Courts, Rulings & Lawsuits

Prosecutors sue George Gascón to get records of controversial DA hires

The union representing Los Angeles County prosecutors is suing District Attorney George Gascón, alleging his office has refused to turn over public records related to controversial hires and the removal of inmates from death row. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, Jan. 31, asks a judge to force the District Attorney’s Office to comply with six public records requests made by the Association of Deputy District Attorneys since March 2021.

Pasadena Star News

FBI violated hundreds of Americans' constitutional rights in Beverly Hills raid, appeals court rules

The FBI violated private citizens’ constitutional rights when it seized contents from hundreds of safe deposit boxes during a 2021 raid on a Beverly Hills business suspected of money laundering, a federal appeals court ruled last week. "This was a resounding victory, not just for our clients, but for the hundreds of people who've been stuck in a nightmare for years because of what the FBI did," Institute for Justice Senior Attorney Rob Frommer, who represented several plaintiffs in the case, told Fox News.

Fox News

Man who raped child qualifies for sex offender de-registration

A man who, in the early 1980s, raped his 7-year-old step-daughter, is entitled to be removed from the state’s sex offender list because he has not reoffended, Div. Two of the Court of Appeal for this district held yesterday, reversing a Los Angeles Superior Court order denying relief. Judge David C. Brougham turned down a petition by Arturo Franco, saying that his conduct - in having: full on sexual intercourse with his seven-year-old daughter” - was “shocking” and “egregious community threatening behavior.”

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Officer was culpable but entitled to qualified immunity

Two judges of a three-judge Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel on Friday declared that a police officer is entitled to qualified immunity although she violated the plaintiff’s due process rights under the state-created danger doctrine, holding that the doctrine was not clearly established in 2013 when she acted, with Judge Patrick J. Bumatay, in a concurring opinion, decrying the development of a “Frankenstein’s monster-like doctrine.”

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

LA Superior Court officials say old courthouses are old and breaking down

For the second time in a month, a pipe burst at the Compton Courthouse, causing flooding so bad, the building had to close down. The closure has judicial officers with the LA Superior Court system speaking out over what they say are too many plumbing and other failures. For Superior Court Presiding Judge Samantha Jessner, "the answer is simple. We have 36 courthouses and most of them are very, very old, including the Compton Courthouse."


One side of campaign mailer might be libelous, C.A. says

It’s not reasonable to suppose that a person viewing one side of a campaign mailer will necessarily understand that the allegations are limited to matters set forth on the other side, the Fifth District Court of Appeal has held, reversing an order granting an anti-SLAPP motion to the extent that it strikes allegations that the plaintiff was libeled by the insinuation he had committed moral offenses.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

California city’s quest to upgrade new buildings may have wider ramifications: ‘An unfortunate reality’

A federal court has doubled down on its decision to prevent the city of Berkeley’s historic ban on natural gas in new homes, creating a major setback in the city’s quest to upgrade its buildings. As reported by Grist, the court denied requests for a rehearing in early January after it struck down Berkeley’s ban of natural gas appliances last April. Its decision could have ramifications for similar attempts to make upgrades in other Californian communities.

The Cool Down

The 5th Circuit says criminalizing journalism is not obviously unconstitutional

Five years ago, the Harris County, Texas, Institute of Forensic Sciences sent me reports on the autopsies of two people who had been killed in a Houston drug raid. After I wrote an article based on those reports, the county attorney's office told me they were not public information because they were part of an ongoing investigation. Although I did not realize it at the time, I had committed a felony just by asking for that information. 


