Courts & Rulings
California Supreme Court upholds death sentence in 2003 slaying of Oceanside police officer
The California Supreme Court on Monday upheld the death sentence for a North County man convicted of gunning down an Oceanside police officer during what started as a routine traffic stop in a busy parking lot nearly two decades ago. Adrian George Camacho, 47, was convicted of first-degree murder for the June 13, 2003, slaying of Officer Tony Zeppetella, who was shot 13 times then pistol-whipped as he lay wounded on the ground.
Judge finds presumptive grounds for juror contact info in LAPD case
A judge ruled Tuesday that attorneys for a Los Angeles Police Department captain awarded $4 million over the internal distribution of a topless photo that was falsely purported to be her have made a presumptive showing that they are entitled to contact jurors in order to fight defense motions for a new trial or judgment notwithstanding the verdict.
People can’t appeal judge’s pretrial reduction of charge
A judge erred in reducing a charge from a felony to a misdemeanor before trial, but the People have no right to appeal the order, the Court of Appeal for this district declared yesterday in a 2-1 decision. Retired Justice Steven Z. Perren, sitting on assignment to Div. Six., authored the majority opinion, in which Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert joined. Justice Kenneth Yegan dissented.
San Jose church won’t have to pay $217,500 in COVID fines after CA Supreme Court denies petition
In a victory for a San Jose church who openly flouted COVID rules at the height of the pandemic, the California Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a petition by Santa Clara County asking that Calvary Chapel pay more than a quarter million dollars in court fees. “We feel really relieved,” said Mariah Gondeiro, the attorney representing Calvary Chapel.
Biden’s enforcement of deportations to undergo high court scrutiny
Red states are once again taking their fight over President Joe Biden’s border policies to the Supreme Court, with a case next week challenging federal enforcement of U.S. policies. President Joe Biden’s effort to impose more accessible asylum procedures have left the administration to face roadblocks from suits filed by Republican-led states that favored the stricter policies of Biden's predecessor.
CA gun laws could be affected by SCOTUS ruling in NY case
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court struck down New York’s law requiring people to have a good reason to carry a gun in public places. It raised the question of how that ruling might affect other states with strict gun laws, like California. The answer may soon come. Today in San Diego, a series of federal court challenges to California’s firearm regulations get underway. They will use that Supreme Court decision as a framework for how judges should interpret other states’ gun laws. Gun rights supporters are calling it a “do-over.”
Notation of judgment in computer system does not constitute an ‘entry’
The Court of Appeal determined in an opinion filed Wednesday that in counties where clerks no longer scribble notations in “judgment books,” the inputting of a recitation of a final decision in the court’s computer system does not constitute the entry of a judgment so as to cut off the judge’s power to grant reconsideration. Justice Martin N. Buchanan of the Fourth District’s Div. One authored the decision.
Court issues favorable ruling for California employers in background check disclosure case
In Limon v. Circle K Stores, Inc., the Fifth Appellate District court issued a favorable ruling for California employers regarding the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and employer background checks. The appellate court held that a former employee for Circle K, Ernesto Limon, could not pursue a proposed class action against Circle K for allegations that Circle K violated the FCRA by providing Limon faulty disclosures prior to obtaining a background check for employment.
Ninth Circuit holds foreign trademark defendants can be served through USPTO
Suing an overseas defendant often forces plaintiffs to go through the expensive and time-consuming process of serving the defendant through the Hague Convention. This requires translating the complaint and related documents, delivering them to the foreign country’s designated “Central Authority,” and then waiting for that Central Authority to actually deliver the documents and confirm delivery to the plaintiff.
Supreme Court agrees to hear Jack Daniel’s trademark case against dog toy company
The Supreme Court has agreed to take up a trademark case centered around a squeaky dog toy that’s “43% Poo by Vol.” and “100% smelly.” The court on Monday agreed to hear the trademark dispute brought by whiskey maker Jack Daniel’s against VIP Products, an Arizona-based company that sells products mimicking liquor, beer, wine and soda bottles.
