Courts & Rulings
Warrantless searches of massage parlors are lawful
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday affirmed the dismissal with prejudice of an action against the City of South El Monte for alleged violation of the Fourth Amendment by conducting warrantless searches of a massage parlor. Such businesses, Judge John B. Owens said in an opinion for a three-judge panel, are “closely regulated,” justifying warrantless searches where three conditions set forth in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1987 opinion in New York v. Burger are met.
Riverside County Superior Court ends free online public criminal case searches after court order
COVID-19 restrictions are easing at Riverside County courthouses, allowing the public access to courtrooms and clerk counters to conduct legal business and pay tickets much like the pre-pandemic world of distant memory. But there are significant changes in some procedures that both expand and restrict the public's access to information.
Anti-homeless law put on ice in California college town
Racing to erect an emergency shelter for its burgeoning homeless population, a quintessential college town in Northern California turned to an unused airport tarmac. Like California’s largest cities, the city of Chico is struggling mightily in solving its homelessness crisis and giving unhoused people a decent place to stay.
Superior Court comments on Cal/OSHA probe
The Los Angeles Superior Court yesterday put a positive spin on the upshot of two inspections by the California Division of Occupational Health and Safety, or “Cal/OSHA,” of the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in the Los Angeles Civil Center and heralded its exoneration of any fault relating to the COVID-related death of an employee.
Liberal California appeals court sees year of high-profile reversals at the Supreme Court
When the Supreme Court handed down its two recent final decisions, one in a major voting laws dispute and the other addressing a donor disclosure requirement, both were considered victories for conservatives - and both were reversals of the country's most controversial appellate court. That court, the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, saw some of the most high-profile reversals of judgments in the tumultuous year for Supreme Court cases.
Reprimand of judges for social media misconduct warrants updated guidelines, experts say
A local judge in upstate New York resigned in May after a state agency opened an investigation into Facebook posts that allegedly conveyed anti-LGBTQ and anti-Muslim bias and showed favoritism toward law enforcement. That same month, a domestic relations judge in Alabama was temporarily removed from the bench after state judicial investigators accused her or someone on her behalf of using fake Facebook accounts to harass litigants who had cases in her court.
Judge’s comment, procedures did not render guilty plea involuntary - Ninth Circuit
A plea of guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud was not rendered involuntary by virtue of the District Court judge curtailing presentation of evidence at the sentencing hearing as to the amount of loss - which affected the length of the sentence - or by his commenting that a challenge to the amount claimed by the prosecution should have been made by going to trial, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held on Friday.
Judge: Newsom can't be listed as Democrat on recall ballot
California Gov. Gavin Newsom can’t put his Democratic Party affiliation on the ballot voters see when they decide whether to remove him, a judge ruled Monday. Newsom’s campaign missed a deadline to submit his affiliation to California Secretary of State Shirley Weber for the Sept. 14 recall election. Newsom’s campaign said it was inadvertent and asked Weber, who was appointed by Newsom, to allow the affiliation to appear.
Federal judge dismisses all claims made by Tournament of Roses
On Monday, July 12, the United States District Court for the Central District of California ruled in favor of the City of Pasadena in dismissing all claims against it in a lawsuit brought by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. The frivolous - and now fully rejected - claims that the City of Pasadena misused or misappropriated the Tournament’s trademarks related to the Rose Bowl Game and that Mayor Victor Gordo engaged in “false advertising” in comments to the media have now been proven to be ill-conceived and full of egregious assertions.
Law banning handgun sales to Americans under 21 violates Second Amendment, court rules
A federal appeals court has ruled that prohibitions on selling handguns to Americans under 21 violates the Second Amendment, the latest legal victory for gun rights advocates in federal court. At issue is a gun control law signed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968 that banned the sale of handguns to people under 21 years old but permitted the sale of shotguns and rifles to those same people.
Lawsuit over police shooting of unarmed man in San Francisco headed for trial
A jury must decide if a former San Francisco police officer being prosecuted for manslaughter used excessive force when he shot and killed an unarmed man fleeing from a stolen van, a federal judge ruled Monday. It was rookie officer Chris Samayoa’s fourth day on the job on Dec. 1, 2017, when he shot and killed 42-year-old Keita “Iggy” O’Neil from the passenger seat of a squad car.
