Los Angeles District Attorney
Gascon ripped by LA County prosecutor Jason Lustig for retaliating against critics: 'I'm not backing down’ (Video)
L.A. County prosecutor Jason Lustig says he was demoted from his position for criticizing controversial District Attorney George Gascon.
Two veteran LA prosecutors removed from high profile unit
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón transferred two senior prosecutors - known for high-profile and complex murder cases that drew international attention - and moved them to positions typically held by less experienced deputies, in an action the attorneys say was retaliation for their criticism of Gascón.
Los Angeles woman injured by teen hit-and-run driver blasts DA George Gascon at early release hearing
 A Los Angeles woman who was mowed down along with her 8-month-old baby by a teen in a stolen car during a hit-and-run blasted Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon over the suspect's light punishment on Wednesday during an early release hearing. The woman, who has asked only to be identified as Rachel, said she doesn't believe the teen suspect has been rehabilitated in the five months since he was sent to a juvenile probation camp.
Los Angeles deputy DA: George Gascon 'tried to humiliate us' for supporting recall effort
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon is reportedly retaliating against those who supported his recall effort, as crime continues to plague city streets under his leadership. Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney John McKinney said on "Fox & Friends First" Monday he was demoted after supporting Gascon's ousting, arguing the move is impacting his ability to seek justice for crime victims in the county.
Courts & Rulings
FBI misled judge who signed warrant for Beverly Hills seizure of $86 million in cash
The privacy invasion was vast when FBI agents drilled and pried their way into 1,400 safe-deposit boxes at the U.S. Private Vaults store in Beverly Hills. They rummaged through personal belongings of a jazz saxophone player, an interior designer, a retired doctor, a flooring contractor, two Century City lawyers and hundreds of others.
LAPD officers want to make sure insurance isn’t billed for unvaccinated officers’ COVID tests
A judge who in July ruled in favor of the union representing Los Angeles Police Department officers, which sued the city over its requirement that employees unvaccinated against the coronavirus pay for their own COVID-19 testing, is being asked by the rank-and-file to reinforce his order directing the city to absorb the expenses. The Los Angeles Police Protective League maintained that putting the testing expenses on employees violated the state Labor Code.
En banc Ninth Circuit guts California ban on for-profit detention facilities
An en banc Ninth Circuit declared California's ban on private immigration detention facilities unconstitutional Monday, finding it violates the supremacy clause which prohibits states from "interfering with or controlling the operations of the federal government.” "California cannot exert this level of control over the federal government’s detention operations," U.S. Circui judge Jacqueline Nguyen, a Barack Obama appointee, wrote for the panel.
Court documents reveal who may have told Supervisor Sheila Kuehl about LASD raid
After a judge ruled the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department properly obtained warrants last week to search the homes of L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and L.A. County Civilian Oversight Commissioner Patricia "Patti" Giggans, Eyewitness News has learned what was taken. A total of 67 devices, some of the text messages and two voicemails reveal who might have tipped off Kuehl about the raid. Letting someone know he or she is the target of a search warrant is illegal.
Court rules Sheriff Villanueva lacked legal authority to rehire Caren Mandoyan after he was fired (Video)
Tom Wait provides the latest in an ongoing legal battle between Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Los Angeles County, where his move to rehire Caren Mandoyan, a deputy who was fired by the previous sheriff, was deemed unlawful.
Website-browsing surveillance suits erupt after appellate ruling
Ashley Popa was shopping online for pet stairs. Without her knowledge, a third-party marketing service used by Harriet Carter Gifts was tracking her every move, collecting her personal identifying information even though she bought nothing. Popa filed a proposed class action naming both businesses and claiming violation of a Pennsylvania anti-wiretapping law.
Live audio to stay at Supreme Court through reopening 
The Supreme Court on Wednesday said live audio of its oral arguments will continue this term as the court moves toward a partial reopening starting next week. The public and members of the press will also be welcomed back into the courtroom as the court begins its new term next week, according to a press release. Masking inside the courtroom will be optional. Outside of oral arguments, the building will remain closed to the public.
17-year-old, father and stepmom charged in PnB Rock's slaying
Three suspects including a teen were arrested and charged in the fatal Sept. 13 shooting of Philly rapper PnB Rock as he ate at Roscoe's House of Chicken 'N Waffles, authorities said Thursday. The criminal complaint charges a father and son with murder and robbery. The stepmom was charged with being an accessory after the fact. The teen and stepmother are in jail in Los Angeles, and the father was arrested Thursday afternoon in Las Vegas by an FBI fugitive task force.
