Courts & Rulings
Judge dismisses case against deputies accused of covering up assault in East L.A.
A Superior Court judge dismissed charges against two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who were accused of lying to cover up an on-duty assault, finding there was insufficient evidence for them to stand trial. Judge Ronald Coen tossed the case against Jonathan Miramontes and Woodrow Kim earlier this month after a prosecutor presented video of the incident at a preliminary hearing as evidence that reports the deputies wrote were false.
California judge from a powerful Democratic family declares mistrial for sleepy robbery defendant
A California judge, the scion of a powerful Democratic family, granted an ex-con a mistrial for an alleged violent McDonald’s robbery because he was sleepy in court and couldn’t take proper notes, Fox News Digital has learned. Los Angeles Superior Court Jurist Daniel Lowenthal, whose Democratic congressman father endorsed the city’s embattled top prosecutor George Gascón, made the ruling Wednesday.
Court records won’t be sealed where defendant wasn’t subjected to arrest
The Appellate Division of the Los Angeles Superior Court has held, in an opinion publicly released yesterday, that a man who successfully completed diversion is not entitled to the sealing of court records relating to the prosecution of him on two misdemeanor charges because he came to court for an arraignment in response to letter demanding his appearance and was not arrested. Defendant Nick Hadim sought relief pursuant to Penal Code §851.91.
Convicted murderer loses appeal over failed re-sentencing bid
A state appeals court panel has rejected the latest appeal filed on behalf of one of two former Whittier residents convicted of the January 2009 murder of a San Pedro woman who was found shot to death in her car. In its ruling Tuesday, the three-justice panel from California's 2nd District Court of Appeal agreed with a lower court judge's conclusion that Daniel Keith Martinez is ineligible for re-sentencing under a recent change in state law that affects defendants in some murder cases.
School district not liable to pupils who viewed slayings
A school district is not liable to seven children who witnessed the teacher’s husband entering the classroom, fatally shooting his wife, firing at two students, one of whom died, then killing himself, Div. Two of the Fourth District Court of Appeal has declared in an opinion it certified for publication yesterday. The opinion, initially filed on Aug. 10, was authored by Acting Presiding Justice Art W. McKinister.
Judge dismisses 34 manslaughter charges in 2019 Conception boat fire, citing lack of ‘gross negligence’
A federal judge has dismissed 34 manslaughter charges against the captain of the Conception boat that caught fire during a weekend diving trip off the California coast in 2019, killing one crew member and all 33 passengers. The indictment against Jerry Nehl Boylan accused him of causing the deaths of the 34 people “by his misconduct, negligence, and inattention to his duties,” including failing to have someone awake at night watching the boat or rotating shifts through a roving patrol, as required by federal regulations and the boat’s U.S. Coast Guard certification.
Yahoo defense tab up for grabs in California Supreme Court case
Yahoo! Inc., besieged by class actions accusing the pioneering internet search engine of sending unwanted ads via text message in violation of federal law, turned to its insurer to provide and pay for its legal defense. But, despite the existence of specifically negotiated and distinct “personal injury” and “advertising injury” coverage provisions according to Yahoo, National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa., denied coverage.
Decision to block California ban on under-21 rifle sales vacated
A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday set aside its decision that California's ban on selling semiautomatic weapons to adults under 21 was unconstitutional, citing a recent Supreme Court ruling that changed how judges must evaluate firearms laws. In a brief order, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals returned the case to a federal trial judge who had refused to block enforcement of the ban, which was adopted in 2019 after a 19-year-old opened fire at a synagogue near San Diego.
Man was ‘actual killer’ of victim who died from stress
The Third District Court of Appeal on Friday affirmed a trial court’s determination that the defendant was the “actual killer,” ineligible for resentencing under legislation that largely abolishes the felony-murder rule and applies retroactively, rejecting the contention that there was no “actual killer” because the victim died from an irregular heartbeat, a preexisting condition triggered by being knocked unconscious during a robbery.
State judges offer rare input as high court tackles redistricting case
Months after the Supreme Court agreed to review a theory that could upend judicial review of election laws, the state justices from the highest courts in all 50 states have taken the unusual step of reaching out to the court in opposition to the principle. The Conference of Chief Justices - a leading national voice on the role of state courts - urged the Supreme Court in an amicus brief filed Tuesday to discount the theory advanced by Republican lawmakers in North Carolina that would block state court review of their new congressional map.
Ninth Circuit upholds Washington ban on conversion therapy
A Ninth Circuit panel on Tuesday upheld a Washington state law that prohibits licensed mental health care providers from trying to change a minor's sexual orientation or gender identity through conversion therapy. The appellate court upheld a lower court's dismissal of a lawsuit by a marriage and family therapist who claimed that the 2018 state law violates the free speech rights of both himself and his minor clients.
