George Gascon

Los Angeles man who avoided prison for near-fatal stabbing now charged with neighbor's murder

A Los Angeles man who received no jail time and mental health diversion for a 2021 stabbing that nearly killed a construction worker is now charged with the murder of his neighbor. Stefen Sutherland, 31, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon in November 2020 after slashing a construction worker's neck because he was making noise, according to law enforcement sources.

Fox News

LA County DA’s office attacks Bill Melugin for reporting tragic result of ‘reform-minded’ policies

The leftist policies of some district attorneys around the country have had tragic and deadly consequences for many, and Los Angeles County is no different. Fox News’ Bill Melugin pointed out another example of somebody who should have been in prison but thanks to policies from the likes of L.A. County District Attorney George Gascon he was allowed to remain on the streets.


Cooley irked over D.A.’s bid to disqualify victims’ lawyer

Former Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley has expressed indignation over efforts of the office he once headed to bar a pro bono lawyer’s representation in a habeas corpus proceeding of the two daughters of a slain deputy sheriff and a now-retired deputy who was the victim, in the same 1979 confrontation, of an attempted murder.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Courts, Rulings & Lawsuits

Manson follower Leslie Van Houten should be paroled, California appeals court rules

A California appeals court said Tuesday that Leslie Van Houten, who participated in two killings at the direction of cult leader Charles Manson in 1969, should be released from prison on parole. The appellate court’s ruling reverses an earlier decision by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who rejected parole for Van Houten in 2020. She has been recommended for parole five times since 2016.


How a convicted murderer's bid for freedom sparked a fight between L.A. County judges

When he sought to make the leap from prosecutor to judge in 2008, Patrick Connolly branded himself to voters as a hard-charging and hard-partying attorney who had won some of the most complicated murder cases in Long Beach between sleepless trips to Las Vegas. Months before he was elected to the bench, Connolly sent Frank Gonzalez and Justin Flint to prison for the rest of their lives.

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County returns to $0 bail for non-serious, non-violent crimes

Los Angeles County returned to its COVID-era Emergency Bail Schedule Wednesday, after a Superior Court judge ruled its cash bail system unconstitutional. The injunction by Judge Lawrence Riff means cash bail for non-violent, non-serious felonies is now $0. The ruling only impacts the time between when someone is booked and when they first appear before a judge to be arraigned, typically about two to five days.

Spectrum News1

Deputy accused of being in 'Executioners' gang reveals tattoo in court, names names

When he stepped up to the witness stand last week, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Jaime Juarez told the court about his first inking party - the day he got his Compton station tattoo. The intimate gathering was at a home somewhere in Pomona, and most of the people there were strangers. But he knew the man who invited him, and knew that man sported the same ink Juarez was about to get - a design commonly linked to a suspected deputy gang known as the Executioners.

Los Angeles Times

Stay lifted in LASD lieutenant’s retaliation suit

A judge Tuesday lifted a 2020 hold on a sheriff’s lieutenant’s lawsuit against Los Angeles County, in which he alleges his supervisors retaliated against him for trying to inform the public about shootings in and around Malibu Creek State Park before a man was killed there while camping with his daughters in 2018.


Knock LA’s suit against sheriff’s department ends with unsealing of search warrants

Knock LA, along with the First Amendment Coalition, has won a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD). The lawsuit unsealed the department’s search warrant and statement for probable cause to search used during the protests in August 2020, following the killing of Dijon Kizzee at the hands of LASD deputies. LASD used the warrant to search journalists’ and protesters’ phones and other property.

Knock LA

Ninth Circuit finds that criminal reentry provision not driven by racial animus

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit this week reversed a district court decision finding the criminal reentry provision in section 276 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) “was enacted with a discriminatory purpose and that the law has a disparate impact on Latinx persons” and that the government had failed to show that the provision would not “have been enacted absent racial animus”. 