Five named to Los Angeles Superior Court

Five government lawyers have been named to the Los Angeles Superior Court. An announcement of the appointments was made by the Governor’s Office on Monday night. The appointees are: Supervising Deputy Attorney General Marisa Hernández-Stern, Senior Deputy Los Angeles County Counsel Cristina Legaspi, Deputy Los Angeles County Public Defender Paris G. Lewis, Assistant Head Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Lowrie J. Mendoza and Deputy Federal Public Defender Michael D. Weinstein of the Central District of California.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise


LA DA Gascon’s improper, unethical, or just plain stupid actions cost taxpayers another $5 million

Maybe there’s a good reason Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon has never (as an attorney) set foot in a courtroom - it could be because he always loses. Last week, the LA County Board of Supervisors decided to pay someone Gascon charged and then quickly uncharged $5 million to settle an only four-month old lawsuit. Considering how long these things typically take, the idea that the settlement was reached to get it out of the way before the March primary cannot be dismissed entirely.

California Globe

5 suspects charged with murder in Southern California desert killings in dispute over marijuana

Prosecutors filed murder charges Tuesday against five suspects in the fatal shootings of six men at a remote dirt crossroads in the Southern California desert after what investigators said was a dispute over marijuana. The suspects each face six felony counts of murder with a special circumstance allegation of multiple murders, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.


L.A. man’s violent, antisemitic texts made woman fear for her life, prosecutor says

He threatened to “exterminate” Jewish people and Asian Americans. He said he would shoot up synagogues. He said that “Hitler was right about you people.” Over the course of more than a year, Andre Lackner targeted a Jewish woman with antisemitic, anti-Asian texts such as these, threatening both her and her family, according to court documents obtained by The Times.

Los Angeles Times

DA's Race

Your guide to the L.A. County district attorney race: 11 candidates aim to unseat Gascón

On his first day in office in 2020, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón doubled down on his reputation as “the godfather of progressive prosecutors,” radically changing the way the nation’s largest district attorney’s office conducts business. Prosecutors could no longer seek the death penalty or try juveniles as adults. A number of misdemeanor charges, including trespassing and simple drug possession, would no longer be filed.

Los Angeles Times

The strange dynamics of the L.A. district attorney race almost make George Gascón look brilliant

The Los Angeles crowd was small and perhaps a bit bored, but what they witnessed had consequence, observing the 10 candidates competing for L.A. County district attorney, heading one of the nation’s largest and most influential prosecutorial offices. The candidates were squeezed cheek-by-jowl at a recent debate, jostling to get a word in edgewise in a race increasingly defined by its counterintuitive dynamics.


The Times endorsed George Gascón. A reader asks: ‘What are you smoking?’

To the editor: The Times’ editorial board has endorsed Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón for reelection. What are you smoking? The public realized it made a terrible mistake when it elected him in 2020 and tried to recall this guy twice. He last narrowly escaped a recall election in 2022 after 27% of the signatures submitted by recall backers were determined to not be valid.

Los Angeles Times Letters to the Editor

LA DA Candidates Q&A Part One: Prop. 47 and the concept of the misdemeanor

As the Globe has done for a number of other important political races in the past, we asked each of the candidates for Los Angeles District Attorney if they wished to take part in a question and answer series on the major issues facing the office. Five of the candidates are participating - thank you! - while incumbent George Gascon and five others declined or did not respond. We asked ten questions and will be printing - verbatim - the responses over the coming five days, two questions per article.

California Globe

LA DA Candidates Q&A, Part Two: Law enforcement and the death penalty

When Mayor Karen Bass held a press conference to announce an inter-agency law enforcement task force to tackle the issue of smash and grab robberies, one person was noticeably absent: Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon. Exactly how bad does your relationship with the rest of law enforcement have to be to - as the chief prosecutor - not be asked to be a part of such an event? As a former elected official I can tell you: very very very bad.

California Globe

Los Angeles City/County

‘Do Not Rehire’: Panel finds Villanueva violated county discrimination, harassment policies

An oversight panel has recommended that former Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva be deemed ineligible for rehire after officials found he discriminated against Inspector General Max Huntsman, according to records obtained by The Times. In the initial complaint filed in March 2022, Huntsman accused Villanueva of “dog whistling to the extremists he caters to” when he repeatedly referred to the inspector general by his foreign-sounding birth name, Max-Gustaf.

