Courts & Rulings

2 men wrongly convicted in California are declared innocent

Two men who served nearly 17 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of attempted murder were declared innocent Thursday by a California judge. Under a new law, the state is required to pay them each $140 for every day they spent behind bars, or about $900,000. The verdicts for Dupree Glass and Juan Rayford concluded a new trial that began in October after a state appeals court panel vacated their convictions and they were freed in 2020.


California Supreme Court rejects disability advocates’ bid to block Newsom mental health court

Gov. Gavin Newsom will be allowed to establish a system of mental health courts after a lawsuit brought by disability rights advocates failed to block it from moving forward. The California Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled it would not prevent California counties from implementing Newsom’s Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment, or CARE, Court.

Sacramento Bee

Supreme Court protects access to widely used abortion drug

The Supreme Court handed a win to the defenders of the medication abortion drug mifepristone by pausing lower court rulings that would have disrupted access to the drug as a result - from a lawsuit filed by anti-abortion doctors seeking to wipe away the US Food and Drug Administration's two-decade-old approval of mifepristone. That means FDA's current regulatory scheme around the drug remains in place, ensuring that access to medication abortion - in the states where it is legal - is maintained at least for the next couple weeks, and likely longer.


Chief Justice John Roberts punts on request to investigate Clarence Thomas

Chief Justice John Roberts has declined to directly respond to a congressional request to investigate Justice Clarence Thomas’ alleged ethical lapses. Roberts instead referred the request from Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin to the Judicial Conference, which serves as the policy-making body of the federal courts. The Illinois Democrat had penned a letter urging Roberts to investigate Thomas after a ProPublica report that found that Thomas had gone on several luxury trips at the invitation of a GOP megadonor.


Tesla wins bellwether Calif. trial over Autopilot car crash

A California state court jury on Friday handed Tesla Inc. a sweeping win, finding the electric vehicle maker's Autopilot feature did not fail in what appeared to be the first trial related to a crash involving the partially automated driving software. Tesla has been testing and rolling out an Autopilot and more advanced "Full Self-Driving" system, which CEO Elon Musk has touted as crucial to the company's future but which has drawn regulatory and legal scrutiny.

Automotive News

Supreme Court takes up legal spat over public officials blocking people on social media

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether people can sue public officials who block them on social media - a legal question left unresolved in a previous case involving former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account. The court took up two separate cases involving much-lower-profile figures - two members of the Poway Unified School District Board of Trustees in southern California and the city manager of Port Huron, Michigan.

NBC News

Seventh Circuit upholds termination of high school teacher who objected to pronoun policy

There is an important ruling this month out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which ruled against former high school music teacher John Kluge for refusing to comply with the school’s pronoun policy for religious reasons. What is most curious about the ruling is the timing. The Seventh Circuit opinion from April 7th is particularly interesting given the oral argument in the Supreme Court in Groff v. DeJoy only 11 days after the appellate ruling.

Jonathan Turley

Another appeals court rules against US ban on gun 'bump stocks'

A second federal appeals court has struck down a nationwide ban on so-called "bump stocks," devices that allow semiautomatic weapons to rapidly fire multiple rounds like machine guns. A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Tuesday sided with a Kentucky man who had sued to challenge the rule in 2019. 


Los Angeles District Attorney

A new amicus brief arguing against a local D.A. circumventing California's Three Strikes Law

Today law professors Meg Garvin, John Yoo, and I filed an application to file an amicus brief in the California Supreme Court. We seek to argue that L.A. District Attorney George Gascón cannot ignore the requirements of California's three strikes law. The California Court of Appeals previously granted a preliminary injunction in favor of this position. The case arises from the following facts: In December 2020, new district attorney Gascón adopted several "Special Directives" concerning sentencing, sentence enhancements, and resentencing that made significant changes to the policies of his predecessor.


Gascón has got to go

Lack of consequences for criminal behavior is a serious problem that plagues societies around the world. When individuals feel that they can engage in criminal behavior without fear of punishment, it creates an environment that is ripe for even more crime. The lack of consequences leads to a breakdown in the rule of law, eroding the public trust that people have in their government and legal system. We see it happening in every major city in America today.

The Signal

DA Gascon has little to show for multi-million dollar special cop prosecutor

Almost exactly two years after he was hired to do something, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon’s multi-million-dollar special law enforcement prosecutor Lawrence Middleton finally did something. Whether or not it was the right thing to do remains as yet unknown. Gascon brought Middleton on in March 2021, gave him a “not to exceed $1.5 million per year” contract and tasked him with looking at incidences of alleged police brutality and misconduct and illegal activity that heretofore has gone unprosecuted.

