Courts, Rulings & Lawsuits

Widow of LA County firefighter who died in Rancho Palos Verdes house fire settles with Board of Supes for $3 million

The family of a firefighter who suffered a heart attack and died while responding to a house fire in Rancho Palos Verdes two years ago has settled with Los Angeles County for nearly $3 million. Jonathan Flagler, 47, went into cardiopulmonary arrest while suffocating on his air tank that had run out of oxygen as he fought the fire alone inside the home on Tarapaca Road in January 2022, according to a coroner’s office report of his death.

Los Angeles Daily News

Criminal lawyer’s advice did not violate Racial Justice Act

Div. Five of the First District Court of Appeal on Friday rejected the contention that a conviction for first degree murder with special circumstances should be reversed because the defendant, who is Black, was counseled by his lawyer to use slang and “sound Ghetto” in testifying. Defendant Demetrius Coleman argued on appeal that alleged advice to him by Lake County attorney Andrea Sullivan violated the California Racial Justice Act of 2020.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

US appeals court dissolves previous order and blocks California law banning concealed carry in most public places

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dissolved a previous stay on Saturday that allowed a California law to go into effect prohibiting concealed carry permit holders from carrying firearms in most public places, blocking the law. With this order, the California law will no longer take effect in January 2024.


Past failed treatment did not justify denial of diversion

Div. One of the Fourth District Court of Appeal has ordered the issuance of a writ directing the Superior Court to grant a woman who attempted to rob a liquor store a mental health diversion, prompting a dissent that insists that requisites for writ review are not met and asserts that the majority is usurping discretion vested in the trial judge.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Court split over California man’s takings clause dispute

Despite a suggestion by Justice Neil Gorsuch that there was “radical agreement” in a California man’s challenge to the constitutionality of the “traffic impact mitigation” fee that he was required to pay when building his home, the justices appeared divided at oral argument on Tuesday. There may have been something approaching a consensus that (contrary to the lower court’s ruling) conditions on the exercise of property rights imposed by legislation can at least in theory be subject to heightened scrutiny.


Trial court must order compassionate release of murderer who is debilitated, moribund

Div. Two of the Fourth District Court of Appeal has directed a trial court to order the compassionate release from prison of a murderer who has less than six months to live and is severely debilitated, declaring that a judge abused his discretion in denying relief based on speculation that the inmate, a gang member, might, if freed, cause others to commit crimes.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Former LA deputy mayor loses bid to get racketeering case dismissed

A former Los Angeles deputy mayor for economic development lost his bid to dodge a slew of criminal charges including racketeering conspiracy in a widespread public corruption scandal. U.S. District Judge John Walter on Friday rejected Raymond Chan's argument that federal prosecutors had failed to adequately plead that he had been part of a criminal enterprise involving former City Councilman José Huizar, the convicted mastermind of the scheme to seek bribes from real-estate developers who wanted to build projects in downtown LA.

Courthouse News Service

Ninth Circuit affirms dismissal of suit claiming discrimination against rape victims

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday affirmed the dismissal with prejudice of an action by an El Monte woman who claimed that her right to equal protection was violated by officials in Contra Costa and Sonoma counties who failed to apply the same standards to an investigation of rape allegations that they would have utilized in response to reports of other crimes.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

US Supreme Court rejects challenge to California flavored tobacco ban

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company's challenge to a voter-approved measure in California that banned flavored tobacco products in the most-populous U.S. state. The justices rejected an appeal by R.J. Reynolds, a unit of British American Tobacco, and other plaintiffs of a lower court's ruling holding that California's law did not conflict with a federal statute regulating tobacco products.



Rapper A$AP Rocky pleads not guilty to assault charges over 2021 Hollywood shooting

A$AP Rocky pleaded not guilty today to charges stemming from an allegation that he pulled a gun on a fellow rapper during a 2021 altercation in Hollywood and then fired at him soon afterward during another confrontation. The multiplatinum artist is charged with two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, along with allegations that he used a firearm against Terell Ephron aka A$AP Relli on the night of November 6, 2021.


Suspect charged in sex assault of 12-year-old girl in her family's Culver City home

A suspect charged in the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl in her family's Culver City home is accused of telling the girl her family would be killed if she told anyone about the attack, prosecutors said Tuesday. Marcos Maldonado, 35, allegedly told the girl during the Dec. 2 assault in the Blair Hills neighborhood that someone with a gun was waiting outside her home, and that person would kill her family if she reported the attack, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said in announcing the charges Tuesday.