Los Angeles District Attorney
San Dimas leaders have ‘no confidence’ in LA County DA Gascón
With little comment at a meeting earlier this week, the San Dimas City Council cast a vote of no confidence in Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón. In a 4-0 vote Tuesday, July 13, San Dimas leaders approved a resolution calling out directives from the District Attorney’s Office, which they described as “detrimental to the city.” Councilmember Eric Weber was absent from the meeting.
LA DA Gascón may get no confidence vote from Walnut Council
The Walnut City Council may consider holding a vote of no confidence against Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón during its Wednesday meeting. Councilmembers will discuss Gascón's special directives and their impact on the city and county, according to a city staff report. Some of the directives include eliminating cash bail for misdemeanors and nonviolent offenses, no longer seeking the death penalty for all cases and eliminating sentencing enhancements.
Pressure mounts against LA’s DA
Frustrated with the policies of Los Angeles County District Attorney Gascón, the Palmdale City Council is investigating filing criminal charges in some misdemeanor cases itself through the city attorney, and is considering a vote of no confidence in Gascón. Gascón was elected in November and immediately set in motion sweeping criminal justice reforms, including a halt to seeking harsher sentences through special enhancements and the elimination of cash bail for any misdemeanor.
Gascón, Garcetti, and the tragedy of Los Angeles.
He always began the show with a stark but didactic narration: “This is the city: Los Angeles, California.” Jack Webb, as the fictional LAPD detective Sgt. Joe Friday in “Dragnet” became a symbol of the public-spirited and good-intentioned police officer willing to risk his life, work long hours to solve crimes, and protect the public from murderers, rapists, and thieves. The “Dragnet” franchise is one of the most influential police procedurals in history.
Santa Monica part of task force that wins $2 million settlement with dating service
A task force composed of five County District Attorneys and the Santa Monica City Attorney's office reached a $2 million settlement Wednesday with The civil lawsuit alleges that Match Group Inc., a global online dating service company, charged customers for automatic renewal without their express consent. “Consumers should be protected from practices that deceptively and unfairly force them to pay for something they don’t want,” said Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón.
Jury selection to begin in trial of West Hollywood political donor Ed Buck
Jury selection will begin Tuesday in the federal criminal trial of former political donor Ed Buck. Buck, 66, is accused of nine felony charges, including providing methamphetamine to two men who overdosed and died in his West Hollywood apartment. Prosecutors allege that Buck had a "fetish" for paying Black men to allow him to inject them with methamphetamine - even while they were passed out. He also faces state charges of running a drug den, but the federal case is proceeding first.
'Marrying Millions' star Bill Hutchinson charged with sexually assaulting, battering teens
Bill Hutchinson, the "Marrying Millions" star, has been charged with sexually assaulting and battering a pair of teenagers. The Orange County District Attorney's Office confirmed to Fox News that the reality star has been charged after allegedly assaulting two 16-year-old girls while vacationing in Laguna Beach, Calif. According to the DA, the charges allege that he raped one of the teens "while she was unconscious."
Data shows Chesa Boudin prosecutes fewer shoplifters than predecessor
As videos of brazen retail thefts in San Francisco draw national attention, The Examiner has obtained new data showing that District Attorney Chesa Boudin is prosecuting far fewer shoplifting cases than his predecessor. The numbers show the prosecution rate for shoplifting cases involving a misdemeanor petty theft charge for a loss of $950 or less fell under Boudin, from 70 percent under former District Attorney George Gascon in 2019 to 44 percent in 2020 and 50 percent as of mid-June 2021.
DA works to add LA rape charges against Flores in Smart case
The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office is moving to add two charges of rape of an intoxicated woman in its case against Paul Flores, charged with the 1996 murder of Kristin Smart. The charges involve women in Los Angeles County. The identities of the women were not made public. Smart, a freshman at Cal Poly, went to a party at a fraternity house the night of May 24, 1996.
California Uber driver allegedly stabbed to death by teen, prosecutors want her charged as an adult
A California teen is accused of stabbing an Uber driver to death and prosecutors want her to be tried as an adult. The suspect, who is 17, was arraigned virtually Friday in the stabbing incident which happened on Tuesday. She entered a plea of not guilty in juvenile court through her attorney. Prosecutor Cherie Somerville told KNSD that the district attorney’s office will be asking Superior Court Judge España to move the case to adult court.