California Globe

District Attorney Gascón outlines accomplishments in 2023 Midterm Report

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón today released his Midterm Report where he highlights his work over the last two years and the accomplishments that have brought the office closer to achieving its mission. “In the last two years, my office has supported tens of thousands of victims and helped them on their journey to becoming survivors. We held people who caused real harm accountable and we made sure those with power did not evade accountability because of their privilege,” District Attorney Gascón said.

Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office News Release


Ex-LAPD officer released with no charges after arrest on suspicion of child sex assault

Court and jail records show a former LAPD officer arrested last week on suspicion of raping a child under 14 years old was released from jail after prosecutors declined to file criminal charges. An LAPD statement April 20 said Diego Jose Miranda Lopez immediately resigned from the department when confronted by detectives. Multiple law enforcement sources told the I-Team the sexual assault alleged occurred prior to Miranda Lopez being hired by LAPD, and said the allegation surfaced after the victim underwent counseling or therapy.

NBC4 Los Angeles

Murder charge filed against driver in Westlake High crash

The driver in Tuesday's crash that killed a 15-year-old Westlake High School student was charged with murder Thursday, among other criminal violations. Austin Allen Eis, 24, appeared in Ventura County Superior Court via Zoom to be arraigned for the crash that killed Thousand Oaks resident Wesley Welling and hospitalized three other teens. Authorities allege the collision was intentional.

VC Star

Child molestation suspect arrested in OC, allegedly groomed babysitters to bring victims to hotels

A child molestation suspect arrested in Huntington Beach allegedly groomed women to babysit young children and bring them to hotels, where he victimized them, authorities said Friday. Jason Valentine Esparza, 57, was taken into custody on April 7 and was being held in lieu of $1 million bail, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.

ABC7 Los Angeles

Oakland DA Pamela Price faces backlash and possible recall for soft-on-crime approach

Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price is facing severe backlash and a possible recall from residents who think she is inept in prosecuting violent crime cases. The California judge joins a handful of district attorneys across the United States who have been blasted for their soft-on-crime approach. Price succeeded former District Attorney Nancy O'Malley. She won the election in 2022 by promising to eliminate systemic racism in the criminal justice system. 

Washington Examiner

60-year-old Houston man indicted for alleged threat to kill US Rep. Waters

A federal grand jury indicted a Houston man Friday for allegedly calling the office of California Democratic U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters several times last year and leaving threatening voice mails, including saying he intended to "cut your throat." Brian Michael Gaherty, 60, was charged in the indictment with four counts of making threats in interstate communications and four counts of threatening a U.S. official, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles said in a statement.

ABC13 Houston

Prosecutors charge man for impersonating a doctor, treating thousands of patients without license

Prosecutors have charged 44-year-old Stephan Gevorkian with five felony counts of practicing medicine without a certification. The charges alleged that Gevorkian treated thousands of patients at his Pathways Medical building for several years. Prosecutors said that the business conducted blood tests on patients and advised them on possible treatments. Furthermore, the organization offered treatment for serious conditions such as cancer and viral infections.



California Politics: The prison reform that divides California Democrats

Will this be the year California limits solitary confinement in state prisons and jails? Even though the state’s voters and the Legislature’s Democratic majority have embraced a number of progressive criminal justice reforms over the last decade that have reduced the prison population, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom last year vetoed legislation to limit the use of solitary confinement. Many experts say the practice amounts to torture and argue that it runs counter to the state’s larger move away from tough-on-crime policies of the past, reports Times staff writer Hannah Wiley.

Los Angeles Times

Amazon defeats consumer antitrust lawsuit over fulfillment centers Inc on Thursday defeated a private lawsuit in Seattle federal court that accused the national retailer of a scheme to curb competition for shipping and fulfillment services, causing consumers to pay more for purchases in violation of U.S. antitrust law. U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez in his ruling said the consumer plaintiffs had not shown why they should be allowed to sue over logistics practices - how and when a purchased item shows up at the buyer's residence.


Controversial bill to put ‘speed cameras’ on LA streets has backers in Sacramento

Speed cameras could be coming to the streets of three major cities in Los Angeles County and two in the Bay Area in a technology-centered effort to get drivers to slow down and to curb a rising tide of traffic fatalities - particularly involving pedestrians and cyclists. By snapping a picture of a car’s license plate, the devices could automatically send speeding tickets to a vehicle owner’s home without involving a member of law enforcement. Civil penalties would be $50 for 11 to 15 miles per hour over the speed limit; $100 for 16 to 25 miles mph above, and $500 for traveling at 100 mph or greater.

