Los Angeles District Attorney
S.C. denies review in challenge to order by judge reinstating sentence allegations
The California Supreme Court yesterday denied review in a case raising the issue of whether a judge properly reinstated special circumstances allegations and enhancements on his own motion or whether, as Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón asserts, such an action can be taken only if the prosecution moves for reconsideration.
Gascón appeals ruling that voided his directive against 3-strikes allegations
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced Thursday he is going to the state Supreme Court to challenge an appellate ruling that blocked a directive he issued preventing prosecutors from alleging prior-strike allegations. In a statement, Gascón’s office said the June ruling by three-judge panel of the California Second District Court of Appeal requiring prosecutors to file such allegations “sets a dangerous precedent.”
Prosecutors Union blasts Gascón for appeal of ruling on prior strikes
The union representing Los Angeles County prosecutors blasted District Attorney George Gascón Friday for his decision to appeal a court ruling that blocked one of his directives preventing prosecutors from alleging prior-strike allegations in criminal cases. "Last month, a unanimous Court of Appeals panel reminded George Gascón that `he is an elected official who must comply with the law, not a sovereign with absolute, unreviewable discretion.' He obviously disagrees with that basic premise," according to a statement from the Association of Deputy District Attorneys.
Group aims to harness anger over crime to oust LA prosecutor
Los Angeles County’s progressive prosecutor could be tossed from office like his counterpart in San Francisco after opponents on Wednesday said they submitted more than enough petition signatures to qualify for an election to recall District Attorney George Gascón, who they say is soft on crime. The campaign spent about $8 million to gather 717,000 signatures they delivered by truck to the Los Angeles Registrar for verification. Even if 20% of signatures are invalidated, which has been typical in California recall efforts, the number would still exceed the required 567,000.
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon likely recalled during November general election, officials say
Crime victims, prosecutors, and police have been trying for a year to oust freshman District Attorney George Gascon from office in Los Angeles, and they could finally have their chance later this year. County officials have about four months to count recall petitions and set an election date after grassroots organizers delivered 717,000 signatures to the registrar of voters office on Wednesday. An attempt to recall Gascon fizzled last year for lack of signatures, but this time, the numbers appear to break records, said former Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine.
LA County DA George Gascon recall effort clears first hurdle as registrar prepares 'full check' of signatures
The campaign to recall Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon cleared another key hurdle on Thursday evening as the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder completed a random sampling for verification of petitions. The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder announced that it has completed a random sampling for the verification of district attorney recall petitions, and will proceed with a "full check of all signatures submitted."
George Gascon recall effort united Los Angeles residents fearing crime surge, prosecutor says
Los Angeles County residents across the political spectrum, fearing rising crime, unified to support recalling their district attorney, George Gascon, Deputy DA Jon Hatami told Fox News. "Today really is, I believe, the beginning of the end of George Gascon," Hatami said after the Recall campaign submitted 717,000 signatures supporting a vote to remove the DA. The group needs the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters to verify nearly 567,000 to trigger a recall vote.
Crime in LA spreading to neighboring cities due to George Gascon’s policies (Video)
L.A. Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami slams Los Angeles DA George Gascon for emboldening criminals and being responsible for crime that has spread to neighboring cities.
Woke Los Angeles DA Gascon accused of ‘abandoning’ victims by scrapping parole unit
Progressive Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon has been accused of further “abandoning” victims’ rights by disbanding a unit that alerts them to their assailants’ parole hearings. Gascon’s office confirmed to Fox News that it was scrapping the Parole Unit, also known as the “Lifer Unit,” by the end of the year.
Courts & Rulings
Sixth Circuit addresses key issues in excessive fee lawsuits
On June 21, 2022, the Sixth Circuit in Smith v. CommonSpirit Health unanimously affirmed the decision of the Eastern District of Kentucky dismissing with prejudice a putative class representative’s ERISA fiduciary breach claims based on the investment options and administrative fees of CommonSpirit Health’s 401(k) plan. Groom Law Group represented CommonSpirit Health and its retirement plan committee (“CommonSpirit”) in the lawsuit and on the appeal. 
