Courts & Rulings
LA cop loses immunity bid in fatal gym shooting
A divided Ninth Circuit panel on Friday denied a Los Angeles Police Department officer's quest for so-called qualified immunity over a fatal shooting in the locker room of a 24 Hour Fitness gym in Hollywood four years ago. The split panel affirmed a trial judge's decision that because of the conflicting evidence in the case, a jury will need to decide whether Officer Edward Agdeppa used unreasonable force and violated the constitutional rights of Albert Dorsey when he shot him while Dorsey resisted the attempts by Agdeppa and his partner to handcuff him.
Sheriff: San Bernardino Co. judge should resign amid release of man accused of killing Riverside Co. deputy
Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco is calling for the resignation of Cara Hutson, the judge connected to the release of William McKay, the man accused of killing Bianco's deputy, 32-year-old Isaiah Cordero. This comes as the grieving sheriff blamed Cordero's death on what Bianco calls, a "failed" justice system. During Friday night's Special Report on FOX 11 News, Bianco doubled down on his stance, calling for Hutson to step down from her post as a judge in San Bernardino County.
Three disparate views expressed by members of a Ninth Circuit Panel in search case
Three judges of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday expressed varying views in a case in which San Bernardino sheriffs’ deputies signaled a man to stop his truck, he pulled into the driveway of a private residence, it was determined that he had a criminal history and lacked a current driver’s license, and the vehicle was searched, revealing the presence of a handgun.
Judge denies José Huizar's bid for severance from co-defendant
Former Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar has lost his bid for a severance from his co-defendant in their forthcoming trial on federal public corruption charges, according to court papers obtained Wednesday by City News Service. In an order filed late Tuesday, U.S. District Judge John Walter denied the motion for severance, leaving the Feb. 21 trial date for Huizar and former Deputy Mayor Raymond Chan in place.
Signal from S.C. that bail should be granted is unheeded
The Sixth District Court of Appeal, declining to heed a signal from the California Supreme Court that it leans toward the view that a woman charged with felony child endangerment, sexual battery and child molestation and other crimes is entitled by the state Constitution to a release on bail, declared on Friday that she is to remain in custody, denying her bid for a writ of habeas corpus.
Doctors' 'pill mill' convictions partially tossed after U.S. Supreme Court ruling
A federal appeals court on Thursday overturned key parts of the convictions of two Alabama doctors accused of running a massive "pill mill" after the U.S. Supreme Court in June made it harder to prosecute physicians for illegally prescribing addictive drugs like opioids. The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the convictions of Xiulu Ruan and John Couch for unlawfully dispensing controlled substances after finding that under a Supreme Court ruling in June in Ruan's case, jurors were wrongly instructed on how to determine their guilt.
Teacher hassled over MAGA hat can sue principal for allegedly threatening his job, court says
A sixth-grade teacher who brought a MAGA hat - the “Make America Great Again” slogan of then-President Donald Trump - to teachers-only training sessions had a constitutional right to do so and can sue the principal who allegedly threatened to fire him, a federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled Thursday.
Illinois judge finds elimination of cash bail unconstitutional
Illinois' plan to abolish cash bail in 2023 faced a severe setback late Wednesday night, when a downstate county judge ruled that doing so would violate the Illinois Constitution. The ruling, delivered after 10 p.m. by Kankakee County Chief Judge Thomas Cunnington, addresses the sweeping Illinois criminal justice reform law known as the Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today, or SAFE-T, Act.
No proof required in child rape that defendant knew victim’s age
An Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion says a federal prosecutor did not have to prove that a 26-year-old defendant knew the girl he had sex with was 14 years old. One of the three judges on the panel dissented. The Iowa case represents the first time the Eighth Circuit has dealt with the issue. In their deliberation, appellate judges relied in part on a South Dakota rape conviction that was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013.