Athletic trainer at San Fernando Valley high schools charged with sexually assaulting 10 teen girls
A trainer who worked at two San Fernando Valley high schools was charged Tuesday with sex-related counts involving 10 teenage girls. Richard Alexander Turner, 64, is charged with six counts each of sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery, four counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person and one count each of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
Homeless man charged with murder, defiling corpse in L.A. probation officer's slaying
The man who broke into an off-duty L.A. County probation officer's home and killed her early Sunday morning was trying to sexually assault her and defiled her remains, prosecutors said. Officer Paula Lind, 52, was beaten to death inside her Lancaster home on Barrymore Avenue shortly after midnight Sunday, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Sheriff's homicide Lt. Michael Gomez said deputies arrested a man at the scene whom they described as a "transient" known to the area.
The federal government asked a Ninth Circuit panel on Friday to dissolve the rights of the Mongol
The federal government asked a Ninth Circuit panel on Friday to dissolve the rights of the Mongol Nation Motorcycle Club to enforce their trademark of their logo, typically worn on patches sewn on jackets and vests of their members. During oral arguments Friday morning, lawyers for both the U.S. government and the Mongols asked the three-judge panel to overturn two cases - the Mongols want a 2018 conviction of the entire motorcycle club on racketeering offenses tossed, while the government want a ruling that said the Mongols could retain ownership of their trademark logo overturned.
California woman charged with killing man over cat dispute
A California woman has been charged with killing a man by ramming her car into him after accusing him of trying to run over a cat in the street, authorities said Wednesday. Hannah Star Esser, 20, was charged with murder in the death of Victor Anthony Luis, 43, and detained on $1 million bail, the Orange County prosecutor’s office said in a statement. Esser was driving in the community of Cypress on Sunday night when she confronted Luis and accused him of trying to run over a cat, authorities said.
US lawyers struggled to paint American Airlines as a monopolist in first day of antitrust trial
The country’s largest airline is a predator that is co-opting its upstart rival JetBlue Airways so it can illegally reduce flights and jack up prices for consumers, the Justice Department told a federal judge Tuesday. American Airlines “wiped out a competitor” and that will lead to “reduced options, higher fares and often worse service,” government lawyer William Jones told to U.S. District Judge Leo Sorokin in opening statements at an antitrust bench trial in Boston.
47 NorCal deputies stripped of duties due to poor psych exam scores
Forty-seven Northern California sheriff's deputies were stripped of their weapons and badges over the weekend after an audit revealed that they had received unsatisfactory scores on psychological exams. A total of 30 worked at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin and 17 were on assignment elsewhere in the county. The deputies were notified on Friday night that they could no longer make arrests or carry firearms following an audit of psychological exams dating back to 2016 in which the officers got "unsatisfactory" scores.
LAPD facing litigation for suspending concealed carry weapon permits
When Guy F. applied for a concealed carry weapon (CCW) license, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) told him they are not accepting applications due to a systems update. “They did not have a completion date available,” Guy told The Epoch Times. The San Pedro resident declined to disclose his real name because he is fearful the information will be used against him. “I need to be anonymous in this because if my name’s attached to it, they will for sure figure out some way to reject me when they finally do accept applications,” he said.
Los Angeles County/City
A “radical and a revolutionary” who wants to be the next City Controller
Much has been made about the leftward tilt in Los Angeles politics that now runs the scale from centrist to moderate to progressive to radical. Even further left than radical is Kenneth Mejia, who styles himself as a poster child for the revolution that he hopes will happen. Mejia is a showoff for how out of whack politics has become, and he revels in his role that has him dreaming of revolutionary domination. He’s running for City Controller against Paul Koretz.
Lawyer says deputy gang witnesses claim unmarked sheriff’s cars followed them home
Two Sheriff’s Department officials who testified publicly on deputy gangs last month were followed home afterwards by what appeared to be unmarked department cars, according to the attorney leading the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission’s investigation into the secretive groups. Attorney Bert Deixler told the panel Friday that the incidents are the latest examples of the fear and intimidation surrounding the panel’s hearings on gangs, which have been going on since May.