Los Angeles Times

LAPD officers under investigation for allegedly exchanging stolen explicit photos of female colleague

The LAPD is investigating whether officers exchanged explicit, personal images of a female officer without her consent, several law enforcement sources familiar with the inquiry told the NBC4 I-Team. The internal investigation began this week. Chief Michel Moore said late Thursday the unauthorized, intimate photos of the LAPD employee had been distributed on the internet, possibly by a former member of the Department.


Search for LAPD chief reinforces lack of women candidates

A ceremony for promotions last July at Los Angeles Police Department headquarters included a rare sight: a female commander. Three of them, in fact. The LAPD didn't elevate a woman to commander until 1997; it took 13 more years for a woman of color to reach the rank. Now, Chief Michel Moore's surprise Jan. 12 announcement that he will step down in late February has raised the question of whether the LAPD's next leader will, for the first time, be a woman.

Los Angeles Times

LA Metro bus hit man's car but the agency wouldn't pay his claim

The I-Team obtained video that shows a Metro bus crashing into a parked car just south of downtown Los Angeles. The car belonged to Jody Ahrens, who was in disbelief when he was told what happened. “One of the security guards came upstairs and said, ‘Hey, an MTA (Metro) bus slammed into your car.’ I thought he was joking,” he said. But it was no joke - the accident totaled Ahrens’ 2012 Ford Taurus. 


Squatters turn mansion into party pad as taxpayers foot the bill

A Beverly Hills mansion seized by the court from a fugitive surgeon behind California's biggest insurance fraud scheme is now a wild party house taken over by squatters, who are profiting off of regular ragers that are driving neighbors nuts. The Mediterranean estate at 1316 Beverly Grove, listed for $4.5 million has been occupied by "a very sophisticated criminal ring of squatters," the home's listing agent John A. Woodward IV tells Los Angeles magazine. 

Los Angeles Magazine

Thrive LA poll exposes city's struggles with leadership, homelessness, and crime

A recent poll conducted by Thrive LA has brought to light the deep-seated issues plaguing Los Angeles, including a significant decline in the City Council's popularity amidst an escalating homelessness crisis and rising costs. Sam Yebri, President of Thrive LA, provided insights into the survey results from 771 likely voters, highlighting the need for a different approach, especially concerning Los Angeles' severe homelessness problem. "The situation is alarming," said Yebri.

Westside Current

El Monte officers fatally shot in ambush were not verbally warned that suspect had a gun, was on PCP

An El Monte police dispatcher failed to tell two officers fatally shot by a convicted gang member that the suspect reportedly had a gun and was under the influence of PCP and methamphetamine, reveals a 911 recording obtained by the Southern California News Group. The frantic 911 call to the El Monte Police Department was made shortly before 5 p.m. on June 14, 2022, by Maria Zepeda, who reported that her daughter had been stabbed by her husband, Justin Flores, at the Siesta Inn, where they had been staying.

San Bernardino Sun


California ballot initiative collecting signatures to make crime illegal again

Ten years of increased drug and serial theft crimes across California has taken its toll on the state’s residents and businesses. Because of Proposition 47, there is no accountability when it comes to these crimes, theft is underreported and some stores are even told not to report theft crimes. But help is on the way - a proposed ballot initiative to amend Prop. 47 is currently collecting signatures for the November 2024 ballot.

California Globe

California Gov. Gavin Newsom wants the Supreme Court to make it easier to clear homeless encampments. Advocates say that will make the crisis worse.

The Supreme Court earlier this month announced it would take up the most consequential case dealing with homelessness in decades. The case comes out of Grants Pass, Oregon, where local officials were prevented from clearing a homeless encampment by a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rulings in Martin v. Boise and Johnson v. Grants Pass requiring local governments to have sufficient shelter beds available before forcing unhoused people off the streets.

