Courts, Rulings & Lawsuits

L.A. County prosecutors’ union files unfair labor charges against George Gascón

The Association of Deputy District Attorneys has filed an unfair labor practice charge against Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón. ADDA, a union representing Los Angeles County prosecutors, says the Gascón made false, anti-union statements to a member of the editorial board of the Southern California News Group.


California judge rejects part of ATF’s ghost gun regulation

The state of California struck a blow against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in a fight over the regulation of untraceable homemade guns when a federal judge on Monday morning ruled that parts of the bureau’s rules were unlawful.

Courthouse News Service

Judge: LAPD officers fired over COVID vaccine dispute won’t get jobs back

A Los Angeles police officer who was fired in 2022 after challenging the city’s COVID-19 vaccination and testing mandate is entitled to back pay but should not get her job restored, an L.A. County judge has ruled. L.A. County Superior Court Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff said police department officials denied the former officer, Natalie Stringer, her right to respond to allegations prior to a disciplinary meeting, but the city did not violate labor laws and acted within its rights when she was terminated based on her “failure to comply with a valid condition of employment.”

Los Angeles Times

Federal judge reverses himself, rules that California’s ban on billy clubs is unconstitutional

A federal judge struck down a California law banning possession of club-like weapons, reversing his previous ruling from three years ago that upheld the prohibition on billy clubs, batons and similar blunt objects. U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled last week that the prohibition “unconstitutionally infringes the Second Amendment rights of American citizens” and enjoined the state from enforcing the law, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.


Denial of motion to acquit in criminal case bars malicious prosecution suit

A man who was put on trial for battery and was acquitted cannot prevail in a malicious prosecution action against his accuser because, at the end of the prosecution’s case, the judge denied a motion for acquittal, Div. One of the Fourth District Court of Appeal has held, invoking the interim adverse judgment rule.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Beep! Beep! Supreme Court rejects case of woman ticketed for honking her horn

Don’t honk if you agree. The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a California traffic law that bans honking - other than to warn another driver - turning down a challenge to the law from a woman ticketed for honking while driving by a rally outside her congressman’s office in 2017. Susan Porter had argued her beeps of support were protected by the First Amendment.

USA Today

California can continue to restrict use of butterfly knives - for now - court rules

Hawaii and California can continue to enforce their laws against butterfly knives - pocket knives with folding blades that can be joined together and used as a weapon - while an 11-judge federal appeals court panel decides whether the laws violate the constitutional right to bear arms for self-defense.

San Francisco Chronicle

Federal judge advances excessive force case against Antioch police to trial

A jury must decide if California police officers used excessive force when they restrained a man who later died, a federal judge has ruled. U.S. District Judge Araceli Martinez-Olguin handed a mixed bag on summary judgment motions from both the San Francisco Bay Area city of Antioch and the family of a 30-year-old man who died after being held facedown by police officers James Perkinson, Arturo Becerra, Daniel Hopwood and Nicholas Shipilo. 

Courthouse News Service

Supreme Court divided on bump stock ban

A Texas man’s challenge to a ban on bump stocks seemed to stump the Supreme Court on Wednesday, dividing the justices over whether devices that allow guns to fire hundreds of rounds per minute should be considered machine guns. Many of the conservative justices seemed troubled by the nearly century-old statute before them that the government argued should outlaw a 21st-century device. 

Courthouse News Service

Dismissal of bellicose juror results in conviction reversal

The Court of Appeal for this district has reversed the conviction of a man for elder abuse because the lone hold-out juror was ousted from the panel after other jurors complained during discussions that she was quarrelsome, insulting, and closed-minded. According to one juror, Juror No. 2 proclaimed at the outset of the deliberations: “I’ve basically made up my mind. Don’t show me anything. I don’t want to see any more evidence.”

