Courts, Rulings & Lawsuits

Straying from CCP proviso causes conviction reversal

The Third District Court of Appeal on Friday reversed a man’s conviction on four counts of drug offenses because a peremptory challenge to a prospective juror was allowed on a basis that is presumptively invalid under legislation that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2022. Reversal came in an opinion by Justice Shama Hakim Mesiwala. 

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Order disqualifying all prosecutors in district unjustified

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday reversed an order disqualifying a district’s entire U.S. Attorney’s Office based on the alleged misconduct of a single lawyer in the office, holding that procedures utilized in conducting private-sector investigations do not apply to government law offices. Ninth Circuit Judge Patrick J. Bumatay authored the opinion. He noted that while his circuit has not encountered the situation before, “every circuit court that has reviewed an officewide disqualification has reversed.”

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Supreme Court won't hear dispute over California law barring sale of foie gras

The Supreme Court said Monday it won't get involved in a dispute over a California animal cruelty law that bars foie gras from being sold in the state, leaving in place a lower court ruling dismissing the case. Foie gras is made from the enlarged livers of force-fed ducks and geese, and animal welfare groups had supported the law. As is typical, the court did not comment in declining to hear the case, and it was among many the court said Monday it would not hear.


Rope, box cutter were ‘dangerous weapons’ though not used in committing crime

A District Court judge properly based a sentence enhancement, in part, on the defendant’s possession in his car of a rope and a box cutter which he did not use in committing his crime of damaging property occupied by a foreign government but which, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said yesterday, are nonetheless, “dangerous weapons.” The defendant, Yefei Wen, is a Chinese national lawfully residing in the United States. 

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Bakersfield reporter fights order to turn over unpublished notes from jailhouse interview

A reporter at the Bakersfield Californian found in contempt of court Wednesday for refusing to turn over her unpublished notes from a jailhouse interview has appealed the decision - saying she worries the ruling could undermine her journalistic integrity. “We’re fighting this because it’s so important for people to know we are not an arm of any government agency," Ishani Desai, a 24-year-old journalist covering Kern County courts and public safety for the Californian, said in an interview with The Times. 

Los Angeles Times

California High Court erred in upholding death sentence

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, yesterday affirmed the District Court’s granting of a petition for a writ of habeas corpus relieving an axe murder of a death sentence that had been affirmed by the California Supreme Court. Circuit Judges Kim McLane Wardlaw and Paul J. Watford signed the per curiam opinion approving of the action by District Court Judge Andrew J. Guilford of the Central District of California in providing relief to Tauno Waidla, convicted of first-degree murder in the course of a burglary and robbery, with personal use of a deadly and dangerous weapon.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Appeals court ruling deals legal setback to Biden administration in gun stabilizing brace case

A federal appeals court dealt a legal setback to the Biden administration on guns Tuesday in a lawsuit challenging tighter regulations on stabilizing braces, an accessory that has been used in several mass shootings in the U.S. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocked the Biden administration’s rule from going into effect for the gun owners and groups who filed the lawsuit.


9th Circuit rules US deportation law that fueled family separations is 'neutral as to race' 

A federal appeals court has ruled that a U.S. deportation law that fueled family separations at the southern border is "neutral as to race," striking down an unprecedented Nevada ruling that had determined it was racist and unconstitutional. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals made that determination Monday in its long-awaited decision on the law known as Section 1326, which makes it a crime to unlawfully return to the U.S. after deportation, removal or denied entry.


U.S. Supreme Court rejects Biden wetlands regulation, ruling for Idaho couple

The U.S. Supreme Court in a major environmental decision on Thursday overturned the Environmental Protection Agency’s definition of wetlands that fall under the agency’s jurisdiction, siding with an Idaho couple who’d said they should not be required to obtain federal permits to build on their property that lacked any navigable water.

Idaho Capital Sun

George Gascon

Los Angeles DA George Gascón's outright disdain for public safety claims yet another victim

Late last month, a career criminal with a history of violence - including incidents resulting in charges of assault, assault with a deadly weapon, and attempted murder - was arrested in connection with the stabbing death of a 40-year-old father of two named Dennis Banner. Banner’s family contends that the accused killer should have never been out on the streets, free to inflict upon them the forever loss of their beloved.

Law Officer

Woke LA DA George Gascón has 10,000-case backlog, ‘toxic’ attitude driving staff away

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón is an “authoritarian” and “toxic” manager whose ultra-woke approach has led scores of prosecutors to quit and 10,000 cases to pile up, sources tell The Post. Justice is not being served in the most populous county in the nation because Gascón has driven talent away, demoted top lawyers and fights anyone who doesn’t share his views, according to multiple sources who have worked for him.