Business Insider

What to know about the petition to amend Prop 47, which classified certain CA crimes as misdemeanors

There's a new push to fight retail theft in California. The effort is part of a petition to amend 10-year-old Proposition 47 also called the 'Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.’ Prop 47 was approved by voters in 2014 to reduce California's prison population. It also classified crimes like theft and drug possession as misdemeanors instead of felonies. Now, local law enforcement, district attorneys and other state leaders want to amend the proposition to bring harsher penalties to repeat offenders.


Tulare 3-striker gets life in prison, DA says Prop 57 may grant him early release

A 38-year-old Tulare County man has been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of a third strike under California law. However, Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward says Luis Nuno most likely will not serve his whole time in prison due to Proposition 57. Under current laws, Ward explains his sentence may be reduced significantly. Nuno was sentenced to 56 years to life in prison for the third strike offense of threatening to kill people while armed with a knife.


Amazon’s Ring will stop allowing police to request doorbell video footage from users

Amazon’s Ring will no longer allow police to request users’ doorbell video footage in its neighborhood watch app. In a blog post on Wednesday, Ring said this week it plans to discontinue its “Request for Assistance” tool, which allowed law enforcement to submit requests for users’ footage in their communities through a publicly accessible post in its Neighbors app.


Bill Ackman accuses Harvard of ‘election interference’ and Mark Zuckerberg wades into board battle

Each January, Harvard University alumni are eligible to gather enough signatures to run for the university’s Board of Overseers. Normally, this process plays out quietly. Few, if any, alumni go through the effort to get on the ballot. But, like many things at Harvard today, this year’s board election is taking place in the national spotlight and being influenced by powerful billionaires vying to reshape a university in crisis.



Who is Patrick Goodman? Child killer poses dilemma for Gavin Newsom

Californian officials have approved parole for a man who beat his girlfriend's 3-year-old son to death, sparking public outrage amid a debate about lenient sentencing - and posing a dilemma over intervening for state Gov­er­nor Gavin New­som. Patrick Goodman murdered Elijah Sanderson in December 2000 and tried to frame the child's mother for the crime.


NYPD officers attacked in Times Square; 5 suspects arrested, 7 still on the loose

The NYPD is expressing outrage after officers said a crowd of asylum seekers attacked two of their own in Times Square over the weekend, only to be released without bail. Police are asking for the public's help identifying men they say were part of a group of 12 that attacked two officers on Saturday night. Surveillance video provided by the NYPD shows the front of a migrant shelter at 220 West 42nd St.

CBS New York

Crime rates are high no matter what the media say

As the old saying goes, you reap what you sow. It seems that liberal politicians who sowed the specious seeds of their version of “criminal justice reform” in blue cities across the country now don’t like their crop: high crime rates. Gallup polls show that 63% of Americans think the crime problem is “extremely or very serious,” up from 54% in 2021. Crime rates have exploded since 2016, after a 30-year decline.

The Daily Signal

In-N-Out to close first location in its 75-year history due to wave of car break-ins, robberies

In-N-Out Burger says it will close its first location in its 75-year history due to a wave of car break-ins, property damage, theft and robberies affecting customers and employees alike at its only restaurant in Oakland, California. The fast-food burger joint in a busy corridor near Oakland International Airport will close on March 24 because even though the company has taken “repeated steps to create safer conditions our Customers and Associates are regularly victimized,” Denny Warnick, In-N-Out’s chief operating officer, said in a statement Wednesday.



Former L.A. sheriff's deputy convicted in 2019 shooting of unarmed black man who was sitting in a car

A former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy originally charged with manslaughter pleaded no contest to two counts of assault after fatally shooting an unarmed Black man in 2019. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced the conviction of Andrew Lyons, who shot Ryan Twyman, 24, in Willowbrook, Calif., while the latter sat in his vehicle.

People Magazine

Five sentenced for killings of three at Long Beach party

Five gang members were sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the shooting deaths of three people at a Halloween-themed party in Long Beach just over four years ago, along with the attempted murders of nine other people who were injured, including a woman who was left paralyzed.

