Courts & Rulings
Ninth Circuit overturns drug conviction because search for weapon surpassed frisking
Police conducting a “stop-and-frisk” can pat someone down for guns or other weapons if they have reason to believe they’re in danger. But inside the pockets is out of bounds, and any evidence the officers find there is inadmissible, a federal appeals court said Wednesday.
Warrantless search of motel room of parolee was justified - court
A parolee’s assent to a warrantless search of his “residence” justified a search of his motel room, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held Friday, where it was evident that he had moved out of the residence he had reported and his sister had divulged weeks earlier that we was living at a particular Motel 6.
Officers who shot and killed armed homeless man take firings to Ninth Circuit
Five former Oakland police officers who shot and killed an armed homeless man in an alleyway in 2018 say they were fired despite several reviews and investigations that found their actions justified. On Monday, they told a Ninth Circuit panel their terminations by a court-appointed federal monitor did not comply with the city charter.
Prosecutor, not judge, must give reasons for challenges
Race-neutral reasons for the excusal of prospective jurors must be articulated by the prosecutor, not the judge, when the defense makes a Batson/Wheeler motion, Div. Eight of the Court of Appeal for this district held on Friday, returning the case to the trial court so that the deputy district attorney who rejected four out of five venirepersons who were Asian in the trial of an Asian man may provide an explanation.
Federal judge slaps Amazon with injunction for direct sales of counterfeits
Amazon is an enabler, facilitator, and direct seller of an enormous amount of counterfeit and fraudulent merchandise. Amazon's nefarious activities drew the ire of Federal Judge Otis D. Wright II, who issued an injunction against Amazon prohibiting its direct sales of counterfeit goods. The instant case illustrates and frames the contempt, and extent Amazon engages its unchecked monopoly power and bullying tactics.
Insomniac ruling upheld despite appeal that judge was heavily medicated
The dispute is linked to a disagreement over the future of the How Sweet It Is music festival, which ran from 1999 to 2001. Rotella helped revive and finance the festival in 2005 but had a falling out with Alper and Ballou over the future of the event in 2010. Alper and Ballou claimed Rotella created a competing event called Beyond Wonderland, which still operates today, and that they were owed a piece of the festival.
LA County loses bid to dismiss homelessness neglect lawsuit
A federal judge on Tuesday denied a bid by Los Angeles County to toss a lawsuit seeking rapid housing and health care for homeless people, finding the county has mismanaged the homeless crisis and played a role in shaping it. The organization LA Alliance for Human Rights sued the city and county of Los Angeles in March 2020 seeking local government-provided care for homeless people and swift construction of shelter and housing options for the unhoused.
Federal appeals court finds racist slur protected under First Amendment
The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit found Tuesday that a racist slur used by a former military officer was protected speech under the First Amendment. In November 2018, former military officer Jules Bartow was shopping at the Quantico Marine Corps Exchange when he used a racist slur that generally seemed aimed at either an African American employee or an African American man in civilian clothes.
Federal appeals court overturns conviction of former Rep. Corrine Brown
A divided federal appeals court late Thursday overturned the conviction of former Rep. Corrine Brown, ruling that a judge was wrong to remove a juror in her trial who said the “Holy Spirit” told him Brown was not guilty. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in a 7-4 decision said that Brown, who was found guilty in 2017 on 18 felony counts connected to using a phony charity as a personal slush fund, deserved a new trial on the corruption charges.
Hot mic in courtroom captures insurance adjuster calling judge an idiot
Virtual court proceedings during the COVID-19 pandemic have seen their share of cyber blunders. Participants have appeared naked or with a beer in hand, while an errant video filter turned a Texas attorney into a cat during a Zoom hearing. In the Silicon Valley last month, an insurance adjuster provided the court an embarrassing hot mic moment.
Cruz Reynoso, California’s first Latino state Supreme Court justice, dies at 90
Cruz Reynoso, a son of migrant workers who worked in the fields as a child and went on to become the first Latino state Supreme Court justice in California history, has died. He was 90. Reynoso died Friday at an elder care facility in Oroville, according to his son Rondall Reynoso. The cause of death was not disclosed.