Man accused of sexually assaulting woman while impersonating police officer

A man has been arrested following allegations that he sexually assaulted and attempted to kidnap a woman while impersonating a police officer in Long Beach. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced that Martin Lopez, 55, faces felony charges for attempted kidnapping, sexual battery and second-degree robbery following his arrest last week.


Ex-Dodger Julio Urías won’t face felony charges, L.A. DA’s Office says

According to a document filed Tuesday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has declined to file felony charges against former Dodgers pitcher Julio Urías in connection with an incident of alleged domestic violence last year. The 27-year-old hero of the Dodgers’ 2020 World Series run was arrested on domestic violence charges by officers with the Exposition Park Department of Public Safety on Sept. 3.


LA Councilman Curren Price pleads not guilty to corruption charges

Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of theft by embezzlement, perjury and conflict of interest for allegedly voting on projects involving developers tied to his wife's consulting firm, then failing to report the connections. Price entered his plea after Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Craig Richman rejected the defense's legal challenge to the 10 charges against the councilman.


Gascon’s parole policies putting felons on the street

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon is what is known as a decarcerationist. That means he wants as few people in jail as possible. The theory - birthed in academia - has gained steam of late amongst the progressive “justice reform” movement and when the theory was chatted about in faculty lounges or over a few bong hits amongst the trust fund socialists at Coachella it did little public harm.

CityWatch LA

OC prosecutors push back on informant scandal allegations

Orange County prosecutors said a Seal Beach man can still receive a fair trial and his case should not be thrown out even if he claims he was the victim of outrageous governmental misconduct in his murder trial, it was revealed Friday in a court filing. The defendant’s attorney said Friday the prosecutor’s argument feels like a flashback to the District Attorney’s position regarding Scott Dekraai, the worst mass killer in the county’s history.


California Guard drug task force member arrested, accused of leaking info to drug dealer

An Army reservist assigned to the California National Guard’s headquarters in Sacramento County and to a counter-drug-trafficking task force has been arrested by the FBI on a weapons charge and is believed to have leaked sensitive information on drug raids to an individual involved in illegal drug activities, court records say.

Sacramento Bee

Attorney General Bonta announces arrest of a licensed fiduciary for stealing $2.5 million from clients

California Attorney General Rob Bonta, together with Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), today announced the arrest of and charges against a licensed Professional Fiduciary who stole over $2.5 million dollars from 12 clients in assets she was hired to protect and manage. The suspect managed many special need trusts, conservatorships and power of attorney involving adult dependents or elderly clients that relied on her to provide fiduciary services.

Attorney General Rob Bonta Press Release

California prosecutors charge father after his 10-year-old son allegedly fatally shot a child

Northern California prosecutors have decided to only charge the father of a 10-year-old boy in connection with the death of a child the boy allegedly shot. The decision on charges in the fatal shooting Saturday outside Sacramento was announced during the father’s court appearance Wednesday. 


San Francisco city and county attorneys affiliate with teamsters

The San Francisco Municipal Attorneys Association (MAA) formally affiliated with 20,000-member Teamsters Local 856 this week. The association comprises 500 deputy district attorneys, deputy public defenders, and city attorneys serving the citizens of San Francisco. The new members join public attorneys represented by Local 856 throughout Northern California, including in Alameda, Sonoma, Marin, and Mendocino counties, and the City of Santa Rosa.

Teamsters Local 856 News Release

DA's Race

Los Angeles County District Attorney Candidates Debate 2024

Next week, Los Angeles magazine takes center stage in L.A.'s political arena by hosting a pivotal debate featuring all candidates contending for the role of Los Angeles District Attorney, shaping a critical discourse for the city's future. The event will be captured on video and available for streaming, offering an in-depth look at each candidate’s platform on

Los Angeles Magazine

Los Angeles County District Attorney candidate Debra Archuleta (Video)

This posting contains a video recorded interview between Sharon Kyle, publisher and co-founder of the LA Progressive and Debra Archuleta, candidate for Los Angeles County District Attorney. This was recorded on January 2, 2024.