Ninth Circuit orders reinstatement of actions by alcohol/drug treatment facilities
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held yesterday that summary judgment was incorrectly awarded the City of Chula Vista in challenges to two ordinances which bar the operation of a home for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts within 650 feet of a like facility, concluding that there are triable issues as to whether the effect of the legislation is to discriminate unlawfully against persons with disabilities.
Judge orders Sam Bankman-Fried to be blocked from accessing or transferring any FTX or Alameda assets
Sam Bankman-Fried has been blocked from accessing and making transfers involving Alameda and FTX assets, after a recent report in Cointelegraph that indicated that some Alameda crypto assets had been moved around in December. US district judge Lewis Kaplan, who presided over Bankman-Fried's arraignment on Tuesday in which the FTX and Alameda founder pleaded not guilty, granted prosecutors' request to restrain him from such transactions.
George Gascon’s chief of staff criminal investigation target
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon’s chief of staff, Joseph Iniguez, who made headlines for allegedly drunkenly threatening and berating an Azusa police officer, is under investigation by the California Department of Justice over the incident, possibly for threatening to illegally snuff out the career of the officer. According to court documents filed as part of Iniguez’s January civil suit against Azusa and the officer on Nov. 22, 2022, Iniguez’s and the city’s attorneys jointly filed to continue a stay on the case “pending the resolution of the Department of Justice’s criminal investigation of the plaintiff.”
Los Angeles prosecutor pens scathing exit letter to progressive DA George Gascón: ‘Managerial dumpster fire’
A veteran Los Angeles County prosecutor scolded his boss Thursday, saying his progressive reforms and management style have alienated his colleagues and turned the nation's largest district attorney's office into a "managerial dumpster fire.” In a lengthy letter to District Attorney George Gascón and his top aides, prosecutor Mark Burnley aired a number of grievances on his last day with the office. Burnley said he has been with the DA's office since 1999 and a prosecutor for 28 years.
California deputy charged with sexual assault of inmates
A Southern California jail deputy has been charged with sexually assaulting two female inmates while they were in custody, authorities said Wednesday. Arcadio Rodriguez, an Orange County sheriff's deputy, pleaded not guilty to a charge of sexual battery and a charge of engaging in sexual activity with a confined consenting adult, the district attorney's office said in a statement. Rodriguez also pleaded not guilty to possessing a cellphone inside a jail, the statement said.
31-year-old charged with murder in Lorenzo apartments shooting
The Los Angeles County district attorney filed charges Friday in the murder of a security guard at the Lorenzo apartments, an off-campus housing complex for USC students. Alexader Crawford, 31, was charged with one count of murder and possession of a firearm by a felon in the killing of Jave Garanganao, the security guard shot and killed at the scene.
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.
Two ex-state DOJ supervisors charged in embezzlement case
Two former supervisors from the California Department of Justice were charged Thursday with embezzlement and other counts for allegedly diverting about $12,500 in government funds, California Attorney General Rob Bonta and Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced Thursday. Eric Bunde - who between January 2014 and November 2017 oversaw the Los Angeles Regional Criminal Information Clearinghouse, which assists law enforcement agencies with criminal investigations - is charged with one felony count each of grand theft by embezzlement, grand theft by an employee and conflict of interest.
Charges dropped against California bioscience company founder in alleged $3.5 million kickback scheme
Federal prosecutors have abruptly dropped criminal charges against a former executive with a defunct Irvine-based health sciences lab business who was accused of paying physicians at least $3.5 million in kickbacks to induce them to order unnecessary genetic tests for Medicare and Medicaid recipients. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a court motion last week that it dismissed the case against Brian Javaade Meshkin, 46, “in the interests of justice.”
Elizabeth Holmes: Prosecutors to fight her bid to extend freedom before prison
Federal prosecutors will fight Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes’ bid to stay out of prison while she appeals her conviction for felony fraud. Holmes, pregnant and the mother of a young son, was given a reprieve after being sentenced in November in U.S. District Court in San Jose to more than 11 years in prison. In handing down her sentence, Judge Edward Davila deferred the start of Holmes’ incarceration until April 27 in a decision legal experts believe was intended to allow her to give birth before she’s locked up.