19 indicted in Orange County drug bust by FBI
The FBI served more that 12 search warrants early Tuesday morning as part of Operation Horse Caller, a large drug and money laundering bust that took place in Orange County. Nineteen suspects were indicted, and investigators are searching for seven more. The operation worked like a 1-800 phone number service for heroin, but there was no physical call center and no warehouse to store the drugs, said Kristi Johnson of the FBI during a news conference Tuesday.
L.A. city attorneys took part in ‘sham lawsuit’ over DWP billing errors, report says
A court-appointed investigator on Tuesday released a sweeping report on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the city attorney’s office, finding that attorneys participated in a scheme to settle litigation sparked by a faulty billing system and turn around the DWP’s battered image. The “evidence supports a finding that the city directed and assisted in the city suing itself with a sham lawsuit,” wrote investigator Edward M. Robbins in a 595-page report.
California changing the way some police shootings are investigated (Video)
California is changing the way some police shootings are investigated, with the goal of improving the public’s trust in law enforcement. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4 News on Wednesday, July 7, 2021.
NYPD officers sue over attacks during Brooklyn Bridge protest
Two high-ranking NYPD cops who were battered and bloodied during violent clashes with anti-police activists on the Brooklyn Bridge filed civil suits against their alleged attackers on Tuesday. Lt. Michael Butler and Lt. Richard Mack both claim in court papers that they were “assaulted, without provocation” during a protest last year over the murder of George Floyd by then-Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin.
AB 5 First Amendment lawsuit expects response from state AG this week
The state of California is expected to file a response to a lawsuit filed by Oxnard resident Aaron Starr alleging that AB 5 violates First Amendment freedom of speech protection sometime this week, pushing forward the suit that may further dismantle the AB 5 independent contractor law. Since coming into effect in January 2020, Assembly Bill 5, a law that reclassifies most independent contractor workers as employees, different industry jobs have been continually fought over, with many being added and removed from AB 5.
Susanville suing Newsom over proposed closure of California prison
The city of Susanville, California, is suing the state over the proposed closure of the California Corrections Center, the city said. While the Newsom administration argues closing the CCC in June 2022 is because of the age of the building and related costs to keep it open, Susanville officials argue they haven’t gotten answers as to why older prisons in worse condition weren’t chosen.
City Council calls for additional assessment before moving violent youth offenders
Santa Clarita officials have sent letters to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors ahead of a Tuesday vote on the creation of a permanent juvenile-detention facility at Camp Joseph Scott or Camp Kenyon Scudder, which are both in Saugus, contending the project requires a comprehensive assessment before continuing.
Some low-level misdemeanors are dropped in exchange for your DNA in Orange County
Law enforcement can collect and store DNA for felonies and serious misdemeanors in national databases, according to California state and federal law. But in Orange County, prosecutors are currently running the nation’s only local genetic collection program that targets low-level misdemeanor crimes in exchange for dropping or reducing charges. The program started under OC’s former district attorney, Tony Rackaukas, and has been continued under DA Todd Spitzer.
LAPD will not seek charges against some people it arrests, instead taking them to social services
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) will begin to implement a plan to divert some adults arrested for select misdemeanors and non-violent felonies “to community support programs in lieu of filing criminal charges, prosecution, and transportation to jail facilities.” LAPD described the endeavor as a “great opportunity” to develop strategies “which may reduce recidivism and enhance public safety.”
Los Angeles County/City
LAX Police chief enters race to succeed Villanueva as next LA County sheriff
LAX Police Chief Cecil Rhambo is entering the race to succeed Alex Villanueva as the next L.A. County sheriff. The former assistant sheriff - who stood up against corruption in the department under former Sheriff Lee Baca - formally announced his candidacy on Monday. He released a video online called "For Good,'' in which he vows to stand up to corruption and outlines other elements of his platform.
‘Running against the woke left’: Can Sheriff Villanueva’s shift to the right work in L.A.?
For a sheriff who swept into office by convincing liberal, progressive voters he was their candidate, Alex Villanueva is making strange moves these days. In the year since the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, the left-leaning elected officials who dominate politics in Los Angeles and other large U.S. cities have been scrambling to assuage demands for meaningful changes to policing.