US Supreme Court wraps up oral arguments with crack cocaine resentencing case
The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the final case of its term on Tuesday in Terry v. United States, about reductions of prison sentences for certain crack cocaine offenses. In 2008 Tarahrick Terry was arrested and charged under 21 USC § 841(a)(1) for carrying just shy of 4 grams of crack cocaine, and sentenced under 21 USC § 841(b)(1)(B), a statute created under the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which created a 100 to 1 disparity in sentencing crack cocaine versus powder cocaine.
California bar releases exam results with new cut score
California’s second batch of bar exam results using a lowered passing score standard showed an increased number of passing applicants. On Friday, the State Bar of California released the results from February’s exam, granting passing grades to those who scored 1390 or above, a lowered requirement from the previous standard of 1440.
Federal judge tossed from case for ‘immovable’ views, suggestion that US lawyers are lazy and arrogant
A controversial federal judge in Houston has been booted from a case once again by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at New Orleans. In a May 6 opinion, the federal appeals court said U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes of the Southern District of Texas had a “fixed and inflexible view of the case” and had made anti-government remarks. In one instance, he called government lawyers “blue-suited thugs.”
Board is obliged to grant compensation to former inmate based on federal finding
The Court of Appeal for this district declared yesterday that the California Victim Compensation Board may not decide for itself whether a man who was freed on a writ of habeas corpus issued by the U.S. District Court - after making a finding of probable “actual innocence” - was “factually innocent,” as defined by California law, and that the board must grant monetary recompense without holding a hearing.
Los Angeles District Attorney
Criminal Justice Legal Foundation research debunks DA Gascón claims on sentence lengths and recidivism
A new research project by the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation has debunked claims that “science and data” show that shorter sentences for violent and habitual criminals promote public safety has no basis in published research. This is important because when Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón was elected last November, within minutes of being sworn in, he announced he would be getting rid of all crime enhancements, eliminating cash bail, and would address sentences and recidivism, as the Globe reported.
Lancaster City Council votes 'no confidence' in Gascon
The Lancaster City Council voted to pass Resolution No. 21-21 expressing a vote of no confidence in Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon. The Council’s action was prompted by Gascon’s issuance of numerous special directives and amendments, some of which contradict state laws enacted to prevent and prosecute crime and protect the general public.
DA Gascon filing briefs in Appellate Court supporting violent criminal defendants - judge refuses to dismiss allegations and enhancements - Gascon supporting criminal’s appeal
LA District Attorney George Gascon’s abuse of power has hit yet another milestone. The newly elected pro-criminal District Attorney filed a brief in Appellate Court in support of … wait for it … The DEFENDANT. That is not a typo. Gascon, clearly confused as to what his true role is as District Attorney of Los Angeles, who swore to protect the rights of the citizens, particularly those who are victims of violent crimes, filed a response, in support of an appeal filed by the defendant after the judge refused to dismiss firearms enhancements and allegations.
City of Rosemead vote no confidence in George Gascon
Council Member Steven Ly requested an item proposing a vote of no confidence in Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon to be placed on the agenda for consideration. The District Attorney is an elected county official established by Government Code Section 26500-26543 and is responsible for the prosecution of criminal violations of state law and county ordinances occurring within the county in which they are elected.
Prosecutors will no longer seek death penalty in the Anthony Avalos torture case
Prosecutors will no longer seek the death penalty for the mother of Anthony Avalos and her boyfriend, who are accused of torturing the 10-year-old Lancaster boy for days before his death in 2018, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón’s office confirmed Saturday. A grand jury indicted Heather Maxine Barron, 31, and Kareem Ernesto Leiva, 35, in October 2018 on charges that they murdered the boy and abused two other children in the household.