Metropolitan News-Enterprise


LA County DA George Gascón accused of using 'mafia tactics’

Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Tatiana Chahoian is accusing her boss, District Attorney George Gascón, of resorting to "mafia tactics.” "We don't live in a third-world country where police are sent to people's homes to intimidate them into silence," Chahoian said. Her accusations come in the wake of an interview with FOX 11's Gina Silva, where Chahoian exposed concerning practices within the office. 


DA urging prosecutors against pressing charges for street racing deputy DA alleges

Los Angeles County prosecutors say they are being pressured not to press charges for street racing, street takeovers, and reckless driving. LA County Deputy District Attorney Tatiana Chahoian said she was "just in a state of shock" after receiving the latest message from George Gascón, urging prosecutors not to pursue charges in case related to street racing, reckless driving and street takeovers.


Prosecutors charge 2 more teenagers connected to random killing sprees

Prosecutors have charged two more teens for the random killing sprees that happened within a 5-mile radius in Los Angeles County. In total, four people have been connected to the November 2023 and February 2024 homicides, which happened in Bell, Cudahy, Huntington Park, and unincorporated LA County. District Attorney George Gascón said that the suspect's alleged actions killed six people, including a 14-year-old boy. 


The Mexican Mafia, a hit list, a swallowed note: Lawyer charged in murder plot

A criminal defense attorney was charged in a federal indictment unsealed last week with conspiring to murder a member of the Mexican Mafia who had fallen out of favor with the prison-based syndicate. Gabriel Zendejas Chavez was first indicted in 2018, accused of using the confidentiality afforded by his bar license to relay messages between Mexican Mafia members held in far-flung prisons.

Los Angeles Times

Identification of narcotics by laser device is inadmissible

Div. Three of the Fourth District Court of Appeal held on Friday that the trial court erred in admitting expert testimony based on a laser narcotics identification test as to the identity of a controlled substance where the prosecution failed to establish that the test sufficiently met the standard for admissibility of a new scientific technique.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Some California D.A.s are fighting fentanyl with murder charges. Why San Francisco will join them

County by county in California, as fentanyl overdoses escalate, local prosecutors are turning to a novel legal strategy to stem the spiraling death toll: charging drug dealers with murder. In July, Placer County reached a landmark plea deal that sent a man to prison for 15 years-to-life on charges of second-degree murder after he provided a Roseville teenager with a fentanyl-contaminated pill that proved lethal.

Los Angeles Times

Man accused of threatening mass shooting, attack on judge in Orange County arrested at border

A man wanted for allegedly making threats to murder a judge and carry out a mass shooting of police and lawyers in Orange County was arrested this week when he attempted to cross the border from Mexico into the United States, federal authorities said. Byrom Zuniga Sanchez, 32, was detained Monday night and was being held a a federal lockup in San Diego pending an initial appearance in court.


DA's Race

Ads were supposed to make Gascón’s challengers stand out. So why do they all look the same?

The ads open with a stirring violin track, the subject striding confidently past the Broadway facade of the L.A. County Hall of Justice, or the Temple Street face of the United States Courthouse, or the Art Deco tower of City Hall. A piano swells under the strings as the star greets first responders, working families or unhoused people.

West Observer

A last minute look at the 11 people who hope to unseat LA DA George Gascón

As we race toward the March 5, 2024, primary election, let’s take one more quick look at the eleven challengers, each of whom are hoping to somehow gather enough votes to make it into the November runoff with the goal of unseating Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón who, since December 7, 2020, has led the nation’s largest prosecutor’s office.

Witness LA

LA County DA Race: A look at the candidates trying to unseat George Gascón

Eleven candidates are hoping to unseat current LA County District Attorney George Gascón. Gascón, who was elected in 2020, is up for reelection and several prosecutors, including his own employees, are looking to take his job. His challengers include local prosecutors Jonathan Hatami and Eric Siddall and former federal prosecutors Jeff Chemerinsky and Nathan Hochman.