Venice Beach homeless move onto sand when rousted during boardwalk cleanup
City officials in Los Angeles are working to reclaim the world-famous 2-mile boardwalk in Venice Beach that has been commandeered by hundreds of homeless people, but efforts appear to be doomed as thousands more are living on streets within walking distance. As the boardwalk is cleared of trash, hazardous waste, and tents, the homeless are simply moving their living quarters onto the sand, across the street, or elsewhere in this 3-square mile community of prime real estate, said Ira Koslow, the president of the Venice Neighborhood Council’s Board of Directors.
Are Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s “criminal investigations” of so-called adversaries chilling oversight of the LASD? A report says yes.
An alarming new report was introduced during the last few minutes of the virtual meeting of the sheriffs Civilian Oversight Commission on Thursday, July 15. The ten-page report, written by Sean Kennedy, a member of the COC, describes how, in the last 24 months, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, with the help certain members of his administration, targets oversight officials and other “perceived political adversaries,” with what seem to be specious criminal investigations that never result in actual charges.
$50K reward offered as search continues for driver in Harbor City crash that killed 4-year-old girl
A $50,000 reward is being offered for information on the driver involved in a hit-and-run crash in Harbor City that killed a 4-year-old girl. Jayda Sanchez, her 5-year-old brother and their father were leaving a park Friday night when a driver in front of them made an illegal U-turn in the 26000 block of South Vermont Avenue. The father swerved to avoid a collision, causing the truck to rollover multiple times and crash into a light pole.
Board votes to expedite changes to bail, pretrial justice system
In response to a recent California Supreme Court decision regarding the state’s cash bail system being found unconstitutional, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion Tuesday that would expedite reforms to the bail and pretrial justice systems. The motion follows a report provided to the board July 6 - and curated by the offices of the L.A. County public defender, alternate defender and district attorney - which gave 14 recommendations on how the county could respond to a recent court decision titled “In re Kenneth Humphrey.”
LA County may crack down on water theft
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider a substitute motion by Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Sheila Kuehl that seeks enhanced enforcement against water theft and illegal cannabis grows in the Antelope Valley and illegal cannabis dispensaries in unincorporated LA County.
Petition for recall of Councilmember Bonin approved for circulation
The Los Angeles City Clerk has approved a petition for recall of Councilmember Mike Bonin. Bonin, who represents Los Angeles City Council District 11 encompassing much of the Westside, was served the recall notice on June 15. On Tuesday, the City Clerk approved the petition for circulation. “Councilmember Mike Bonin has consistently made promises to his constituency and failed to follow through on these promises since he took office,” reads the recall’s Statement of Reasons.
The LAPD’s ‘controlled’ fireworks detonation is still echoing through South Central
On June 30, when Los Angeles Police Department officers discovered more than two tons of commercial-grade and homemade fireworks in the E. 27th Street backyard of Arturo Ceja III, a decision was made to pack the fireworks inside a “total containment vessel” and set them off on the spot. That didn’t go so well.
Public Safety/Crime
Violent crimes are up in LA. What’s driving it, how activists are trying to stem it
A rise in violent crime in the City of Los Angeles, including homicides, is making for an ominous summer forecast. Fernando Rejón, executive director of the Urban Peace Institute, says the past year led to a convergence of many key issues, including a national reckoning with law enforcement and systemic racism.
White House creates gun trafficking strike force for Los Angeles
The White House announced Monday that the U.S. Department of Justice launched a gun trafficking strike force in Los Angeles to prevent guns coming across state lines from areas with weaker gun laws. The funding for the strike forces - which will also be in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., the Bay Area - comes from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, according to the White House.
‘It’s a puzzle’: Experts are trying to figure out what’s causing L.A.’s crime wave
In 1993, a Time cover story asked, “Is Los Angeles going to hell?” The city was still reeling from the Rodney King riots, still gripped by gang violence, still mired in the crack epidemic. For the third year in a row, more than 1,000 men and women would be murdered within the city’s jagged borders. And so the question wasn’t complete hyperbole.
Crime and gun violence on the rise in Long Beach
Alberto Loya, a cook at Hooters in Long Beach, was working on June 27 when a drive-by shooting nearby left three people wounded and diners frightened. "I wasn't really scared. I was more like confused. I didn't realize what happened until much, much later. I just did the best I can to help people who were there. There were people who were crying, people who were scared," he said.
