Courts & Rulings
Veteran LA County DA granted deposition of Gascon
Attorneys for a veteran prosecutor suing Los Angeles County, alleging she has been denied important positions in retaliation for complaining about directives set forth after the 2020 election of District Attorney George Gascon, can depose Gascon himself, a judge has ruled. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry A. Green issued his ruling Thursday in Deputy District Attorney Shawn Randolph's case.
Gascón consultant wants deputy DA's defamation, harassment claims dismissed
A communications professional sued along with Los Angeles County and District Attorney George Gascón by a veteran prosecutor who alleges he has been defamed for being an outspoken critic of Gascón's reform directives argues in new court papers that he should be dismissed from the case on free-speech grounds.
Family of slain firefighter can proceed with most claims against LA County, judge rules
The widow and children of a Los Angeles County Fire Department engineer shot to death by a colleague at the Agua Dulce Station in 2021 can move forward with most of their lawsuit against the county, needing only to shore up their civil rights claim, a judge has ruled. The Chatsworth Superior Court lawsuit was brought in January 2022 by Heidi Carlon, who was married to the late 44-year-old Tory Carlon; her adult daughter, Joslyn Carlon; and Heidi Carlon’s two other daughters, who are both minors.
Lacey estate lawyers seek BLM activist’s teaching curriculum info
Attorneys for the estate of the late husband of former Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey are fighting an attempt by a Black Lives Matter demonstrator to block their efforts to obtain information on her Cal State Los Angeles teaching curriculum. In court papers filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, lawyers for the estate of David Lacey maintain that the motion by Melina Abdullah’s attorneys to quash the subpoena for information on privacy grounds is both “procedurally defective and substantively without merit.”
Appointee may be ejected from board over political views
A panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday affirmed the dismissal with prejudice of a lawsuit against the City of Huntington Beach filed by a woman who was ousted from a volunteer board because her political views clashed with those of the City Council member who appointed her. “The issue for decision is whether the First Amendment protects a volunteer member of a municipal advisory board from dismissal by the city councilperson who appointed her and is authorized under a city ordinance to remove her.” Senior Circuit Judge Andrew D. Hurwitz wrote.
Ninth Circuit sides with Mongol Nation, letting them keep trademark logo
The Mongol Nation Motorcycle Club can keep their trademark logo, typically worn on jackets and vests by members, thanks to a Ninth Circuit ruling handed down Friday. But the three-judge panel also declined to overturn the 2018 criminal conviction of the organization on federal racketeering charges. In a written statement, Stephen Stubbs, the Mongols general counsel, called the ruling "a victory not only for the Mongols Motorcycle Club, but for all motorcycle clubs, freedom, and America as a whole."
Appellate court overturns release of sexually violent predator to Santa Cruz County
A state appellate court has overturned the conditional placement of a sexually violent predator in a rural Bonny Doon neighborhood. In a majority ruling dated Friday, the California Court of Appeal for the Sixth Appellate District found that Michael Cheek, who committed two violent rapes in the 1980s in Santa Cruz and Contra Costa counties, could not be placed in the proposed home because it is within a quarter-mile of a school.
Appeals court strikes down ban on gun ‘bump stocks’
A federal appeals court on Friday struck down a Trump-era rule that banned certain types of “bump stocks,” which can be added to semi-automatic weapons to increase their firing rate. The 2018 rule from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was instituted in the wake of the October 2017 shooting in Las Vegas. The gunman used weapons equipped with bump stocks to kill 58 people and injure at least 850 more. It remains the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
U.S. appeals court to reconsider ban on nonviolent felons owning guns
A federal appeals court on Friday said it would reconsider next month whether a federal law prohibiting nonviolent felons from owning firearms is constitutional in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last year expanding gun rights. The Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted to have the full court rehear the case of a Pennsylvania man convicted of welfare fraud who argued the ban violates the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment right to bear arms.
Supreme Court debates union tactics in spoiled concrete case
The Supreme Court on Tuesday debated the limits of the pressure unions can exert during a strike in a case about cement truck drivers who walked off the job with the trucks full of wet concrete. Chief Justice John Roberts at one point summed up the difference between causing a company to lose some money, which is legally permitted, and intentionally destroying property, which isn’t. It’s “the difference between milk spoiling and killing the cow,” he said.
U.S. Supreme Court lets New York enforce new gun restrictions
The US Supreme Court refused to block New York’s new handgun restrictions, leaving in force a ban on firearms in designated “sensitive locations” including buses, parks and stores where the owner doesn’t want weapons. The justices turned away an emergency request from six Gun Owners of America members who sought to block much of the law while their legal challenge goes forward.
