Courts & Rulings
Ruling clears Gascón critic’s retaliation suit for trial
A judge has denied a motion by attorneys for Los Angeles County to dismiss a veteran prosecutor’s lawsuit in which she alleges she has been denied important positions in retaliation for complaining about directives set forth after the 2020 election of District Attorney George Gascon. The ruling Wednesday by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry A. Green clears the way for a jury trial of Deputy District Attorney Shawn Randolph’s suit against the county to begin Thursday.
Man fired as police officer has no claim based on substantive due-process denial
A man who alleges he was fired as a police officer not based on deficiency of his performance but in response to public pressure after a video was released showing him beating a suspect in his former employment with a campus security force has failed to state a cognizable claim, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held yesterday, affirming the dismissal of his lawsuit without leave to amend.
Federal judge rules against HHS - again - over surprise-billing arbitration rule
A federal judge in Texas has handed another win to the Texas Medical Association and medical providers nationwide against HHS over a challenge to the arbitration process between out-of-network providers and payers that was established under the No Surprises Act. On Feb. 6, U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle ruled that the revised arbitration process "continues to place a thumb on the scale" in favor of insurers and "that the challenged portions of the final rule are unlawful and must be set aside…"
‘Shall be dismissed’ language in statute is not mandatory
A statute that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2022 providing that an enhancement allegation “shall be dismissed” where it would result in a sentence in excess of 20 years is not mandatory when read in the context of preceding language, Div. Two of the Fourth District Court of Appeal declared on Friday. Penal Code §1385(c)(1) says: “Notwithstanding any other law, the court shall dismiss an enhancement if it is in the furtherance of justice to do so, except if dismissal of that enhancement is prohibited by any initiative statute.”
California Coastal Commission OKs city ban on digital billboards
On the last day of its monthly meetings Friday, the California Coastal Commission approved a bid by the city of Eureka to ban all new digital signs and billboards. “I’m just delighted. We think they are really ugly,” said Michele McKeegan, the head of Keep Eureka Beautiful's tree project, a volunteer community advocacy group that supported the legislation. “They’re ugly. They flash and they’re often garish. People just don’t like them.”
Victim of false police report has no cause of action
Immunity from liability under the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act for making a false report of elder abuse applies even where a caregiver fabricated an account of a woman attempting to kill a patient by smothering him with a pillow, resulting in her being arrested and prosecuted for attempting murder and spending a month in jail before being exonerated.
Court lets lawsuit against Fox News move forward - here’s where Dominion and Smartmatic’s defamation suits stand now
Voting company Smartmatic’s defamation lawsuit against Fox News and several of its anchors can move forward, a judge ruled Tuesday, also reinstating some claims against attorney Rudy Giuliani, as Smartmatic and rival company Dominion Voting Systems pursue a dozen defamation lawsuits over baseless election fraud claims about their voting machines.
US Ninth Circuit court says Ticketmaster’s arbitration term is binding on ticket-buyers
The US Ninth Circuit appeals court has upheld a decision that aggrieved Ticketmaster customers are obliged to take their grievances to arbitration rather than suing through a court of law. There have been a number of lawsuits against the Live Nation ticketing company in the US, over things like refunds and allegations of anti-competitive conduct, where Ticketmaster has argued that plaintiffs are obliged to go the arbitration route.
‘Unacceptable’: Los Angeles progressive prosecutor is ignoring a sex crime crisis, according to internal memo
A progressive California district attorney is ignoring how his policies have let cases involving child sex crimes, domestic violence, and sexual assault double on his watch, according to members of his office. Valerie Cole, a prosecutor for Los Angeles district attorney George Gascón (D.), warned last year in an internal memo obtained by the Washington Free Beacon that their office was fielding "more than twice as many" such cases than normal with a dwindling number of staff.
LA District Attorney disbands victim impact program
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney John McKinney announced that District Attorney George Gascón has disbanded the Victim Impact Program that handles abuse crimes. McKinney has been very vocal about his displeasure in how the office has been running under Gascón and it is being speculated by 2UrbanGirls that he will run against him in the 2024 election.