LA Progressive


Discrepancies in actions and audits raise questions about LA City Controller's oversight

A recent examination of LA City Controller Kenneth Mejia's administration has uncovered politically driven staffing changes and questionable data management practices, casting a shadow over the office tasked with overseeing the city's finances. In February of last year, the Current reported on the City Controller's curious choice of staff - heavy on political bias, low on qualifications. 

Westside Current

LAPD plans to include private cameras in 10K-strong surveillance network

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) intends to develop a new surveillance center that will give police centralized access to live security feeds from cameras in public and private spaces, pending budget approval from Mayor Karen Bass. The department hopes to be able to access 10,000 cameras through the city through the program, which has been dubbed LAPD Live.

CA Attorney General issues guidelines for prosecutors to implement race-blind charging

In 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill, AB 2778, meant to reduce racial bias in the criminal legal system by requiring prosecutors’ offices to implement “race-blind” charging practices starting January 1, 2025. This means that a prosecuting agency will need to redact from a case any information that would identify the race of those involved, including any victims or witnesses.

Witness LA

No compelling evidence of racial bias in sentencing, per new meta-analysis

The question of racial bias in the criminal justice system is a highly debated issue. In recent years, it has become a common belief that the criminal justice system is racially biased, wherein black and Latino defendants receive harsher sentences than whites or Asian defendants. But the empirical research does not fully support these perceptions, according to a recently published meta-analysis.

Crime & Consequences

Sheriffs defy SB2, Ninth Circuit ruling renders controversial law partially enforceable

Sheriffs across the state united in a firm stand to not comply with Senate Bill 2, which reduced the public places a concealed weapon permit holder could carry. Many cited this as an infringement on 2nd Amendment rights, many of these being sheriffs, including Modoc Sheriff Tex Dowdy, openly stating to their county that they would not be “utilizing the limited staff available to seeking out violators” of the new law which took effect at the start of the New Year.

Sierra Daily News

Newsom’s property crime package sidesteps Prop 47

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is seeking legislation to crack down on property crimes while stopping short of asking voters to reconsider Proposition 47, a politically volatile ballot initiative that downgraded sentencing nearly a decade ago. Newsom is laying out his priorities at a politically fraught moment for Democrats navigating rising concerns about public safety, exacerbated by highly visible incidents of people making off with merchandise.


State lawmakers once again going after Prop 47 amidst retail theft blowback

Here’s a surprising statistic about theft and burglary in California. Property crime rates have actually gone down since that state passed the now often-derided Prop 47, which made property crimes more likely to be charged as misdemeanors instead of felonies. As the Public Policy Institute of California found this past October, property crime has steadily inched down most years since that law’s 2014 passage, and surprisingly, such crimes were substantially more frequent in the 1970s.


Smash-and-grab robberies in CA: New bill would provide stricter penalties for retail theft

Smash-and-grab robberies have become a common occurrence across the state of California, but could there soon be stiffer penalties for thieves who are caught and convicted? It's possible. Assemblymember James Ramos, a Democrat from San Bernardino, is sponsoring a bill he hopes will end the alarming trend.


Senator Wiener formally introduces legislation to crack down on car break ins by closing outrageous “locked door” loophole

Today, Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced SB 905, a bill sponsored by San Francisco Mayor London Breed, removing the “locked door loophole,” a senseless barrier to holding auto burglars accountable. The bill’s introduction delivers on a promise Senator Wiener announced in October to tackle the issue this legislative session. 

Senator Scott Wiener News Release

DWP board members held private contract talks with vendor, prompting ethics questions

Two members of the Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners - a former Democratic congressman and a City Hall veteran - privately discussed a DWP contract with executives of a cybersecurity company, an exchange that is raising concerns from ethics experts.

Los Angeles Times

California RIPA police car stop report needs a jumpstart

The California Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board released its Report on Police Stop Data for 2022 made by California law enforcement agencies. The Los Angeles Police Protective League and the San Francisco and San Jose Police Officers Associations issued this joint statement in response: "This latest RIPA report takes the easy way out by relying on a dizzying number of charts, figures and statistics instead of presenting a serious public policy analysis...”

RIPA Statement

Crime/Public Safety

LAPD Chief Michel Moore to step down at end of February

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore announced Friday that he will step down as head of the LAPD at the end of February, with city and department officials expected soon to begin the process of finding a new leader to take over one of the most challenging jobs in law enforcement. At a news conference with Mayor Karen Bass, Moore said he was proud of his career at the department and choked back tears.