LA DA's top deputy won't be prosecuted for 2021 arrest
State prosecutors can no longer consider filing a criminal charge against one of LA County District Attorney George Gascón's top deputies, because the statute of limitations for the allegation expired while the California Attorney General's Office was considering the evidence in the case, according to a document filed Tuesday in a related lawsuit. Attorneys for Joseph F. Iniguez, chief of staff to DA Gascón, told a U.S. District Court overseeing Iniguez's lawsuit against the police officer who arrested him that the criminal case, "has concluded, with the governing statute of liminations having expired."
Paul Flores won’t face charges for rape, child porn in Los Angeles, DA decides
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office will not prosecute Paul Flores for crimes he is alleged to have committed in its county, including rape and child pornography, the office told The Tribune in an email on Friday. A Monterey County jury convicted Flores of the 1996 murder of Cal Poly freshman Kristin Smart on Oct. 18 after hearing three-months of evidence at trial. Flores is scheduled to be sentenced March 10, but his legal team is planning to file a motion for a new trial before the sentencing.
District Attorney will not file misdemeanor charges against Annie Jump Vicente
A Los Angeles County District Attorney Charge Evaluation Worksheet breaks down why the DA will not be filing misdemeanor felony charges under Section 148(A)(1) against Annie Jump Vicente, a transgender woman who was arrested for not allowing West Hollywood Sheriff Deputies into her building while they were responding to a domestic violence call on December 7, 2022. Section 148 is described as resisting arrest as any criminal conduct that resists, delays, or obstructs any peace officer in the course of their official duties.
Judge sets new hearing date for Adam Friedman
Adam Friedman is facing two misdemeanor charges after allegedly creating a fake Instagram account impersonating a political opponent of his father, Beverly Hills City Councilman Lester Friedman. Unless he accepts a “judicial diversion motion” at his next pre-trial hearing, set for Jan. 20, the trial will start within 30 days of that hearing, a court clerk said. Adam Friedman’s attorney and uncle, Leonard Friedman, and deputy district attorney R.J. Dreiling did not respond to requests for comment.
L.A. County shifts lawyer program for the poor from Bar Assn. to already busy public defender
A program that provides some of the poorest criminal defendants with private legal representation will undergo major changes this year for the first time in a quarter century, after Los Angeles County chose not to renew a long-standing Bar Assn. contract to administer it with taxpayer dollars. Instead, the Independent Defense Program will be taken over by the office of Public Defender Ricardo García, county officials said.
Danny Masterson to face second trial on rape charges
Prosecutors announced on Tuesday that they will pursue a second trial against Danny Masterson, after a jury deadlocked on three rape charges at the actor’s first trial in November. Masterson, 46, is accused of forcibly raping three women at his home in the Hollywood Hills from 2001 to 2003. He was a star of the Fox sitcom “That ’70s Show” at the time. “Our office has decided to retry this case,” Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller told the court.
SLO County DA won’t get to prosecute Tianna Arata as high court refuses to hear appeal
San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow has lost his last bid to prosecute the Tianna Arata case. The California Supreme Court decided Wednesday that it will not hear arguments regarding whether Dow’s office should be allowed to prosecute Arata and six other Black Lives Matter protesters, meaning Dow has no further avenues to stay on the case.
Former porn star Ron Jeremy to be declared incompetent to stand trial for rape due to 'severe dementia’
Ron Jeremy will reportedly be declared incompetent to stand trial for more than 30 counts of rape. According to the Los Angeles Times, the retired adult film star, 69, whose legal name is Ronald Jeremy Hyatt, is suffering from "severe dementia" and will be declared unfit for trial on Jan. 17 and likely be placed in a state-run hospital, following allegations from at least 20 women since June 2020.
Prosecutor's error leads to dismissal of indictments of former officers
Indictments related to bounty hunter work were tossed Friday for two former Orange County police officers who made headlines when they lost their jobs. Rodger Jeffrey Corbett and Kevin Pedersen were indicted June 9 on two counts of kidnapping and one count of false imprisonment with sentencing enhancements for being armed in the commission of a felony, according to court records.
U.S. attorney reviewing documents marked classified from Joe Biden's vice presidency found at Biden think tank
Attorney General Merrick Garland has assigned the U.S. attorney in Chicago to review documents marked classified that were found at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, two sources with knowledge of the inquiry told CBS News. The roughly 10 documents are from President Biden's vice-presidential office at the center, the sources said. CBS News has learned the FBI is also involved in the U.S. attorney's inquiry.