Supreme Court counsel says Justice Samuel Alito didn’t violate ethics standards
The Supreme Court legal counsel said there is no evidence that Justice Samuel Alito violated ethics standards, according to a letter on Monday in response to questions from congressional Democrats about allegations that Alito revealed the outcome of a 2014 decision before it was released. “There is nothing to suggest that Justice Alito’s actions violated ethics standards,” wrote Ethan Torrey, legal counsel for the Supreme Court.
Judge says Trump's political actions around 2020 election not protected by 'absolute immunity'
A federal judge in Washington, DC, on Monday said that Donald Trump doesn’t have “absolute immunity,” as the former president claimed he should, in response to a lawsuit in its early stages related to Trump’s actions around the 2020 presidential election. Civil rights groups have sued Trump for trying to disenfranchise voters. While Trump’s lawyers argue he can’t be held liable in civil lawsuits because of immunity around the presidency, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the DC District Court on Monday disagreed.
Another senior prosecutor sues DA Gascón for demotion, retaliation
Another top prosecutor is suing Los Angeles County for alleged retaliation and a demotion after complaining about District Attorney George Gascón’s controversial policies. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Victoria Adams said she was demoted in May from her position as assistant district attorney of special operations to assistant district attorney of special projects.
Officer's widow to sue D.A. Gascon over June shooting death (Video)
The widow of slain El Monte Police Sgt. Michael Paredes and her attorney are scheduled to announce legal action against L.A. County District Attorney George Gascon and the county Tuesday over the sergeant's shooting death in June.
Gascón transferees who alleged threats drop petition seeking protection
Former deputy public defenders who transferred to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and sought protection from threats they say they have received as witnesses during hearings on appeals by other prosecutors have dropped their legal action against the county Civil Service Commission. The petition was originally brought Oct. 25 in Los Angeles Superior Court by the District Attorney’s Office, asking that ongoing commission hearings on the appeals be stayed until the current legal action is decided.
LA County DA takes keen interest in John Legend car theft case, prosecutor calls it insult to crime victims
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has taken an interest in a case in which singer John Legend almost had his luxury car stolen this week in what some prosecutors in the office are calling blatant special treatment for a high-profile supporter of District Attorney George Gascon. "An attempted vehicle theft is a crime which George Gascon barely seems interested in prosecuting," Deputy District Attorney John Lewin told Fox News Digital about his boss's priorities.
Court case delayed yet again for parolee accused of shooting deputy
A parolee charged with shooting a deputy in the neck during an assault investigation had his case continued Wednesday, two days after the five-year anniversary of the incident. Monolito Guerra, 34, stands accused of shooting Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Deputy Albert White during an investigation into an alleged Nov. 28, 2017, assault at an apartment complex on Bottletree Lane in Newhall.
Sheriff's deputy charged with on-duty assault in Compton
A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy has been charged with unlawfully using a Taser stun gun on someone who had been detained for shoplifting in Compton two years ago, the District Attorney's Office announced Thursday. Hiraudi Lopez-Romero, 29, was charged with one felony count of assault under color of authority. She is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 31 in downtown Los Angeles.
Violent crime surges in Los Angeles under DA George Gascon (Video)
Fox News contributor Leo Terrell joined 'Fox & Friends' to discuss the recent surge and how Gascon is backing the release of convicted criminals under Prop 57.
50 CHP officers take plea deals on charges connected to overtime fraud, state says
A judge recently offered to reduce felony wage theft and fraud charges against 54 California Highway Patrol officers to misdemeanors, according to the Attorney General’s Office. Fifty of the officers accepted the deal and will pay restitution, while a preliminary hearing will be scheduled for the remaining four in February, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
Trial of prison warden accused of sexually assaulting inmates begins in California
On the first day of a former federal prison warden's trial on sexual assault charges, a female inmate told jurors how she felt the first time she was attacked in the prison. “I was in shock, I didn’t know what to think,” the woman identified as Melissa testified. “I couldn’t believe it was happening, but I felt like he loved me and he cared about me and I wanted to make him happy.”