2 LASD deputies relieved of duty amid fraud scheme probe have close ties to Sheriff Alex Villanueva, sources say
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies served a search warrant in Monterey Park Friday at a gun shop called Caps Armory, which is frequented by law enforcement including deputies. The owner - Roy Yamamoto - is a big supporter of Sheriff Alex Villanueva and even hosted a fundraiser for his re-election campaign last month. The search warrant is connected to two female deputies who were relieved of duty Thursday, Deputy Gisel Del Real and Deputy Carrie Robles.
Lawyers in Black Lives Matter suit say former DA Lacey's husband has died
Attorneys representing the husband of former Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey in a lawsuit alleging he pointed a gun at Black Lives Matter demonstrators outside the family home in 2020 state in new court papers that their client has died. David Lacey’s death occurred Sept. 5, according to the court papers his lawyers filed Tuesday with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Theresa M. Traber.
Fake nude photo of captain circulated in LAPD. Here’s why chief says he kept it quiet
A fake nude photograph purportedly of a female LAPD captain shared by officers may have "smeared" her, but the chief of police said he didn't send a departmentwide message about it because he feared "it had the potential of becoming viral.” Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore testified Thursday in Capt. Lillian Carranza's lawsuit against the department that the image was intended to "ridicule, embarrass or harass or smear" the veteran female leader.
Victim of feces attack in Los Angeles Paul Scrivano calls out city council’s response
A Los Angeles tavern owner slammed the city council Thursday for overlooking the crime crisis after a shocking video showed a homeless man throwing a bag of feces at him outside his restaurant. Owner of Blue Dog Beer Tavern Paul Scrivano joined “Fox & Friends First” to discuss the incident and why he feels helpless after seeking support from the city. “It’s a true feeling of helplessness,” Scrivano told co-host Todd Piro.
Survey: Most Angelenos have favorable view of LAPD, despite lingering concerns around bias
The public's confidence in the Los Angeles Police Department has improved slightly over the last two years, although more than half of the city's residents believe policing remains tainted by racial bias among officers, according to a survey from Loyola Marymount University.
Crime/Public Safety
LAPD arrests man suspected in 68 armed robberies; dubbed the ‘Blue Cloth Bandit’
A man believed to be responsible for 68 armed robberies in Los Angeles County dating back to October of last year has been arrested, police announced Wednesday. The robber was dubbed the “Blue Cloth Bandit” because he would use a blue cloth to cover the gun brandished in robberies at gas stations, 7-Elevens and Walmarts, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
3 teenagers arrested after shooting, car chase in North Long Beach, police say
Long Beach police chased and arrested three teenagers after reports of a shooting at the Carmelitos housing community early Saturday night, according to authorities. Police said the shooting, which didn’t wound anyone, was reported just before 7:30 p.m. While en route, officers were told a vehicle was seen fleeing the area at a high rate of speed, according to the LBPD.
Teen girl at center of Fontana Amber Alert killed in shootout with police after pursuit
The murder-and-kidnapping suspect in Monday's Amber Alert and a teen girl with him in a pickup are dead after a police pursuit ended with shots fired and a shutdown of the 15 Freeway in Victorville. The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said they believe the passenger was the 15-year-old girl and she was wearing tactical gear. When she tried to get out of the car during the shootout, she was struck by gunfire and later died at a hospital.
Police search for suspects who pistol-whipped victim for diamond necklace, wallet in Canoga Park
Police searched early Wednesday for two armed robbery suspects in the Canoga Park area. The robbery happened near the intersection of Milwood Avenue and Sherman Way just before 3 a.m., according to the LAPD. One person suffered a cut to the eye after being pistol-whipped and robbed outside a Burger King. Police say the suspects got away with a diamond necklace and a wallet.
Notorious ‘Wall Street Whiz Kid’ con man now reportedly scamming Hollywood hipsters
Fool me thrice, shame on who? David Bloom, 58, has been twice-convicted in New York for his million dollar scams and served two prison sentences, but doesn’t appear to have learned his lesson. Instead, the former “Wall Street Whiz Kid” simply packed his bag of tricks and moved to the West Coast. The con artist was arrested in Los Angeles on Aug. 9 on suspicion of 12 counts of grand theft, amounting to more than $190,000.
