Courts, Rulings & Lawsuits

Lawsuit to recall Gascón survives - but time is running out

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Friday denied a request to throw out a lawsuit by the Committee to Support the Recall of District Attorney George Gascón - though a victory for the group is increasingly looking like it would be a symbolic one. Gascón, after all, is already running for reelection. Now in his third year in office, the incumbent Los Angeles County DA has become an increasingly divisive figure as he's been forced to contend with COVID, the George Floyd unrest, a crime spike and a full-scale mutiny by his staff of prosecutors.

Courthouse News Service

Supreme Court to hear challenge to ruling protecting homeless camps

At its conference on January 12, the U. S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a broadly supported appeal challenging a federal appeals court ruling that blocks the enforcement of anti-camping ordinances in nine western states. Several states and cities in the Ninth Circuit, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego, have joined the City of Grants Pass, Oregon, in seeking to overturn a 2019 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling (Martin v. City of Boise), which effectively gave the homeless an Eighth Amendment right to camp on public property.

Criminal Justice Legal Foundation

Appeals court keeps injunction against SF homeless camp sweeps in place

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on Thursday left in place an injunction against the city of San Francisco that prevents the city from clearing encampments without first offering the residents shelter. It all stems from Coalition on Homelessness v. City and County of San Francisco, a lawsuit filed in federal court in the fall of 2022. 


C.A. rejects allegations against Judge Kaddo

The Court of Appeal for this district has rejected the contention that a judgment, pursuant to a jury’s verdict, in favor of the defendant in a personal injury action based on a traffic accident should be reversed on the ground that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James A. Kaddo, throughout the trial, evinced bias against the plaintiff’s lawyer. At trial, as on appeal, plaintiff Gordana Kirk was represented by Beverly Hills attorney Gabor Szabo.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Ninth U.S. Circuit reverses decision it previously affirmed

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday reversed a summary judgment in favor of AJ Press which publishes “Punchbowl News,” an online publication dealing with politics, in a trademark infringement action brought by Punchbowl, Inc., a technology company - a summary judgment it had affirmed on Nov. 14, 2022.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Banning probationer’s use of cellphone

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday rejected the contention of a man who was convicted of stalking that the sentencing judge went too far in setting as a condition of supervised release following his term in prison that he not use a cellphone without permission of his probation officer. Challenging that special condition, imposed by District Court Judge Dale A. Drozd, is Ivan Isho.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Supreme Court signals openness to curtailing federal regulatory power in potentially major shift

The Supreme Court's conservative majority appeared likely Wednesday to curtail the ability of federal agencies to regulate a host of areas that touch on American life, signaling that a 40-year-old decision characterized as a "bedrock" of administrative law could be in jeopardy. The two challenges before the justices Wednesday arose from a 2020 federal regulation requiring owners of fishing vessels in the Atlantic herring fishery to pay for monitors who collect data and oversee operations while they're at sea.

CBS News


Hung jury in trial of ex-Los Angeles police officer who killed man in Costco in Corona

With jurors deadlocked, a judge declared a mistrial Thursday in the trial of a former Los Angeles Police Department officer charged with manslaughter for the fatal shooting of a man in a Riverside County Costco in 2019. Salvador Alejandro Sanchez, 33, of Corona was charged with two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, in addition to the count of manslaughter.

Palms Springs Desert Sun

Attorney General Bonta announces charges against three suspects in a Bay Area organized retail crime ring

California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced charges against three people allegedly involved in burglaries and attempted burglaries carried out at smoke shops and liquor stores and high-end retail stores in the greater Bay Area. From September 8, 2023, until November 14, 2023, there were approximately 25 commercial burglaries and attempted burglaries that resulted in more than $650,000 in losses to the stores.