Remembering a life that was cut short
Family and community members gathered in Lancaster on Saturday to celebrate the life of Anthony Avalos, two days after Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón’s office took the death penalty off the table for the boy’s mother and her boyfriend, who are charged with murder and torture in the 10-year-old’s death. The gathering took place at the Anthony Avalos Memorial Tree, at 43748 Challenger Way, near the apartment complex where Anthony lived the last few years of life.
Lies from two LA sheriff's detectives? Grand jury indictment charges perjury, filing false report in East LA
A grand jury indictment unsealed Friday charges two Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives with lying about their roles involving a search warrant that was served at an East Los Angeles home in September 2018. "Trust is one of the cornerstones of law enforcement," District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement in which the indictment was announced. "Our job is to help restore that trust when our community loses faith in the people who promise to uphold the law and protect us."
Inmate seen sucker-punching a Los Angeles County jail worker charged with hate crime
An inmate in Los Angeles County is charged with hate crime after a graphic video showed him punching an Asian American jail worker multiple times. According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the Twin Towers jail inmate, 29-year-old Arnulfo Meza, began punching the jail employee after his left hand was freed from his waist chain when he asked if he could use the restroom.
Prosecutors challenge California prison good conduct rules
About two-thirds of California's top county prosecutors on Thursday challenged new prison rules that expand good conduct credits and could bring earlier releases for tens of thousands of inmates, saying they were adopted without proper public notice or comment. Corrections officials used an emergency regulatory process for the rules affecting 76,000 inmates, most serving time for violent offenses.
Three gang members arrested on complaint alleging armed robbery and shooting at Beverly Hills restaurant
Three members of the Rollin’ 30s Crips street gang have been arrested on a federal criminal complaint alleging they committed an armed robbery at a Beverly Hills restaurant’s crowded outdoor dining area on March 4 in which one restaurant patron was held at gunpoint and another was shot and wounded.
Women prosecutors ask judge to uphold DA sex bias case
Five veteran prosecutors for a California district attorney's office on Thursday urged a San Francisco federal judge to sustain their age and gender bias case, saying they had provided far more specifics about their allegations than what's required. In a brief opposing a motion to dismiss, the prosecutors told U.S. District Judge Joseph Spero that they had shown "substantial facts" for each of their claims, challenging Contra Costa County, District Attorney Diana Becton and her office's argument that their suit was "threadbare."
Pretrial motions get underway in fatal Simi Valley DUI crash that killed an LAPD officer
Pretrial motions and even jury selection could begin later this week in the trial of a Simi Valley woman charged in connection with the DUI crash that killed her wife, who was an LAPD officer. 29-year-old Alayna Monroe was driving the car in the early morning hours of New Year's Day 2017 when it was involved in a crash at the intersection of Sycamore Drive and Cochran Street in Simi Valley.
Orange County DA’s office establishes hate crimes prosecution unit
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday the creation of a special unit to prosecute hate crimes. The unit is staffed by three prosecutors and two investigators, and is supervised by the district attorney’s head of special prosecutions. “Hate will not be tolerated here,” District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement.
Porter Ranch doctor charged with collecting $6M in false Medicare claims
A physician from Porter Ranch is facing criminal health care fraud charges arising from her alleged false home health certifications and related $6 million in fraudulent billings to Medicare, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday. Lilit Gagikovna Baltaian, 58, was arrested Thursday and charged with four federal counts of health care fraud, according to the DOJ.
Death and de-prosecution in Philadelphia
In 2017, Philadelphians elected “progressive prosecutor” Larry Krasner as district attorney. Since taking office, Krasner has pursued a policy of de-prosecution - the decision not to prosecute certain crimes regardless of whether they actually took place - as homicides have spiked. While Philadelphia experienced de-prosecution and rising homicides leading up to Krasner’s election, both trends have accelerated dramatically under his leadership.
DOJ proposes crackdown on 'ghost guns' following Biden pledge
The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday took aim at “ghost guns,” proposing to close a loophole that allows people to avoid background checks as they purchase guns without serial numbers. A proposed rule from the Biden administration expands the definition of a firearm to include weapons that can be assembled at home.