Tricky measure allows release of violent felons
Six years ago, then-Gov. Jerry Brown tricked California voters into passing a ballot measure that, he said, would make it easier for non-violent felons to earn paroles and thus ease the state prison system’s severe overcrowding. Brown and other supporters of Proposition 57 spent millions of dollars on the campaign. “All of us learn. I’ve learned in 40 years,” Brown said, “I think prisoners can learn.”
California could toughen theft laws amid rampant shoplifting concerns
In an effort to curb retail theft, amplified by a number of viral shoplifting incidents, a Southern California lawmaker has introduced a bill to amend Prop. 47 and lower the threshold for what can be considered felony theft. AB 23, introduced by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) in December, would change the definition of grand theft and shoplifting from its current $950 threshold to $400.
A dedicated cop and a career criminal’s lives collide on suburban street, leaving both dead
Since he was a child, Isaiah Cordero had wanted to be in law enforcement. He considered the Border Patrol, then decided instead to join the Sheriff's Department. The positive, energetic deputy worked in jails in Riverside County, but ultimately chose to be out in the streets patrolling and applied himself to become a part of the department's motorcycle unit. "He gave his all to his job," said his ex-girlfriend, Karla Morales.
The City of Santa Ana finally struck back against Gerry Serrano and his police union
Gerry Serrano, the President of the Santa Ana Police Officers Association, was recently reelected to that post but his victory is Pyrrhic at best as the City of Santa Ana finally struck back at the litigious union boss. A divided Santa Ana City Council took Serrano’s full-time paid union boss job away and will now force him to spend half his time doing actual police work.
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.
LA housing agency hit with ransomware attack (Video)
The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles was recently hit by a ransomware attack, with a hacking group threatening to release 15 terabytes of data if a ransom isn’t paid. The housing authority collects personal and financial information from thousands of people each year. Eric Leonard reports Jan. 3, 2023.
Street scams are way down in the post-COVID era
In the year before the pandemic, about 250 Angelenos each month were falling victim to street scams, con games or other “bunco” crimes. The incidents included everything from fake gold jewelry sales to someone knocking on the door of a home and persuading the resident to hand over cash for a repair that would never be made. Not surprisingly, reports tumbled with people unwilling to come face to face with strangers.
New data show toll of violence on LA's homeless population (Video)
In 2022, people who appeared to be homeless made up nearly a quarter of Los Angeles’ murder victims. It’s hoped that new mayor Karen Bass' plan to house homeless people will result in fewer of their murders in 2023. Eric Leonard reports Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023.
French bulldog snatched during walk on L.A.'s Westside, police say
A French bulldog was nabbed Wednesday night while on a walk with its owner on the Westside of Los Angeles, authorities said - the latest in a rash of at-times violent robberies targeting the popular breed, which can fetch a high price on the black market. The woman who owned the dog told police she was on a walk in the 8000 block of Cashio Street around 9:15 pm when a male suspect began to tug on the leash from behind, according to a statement released by the Los Angeles Police Department.
Alleged Beverly Hills vandal arrested after leaving NYE photo at crime scene
A suspect accused of burglarizing a Beverly Hills home has been arrested, according to police. The burglary was reported Sunday around 7 a.m. Surveillance footage caught the teen on camera vandalizing the home and reportedly causing over $20,000 worth of damage. According to authorities, the suspect left behind a New Year's Eve photo of him and a date from a local restaurant where the couple may have just eaten.
Los Angeles County/City
Police commission postpones vote on reappointment of LAPD Chief Moore
The Los Angeles Police Commission has postponed a planned Jan. 10 vote on whether to reappoint LAPD Chief Michel Moore to a second five-year term, according to the panel’s president. The vote had been scheduled just two weeks after Moore announced his intention Tuesday to seek another term. Also on Tuesday, Commission President William Briggs issued his own statement essentially endorsing a second term, saying the LAPD would “greatly benefit from [Moore’s] continued stewardship.”
