Courts, Rulings & Lawsuits

Official’s warning was not First Amendment retaliation

The Court of Appeal for this district has upheld the termination of an action against a Beverly Hills City Council member, sued by two firefighters who claim that he sought to intimidate them through rhetoric into dropping their claims of a religious exemption from the 2021 county-issued directive that certain public employees be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

California's one-gun-a-month law struck down by federal judge

A California law barring the purchase of more than one gun in a 30-day period was struck down on Monday by a federal judge who said it failed a test for state laws laid out in the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court ruling expanding gun rights. U.S. District Judge William Hayes sided with a group of California residents, gun retailers and gun rights nonprofits in finding that the one-gun-a-month law did not fit within the nation’s historical tradition of firearms regulation.


Ninth Circuit reinstates bid for injunction in University of Oregon Twitter spat

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday reinstated a Portland State University professor's bid for a preliminary injunction against the University of Oregon after he was temporarily blocked from one of the latter university's accounts on X. In a split decision, the Ninth Circuit panel found that Bruce Gilley's demand for an injunction wasn't moot even though the University of Oregon has unblocked him from @UOEquity, the university's X account for its Division of Equity and Inclusion.

Courthouse News Service

C.A. upholds conviction for kidnapping of inebriated victim in absence of force, fear

Div. Three of the Fourth District Court of Appeal has found sufficient evidence supported a defendant’s rape and kidnapping-for-rape charges where the defendant drove off with the victim who was drifting in and out of consciousness and had alcohol and alprazolam in her system. The panel took up the case against Rodney Taurean Lewis for the second time, on remand from the California Supreme Court.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Dueling motions filed in knife rights challenge to Cal.’s switchblade knife ban

Motions for Summary Judgement have been filed by both sides in Knife Rights’ federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality under the Second Amendment of California’s complete ban on common automatic knives 2 inches and greater that the State prohibits as illegal “switchblades.”

Ammo Land

Supreme Court allows politicians to block constituents from personal accounts

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of local government officials in a First Amendment fight on Friday, finding that politicians can block members of the public from their social media pages without violating the First Amendment. In a unanimous opinion, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a Trump appointee, set guidelines for when public officials' accounts could be viewed as state action.

Courthouse News Service


‘We’re throwing the book at criminals’: O.C. aims anti-crime campaign at surrounding areas

Using bumper stickers, billboards and advertisements on public buses, Orange County prosecutors have launched an anti-crime campaign aimed at deterring people from committing theft there. In particular, that would be people from Los Angeles and other Southern California counties, whom Orange County officials blame for much of the theft on their turf.

Los Angeles Times

Ex-LA deputy mayor on trial again over City Hall racketeering charges

A former Los Angeles deputy mayor for economic development went on trial for the second time Tuesday to fight charges he was part of the widespread racketeering scheme ran by convicted former City Councilman José Huizar. Raymond Chan, 67, is the last remaining defendant to go on trial in the "pay-to-play" ploy whereby real-estate developers were forced to pay bribes in exchange for Huizar guiding their projects in downtown LA through the city's approval process.

Courthouse News Service

Former attorney at law office representing foster children charged with distributing and possessing child sexual abuse material

A former supervising attorney at a nonprofit that provides legal representation to foster children in juvenile dependency court was arraigned today on federal criminal charges alleging he possessed and distributed child sexual abuse material (CSAM). Charles Aghoian, 61, of Camarillo, is charged with three counts of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.

U.S. Attorney’s Office Press Release

Violent protest at UC Berkeley triggers federal investigation into alleged discrimination

Federal authorities have added UC Berkeley to the growing list of colleges across the United States under investigation for alleged discrimination since the onset of the divisive Israel-Hamas war. The investigation was launched March 5 after protesters violently shut down an event organized independently by Jewish student groups in February.

Los Angeles Times

Former Laguna Niguel resident indicted for allegedly threatening to kill O.C. family law judge

A former Orange County resident has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly threatening to kill a superior court judge who presided over his family law case, the Justice Department announced today. Byrom Zuniga Sanchez, 32, formerly of Laguna Niguel, but whose most recent residence was in Morella, Mexico, is charged in an indictment returned Friday with two counts of threats by interstate and foreign communication.

U.S. Attorney’s Office Press Release

13 charged in Mexican Mafia collection racket in L.A. County jails

Authorities this week charged 13 people with collecting money from drug sales and extorted commissary goods inside the Los Angeles County jails on behalf of Michael “Mosca” Torres, a Mexican Mafia member who controlled the jail rackets until his death in July. The case filed Wednesday by Los Angeles County prosecutors offers yet another illustration of how the Mexican Mafia, a prison-based syndicate of Latino gang members, controls and extracts money from inmates held at the nation’s largest jail complex.