Report finds problems with SMPD’s response to protests, looting last May
The Santa Monica City Council on Tuesday will review an independent report that found problems with how the Santa Monica Police Department responded to May 31 protests and civil unrest sparked by a Minneapolis officer’s murder of George Floyd. The report, which was conducted by OIR Group at the request of the City Council, began in October 2020 and was released on Tuesday.
Sac'to bill would reduce charges/sentences for shootings and gun related crimes
On April 27, the Assembly Public Safety Committee voted 6-2 to approve a bill that would significantly reduce sentences for shootings and multiple crimes committed using guns as proponents argued current tough gun-related prosecution enhancements and lengthy sentences show systemic racism, don't keep the public safe and disproportionately affect people of color.
Domestic violence survivors, L.A. County Sheriff’s Department at odds over restraining orders
As the number of coronavirus deaths continued to climb in Los Angeles County last July, Cynthia Aguirre said she wasn’t leaving her house unless she had no other option. The 36-year-old South Gate woman, who has long had rheumatoid arthritis, was at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. A single mother to a 1-year-old daughter born with a heart condition, Aguirre said she hadn’t been anywhere other than a grocery store for months.
Los Angeles County/City
I-Team obtains dramatic video showing illegally dumped trash bursting into flames on busy LA street
It was all caught by a surveillance camera in the darkness of night: a woman walks up to a large pile of trash illegally dumped on an LA sidewalk, she leans into the garbage heap and within seconds you can see flames. The woman flees the scene in a waiting van and the trash pile erupts into a ball of fire, next to parked cars and not far from where people are living.
City of Angels becomes city of trash. LA breaks promise to crack down hard on illegal dumping
It was caught on camera by the NBC4 I-Team: a pickup truck enters a city alley in broad daylight, the driver illegally dumping box after box of garbage right on the ground. The truck is back day after day, night after night, the driver dumping more bags and boxes of trash. These are just a few examples of the illegal dumping that happens dozens, if not hundreds, of times every day all over LA, leaving some sidewalks so clogged with loose garbage that they are impassable.
New civilian discipline panels more lenient on accused LAPD officers, review finds
A review of recent police misconduct cases by the Los Angeles Police Department’s inspector general found that hearing panels comprised entirely of civilians were more lenient on accused officers than more traditional panels of two officers and one civilian. In the most serious cases, in which officers were recommended for termination by LAPD Chief Michel Moore, the all-civilian panels recommended a lesser penalty more than 70% of the time, the review found - leaving 11 officers on the force who otherwise would have been fired.
Tinhorn Flats protest will be allowed in front of mayor’s residence
A planned protest in front of Mayor Bob Frutos’s house on Thursday will not be stopped by City officials according to the City Attorney’s office when asked about the Burbank Municipal Code banning picketing at private residences. Supporters of Tinhorn Flats announced through social media that they would gather at 5 pm on May 13 and March two blocks to the residence of the Mayor.
Fundraising effort frees three Black mothers amid bail criticism
Advocates against mass incarceration said they have bailed three Black mothers out of a Los Angeles detention facility as part of a day of action that included a statewide petition with racial justice organization Color of Change. Essie Justice Group said Saturday the campaign was calling on California judges to "stop abusing their discretion to disproportionately keep Black people in jail on astronomically high bail amounts."
Hundreds of residents and stakeholders sign letter calling for cleanup of Venice Beach
The following is an open letter sent to Los Angeles city and county officials calling for urgent action to deal with the issue of homelessness and crime in the Venice Beach area. “Venice Beach requires your urgent attention: Unhoused people of Venice Beach and boardwalk need shelter and other services while residents and visitors need access to a safe and welcoming beach Park...”
Firefighters fired in Kobe crash photo scandal (Video)
The scandal centered around graphic pictures taken at the Kobe Bryant crash site. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4 News on Tuesday, May 11, 2021.
Public Safety/Crime
Suspect in Stockton officer shooting death was on parole for armed theft in L.A.