Two years later, prosecutions of Jan. 6 rioters continue to grow
The investigation into the storming of the Capitol is, by any measure, the biggest criminal inquiry in the Justice Department’s 153-year history. And even two years after Jan. 6, 2021, it is only getting bigger. In chasing leads and making arrests, federal agents have already seized hundreds of cellphones, questioned thousands of witnesses and followed up on tens of thousands of tips in an exhaustive process that has resulted so far in more than 900 arrests from Maine to California.
19 Mariner Health SNFs hit with injunction over staffing, discharge allegations 
California operator Mariner Health Care Inc. was issued a preliminary injunction on Friday for 19 of its buildings, for allegedly violating federal and state laws over a five-year period. Mariner was understaffing its facilities and subjecting patients to negligent care, according to allegations filed by Rob Bonta, state Attorney General and District Attorneys of Alameda, Los Angeles, Marin and Santa Cruz counties.
Drone video captures part of encounter in which Riverside County deputy was fatally shot
Drone video of a deadly standoff that took the life of a Riverside County sheriff's deputy on Friday appears to capture the suspect being shot by another deputy on the street before the wounded officer is rushed into the back of a sheriff's SUV. The video was posted to YouTube late Friday by a brand new account created the same day. Its owner could not immediately be reached for comment by The Times on Saturday.
California attorney general clears LAPD officer in shooting using controversial ‘expert'
California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta's office recently cleared a well-connected Los Angeles police officer of wrongdoing in a deadly shooting from 2020 based in part on the "expert opinion" of a police use-of-force consultant whose work has been criticized as illegitimate for years. Other experts and legal observers said this week they were surprised Bonta's office would use such a controversial figure to analyze such a high-profile case - calling it an easily avoidable blunder by a state office that has been entrusted with increased power in recent years to independently investigate police shootings.
Lawmaker mulls disarming LAPD officers at council meetings
Los Angeles Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez called Wednesday for the city's policy analysts to determine whether the council has the power to require that every police officer assigned to the council chamber show up unarmed. Hernandez, in a written proposal, wants to create a "mediation based model" for restoring order during council meetings, which have been upended by noisy demonstrations from audience members, many of whom have demanded the resignation of Councilmember Kevin de León over his participation in a recorded conversation featuring racist remarks.
Why a three-strikes felon - on bail twice over - was on the streets, where he gunned down a deputy
William Shae McKay could have been in custody Dec. 29 - in more than one case. Instead, the "three strikes" felon, already facing a life sentence, gunned down a Riverside County deputy before dying alongside a freeway in a hail of bullets. How was it that the 44-year-old violent criminal was free? By the time McKay encountered Deputy Isaiah Cordero in the traffic stop that would end Cordero's life, he had been issued $500,000 bail in a third-strike case involving several felonies.
Delayed penalty: SEC whacks disgraced former CEO and McDonald’s, transparency prevails
Usually, stories are written about how companies handle PR crises well or botch them as they're occurring or shortly after they end. Yet a 2019 McDonald's crisis has provided years of news, including some today (Jan. 9, 2023), well after the crisis ostensibly was finished. Indeed, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today added an exclamation point to the McDonald's-Stephen Easterbrook sexual brouhaha.
LAPD may limit off-duty drinking by armed officers
The Los Angeles Police Department will consider Tuesday a new rule to specifically prohibit off-duty officers from being armed while impaired by alcohol. The Board of Police Commissioners is set to vote on a policy that says officers, "shall not consume alcoholic beverages to the extent in which it causes impairment," short of a ban on officers carrying their guns while drinking. The LAPD declined to comment on the reason for the proposed rule change, or whether or not there are other rules limiting alcohol use for off-duty officers.
California is working hard to pass gun laws - and even harder to defend them
California Democrats returned to Sacramento this week with a gun-safety agenda following a near-record year for U.S. mass shootings. But their legal obstacles loom higher than ever. The Supreme Court this summer invalidated one of the state’s longstanding concealed carry requirements, and a federal judge in San Diego has blocked a series of the state’s restrictive gun policies. Meanwhile, Second Amendment groups will sue “anything that walks,” said Democratic Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, who chairs the Legislature’s Gun Violence Prevention Working Group.
Former LACo fire captain seeks retirement badge in revised suit
A former Los Angeles County Fire Department captain - who sued the county, alleging he followed orders and took photos of the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash scene in 2020, but was not compensated for legal expenses after being sued - has expanded his lawsuit to seek his retirement badge. Plaintiff Brian Jordan's Los Angeles Superior Court amended complaint, filed Thursday, still alleges violations of the state Labor Code and Government Claims Act and he continues to seek nearly $60,000 in attorneys' fees and costs, plus additional damages.