New York Post


Sheriff’s deputy charged with abusing 5-year-old son

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy has been charged with a felony count of abuse involving his 5-year-old son, District Attorney George Gascón announced Monday, May 22. Jim Devoe, 28, is accused of slapping and punching his son in the face and then lying to the boy’s mother about what caused the injuries, according to a statement released by the District Attorney’s Office.

Antelope Valley Times

Los Angeles County district attorney won’t charge Ravens’ Odell Beckham Jr.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on Monday declined to bring charges against Ravens wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who had been accused of assaulting a woman last month at a club in West Hollywood. TMZ Sports reported on April 21 that Beckham was under investigation after a woman alleged that he put his hand around her neck at Delilah, a club on Santa Monica Boulevard. He had denied the allegation.

Baltimore Banner

Walmart settles for $500K with CA after allegedly selling illegal and deadly brass knuckles online

The largest retailer in the United States has agreed to a settlement with the California Department of Justice after allegedly selling brass knuckles, which are illegal in California, to customers through its website. Walmart is alleged to have sold more than 250 brass knuckles directly to California consumers on its website, as well as through third-party sellers. As a condition to the settlement, Walmart will pay $500,000 and be required to prevent the sale of illegal weapons on its website.


Alleged robocaller company sued by 49 attorneys general

A bipartisan coalition of 48 state attorneys general, plus the DC attorney general, sued Avid Telecom on Tuesday, alleging that the company is responsible for billions of illegal spam calls, including calls to the phone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry. The state AGs claim that 90% of Avid’s 24.5 billion phone calls between December 2018 and January 2023 lasted just 15 seconds and that many of the calls impersonated law enforcement and government agencies.


Public defender seeks to recuse DA from jail escapee case

Attorneys for a 19-year-old killer who has escaped custody twice filed a motion to recuse the Orange County District Attorney’s Office from prosecuting him based on multiple news releases and public comments that the defendant is “extremely dangerous and violent,” according to court records obtained Tuesday. Ike Souzer was indicted in December on single felony counts each of possession of a deadly weapon by a prisoner and a prisoner manufacturing a deadly weapon.


San Diego case reveals nationwide elder fraud network

Judith and Ronald Attig did not know the young woman who appeared on their El Cajon doorstep in the afternoon of May 19, 2020. But they had been waiting for her. Earlier, they'd received a frantic call from their grandson, Troy. He said he’d been in an auto accident and was in police custody. He needed money and begged his grandparents to give it to him without telling his father, who would be angry at him.


Alleged LA-area gang members arrested in federal guns, drug case

Six suspected members or associates of an El Sereno street gang were arrested Friday on federal weapons and narcotics charges stemming from a nearly yearlong undercover operation in which authorities say they purchased about 11 pounds of methamphetamine and 47 firearms, including ghost guns and so-called “cop killer” handguns.

Hey SoCal

Former SFPD cop cleared in fatal shooting of Keita O'Neil speaks out

California State Attorney General Rob Bonta, on Thursday, decided against prosecuting a then-rookie San Francisco Police Department officer, who fatally shot Keita O'Neil, an unarmed Black man, at a San Francisco housing development in 2017. Now the officer involved is speaking out for the first time. On Dec. 1, 2017, former SFPD officer Christopher Samayoa, was riding as a passenger in a patrol vehicle as police were in pursuit of O'Neil, a carjacking suspect. 



Deputy union sues over investigation into Sheriff's Department gangs, order to show tattoos

Days after the county’s watchdog demanded that dozens of deputies reveal their tattoos and answer questions about gangs within the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, employee unions have struck back with a formal labor complaint as well as a lawsuit filed in state court.

Los Angeles Times

California promised a fair review of her son’s death by police. Now she’s asking them to drop it

Three men in dark suits knocked on Pam Holland’s door one night last June. They told her that her son was dead, shot to death in a neighboring county by a sheriff’s deputy. The shooting, they said, was being investigated under a new California law that requires the state Justice Department step in when a police officer kills an unarmed person. Pam Holland hoped the investigation would be quick and fair.


California sued over law that holds industry responsible for harm caused by guns

California Governor Gavin Newsom heralded a new state law that's set to go into effect in July as an important tool in preventing more mass shootings and other gun related deaths by holding the gun industry responsible for harm caused by their weapons. But the initiative came under fire Tuesday, when the National Shooting Sports Foundation filed a federal lawsuit that claims the law is unconstitutional. 