Ninth Circuit denies oil giants’ appeal in climate change lawsuit
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday to deny an appeal by fossil fuel companies to transfer climate change lawsuits to federal court, forcing the fight to remain in state court. The lawsuits, filed by the city and county of Honolulu and Maui County in 2020, accused the companies of exacerbating the effect of climate change on the islands to increase their own profits.
Fourth Circuit upholds multiple life sentences for Raleigh gang leaders convicted on RICO charges and gang-related murders
A three-judge panel from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a unanimous, published opinion affirming the trial convictions and multiple life sentences for gang leaders who were convicted on charges of racketeering (RICO), drug trafficking, and gang-related murders. “These gang leaders used gun violence, intimidation, and murder to terrorize parts of Raleigh for nearly two decades” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley. 
U.S. appeals court upholds release of Trump financial records to House
A federal appeals court panel ruled Friday that House lawmakers can see years of former president Donald Trump’s financial accounting records but narrowed the range of documents Trump must turn over in a long-running legal battle over his compliance with presidential ethics and disclosure laws. The fight is not over - both sides can still appeal the three-judge panel’s ruling to the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit or to the Supreme Court. 
L.A. wins water battle with Mono County amid worsening droughts
A state appellate court has reversed a judge’s ruling that would have required the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to conduct an environmental review before making annual decisions about deliveries of water on pastureland it owns east of Yosemite. The city agency on Thursday said the previous ruling had “set an impossible standard” as it faces the complex challenges of servicing ratepayers and meeting environmental requirements in a time of drought, dwindling snowpack and changing water availability.
Biden asks Justices to revive Immigration Enforcement Plan
The Justice Department is calling on the US Supreme Court to toss a recent ruling that sidelined the Biden administration’s immigration enforcement priorities. DOJ lawyers filed a stay request Friday, arguing that a district court overstepped when it froze the enforcement policy. The Department of Homeland Security guidelines in question direct immigration officials to prioritize the detention and deportation of people who threaten national security, public safety, or border security. The Trump administration cast a broader net, targeting anyone in the country without authorization.
Supreme Court refuses to hear challenges to California’s AB5
The Supreme Court recently refused to grant two separate writs of certiorari seeking judicial review of California’s controversial state statute, Assembly Bill 5 (AB5). As we have explained previously, AB5 codifies the so-called ABC Test for determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. Massachusetts and New Jersey have passed their own versions of AB5 and adopted the ABC Test. 
Student expelled for offensive Snapchat post can sue school district, 10th Circuit says
A federal appeals court has ruled a Colorado high-school student can sue over his one-year expulsion for an off-campus, offensive Snapchat post. The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday for the student, “C.G.,” in a suit brought on his behalf against the Cherry Creek School District and its officials. The appeals court said C.G. could sue for alleged violations of his First Amendment right to free speech and his 14th Amendment right to procedural due process. 
Police officer’s records not subject to public disclosure
A judge properly enjoined a school district from releasing personnel records of a former lieutenant in its police force because certain adverse findings were made after he left the district’s employ and, with no prospect of discipline ensuing, no notice and opportunity for an administrative appeal were afforded, the Fifth District Court of Appeal held yesterday, but signaled that such a request might be granted under legislation effective Jan. 1.
Uber asks Ninth Circuit to revive challenge to California gig worker law
Uber Technologies went before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a bid to resurrect its challenge to a 2019 California law that required it to classify drivers as employees rather than independent contractors. The ride-hailing and food-delivery behemoth has not backed down from its claims that the state law, AB 5, is both irrational and unconstitutional even though California voters in 2020 approved a ballot initiative, sponsored by Uber and other gig-economy businesses, which exempted app-based ride-hail and delivery companies from the requirement to provide a wide range of employee benefits to their drivers.
Breed taps Boudin critic Brooke Jenkins as new San Francisco DA
San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Thursday tapped Brooke Jenkins to be the city's next district attorney, choosing a homicide prosecutor who left the DA's office last year and became a leading critic of her former boss Chesa Boudin. The appointment comes a month after 55% of voters in the city opted to recall Boudin from office, midway through his first term. Jenkins described herself as a “progressive prosecutor,” but also said she intended to rebalance the office's approach to crime and punishment.