Death penalty in California is a puzzle for Newsom
In 2022, a remarkable thing happened: In the heat of an election in which Republicans seized on the public’s fears of crime, support for capital punishment barely moved, if at all. Murders increased across the United States in 2020 and 2021, and Americans were clearly worried about what they were hearing. According to Gallup’s annual crime survey, 78 percent of the public said there was more crime in the U.S., approaching levels not seen since the 1990s.
Ohio man, jailed for fake Facebook page, asks SCOTUS to let him sue police
The parking lot arrest in 2016 stunned Anthony Novak as much as the charge: alleged disruption of law enforcement operations for making a parody of his local police department's page on Facebook. "They said, 'put your hands behind your back.' They said, 'fake Parma Facebook page,'" Novak recounted to ABC News of the moment Parma police officers took him into custody outside a neighborhood convenience store in 2016.
Raise bar for parole denials, California legislative analyst says
The California parole board has "overly broad discretion" that "could result in biased decisions," according to a report issued Thursday by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office. "We recommend that the Legislature consider changing statute to reduce this discretion somewhat, such as by increasing the standard that commissioners must meet to deny parole," the analyst wrote, a change that would result in more prisoners released on parole.
California concealed carry holder shoots ax-wielding attacker on his property
Police in the northern part of California’s central valley say that an ax-wielding man was shot after allegedly attacking a property owner who has a concealed-carry permit. In a Facebook post, the Merced County Sheriff’s Department says deputies received a call Tuesday evening of an assault taking place in the city of Dos Palos, California. On the way to the scene of the incident, deputies were informed by dispatch that the victim was a legally permitted CCW holder who shot the adult male in self-defense.
Man faces terror charge for damaging power plant outside Las Vegas
A man is facing terror-related charges after police said he rammed his car through a gate at a solar plant outside Las Vegas and set his car on fire, disabling the huge facility, the 8 News Now Investigators have learned. Around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Las Vegas Metro police responded to the solar plant on U.S. 93 north of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, sources told the 8 News Now Investigators. Employees at the plant said they found a car smoldering in a generator pit.
Los Angeles City/County
Body cam footage shows viral traffic stop involving rapper in South Los Angeles
Body cam footage was released on Friday of a traffic stop involving a rapper in South Los Angeles that has gone viral on social media. The video shows a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy threatening to shoot the unarmed driver while he was sitting inside his car in Gardena on Dec. 31. The man involved is a Los Angeles-based rapper named Feezy Lebron. “If you take off in this car, I’m going to shoot you,” says the deputy in the video.
On Your Side: How to spot fake reviews of online products
Most of us rely on customer reviews when shopping online. Here's what you need to be on the lookout for before trusting those online reviews. Consumer watchdog groups say sites like Amazon and others need to crack down more on fake reviews. estimates that more than one third of online reviews on websites like Amazon, Walmart and eBay are fake. Of course there is no way to know for certain, but we have some tips on how to spot a potentially fake review.
California union president threatened staff and stole records, report finds
An embattled California union president faces new discipline from SEIU after an independent investigator determined that he threatened staff, improperly suspended other elected officers and stole documents from the labor organization. The investigator’s report, obtained by The Sacramento Bee, is the latest setback for Richard Louis Brown, the already-suspended leader of SEIU Local 1000, the largest public employee union in California state government.
Eyeing multibillion-dollar university upgrades, California auditor calls for plan
California boasts some of the most famous public universities in the world, but a new report notes that its aging facilities are in dire need of necessary upgrades and there is no plan in place to fund the still-deteriorating problem. Over the next 10 years, the University of California expects it will need $12 billion to replace roofs, heating systems and other crumbling building components at its campuses, while the California State University projects $3.1 billion in so-called capital renewal needs, according to a report issued Thursday by the Legislative Analyst's Office, a nonpartisan office that advises the state legislature.
The white sedan: How police tracked down suspect in Idaho slayings
The white sedan cruised past the gray three-story rental home on a dead-end street in Moscow, Idaho. Then again. And again. It was unusual behavior in the hillside residential neighborhood in the quiet hours before dawn. And according to a police affidavit released Thursday, surveillance videos showing the vehicle that November night were key to unraveling the gruesome mystery of who killed four University of Idaho students inside the house.
Trump sued by estate of Brian Sicknick, Capitol Police officer who died after Jan. 6
The estate of the late Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick has sued former President Donald Trump in connection to U.S. Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021, saying Trump incited the mob that stormed government offices in an attempt to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. Sicknick suffered a stroke on Jan. 7, 2021, and died of natural causes. He and other officers were standing guard behind metal bicycle racks as the mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.