City News Service

Inglewood mayor’s daughter sentenced to 4 years in prison for attacking landlord

Inglewood Mayor James Butts Jr.’s 37-year-old daughter was sentenced Thursday to four years in state prison for her conviction on assault and conspiracy charges stemming from allegations that she masterminded an attack on her landlord in South Los Angeles nearly eight years ago. Superior Court Judge Mildred Escobedo noted that she considered the defense’s request for probation for Ashley Melissa Butts, who had no prior criminal history. 

City News Service

Northridge man pleads guilty to federal stalking charge and admits to threatening mass shooting of synagogues

A San Fernando Valley man pleaded guilty today to a federal charge of stalking and admitted to engaging in a 14-month campaign in which he threatened a victim and threatened to shoot synagogues and “exterminate” Jewish people and Asian Americans. Andre Morrow Lackner, 35, of Northridge, pleaded guilty to one count of stalking. According to court documents, from June 2021 to October 2022, Lackner sent a series of abusive text messages to the victim.

U.S. Attorney’s Office Press Release

Former Los Angeles politician José Huizar sentenced to 13 years in federal prison for racketeering conspiracy and tax evasion

Former Los Angeles City Councilmember José Luis Huizar was sentenced today to 156 months in federal prison for using his powerful position at City Hall to enrich himself and his associates, as well as for cheating on his taxes. Huizar, 55, of Boyle Heights, was sentenced by United States District Judge John F. Walter, who also ordered him to pay $443,905 in restitution to the City of Los Angeles and $38,792 in restitution to the IRS.

U.S. Attorney’s Office Press Release

Mark Ridley-Thomas begins appeal with 'army' standing behind him

One of the most striking elements in the federal trial of Los Angeles political veteran Mark Ridley-Thomas was the crowd that each day thronged the seventh-floor courtroom of United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer. During the proceedings last March I described the turnout as an “army” of supporters. After the verdict was delivered, when the sentence was handed down in August, the courtroom was again jammed with arrive-early-to-get-a-seat backers.

Los Angeles Magazine

California man stopped in Iowa with ‘kill list’ of prominent officials pleads guilty to threatening Biden, Harris

A Washington, D.C.-bound California man, stopped on a rural Iowa freeway two years ago with what authorities described as an AR-15-like rifle and a “kill list,” pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to making threats against the president and vice president of the United States. Kuachua Brillion Xiong, 27, entered his plea in front of U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Helen C. Adams in at the federal courthouse in Council Bluffs, Iowa. 

Courthouse News Service

Man pleads guilty in police badge case involving SD County Tribal Police

One of two Los Angeles-area men who authorities said illegally sold or bought police badges from a southeastern San Diego County tribe pleaded guilty to a federal charge and is awaiting sentencing Tuesday. Colin Gilbert, 80, of Marina del Rey, entered his plea 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


More than 500 people arrested in operation against human trafficking

More than 500 people were arrested in a statewide operation in California to rescue victims from the clutches of prostitution and human trafficking. Several people were assisted in this operation among dozens of law enforcement agencies to mark the closing of January, a time when human trafficking awareness month is commemorated. Ninety-five law enforcement agencies were part of the operation with undercover agents called “reclaim and rebuild.”


International drug ring busted in Los Angeles: DOJ

An organized crime ring smuggled drugs across two borders from Mexico into Los Angeles County and into Canada via long-haul trucks, federal authorities announced Tuesday along with the indictments of nine Southern California men in connection with the operation. Southern California was a key part of the pipeline that funneled drugs throughout the country and into Canada, according to federal investigators and local authorities.

Los Angeles Patch

Baseball bat-wielding L.A. homeowner fights back against car burglars

Video captured the moment a homeowner grabbed a baseball bat and confronted a group of car burglars in North Hollywood overnight. One of several break-ins occurred in the 7600 block of Beck Avenue near Saticoy Street at about 12:30 a.m. Monday morning, according to the timestamp on the home surveillance footage. The suspects’ vehicle is seen pulling up next to a van.