Los Angeles Daily News

Newly proposed California bill could give inmates serving life sentences avenue toward parole

A newly proposed California Senate bill has sparked another debate on the state's ever-changing criminal justice system. Senate Bill 94 would allow a person sentenced to death or life without the possibility of parole for a conviction with one or more special circumstances to petition for recall and resentencing.

Visalia Times Delta

Local lawmakers and leaders propose new California laws to combat gun violence

Lawmakers, local leaders and law enforcement agencies announce new laws centered around combatting gun violence in California. Members from Prosecutors Alliance of California along with survivors of mass shootings gathered in Monterey Park, the site of a recent deadly mass shooting in support of the new laws. Assemblymember Mike Fong (D-Alhambra) whose district includes Monterey Park, Monterey Park Mayor Jose Sanchez, LA District Attorney George Gascón and gun violence survivor LaNaisha Edwards were also in attendance.

NBC4 Los Angeles

Disability rights groups sue to overturn California’s physician-assisted death law

Disability rights advocates sued Tuesday to overturn California’s physician-assisted death law, arguing that recent changes make it too easy for people with terminal diseases whose deaths aren’t imminent to kill themselves with drugs prescribed by a doctor. California’s original law allowing terminally ill adults to obtain prescriptions for life-ending drugs was passed in 2016. Advocates say the revised version that took effect last year removes crucial safeguards and violates the U.S. Constitution and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

California Healthline

LAPD Oversight Board weighs danger of car chases (Video)

New data show more LAPD car chases and more injuries to innocent motorists and pedestrians since 2018. Now, the department’s oversight board is weighing policies around police chases. Eric Leonard reports April 25, 2023.

NBC4 Los Angeles

The law often shields police officers from accountability - and reinforces policing that harms Black people, homeless people and the mentally ill

Seeking accountability in the brutal police beating death of her son, the mother of Tyre Nichols has filed a US$55 million federal lawsuit against the individual officers, the Memphis Police Department and the city of Memphis, Tennessee. There’s no way to predict the outcome of this lawsuit. But civil suits are by now a familiar tool of grieving families on a familiar quest.

The Conversation

Los Angeles County/City

Compton community leader mistakenly detained by L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies

A man who has lived and worked in Compton for decades, a stalwart member of the community, found himself unexpectedly detained Tuesday by deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “I did not call for the sheriff or the police to come here. There was no need for them to come here,” Derrick Cooper, founder of the L.A. City Wildcats Youth Academy, told KTLA. “I felt so humiliated and violated. I’ve never felt that way in my life.”  

KTLA5 Los Angeles

LAPD crime report shows lower rapes, robberies, but increases in murders, assaults

In the first few months of 2023, overall violent crime in Los Angeles has dropped significantly, police say. According to the LAPD, overall violent crime dropped by 3% so far this year when compared to the same period in 2019. The number of rapes and robberies has decreased compared to the last several years. But the homicide rate, which spiked in 2020 and 2021, remains high.

ABC7 Los Angeles

New Los Angeles County Fire Department chief sworn in

Anthony C. Marrone was officially sworn in as chief of the Los Angeles County Fire Department Monday after serving as interim chief since July 2022. The Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 Feb. 28 to approve Marrone’s selection, despite opposition from several organizations, including the Women’s Fire League, L.A. County Stentorians and Los Bomberos de LA County, who pointed to what they described as systemic failures in the department to bolster diversity, create jobs and advancement opportunities for women and people of color.

State of the City: Bass addresses Los Angeles after her 1st 100 days

In her first State of the City address, Mayor Karen Bass was realistic about Los Angeles’ standing, yet appeared optimistic about how her policies and directives have impacted the city. “Tonight, it is my honor to fulfill my duty under the charter to report on the state of our city. I am 127 days into my administration, and I cannot declare that the state of our city is where it needs to be,” Bass said. “But I am proud to report that together we have brought change to the city of Los Angeles.”

LA Downtown

UCLA: 8th annual survey of L.A. residents shows second-lowest satisfaction ever with county's quality of life

Los Angeles County residents are feeling more upbeat today than a year ago - but not by much. Inflation remains a primary concern as people worry about losing their homes or feeding their families. Many residents said their quality of life had been affected by a homeless encampment. And they believe the pandemic’s impact on L.A. life will be long-lasting.

