Courts & Rulings
Gascón takes the stand in retaliation lawsuit (Video)
LA County DA George Gascón found himself on the witness stand defending his actions after an employee says he retaliated against her when she questioned some of his justice reforms. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4’s I-Team on Feb. 22, 2023.
Chino City Council calls for removal of superior court judge after criminal kills deputy
Body camera footage released today shows the Riverside County Sheriff's Department in a gun battle with a convicted felon named William Shae McKay. McKay led law enforcement on a chase with a violent end in December after he shot and killed motorcycle deputy Isaiah Cordero in Jurupa Valley. After shooting at deputies on the I-15 Freeway, McKay was killed in a hail of gunfire.
San Francisco’s noise ordinance is upheld
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday affirmed an order denying an application for a preliminary injunction to bar enforcement of San Francisco City/County ordinance requiring a permit to use sound-amplification equipment in public parks. A three-judge panel - comprised of Circuit Judges Lucy H. Koh, Jacqueline H. Nguyen, and Kim Wardlaw - said in a memorandum opinion that the ordinance does constitute “a prior restraint on speech” but that it “constitutes a reasonable time, place, and manner restriction.”
Serrano appeal denied!
Editor here. We are breaking this story of the Superior Court’s DENIAL of Santa Ana Union Chief Gerry Serrano’s “Petition for Writ of Mandate” against CALPERS, a lawsuit launched to raise his pay. Serrano is the force behind the current attempted recall of Councilmembers Jessie Lopez and Thai Van Phan. We break this news thanks to correspondence (copied below) from SAPD Downtown Business Liaison Officer Manny Delgadillo, but the title and illustration above are from this blog.
School districts can’t require COVID vaccines, California Supreme Court affirms
The state Supreme Court rejected a challenge Wednesday to a ruling that said school districts in California cannot require their students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 because only the state government can issue such a mandate. While public health agencies have recommended the vaccinations for children as young as 6 months old, legislation calling for vaccine mandates in schools has stalled in Sacramento.
Jury wasn’t coerced in trial of Black supremacist slayer
The Court of Appeal for this district yesterday affirmed the conviction of a Black supremacist who embarked on a 2017 shooting spree in downtown Fresno, firing 17 shots, with three white men killed, and with a security guard at a motel fatally shot by him five days earlier. “Here we hold that allowing a jury to deliberate during the COVID pandemic is not coercive and does not deprive a defendant of the due process of law,” Justice Kenneth Yegan wrote.
Objection over thief’s lawyer meets end of the road, spurring Jackson dissent
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson balked Tuesday at the refusal from her colleagues on the high court to consider ineffective counsel claims from a man sentenced to just under 160 years in prison for a string of armed robberies.“The instant case not only implicates a divergence of circuit opinions, but also is an ideal vehicle to evaluate the Eleventh Circuit’s bright-line rule that an adequate showing of prejudice requires an actual plea offer,” Justice Jackson wrote in a 3-page dissent joined by fellow liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Man accused of killing beloved LA bishop charged with murder
The man accused of shooting to death a beloved Catholic bishop was charged Wednesday with one count of murder. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said his office also filed a special allegation that Carlos Medina used a gun to kill Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell at the clergyman’s Hacienda Heights home. Medina faces up to 35 years to life in prison if convicted, Gascón said.
In grisly case that DA Gascón said he 'lost sleep' over, teen suspect won't be tried as adult
A teenager accused of gunning down his 16-year-old girlfriend and her sister before setting their Westchester apartment on fire in 2018 will not be tried as an adult, bringing an end to one of the most controversial cases of the early part of Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón’s time in office. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge J. Christopher Smith ruled Wednesday that prosecutors failed to prove the teen - whose identity The Times is withholding since he has been remanded to juvenile court - could not be rehabilitated within the confines of L.A. County’s juvenile justice system.
LA DA Gascon suspends prosecutor for misgendering and 'deadnaming' trans child molester accused of murder
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon has suspended the attorney who prosecuted a 26-year-old trans child molester who was accused of identifying as a woman only after DNA evidence linked her to a cold case crime, according to law enforcement sources. Shea Sanna, who had been the lead prosecutor for part of the case, is accused of misgendering and "deadnaming" the convicted child molester Hannah Tubbs, who is now accused of beating a man to death in the woods with a rock in Kern County.