Federal prosecutor joins LAPD probe into handling of Les Moonves sex assault allegations
A federal corruption prosecutor has joined the LAPD investigation into allegations that the department mishandled a sexual assault complaint against former CBS executive Leslie Moonves, Los Angeles police told The Times. It is the latest revelation after a stunning report by New York Atty. Gen. Letitia James revealed that former Cmdr. Cory Palka and perhaps others in the Los Angeles Police Department worked to keep a lid on explosive allegations against Moonves at a time when top media and film figures were being ousted by #MeToo accusations.
Sheriff's deputy charged in crash that left 12-year-old boy dead
A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy has been charged with murder and other counts stemming from a high-speed crash in South Gate that left a 12-year-old boy dead and two others seriously injured, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced Wednesday. Ricardo Castro, 28, was charged with one count each of murder, manslaughter and reckless driving in connection with the Nov. 3, 2021, crash that occurred while he was off-duty, the county's top prosecutor said at a news conference in South Gate.
LAPD sergeant charged with reckless driving after crash
An LAPD sergeant was charged Friday with a misdemeanor count of reckless driving after she allegedly caused a serious collision while responding to a pursuit in 2021 that left an innocent motorist with, "life changing injuries.” Sgt. Ruby Aguirre is set to appear for an arraignment in April in Downtown LA, according to the LA County District Attorney's Office. An LAPD spokesperson could not immediately provide additional information on the crash or a response to the announcement of a criminal charge.
Ex-LA County deputy to stand trial in fatal shooting of unarmed man in car
A former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy will stand trial over his 2019 fatal shooting of an unarmed man in a car outside a Willowbrook apartment. Andrew Lyons, 38, is charged with one felony count of voluntary manslaughter and two felony counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm in the June 16, 2019 shooting death of 24-year-old Ryan Twyman. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced Friday that Lyons would stand trial over the killing.
San Francisco DA threatens to drop historic case against officer, claims charges filed by her predecessor were ‘political’
San Francisco’s District Attorney is threatening to drop what’s believed to be the city’s first case filed against a police officer for an on-duty homicide, claiming the case was filed by her predecessor for “political reasons.” In 2020, San Francisco Police Department Officer Christopher Samayoa was charged with manslaughter in the 2017 shooting death of Keita O’Neil, a carjacking suspect who was unarmed.
Former Dodger Yasiel Puig alleges anti-Black bias behind criminal charges
When an agent from the Internal Revenue Service first questioned former Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig as part of a sports gambling investigation, the agent opened with a stern warning: If you lie, you will be charged with a federal crime. That aggressive posture, lawyers for Puig have alleged in court filings, remained until investigators abruptly ended the interview when Puig asked to review old records to refresh his memory.
I’ve never seen a case pled down like this before’: Alameda County DA offers 15-year plea deal to man accused of 3 murders at age 18
An Alameda County Superior Court judge expressed deep concerns during a hearing Thursday over a proposed plea deal for a reputed West Oakland gang member accused of gunning down three people - including a potential witness to another shooting - when he was 18 years old.
Officers across the country are paying with their lives for failed justice policies
A disturbing and ugly trend has been happening with tragic frequency over the past several months: law enforcement officers are being murdered in the line of duty by career felons who should have been in custody but were instead let loose on society by a failing criminal justice system. On December 29, 2022, Riverside County Sheriff Deputy Isaac Cordero was murdered by a lifelong felon, William Shae McKay.
Suspects released on $0 Bail had twice the felony rearrests, three times the violent crime rearrests
Zero-dollar bail: It's a controversial topic. Last year, a local study from the Yolo County DA's office found 70% of suspects released on zero-dollar bail, reoffended. But were they *more likely* to re-offend? An updated study indicates the answer may be, yes. The new study compared the rearrest rate of suspects who were released without posting bail in Yolo County, to those who had to post bail.
Who's responsible when police pursuits end in crashes? (Video)
Yet another person died during a Los Angeles police chase, this time a CSUN student. Recent signs indicate police officers might be held responsible for some crashes. Eric Leonard reports Feb. 16, 2023.