Attorney General Bonta Press Release

Murder charges filed against third defendant in slaying of Oakland police officer

Alameda County prosecutors have filed murder charges against a third defendant in connection with the fatal shooting of an Oakland police officer, who was killed last month while responding to a report of a burglary, according to the district attorney’s office. On Friday, prosecutors filed murder charges against Marquise Cooper, 34, in the killing of Officer Tuan Le, 36, officials said.

Los Angeles Times

Mass shooting at Buffalo supermarket now Justice Department’s first death penalty case under Garland

Just a few months after he took office, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a moratorium to halt federal executions - a stark contrast after his predecessor carried out 13 in six months. Under Garland’s watch and a president who vowed to abolish the death penalty, the Justice Department took on no new death penalty cases. That changed Friday as federal prosecutors said they would seek capital punishment for a white supremacist who killed 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket. 


DA's Race

Contenders face off in Los Angeles County District Attorney debate

Candidates hoping to be the next Los Angeles County District Attorney sparred at a fiery Thursday night debate where crime, homelessness and mental health took center stage. Ten candidates took the stage including current L.A. District Attorney George Gascón. Gascón was elected to the role in 2020 for his progressive platform including not seeking the death penalty, limiting excessive sentences and limiting mandatory cash bail for misdemeanors and some nonviolent felonies.


Gascon in crosshairs at DA debate

There were ten candidates on the stage at the Los Angeles Magazine-sponsored Los Angeles County District Attorney’s race debate - eight of them roundly criticized current DA George Gascon - two, including Gascon himself, did not. In trying to defend his by any standard disastrous term as district attorney, Gascon repeatedly referred to his years in law enforcement – beat cop in LA, police chief in Mesa, Arizona and San Francsico, DA in San Francisco, etc. 

California Globe

Los Angeles County DA Gascón running for re-election amid concerns about crime rather than reform

In 2020, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón was elected amid a wave of calls for reforms by promising to make the criminal justice system more fair and equitable and holding police accountable. In the years since, he's faced two recall attempts and scathing criticism from police groups, crime victims and some of his own prosecutors for his progressive policies that critics say make Los Angeles County less safe.

Fox News

Where Los Angeles County district attorney candidates stand on police accountability

As part of this newspaper’s endorsement process, we invited the candidates for Los Angeles District Attorney to provide their written thoughts, only lightly edited for length, on major public policy matters. Here we present their responses to the question: Does the current system provide sufficient accountability for police officers? What additional approaches or policies would you enact to deal with misbehaving officers and deputies?

The Editorial Board/Los Angeles Daily News

Hochman urges firing of Blacknell as chief of staff

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Nathan Hochman, a candidate for Los Angeles County district attorney, yesterday lambasted incumbent George Gascón for promoting Deputy District Attorney Tiffiny Blacknell, a former deputy public defender to the post of chief of staff, and called for her firing. Yesterday was her first day on the job. “Ms. Blacknell’s first day on the job as chief of staff should be her last,” he said at a press conference outside the Hall of Justice.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Los Angeles County/City

Bills amending Prop. 47

With the continuing rise in property theft and retail crime in this state, we are likely to see a number of bills introduced in the 2024 California Legislative Session that propose to amend Proposition 47, which was adopted by the voters in November 2014. Some of those bills will attempt to change several of the provisions of Prop. 47 in order to enhance criminal penalties. Prop. 47 was titled by the Attorney General as: “Criminal Sentences. Misdemeanor Penalties. Initiative Statute.” 

California Globe

California's divided view of Prop 47

California lawmakers are looking to put an end to the rise in organized retail theft by reforming long-standing criminal reform laws. Commercial burglary increased by 16% from 2019 to 2022 across California, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. A driving factor for this increase is the rising of organized retail crime.

Spectrum News1

California bill seeks to regulate law enforcement's use of facial recognition technology

A new California bill proposal would establish boundaries surrounding law enforcement and their use of facial recognition technology. California Assemblymember Phil Ting introduced Assembly Bill 1814 that would not allow law enforcement to proceed with affidavits, arrests, and searches solely using results from face recognition technology.