Los Angeles Times

LACERA protecting members in wake of third-party data breach

The Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association is in the process of alerting its potentially impacted members, staff members, and business partners about a data breach involving State Street Bank - its custodian banking partner since 2013 - and State Street Bank’s third-party vendor Fiserv, which provides physical check deposit clearing and processing services.

LACERA News Release

DWP board president is out amid ethics questions, power struggle at utility

Political veteran Cynthia McClain-Hill announced Tuesday that she is stepping down as president of the Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners following ethics-related complaints involving her and growing tensions over the utility’s leadership. McClain-Hill made the announcement at Tuesday’s board meeting, saying that it had been a “distinct honor, privilege and pleasure to serve” the public and that she will depart the board.

Los Angeles Times

Burger chain manager fined for using ‘straw donors’ to back ex-Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s 2018 campaign

A burger chain manager accused of using “straw donors” to repeatedly contribute to former Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s 2018 bid for office has agreed to pay a $50,000 fine for campaign money laundering, according to the California Fair Political Practices Commission. The state watchdog said in a January filing that investigators found no evidence Villanueva knew about the money laundering scheme.

Los Angeles Times

Traffic fatalities eclipse murders in Los Angeles in 2023

The LAPD recorded more traffic deaths than murders in 2023 - often with speeding or distracted drivers to blame, Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday. “2023 saw increases, year over year, and from years earlier, from traffic fatalities, particularly fatal hit and runs and fatal pedestrian and bicycle collisions," he said. Data ending December 30, 2023 showed at least 330 traffic fatalities occurred in the City while there were 327 murders recorded during the same time period.


Groups plan to support L.A. City Councilman Curren Price at arraignment

Several clergy groups and community organizations plan to show their support for Ninth District City Councilman Curren Price Monday when he is scheduled to be arraigned on corruption charges. Members of Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California, Experience Christian Ministries, South Central United and other groups are expected to be at the Criminal Courts Building in downtown Los Angeles in support of Price, who was charged last year with theft by embezzlement, perjury and conflict of interest for allegedly voting on projects involving developers tied to his wife’s consulting firm, then failing to report the connections.



Consumer Alert: Fires linked to Amazon-sold Dyson replacement batteries

Consumers are advised to immediately stop using certain non-OEM Dyson replacement batteries sold on Amazon. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is alerting the public to the fire hazard associated with Zautnkn.Inc lithium-ion replacement battery packs linked to three fires and one injury, emphasizing that they do not meet safety standards.

The Counterfeit Report

Here's how CA Verizon customers could get a $100 windfall

Verizon customers in California could get up to $100 each under a proposed $100 million class action settlement outlined on the company’s website. Current and former Verizon wireless or data customers with service from Jan. 1, 2016, to Nov. 8, 2023, are eligible for a share of the settlement. The agreement resolves a lawsuit filed in New Jersey that accused the company of “deceptive and unfair” practices by failing to disclose administrative fees.

Patch Media

What California’s Right to Repair Law means for fixing home appliances and more

Your household appliances or electronics break suddenly and you’ve struggled to find replacement parts, or the necessary tools and guides, to make the repair. But that frustrating quest to fix your gear may be slowly coming to an end. Last October, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB244, the California Right to Repair Act, into law. It’s the latest legislation in a movement growing across the country to empower consumers to repair what they already own. 

Orange County Register


TSA director arrested by US Customs and Border Protection

An official with the Transportation Security Administration has been arrested on an outstanding warrant, according to local reports. TSA Assistant Federal Security Director Maxine McManaman was arrested in Atlanta by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Dec. 28. McManaman had a warrant for her arrest posted by the St. Lucie County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office, which claimed she and an alleged accomplice named Delroy Chambers Sr. exploited a relative suffering from dementia by falsifying documents in their name, according to Port St. Lucie Police.

Fox News

No Labels party asks federal judge to block candidates from using its name to run for office

The No Labels party of Arizona asked a federal judge Friday to bar political candidates from using the newly established party to run for state-level offices. Despite the stated mission of the party - to provide American voters with an alternative presidential option, in the likely case that the 2024 General Election comes down to Joe Biden vs. Donald Trump - five people have filed notices of interest to run under the No Labels party in non-presidential races. 