Los Angeles Times

Prosecutors: A ‘network’ of supporters helped fugitives avoid capture after Capitol riot

A Florida man charged with interfering with police during the Jan. 6, 2021, siege at the U.S. Capitol is connected to a “network” of supporters who have helped other Capitol riot defendants avoid capture by the FBI, prosecutors said in a court filing this week. A federal judge on Thursday ordered Thomas Paul Osborne to be released from a Florida jail while he awaits trial on charges that he grabbed a police officer’s baton during a mob’s attack on the Capitol.



California bill prohibiting resentencing for murder of police officer moves to Assembly

California law allows a judge to resentence someone convicted of some crimes under certain circumstances, reducing their prison time. Assembly Bill 1809 - introduced by Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez, a Pomona Democrat - would remove first-degree murder of a peace officer from the list. 

Courthouse News Service

Judge dismisses case against suspected LA 'Skid Row Stabber’

A judge agreed Friday to dismiss murder charges against a man suspected of killing 10 homeless men in Los Angeles in the 1970s because he only has six months to live. At a hearing Friday morning, Bobby Joe Maxwell's sister Rosie Harmon burst into tears when the Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Larry Fidler dismissed Maxwell's case following a request from prosecutors.


L.A. City Attorney's Office defends LAFD firing

A veteran Los Angeles Fire Department firefighter/paramedic was rightfully fired in 2023 on allegations he posted compromising photos of a woman on pornographic websites and vandalized her vehicle, the City Attorney's Office contends in court papers obtained Tuesday. The pleadings filed Monday with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Curtis A. Kin were in response to a petition filed by terminated LAFD employee Marcus D. Portis.

City News Service

California increases efforts to remove guns from hands of criminals, subjects of court orders

The California Attorney General announced Monday that his office was making measurable progress in efforts to remove firearms from people who bought them legally but later became ineligible to possess them when they were convicted of crimes or when they became the subjects of domestic violence or other court orders.


California judge leans toward advancing Republican spam email suit

A California federal judge indicated Thursday he was more inclined to side with the Republican National Committee over accusations Google improperly pushed its emails to people’s spam folders. U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Calabretta said he thinks the committee properly argued that Google acted in bad faith when committee fundraising emails were routed to spam folders during the months leading up to the 2022 election. 

Courthouse News Service

California petition for harsher retail theft penalties likely headed to the polls

A California petition to establish greater accountability for retail theft is on track to gain the critical mass of public support necessary to push it to the polls in November. The Homelessness, Drug Addiction and Theft Reduction Act would amend portions of the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, also known as Prop 47, by increasing penalties for certain theft-related crimes.

Sourcing Journal

Same old, same old at the Los Angeles Times

Credit the Los Angeles Times for steadfastness. As the paper hemorrhages money, as the staff continues to shrink, as all available evidence suggests their business model is a failure, those who remain with the failing enterprise continue to advance the same leftist tropes. It's like watching a church choir that feels it must sing all the louder as its members fall away and the pews before it grow more empty with each passing Sunday.

Jack Dunphy/PJ Media

Salvadoran journalists’ suit against Israeli spyware supplier doesn’t belong in US, judge rules

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Friday afternoon from a group of Salvadoran investigative journalists who claimed they were the targets of spyware attacks from an Israeli cyber intelligence group. The journalists, from an investigative news outlet called El Faro, sued NSO Group, an Israeli cyber intelligence agency, in 2022 after they said they were victims of spyware attacks in 2020 and 2021.

Courthouse News Service

DA's Race

Where Los Angeles County DA George Gascón and Nathan Hochman stand on the issues

With Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón and former federal prosecutor Nathan Hochman advancing to November, this editorial board presents the responses of the two candidates to surveys sent to all DA candidates ahead of the March 5 election. Here, we present their views on building public confidence in the county’s justice system, their views of the progressive prosecutor movement and one campaign promise they’ll make their opponent will not.

Los Angeles Daily News

Los Angeles City/County

Former L.A. County undersheriff admits he had tattoo associated with alleged deputy gang

Former Los Angeles County Undersheriff Tim Murakami testified before the Civilian Oversight Commission Thursday, admitting under oath that he once had a tattoo associated with the Cavemen, an alleged deputy gang within the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. Murakami, who was the second-in-command under former Sheriff Alex Villanueva, had previously refused to answer questions about whether he was affiliated with the group. 