Newsom suggests ways to crack down on property crime without dismantling Proposition 47

Gov. Gavin Newsom said he can relate to business owners and other residents angered by smash-and-grab thefts from California stores. One of the wine shops he owns in San Francisco was burglarized at least three times in 2021. But the problem won’t be solved, Newsom said, by changing Proposition 47, the 10-year-old law voters approved to change some felonies to misdemeanors, including thefts of items worth less than $950, which some people blame for a rise in thefts. 

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles City/County

L.A. seeks dismissal of officers' suits over released photos

Citing First Amendment grounds, the city of Los Angeles is seeking dismissal of two lawsuits collectively filed by hundreds of officers with sensitive assignments who allege their safety was affected by the mistaken release of department photographs in 2023 through the California Public Records Act. "The city acknowledges its error in producing these department photographs and even filed a separate suit for return of such photos," the City Attorney's Office states in its anti-SLAPP motion filed Tuesday with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David S. Cunningham III.

City News Service

Former LA County sheriff Alex Villanueva testifies on deputy gangs

After years of resisting subpoenas, former Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva testified on Friday about deputy gangs in the department. He testified under oath before the county's Civilian Oversight Commission at Loyola Law School. Last year, a report by the commission found at least half a dozen deputy gangs or cliques are active in the sheriff's department.

Villanueva has insisted that deputy gangs do not exist.


Disabled woman alleges LACo deputy violated her civil rights

A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy previously accused of beating a woman while on duty in 2021 was sued Tuesday by a second female who also alleges she was roughed up by the lawman the same year despite her protests that she had pre-existing and disabling hand and wrist injuries. In addition to Deputy Konrad Thieme, plaintiff Melba Ortega is suing the county, alleging civil rights violations and violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

City News Service

McOsker: ‘Pennies do matter’ in L.A. police payroll problem

The LAPD negotiated a contract in August that included a pay raise set to take effect shortly after the new year, but officers say they are being shortchanged. KNX News' Craig Fiegener reported that the negotiated 20% raise, spread over four years, isn't quite going according to plan. L.A. City Controller Kenneth Mejia said the initial problem was due to software issues with a new payroll system.

KNX News

LAPD Chief Michel Moore defends record; critics say good riddance

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said Wednesday he was proud of his six-year tenure as leader of the nation’s second-largest police department, even as critics faulted him for failing to advance much-needed reforms. Moore has announced his retirement, effective at the end of February. In an appearance on LAist’s AirTalk program, Moore said he thought it was the “right time” to retire - just a year after his appointment by Mayor Karen Bass to a second five-year term. 


Who should be the next police chief of Los Angeles?

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore’s sudden announcement last Friday that he’ll retire earlier than expected means the search is on for a new leader to run the nation’s third-largest police department. Mayor Karen Bass has not specified when she hopes to make the hire but said last week she was launching an immediate nationwide search for L.A.’s next police chief and that the search process will include “significant community input and consultation with law enforcement officers and experts.”

Los Angeles Daily News


Details of voting equipment breach emerge in Dominion security trial

During the fourth day of trial Friday in the lawsuit over the security of Dominion voting machine systems in Georgia, details surrounding a hack coordinated by co-defendants of former President Donald Trump in the Peach State's election subversion case took center stage. The copying of confidential election data from an elections office in rural Coffee County was purportedly arranged by a group of individuals who are now indicted alongside Trump on election interference charges.

Courthouse News Service

Parking next to crosswalk now illegal in CA: Here's what you need to know

You may not know this, but parking next to a crosswalk is now illegal. The bill signed into law earlier this month is already proving to be controversial because it won't just have an impact on where you park in the Bay Area. The law says you can't park within 20 feet of a crosswalk, whether it's marked or not. SFMTA told us parking control officers will now issue warnings.