Sheriff of California’s 4th largest county says public safety ‘in crisis’ due to ‘radical progressive agenda’

The Chief Law Enforcement Officer of California’s fourth-largest county says the state’s “public safety is in crisis.” “Crime is steadily on the rise and our public safety policy is one of the worst, if not the worst in the nation,” Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco stated at a recent press conference. And, the sheriff claimed, it’s happening by design.

Pacific Business Review

Proposition 47 changes look certain for vote

The more time passes since the 2014 passage of California’s Proposition 47, the more it’s clear that voters blundered in approving the initiative’s setting an absolute $950 floor value for a theft or burglary to be considered a felony. This ballot measure deprived judges of the right to decide whether a crime involving less than $950 in merchandise or other goods might also be felonious. 

The Coast News Group

California Senate leader opposes Prop. 47 changes. Here’s how he wants to tackle retail theft

California’s new Senate leader on Monday came out against changes to Proposition 47, instead advocating for tools to target organized retail theft and help those dealing with opioid addictions. “I do not believe that this state needs to touch Prop. 47 to be able to help make our communities safer, full stop,” said Senate President Pro Tem Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, during a press conference.

Sacramento Bee

Lawsuit challenges needle distribution program in parks

The Santa Monica Coalition has filed a lawsuit against County Health Director Barbara Ferrer, the Los Angeles County Health Department and the Venice Family Clinic in connection with the Needle Distribution Program, which has been conducted for a period of approximately four years at Reed Park, Palisades Park and Tongva Park.

Santa Monica Daily Press

Karen Bass has a chance to do ‘more than tinkering’ with a new Los Angeles police chief

Over the next few months, Los Angeles voters will choose the person to decide who oversees county prosecutors, and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass will select the person who oversees the city’s police. Together, those two choices will chart the near-term future for law enforcement in the nation’s second-largest city. Bass is the central character in that process, and she understands that it gives her a chance to shape public safety in her city.


Judges and lawyers call for new ways to serve notice 

Problems with personally serving Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige have stalled two Los Angeles County Superior Court lawsuits against him in recent weeks. As a result, plaintiffs’ attorneys have accused him of purposefully evading service, with a party requesting permission to serve him by publication. 

Daily Journal

Dodgers fan awarded $108,500 for security guard scuffle at stadium

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury has awarded $108,500 to an LA Dodgers fan who alleged he was beaten without justification by security guards during a game at Dodger Stadium in 2018 after he told them he needed to use the restroom. Daniel Antunez maintained in his lawsuit that he was left with a broken right ankle that required him to leave the venue in a wheelchair.

City News Service

Los Angeles City/County

Shortage of 911 operators in LA is straining emergency response system

The LAPD's communications operators, which are responsible for answering millions of 911 calls each year and dispatching police, have been working mandatory overtime in order to keep the city's emergency response system running because of a critical staffing shortage. There are 162 unfilled jobs for the operators, called Police Service Representatives, or PSRs, and the city hasn't been able to hire and train new PSRs quickly enough, which has strained the network that the public depends on to send help when there's a life-threatening emergency.


Park pushes for real-time crime centers in response to crime spike

Amid a surge in property crime and retail theft, Councilwoman Traci Park is urging the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) to develop a plan for setting up Real-Time Crime Centers in all 21 of the city's police divisions. Park introduced a motion on Wednesday that aims to broaden the scope of a pilot program that's already seeing success in Hollywood, Downtown Los Angeles, and Van Nuys through the use of advanced surveillance technologies, including Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs) and CCTV systems.

Westside Current

Book Program: Author Alex Cherin on his novel "The Mighty 690”

Journalist Alexander Cherin won national awards for his 2018 story of a treasure hunt by a Los Angeles radio station, and was so taken with the setting that he wrote a novel using that setting. The book has just been released, and Cherin will come out this afternoon to talk about the fine art weaving together fact and fiction. Copies of the book will be available for sale.