Black LAPD officer seeks records of colleagues promoted ahead of him
A Black Los Angeles police officer who works in the department's Media Relations Division and alleges in a lawsuit against the city that the unit director referred to him and a Black colleague as "boys" is entitled to background information on the officers promoted ahead of him, his attorneys argue in new court papers. LAPD Officer Raymond Brown alleges in his Los Angeles Superior Court whistleblower suit that he was denied advancements for complaining about discrimination and harassment.
LA County Probation orchestrated mass transfer of juvenile offenders to avoid inspection
The top brass within the Los Angeles County Probation Department hastily moved children out of Central Juvenile Hall not for reasons of safety but to avoid political embarrassment, according to a report released Friday from a county watchdog. The report from the county’s Office of Inspector General, which acts as an investigatory arm for the Board of Supervisors, analyzed the motivations behind the Probation Department’s chaotic transfer in mid-March of roughly 140 youths from Central Juvenile Hall in Lincoln Heights, days ahead of a scheduled state inspection of the facility, to the Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar.
LAPD chief backtracks after saying he has 'full support' of Mayor Karen Bass
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore apologized Tuesday after sending an email that described his bid for a second term and suggested he has the backing of Mayor Karen Bass. Moore sent the email on Dec. 27, informing the board of the nonprofit Los Angeles Police Foundation that he had applied for another five-year term - and had "much work" left to do. "I've discussed this with Mayor Bass and enjoy her full support," he wrote.
CHP prepares for new traffic safety laws to take effect in 2023
The California Highway Patrol is looking to educate the public on traffic safety laws set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2023. The laws are outlined in the following press release from CHP: "Public Employment: Peace Officers: Citizenship (Senate Bill (SB) 960, Skinner). The law maintains that peace officers, including peace officer trainees, be legally authorized to work in the United States consistent with federal law and regulations, however, removes the requirement that they be citizens or permanent residents of the United States.
Court sides with California in dispute over federal transit funding
A federal judge handed California another win Wednesday in the state's long-running dispute with the U.S. Department of Labor over federal transit money. In 2021, President Joe Biden - famously a longtime lover of trains - signed into law a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill which included what he called a "historic" investment into public transit, mostly via grants given to local transit agencies.
New proposed legislation threatens public safety and further burdens police officers
The 2023 legislative session in Olympia doesn’t start till January 9th, but we’re already seeing what’s to come. This is based on bills that have already been filed by legislators who are looking to get a jump start. This comes at a time when many municipalities in our state are struggling with surging crime and recruiting and retaining quality officers. It’s increasingly clear that we will continue to see a legislative onslaught of policies that would provide fewer police, less enforcement, and more crime.
Can Southwest Airlines recover from its latest crisis?
Southwest Airlines is facing the mother of airline crises and its reputation is at stake. Can the airline win back passengers’ trust, given that the latest meltdown was the result of a culmination of problems building for years? For example, some SWA passengers remember October 2021, when the carrier canceled more than 2,000 flights. It blamed bad weather in Florida, air traffic control issues and staffing shortages. At the time, Southwest assured customers it would solve those problems.
State’s top insurance regulator faces new accusation of favoring insurers over ratepayers
In the weeks and months after his 2018 election as the top insurance regulator in California, Ricardo Lara began meeting with and accepting political contributions from the very companies he had just been elected to oversee. Lara returned much of the campaign money and issued a public apology after the San Diego Union-Tribune reported on the behavior.
Amazon loses bid to end lawsuit over orders tied to suicides Inc.'s effort to end a lawsuit accusing it of selling a deadly chemical that two people used to kill themselves has been rejected by a Washington judge. Judge Josephine Wiggs of King County Superior Court denied Amazon’s motion to dismiss Friday. The court can now examine questions around whether online marketplaces such as Amazon can be held liable for selling products directly or through third parties.
