Courts, Rulings & Lawsuits

Musk’s X fails to block California content moderation law

Elon Musk’s X Corp. lost its effort in court to block a California law that seeks to control toxic posts on social media by requiring companies to disclose their content-moderation polices. In an eight-page ruling Thursday, a federal judge in Sacramento rejected arguments by the company formerly known as Twitter that the measure violates the free-speech rights of social media platforms.


Two warnings to suspect spawned need to make choice, not confusion, Ninth Circuit holds

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday affirmed the conviction of a man for attempting to sneak into the U.S. unlawfully, rejecting his contention that the Miranda warning he received was negated by an advisement that speaking up could pave the way for a grant of asylum. Judge Kenneth K. Lee authored the opinion. It upholds Mario Gonzalez-Godinez’s conviction for attempted illegal entry.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

C.A. affirms dismissal of deputy sheriff’s lawsuit based on shoplifting charges

A lawsuit against Costco brought by a man who was arrested at the store’s behest and unsuccessfully prosecuted for shoplifting constituted a SLAPP, Div. Five of the Court of Appeal for this district held yesterday, prompting a dissent that not only disagreed with the majority’s conclusion but balked at the decision not to certify the opinions for publication.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

UPS must rehire California employee fired after organizing union drive

A federal judge ordered UPS to rehire an employee at its Tracy, California, facility who was fired for what appeared to be pretextual reasons after organizing a successful union drive. Chief District Judge Kimberly Mueller in Sacramento on Wednesday issued a temporary injunction ordering UPS to reinstate Daniel Valadez Arce to his former position and to refrain from disciplining or threatening employees at the facility for engaging in union activities.

Courthouse News Service

Judge tosses out lawsuit challenging portions of Long beach hotel workers’ minimum-wage measure

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge tossed out a lawsuit by the Long Beach Reform Coalition seeking to change the title and language of the March 5 ballot intended to raise the minimum wages for hotel workers on Wednesday, Jan. 3. Judge Mark Kim ruled at a that hearing the peremptory writ of mandate filed by attorney Alex Haberbush on Dec. 26 would disrupt the county registrar’s office process of printing and mailing 5.6 million ballots on time for the local, state and presidential primaries.

Southern California News Group

Police drone footage not automatically exempt from public records requests, Calif. judge rules

Not all police drone footage should be kept secret. That’s the big takeaway from a California appeals court opinion - thought to be the first of its kind in the nation - that was published this week. The finding stems from a case filed against the city of Chula Vista in 2021. Arturo Castañares, a Chula Vista resident and the owner and publisher of the bilingual news organization La Prensa San Diego, sued after the city refused to provide footage recorded by the Police Department’s drones.

San Diego Union-Tribune

Divided Ninth Circuit panel refuses rehearing on blocked Berkeley gas ban

A Ninth Circuit panel ruled Tuesday it would not reconsider a ruling that prevents the city of Berkeley from enforcing its first-in-the-nation ban on installing natural gas appliances in new buildings. The California Restaurant Association argued in its lawsuit the city's ordinance would affect chefs' ability to prepare food the way they are typically trained to do so on - natural gas stoves - and added that the the Energy Policy Conservation Act preempts the San Francisco Bay Area city's ban.

Courthouse News Service

Ninth Circuit senior judge: District Court failed to abide by 2018 panel’s mandate

A senior judge of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, in a dissent, chided a District Court judge for failing, on remand, to abide by the mandate in the 2018 opinion reversing the summary judgment he had granted in favor of an officer who fatally shot a suspect and accused his colleagues on the panel of likewise failing to honor that earlier decision. 

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

US supreme court under pressure to rule swiftly on states’ Trump ballot bans

A decision by Maine’s secretary of state to prevent former president Donald Trump from appearing on the state’s presidential election ballot will now probably end up before the US supreme court. Maine’s move follows a similar decision in Colorado this month. There is mounting pressure on the conservative-leaning judicial body to swiftly rule on Maine and Colorado’s application of section 3 of the 14th amendment prohibiting anyone who “engaged in insurrection” from holding office. 

The Guardian

Federal judge rules in California’s favor in open carry firearm dispute

A federal judge on Friday gave California’s attorney general a major win in an open carry case, granting the state’s request for summary judgment. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Kimberly Mueller also found a motion for a preliminary injunction filed by Mark Baird and Richard Gallardo moot, as the case is now closed. Baird and Gallardo sued the California attorney general in 2019 over a licensing issue. 