City of LA announces new efforts to clear homeless encampments from parks (Video)
Homeless encampments could soon be cleared out of LA City parks after Culver City voted to enforce an anti-camping law. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4 I-Team on Feb. 14, 2023.
Amazon can’t dodge claims of negligence in teens’ suicides
A tragic case pitting the parents of two teens who killed themselves against online sales giant Amazon will move forward, albeit in a different district and without the purveyor of sodium nitrite as a co-defendant. The teens’ parents accuse Amazon of negligence by promoting and aiding the suicides of the two teens by selling them sodium nitrite, a preservative commonly used in small quantities to cure meats such as bacon or ham.
California politician suggests fix to state's brazen prostitution: Legalize it
A San Francisco County leader voiced support to legalize prostitution in the city as brazen soliciting spirals across the state after a new law took effect this year. "What’s happening right now on Capp Street is it’s become more brazen, and bigger than we’ve ever seen it before," county Supervisor Hillary Ronen told The Los Angeles Times last week. "Instead of repeating the same cycle that we’ve repeated for decades, it’s time to try something new."
Sheriff rejects stricter rules for housing transgender people in San Diego County jails
Sheriff Kelly Martinez won’t implement a recommendation to tighten rules for booking transgender people into San Diego County jails that coincide with their gender. The Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board, or CLERB, recommended last year that the current policy be revised “to mandate that an arrestee shall be taken to a facility that coincides with the arrestees’ gender identity.”
A federal judge may ban a major abortion pill nationwide. Here’s what it would mean for California
If a federal judge in Texas grants conservative groups’ demand to ban a drug used in a majority of all U.S. abortions, his ruling would not prohibit all medication abortions in states like California. But they would become more arduous, and the state’s reproductive care system would face more duress. Opponents of abortion contend the U.S. Food and Drug Administration failed to consider the dangers of mifepristone and acted too hastily in allowing its use in 2000, four years after its makers had applied for approval.
Los Angeles City/County
L.A.'s new city controller is monitoring police. The LAPD union wants ground rules
When protesters took to the streets to speak out against police killings last month, Los Angeles City Controller Kenneth Mejia swung into action, sending members of his executive team to monitor the LAPD at back-to-back events. High-level staffers in the controller's office went to three consecutive days of protests in downtown, Hollywood and Venice, gathering "first-hand impressions of conditions on the ground" and seeking an understanding of "how our tax dollars are being spent," according to Mejia and his media spokesperson.
Another journalistic disgrace at the Los Angeles Times: a continuing series
For many years, one of the ongoing themes of my columns has been the exposure of lazy, incompetent, agenda-driven “journalism” that purports to reveal some defect in police practices. Most often the burdens of these perceived defects are said to be borne by those racial minority groups favored by the lazy, incompetent, agenda-driven “journalists.” Gentle readers, today I present the latest, incandescently glaring example, brought to you by that seemingly endless font of such rubbish, the Los Angeles Times.
With focus on deputy gangs, LA Sheriff Luna elevates role of constitutional policing advisor
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna Wednesday announced his appointment of L.A.’s former top federal prosecutor as the director of his new Office of Constitutional Policing, promising she will help him eradicate deputy gangs. The new sheriff’s selection of Eileen Decker signaled his intention to once again elevate the constitutional policing advisor to a position of significance.
LAPD detective tentatively settles sexual harassment suit
A Los Angeles police detective has tentatively settled her lawsuit against the city in which she alleged her allegations of sexual harassment by a supervisor were ignored and that when she complained, management suggested that she was the one who had done something wrong. Attorneys for Detective Tina Rios filed a notice of a “conditional” settlement on Tuesday with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rupert A. Byrdsong, but no terms were divulged.
Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez benches errant field deputy
It’s happened again…a staffer publicly embarrassed their LA City Councilmember boss. This time, it’s an automobile incident that’s causing a collision between the anti-LAPD sentiments of Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez (CD13) and what looks like a sense of entitlement by a Soto-Martinez deputy expecting special service from the LAPD. There’s a pattern here: newcomers to City Hall, holding high staff positions, running amok.