UCLA News Release


Homeowner fatally stabs catalytic converter theft suspect in California

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies said a homeowner took matters into his own hands when he stopped a catalytic converter theft in progress early Friday morning by grabbing a kitchen knife and stabbing one of the suspects in his driveway. Authorities said the stabbing occurred about 2:30 a.m. at a home in the 11200 block of Thienes Avenue in South El Monte. 

Fox11 Los Angeles

Thieves burglarize Hollywood Hills home in broad daylight (Video)

Thieves robbed a Hollywood Hills home in the middle of the day, walking out with about $100,000 in clothes and jewelry according to police.

Fox11 Long Beach

LA man killed in Pico Rivera shooting

A man shot to death in Pico Rivera was a Los Angeles resident, authorities said Saturday. German Gomez Medina was 32 years old, according to the coroner’s office. Investigators from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau were called at 11:56 p.m. Friday to the 9400 block of Stephens Street, north of Whittier Boulevard, where they found the victim, according to the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.

City News Service

Passenger killed in Jefferson Park car-to-car shooting

A passenger was killed during a car-to-car shooting in the Jefferson Park area of South LA Sunday night. According to the LAPD, a call came in around 8:30 p.m. that a shooting had occurred at St. Andrews Place and Jefferson Boulevard. Three men approached a vehicle where a verbal argument took place and someone pulled out a gun. Multiple shots were fired into a vehicle.

NBC4 Los Angeles

Azusa tow truck driver finds two dead bodies in impounded vehicle (Video)

The car was towed per request of the Arco gas station property owner on E. Longden Avenue. Officers did not disclose the specific type of vehicle. Mike Rogers reports.

CBS Los Angeles


FICO Survey: Majority of US consumers have been contacted by real-time-payment scammers

Today, global analytics software firm, FICO released new research examining consumers’ increased use of real-time-payments (RTP) and the subsequent rise and impact of authorized push payment fraud, also known as scams. The report found that an overwhelming majority of Americans (81%) have sent a real-time payment, with 86% planning to maintain or increase use. This shift in payments channels correlates to an increase in fraud, with almost three-quarters of Americans (72%) saying they received an unsolicited text, email, phone call or other outreach they thought was part of a scam. 

Business Wire


Mike Fong and Cristine DeBerry: Common sense legislation to reduce gun violence in California

In 2023 alone, there have been 129 mass shootings so far. Firearms recently surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of death for children in the United States. Every year, tens of thousands of people are killed by gun violence. Even with some of the strictest gun safety laws in the nation, California continues to struggle with gun violence. In a state where 1 in 4 Californians live in a gun owning home, and in a country that has more guns than people, guns are everywhere.

San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Former sheriff: ‘Politically driven’ California bill would undermine democracy

Proposed California legislation supported by Black Lives Matter and other social justice groups that would allow county boards of supervisors to remove elected sheriffs from public office is “politically driven” and would undermine democracy, says former Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. “This is all about power. It has nothing to do with elected sheriffs doing something wrong,” Villanueva told The Epoch Times.

Epoch Times

Hackers breach American Bar Association, millions of logins potentially stolen

The American Bar Association (ABA) has announced that a data breach last month may have compromised the login information of over a million members. On March 17, 2023, the ABA observed “unusual activity” on its network. As a result, an “incident response plan” was immediately activated, and cybersecurity experts assisted with the investigation, according to an ABA notice.

Epoch Times

Sheriff: ‘Safe schools’ initiative ravaged California with drug addiction and fueled homelessness

A California sheriff said legislation touted as creating safer neighborhoods and schools is to blame for the state's soaring addiction and homeless rates. "When we stopped enforcing drug rules and laws," Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco told Fox News, "we started seeing a major, major, major increase in what we see now as the severe mental health problems of people that are living on the street."

Fox News

NAACP sues Mississippi over ‘separate and unequal policing’

The NAACP warns that “separate and unequal policing” will return to Mississippi’s majority-Black capital under a state-run police department, and the civil rights organization is suing the governor and other officials over it. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves says violent crime in Jackson has made it necessary to expand where the Capitol Police can patrol and to authorize some appointed rather than elected judges.