Southern California man charged in shooting of two Jewish men outside synagogues
A homeless man faces federal hate crime charges in two shootings of Jewish men as they left synagogues in LA's Pico-Robertson neighborhood this week. Both victims survived the attacks. Jaime Tran, 28, who has a history of making antisemitic comments and threats, was arrested Thursday evening in the Palm Springs area, about 120 miles east of Los Angeles. He's accused of shooting one man Wednesday morning and another Thursday morning because, he told the FBI, he knew from their "head gear" that they were Jewish.
Former OC deputy charged with showing girl pornography
A former Orange County sheriff’s deputy has been charged with showing pornography to an underage girl, according to court records obtained Friday. Former Deputy Justin Ramirez was charged Thursday with distributing or exhibiting pornography to a minor, according to court records. Ramirez, who was a school resource officer at the time of the alleged incident, resigned his position, according to a sheriff’s spokesman who did not know when the deputy quit.
Trial for former L.A. deputy mayor on federal corruption charges to begin
Jury selection is expected to begin this morning in the trial of a former Los Angeles deputy mayor on federal public corruption charges prosecutors contend are tied to a City Hall-based bribery scheme run by convicted ex-Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar. Raymond Chan faces a dozen criminal counts, including racketeering conspiracy, bribery, honest services fraud and lying to federal agents.
Alleged ‘SIM Swapper’ charged with hacking into Instagram influencers’ accounts to get money and sexually explicit video chats
A Downtown Los Angeles man was charged today in a six-count federal grand jury indictment for allegedly defrauding female social media influencers, including by engaging in “SIM swapping” to hijack their Instagram accounts and obtain money from them and engage in sexually explicit video chats with him.
Trove of L.A. students’ mental health records posted to dark web after cyber hack
Detailed and highly sensitive mental health records of hundreds - and likely thousands - of former Los Angeles students were published online after the city’s school district fell victim to a massive ransomware attack last year, an investigation by The 74 has revealed. The student psychological evaluations, published to a “dark web” leak site by the Russian-speaking ransomware gang Vice Society, offer a startling degree of personally identifiable information about students who received special education services, including their detailed medical histories, academic performance and disciplinary records.
The police pursuit conundrum
In Los Angeles this week, two police pursuits ended in collisions that killed an innocent driver and badly injured another. In the San Fernando Valley early Tuesday morning, fleeing robbery suspects crashed into a car driven by a 19-year-old student at Cal State Northridge, killing him. The driver of the pursued car was arrested, but his passenger escaped. A rifle was found in their car. On Thursday evening in South Los Angeles, a man driving a stolen pickup truck fled from police when they tried to stop him.
In two high-profile cases, victims’ families don’t want to press charges. Does it matter?
Crime victims and their survivors, like the family of an Oakland bakery owner slain by robbers, sometimes speak out against severe punishment for the perpetrators. Do prosecutors have any duty to comply? Not legally, analysts say, although some cases are hard to prosecute without the victims’ cooperation. But questions of policy and morality may raise deeper and more personal issues.
How do we make sure money for the homeless crisis is being spent properly? (Audio)
KNX In Depth's Charles Feldman and Brian Ping discuss local governments spending money during states of emergency. We're going to go even further In Depth into a subject we touched on last week which has to do with local government money and states of emergency. Santa Monica has now joined LA city and county in declaring the homeless crisis an emergency with the goal to speed up help.
Assemblyman wants to decode CA’s ‘secret early release of inmates’
Assemblyman Joe Patterson, R-Rocklin, introduced a bill on Thursday that he says will bring transparency to a system that allows “the secret early release of inmates.” Under Proposition 57, inmates can earn credits for good conduct, education, and rehabilitation, but the calculations of this secret credit system are unknown, Patterson said in a news release. When a release is made under Prop. 57 parole review, the local district attorney and the victim are notified.