Progressive DA challengers soundly defeated on social justice ‘reforms’
Despite claims by the Los Angeles Times, evidence from the recent election shows that the “decarceration” and “defund/anti-police” movement was rejected by California voters all over the state - even in the most liberal communities in California. Some in the legacy media falsely portray this as a choice between enlightened “social justice” progressives and a bunch of Wyatt Earp cowboys. Nothing could be further from the truth. 
Free-agent offensive tackle Duane Brown arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on gun charge
Free-agent offensive tackle Duane Brown was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday for allegedly possessing a concealed weapon. Brown, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, posted $10,000 bond and was released from custody at 11:32 p.m. PT, according to an online record. He is due back at Los Angeles Superior Court on Aug. 3 for a hearing on the charge, which is a misdemeanor.
Polanski transcripts should be unsealed; DA Gascón says
Long-hidden transcripts from the Roman Polanski molestation case should be released to the public in an effort to bring transparency to one of Hollywood's longest-running criminal sagas, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office announced Tuesday. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón reversed a years-old policy of objecting to the release of the conditional examination transcripts of former Deputy District Attorney Roger Gunson in the case of People v. Roman Polanski.
Under pressure, Biden issues executive order on abortion
Under pressure to do more to respond to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, President Biden issued an executive order on Friday designed to ensure access to abortion medication and emergency contraception while preparing for legal fights to come. But the order is vague about how the president hopes to accomplish those goals, leaving the details largely to Xavier Becerra, his secretary of health and human services, who has said the administration has “no magic bullet” that can restore access to abortion.
Gun groups sue to block California ban on marketing firearms to minors
The publisher of “Junior Shooters” magazine, the California Rifle & Pistol Association and several youth sport shooting organizations say Assembly Bill 2571, signed into law just last week by Governor Gavin Newsom, unfairly targets pro-Second Amendment organizations by barring any kind of industry advertising designed to make firearms appealing to minors. The law imposes fines of up to $25,000 for each violation, and the groups are seeking an injunction to block its enforcement.
Gavin Newsom for president?
Gavin Newsom wants to be president. Obviously. And who could blame him? After all, he’s the governor of the largest state in the country, a state with one of the most powerful economies in the world. If a so-old-everyone-gets-nervous-when-he-speaks Joe Biden can be president, why can’t he? Newsom has a long record of leading on issues that Democrats care about.
Los Angeles mayoral candidate Karen Bass continues to support DA George Gascon
Los Angeles Mayoral candidate and Congresswoman Karen Bass continues to endorse disgraced Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon. Not only does she support him despite the rampant crime wave the county has experienced, but her support continues after his policies led to a gang member getting released from prison early, leading to the deaths of two El Monte police officers.
Los Angeles County/City
LA County Supervisors approve new strategy to remove sheriff from office
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors wants the ability to remove an elected sheriff from office for cause, and on Tuesday, they approved a motion that would ask voters in November to give them the power to do so. Board Chair Holly Mitchell coauthored the motion. "This motion begins a process that would empower the voters to decide whether the board should be able to remove a sheriff only for cause," Mitchell said. 
LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva accuses supervisors of "trying to seize even more power"
LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is firing back at the Board of Supervisors, who is preparing to ask voters to give them the power to give him the boot. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors next week will consider a proposal to ask voters in November to give them the power to fire the sheriff. The proposal has raised the hackles of the sheriff.
Video appears to show LAPD officer kicking handcuffed man in head during Hollywood arrest
The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating a holiday weekend use-of-force incident captured on cellphone video that appears to show an officer kicking a handcuffed, leg-restrained Black man in the head during an encounter on a busy Hollywood street. A Westminster woman who asked to be identified only as Camilla because she fears retaliation filmed a portion of the Sunday, July 3, incident in the 1600 block of Cahuenga Boulevard.
LA County seeks order directing sheriff to cooperate in gang probe
On the same day a Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors proposal to give them the power to remove an elected sheriff for cause was first reported, county lawyers filed a legal action demanding that the current sheriff cooperate with the Office of the Inspector General’s investigation into alleged internal LASD gangs.