That attack outside L.A. sushi was antisemitic, right? Think again, says lawyer for accused
Xavier James Pabon is a 30-year-old Puerto Rican father who decided to join a protest against Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip after his boss showed him pictures of dead Palestinian children being pulled from rubble after an Israeli airstrike. In May, he joined a caravan of cars that drove past the storefronts and restaurants lining North La Cienega Boulevard, waving Palestinian flags and shouting anti-Israel comments through a loudspeaker.
Major Russian-speaking ransomware gang behind JBS and Kaseya attacks goes offline
A prolific, Russian-speaking ransomware gang has suddenly disappeared from the internet months after executing some of the most high-profile cyberattacks on U.S. targets. It is unclear why the group's online footprint, including its blog and payment-processing infrastructure, have gone offline, but its absence has prompted questions about whether the U.S. took action just days after President Joe Biden promised consequences for a string of cyberattacks.
Biden to talk crime with city, police leaders from across the country
Facing rising fears of summer violence, President Joe Biden is embarking on a political high-wire act, trying to balance his strong backing for law enforcement with the police reform movement championed by many of his supporters. His focus Monday was on crime. Biden met at the White House with Democratic urban leaders - including Eric Adams, the heavy favorite to be the next mayor of New York City - about increased shootings, as they warily watch a surge across the nation.
Woodland Hills man arrested for identity theft in Ventura and LA Counties
A 32-year-old man from Woodland Hills with a criminal record was arrested after authorities say he committed multiple thefts and identity theft crimes in Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, and Los Angeles County. The Ventura County Sheriff's Office says they began an investigation in June after multiple people reported thefts from unlocked cars and open garages in the area of Cresthaven Drive in Thousand Oaks.
DOJ report says SLO County had most homicides in 17 years in 2020. But it missed a few
A recently released California Department of Justice report says that San Luis Obispo County recorded more homicides in 2020 than in any year since 2003.
The report, Homicide in California 2020, shows the county had seven homicides last year, a jump from five local homicides in 2019. But the number of local homicides in 2020 was actually much higher when killings by law enforcement officers are included.
Marilyn Manson will surrender to LA authorities on New Hampshire arrest warrant
The rocker was accused of assaulting a videographer at a concert in 2019 and is charged with two misdemeanor accounts of simple assault. Marilyn Manson will report to the Los Angeles Police Department on an active arrest warrant from a 2019 incident of alleged assault in Gilford, New Hampshire. According to local news outlets including WMUR-9, Gilford police chief Anthony Bean Burpee said Friday that Manson, whose real name is Brian Hugh Warner, has reached an agreement between New Hampshire officials and Manson’s attorney, Howard King, to turn himself in.
Amazon’s sidewalk technology faces federal class action
Amazon is facing a federal class action lawsuit in Seattle over its Sidewalk network and claims that the company engaged in “unfair, deceptive” and “fraudulent business practices” at the expense of its customers. Amazon’s Ring security cameras and Echo smart speakers that have the Sidewalk feature can allow other such devices to connect to them via Bluetooth, allowing them to draw upon a small amount of their owner’s bandwidth.
Amazon sued by U.S. Product-Safety Agency over dangerous items Inc. was sued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is seeking an order determining that the largest online retailer is legally responsible for defective products sold in its sprawling third-party marketplace. The complaint filed on Wednesday says Amazon sold children’s sleepwear that failed to meet federal standards for flammability; some 24,000 carbon monoxide detectors that failed to activate when the harmful gas was present; and 400,000 hair dryers that risked shock and electrocution.
FBI seriously mishandled Larry Nassar case, according to Justice Dept. watchdog
Senior FBI officials failed on several fronts to properly handle claims of sexual abuse made against disgraced Olympic doctor Larry Nassar, according to a report released Wednesday by the Department of Justice's inspector general. FBI officials in Indianapolis first learned of allegations against Nassar in July 2015. Agents waited five weeks to conduct any interviews on the matter and then failed to follow protocol in sharing information with others in the bureau and other law enforcement agencies.
Former Gov. Jerry Brown: ‘Fiscal stress' coming, state needs ‘control and discipline' on homeless crisis
Former Gov. Jerry Brown says the current windfall of state tax revenue was “artificially pumped up” by federal spending and predicts “fiscal stress” for state government within the next two years. “The word is volatility. Money comes and money goes. The federal government is going deeper into debt, they are spending money wildly. The state is now spending money. It is not sustainable.”