Video of probation officer forcibly bending teen sparks outrage, allegations of excessive force
Beckham just wanted something to eat. It was a Friday afternoon at Camp Kilpatrick - the Malibu juvenile facility where the 17-year-old had spent the previous five months - and his search for food led him to a common area. But all he found was a carton of milk. This wasn’t the first time he’d been left hungry while in the custody of the Los Angeles County Probation Department, Beckham said. But it would soon become the most memorable.
LAPD edits police shooting videos as other cities embrace greater transparency
The videos Memphis officials released showing the fatal police beating of Tyre Nichols last month were striking not just for the viciousness they captured. Running 67 minutes, the footage from cameras worn by some of the officers and a city-operated surveillance camera presented a raw, unedited look at police brutality. The unfettered transparency earned the city's police chief and other leaders grudging praise from Nichols' family and law enforcement critics who said it should be a model for other police departments around the country.
A police abolitionist City Council member and the LAPD union's tense tango
Hugo Soto-Martinez was in the middle of a Los Angeles City Council meeting last Friday when a friend texted a link to an Instagram post. A photo of a police call log featured the address of Soto-Martinez’s Echo Park field office, a 9:56 p.m. time stamp and a request: “Extra patrol thoroughout night for parked white Lexus belonging to councilmember.” The newly elected District 13 council member laughed off the post, by failed L.A. council candidate Susan Collins.
Northridge pursuit crash: CSUN student on way home from work killed by suspect fleeing from LAPD
A 19-year-old student at California State University, Northridge, who was on his way home from work, was identified as the victim who was killed when a police chase ended in a horrific two-car collision in the San Fernando Valley overnight. Officers with the Los Angeles Police Department were attempting to stop a driver wanted for an armed robbery near Roscoe Boulevard and White Oak Avenue. The suspect failed to yield and the pursuit was initiated.
Catalytic converter theft suspect run over, killed by would-be victim in Palmdale
A man who authorities say was trying to steal a catalytic converter from a truck in Palmdale is dead after being run over by the driver of that truck. The incident occurred around 6 p.m. Tuesday at a shopping center parking lot in the 39000 block of 10th Street West, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Authorities say a car with four suspects inside pulled up to the lifted 4x4 Ford Excursion, and one of them got out to saw off the vehicle's catalytic converter.
Man linked to shootings of two Jewish men in Pico-Robertson arrested
Police arrested a man linked to two separate shootings of Jewish men in Los Angeles’ Pico-Robertson neighborhood, multiple law enforcement sources told NBC News. The name of the man was not immediately released. Authorities believe both shootings were carried out by the same gunman. The Los Angeles Police Department said the suspect was arrested in Riverside County and that the case is being investigated as a hate crime.
California cities rattled by prostitution, human trafficking in broad daylight as cops pin blame on new law
Women wearing thongs in broad daylight on street corners, pimps following mothers taking their kids to school, and prostitutes twerking at traffic have become common scenes in California. Local leaders claim human trafficking and prostitution are rampant in the Golden State after a new criminal justice reform that its author said aims to protect transgender women from being unfairly targeted by law enforcement.
Los Angeles Police warning Kia drivers of a surge in thefts
The Los Angeles Police Department is urging Kia drivers to take extra precautions as thefts increase. “Investigators have learned that the push button ignition can be bypassed by utilizing a third-party electronic device,” LAPD’s Rampart Area office posted on social media Tuesday. Hyundai and Kia are rolling out software updates to slow a surge in thefts related to a TikTok challenge that authorities believe has led to at least 14 reported crashes and eight fatalities.
‘Tourist burglars’ target upscale residential communities in Orange County
Homeowners in wealthy neighborhoods throughout Orange County have been targeted by South American theft rings in what authorities dub “burglary tourism.” Residential break-ins attributed to tourist burglars, known as “Lanzas Internacionales,” or international thieves in the Spanish-speaking world, are on the rise, the Sheriff’s Department says. Crime data in south Orange County for 2022 show overall home burglaries are relatively low - still mostly in the single digits in the various cities under contract with the Sheriff’s Department.