Unanimous vote returns Bruce’s Beach to descendants of original owners
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to return Bruce’s Beach to the heirs of its original owners, Willa and Charles Bruce, about 100 years after the now $20 million property was stripped from the family by the City of Manhattan Beach. The County will enter a 24-month lease agreement with the Bruce family and pay $413,000 in annual rent, according to approved county transfer documents.
Los Angeles Police Department takes critical step in safety innovation with FirstNet
Los Angeles Police Department is expanding its use of FirstNet® - the only network built with and for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. With FirstNet, LAPD is equipping officers with new tools, expanded capabilities and reliable access to critical information while in the field, allowing the department to better serve those who live, work and visit Los Angeles.
LASD union settles legal action over probe into Kobe Bryant photos
The union for Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies has reached a settlement in its legal action taken against Sheriff Alex Villanueva and others aimed at keeping an internal investigation into the alleged distribution of graphic Kobe Bryant crash-site photos private. Lawyers for the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs filed a notice of settlement on Tuesday with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary H. Strobel. 
Crime/Public Safety
More than 1,500 arrested in LA and nine other cities in Operation North Star
A nationwide task force effort targeting violent criminals netted more than 1,500 arrests in Los Angeles and nine other cities, authorities announced Thursday. The 30-day operation, conducted in June, included personnel from the U.S. Marshals Service and numerous state and local law enforcement organizations, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Parole denied for Manson follower for slayings in 1969
A California panel on Friday denied parole for a follower of cult leader Charles Manson convicted of slayings more than a half-century ago. Bruce Davis was previously recommended for parole seven times, but those findings were rejected by three consecutive governors. Parole commissioners told the 79-year-old Davis to try again in three years. "They said he lacks empathy," Michael Beckman, Davis’ attorney, said after the hearing before two parole commissioners.
L.A County District Attorney Gascón, Human Relations Commission announce community-based forums
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón and Robin Toma, executive director of the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations, today announced a series of community-based forums to inform a joint-action plan against hate in Los Angeles County. "We are fortunate to live in one of the most diverse counties in America, but the strength of our diversity also makes us vulnerable to hate-based threats and violence. The recent rise in hate incidents across our county is unacceptable," District Attorney Gascón said. 
Sylmar shooting that left a person in critical condition being investigated as hate crime
A shooting reported early Tuesday in Sylmar that left a person in critical condition is being investigated as a hate crime by Los Angeles police. Police responded to reports of a shooting about 1:20 a.m. at a convenience store near Polk Street and Foothill Boulevard, authorities said. When officers arrived, they found the gunshot victim on the ground.
Olympian Kim Glass reveals homeless man nearly blinded her in attack in LA
Olympic medal-winning volleyball player Kim Glass has revealed horrific facial injuries she suffered when she was almost blinded by a homeless man who threw a metal pipe at her in crime-ridden Los Angeles. The 37-year-old former athlete and model detailed her nightmare experience from Saturday on Instagram as she showed her right eye completely shut, blackened and stitched up, and with a nasty gash on her nose.
Murders in first half of 2022 exceed last year’s highs
More people were murdered in Los Angeles in the first six months of 2022 than during the same period in any of the past 15 years. From Jan. 1–June 30, 2022, there were 181 homicides in the city, according to publicly available Los Angeles Police Department data. That slightly exceeds the 178 killed in the same timeframe last year. In all of 2021, there were 397 homicides. That marked the highest annual total since 2007.
LA Starbucks closing for security concerns, communities worry closures could mean more crime
Customers at the six Los Angeles-area Starbucks locations stores closing permanently at the end of the month are upset. By now, they’ve heard the company is closing down the stores due to a high frequency of "challenging incidents" and security concerns, especially for employees. "Homeless people come in here and harass baristas and customers," said one man outside the busy location at Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street, here Hollywood security personnel patrol the heavily-touristed area, and seem to help, say most people we talked to, who quickly added "It's just not enough!"
Sender warning issued for millions of Google Gmail users
Google has confirmed a bizarre new bug affecting all Gmail users, where the service issues a sender warning for every email received. Here's everything you need to know. The bug first struck on Thursday, with Gmail attaching a security notice reserved for suspect emails to everything that arrives in a recipient's inbox. On Friday, Google subsequently confirmed that the problem had spread more widely than first believed and "affects both Gmail consumers and Enterprise customers."