Courthouse News Service


LA juvenile loophole: Re-sentencing, semantics, and Gascon

In the before time - the long long ago - when a Los Angeles juvenile committed an especially egregious crime he (do not complain about the pronouns in this article - they’re mostly guys) faced the possibility of being prosecuted as an adult. As we know, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon has proudly made sure that has happened under his watch and has even gone so far as to prosecute adults as juveniles if they were not caught until after they turned 18.  

California Globe

Misconduct allegations against ex-DA official don’t warrant evidentiary hearing, OC prosecutors argue 

Orange County prosecutors are urging a judge not to conduct an evidentiary hearing on allegations that a former high-level district attorney’s official hid evidence in a murder case and covered up the illegal use of jailhouse informants by law enforcement. In a court motion, Senior Deputy District Attorney Seton Hunt said the extensive allegations against former Senior Assistant District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh - now an elected Orange County judge - were “conjecture” and “unsupported conclusions.”

Orange County Register

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.

California Globe

Gascón abandons all murder victims' families

In the criminal justice system, a prosecutor’s role of seeking justice extends beyond the courtroom; it involves a profound responsibility to victims’ families, ensuring their voices are heard and their concerns addressed. Under District Attorney George Gascón, this fundamental duty has been abandoned. Instead of championing the rights of victims and their families, the Gascón administration has opted for a disheartening approach of rolling over or engaging in opaque backroom deals on resentencing.


DA's Race

Where Los Angeles County district attorney candidates stand on Proposition 47

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: Give us your assessment of Proposition 47. How do you intend to handle cases subject to the measure?

Los Angeles Daily News

Where Los Angeles County district attorney candidates stand on Proposition 57

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: Give us your assessment of Proposition 57. How do you intend to handle cases subject to the measure?

Los Angeles Daily News

George Gascón is changing his campaign strategy from reform to fear

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón is gearing up for re-election, and this time around, things are looking a lot different. Gascón was elected in 2020 on a platform of criminal justice reform, bringing with him a new set of policies and procedures designed to combat racial bias and reduce mass incarceration. However, these changes have not been received well by everyone, and Gascón has faced significant opposition from law enforcement groups and victims' rights advocates.


Will the pendulum shift against Gascon in California?

In 2020, after Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon won office with nearly 54 percent of the vote, advocates for so-called reforms in the criminal justice system could exhale. When he runs for reelection in 2024, however, Gascon’s sweet ride may come to an abrupt halt. During his tenure, Angelenos have become more concerned about crime, not less. Incarceration is not the dirty word it once was.

The American Spectator

Who are all the candidates running for L.A. County district attorney?

After the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis ignited protests across the country against police brutality, voters in Los Angeles County chose to take their criminal justice system in a new direction by electing George Gascón as district attorney. A progressive former police chief who had also served as the top prosecutor in San Francisco, Gascón promised to reduce incarceration in the county, which is the nation’s most populous, and to take a much tougher stance on police accountability than his predecessors had.

New York Times

Gascon to face 11 challengers in primary

District Attorney George Gascon will face 11 challengers in the March 5 primary election, according to the final list of qualified candidates released Saturday by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. The field includes Eric Siddall, a violent crimes prosecutor who has been endorsed by the Association for Deputy District Attorneys, the union representing deputy district attorneys; Maria Ramirez, the head deputy district attorney; supervising district attorney John McKinney; and fellow prosecutors Jonathan Hatami and Lloyd “Bobcat” Masson.


Where Los Angeles County district attorney candidates stand on the death penalty

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: The death penalty, for all practical purposes, is not likely to ever be carried out in California. Should the Los Angeles County DA pursue death sentences, if only to send a message?

Southern California News Group


Race, class, and criminal adjudication: Is the US criminal justice system as biased as is often assumed? A meta-analytic review

It is widely reported that the US criminal justice system is systematically biased in regard to criminal adjudication based on race and class. Specifically, there is concern that Black and Latino defendants as well as poorer defendants receive harsher sentences than Whites or Asians or wealthier defendants. We tested this in a meta-analytic review of 51 studies including 120 effect sizes. 