College admissions scam mastermind sentenced to 3.5 years in federal prison
William “Rick” Singer, the mastermind of the sprawling college admissions scam aptly known as Operation Varsity Blues, was sentenced Wednesday to 3.5 years in federal prison, the longest sentence in a case that has rattled America’s higher education system. Singer was the central figure in the scam in which wealthy parents, desperate to get their children into elite universities, paid huge sums to cheat on standardized tests, bribe university coaches and administrators who had influence over admissions, and then lie about it to authorities.
Articles of Interest
Teen stars of 1968 ‘Romeo and Juliet’ movie sue Paramount for over $500 million for sexual exploitation
Two actors who starred as teenagers in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet sued Paramount for over $500 million in damages, Variety reported Tuesday, accusing the studio of sexual exploitation over a nude scene they say was filmed without their knowledge. “What they were told and what went on were two different things,” Tony Marinozzi, who manages both actors, told Variety.
Wannabe NBA agent’s suit stiff-armed by union in appeals court
Ever thought about becoming a sports agent? A new federal appeals court ruling makes clear that players’ unions are the ultimate gatekeepers of the profession. On Dec. 30, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected aspiring NBA player agent Rosel Hurley’s federal antitrust lawsuit against the National Basketball Players’ Association and the NBA. Two years ago the NBPA, which oversees the certification of NBA agents, denied Hurley a chance to take its agent certification online exam.
Banks seek to quash women's lawsuits in Jeffrey Epstein case
Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan Chase are asking a federal court to throw out lawsuits that claim the big banks should have seen evidence of sex trafficking by Jeffrey Epstein, the high-flying financier who killed himself in jail while facing criminal charges. The banks said in filings late Friday they didn't commit any negligent acts that caused harm to the women who filed the lawsuits and that the lawsuits failed to show that they benefitted from Epstein's sex trafficking.
How will California deal with a big budget deficit?
While California has a surplus of critical issues demanding political attention - housing, homelessness and water to mention the most obvious - it faces a deficit of financial resources to deal with them. Gov. Gavin Newsom will soon reveal a proposed budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year that begins July 1, and it’s likely to greatly differ from the 2022-23 version he and the Legislature adopted just six months ago.
CDCR launching free audio calls for incarcerated population
Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, audio calls made from standard institution wall phones and tablets by an incarcerated person in a California state prison will be free of charge to the incarcerated person and their friends and families. The change is in response to the passing of Senate Bill (SB) 1008, the Keep Families Connected Act. “CDCR is fully committed to maintaining positive bonds between incarcerated people and their loved ones,” said CDCR Secretary Jeff Macomber.
Prisons across California to close or shrink
Under a 2022-23 state budget, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is launching a process to close prisons and deactivate facilities within others. One on the chopping block is Chuckawalla Valley State Prison in Blythe, a city of 18,000, in eastern Riverside County, that is closing in March 2025. “CDCR and the (Gov. Newsom) administration are working to minimize impact to staff and the communities,” according to a Dec. 6 release from the prison agency.
UC endowment and pension money to invest $4 billion in Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust
The Office of the Chief Investment Officer of the Regents of the University of California and Blackstone announced a long-term strategic venture in which UC Investments will invest US $4 billion in Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust, Inc. Class I common shares, the largest existing share class. Blackstone will then contribute $1 billion of its current BREIT holdings as part of a strategic venture with UC Investments. More than 200,000 investors are investing in BREIT, according to Blackstone.
Pension spending boosted US economy during pandemic: study
Pension spending accounted for 1.3 trillion in total economic output and supported almost 6.8 million jobs in the United States in 2020. That’s according to a new report from the National Institute on Retirement Security. The largest employment effects occurred in the healthcare, food services and retail trade sectors. “During this [pandemic] time, pension income was crucial for millions of Americans. Retirees with pensions knew that their retirement income was stable and secure, despite severe economic instability,” NIRS executive director and report co-author Dan Doonan stated.
For more ADDA news and information, visit