Man fatally shot in Sherman Oaks; suspect arrested
A man was shot to death Monday in Sherman Oaks, and the alleged gunman was taken into custody, police said. The shooting was reported about 3:15 a.m. in the 14600 block of Moorpark Street, the Los Angeles Police Department reported. The wounded man, in his 70s, died at the scene, police said. His name was withheld, pending notification of his relatives. Authorities arrested a man in his 40s, police said. His name was not immediately available for release.
Road rage driver run over, killed in Whittier: police
A road rage incident involving a rideshare driver ended with a man being run over and killed in Whittier Saturday. Authorities received reports of the incident around 3:15 p.m. at the intersection of Cullen Avenue and Parise Drive. Authorities told Key News that a man had been chasing an Uber driver for several blocks and was pointing a gun at him.
LAPD reviewing arrest of knife-wielding man in North Hollywood who officers hit with cruiser
Internal investigators are reviewing an encounter last week in North Hollywood between Los Angeles Police Department officers and a man holding a knife who apparently was under the influence of a drug, in which one of the officers hit the man with his cruiser to get him to surrender. The officer accelerated his vehicle to “3 to 5 miles per hour” to strike 31-year-old Jonathan Mitrani, who the department claimed was coming at another officer with a four-inch blade in his hand on Wednesday, Feb. 8 in the 5600 block of Denny Avenue.
Police searching for man accused of trying to sexually assault woman on Will Rogers State Beach
Police are seeking the public's help in identifying the man who attempted to sexually assault a woman on Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades. The man approached the woman around 6:30 p.m. Feb. 4 on the beach near the 15500 block of Pacific Coast Highway and Temescal Canyon Road, "made a statement of intent,'' and placed his hand over her mouth while brandishing a boxcutter, according to a Los Angeles Police Department officer.
Crime has risen under the watch of Soros-backed prosecutors in six major cities
At least six large cities have seen crime spikes after the election of liberal prosecutors backed by groups that have received funding from billionaire megadonor George Soros, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation found. Motor vehicle thefts, homicides or both have surged in Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, St. Louis and New York since liberal prosecutors were elected with the help of funding from Soros.
California moves to dump Proposition 8 from constitution
Calling the U.S. Supreme Court too untrustworthy to protect the rights of LGBT citizens, two gay California legislators have introduced a constitutional amendment which would both enshrine same-sex marriage rights and strike discriminatory language introduced into the state constitution with the passage of Proposition 8. State Senator Scott Wiener and Assemblymember Evan Low, Democrats from San Francisco and San Jose respectively, introduced a constitutional amendment Tuesday to repeal Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in 2008.
Georgia grand jury in Trump election probe reports at least one witness may have lied
The partial release of a Georgia grand jury report evaluating former President Trump’s election interference in the state determined that there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 contest and encouraged the prosecution of witnesses who may have lied to the panel. The limited details gleaned from the report come after a judge allowed the release of just three sections from a document expected to include charging recommendations.
If the shoe fits: Amazon may be found liable for third party sellers’ counterfeit Louboutin shoes
On the 19 September 2019 and 4 October 2019, Christian Louboutin brought an infringement action against Amazon Europe Core Sàrl et (“Amazon”), before the Referring Courts, wherein the brand sought a declaration that Amazon is liable for infringement resulting from the use of its ‘Chinese red’ sole EUTM, which has become synonymous with the brand’s identity, and which has been registered as a EUTM since the 10 May 2016.
California inflation relief payments won’t be taxed by IRS
Good news, Californians: The Internal Revenue Service won’t tax the Middle Class Tax Refund issued by the state last year. Earlier this month, the IRS had asked Californians and residents of other states who received payments or special tax refunds to hold off on filing their taxes, as the agency was working to determine if the funds were taxable as income.
