edelson penned a letter to Harvard Law’s director of recruitment and operations saying that the firm will not be participating in the university's upcoming Spring Interview Program. 

Fox News


Newsom freed elderly and sick prisoners during COVID, but he’s grappling with risks of more mercy

David Moreland had long expected to die in prison. But when the coronavirus nearly killed him in 2020, it was that brush with death that ended up freeing him. “This is how God works,” Moreland, 67, said from his cozy living room at a subsidized apartment complex for seniors in Long Beach. When Moreland contracted COVID before vaccines were available, he said his oxygen levels were so low that a doctor was preparing to hook him to a ventilator. 

Los Angeles Times

For more ADDA news and information, visit