KNX News

Federal judge seeks audit of L.A. homelessness programs

A federal judge wants an independent accounting of homelessness programs in Los Angeles - including Mayor Karen Bass’ signature Inside Safe initiative. U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter made his remarks during oral arguments on a motion filed by lawyers for the L.A. Alliance for Human Rights, which has accused the city of failing to live up to the terms of a nearly 2-year-old settlement agreement to build shelter beds and clear homeless encampments.

Los Angeles Times

LAPD can’t get rid of their bad cops. Here’s what they want to do about it

It read like a typical job listing for an attorney. Successful candidates could expect to cross-examine witnesses, research case law and write briefs - with a starting salary that topped out at roughly $221,000. But as the job description posted on the career website Indeed last year made clear, these wouldn’t be just any cases.

Los Angeles Times

LA County psychologist settles retaliation lawsuit for $1.65 million

A psychologist who said she was retaliated against for reporting civil rights violations at the Twin Towers jail has settled her lawsuit against the county’s Department of Mental Health for $1.65 million. In the 2018 suit, Sara Hough, a psychologist specializing in forensic evaluations, said the department discriminated and retaliated against her over several years while she worked at the jail.

Los Angeles Daily News

Report: Teens exploited low staffing, mismanagement in Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall escape attempt

Teenage detainees at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall exploited the facility’s understaffing in November to execute a coordinated escape attempt, during which one youth managed to scale a wall and reach a waiting car before he was apprehended, according to a new report from the Los Angeles County Office of Inspector General.

Pasadena Star News


San Francisco city workers’ union asks regulatory board to block Proposition F

A San Francisco public employees’ union this week asked the California Public Employment Relations Board to block Proposition F, a controversial measure passed by voters that will require city welfare recipients that use drugs to accept treatment or lose their benefits.

Courthouse News Service

Cops will not respond to theft, burglary, other emergencies in major US city

In response to the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police’s “seriously understaffed force,” the department recently announced that police officers will no longer respond to certain calls labeled “in-progress emergencies,” such as harassment, theft, and burglary alarms. According to 11 Investigates, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Chief Larry Scirotto is hoping to reduce the department’s call volume from roughly 200,000 calls each year to approximately 50,000 calls.

American Military News

California bill would give families more information after police killing

California law enforcement investigators would have to change how they interview the families of people killed by police under legislation meant to stop officers from questioning relatives before revealing that their loved one is dead. The proposed law would require detectives and prosecutors investigating a police-related death to read to families of the deceased a list of declarations similar to Miranda rights, informing them that they have the right to know the status of their loved one, remain silent, retain an attorney, and know whether they are being recorded before answering questions.

Los Angeles Times


L.A. County probation officer arrested for alleged sexual relationship

A Los Angeles County probation officer was arrested for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a youth detainee at a juvenile detention camp in Commerce, the Probation Department announced Monday. According to the agency - which is already reeling from a recent determination by state regulators that two other juvenile detention facilities are unsuitable to house youth offenders - the unnamed female probation officer was arrested on suspicion of arranging a meeting with a minor for a lewd purpose, having sex with an inmate, unauthorized possession of a wireless communications device in a secured custody facility and bringing contraband into a jail.

City News Service

Inside the organized crime rings plaguing retailers including Ulta, T.J. Maxx and Walgreens

In a tony suburban enclave in the San Diego foothills, police say, an organized retail crime "queenpin" had built an empire. Tucked behind the stone walls of her 4,500-square-foot Spanish-style mansion, Michelle Mack had stockpiled a small fortune in cosmetics that had been stolen from Ulta and Sephora stores across the country, authorities said. 


How the LAPD took down a sneaker heist ring that stole millions worth of Nikes

Most die-hard sneakerheads wouldn’t think twice about waiting hours in line to be the first to score the Air Jordan 4 BRED Reimagineds - which retail for $200, but can resell for double that on the collectors market. Some write computer code to snap up pairs of limited edition Jordans and other coveted Nikes as soon as they go on sale online. And then there are those suspected of going to even greater lengths to get exclusive kicks.

Los Angeles Times

Oakland Taco Bell locations shut down indoor dining

Taco Bell customers can no longer dine inside multiple Oakland locations. KRON4 visited two Taco Bell restaurants on Sunday and confirmed the dining rooms at two locations, 3535 35th Ave. and 630 Hegenberger Road, have been shut down. KRON4 asked one Taco Bell employee in Oakland why the dining room is now closed. “It’s closed because some people sometimes make trouble,” he said.


They robbed banks in L.A.’s heist heyday. Freed from prison, can they resist the ‘lifestyle’?