Data indicate that zero bail results in more crime
Data released last September by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services provided researchers at the Manhattan Institute with the necessary information to compare the rearrest rate for offenders prior to the state’s 2020 bail reform law with the rearrest rate after the law took effect. The intent of the bail reform law was to force judges to release more arrestees without bail, called Non-Monetary Release (NMR).
Dentons' $30 million fight with ex-lawyer could put New York, California courts on collision course
It started out as just a viciously ugly fight over a giant contingency fee. But a new order from the California Supreme Court has transformed a dispute between Dentons and onetime partner Jinshu “John” Zhang into a landmark test of a state law mandating California jurisdiction for employment disputes involving California employees. And that’s not even the final twist: Zhang’s fight with Dentons may well provoke a clash between New York and California courts, with possible constitutional implications under the Full Faith and Credit Clause.
Los Angeles City/County
Why would anyone want to be a cop in Los Angeles today?
Having retired from the Los Angeles Police Department some years ago, I often look at the day’s news and ask, “How can anyone be expected to do that job today?” The latest inspiration for this question came Friday with the news that two Los Angeles city councilmen are trying to make it easier for the LAPD chief to fire officers accused of misconduct.
Council members seek to allow police chief to fire officers, among reforms
Two members of the City Council introduced a motion Friday seeking to reform the process by which Los Angeles Police Department officers are disciplined, including allowing the police chief to fire officers immediately in egregious cases. Currently, the police chief doesn't have the power to directly fire officers. Instead, the chief's recommendation is subject to a review by a three- member Board of Rights panel that is made up of either all-civilians or one civilian and two captains.
Mayor Bass calls for overhaul of LAPD discipline system, more detectives to work cases
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass has laid out her priorities for the LAPD, calling on Police Chief Michel Moore to add detectives to boost crime clearance rates; shorten the time it takes to recruit, hire and train new officers; and overhaul a discipline system she said too often lets problem cops off the hook for misconduct.
Faulty fingerprinting at LA County Sheriff’s Department putting agency at risk, supervisors allege
Two senior employees of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department allege they have been retaliated against after reporting deficiencies in the department’s fingerprinting process that they claim are putting the agency at risk. In damage claims filed with the county on Feb. 9, Lt. Anitria “Michelle” Tomlin, an 18-year veteran of the department, and Guninder Singh, a 27-year department employee who serves as director of its records and identification bureau, allege they have been subjected to undue stress, disparate treatment and a sham internal affairs investigation after reporting the deficiencies.
LA County seeks dismissal of claims by 8 deputies over internal gang allegations
Almost 3 1/2 years after the case was filed, lawyers for Los Angeles County are seeking dismissal of all claims made by eight sheriff’s deputies who allege they were pressured to quit or leave the department by members of a clique of mostly Latino deputies known as the Banditos.
West Hills woman allegedly scammed millions in real estate assets from dead men
A West Hills woman allegedly forged power-of-attorney documents to steal millions of dollars in real estate assets from at least two men who reportedly died under questionable circumstances, including one victim whose body has never been recovered, according to federal prosecutors. Caroline Joanne Herrling, 43, also known as Carrie Phenix, was charged earlier this month with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute.
Serial LA sex assault suspect with 'distinctive odor' met victims online, tried to hide identity
A Los Angeles serial sexual assault suspect with a "distinctive body odor" is accused of meeting victims online and using "elaborate ruses" to hide his identity, according to police. The Los Angeles Police Department is looking for other potential victims to come forward after they arrested Benjamin Parke Belser, 36, earlier this month on suspicion of rape, forced sodomy, forced oral copulation and sexual penetration with a foreign object for at least five sexual assaults dating back to 2017.
Three days. 10 mass shootings. More than 50 victims. US sees worst weekend of 2023.
Nine children were shot at Georgia gas station. Six people were killed in a Mississippi town. Eleven people were shot in Memphis. Five people were injured near a parade in New Orleans. Six people were shot on a Chicago expressway. That's just half of the reported mass shooting violence over the weekend.