Center for Immigration Studies

Appeal from tax bill can result in boosted amount

The Court of Appeal for this district has issued an opinion lending credence to the adage, “Be careful what you wish for,” holding that taxpayers that sought a reexamination by the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office of its valuation of their shopping center at about $94 million and got a new valuation - which came to approximately $113 million - are stuck with the new figure where they cannot show that it’s faulty.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Justices side with whistleblowers in fraud cases against SuperValu, Safeway

The Supreme Court on Thursday revived two cases filed by supermarket whistleblowers who say that SuperValu and Safeway fraudulently reported drug prices to get bigger reimbursements from the government. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the unanimous court's opinion siding with the whistleblowers, who argued in April that both grocery chains seem to have known their price reporting was wrong when they sent it in to the government, a clear violation of the False Claims Act.

Courthouse News Service

US Supreme Court turns away social media sex trafficking case

The US Supreme Court turned away an appeal from victims of child pornography who claimed Reddit Inc. knowingly facilitates and benefits from images of child sexual abuse. The justices without comment left in place a ruling that affirmed Reddit can’t be held liable for violating sex trafficking laws when people use its platform to post pictures of minors being abused.

Bloomberg Law

Ballots-by-mail may be scanned before election day

The Third District Court of Appeal on Friday held that in 2020, the Office of Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder did just what a statute authorizes by proceeding, 10 days before the March 3 primary election, to scan mailed ballots into the computer system, rejecting a defeated congressional candidate’s claim that the office breached the statute by beginning to count ballots before the polls had closed.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Teen charged with attempted murder of Metro bus driver (Video)

A 17-year-old boy was charged with attempted murder in the stabbing of a 61-year-old Metro bus driver in Woodland Hills. Eric Leonard reports May 31, 2023.


Former teacher at Sherman Oaks middle school accused of molesting students

A man who taught at a middle school in Sherman Oaks pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges involving alleged sexual misconduct with two students. Kareem Spann, 46, of Burbank, was arrested Tuesday by Los Angeles Police Department detectives after they received "multiple reports from students of alleged ongoing inappropriate sexual contact by Spann while he was employed at Louis Armstrong Middle School,'' the LAPD said in a statement Thursday.


LA City Attorney wins settlement against ghost gun maker Polymer80

A Nevada-based ghost gun manufacturer is prohibited from selling gun kits in California, Los Angeles City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto announced Tuesday. Under the terms of a settlement the city reached in a lawsuit against Polymer80, the company must conduct background checks on buyers, place serial numbers on its products and pay $4 million in civil penalties.

Spectrum News1

Armie Hammer won't face sexual assault charges in Los Angeles case

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office will not file sexual assault charges against embattled actor Armie Hammer following what has been described as a "thorough review" by prosecutors. In a statement obtained by EW, Tiffiny Blacknell, director of the D.A. office's bureau of communications, said prosecutors found "insufficient evidence" to charge Hammer with rape, citing the "complexity of the relationship" between the actor and his accuser, previously identified as a woman named Effie, and "inability to prove a non-consensual, forcible sexual encounter."

Entertainment Weekly

Newsom halted the death penalty. The D.A. in the Davis stabbings case doesn't care

In Yolo County, just west of Sacramento, the decision on whether to pursue the death penalty rests with one man, Dist. Atty. Jeff Reisig. Of course, the same is true in California's other 57 counties, where district attorneys ultimately make the call. But, as Reisig told me when I sat down with him recently, "It's absolutely fair to say that in 58 counties in California, every D.A. probably does it differently."

Los Angeles Times

Prosecutors say Sam Bankman-Fried's arguments to dismiss cryptocurrency charges are meritless

Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyers made meritless arguments in a bid to convince a judge to toss out criminal charges alleging that the FTX founder stole from investors in his multibillion dollar cryptocurrency fund, federal prosecutors said Monday. In papers filed in Manhattan federal court, prosecutors responded to early May filings in which Bankman-Fried’s lawyers insisted that the United States overreached in its case against Bankman-Fried, making federal crimes out of regulatory issues.