Discover Los Angeles

Governor appoints five judges to L.A. County Superior Court

Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced the nominations of Marisa Hernández-Stern, Cristina Legaspi, Paris G. Lewis, Lowrie J. Mendoza and Michael D. Weinstein to the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Hernández-Stern has served as a supervising deputy attorney general at the California Department of Justice, Worker Rights and Fair Labor Section since 2020 and was a deputy attorney general from 2017-20.

Beverly Press


Study: Men's counterfeit purchases double that of women

A recent study by the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) sheds light on a concerning trend: men are the primary buyers of counterfeit goods. The study surveyed 1,000 men aged 16 to 60 who are active on social media at least once a week. Comparisons were drawn with a previous study focused on 1000 female consumers conducted in 2021.

The Counterfeit Report

Reseller uses fake UPS labels to steal $2 million in Nike goods

Over the past few years, stolen Nike shipments have been at the top of news from broken into cargo facilities to uncovered warehouses. A breakthrough in the ongoing investigations has been made as the Los Angeles Police Department charged Roy Lee Harvey, a 37-year-old Tennessee man, in connection to the case. The individual, who police say operated around LA, had the help of a Nike employee to execute the elaborate theft ring.

Nice Kicks

California's public safety crisis: Sheriff Bianco challenges state's criminal justice policies

In the heart of Riverside County, a stark declaration cuts through the air, bringing a contentious debate to the forefront of California's political landscape. Sheriff Chad Bianco stands at the helm of this discourse, challenging the state's approach to criminal justice reform. His critique is not just a whisper in the cacophony of voices clamoring for change but a loud, resonant call to action against what he perceives as policies that compromise public safety under the banner of progressivism.


California takes up White House call to toughen gun storage rules

California lawmakers are weighing a pitch from the White House for states to toughen gun storage rules as legislation languishes in Congress. Even though many states, including California, have laws in place for safely storing guns when children are present, the Biden administration wants them to go further by requiring gun owners to secure firearms most of the time.

Los Angeles Times


LAPD warning of huge spike in Chevy Camaro thefts

The Los Angeles Police Department is warning people about a huge spike in Chevrolet Camaro thefts. There have been 90 Camaro thefts reported in L.A. since the start of the year. That’s a nearly 12-hundred-percent increase from all of 2023, when just seven were stolen. Investigators say thieves often try to sell stolen Camaros on social media. Police are also noticing more Camaros at street takeovers.


Metro rider died after fight involving pepper-spray, police say. Now, suspect is in custody

A 30-year-old man was arrested Monday on suspicion of murder after an incident on a Metro bus in which a 63-year-old man died after being hit with pepper spray, authorities announced. Trayvon Isiah Willingham was arrested and booked after he was interviewed by Los Angeles police detectives in the 3300 block of Long Beach Boulevard, according to a news release.

Los Angeles Times

Fuel theft, commercial property crime demands urgent attention

As a concerned Californian and representative of more than 10,000 fuel and convenience stores, most of them small and ethnic-owned businesses, I’ve watched with growing apprehension as our state unsuccessfully tries to curb rising crime rates, particularly commercial property crimes. 

Capitol Weekly

Suspected DUI driver crashes into police cruiser during L.A. chase

A suspected DUI driver being pursued by Los Angeles Police Department officers was apprehended after he crashed into one of the police cruisers chasing him, authorities said. The pursuit began just before 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night in Sunland and lasted for about five minutes, according to stringer service KeyNewsTV. The collision occurred near the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Fenwick Street.


Family-owned restaurant vandalized, at center of gang territory dispute, police say

An investigation continues after a family-owned restaurant in East Hollywood was tagged and vandalized. Investigators said a vandal walked into El Zarape Melrose Restaurant around 2:30 a.m. Monday, ransacking the place and causing the business tens of thousands of dollars in damages. Police initially told the family that owns the restaurant that the destruction was tied to a gang territory dispute.