'None of us are safe': Uvalde family members react after DOJ cites 'cascading failures' in report

A scathing Justice Department report into the 2022 mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, described "cascading failures of leadership" during the attack and an "unprecedented" level of misinformation in its aftermath that crippled the community's attempts to recover. A review team empowered by the department to investigate the shooting "identified several critical failures and other breakdowns prior to, during, and after the Robb Elementary School response," the report released Thursday morning found.

ABC News


Sheriff's deputy walks into 7-Eleven in Carson during armed robbery in progress; 4 in custody

A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy foiled an armed robbery in progress early Saturday morning when he walked into a 7-Eleven in Carson, authorities said. Four suspects were taken into custody after the encounter, which occurred about 12:30 a.m. at a convenience store in the 1700 block of Avalon Boulevard, near Victoria Street, according to the Sheriff's Department.


13 alleged members of organized burglary ring arrested

Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Glendale police teamed up to arrest 13 alleged members of an organized burglary ring in December, authorities said. Officials said Friday that the arrests were carried out by the Los Angeles Police Department's West Los Angeles Division in collaboration with Beverly Hills Police Department and the Glendale Police Department.


Armed pursuit suspect hospitalized after being shot by police in downtown LA

An allegedly armed pursuit suspect was hospitalized after being shot by police near downtown Los Angeles on Sunday morning. The incident unfolded around 8:55 a.m. when officers saw a suspected reckless driver in the area of 6th and Witmer streets and attempted a traffic stop on 8th and Hope streets. But police said the suspect failed to stop, prompting them to engage the suspect in pursuit.


Chino Hills burglary leads to pursuits, a deputy being dragged 30 feet, and arrest of LA trio

Three people from Los Angeles suspected of burglarizing a Chino Hills pharmacy led authorities on multiple pursuits before their arrests on Sunday, Jan. 14, authorities said. Just after 5 a.m., deputies arrived at the pharmacy in the 2100 block of Grand Avenue where the three suspects were in the middle of burglarizing the business, according to a news release from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

Daily Bulletin

Suspect arrested in shooting death of ex-girlfriend's puppy

A 32-year-old man was arrested early Monday in the shooting death of a puppy after an argument with the dog's owner, Los Angeles police said. The suspect is accused of holding a pillow over the 4-month-old puppy, placing a gun to the pillow, then shooting the dog, police said. Police took the dog to an animal shelter, where it died after the Jan. 2 shooting. The dog owner was identified in a Jan. 8 criminal complaint as the suspect's ex-girlfriend.


Southern California community grapples with recurring street takeovers

In the tranquil suburban sprawl of Woodland Hills, Southern California, a cacophonous symphony of exhaust noise and the hum of large gatherings has shattered the community’s peace. A string of street takeovers, characterized by high-speed car races and large crowds, has left residents grappling with a persistent issue that threatens to disrupt their tranquility.


Los Angeles sees a drop in homicides, but property crime is up

Was Los Angeles a safer city in 2023, or did the risk of being a crime victim rise? It depends on what category you are discussing. A preliminary look at publicly available Los Angeles Police Department data reveals results that sometimes go in opposite directions. In 2023, violent crime fell by 3.2%, with drops in categories such as murder, robbery and rape. 


Articles of Interest

Cal Lutheran University faculty vote no confidence in President Lori Varlotta

California Lutheran University's faculty assembly overwhelmingly passed a vote of no confidence in President Lori Varlotta on Tuesday, calling on her to resign or be removed by the board of regents. The resolution - approved by a 122-3 faculty vote - decried Varlotta's handling of university finances and said the third-year president has "eroded and divided" the university's "historically close" community.