National Police Association releases video asking public to comply with police
The National Police Association has created a public service announcement informing the public on the dangers of not complying with police orders. The PSA campaign, titled "Comply Now, Complain Later," urges the public to comply with police orders in order to assist in the reduction of officer use-of-force incidents, the Post Millennial reports.
After San Francisco shoplifting video goes viral, officials argue thefts aren't rampant
A flurry of shoplifters in masks and hooded jackets sprinted from a downtown Neiman Marcus last week and into getaway cars with armfuls of designer handbags - a scene captured on video and raising fears that rings of thieves were hitting retail businesses. The incident, which remains under investigation, was only the latest to give an impression of lawlessness running rampant in San Francisco's stores, where people have been caught on recordings openly swiping products seemingly without repercussion.
2 Baltimore officers working with marshals shot, suspect killed
Two Baltimore city police detectives were shot and a homicide suspect was killed as a U.S. Marshals’ task force attempted to serve a warrant outside a shopping mall Tuesday morning, authorities said. Members of the warrant apprehension task force were looking for a vehicle and suspect wanted in a June 19 homicide in Baltimore and spotted them in the parking lot of Security Square Mall in suburban Woodlawn, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said at a news conference.
PBS series looks at how Larry Krasner became Philly DA and pushed for progressive criminal justice reforms
Remember how George Gascón snuck up on Jackie Lacey and won the race to become LA’s next district attorney? He’s just one in a wave of progressive prosecutors. Larry Krasner was an earlier adopter of this movement. Considered the underdog, Krasner won the race for Philadelphia district attorney in a landslide.
Biden puts gun violence in his sights
President Joe Biden convened Monday with federal and local leaders to focus on a scourge that has killed tens of thousands of Americans in the last few years, unabated by the global pandemic. “There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, and we know some things will work, and one of these things that will work is stemming the flow of firearms used to commit violent crimes,” Biden said from the Roosevelt Room at the White House on Monday.
Man sentenced in shootout in which officer was struck by gunfire from cop
A man has been sentenced to 18 years in state prison in connection with his no contest plea to assault charges stemming from a 2015 shootout in which a Long Beach police officer was struck by gunfire from a fellow officer. Eric Arroyo, 37, of Long Beach, pleaded no contest Wednesday to two counts of assault with a firearm upon a peace officer, according to Greg Risling of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Two sentenced to over 5 years in prison for COVID-19 unemployment benefit fraud scheme
Jason Vertz, 51, of Fresno, and Alana Powers, 45, an inmate at the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) in Chowchilla, were each sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd to five years and one month in prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and aggravated identity theft, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
LAPD officer receives probation, community service, department counseling
A Los Angeles Police Department officer who pleaded no contest to an alleged road rage incident was sentenced to a combination of probation, community service and department counseling, according to officials at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. LAPD Officer Georgeta Buruiana, 40, of Saugus, entered a plea of no contest, which is treated the same as a guilty plea, to one misdemeanor count each of disturbing the peace and reckless driving.
Corrections & Parole
Prison system mistakenly adds to inmate firefighter sentences
California prison officials created new good conduct credits in May designed to speed up the releases of more than 76,000 inmates, but one segment of the prison inmate population - inmate firefighters - are seeing the length of their sentences increased, at least on paper, inmate advocates and family members say.
Governor denies potential parole of man convicted in 1995 killing of Arroyo Grande teen
One of the three teens convicted of the 1995 murder of 15-year-old Elyse Pahler of Arroyo Grande won’t be released from prison. Royce Casey was granted parole suitability earlier this year, but San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow tells KSBY he was informed Sunday that Governor Gavin Newsom had reversed the parole board’s decision.
Orange County inmate wrecks firetruck in alleged Northern California escape attempt – San Bernardino Sun
California prison firefighters apparently stole a fire engine in an escape bid for Independence Day, leaving behind “half a block of destruction” when trying to carjack a second vehicle later officials said on Monday. A 31-year-old prisoner from Orange County was part of a crew of prisoners fighting a vegetation fire caused by illegal fireworks late Sunday in Shingle Springs, a hilly town in the Sierra Nevada Mountains east of Sacramento.