Amazon can be held strictly liable as a product seller in New Jersey
On June 29, 2022, in N.J. Mfrs. Ins. Grp. a/s/o Angela Sigismondi v. Amazon.com, Inc., 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115826 (Sigismondi), the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey held that Amazon.com, Inc. (Amazon) is a “seller” under New Jersey’s product liability statute and can thus face strict liability for damages caused by products sold on its platform.
Man arrested for selling $1 billion of counterfeit Cisco equipment on Amazon and eBay
Miami-based 38-year-old Onur “Ron” Aksoy has been arrested and charged with selling $1 billion (yes, billion) of counterfeit Cisco networking hardware on Amazon and eBay. According to an article by PC Magazine's Michael Kan, the fraudulent Cisco devices were imported from China and Hong Kong and resold as genuine items on the e-commerce sites.
Former California state bar leader hit with ethics charges
The State Bar of California filed disciplinary charges against its own former executive director Joe Dunn earlier this week, claiming he wrongly spent bar funds on a trip to Mongolia and concealed opposition to a bill he wanted its board to sponsor while leading the organization. Dunn, a former state senator who is now a lecturer and special adviser to the dean at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, could be disbarred if the State Bar Court upholds the charges, his lawyer said.
Privacy advocates fear Google will be used to prosecute abortion seekers
When police are trying to solve a crime, they often turn to Google for help. It makes sense since the Silicon Valley giant has grown into a nearly $1.6 trillion company on the strength of its most valuable asset: Data on billions of people. And often, finding out where someone was at the time of a crime, or what they were Googling before a crime occurs, can be pivotal to investigators.
California enacts sweeping gun control laws, setting up a legal showdown
Less than a month after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against restrictions on carrying firearms in public in a substantial victory for 2nd Amendment advocates, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed at least three major gun control measures into law to restrict access to the weapons and create an avenue for private citizens to sue the industry.
Kings County Norteno Gang member sentenced to 15 years in prison for methamphetamine sales
Manuel Garcia, 35, of Armona, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd to 15 years in prison for conspiring to sell over 500 grams of methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced. Garcia was arrested as part of Operation Red Reaper, a federal, state, and local law enforcement operation targeted at dismantling the criminal activities of the Norteno Street Gang and Nuestra Familia Prison Gang in the counties of Kings and Tulare.
California woman fakes cancer, forges notes to avoid prison
One note submitted to the federal judge sentencing a 38-year-old California woman for embezzlement claimed that a biopsy had revealed “cancerous cells” in her uterus. Another indicated that she was undergoing a surgical procedure, and her cancer had spread to the cervix. Yet another letter warned she “cannot be exposed to COVID-19” because of her fragile state. But federal officials say the notes and cancer were all fake, and now Ashleigh Lynn Chavez is headed to prison for three times as long. The court this week added an additional two years to her initial, one-year prison sentence.
Brandt Osborn pleads not guilty over deaths of LA model, friend
An actor pleaded not guilty Monday to charges related to the murder of a model and her friend who overdosed on drugs and were later found dumped outside two Los Angeles hospitals. Brandt Osborn, 42, entered the plea during his arraignment in LA County Superior Court over the November 2021 deaths of Christy Giles, 24, and Hilda Marcela Cabrales-Arzola, 26.
Incarcerated person walks away from Bautista Conservation Camp
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials are searching for a minimum-security incarcerated person who walked away from Sierra Conservation Center (SCC) Bautista Conservation Camp in Riverside County last night. At approximately 10:45 p.m. on July 13, camp staff noticed a suspicious vehicle near the grounds and immediately initiated an emergency count. During the count it was determined that Jonathon Haines was missing.
Articles of Interest
Crime tipping point: NYC bodega case could spark crackdown on violent criminals
Has America had enough of violent career criminals and the district attorneys who protect them? Growing public outrage over New York City's “bodega case” may mean a tipping point over the lenient treatment of criminals and failure to protect the public is coming - or is already here. The facts of that case as they've been reported: After an argument between 61-year-old bodega worker Jose Alba and a woman customer, the woman's boyfriend, Austin Simon, entered the bodega and attacked Alba behind the counter. 
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