Bay Area prison guard sentenced to 20 months over sexual abuse - the latest in long-running scandal
A former guard at the federal women's prison in Dublin was sentenced Thursday to 20 months in prison for groping an inmate at the troubled institution, where the former warden and a chaplain have also been convicted of sexual abuse. Enrique Chavez, 50, formerly of Manteca, was an officer at the Federal Correctional Institution, where he worked as a food supervisor and foreman in the prison pantry. He pleaded guilty in October to a felony charge of abusive sexual contact.
California man pleads guilty to using Taser on police officer during Capitol riot
A California man has pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer with a Taser during the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump. Daniel Rodriguez, 40, admitted to assaulting a law enforcement officer with a deadly or dangerous weapon, as well as to conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding and obstruction of justice, according to a statement Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.
Articles of Interest
SF sheriffs’ union accuses police union of ‘bullying’ pizzeria that refused service to cops
A week and a half after San Francisco’s police union tweeted about a local pizza shop refusing to serve a group of cops, the city’s Sheriff’s Office posted a TikTok publicizing an enjoyable trip to the pizzeria. On the surface, the clip of smiling Pizza Squared employees and SF sheriff’s deputies chowing down on slices outside the SoMa shop is in line with the feel-good, community-oriented posts found on the Sheriff’s Office’s TikTok channel. The short video, posted on Feb. 9 - National Pizza Day - is set to the Justin Bieber tune “Yummy.”
Georgia judge orders partial release of report in Trump election interference probe
The judge overseeing the investigation into possible criminal efforts to overturn Georgia's 2020 election results by former President Donald Trump and his allies ruled Monday that key parts of the special grand jury's report will be released later this week. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney's eight-page order comes after he heard arguments last month from District Attorney Fani Willis, who urged the judge to keep the final report secret until her office determines whether to pursue charges, and news outlets arguing for its release.
How personal injury lawyers took over the LA skyline
In 2020, as the Covid lockdown wore on, Los Angeles was hit with a very different kind of epidemic: A small collection of stern-looking men in dark suits invaded the skyline, beseeching the city's most desperate. "Injured in an accident?” "Racist boss?” "WHO HURT YOU?” Attorney billboards have long been a fixture in LA, and the older firms like Jacoby & Meyers, Larry H. Parker ("I'll fight for you!") and Jacob Emrani ("Call Jacob!") remained well represented.
How Les Moonves and his CBS loyalists worked to discredit accuser: “It was sort of a mafia culture"
On Nov. 2, 2022, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that she’d secured a $30.5 million settlement from CBS and its former president and CEO Leslie Moonves for misleading the company’s investors about his misconduct, concealing sexual assault allegations against him and related insider trading by another top CBS executive.
Montana AG to colleagues: Return money or 'I will see you in court’
Adding to a chorus of dissent by Republican attorneys general, Montana AG Austin Knudsen has threatened to sue the National Association of Attorneys General if it doesn’t return to his state the money it is holding from multistate lawsuit settlements. The professional association reported some $280 million in assets it kept as its share of settlements negotiated by AGs in cases such as the $260 billion tobacco settlement in 1998, the VW “Dieselgate” scandal and opioid litigation.
Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige served 27 times with human trafficking lawsuit: Court docs
The Church of Scientology's leader was served 27 times in two states with a federal lawsuit that accused him of human trafficking, but lawyers were either denied entry or told he wasn't at that location, according to court documents. After 10 months, U.S. Judge Julie Sneed ruled that David Miscavige "is actively concealing his whereabouts or evading service," according to Tuesday's court filing.
Sonoma County studies pension policy as retirement benefits lose value
With inflation eating away at their pension benefits, some Sonoma County employees and retirees are feeling the squeeze. At a Feb. 7 Board of Supervisors meeting, current and former employees urged the county’s top elected officials to help. During the meeting, Bill Robotka, a member of Sonoma County Association of Retired Employees’ board of directors, who retired from a county job in 2000, said that, of the roughly 5,200 current county pension recipients, over 2,000 receive less than $2,000 per month.
For more ADDA news and information, visit