Courthouse News Service

Disabled California law grads claim bar exam isn’t ADA friendly

A group of four disabled California law school graduates appealed to the U.S. Justice Department to step in and force the State Bar of California to provide them with appropriate accommodations when taking the bar exam. In a complaint filed with the Justice Department on Thursday, the four grads accused the state bar of systemic disability-based discrimination and failure to accommodate test takers with disabilities.

Courthouse News Service

California moves a step closer to developing its own bar exam

California could design its own bar exam - replacing the national lawyer licensing test it has used for years. The Board of Trustees of the State Bar of California on Friday endorsed a plan for the state to begin developing its own bar exam to test federal and California law instead of using an overhauled version of the national bar exam that is set to debut in 2026. The board voted to send that recommendation to the California Supreme Court, which has the final decision on which bar exam to use.


Los Angeles City/County

Former LAPD officer accused of sexually assaulting four children dies in custody

A former Los Angeles police officer accused of sexually assaulting four boys, including family members, died in custody Saturday night, according to law enforcement officials. Paul Razo, 46 - who was charged this month with eight counts of lewd acts upon a child - died at Los Angeles General Medical Center, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Monday.

Los Angeles Times

State Board declares LA County juvenile halls unsuitable to detain youth

A state regulatory board Tuesday declared Los Angeles County's Barry J. Nidorf and Central juvenile halls unsuitable to house pre-disposition youth and ordered the county to relocate such detainees out of the facilities within 60 days. Members of the Board of State and Community Corrections said they felt they had no alternative other than to make the declaration, citing a protracted history of short-comings at the facilities, which were found in recent inspections to still be out of compliance with numerous state standards.

City News Service

LAPD budget growing, even as crime rates drop (Video)

The Los Angeles Police Department will receive a funding boost next year as part of the city budget, even as crime rates drop. Chief Michael Moore says his department needs the funds to deal with staff shortages and high rates of certain crimes. Eric Leonard reports May 23, 2023.


LAPD NE Division sets community policing back 20 years

On Thursday May 18th, 2023, local Highland Park residents, business owners and consumers started noticing Los Angeles Red and White no stopping signs posted on York Blvd. The signs stated tow away, no stopping on Saturday only from 11am to midnight. There were no explanations made for the posted signs. Telephone inquiries were made by Highland Park residents, local business owners and consumers to Los Angeles City Council member Kevin Deleon’s office and the LAPD Northeast Division. 


City Council votes to accept donation of LAPD `robot dog’

The Los Angeles City Council voted 8-4 Tuesday to approve the donation of a so-called robot dog for use by the Los Angeles Police Department following more than an hour of public comment against the device and criticism from a council member. The council moved to accept the donation with an amendment introduced by Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky to ensure the LAPD provide quarterly reports regarding the deployment of the device, outcomes of the deployment and any issues pertaining to the use of it.


LASD develops new custody bail procedure following Los Angeles County Superior Court ruling on bail schedule

California Superior Court Judge Lawrence P. Riff declared on May 16, 2023, that enforcing the bail schedule, including monetary bail, violates the Due Process clause of the U.S. and California Constitutions. As a result, the judge has issued a preliminary injunction that prohibits the application or enforcement of the Los Angeles Superior Court’s 2022 Felony Bail Schedule and 2022 Bail Schedule for Infractions and Misdemeanors by the Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Police Department before arraignment.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

LAPD, LASD start releasing people who couldn't afford to post bail (Video)

Following a judge’s order, LAPD officers and LASD deputies began releasing people who couldn’t post bail following their arrest for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. Eric Leonard reports May 24. 2023.



Boy, 17, arrested in stabbing of Metro bus driver in Woodland Hills

A 17-year-old boy was arrested in connection to the stabbing of a Metro bus driver in Woodland Hills. The teen was arrested following the stabbing of the 61-year-old driver, who was left in “extremely critical" condition after Wednesday evening’s attack, Los Angeles Police department Chief Michel Moore said during a Thursday afternoon news conference. Police did not release the boy’s name because he is a minor.


LA freeway lights darkened by vandalism make for dangerous driving conditions

Some Los Angeles freeways are extra dark, even blacked out at night as Caltrans confirms 40% of the 34,000 freeway lights in the county don't work because of vandalism. For a driver who doesn't know where they are going, or is unfamiliar with the route, trying to see along a dark road or reading unlit signs makes for dangerous driving conditions.