SF police can't ticket driverless cars for speeding, running red light

Driverless cars have become a mainstay on San Francisco streets, but legally, they’re held to a different standard: Local police aren’t allowed to cite the empty vehicles for moving violations. Even after a year where driverless car companies Waymo and Cruise began charging San Franciscans for rides - and Cruise was forced to halt its fleet after an accident - police don’t have the authority under California’s vehicle code to ticket the cars for speeding, running red lights or failing to stop for pedestrians. 

SF Gate

Proposals introduced to change Prop. 47 and combat retail theft

California's Proposition 47, passed by voters back in 2014, issued $13 billion in education bonds as well as reduced criminal penalties on non-violent drug and property theft offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. It increased the misdemeanor theft level to $950, which many observers blame for boosting California's culture of theft. 


Trump kept on California GOP primary ballot despite 14th Amendment call to remove him

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber has kept Donald Trump on the 2024 Republican primary ballot despite calls from the state's Democratic lieutenant governor to consider declaring him ineligible under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. Thursday was the deadline for Weber, also a Democrat, to certify the official candidate list for California's March 5, 2024, presidential primary election.

ABC News

Battle over California’s ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines shows a nation divided

Late last month, a coalition of 19 U.S. states and the District of Columbia came together to support California’s ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines. In a brief filed in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, where a challenge to California’s law is being considered, the coalition argued that California’s ban is “wholly consistent” with the 2nd Amendment and should be upheld as lawful.

Los Angeles Times

Crime/Public Safety

Major indoor flood causes Compton Courthouse to close until further notice

The Compton Courthouse will be closed until further notice due to a pipe burst over the weekend, officials said. According to a media release from Los Angeles County Superior Court, the major flood has left the elevators, stairwells and lobby inaccessible at the courthouse, located at 200 West Compton Boulevard. 


Los Angeles County has thousands of ‘unclaimed dead.’ These investigators retrace their lives

Arusyak Martirosyan struggles to open the door of a stranger’s one-bedroom apartment overflowing with the belongings from a life lived but not claimed in death. Wedged against the door is a giant box of Gain laundry detergent and plastic tubs piled high. Blouses and T-shirts, suspended by hangers over a living room curtain rod, block out almost all sunlight. Bins and boxes, brimming with more clothes, hide the carpet.


Ex-Rep. Katie Hill settles revenge porn case against ex-husband

Former Rep. Katie Hill and her former husband have settled the revenge porn case she filed against him and several media organizations over the unauthorized distribution of intimate photos of the onetime politician. Hill sued her ex-spouse, Kenneth Heslep, and the news groups, in Los Angeles Superior Court in December 2020, alleging nude photos of her were published without her permission.

City News Service

Body camera footage shows L.A. County deputy fatally shooting Lancaster woman

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department released body camera footage Friday showing the moments leading up to a deputy fatally shooting a 27-year-old Black woman in Lancaster. Niani Finlayson, who authorities said was armed with a kitchen knife, was shot in front of her 9-year-old daughter on Dec. 4. She had called the police for help during a domestic dispute with a man authorities described as her boyfriend.

Los Angeles Times


California hires guards to monitor other businesses under 10 Freeway after L.A. fire

More than a month after an arson fire at a storage yard damaged a key Los Angeles freeway, the state has hired security guards to watch out for smoke and other trouble at three additional sites beneath the 10 Freeway that were leased to the same bankrupt businessman. Associated Press journalists visited the properties and saw wooden pallets and other hazardous and flammable material much like what fed the Nov. 11 inferno under the freeway, which is used by 300,000 vehicles daily.

Los Angeles Times

378 officers shot in the line of duty in 2023, FOP reports

Patrick Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, released the following statement regarding the National FOP’s year-end report on officers shot and killed in the line of duty: “Last year, over 330 police officers were shot in the line of duty. With the COVID-19 pandemic behind us and after so many Americans have seen the tragic consequences of the defund the police movement, it was our hope that these numbers would be a high-water mark. We were wrong.

Fraternal Order of Police News Release

California lawmakers want to curb retail theft, but say it's not as easy as it sounds

While California lawmakers feel pressure to address concerns about crime, the murky and sometimes contradictory evidence of an increase in lawlessness has put legislators in a bind. Recent studies show that retail theft has increased in some of California's big cities - with shoplifting rates jumping nearly 50% in San Francisco since 2019 - while some rural and suburban areas of the state have seen a drop in those crimes.