The man police say fatally shot a Stockton officer responding to a domestic violence call on Tuesday had previously been arrested in Los Angeles on firearms charges and was on parole for the armed theft of a car, court records show. Lance Lowe, 30, was arrested Feb. 5, 2017, on Olympic Boulevard near Francisco Street in downtown Los Angeles on weapons charges.
Suspect in Stockton officer shooting death was on parole for armed theft in L.A.
The man police say fatally shot a Stockton officer responding to a domestic violence call on Tuesday had previously been arrested in Los Angeles on firearms charges and was on parole for the armed theft of a car, court records show. Lance Lowe, 30, was arrested Feb. 5, 2017, on Olympic Boulevard near Francisco Street in downtown Los Angeles on weapons charges.
Women in law enforcement reflect on 'Busting the Brass Ceiling’
Assistant Chief Alma Burke is the first Latina Assistant Police Chief at USC. She first spent 24 in the LAPD. Her success, and that of high-ranking women in law enforcement, may in part be credited to landmark legal action by a female officer who joined the LAPD in 1948. As women couldn't promote past Sergeant, Fanchon Blake took a discrimination case all the way to the United States Supreme Court.
LAPD Chief says officer's arrest in Inglewood was allegedly alcohol-related
Felony charges were filed Tuesday against an off duty LAPD probationary officer whose arrest for allegedly threatening to kill his cousin and another man triggered an internal investigation into how he was hired last year despite previous off-duty incidents involving alleged excessive alcohol use, Chief Michel Moore said.
Suspect firebombs LAPD's Topanga Station with Molotov cocktail (Video)
The Los Angeles Police Department arrested a man seen on video lighting a Molotov cocktail and throwing it against the doors of the department's Topanga Station Sunday morning. Jonathon Rosin, 24, of Los Angeles was arrested shortly after the incident, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Just before 1 a.m. on Sunday, the suspect was seen lighting a glass bottle filled with a flammable liquid.
Red tape could prevent your neighborhood from getting water drops in crisis (Video)
Firefighting planes are sitting mostly idle. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4 News on Wednesday, May 12, 2021.
Surge in flames at L.A. homeless encampments a growing crisis
The fire began at 3 a.m., quickly destroying the clapboard bungalow two blocks from Venice Beach. The tenant was away for the night, but her dog, Togo, succumbed after his howls of panic and pain left helpless neighbors with a memory they can’t forget. While arson investigators have yet to determine a cause in the April 20 blaze, traumatized neighbors quickly linked it to a rash of fires in Venice’s growing homeless camps.
Security cut at half the major parking garages in SF amid uptick in car break-ins
In an effort to cut costs, San Francisco is temporarily cutting security services in half of its high-volume parking garages. The move comes at a time car break-ins are climbing back to record-high levels reported pre-pandemic. "The city is trying to save money, that's the bottom line," said Howard Boyer, a security officer for the 5th and Mission parking garage in San Francisco.
Stolen LAPD vehicle pursuit ends with driver in custody after a quick push-up session
A man led the Los Angeles Police Department on a bizarre chase after stealing a police vehicle Saturday evening. Newschopper4 was over the pursuit around 7:20 p.m. when the driver was on the 5 Freeway near East Los Angeles. The LAPD vehicle was stolen from the Olympic Division and the pursuit ensued southbound on the 101 Freeway. Details about the theft were not immediately available.
Northern California officer accused of filing false police report
A Sacramento Police Department officer was arrested Thursday on suspicion of filing a false police report in a case connected to a traffic stop last year that prompted a wide-ranging internal investigation, officials said. The department announced the arrest of Alexa Palubicki, 26, in a brief statement that didn’t include many details about what prompted the probe, which is ongoing.
Northern California bar owner charged with multiple felonies for allegedly selling fake Covid-19 vaccination cards, officials say
A bar owner who allegedly sold fake Covid-19 vaccine cards at his Northern California business has been charged with multiple felonies, including forgery and identity theft. Todd Anderson, 59, of Acampo, California, was arrested Tuesday at his bar, the Old Corner Saloon, John Carr, a spokesperson for the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, told CNN.