Extortion hits new high in Los Angeles

In March, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that special agents from Homeland Security Investigations and officers from the Los Angeles Police Department had arrested 38-year-old Daekun Cho. The Woodland Hills resident faces federal charges that he extorted “protection” money from Koreatown businesses and used acts of violence against those who refused to pay. Prosecutors alleged that Cho targeted karaoke businesses and “doumi,” or hostesses, who worked for patrons of the establishments.


Video shows Amazon driver pilfer check from Woodland Hills family's porch

While we've become used to the sight of porch pirates swiping packages on video, it's not usually your Amazon driver who does the actual swiping. A Woodland Hills family says an Amazon driver stole an envelope with a check inside from their porch after he made a delivery. He then deposited the check and withdrew cash from an ATM, according to the family. It was all caught on their doorbell video camera.


LA Co. Supervisor calls out Metro after train attack in Long Beach

Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn Monday called for "a full accounting" of security protocols in the aftermath of a recent attack on a woman on a Metro A Line train in Long Beach by two suspects who are being sought. "We have multi-million-dollar law enforcement contracts, Metro security, and 300 Metro Ambassadors who have been hired to ride our buses and trains," Hahn said in a statement Monday.

City News Service

LA and Sacramento crack down on catalytic converter thefts

City and state officials have passed new laws in California to address a recent spike in catalytic converter thefts such as increasing criminal penalties for theft, and limiting re-sales of the emissions-reducing device. The response comes as insurance claims for thefts increased nationally from a reported 1,298 in 2018 to more than 64,000 in 2022, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. 



The encampment state

Ask the average Californian his take on homelessness, and he’ll say that it’s gotten much worse. Back in the early 2000s, a visitor to Los Angeles’s Skid Row or San Francisco’s Tenderloin would have witnessed scenes of misery that seemed scarcely capable of further deterioration. Intense reaction against street conditions back then gave rise, in many California cities, to campaigns to end homelessness, prompting billions in new spending. 

City Journal

What does Chicago need in a new police superintendent? First, a leader with vision

Chicago’s Community Commission for Public Safety has a vitally important and challenging task in finding the next police superintendent. With 53 applicants, including 32 with a current or former connection to the Chicago Police Department, the commission has a broad field from which to choose. While there is no strict formula for what makes a great police chief, there are a few key qualities that matter.

Chicago Sun-Times

2 progressive prosecutors resign after ethical scandals

Two of the most high-profile progressive prosecutors in the nation resigned last week, marking a significant setback for the criminal justice reform movement. Kim Gardner of St. Louis and Rachael Rollins of Boston are two Black women at the vanguard of a nationwide initiative to lessen prison sentences, implement restorative justice and hold police departments accountable.

Yahoo News

19 shot, 10 fatally, at car rally less than 100 miles from Mexico-US border

At least 10 people were killed and nine were wounded when an apparent team of gunmen ambushed a car rally in Baja California, Mexico, about 73 miles from the U.S. border, authorities said. The horrific attack unfolded just after 2 p.m. on Saturday in San Vicente, near Ensenada, on the Pacific coast of the Baja California Peninsula, the Reuters news agency reported. The violence erupted during the last day of a two-day all-terrain car rally, local officials said.

ABC News

Wilson Center creates database to track police use of force legislation

Through February of this year, 254 people were killed by police in 41 states and Washington, D.C., including nine in North Carolina, according to However, few police-related deaths have galvanized the community more than that of George Floyd, who on May 25, 2020, died after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground under the knee of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. His death sparked outrage, protests and calls for legislative reform around the country.

Duke Today

University of Chicago’s new international police academy teaching policing successes of New York, Los Angeles, not Chicago

A new international police leadership academy is starting up Monday in Chicago, and some of the key lessons for the 24 participants are being taken from the successes of the New York and Los Angeles police departments - not the Chicago Police Department. The six-month Policing Leadership Academy, announced last year after billionaire Ken Griffin contributed $25 million to the effort, is based at the University of Chicago.

Chicago Sun-Times

Trump's attorney took notes that say the former president wanted to fight subpoena for classified docs

Donald Trump asked whether he could push back against Justice Department efforts last year to recover any classified documents still in his possession during conversations with his lawyer over compliance with a federal subpoena, according to multiple sources familiar with notes taken by his lawyer and turned over to investigators. 


Analysis: California’s fentanyl problem is getting worse

California has allocated more than $1 billion in recent years to combat its opioid crisis. Much of the money has been used to distribute fentanyl test strips and the overdose reversal drug naloxone, as well as deliver medical care to people who are homeless. The state has an opioid awareness campaign tailored to youths and recently called on the National Guard to help detect drug traffickers. Yet the problem keeps getting worse.