Jan. 6 rioters are raking in thousands in donations. Now the US is coming after their haul

Less than two months after he pleaded guilty to storming the U.S. Capitol, Texas resident Daniel Goodwyn appeared on Tucker Carlson’s then-Fox News show and promoted a website where supporters could donate money to Goodwyn and other rioters whom the site called “political prisoners.” 



State Senate passes bill creating path to freedom for those serving life without parole

The state Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would allow judges to review the cases of people sentenced to life without parole if the person has been incarcerated for at least 25 years, according to a press release. Authored by Sen. Dave Cortese (D-San Jose), Senate Bill 94, which passed by a 21-12 vote, would authorize judges to use their discretion to consider which cases would be eligible for evaluation by the Board of Parole Hearings.

The Observer

L.A. criminal court program diverts mentally ill offenders from prosecution

The defendant talked about her struggle overcoming anger and accepting her need for mental health treatment. When she was done, the judge led the courtroom in applause, stepping down from the bench and posing with her for photos. Five times that day, Judge Theresa R. McGonigle and two colleagues repeated that ritual, offering personal salutes to accused lawbreakers who had chosen to go through treatment for their mental illness rather than face prosecution.

Los Angeles Times

Teens arrested for string of robberies in Oakland back on the streets

Eight teenagers, recently arrested for a string of more than 35 robberies in Oakland, are all back out on the streets Wednesday. The robberies included an attack on a 63-year-old woman in Rockridge last Sunday and the lack of punishment is prompting concern and frustration from residents. “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. But if there is no time, go ahead and do the crime, right?” said Michael Melland of Oakland.

NBC Bay Area

'A flip of a coin': Experts, local officials weigh in on Prop 57 impacts on recidivism

Reforming California's prison system was a cornerstone of Jerry Brown's time in office. The former California governor spearheaded the push for Prop 57, eventually getting it passed by voters in 2016. Prop 57 gives people with nonviolent felony convictions consideration for parole. It also enables more inmates to earn credits for good behavior, offering another pathway to early release.


Santa Ana recall: More complaints from SA cops about union boss Gerry Serrano.

Vern here. We’ve just received another missive from SAPD Officer Manny Delgadillo, the Downtown Santa Ana Police Liaison and critic of Union Boss Gerry Serrano. The current attempted recall against Councilwomen Jessie Lopez and Thai Van Phan is just one Manny’s litany of criticisms of Serrano, but it is the one most of us (non-Santa Ana cops) care most about.

Orange Juice Blog

Proposed legislation to prohibit use of police K-9s fails in California State Assembly

A bill banning K-9’s for apprehensions dies in the assembly after massive backlash from Law Enforcement. AB 742 needed approval from the state assembly by Friday, June 2nd. Assembly Bill 742 would outlaw the use of K-9’s to apprehend dangerous criminals and would only allow them for detecting bombs and drugs. AB 742 was introduced by Assemblymember Corey Jackson earlier this year. 


California Supreme Court extends whistleblower protections again

On May 22, 2023, the Supreme Court of California answered the following question in People ex rel. Garcia-Brower v. Kolla’s, Inc., S269456: “Does Labor Code section 1102.5(b), which protects employees against retaliation for ‘disclosing information’ about suspected violations of the law to their employer or a government agency, encompass a report of unlawful activities made to an employer or agency that already knew about the violation?”


National City police officer sues county over task force friendly fire shooting by deputies

A National City police officer who was shot after sheriff’s deputies opened fire last year on an auto theft suspect has filed suit against San Diego County and the deputies. The shooting took place on the night of Feb. 16, 2022, after members of the multi-agency San Diego County Regional Auto Theft Task Force pursued a suspect into an El Cajon cul-de-sac.