Demoralizing the police hurts all of us
Despite calls to target police funding, politicians across America have been reversing course and voting for increases in police spending, with an extra $200 million added to the New York Police Department and a 3% hike to the LAPD’s budget. With police departments getting their money back, you’d think the calls to “Defund the Police” have failed. You’re wrong. While the crime fighting money is rolling in, there aren’t enough officers left to fight crime.
Proposed California bill would prohibit use of police K-9s for arrests, crowd control
A new effort is underway in California to ban police from using K-9s to apprehend suspects or conduct any form of crowd control. Assemblymember Corey Jackson, who represents parts of Riverside County, introduced the bill on Monday. He says the use of K-9s is a big part of America's history of violence against Black individuals and people of color.
Suspect, 18, busted in fatal shooting of Temple cop tried to rob officer as he lay dying: police
An 18-year-old man was busted Sunday in the fatal shooting of a Temple University cop - as it surfaced that the alleged killer tried to rob the tragic officer as he lay dying on the ground, police said. Accused gunman Miles Pfeffer - who was taken into custody by authorities using the fallen officer’s handcuffs - went on to coolly commit a nearby carjacking in Philadelphia after the shooting, too, authorities said.
Memphis police officer dies after library shooting
A Memphis police officer who was shot in the line of duty two weeks ago has died from his injuries. Officer Geoffrey Redd was listed in critical condition for days, but he succumbed to his injuries on Saturday, Feb. 18, according to the Memphis Police Department. Police said Redd became an officer in February 2008, and he served the citizens in Memphis while working at multiple stations.
What is California getting for all its billions on homelessness?
In 2021, state lawmakers made a request: The newly convened California Interagency Council on Homelessness should put together a “comprehensive view of the homelessness response system.” In short, the legislators said: We’d like to know how much the state is spending to address its homelessness crisis, where the money is going and what we’re getting for it. At a hearing Wednesday, they finally got their answer. Sort of.
TSA confiscates a record number of guns in 2022, an average of 18 a day
While sometimes it doesn’t seem like it, the Transportation Security Administration was busy in 2022, confiscating more guns than ever at airport checkpoints in America. On average, 18 weapons were found at airports every day last year. In total, the TSA confiscated 6,542 guns going through security checkpoints in carry-on luggage, 88% of which were loaded, the TSA shared. The weapons were found in 262 airports across the country, with some seeing guns pass through more frequently than others.
Ex-NBA players sentenced to prison after multimillion dollar fraud scheme
Former NBA players Alan Anderson and Keyon Dooling have received prison sentences for their respective roles in a multimillion dollar healthcare fraud scheme, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice. Per the release, Dooling received a two-and-a-half year prison sentence on Friday, while Anderson was handed a two year sentence on Feb. 10 after they were found guilty for their roles in a scheme to defraud the NBA Players’ Health and Welfare Benefit Plan.
Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 16 years after rape conviction, putting former movie mogul behind bars for life
Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 16 years, effectively ensuring the former Hollywood mogul and convicted rapist will spend the rest of his life behind bars. Weinstein’s sentencing was held in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday morning, nearly two months after his Los Angeles trial concluded with a jury convicting him on three counts of rape and sexual assault.
South Los Angeles-based gang member pleads guilty to leading crack cocaine manufacturing and distribution ring in Watts
A leader of the Bounty Hunter Bloods (BHB) street gang pleaded guilty today to federal drug and firearms charges for leading a manufacturing and distribution of crack cocaine conspiracy in and around the gang’s “territory” of the Nickerson Gardens public housing projects in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. Damion Baker, 45, a.k.a. “Fatts,” of Compton, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Nipsey Hussle’s convicted killer gets 60 years to life for the rapper’s 2019 murder
A 33-year-old gang member has been sentenced to 60 years to life in prison for the murder of rapper Nipsey Hussle. Eric Holder Jr. was sentenced in a Los Angeles courtroom on Wednesday. He was convicted of the murder of Ermias Asghedom, also known as Nipsey Hussle, last summer. “Nipsey Hussle was a beloved member of our community. He showed a commitment to improving schools within his neighborhood and investing in underserved communities,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement after the conviction.