Department of Justice opens investigation into real estate tech company accused of collusion with landlords
The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division has opened an investigation into whether rent-setting software made by a Texas-based real estate tech company is facilitating collusion among landlords, according to a source with knowledge of the matter. The inquiry is being launched as questions have arisen about a 2017 merger between RealPage and its largest pricing competitor.
These prosecutors promised us ‘reform’ but delivered chaos instead
Imagine, one day, you decide to get healthy and hire a fitness coach. The trainer promises “a new you” - great physique, lower blood pressure, a healthy weight, more energy, better sleep. You start the program, which seems a little unusual and odd. Instead of working out and eating new and nutritious meals, you’ve been recommended fast food and very little if any time in the gym. A full year later, you have gained 40 pounds, your blood pressure is through the roof, your sleep is horrible, and you have no energy. 
LA County Registrar executive defends office’s work in unsuccessful Gascón recall
In new court papers, an executive of the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk defends her office’s work amid efforts by members of a group who unsuccessfully sought to recall District Attorney George Gascón. The registrar determined in August that the effort fell short of meeting the required 566,857 signatures because nearly 90,000 of them were not registered to vote and roughly 45,000 were duplicates.
Why are repeat offenders being released early? Shasta County District Attorney responds
Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett understands the problems our county, and overall the state, face when it comes to a lack of jail and prison space. She said, in Shasta County, the size of the jail alone contributes to offenders being allowed back onto the streets. Due to the limited space in the Shasta County Jail, offenders, like Khampasong Phaviseth - arrested six times since September - are able to get released earlier than expected.
Journalists have filed a lawsuit to obtain LAPD body-worn camera footage of a 2020 shooting
Journalists Ben Camacho and Sahra Sulaiman have filed a lawsuit against the LAPD alleging defiance of the California Public Records Act by withholding body-worn camera footage of the June 3, 2020, shooting of Jermaine Welch. Welch was a bystander at the intersection of Broadway and 86th Place when LAPD opened fire into a crowd of people.
Fired female Montebello PD detective sues for discrimination
A former Montebello police detective is suing the city, saying she was forced to work in an environment where men were given preferential treatment in everything from promotions to considerations for exemptions from the city's coronavirus vaccine mandate. Officer Maria Chavez's Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit also alleges she was wrongfully fired earlier this year for refusing to be vaccinated on religious grounds.
California gun data breach was unintentional, report finds
California's Department of Justice mistakenly posted the names, addresses and birthdays of nearly 200,000 gun owners on the internet because officials didn't follow policies or understand how to operate their website, according to an investigation released Wednesday. The investigation, conducted by an outside law firm hired by the California Department of Justice, found that personal information for 192,000 people was downloaded 2,734 times by 507 unique IP addresses during a roughly 12-hour period in late June.
Legislature must fix violent crime definitions
Words matter, we often hear in this contentious political era when politicians frequently say things and then deny they meant what their words said. Words also matter in the California penal code, where the label “violent” is not thrown around as much as it obviously should be. That tag currently is not applied to many crimes most people with common sense know are violent.
US courts ruling in favor of justice department turns legal tide on Trump
A spate of major court rulings rejecting claims of executive privilege and other arguments by Donald Trump and his top allies are boosting investigations by the US justice department (DoJ) and a special Georgia grand jury into whether the former US president broke laws as he sought to overturn the 2020 election results.
Lawsuit challenges “unconstitutional” LA County bail practices
At least ten people who could not afford to post bail died in Los Angeles jails without having been charged with a crime, according to a class-action lawsuit challenging the incarceration of people simply because they cannot afford to post bail amounts set by the LA County’s bail schedule.
Los Angeles County/City
Report: LAPD serves search warrants in City Hall racism leak investigation
The Los Angeles Police Department has served search warrants in its investigation into the leaked conversation that led to the City Hall racism scandal, to determine if the conversation was recorded illegally, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. It remains unknown who recorded the year-old, racism-filled conversation that took place at the offices of the L.A. County Federation of Labor or who leaked it - triggering a series of events that led Nury Martinez to step down as City Council president and then quit the council altogether, and Kevin de Leon and Gil Cedillo to face relentless calls for them to resign. 