Los Angeles Times

About next year… through a glass darkly…

Instead of About Last Year, we thought the literal turning of the page on 2023 called for a look forward to 2024. 2023 was good for some, not good for others, just like any year ever. But it was so odd in so many ways it can be hoped that 2024 will be better for as many people as possible. Except Gavin Newsom. And the Legislature. And the non-governmental organizations and advocacy groups that live off the taxpayer. And shoplifters. And the Chinese government.

California Globe

NRA faces ‘existential’ New York trial that threatens its future

Wayne LaPierre’s more than three-decade reign as the CEO of the National Rifle Association has been marred by controversy. Besides a number of corruption scandals with LaPierre at the helm, today’s NRA faces issues like declining membership and revenue. But it’s a lawsuit from New York Attorney General Letitia James that could prove to be the gravest threat to LaPierre’s legacy. 

Courthouse News Service

Living room pundit’s updated guide to Soros district attorneys

The Kyle Rittenhouse trial, the Jussie Smollet hoax, the attack on the Waukesha Christmas parade, the organized mob lootings in San Francisco, and now the potential indictment of President Donald Trump have each attracted national attention and spotlighted an issue that many in law enforcement and politics have been warning of for years: the threat of activist district attorneys (DAs).

Capital Research Center


Overcoming online holiday merchandise returns

As the holiday season comes to a close, holiday shoppers and gift recipients are faced with the daunting task of returning merchandise for replacement, exchange, or a refund. Unlike the straightforward process at local retail stores, e-commerce returns present a unique challenge due to varying policies and practices across different platforms.

The Counterfeit Report

How will California respond to the home insurance market meltdown?

While Gov. Gavin Newsom and state legislators wrestle with a massive state budget deficit this year, a few blocks from the Capitol another crisis that could have far more impact on California families will be playing out. Ricardo Lara, California’s insurance commissioner, will be trying to dissuade companies that provide insurance coverage to millions of homeowners from fleeing the state. 



3 killed and several wounded in separate shootings early New Year's Day in Los Angeles area

Two people were killed and eight others were wounded in a shooting early New Year's Day at a party in a commercial neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles, authorities said. Officers responding to reports of a shooting around 1 a.m. Monday heard gunfire and found a crowd fleeing the area and several wounded people lying on the street and sidewalk, police said in a news release.

Greenwich Time

L.A. woman, 88, had private security for protection. A guard shot her on New Year’s Eve

An armed private security guard was arrested after shooting an 88-year-old woman in her Encino home after he mistook her for a burglar on New Year’s Eve, according to officials and the guard’s attorney. The guard, Kaion Ciego, 34, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of negligent discharge of a firearm but was scheduled to be released Wednesday afternoon after the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office declined to file charges pending further investigation, according to Ciego’s attorney.

Los Angeles Times

Shooting leaves woman dead in unincorporated part of Los Angeles

A woman was found shot to death in an unincorporated part of Los Angeles early Saturday morning. The shooting, which was first reported just before 6 a.m., happened near W. 120th Street and Raymond Avenue, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Upon arrival, deputies found the woman suffering from a gunshot wound. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Her identity is not yet known. 


Ruben’s Bakery survived pandemic and riot only to be ransacked during a street takeover

Nearly a decade after emigrating from Mexico, Ruben Ramirez Sr. and his wife, Alicia, had opened the business that would provide for their family for years to come. It was the ’70s, and they started small. First came a store selling Mexican products. They later expanded to a carniceria - a meat market - and a bakery. Ruben’s Bakery & Mexican Food in Compton took years to build. But it was destroyed within minutes just before sunrise Tuesday.

Los Angeles Times

Amid crackdown on West LA burglaries, police ask the public to help by adding surveillance cameras

The Los Angeles Police Department is cracking down on a rash of burglaries that have been committed in the past year in West L.A. Investigators say they've recovered stolen items but they're asking residents to do their part to scare off potential thieves - and that involves installing home security cameras. More than 300 break-ins occurred in the area in 2023, according to police. In an effort to reduce that number, authorities would like to see more residential surveillance cameras.


Ian Ziering vs. the minibike gang: Police have ‘leads,’ while bikers say he started fight

In the case of Ian Ziering’s “alarming” New Year’s Eve altercation with a “minibike gang” on Hollywood Boulevard, police reportedly have “early leads,” possibly from people associated with the gang who have freely posted videos of the daytime melee on social media to argue that he was the aggressor. A Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson confirmed to CNN that the incident is under investigation. 