Amazon delivery practices leave dozens dead and a trail of injuries
Amazon's quest to sell all things to all people has a catastrophic carryover - over 75 dead and scores injured by unsafe trucking contractors. Truckers moving Amazon goods around the country were more than twice as likely to receive unsafe driving scores compared with similar outfits. The investigative article by The Wall Street Journal's Christopher Weaver analyzes Amazon's push for prompt deliveries and the ongoing fallout of injuries and deaths.
Gun groups challenge California gun law modeled on Texas abortion measure
Gun rights groups have challenged a California gun law that emulates a Texas abortion measure by letting private citizens sue illegal firearms manufacturers. The widely-anticipated lawsuit will test the legal underpinnings of a gun restriction that California Gov. Gavin Newsom explicitly framed as a rebuke to Texas and the U.S. Supreme Court. The outcome could affect both California’s gun constraints and the anti-abortion law that inspired them.
Lawsuit: California utility targeted Asians in pot searches
Extraordinary use of electricity has long been a telltale sign of illegal grow houses producing thousands of marijuana plants hidden in seemingly ordinary homes. But a lawsuit filed by a data privacy watchdog says a Northern California utility went too far by racially profiling Asian communities as it routinely fed customers’ power use information to police without requiring a warrant or any suspicion of wrongdoing, in violation of state laws.
Attorney General Bonta urges court to uphold prohibitions of firearms on public transit
California Attorney General Rob Bonta, as part of a coalition of 15 attorneys general, today announced filing an amicus brief in support of the District of Columbia and states’ authority to regulate firearms on public transit systems and protect communities seeking access to safe public transportation. In the brief, the coalition asserts that states have the authority to enact regulations that protect public health and welfare based on community need.
State bar announces probe of L.A. lawyers Geragos, Kabateck over Armenian genocide settlement
The State Bar of California announced Tuesday that two prominent Los Angeles attorneys are under investigation for their conduct in a landmark, multimillion-dollar settlement for Armenian genocide victims. The public disclosure that lawyers Mark Geragos and Brian Kabateck are under scrutiny came six months after a Times investigation revealed how the historic legal case devolved into corruption, diverted funds and disillusionment for ethnic Armenians around the world hoping for compensation.
California refusing to release school test results
California’s Department of Education has finally acknowledged the obvious: It is arbitrarily delaying the release of results from this year’s round of academic testing. In years past, scores from the spring Smarter Balanced tests of academic achievement have been released in late summer or early fall, but this year, the department denied a request for statewide results even though it authorized individual districts to make their data available.
Raises for CHP officers are double what California is paying to other state workers
California Highway Patrol officers will receive a 6.2% raise this year - more than twice the general salary increase paid to any other group of state workers - under the unique terms of their union contract. The state Human Resources Department recently posted to its website the annual survey used to determine CHP officers’ pay. This year’s increase, raising an officer’s starting pay to nearly $111,000 per year, will be paid retroactive to July 1.
Irvine man sentenced to 4 years in federal prison for obtaining more than $5 million in COVID-relief loans for sham businesses
An Orange County man was sentenced today to 48 months in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining more than $5 million in COVID-relief loans for three shell companies. Raghavender Reddy Budamala, 36, of Irvine, was sentenced by United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II, who also ordered Budamala to pay $5,151,497 in restitution. Budamala pleaded guilty on June 21 to one count of bank fraud and one count of money laundering.
Northern California man sentenced to death for 1993 murder dies of natural causes
A California inmate sentenced to death for killing a bartender during a robbery has died at an outside hospital of natural causes, prison officials said Monday. Thomas Lenart, 75, was pronounced dead Friday. The Kern County Coroner will determine his official cause of death. He was sentenced to death in 1995 for the first-degree murder of Oberta Toney in Shasta County. She was found in a closet behind the bar at the Anderson Lounge, lying face down, hands crossed under her chest, in 1993.
RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan challenges his parole denial
Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, is asking a judge on Wednesday to free him from prison by reversing California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s denial of his parole earlier this year. Sirhan shot Kennedy moments after the U.S. senator from New York claimed victory in California’s pivotal Democratic presidential primary. He wounded five other people during the shooting at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
Articles of Interest
Can I get restitution as a crime victim? Ask the lawyer
A: Research indicates a restitution order in a criminal case is enforceable as if it were a civil judgment. Research further provides that the restitution obligation cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, is permanent and is inheritable. So you can pursue the former employee, and retention of a lawyer or collection agency is an option.