Two birds of a feather
Every year prior to Thanksgiving, Los Angeles City Council members purchase large quantities of Turkeys which are to be given out to their needy, low-income constituents.The turkeys are paid for by Los Angeles Taxpayers’ dollars via each council district’s discretionary funds. I can only address CD 14. Prior to De Leon, former CD 14 Jose Huizar would hand out 15-20 turkeys to his various cronies within CD 14. They in turn would give them out to their neighbors and friends, most of whom could afford to pay for their own birds.
Inside months of chaos at L.A. County’s juvenile halls: lockdowns, staff shortages
The desperation pervading Los Angeles County’s juvenile halls can be distilled into a single incident and its aftermath. A veteran probation officer - too afraid of retaliation to reveal their name or gender - was so overwhelmed by the staffing crisis in the facilities that house the county’s most violent young offenders that they begged to be demoted so they wouldn’t have to go back inside.
All-civilian discipline panels are more lenient with LAPD officers
Los Angeles Police Department officials said Tuesday that they will ask the City Council to reconsider a rule that allows officers accused of serious misconduct to have civilians decide their discipline - after a report found they routinely hand down lenient punishments. The lighter discipline issued by all-civilian hearing panels undercuts Chief Michel Moore's ability to run the LAPD and to hold officers accountable when they are found to have committed major offenses such as lying, according to the report by the LAPD's inspector general, Mark Smith.
Norwalk hires former LAPD sergeant as public safety director
The City of Norwalk has announced former Los Angeles Police Department sergeant Osbaldo “Ozzie” Ramos as its new permanent director of public safety. Ramos took over from Interim Director Dennis Kato - who had been in the position since May 13, 2021 - on Nov. 7. Ramos spent 28 years with the LAPD. “Ozzie’s unique experiences will further expand the effectiveness of our city’s Public Safety Department,” said Mayor Rick Ramirez.
Crime/Public Safety
Report: Americans more likely to be robbed in public (Video)
Terrifying public muggings and more: two criminologists concluded that the chances of being victimized in public increased after March 2020. Eric Leonard investigates Nov. 29, 2022.
Multi-agency investigation leads to arrest of serial rapist
Police have arrested a man who they believe is responsible for committing a series of sexual assaults involving numerous women throughout LA County. Detectives from the LA County Sheriff's Department's Special Victims Bureau, the LA Police Department, and the Inglewood Police Department are investigating a man they believe has been involved in multiple sexual assaults over a two-year period.
Police: Former law enforcement worker ‘catfished’ teen, murdered 3 family members in Riverside
The suspect in a triple homicide in Riverside, who was shot and killed by deputies with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Friday, has been identified as a 28-year-old man who used to be employed with the Virginia State Police. Authorities with the Riverside Police Department said that around 11 a.m. on Nov. 25, officers had been dispatched to a welfare check of a young a woman who appeared to be in distress while getting into a red Kia Soul with a man in the 11200 block of Price Court and leaving with him.
Los Angeles police chase down suspects who robbed person in broad daylight
Los Angeles police are investigating after a person was robbed near the area of 6th Street and La Brea Avenue. According to the LAPD, two suspects have been arrested in connection to the incident. Police say that on Nov. 26 at approximately 12:30 p.m. LAPD Wilshire Division officers received a call about a robbery at 6th Street and La Brea Avenue.
‘I shouldn't have lived through that': Motorcyclist survives terrifying Malibu crash
A motorcyclist was badly injured last week in a frightening collision in Malibu that was caught from his point of view on a body-worn camera. Stephen Levey went for a ride Monday in Malibu with a camera on his chest. His camera was rolling at Kanan Dume and Pacific Coast Highway around noon when a speeding car struck a truck. The truck rolled and slammed into Levey. The video cuts off at the point of impact.