Courthouse News Service

A multitude of minimum wages

California no longer has a minimum wage. Instead, the state has 50 minimum wages, differing depending on where you work or what you do. California was an early adopter of the minimum wage, in 1916 requiring a 16-cent per hour wage for women and children. The California wage floor was extended to men in 1974; it had risen to $2/hour by then. For the past 25 years, California’s minimum wage has been higher than the federal wage floor. 

CalChamber Advocacy


Fugitive on the run for 2 years arrested after trying to ram sheriff’s vehicles in Woodland Hills

A man wanted for nearly two years after he rammed his vehicle into law enforcement in Los Angeles County was arrested Thursday after he attempted to escape again by utilizing the same tactics. George “Rand” Akrey, 38, of Woodland Hills, was taken into custody Thursday around 12:20 p.m. on the 21000 block of Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.


Video shows man claiming to be famous bite, kick officer during arrest at bank

Newly released video shows the moment a man claiming to be famous bites and kicks an officer in the face while being arrested at a local bank. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, officers with the Northeast Division were dispatched to the 7300 block of North Figueroa Avenue in Eagle Rock at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 on a radio call of an assault with a deadly weapon. 



Former US Navy sailor gets 27 months for selling military info to China

A former U.S. Navy sailor was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison Monday after he admitted selling sensitive military information to a Chinese spy. U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner rejected the government's argument that Wenheng Zhao had obstructed the investigation into his activities and deserved a sentence of 37 months.

Courthouse News Service

Gardena man sentenced to 27 years in federal prison for armed robbery spree he committed while on parole for armed robbery

A convicted murderer was sentenced today to 324 months in federal prison for robbing and attempting to rob nearly a dozen Los Angeles County businesses - including a veterinarian’s office - at gunpoint during a five-day crime spree in late 2020 while on parole from state prison for armed robbery. 

U.S. Attorney’s Office Press Release

Former L.A. County deputy sentenced to 30 days in jail for fatal 2019 shooting

A former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy will serve 30 days in jail in connection with a fatal 2019 shooting where authorities fired more than 30 rounds into the back of a moving car, under the terms of a plea deal reached Friday in a downtown courtroom. Andrew Lyons pleaded no contest to assault with a firearm and assault under color of authority in the killing of 24-year-old Ryan Twyman outside a Willowbrook apartment complex in June 2019.

Los Angeles Times

Articles of Interest

Jeffrey Epstein fixer's office burglarized hours before document dump (Exclusive)

Sitrick & Company, the global crisis public relations firm who has a client list of the rich and powerful - including Jeffrey Epstein - was burglarized over the New Year's holiday by thieves who stole company computers just hours before a trove of long-sealed court documents related to the admitted pedophile were released.

Los Angeles Magazine

Expert testimony wrongfully barred at wrongful death trial

Div. One of the Fourth District Court of Appeal yesterday ordered reinstatement of a wrongful death action against the operator of freight railroad networks, holding that expert testimony was erroneously barred in an action based on the theory that exposure to toxic levels of diesel exhaust over a period of more than 40 years caused the decedent to contract non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Girardi’s incompetency claim undercut by timing and an expletive

Disbarred and indicted plaintiffs’ lawyer Thomas Girardi is scheduled to appear on Wednesday before the same federal judge who last week rejected claims he’s not competent to stand trial, as the focus turns to the next steps in his criminal fraud cases pending in Los Angeles and Chicago.

Bloomberg Law

Friendlier prison guards? Why Gavin Newsom’s advisers want them at San Quentin

Converting a state prison into a rehabilitative center, as the Newsom administration seeks to do with San Quentin, means changing how guards do their jobs. Instead of shying away from “overfamiliarity” with incarcerated people, prison guards should ask them about their families or favorite NFL teams. Instead of only reporting offenses, guards should note positive change in inmates.



Most US public pension funds are distressed, per Equable report

Most state and municipal public pension funds are distressed or fragile, with funded ratios of less than 90%, according to the Equable Institute’s State of Pensions 2023 report, a year-end update. The report used the last reported data available from public pension funds. The report noted that at least 33 funds have not released year-end fiscal 2022 data. The report tracked 232 pension funds in the U.S.

Chief Investment Officer

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