Ventura County Star

Website owner has no property interest in image on screen

What appears on an Internet user’s screen is not the website that’s visited but a “copy” of pages of that website, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said yesterday, holding that if a browser causes advertisements or other matter to appear on the user’s screen, the website proprietor has no claim based on a trespass to chattels. “We hold that there is no cognizable property interest in website copies that may serve as the basis for a trespass to chattels claim under California law,” Senior Circuit Judge J. Clifford Wallace wrote.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Who is Wael Noman? Tiffany & Co. employee slammed for antisemitic remarks on social media

Tiffany & Co. employee Wael Noman is under scrutiny for making alleged antisemitic remarks on social media, particularly on Twitter. Noman’s comments, including a call for harm to IDF soldiers, have prompted concerns and calls for immediate action. Noman, identified as a Brand Ambassador- Security & Operations Professional at Tiffany & Co. with 18 years of experience in luxury retail, featured teenager Liri Albag in his posts.


State Bar of California contemplates reduction in bar exam locations to cut costs

To alleviate budget constraints, the State Bar of California is considering a proposal to decrease the number of testing locations for its July bar exam. The plan, set to be voted on by state bar trustees, aims to trim the number of large testing sites from seven to four or five, potentially excluding locations in Sacramento and Santa Clara. However, officials are actively seeking a test site in San Diego.

JD Journal

Mansion tax backlash: Lessons from Los Angeles’ elite fight against affordable housing

In the glitzy world of luxury real estate, a new player has emerged, and it’s not a charismatic broker but a controversial tax. Los Angeles’ Measure ULA, designed to tackle the city’s housing crisis, is facing severe backlash and falling short of its revenue projections. Let’s delve into the drama surrounding this mansion tax and the lessons it offers for cities eyeing similar measures.


An idealistic cop, a forbidden ticket and a police career on the brink 

A red Mazda sped past a police officer’s unmarked car stationed at a tree-lined Staten Island intersection. The officer inside, Mathew Bianchi, clocked the Mazda at well over the limit and prepared to make a stop at a nearby streetlight. But the car blew through a red light. Bianchi turned on his siren. Behind the wheel was a woman in her late teens or early 20s. As Bianchi began to explain why he had stopped her, she handed him a card.

New York Times


Ex-LAPD employee gets life without parole for killing wife and 13-year-old son in Valley Glen

A former Los Angeles Police Department civilian employee was sentenced Wednesday to two consecutive life prison terms without the possibility of parole for murdering his wife and teenage son as they slept in their Valley Glen apartment. Viktor Yuryevich Glukhovskiy - who worked in the LAPD’s Security Services Division - was convicted last November of the Dec. 26, 2018, killings of his wife, Natali, 39, and their 13-year-old son, Alex, who were each shot in the head in their beds in the family’s second-floor apartment on the 13800 block of Oxnard Street.

City News Service

Tarzana man accused of killing wife and in-laws, pleads not guilty to murder charges

The man accused of murdering his wife and in-laws, and dumping the partial remains of his wife in a trash bin in Encino, pleaded not guilty Friday. Samuel Bond Haskell was ordered held with no bail, and he is scheduled to return to court in February when a date will be set for a preliminary hearing. Haskell, 35, is charged with 3 counts of murder for the deaths of his wife, Mei Haskell, her mother, Yanxiang Wang, and her stepfather, Gaoshan Li.


California murder victim's family speaks out as killer approaches release under elderly parole law

Twice-convicted murderer Walter Joseph Lewis was set to be released on parole under the California Elderly Parole Law, according to local news. Lewis, now 76, first stabbed a man to death in 1965, when he was 18 years old and was sentenced to 13 years in prison for the crime. He later killed Robert Chartier in 1979 by beating him to death with a hammer, according to FOX 11 Los Angeles. The Chartier family has been petitioning the California Board of Parole Hearings to reconsider Lewis' release since 2017.

Fox News

Former inmates suing CA Department of Corrections alleging sexual abuse by prison staff

Dozens of women are suing the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. They say they were sexually abused by prison staff while serving time at state prisons in Chino and Chowchilla. More than 130 former female inmates claim they were sexually abused by prison staff at California Institution for Women in Chino and Central California Women's Facility located in Chowchilla.


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