Federal appeals court punts on writer's suit against Trump over rape denial
A federal appeals court handed Donald Trump an incremental win Tuesday in a libel suit brought by writer E. Jean Carroll over the former president’s denial of her claim that he raped her in a New York department store dressing room in the 1990s. A divided panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lower court judge erred when he concluded that Trump, as president, was not covered by a federal law that can be used to shield federal employees from liability over incidents related to their work.
Assessing the provision of criminal indigent defense
Individuals charged with a crime have a right to effective assistance of legal counsel under the U.S. and California Constitutions. This is to ensure they receive equal protection and due process under the law. The government is required to provide and pay for attorneys for those individuals who are unable to afford private attorneys. This is known as “indigent defense.”
Los Angeles attorney jailed in Venezuela speaks out: 'It's very difficult on the human mind’
The family of a Los Angeles County Public Defender who has been detained in Venezuela since March said they want to sit down with President Joe Biden to ask him to help bring their loved one home. Eyvin Hernandez's mother, Ana Lucia Sandoval, sat in agony speaking with her son over the phone on Friday, telling Hernandez in Spanish that she loved him and asked him to take care of himself.
Ninth Circuit sides with environmentalists in fight over Central California dam
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with two environmental organizations that a Central California dam can legally be managed to preserve an endangered trout species in addition to its primary purpose to conserve water for residents, farms and industries in the surrounding area. In a split decision Friday, the appellate panel overturned a judge's ruling last year that the government agencies in charge of the Twitchell Dam in the Santa Maria River watershed had no discretion to release water to flow into the ocean for the benefit of the Southern California steelhead trout.
Panel recommends renaming hundreds of military assets tied to Confederacy
From framed artwork and historical displays in the Pentagon to entire bases and ships, there are some 1,112 Department of Defense assets identified in the Naming Commission’s final report to Congress this week targeted for rebranding or renaming because they memorialize people or events tied to the Confederacy. In August, the commission released the first two parts of its three-part report, focusing on U.S. Army bases and the U.S. Military Academy and U.S. Naval Academy, respectively.
Judge OKs Venezuelan businessman's defamation lawsuit against Fox, Lou Dobbs
A defamation lawsuit against Fox Corp., Fox News Network and Lou Dobbs can proceed toward trial, a judge ruled Monday after concluding that a Venezuelan businessman had made sufficient claims of being unfairly accused of trying to corrupt the 2020 U.S. presidential election to be permitted to gather more evidence. The lawsuit filed last year alleged that businessman Majed Khalil was defamed by Dobbs on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” and in tweets.
California joins growing list of jurisdictions to require pay scale information in job postings: 7 things you need to know
As a result of Governor Newsom’s signature on legislation yesterday, California will soon join a growing list of state and local jurisdictions that require job postings to include pay scale information. With the enactment of Senate Bill 1162 - which becomes effective January 1, 2023 - California will join Colorado, Washington, New York City and other local jurisdictions that have already adopted such requirements. Statewide legislation is currently pending in New York as well.
Are California’s public pension funds headed for another crisis?
The collateral damage wrought by the disruption as well as fears of a protracted recession are now raising questions about the finances of the multibillion-dollar systems relied upon by more than 4 million California public workers to carry them through their retirement. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or CalPERS, the nation’s largest state pension fund, experienced a 6.1% investment loss in the fiscal year that ended June 30.
CalPERS funding status drops amid negative returns
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) saw its funding status drop from 82% down to 71%. This is due to the pension plan’s -6.1% investment return for fiscal year 2022. CalPERS has around US$ 439.8 billion in assets under management. This is CalPERS first annual financial loss in a decade. Public pensions may have to cope with higher U.S. interest rates, which will likely have a negative impact on their public equity holdings, as well as fixed income holdings.
Cities’ retirement costs to surge as pensions take market beating
Cities will likely have to increase retirement contributions as public pension returns are battered by historically poor financial markets, according to a report released Monday by S&P Global Ratings. “S&P Global Ratings anticipates that market declines in 2022 and the threat of a recession will likely lead to the need for increased future contributions, in most cases,” analysts led by Stephen Doyle wrote in a report. They said that the positive market returns seen in 2021 have already been, or will be “erased” this year.
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