Man thrown over bridge railing at SoFi Stadium wants accountability
The man who was thrown off a bridge after a Chargers vs. Chiefs game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood over a week ago shared his side with NBCLA Tuesday, and says he wants the person criminally charged. "He tossed me out like a piece of trash and walked away," said Austin Willenbring, who said he filed a police report at the Inglewood Police Department when he spoke Tuesday with NBCLA.
Tommy Lee mansion trashed by burglars ... as he's trying to sell it
Tommy Lee's dealing with a new break-in at his crib ... no sex tape was taken this time, but the suspects did make off with some strange items and left his home looking like a hotel room after a Mötley Crüe party. Cops alerted the Crüe drummer there had been a break-in at his Calabasas area home last week ... according to our L.A. Sheriff's Dept. sources.
Paid product reviews sink Amazon and Walmart's credibility
Product reviews are critical to a product's success on Amazon and Walmart. However, unscrupulous sellers go to great efforts to game the review system and deceive consumers. Desperate sellers have paid for glowing reviews; some offer gift cards or free products in exchange for ratings. Many Amazon and Walmart product reviews are fake. Both Amazon and Walmart have now endorsed third-party paid reviews, despite their claims to the contrary and commitments to clean up their notoriously corrupt product review systems.
Meet the man on a mission to expose sneaky price increases
A few weeks ago, Edgar Dworsky got a promising tip by email. “Diluted cough syrup,” read the message, accompanied by a photo of two packages of syrup with a curious difference: The new one appeared to be half the strength of the old one. Mr. Dworsky gets emails like this frequently, alerting him to things like a bag of dog food that discreetly shrank from 50 pounds to 44 pounds.
NYC to hospitalize more mentally ill people involuntarily as part of new initiative, mayor Eric Adams says
Officials outlined a new plan on Tuesday to help more people experiencing severe mental illness in New York City. A directive has been issued immediately to city workers - including police, fire, EMS and health department employees - to transport anyone having a psychiatric issue and refusing voluntary assistance to the hospital, where they will be evaluated.
California entrepreneur created largest female-run Ponzi scheme to defraud unsuspecting investors
From the outside, Gina Champion-Cain appeared to be a successful San Diego entrepreneur and real estate developer with a group of thriving restaurants and retail stores. But the image was only a mirage. In reality, authorities say Champion-Cain was funding her lavish lifestyle and businesses using money she'd stolen in a massive Ponzi scheme totaling more than $350 million - earning her the distinction as the mastermind of the largest female-run Ponzi scheme in United States history, according to the latest episode of CNBC's “American Greed,” airing Tuesday.
NYC landlords must post FDNY safety bulletin warning of e-bike battery fires
City landlords will be required to post an FDNY safety guide warning apartment dwellers about fires caused by e-bike batteries that have killed six people so far this year, The Post has learned. The fire department published the emergency safety bulletin to help prevent the deadly blazes, as New Yorkers buy up popular electronic bikes, scooters and hoverboards during the Christmas shopping season.
Articles of Interest
Meta can’t duck blacklisting claims from online adult entertainers
Meta’s attempt to dodge claims of a conspiracy to blacklist competitors of the online adult website OnlyFans fell flat in federal court late Wednesday. Senior U.S. District Judge William Alsup denied Meta’s requests to dismiss and strike an amended class action by online adult entertainers claiming a conspiracy to blacklist them and their Facebook and Instagram posts because they associated with competitors of OnlyFans.
Cuomo donor convicted of fraud finds friendly ears at high court
The Supreme Court seemed sympathetic Monday to the argument from a well-connected New York developer that Congress never intended to criminalize the type of wire fraud of which he was convicted. Prosecutors went after Louis Ciminelli, former chairman and CEO of a development firm that bears his name, in 2016 as part of net around the most trusted aides and allies to New York's then-Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Gun crime offenders and our court system’s anemic response
As the “gun control” debate heats up again, it’s important to stay focused on what the real issue should be - holding gun crime offenders accountable. Conservatives know and should not waiver on the fact that legal gun owners are overwhelmingly responsible and law-abiding. If we are serious, our focus should be on issues that negatively impact our public safety. We should be able to agree that gun crime offenders belong at the top of our public safety concerns.