Los Angeles Times

New Washington law bans sale of some semi-automatic rifles. It’s already facing a legal challenge

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a trio of bills meant to address gun violence Tuesday, one banning the sale of certain semi-automatic rifles, one imposing a 10-day waiting period on firearms purchases and one clearing the way for lawsuits against gun makers or sellers in certain cases. A crowd of gun-control activists and Democratic lawmakers broke into cheers as Inslee signed the measures, which he said would not solve all gun violence but would save lives.



Sister of Clippers star Kawhi Leonard sentenced to life for 2019 killing of elderly woman in casino bathroom

The sister of Los Angeles Clippers star forward Kawhi Leonard was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2019 killing of an elderly woman in a Temecula casino bathroom in 2019.  Kimesha Monae Williams, 39, and Candace Tai Townsell, 42, both of Moreno Valley, were convicted in February of the 2019 slaying of 84-year-old Afaf Anis Assad of Long Beach.

City News Service

Anthony Avalos’ mother and her boyfriend sentenced to life for murder of 10-year-old

A solemn procession of teens and children all dressed in black strode into a Los Angeles courtroom Tuesday and stepped up to address the judge. They all wanted one thing: a life sentence for Heather Barron, 33, and Kareem Leiva, 37. The judge granted their wish. Barron and her boyfriend, Leiva, who were convicted last month of torturing Anthony Avalos and his siblings and ultimately killing Anthony, 10, Barron’s oldest child, were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, capping a painful five years for Anthony’s other family members. 

Los Angeles Times

Ex-UCLA gynecologist sentenced to 11 years in sexual abuse case

A former gynecologist at the University of California, Los Angeles was sentenced Wednesday to 11 years in prison for sexually abusing female patients, in a criminal trial that came after the university system made nearly $700 million in lawsuit payouts connected to the case. Dr. James Heaps, 66, has been in custody since a jury convicted him in October of three counts of sexual battery by fraud and two counts of sexual penetration of two patients.



Merced County Sheriff reports in-custody death investigation at John Latorraca Correctional Center

Merced County Sheriff’s Office officials reported that on Friday night at approximately 9:50 p.m., Merced County Sheriff Corrections Staff located an unresponsive incarcerated person in the John Latorraca Correctional Center (2584 Sandy Mush Road, Merced). Correctional Staff and First Responders performed life-saving measures. Unfortunately, their efforts were unsuccessful, and Derek Valentine (31), was pronounced deceased.

Sierra Sun Times

Offender who walked away from Los Angeles Reentry Program is apprehended

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced an offender who had walked away from the Male Community Reentry Program (MCRP) facility in Los Angeles on April 11 has turned himself into CDCR authorities on April 24. Jovany Ojeda was last seen at 7:24 a.m. on April 11 running from the MCRP facility. Correctional staff immediately initiated an emergency count, confirming Ojeda was missing. 

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation News Release

Correctional training facility officials investigating the death of an incarcerated person as a homicide

Correctional Training Facility (CTF) officials are investigating the death of Jaime Brugada as a homicide. At approximately 9:55 p.m. on April 25, correctional officers responded when Brugada was not accounted for in his cell after a regular institutional count. During a search he was found unresponsive in another area of the housing unit with injuries consistent with a homicide.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation News Release

Articles of Interest

Frequent shootings put US mass killings on a record pace

The U.S. is setting a record pace for mass killings in 2023, replaying the horror on a loop roughly once a week so far this year. The carnage has taken 88 lives in 17 mass killings over 111 days. Each time, the killers wielded firearms. Only 2009 was marked by as many such tragedies in the same period of time.

U.S. News & World Report

Tory Lanez writes open letter to LA District Attorney demanding new trial in Megan Thee Stallion shooting

Tory Lanez has shared an open letter in which he asks for a new trial after he was found guilty of shooting Megan Thee Stallion in July 2020. The rapper’s lawyers Jose Baez and Matthew Barhoma filed a motion for a new trial last month, citing multiple grounds for re-trial in paperwork seen by Rolling Stone. Among the arguments is a claim that the judge in the trial, which wrapped last December, barred a fair trial by “erroneously” allowing jurors to view a social media post in which it was alleged that Thee Stallion’s now-estranged best friend Kelsey Harris was not the shooter.


Barger reacts to $8 Million state grant awarded to High Desert Corridor Rail Project

Following Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement awarding $8 million for the High Desert Corridor Intercity High-Speed Rail Project (HDC Rail) from Cycle 6 of the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Grant Program, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger weighed in. “This investment from the California State Transportation Agency will enable our Joint Powers Authority to leverage additional local and Federal funding to move this project another important step closer to construction,” Barger said.


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