California sees record number of guns confiscated under ‘red flag’ law
Five years ago, California became one of the first states in the nation to enact a so-called red flag gun law, allowing family members and police officers to ask a court to block those believed to be a risk to themselves or others from having firearms. Now, as other legislatures weigh adopting similar laws, state officials said Friday that a record 1,285 gun-violence restraining orders were issued by judges in California last year, temporarily removing firearms from people deemed a danger.
Nephew of LAPD officer who says his uncle ordered him shot during protest announces lawsuit
23-year-old filmmaker Jamal Shakir will join civil rights attorney Carl Douglas and Black Lives Matter Los Angeles co-founder Dr. Melina Abdullah to announce a new lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and Shakir’s uncle LAPD police officer Eric Anderson after the latter ordered his nephew shot with projectiles during a protest in downtown Los Angeles last summer.
‘Secret' travel fund may help travelers recover lost money
During the pandemic, the NBC4 I-Team received more travel-related complaints than ever before. But many don’t know that there’s a fund set up in California that may help travelers recoup lost money. Tere Marquez’s first vacation without her kids - to the Carribbean - was going great. That is, until the airline canceled her flight home to LA. “I started crying,” said Marquez. “I was like, ‘What do you mean we don’t have a flight home?’”
Are online marketplaces liable for product defects? California says yes
As companies increasingly open and support online marketplaces for third parties to sell goods and products, the question has arisen as to what happens when one of those products is defective. Who is liable for any harm the consumer may suffer? Most jurisdictions that have confronted this question have limited liability to the third-party sellers and product manufacturers, but California has charted a different path.
2 California police officers fatally shot within 24 hours
Two California police officers were shot and killed and a third was wounded within 24 hours this week in two separate incidents, authorities said Tuesday. The deaths occurred during National Police Week, an annual event that honors law enforcement officers who were killed or disabled in the line of duty. Jimmy Inn, an officer in the Northern California city of Stockton, was fatally shot Tuesday morning while responding to a domestic violence incident, Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones said in a news conference.
Carjacking victims told to pay DC tickets racked up by the criminals who took their car
Carjackers put a gun to 73-year-old Doug Nelson’s head as he arrived home a little after midnight. The Vietnam veteran and grandfather of 11 had just finished his usual late shift at the U.S. Postal Service. “As I was exiting the vehicle, this guy came up with the pistol and said ‘Give me the car. You know, what's happening. Give me a car,’” said Doug. Without hesitation, Doug handed over the car, hoping that was all he would lose.
Hackers at center of East Coast gas shortage got $5M ransom
Colonial Pipeline reportedly paid almost $5 million in ransom to a criminal hacker gang that has crippled fuel service on the East Coast for days. The company did not return request for comment this morning, but reports citing individuals familiar with the negotiations said the funds were paid in cryptocurrency hours after the breach last Thursday. FBI investigators suspect a group of cyber extortionists and hackers dubbed DarkSide of waging the attack.
U.S. sees wave of gun violence over the weekend (Video)
According to the Gun Violence Archive, more than 400 people were shot or killed during a violent weekend across the nation. In Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Chicago homicides and shootings are on the rise compared to last year. In New York, shootings are up a staggering 79 percent.
Ransomware group follows through on threat to release personnel files of DC police officers
A ransomware group followed through on its threat to release the personnel files of Washington Metropolitan Police Department officers Tuesday after negotiators failed to meet their demands, according to screenshots of online posts by the group that were reviewed by CNN. The group announced the contents of the negotiation chat, which show they had demanded $4 million from the police department, according to another screenshot posted online by DarkTracer, an account that monitors the dark web, though CNN could not independently verify the authenticity of that post.
Granada Hills husband of ex-DA to enter diversion program for pointing gun at BLM protesters
A judge on Thursday allowed former Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s husband to enter a diversion program to resolve a misdemeanor case in which he was charged for pointing a gun out his door while ordering a group of Black Lives Matter protesters to leave the couple’s Granada Hills property last year.