Times of San Diego

Honolulu officers who arrested 10-year-old want protection from lawsuit

Three Honolulu police officers believe they shouldn’t have to be part of a lawsuit that contends they used excessive force and wrongfully arrested a 10-year-old girl at school over a supposedly offensive drawing in 2020. The officers, Christine Nevez, Warren Ford and Corey Perez, handcuffed the girl at Honowai Elementary School in Waipahu and detained her for hours at the Pearl City police station.

Honolulu Civil Beat

Los Angeles City/County

In Los Angeles, the homeless pay rent for RVs that offer shelter and little else

In the shadows of Mount Hollywood, next to studio lots and the Los Angeles River, sits one of the city's fastest growing neighborhoods. Zoned for open space and commercial use, these days, Forest Lawn Drive is almost entirely residential. "I became homeless during all the rain, so it was really, really rough," said Lorna, who lives with her dogs in a parked RV on Forest Lawn.


Patience wearing thin over return of large homeless encampment in Hollywood

Frustrated business owners in Hollywood are pleading with the city to help deal with a large homeless encampment growing in the area. The encampment is near Martel Avenue and Sunset Boulevard. The city cleared out the encampment roughly a year ago, but it's back and growing. One local business owner blames the city for not policing the area and letting homeless people move back in without any pushback.


The reason there's so much illegally dumped trash in LA may be due to low penalties

As you drive through neighborhoods around downtown Los Angeles, they all have one thing in common: mountains of illegally dumped trash littering streets and alleys. You'll see the same trashy mess in parts of West LA, South LA and the San Fernando Valley. "Illegal dumping is an issue that's been impacting communities throughout Los Angeles for decades," Mayor Karen Bass told the NBC4 I-Team this week. "That's unacceptable," Bass added.


Times accuses L.A. County supervisors of violating open-meeting law

Los Angeles County supervisors met privately Tuesday to discuss demands by The Times that they turn over transcripts of two recent meetings following alleged violations of one of California's bedrock open-government laws. The discussion, held as part of Tuesday's closed-session board meeting, came after a lawyer representing The Times sent the supervisors a letter accusing them of twice violating the Brown Act, which aims to ensure the public can watch local government meetings.

Los Angeles Times


Shoplifting rises again in Los Angeles

Earlier this year, alarm bells sounded as shoplifting began skyrocketing in Los Angeles. Thefts from stores in January and February were higher than at any point in at least a decade. Since then, the situation has only gotten worse. In March, there were 967 reports in the city, according to publicly available Los Angeles Police Department data. In April the figure ticked down to 849 incidents, but that is still the second-highest monthly count since at least 2010.


California judge robbed of Rolex outside Oakland courthouse, report claims

An Alameda County Superior Court judge had his Rolex watch stolen by a group of men just blocks from an Oakland courthouse Thursday, according to a local report. The incident comes two days after hundreds of residents turned out to decry what they painted as deteriorating public safety in the Bay Area community. The young men, believed to be between 18 and 22 and traveling in a light-colored Hyundai, accosted the judge just blocks away from the city’s main courthouse, according to the Berkeley Scanner. 

Fox News

5 teens arrested in connection with beating of 3 Marines in San Clemente

Five juveniles were arrested Tuesday in connection with the assault of three Marines near the San Clemente Pier, authorities announced. Footage of the melee from Friday night shows two of the victims on the ground trying to protect themselves from getting punched and kicked by a crowd of young people. The assault appears to end when a woman steps in and tells the group to stop.


Octogenarian shoots man dead during argument outside Westchester Amazon Fresh

An 83-year-old shot another man in the parking lot of a Los Angeles Amazon Fresh store Tuesday afternoon during what witnesses said was some sort of argument. The shooting on the 6800 block of South La Cienega Boulevard in the Westchester neighborhood was reported at 4:05 p.m., the Los Angeles Police Department said. The identity of the victim, who was said to be 30 years old, was not immediately available.