The lawyer insisted that by the time his client got out of prison, he’d be too old to rob banks. It was 1999, and Bruce Bell’s attorney was arguing for a lesser sentence for the robbery of a Home Savings of America in San Fernando. If the judge sentenced him to 24 years in federal prison - the punishment he had meted out to Bell’s accomplice - Bell would be in his 70s by the time he got out.

Los Angeles Times

Articles of Interest

Out-squatted: Handyman Flash Shelton will squat with your squatters - until they leave

On a winter morning in Woodland Hills, the “Squatter Hunter” slowly approaches a posh two-story home dressed in all black, armed with a Glock 26 pistol, stun gun, pepper spray and baton. His body camera is on. His two-man squad lurks behind him. They’ve spent four days in surveillance, learning the habits of the man squatting inside. They’ve waited for him to leave, but he never does.

Los Angeles Times

What we learned from that long, strange lawyer’s letter to Business Insider

Last fall, as then-Harvard president Claudine Gay was facing her first allegations of plagiarism, the Clare Locke law firm sent a stern letter to the New York Post, which was reporting the story. “These allegations of plagiarism are demonstrably false,” the firm warned the Post, adding that the paper was relying “on a fatally flawed understanding of what ‘plagiarism’ is.” 

Columbia Journalism Review

School’s announcement of pupil’s expulsion was not protected speech, C.A. declares

A private school’s communication to another private school advising of its expulsion of an eighth-grade student for whom it previously provided a letter of recommendation is not a matter pf public concern, Div. Three of the Fourth District Court of Appeal held yesterday, affirming an order denying an anti-SLAPP motion.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Party-line split in public opinion of US Supreme Court seen for first time

Like most institutions, the public's faith in the U.S. Supreme Court is at an all-time low. But a new paper points to evidence that public opinion of the high court is also becoming polarized along partisan lines - a trend that may have been triggered by the recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. When asked "How much do you trust the Supreme Court to operate in the best interests of the American people?" only 53% said "a great deal" or "fair amount," down from nearly 70% in 2019. 

Courthouse News Service

‘Trump Employee 5,’ who unknowingly helped move classified documents, speaks out

A longtime Mar-a-Lago employee who is a central witness in the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents is now speaking publicly because he believes that voters should hear the truth about his former boss and the case before the November election. Brian Butler, who is referenced as “Trump Employee 5” in the classified documents indictment brought by special counsel Jack Smith, told CNN in an exclusive interview that he doesn’t believe the criminal case against Trump is a “witch hunt,” as the former president has claimed.



Newsom rejects controversial parole for San Francisco high school student killer

A convicted killer who murdered a San Francisco high school student in 2004 will not be paroled after Gov. Gavin Newsom overturned the controversial decision by a California parole board last week. On Sept. 27, 2004, the body of Lincoln High School senior Maxina Danner, 17, was found wrapped in a blanket in McLaren Park, near the intersection of Visitacion Avenue and Mansell Street. 

SF Gate

Convictions of ‘crooked’ disbarred lawyer Layfield upheld

Disbarred lawyer Philip Layfield, who cheated numerous clients by stealing a total of $5,552,756 from settlement funds and who cheated on his income tax, has failed in an effort to persuade the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that his convictions should be overturned. Judge John B. Owens, writing for a three-judge panel, described Layfield as “a crooked plaintiff’s lawyer and certified public accountant with operations in Los Angeles and elsewhere.”

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Southern California father found guilty of murdering his 4 children, their grandmother 

A Lancaster man was found guilty on Tuesday of killing his four children and their grandmother in November 2021, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón’s office said. According to a release from the DA’s office, Germarcus Lamar David, now 32, fatally shot the victims at their family home on the 6500 block of Garnet Lane in Lancaster on Nov. 28, 2021. 



California hit with almost $100 million in fines over prison staffing issues

The state of California faces some $94 million in sanctions after a federal judge on Friday found it had failed to meet court-ordered staffing requirements for mental health workers in prisons. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Kimberly Mueller issued the tentative ruling, saying the defendants - who include Governor Gavin Newsom and Jeff Macomber, secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation - knew they faced millions of dollars in fines and still hadn’t met their obligations.

Courthouse News Service

Warden ousted as FBI again searches California federal women’s prison plagued by sexual abuse

The warden of a troubled federal women’s prison in California has been ousted months into his tenure as FBI agents on Monday hauled boxes of evidence from the facility in an apparent escalation of a yearslong investigation that put a former warden and other employees behind bars for sexually abusing inmates. Government lawyers said in court papers Monday that Art Dulgov was removed as warden of FCI Dublin in the wake of allegations that his staff had retaliated against an inmate who testified in January in a lawsuit against the prison.


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