California man convicted of running prescription opioids distribution ring
A federal jury convicted a California man last Friday for his role in running a prescription opioids trafficking conspiracy, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher Chiou for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse for the FBI. According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, from January 2018 to May 2019, Myron Motley, 57, of Richmond, California, conspired with others to possess and distribute Oxycodone and Hydrocodone, both Schedule II controlled substances.
'Ultimate betrayal’ as best friend kills childhood buddy in Anaheim: Guilty verdict for blood-soaked stabbing, skull crushing
A 34-year-old killer has been convicted of murdering his childhood friend in Anaheim nearly six years ago by stabbing and bludgeoning him in the head with a glass bottle. Augustine Brady Godoy was convicted of second-degree murder, and jurors Tuesday found true a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon for the July 14, 2015, death of 27-year-old Kamal Malouf.
San Marino man who drove through Pasadena protest crowd pleads guilty to 11 weapons felonies
A San Marino man who drove a truck through a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters in Pasadena last year pleaded guilty Wednesday to nearly a dozen federal weapons offenses. Benjamin Jong Ren Hung, 28, pleaded to 11 felony charges, including conspiracy, transporting and receiving firearms across state lines, making false statements during purchases of firearms and possession of unregistered firearms, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Corrections & Parole
Cellmate suspected in death of California prison inmate
An inmate at a Central California prison died Thursday and his cellmate is suspected of killing him, authorities said. James D. Torres, 67, was found unresponsive in his cell shortly after 5 a.m. at the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in Corcoran. Despite life-saving measures he was pronounced dead a short time later, according to a statement from the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Articles of Interest
Will the spike in murder and violence undermine criminal justice reform?
In 1960, the U.S. violent crime rate started rising, and for three decades this was one of the most vexing and discussed problems in America. By the early 1990s, policy makers had mostly lost hope. And then violent crime started falling. And it kept falling. Meanwhile, the number of incarcerated Americans continued to climb. It was the crime decline that made possible a bipartisan movement to reckon with the injustice of mass incarceration and the failure of the war on drugs. But last year, the United States experienced the largest rise in homicides in decades, and violent crime rose particularly sharply in big cities, which could bring the return of tough-on-crime rhetoric and undermine the criminal justice reform movement.
L.A. County considering $1,000 for 1,000 residents in basic income program
Los Angeles County could soon become the largest county in the country to launch a universal basic income pilot program, providing at least $1,000 a month to at least 1,000 residents. Supervisors Holly Mitchell and Sheila Kuehl are proposing that the guaranteed income pilot program provide monthly payments for three years. The criteria for participants have not been determined.
The Lookout: Three California cities push plans to increase police spending
It has been over 13 months since cops in Kentucky killed Breonna Taylor, and just shy of a year since Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. These high-profile deaths of African Americans, along with many others sparked global protests and resulted in politicians and activists on the political Left calling on their cities to and counties to defund their police departments.
Amid pandemic, U.S. Justice Clarence Thomas has a question or two
When the U.S. Supreme Court heard its first-ever oral argument by teleconference rather than in person as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, one major change was immediately clear: the normally silent Justice Clarence Thomas was asking questions. Before that May 2020 case, Thomas had posed questions in only two oral arguments in the previous 14 years including a stretch of a full decade with none.
Appellate court rules in favor of CalSavers retirement program
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that CalSavers, an automatic retirement savings fund for those not offered a 401(k) or pension in California, would not be shut down. CalSavers was created by the state in 2017 as way to create retirement funds for those not offered a 401(k) or pension plan by their employer. Employers must send between 2% to 5% of the paycheck for each employee in the program to CalSavers.
Pensions for local public safety employees are skyrocketing
Growing public pension deficits have plagued our nation for years, but in the midst of some of the harshest fiscal blows from the pandemic, this problem is something we can no longer ignore. While California champions itself as a leader of positive change in the United States, we also happen to be the leader in skyrocketing pension obligations. And there are no signs of this unsustainable pattern slowing down.
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