Security guard shot to death at underground casino in Hollywood Hills: LAPD

Investigators with the Los Angeles Police Department were searching for two would-be robbers turned killers following a shooting at an illegal casino in the Hollywood Hills early Wednesday morning. Just after 4 a.m., the LAPD received multiple calls from people who reported shots fired in the 3300 block of Cahuenga Boulevard. The early stages of the investigation reveal two armed and masked men entered the club from the back entrance where they confronted a security guard. 


Video: Man violently punched in armed robbery at South LA taco truck

Police are investigating after a man was assaulted during the armed robbery of a taco truck in South Los Angeles overnight. It happened Sunday just before midnight near the intersection of 103rd Avenue and S. Avalon Boulevard. The armed suspect, described as a man between 26 and 30-years-old, approached the truck and ordered the workers inside to hand over cash - while physically holding a man at gunpoint, police said.


More street takeovers take place in South LA and Compton; LASD says it is investigating

More illegal street takeovers have taken place over the Memorial Day weekend, with video showing crowds cheering as cars spin in circles and fireworks getting shot into the air. The illegal takeovers took place in the South Los Angeles and Compton areas. Crowds took over several intersections, video showed. Some people were seen hanging from car windows and doors while drivers performed dangerous stunts. Others were seen shooting off fireworks.



At all levels of public office, threats now come with the job, study shows

Since taking office in 2021, Oakland City Council member Carroll Fife has received threats by phone, social media and in person, an extreme level of harassment she never imagined would come with serving her community. Fife said she has found animal parts strewn on her car, her tires flattened, and trash dumped at her doorstep. She tried in vain to get a restraining order against a man who said she would “feel the Second Amendment.”

Washington Post

Police agencies are desperate to hire. But they say few want the job

The San Francisco Police Department is down more than 600 officers, almost 30 percent of its allotment. Phoenix needs about 500 more officers to be fully staffed. The D.C. police force is smaller than it has been in 50 years, despite troubling gun violence and carjackings, as officers leave faster than they can be replaced. Police departments across the country are struggling to fill their ranks, creating what many current and former officials say is a staffing emergency that threatens public safety.

Washington Post

Texas Gov Greg Abbott to sign bill taking on 'rogue' district attorneys

Texas is about to crack down on "rogue" district attorneys who refuse to prosecute entire classes of crime, like abortion or drug-related offenses. Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday he will sign House Bill 17, which expands the definition of "official misconduct" for which a prosecutor can be removed from office. Under the proposed law, Texas residents may call for the removal of a district attorney who refuses to prosecute a class or type of criminal offense by filing a petition.

Fox News

Every company leaving California: 2020-2023

Arguably since the first agricultural revolution 10,000+ years ago, work has been tied a fixed location. That location-based work - first a farm, then a manufacturing plant, then an office - created opportunity. Opportunity attracted workers (or new citizens). Therefore, we always formed cities, countries, and societies primarily through location-based opportunity. Go where the work is, as they say. For the first time in thousands of years, that trend is reversing.

Build Remote


Jury finds Danny Masterson guilty on 2 counts in rape retrial

A Los Angeles jury has found former "That '70s Show" actor Danny Masterson guilty of two counts of forcible rape in a retrial of a case involving three women. The third count against Jane Doe 3 has been declared a mistrial. The jury reached its verdict Wednesday afternoon after deliberating since May 17, over the course of six days total. Masterson, 47, pleaded not guilty to three counts of felony rape following accusations by three different women, including a former girlfriend. 

ABC News

Man convicted of 2nd-degree murder in killing of Malibu Creek State Park camper

A man has been convicted of murder in the 2018 killing of a father who was camping with his two daughters in Malibu Creek State Park, officials announced Friday. A jury found Anthony Rauda guilty of second-degree murder in the killing of Tristan Beaudette, 35, three counts of attempted murder and five counts of residential burglary, the latter stemming from a series of break-ins dating back to 2016. 