Gruesome murders in Mojave Desert connected to illicit marijuana grow operation, sheriff says

Authorities said they have arrested suspects in connection to the six people found dead in a remote area of the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County last week, which apparently stemmed from a dispute over marijuana. The killings happened on January 23, 2024, in El Mirage, just 10 miles north of Adelanto, around 8:15 p.m., according to the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department.


Retail theft crew busted with over $300,000 worth of stolen goods in Southern California

Four members of a retail theft crew were arrested for allegedly stealing over $300,000 worth of items from stores across Southern California. The thefts took place between Dec. 14, 2023 to Jan. 7, 2024, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Retailers that were targeted include Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target, and Walmart.


Police respond to several street takeovers in Compton, South LA area amid crackdown

Police responded to several illegal street takeovers in the South Los Angeles and Compton areas overnight after multiple cars were impounded on the 6th Street Bridge for the same reason. Deputies assigned to the Compton station for Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department responded to about five street takeovers, including one at Atlantic Avenue and Alondra Boulevard.


Articles of Interest

Meet the Texas billionaire quietly becoming the new George Soros

A Texas billionaire is on track to replace George Soros as the largest donor in the fight to remake America's criminal justice system. Former Enron executive John Arnold has poured more than $46 million into criminal justice efforts since 2019, exceeding the $40 million that Soros has spent over the past decade to elect liberal prosecutors across the country.

The Washington Free Beacon

Justice Department finds Cuomo sexually harassed employees, settles with New York state

The U.S. Justice Department concluded former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed more than a dozen state employees, according to a settlement announced Friday that confirmed allegations from the damaging misconduct probe that led to the Democrat’s resignation.The settlement between New York and the Justice Department resolves the federal agency's sexual harassment investigation of Cuomo and outlines additional steps the state will take to change how it handles misconduct complaints.


Claiming antisemitism, GOP demands Biden pull Third Circuit nominee

A group of House Republicans on Friday became the latest lawmakers to urge President Joe Biden to withdraw a nominee for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking to tie the prospective jurist to what they called “antisemitic speech” and “terrorist propaganda.” Adeel Mangi, nominated to the federal bench in November, has for months been under the GOP’s microscope for time he spent on the board of the Center for Security, Race and Rights at Rutgers University.

Courthouse News Service

U.S. News & World Report sues S.F. city attorney over hospital ranking subpoenas

A dispute between U.S. News & World Report and the San Francisco city attorney’s office over the media company’s well-known but increasingly scrutinized system for ranking hospitals and other healthcare institutions has in recent weeks turned into an all-out legal battle. San Francisco City Atty. David Chiu issued two subpoenas to the media company earlier this month.

Los Angeles Times

Ninth Circuit creates panel to study artificial intelligence

The West Coast-based US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is creating a committee focusing on the impact of artificial intelligence on legal practice, the latest federal court to address the growing technology. The AI committee was convened by the court’s Chief Judge Mary Murguia and is set to be chaired by Judge Eric D. Miller, who joined the court in 2019, according to law firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP.

Bloomberg Law


Inspector general blasts California prison officials for mishandling misconduct complaints by inmates

California’s prison system used inappropriate tactics to whittle down a backlog of staff misconduct cases, according to a new special review from the Office of the Inspector General, the state’s prison watchdog agency. As a result, staff violated departmental policy and presented conflicts of interest by reviewing and ruling on their colleagues’ alleged misconduct toward inmates.

Sacramento Bee

Inspector General: CDCR violated regulations when addressing backlog of staff misconduct allegations

California’s prison system is facing scrutiny for how it has handled a backlog of complaints against its own staff. A new report from the California Office of the Inspector General said the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation violated regulations while processing complaints from inmates alleging CDCR staff misconduct.


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