KFF Health News


One-time ‘shot-caller’ of MS-13 in Los Angeles, second senior member of gang found guilty of federal RICO and drug offenses

Two senior members of Mara Salvatrucha, a transnational criminal street gang commonly called MS-13, including the one-time shot-caller of all MS-13 in Los Angeles, have been found guilty of federal racketeering and drug trafficking charges, the Justice Department announced today.

U.S. Attorney’s Office Press Release


Judge advances false advertising suit over Fireball malt beverage

“The light music of whisky falling into glasses made an agreeable interlude,” wrote Irish author James Joyce in his beloved 1914 anthology “Dubliners.” Joyce, however, was reasonably sure that what was falling into his glass was real whisky. Not so for Potter Valley, California, resident Christopher McKay, who sued distiller Sazerac this past February after discovering that the bottles of cinnamon-flavored whisky he’d been buying weren’t whisky at all, but malt liquor.

Courthouse News Service

Protect yourself from hackers using public charging stations to steal your iPhone data

Cybercriminals have the skills to use public charging stations to infiltrate connected devices, but Apple has a secret weapon to protect you from ‘juice jacking.’ If you plug your iPhone or iPad into a charger and see a prompt that reads, ‘Trust this computer,’ a hacker has compromised the power source. A simple push of ‘Don’t Trust’ will stop the data thieves from accessing the device.

Daily Mail

Articles of Interest

Mike Feuer pitches L.A. voters on three decades of ‘idealism’

Los Angeles is a city of stars. The lineup of candidates running to replace Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) shows it. There’s Ben Savage, the “Boy Meets World” star who has garnered many adoring national headlines but not much political capital, according to federal fundraising reports. Also running is Maebe A. Girl, a well-known local drag queen and representative on the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council. 

Jewish Insider

Karen Bass's City Hall is already rigged

A column that I wrote last year, "Honest Services Fraud - How City Hall Rigged Its Herb Wesson Vote," detailed how sleazy LA City Hall can get when it wants a certain outcome, but doesn’t want the public to participate or know what goes on behind the scenes. I will have more on what this column is doing about that incident in the coming weeks.

The Guss Report

Trump’s Truth Social sues Washington Post for $3.78 billion in defamation damages

The media company behind former President Donald Trump’s social media platform, Truth Social, is suing The Washington Post for defamation after the news outlet published an article on May 13 accusing the company of securities fraud and other illegal actions. The lawsuit, brought by Trump Media & Technology Group Corp. (TMTG) in Florida’s Sarasota County, seeks $3.78 billion in damages from the Washington Post for the article, which TMTG alleges was false and defamatory, posing an “existential threat” to the company.

The Maine Wire

Former Lewis Brisbois executive criticized firm's financial practices in 2019 claim

The former chief operating officer of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith has alleged in an August 2019 whistleblower letter that he was fired after raising concerns about the law firm’s financial practices. The former COO is Robert Kamins. He is acting as the COO of the newly formed firm Barber Ranen, which is starting up with more than 120 lawyers from Lewis Brisbois. obtained Kamins’ letter through a formal request with the California Department of Industrial Relations.

ABA Journal

Startup founder Charlie Javice pleads not guilty to fraud over sale to JPMorgan

An entrepreneur accused of grossly exaggerating the value of her college financial planning startup, ahead of its sale to JPMorgan Chase, pleaded not guilty to federal fraud charges on Monday in Manhattan, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office told ABC News. Charlie Javice, 31, who once made the prestigious Forbes "30 Under 30" list of "big money" entrepreneurs, sold her now defunct tech startup to the bank in 2021 for $175 million - millions of dollars more than the company was worth, federal prosecutors said last month after Javice was arrested.

ABC News


Northern California inmate death sparks 10th homicide investigation at state prisons this year

California corrections officials have opened a homicide investigation after an inmate at a Northern California prison was apparently beaten to death by two other inmates on Saturday evening. This marks at least the fifth homicide investigation that the state’s prison system have opened this year related to inmate deaths.

Sacramento Bee

Can 2 years and $20M transform San Quentin into a model of prison reform?

In March, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a massive project: transforming San Quentin Prison, a maximum-security penitentiary with the largest death row in the U.S., into a rehabilitation and education facility - in just two years. Constructed in 1852, San Quentin is California’s oldest prison. Can it also be a model for a more progressive vision of criminal justice? That question loomed over the governor’s recent naming of several new prison council advisors.

San Francisco Standard

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