Beverly Hills man pleads not guilty in hemp farm fraud case

A Beverly Hills man who was finishing a sentence in a prior fraud case pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal charges of soliciting more than $9 million from victims with false claims they were investing in a hemp farm that did not exist. Mark Anderson, 68, who was living in Beverly Hills while on supervised release after serving a 135-month federal prison sentence, was ordered jailed without bond, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.



State Farm halts new property insurance policies in California

State Farm is stopping new home insurance sales in California, citing wildfire risks and skyrocketing construction costs, the company announced Friday. The insurance giant stopped accepting applications for all business and personal lines property and casualty insurance in California on May 27. However, State Farm’s decision does not affect existing auto insurance.


Articles of Interest

Halyna Hutchins' family disputes "Rust" producers' take on consortium loss

The parents and sister of Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer who was fatally shot when a prop gun wielded by Alec Baldwin discharged on the "Rust" movie set in New Mexico in 2021, are challenging an effort by some of the producers to be released from the plaintiffs' claims for loss of consortium. Hutchins' mother, Olga Solovey; father, Anatolii Androsovych; and younger sister, Svetlana Zemko, sued Feb. 9 in Los Angeles Superior Court. All three are Ukrainian citizens, living near Kiev. 

City News Service

Lawsuit over American-made tortillas thrown out; judge says reasonable customer would read the back label

A reasonable consumer is capable of reading the back of a package of tortillas, a federal judge has ruled in tossing a class action lawsuit over a Mexican flag on La Banderita products. Judge Jesus Bernal on May 18 granted Ole Mexican Foods' motion to dismiss, in which the company argued a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit clarified the "reasonable consumer" test this type of case requires.

Legal Newsline

Judge calls class action food lawyer a 'wrecking ball,' will consider having him pay Walmart's attorneys fees

One class action lawyer will likely be looking to avoid the courtroom of a certain Chicago federal judge who just tossed another one of his many lawsuits with a strongly worded ruling that could lead to financial penalties. Judge Steven Seeger on May 15 dismissed a lawsuit alleging customers who purchased Walmart's olive oil mayonnaise were cheated because it didn't contain as much olive oil as they expected.

Legal Newsline


Justice reform groups praise California lawmakers for rejecting governor’s $360.6 million plan to expand/reorganize San Quentin State Prison

The California State Senate and Assembly Thursday - in what criminal justice reform groups called “remarkable - rejected Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $360.6 million budget proposal to expand and reorganize San Quentin State Prison. Californians United for a Responsible Budget and other criminal justice reform advocates opposed the proposal, and noted in a statement Friday “the state’s own non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office delivered a withering analysis of Gov. Newsom’s San Quentin project, calling it ‘unnecessary and problematic.’”

Davis Vanguard

Calif. grand jury report eyes anti-recidivism programs to reduce jail needs

Santa Cruz County needs a new main jail - but not until an effective anti-recidivism program has been funded and deployed, a civil panel of local residents found in a new analysis. Each year, the Santa Cruz County civil grand jury tours four county corrections facilities in preparation for a potential report. This year's tour of the Main Jail, on Water Street in Santa Cruz, revealed a facility described in a 21-page report released Thursday as an "aging, dismal" jail.

Santa Cruz Sentinel

This California town was already dying. Then the state moved to close its prison

Two things bring people here, prisons and water, and this tiny desert town is losing both. The locals interested in keeping Blythe afloat have ideas: They’ll build a logistics center, or they’ll develop better recreation opportunities on the Colorado River, or they’ll reopen their soon-to-be shuttered state prison as an immigration detention center. But they don’t yet have answers. 



California pension bill seeks $15 billion divestment

The California state Senate approved a bill that would force the country’s two largest pensions to divest an estimated $15 billion from oil and gas companies, a measure opposed by the funds’ managers. The measure, which passed in a 23-10 vote on Thursday, requires the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers Retirement System to empty their assets of large oil and gas companies by 2031 and halt any new investments by 2024. 


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