Telemarketing scheme lands ‘Real Housewife’ Jen Shah in prison
A federal judge sentenced “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star Jen Shah to six and half years in prison on Friday for a multimillion-dollar telemarketing scheme that targeted victims over the age of 55 with worthless products. Shah had pleaded guilty in July, one week before her case was set to stand trial in New York, to a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a telemarketing scheme.
Port of Long Beach dockworker pleads guilty to conspiracy count for fraudulently billing union’s health plan for sexual services
A dockworker at the Port of Long Beach pleaded guilty today to participating in a scheme that submitted fraudulent bills to his labor union’s health insurance plan for sexual services or for physical therapy that never was provided. Cameron Rahm, 39, of Pico Rivera, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
LA woman sentenced for vandalizing federal courthouse
A Los Angeles woman was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail and ordered to pay $8,250 in restitution for spray-painting graffiti on the front wall of the downtown federal courthouse three years ago during a rowdy street protest tied to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.
Accomplice sentenced to 7 years in prison for deadly 7-Eleven crime spree across SoCal
A 44-year-old Los Angeles man pleaded guilty Monday and was sentenced to seven years in prison for his role in a series of robberies at 7-Eleven stores in Southern California last summer. Jason Payne pleaded guilty to three felony counts of robbery and one felony count of attempted robbery, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office. Prosecutors say Payne never actually entered the stores, but was an accomplice to Malik Patt, 20.
Articles of Interest
Former Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert gets a new job
Former Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert is joining a forensic-genomics company. San Diego-based Verogen Inc. announced Wednesday that Schubert will be its strategic adviser of governmental affairs, effective Thursday. Schubert served as Sacramento County's district attorney from 2014 until last month. "We are at the beginning of the digital DNA revolution in forensics," Schubert said in a news release.
This lawyer has, with a badge, apprehended bad guys, and with a heart, aided the fight against cancer
It is often said that character is doing the right thing when no one is looking, and 2022 METNEWS Person of the Year Brent A. Braun is a consummate man of character. From his childhood, throughout his career, Braun has been in the service of others, and in pursuit of the greater good for all. Braun was born in Chicago, Illinois on Veteran’s Day, 1950. He is the second son of Harold Braun, a certified public accountant, and Alberta “Birdie” Braun, a homemaker.
Reversal of fortune: Gov. Newsom outlines plan to deal with budget deficit
California will delay some spending commitments, reverse recent steps to shore up its fiscal health and shift funding sources to limit the cuts it must make to close a projected $22.5 billion budget deficit, Gov. Gavin Newsom said today. The shortfall, slightly less than the $24 billion that financial analysts for the Legislature estimated in November, will not prevent the state from fulfilling its ambitions of transforming education, homelessness, housing affordability and health care, the Democratic governor insisted.
Civil rights corps damaging criminal justice system with meritless lawsuits
Like many jurisdictions across the nation, Los Angeles County has a big problem with its bail system. Scores of defendants are being forced to wait far too long to make their case that they should have their bails lowered or be released through alternative means. Unfortunately, rather than looking for serious ways to remedy the situation, politics has reared its ugly head once again.
Ex-Virginia Tech soccer player allegedly benched for refusing to kneel gets $100K settlement: attorney
A former Virginia Tech women's soccer player who accused her coach of benching her because of her political opinions will reportedly receive at least $100,000 as part of an agreement to dismiss a federal lawsuit. Kiersten Hening will receive the award as part of a settlement in the lawsuit she filed in 2021 against head coach Charles "Chugger" Adair on First Amendment grounds, her attorney Cameron Norris said last week, according to the Roanoke Times.
California’s Proposition 13 battle enters a new phase
California’s famous - or infamous - Proposition 13, passed by voters 44 years ago, sought to impose limits on state and local taxes. The initiative, and several follow-up measures, imposed a direct cap on property taxes, created voting thresholds that made it more difficult to enact other taxes, and curbed the use of tax-like fees.
The pension tsunami is far from over in California
Over the last decade, governments across the country have struggled with the unsustainable course of their public sector pension systems. While their investments in 2020 yielded a mirage of prosperity, they took major losses in subsequent years and could see yet another year of downturn. “With Wall Street CEOs warning of financial carnage ahead, governors overseeing some of the nation’s largest pension systems are bracing for a hit to state investment funds that have long supported benefit plans and cash-strapped budgets,” reported Politico’s Sam Sutton on Dec. 28.
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