Software exec gets new trial over firing from 'boys club' firm
A woman who said she was fired from a Swiss software company after a high-ranking executive told her she’d never succeed because it was a “boys club” and accused her of being a “bitch” can proceed with her lawsuit, a California appeals court ruled. The plaintiff, identified as Jane Doe, sold her company to Software One and joined the firm as head of Skype for Business solutions sales.
Tough ticket
What do Taylor Swift and the U.S. Supreme Court have in common?
That’s right - it can be pretty darn hard to get tickets to see them and some people who did get them maybe shouldn’t have. I’ve been trying to imagine what a scalper might get for a seat at a Supreme Court argument. I guess some people might pay a lot, but then a lot of other people would pay not to have to be bored.
Judge reprimands Trump Corp. lawyers for late night filings
Judge Juan Merchan reprimanded lawyers for the Trump Corporation for filing motions and new exhibits late Sunday night that they wanted to introduce Monday morning when they questioned Mazars accountant Donald Bender, telling them he will no longer accept any motions from the attorneys. Defense attorneys had submitted 18 exhibits to the prosecution around midnight.
Gas hauler sentenced for safety violations, tax and COVID loan fraud after employees killed in explosions
The owner of several trucking companies accused of violating federal safety laws was sentenced this week to 10 years in prison following a lengthy investigation that began after the 2014 death of an employee in a welding explosion. Carl Bradley Johansson, who was living in Newport Beach, was also ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution to the U.S. Government after he admitted to tax evasion and a loan fraud scheme.
How a CNY traffic stop unraveled a cross-country meth ring, a California desert murder
In February 2019, Cortland County deputies pulled over a pickup truck in a routine traffic stop. What they found was anything but routine: a .380 caliber handgun, four pounds of crystal meth and more than 100 rounds of ammunition. That stop marked the end of a cross-country drug dealing scheme that eventually led police and prosecutors to an execution-style murder in a California desert.
Robber pleads guilty to stealing Olympic gold medal in Anaheim from athlete’s car
A 32-year-old convicted robber has admitted in court to stealing an Olympic gold medal in May from the Anaheim garage of a USA volleyball player. Jordan Fernandez of Anaheim pleaded guilty to five felony charges - including burglary, unauthorized use of personal-identifying information and bringing a controlled substance into lockup - as well as a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia, according to court records.
Officials alarmed after rap video is recorded in prison
A rap video titled “In Dis Cell” appears to be too authentic: It was made inside a Michigan prison, despite a ban on wireless phones. Two prisoners in the video have been placed in segregation at the Macomb prison in suburban Detroit, Corrections Department spokesman Chris Gautz said Tuesday. The video, posted on YouTube, shows the men, the inside of their cell and prison staff in a corridor. The men appear to have two phones.
Officers shoot 2 inmates after stabbing at California prison
Two correctional officers shot and killed two incarcerated people who were stabbing a fellow inmate at a Northern California prison, authorities said Wednesday. Staff at High Desert State Prison in Susanville responded around 11 a.m. Tuesday after Anthony Aguilera was attacked by two men wielding makeshift weapons, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement.
CalPERS boosts staff’s investment authority, checks crypto
The largest U.S. pension fund was busy at its November meeting, giving investment staff more leeway to invest in private assets. Other items of note during its three days of meetings: CalPERS CEO Marcie Frost decried the politicization of ESG investing and also said the pension fund is examining its exposure to cryptocurrencies in its private equity portfolio. CalPERS' investment committee on Nov. 14 changed its investment policy regarding staff investing in private assets, including an increase in the amount certain staff members can invest without board approval.
Public pension debt grows as CalPERS reports even more losses
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the retirement system for California’s state, school, and public agency workers, suffered investment losses of almost $30 billion in 2022. For the nation’s largest public pension system, this is an additional $1 billion in losses from its results reported in July. CalPERS announced that its investment losses were -7.5% for its fiscal year, a further downgrade from the -6.1% returns reported a few months ago.
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