Articles of Interest
California court upholds local ordinance precluding installation of natural gas piping in new construction
We often think that environmental regulation comes top-down from Congress and Washington bureaucrats. But that isn’t always the case, as the recent California federal district court decision in California Restaurant Association v. City of Berkeley illustrates. The court there rejected a preemption challenge to a California municipal ordinance banning the installation of natural gas piping in new construction.
Sacha Baron Cohen smacks down defamation suit, Roy Moore appeals
After nearly three years of litigation, a federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a $95 million defamation lawsuit against “Borat” actor Sacha Baron Cohen stemming from a televised prank he pulled on Roy Moore. During an interview on his satirical Showtime series “Who Is America?” a disguised Cohen demonstrated what he called a pedophile-detection wand, which beeped when it passed over Moore.
How some city leaders keep piles of cash flowing to their favored causes
When it comes to money and Los Angeles City Hall, most of the attention is paid to campaign donations. That makes sense: Knowing who gives the maximum individual amount of $800 to a council candidate or $1,500 to someone running for mayor provides a window into what relationships exist and who might be inclined to work with whom.
What makes a cult a cult?
Male cult leaders sometimes claim droit du seigneur over female followers or use physical violence to sexually exploit them. But, on the whole, they find it more efficient to dress up the exploitation as some sort of gift or therapy: an opportunity to serve God, an exorcism of “hangups,” a fast track to spiritual enlightenment.
What does the mayor of Los Angeles do?
There’s still a Senate confirmation ahead of Mayor Eric Garcetti before he can really leave Los Angeles. But President Biden’s official announcement of Garcetti as his pick to be the next ambassador to India has already set off yet another Democratic political scramble in California, this time to fill a role that is at once high-profile and kind of thankless: that of a big-city mayor.
Pesticide caused kids' brain damage, California lawsuits say
Lawsuits filed Monday in California seek potential class-action damages from Dow Chemical and its successor company over a widely used bug killer linked to brain damage in children. Chlorpyrifos is approved for use on more than 80 crops, including oranges, berries, grapes, soybeans, almonds and walnuts, though California banned sales of the pesticide last year and spraying of it this year.
Insurer wants in on Kobe Bryant death suit after settlement
The Hartford has asked a California judge to let it wade into the legal battle over Kobe Bryant's death following a recent settlement, as the insurance company seeks to recoup the cost of workers' compensation it paid to a coach who died alongside the basketball legend.
His job was to police bad lawyers. He became Tom Girardi’s broker to L.A.’s rich, powerful
As an investigator for the State Bar of California, Tom Layton was responsible for policing the legal profession for rogue attorneys. But while collecting a salary as a watchdog for the public, Layton spent work hours advancing the interests and political connections of a lawyer with a long record of misconduct complaints: the now-disgraced trial attorney Tom Girardi, emails obtained by the Los Angeles Times show.
Musk on Trial: Defends SolarCity, calls lawyer ‘bad human’
Tesla founder Elon Musk took to a witness stand Monday to defend his company’s 2016 acquisition of a troubled company called SolarCity against a lawsuit that claims he’s to blame for a deal that was rife with conflicts of interest and never delivered the profits he'd promised. And to the surprise of no one, the famously colorful billionaire did so in the most personally combative terms.
Firm hacked to spread ransomware had previous security flaws
For 21 years, the software company Kaseya labored in relative obscurity - at least until cybercriminals exploited it in early July for a massive ransomware attack that snarled businesses around the world and escalated U.S.- Russia diplomatic tensions. But it turns out that the recent hack wasn't the first major cybersecurity problem to hit the Miami-based company and its core product, which IT teams use to remotely monitor and administer workplace computer systems and other devices.
San Diego re-opening its pension system in wake of courts nullifying Proposition B
With San Diego’s Proposition B pension cuts officially nullified by the courts, city officials are ready to start awarding pensions to all new hires again this month after a nine-year period when only new police officers got pensions. City officials also are tackling the complicated problem of how to compensate employees who got 401(k)-style retirement plans instead of traditional pensions because they were hired after voters approved Proposition B in 2012.
CalPERS banks 21% investment return, tripling its target for funding California pensions
Riding a stock market surge, CalPERS on Monday reported a 21.3% return on its investments over the last fiscal year, reaching a record high-value of $469 billion. The return represents a sharp turnaround from the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, when the fund’s value plunged by tens of billions of dollars before rebounding. Altogether, CalPERS’ portfolio gained $80 billion over the past 12 months, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System announced in a news release.
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