Bay Area News Group

Target, CVS, and Rite Aid among chains hardest hit by 2023 store closures sparked by disturbing spike in retail theft

Major retailers are pointing to retail theft as the reason they are being forced to shutter stores nationwide, but experts believe these claims are being overemphasized. Chain stores such as CVS, Rite Aid, and Target all had to shut down several stores across the US in the last year and are projecting the closure of several more locations.

The Sun U.S.

Several injured after transient crashes stolen San Gabriel ambulance

A transient with an extensive criminal history was jailed after allegedly crashing a stolen San Gabriel Fire Department ambulance during a pursuit. The ambulance was taken after paramedics responded to a call for service in the 700 block of Sunset just before 3:30 p.m. Sunday, December 31, according to the San Gabriel Police Department.

San Gabriel Valley CityWatch

5-year-old girl, father killed after suspected DUI driver slams family's car in South LA

A 5-year-old girl and her father were killed just minutes from reaching the New Year when a speeding driver struck their family's vehicle in South Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. A family of four, including a 2-year-old, was driving down Normandie Avenue at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday when a man speeding in an SUV ran through a stop sign on 60th Place and t-boned their car, according to LAPD’s South Traffic Division.


Articles of Interest

C.A. upholds $24.3 million award to lawyer for retaliation

The Court of Appeal for this district yesterday affirmed a judgment in the amount of $24.3 million in compensatory and punitive damages in favor of a lawyer who was fired by Farmers Insurance based on his willingness to render testimony at a deposition favorable to female attorneys who were suing Farmers for gender discrimination. Thousand Oaks attorney Andrew Rudnicki was the plaintiff.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Jack Smith asks appeals court to reject Trump’s immunity claim

Special counsel Jack Smith asked a federal appeals court on Saturday to reject Donald Trump’s claim that he is immune from prosecution on charges he plotted to overturn the 2020 election, arguing that his defense “threatens to license Presidents to commit crimes to remain in office.” In an 82-page court filing, the special counsel’s team used some of its most strident language to date in a bid to bolster the first-ever federal prosecution of a former president. 

Wall Street Journal

AI won’t displace human judges, but will affect judiciary, Roberts says in annual report

In his annual report, Chief Justice John Roberts on Sunday addressed the future of artificial intelligence in the judiciary. Roberts predicted that “human judges will be around for a while,” but he also suggested that “judicial work - particularly at the trial level - will be significantly affected by AI,” and he assured members of the public that committees within the federal judiciary would consider the use of AI in litigation in the federal courts.


Tom Girardi declared competent to stand trial for stealing clients’ money

A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that disgraced plaintiff's attorney Tom Girardi is mentally competent to stand trial over allegations of embezzling more than $15 million from his former clients. The order by U.S. District Judge Judge Josephine Staton is under seal for at least five days, giving lawyers for both Girardi and the Department of Justice time to request that parts of the order be redacted, including details about Girardi's health.

Courthouse News Service

Disney employee sues company over alleged cover-up of sexual assault by executive

Disney is facing a lawsuit from an employee who accuses the company of concealing a former executive’s alleged pattern of sexual misconduct after she was assaulted. The complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday, claims management at Disney repeatedly refused to escalate concerns about Nolan Gonzales, former vp distribution, despite several complaints, creating an environment in which he was “free to harass women with impunity.”

Hollywood Reporter

Nigel Lythgoe accused of sexual assault by two additional women after Paula Abdul’s lawsuit

Two additional women have come forward accusing Nigel Lythgoe of sexual assault, days after Paula Abdul sued the “So You Think You Can Dance” producer. The latest allegations are part of a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court by two women - identified as former contestants Jane Doe K.G. and Jane Doe K.N. of the short-lived series “AAG,” which is believed to be a reference to Lythgoe’s “All American Girl.”

Los Angeles Times

What to know about the Jeffrey Epstein 'John Doe' files that were just unsealed

A federal judge has begun unsealing court records related to as many as 153 people whose names appear in documents in a lawsuit over the sex-trafficking ring orchestrated by Jeffrey Epstein. It's a much-anticipated development in a case where speculation long focused on the late financier's "black book" of friends and contacts.


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