Articles of Interest

Ransomware associated with LockBit still spreading 2 days after server takedown

Two days after an international team of authorities struck a major blow to LockBit, one of the Internet’s most prolific ransomware syndicates, researchers have detected a new round of attacks that are installing malware associated with the group. The attacks, detected in the past 24 hours, are exploiting two critical vulnerabilities in ScreenConnect, a remote desktop application sold by Connectwise. 

Ars Technica

Copyright damages case turns on High Court’s taste for discovery

The fate of copyright plaintiffs’ ability to obtain damages for late-discovered claims will turn on the US Supreme Court’s taste for what one justice once dubbed “bad wine of a recent vintage.” The phrase emerged repeatedly during the Feb. 21 oral argument over Warner Chappell Music Inc.'s bid to reverse a ruling that opened the door to a decade of damages for music producer Sherman Nealy.

Bloomberg Law

The Eastside, cradle of Latino politics, is squabbling once again

Sipping on an iced cappuccino, Antonio Villaraigosa beamed as he described the pinnacle of his career. His late-1990s stint as speaker of the California Assembly? Nah. Serving as the first Latino mayor of Los Angeles in 133 years? Important, but that wasn’t it. Continuing to advise political hopefuls across Los Angeles County? Nope. No, what prompted Villaraigosa to happily reminisce for a good hour was his success as a peacemaker in the eternal civil war that’s politics on the Eastside.

Los Angeles Times

Contempt finding based on breach of order that was not ‘clear and definite’ vacated

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday vacated a criminal contempt order by a District Court judge against a defense attorney who, during closing argument, projected a document that had been admitted into evidence which contained homophobic slurs by the plaintiff, despite the judge having ordered that the remarks not be referred to in closing argument.

Metropolitan News-Enteprise

Ninth Circuit Court brings an end to California physician censorship case

On February 29, the Liberty Justice Center announced the close of McDonald v. Lawson, its case challenging California’s blatant violation of the First Amendment through its physician censorship law, Assembly Bill 2098 (AB 2098). When enacted, AB 2098 empowered bureaucrats to revoke doctors’ medical licenses if they shared opinions with their patients that disagreed with the State of California’s official beliefs about COVID-19 - in clear violation of the First Amendment. 

Liberty Justice Center


Clothing wholesaler executive sentenced to 4 years in prison for customs fraud scheme to avoid paying millions of dollars in duties

A Paramount-based clothing wholesale company executive was sentenced today to 48 months in federal prison for undervaluing imported garments in a scheme to avoid paying millions of dollars in customs duties. Mohamed Daoud Ghacham, 40, of Bell, was sentenced by United States District Judge Maame Ewusi-Mensah Frimpong, who also ordered him to pay $6,390,781 in restitution.

U.S. Attorney’s Office Press Release

LA marijuana dispensary owner, manager guilty of murder in student’s slaying

The owner of a South Los Angeles marijuana dispensary and the shop’s manager were convicted of first-degree murder Monday, Feb. 26, for killing an employee before burying his body in the Mojave Desert, where it went undiscovered for nearly two months in 2020. The Los Angeles Superior Court jury needed less than three hours to convict Ethan Kedar Astaphan, 30, of San Gabriel and Weijia “James” Peng, 34, of Alhambra in the slaying of 21-year-old Juan Carlos Hernandez of Los Angeles on Sept. 22, 2020.

Southern California News Group


Family disputes parole recommendation for man convicted in San Francisco teen's murder

A convicted killer will soon walk free after 17 years in prison, but the victim's family is fighting against it. The family of Maxina "Maxi" Danner said an assistant district attorney blindsided them by recommending the parole board let Royce Miller go. Danner was 17 and a softball player at Lincoln High School in San Francisco when she was murdered in 2004. 

NBC Bay Area

California prisons crack down on inmates' Facebook pages

California prison officials announced this week they’re cracking down on inmates who use social media to commit new crimes. California’s Department of Corrections says a new agreement with Facebook is helping them shut down inmates’ accounts. Last year the mother of young woman who was sexually molested as a child received drawings in the mail from the man convicted of the crime. 


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