Irvine man sentenced to 4½ years in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining $5 million in COVID loans he spent on sports cars
An Orange County man was sentenced today to 54 months in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining $5 million in COVID-relief loans for his sham businesses, then used the money on himself, including purchasing Ferrari, Bentley and Lamborghini cars. Mustafa Qadiri, 42, of Irvine, was sentenced by United States District Judge Josephine L. Staton, who also fined him $20,000 and ordered him to pay $2,861,050 in restitution.
US jury convicts former top police official in Mexico of aiding cartels
Mexico’s former secretary of public security was found guilty Tuesday of accepting millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for helping El Chapo's violent Sinaloa drug cartel as it pushed thousands of tons of cocaine into the United States. During the monthlong trial, cooperating witnesses who worked for the billion-dollar cartel described paying off law enforcement officials from the local to federal levels in exchange for information about upcoming raids, free access to sea and airports, and to carry out investigations against rivals.
Articles of Interest
A metal detectorist is suing the FBI, claiming he alerted them to 7 tons of Civil War-era gold and they took it away in a secret overnight dig
The court-ordered release of a trove of government photos, videos, maps and other documents involving the FBI’s secretive search for Civil War-era gold has a treasure hunter more convinced than ever of a coverup - and just as determined to prove it. Dennis Parada waged a legal battle to force the FBI to turn over records of its excavation in Dents Run, Pennsylvania, where local lore says an 1863 shipment of Union gold disappeared on its way to the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.
Inside the Trump grand jury that probed election meddling
They were led down a staircase into a garage beneath a downtown Atlanta courthouse, where officers with big guns were waiting. From there, they were ushered into vans with heavily tinted windows and driven to their cars under police escort. For Emily Kohrs, these were the moments last May when she realized she wasn’t participating in just any grand jury. “That was the first indication that this was a big freaking deal,” Kohrs told The Associated Press.
D.O.N.E. keeps on digging
In the previous column of Feb 16, 2023, we discussed problems at the city's Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) and the wholesale resignation of the board of the Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council (HSDNC) in protest of DONE actions. Nine out of the eleven HSDNC board members have now quit. Their reason for quitting was DONE's gross misconduct with respect to their neighborhood council, which involved the inappropriate expenditure of $4000 as well as additional threats by DONE's representative against them.
Five top revelations from Dominion’s explosive court filing in Fox News lawsuit
A filing in Delaware state court by Dominion Voting Systems as part of the company’s blockbuster lawsuit against Fox News and its parent company contains never-before-revealed vignettes from inside the network in the days that followed the 2020 election. Text messages, emails and testimony contained in the filing show the outlet’s top executives and hosts casting doubt on former President Trump’s false claims of a stolen election, and worrying about how fact-checking those assertions on the air might be received by the conservative media outlet’s massive audience.
New CA pay-to-play law taken to court
For a bill described by its author as “the most significant political reform of the last 50 years,” Senate Bill 1439 sure didn’t get much attention when it was working its way through the Legislature last year. The law, authored by Sen. Steve Glazer, passed without a single “no” vote. It was co-authored by an ideology-spanning group of Democrats and a Republican. No big spending lobbyists came out against it.
Lawyer spent over $10 million in loans for fake clients to live in a Las Vegas hotel and gamble '24/7' for six months, lawsuit alleges
A lending company filed a lawsuit last week against a California-based lawyer alleging she took out $10 million in loans for fake clients that she used to fund a life living in a Las Vegas hotel and gambling "24/7" for at least six months of 2022. LDR International Limited, based in the British Virgin Islands, filed a 33-page complaint in California Central District Court accusing Sara Jacqueline King, and her company, King Family Lending, of breach of contract, fraud, and civil theft.
Motorcycle club founder who killed 3 in OC in 1980 to be released following cancer diagnosis
A Southern California motorcycle club founder who killed three people in 1980 has been ordered to be released this week, following a terminal cancer diagnosis, prosecutors said Thursday. Thomas Maniscalco, 77, has been incarcerated for nearly 40 years after his 1994 conviction on three counts of second-degree murder, with enhancements for being armed with a firearm, according to state prison officials.
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