Judge says SC electric chair, firing squad unconstitutional
A South Carolina judge ruled Tuesday that the state's newly created execution firing squad, as well as its use of the electric chair, are unconstitutional, siding with four death row inmates in a decision sure to be swiftly appealed as the state struggles to implement its new execution protocols. “In 2021, South Carolina turned back the clock and became the only state in the country in which a person may be forced into the electric chair if he refuses to elect how he will die," Judge Jocelyn Newman wrote in a case brought by the inmates against the state.
Los Angeles District Attorney
Court filing reveals turmoil within LA prosecutor’s office
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón may have survived a recall attempt, but behind the scenes his office is still a mess. In a court filing last month, the DA's office said several members of its staff have experienced "threats of physical harm, experienced physical intimidation, and been relentlessly harassed online" following their testimony in an ongoing civil service proceeding. That harassment, which they said is largely perpetuated online, has been encouraged by social media posts of current and former prosecutors.
D.A. asks judge to review 1979 murder case where prosecutors failed to turn over evidence
After shooting a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy who raided his parents' house in 1979, Jesse Gonzales was in an ambulance with another deputy and apologized for the violence. "Sorry, man," he told the deputy, claiming he thought he was being ambushed by a rival gang when he shot at the plain-clothed deputies, killing one of them, according to court records. That was Gonzales' defense when his case went to trial. To disprove it, prosecutors relied on testimony from William Acker, a prolific jailhouse informant.
Two charged with 'disturbingly brutal and callous' shooting of homeless double amputee in LA
Two people were charged with murder in connection to the May 17 shooting death of a 69-year-old homeless man whom police described as a double amputee in Los Angeles. On Thursday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced in a news release that Ruby Salazar and Raymundo Hernandez were each charged with one count of murder.
3 charged in violent robbery spree, including pistol-whipping and Rolex theft in Rowland Heights 99 Ranch Market parking lot
More than three weeks after an arrest was made in the July pistol-whipping and robbery of an Asian-American couple in Rowland Heights, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced Tuesday that three men have been charged for that incident and “a series of of daytime robberies over the past five months.” In addition to 21-year-old Demoryie Watts, who was arrested Aug. 12, Deangelo Thomas, 25, and Eric Burham, 21, face charges, Gascón announced in a press release.
Prosecutors drop charges in murder plot targeting sheriff’s sergeant, despite sergeant’s objections
Prosecutors in California have abandoned a murder-for-hire case against a jail inmate accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill a sheriff’s sergeant, despite the objections of the sergeant. Misconduct related to the illegal use of informants already dismantled a murder conviction against Paul Gentile Smith, and an Orange County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman said Thursday the overturning of his murder solicitation conviction had long been expected.
2 charged with killing Monterey Park police officer plead not guilty
Two men pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder in connection with the fatal shooting of an off-duty Monterey Park police officer during what Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón called a botched robbery attempt in Downey. Carlos Delcid - who is accused of gunning down off-duty Officer Gardiel Solorio on Aug. 8 - is charged with one count each of murder, shooting at an occupied motor vehicle and possession of a firearm by a felon, along with the special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a robbery.
‘I want to clear your name’: Vindictive prosecution alleged in federal gun case linked to Los Angeles police detective’s homicide probe
Four months into their representation of a woman in a seemingly routine gun case, public defenders in Los Angeles notified federal prosecutors of what they described as a fundamental problem: A police detective instigated the charges as revenge for their client’s refusal to cooperate in a homicide probe. The lawyers cited text messages Detective David Vinton sent the woman before she was charged, showing him asking for her help that went unanswered.
Murder charges upheld against LA socialite Rebecca Grossman
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Wednesday declined to dismiss murder charges against Hidden Hills socialite Rebecca Grossman, whose vehicle allegedly struck two boys in a crosswalk while it was going more than 70 mph. Judge Joseph Brandolino rejected a motion to dismiss two counts of murder, finding there was probable cause to determine that Grossman acted with implied malice when her vehicle sped in a 45-mph zone and struck youngsters Mark and Jacob Iskander in a marked Westlake Village crosswalk.
Long Beach man charged in crime spree that included pistol whipping elderly man, DA says
A 25-year-old Long Beach man was charged Tuesday with participating in a series of daytime robberies that spanned five months, including the most recent armed robbery of two people outside a grocery store in Rowland Heights in July, officials said. Dangelo Thomas, who was on parole for a “gang-related offense involving firearms” at the time of the Rowland Heights robbery, faces 12 counts of second-degree robbery and three counts of elder abuse following his arrest last month, authorities said.
Sixteen charged in alleged massive EBT fraud scheme
Sixteen people have been charged in an alleged massive electronic benefit transfer fraud scheme in which funds were siphoned off that were intended for families in need, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced Tuesday. Prosecutors say the case involves the theft of private account information of California EBT card holders, the creation of illegal, cloned cards with victims' account information and the withdrawal of large cash amounts from those accounts at ATMs.
Marilyn Manson, Murray Miller sexual assault cases declined by L.A. District Attorney
The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office said on Friday that it has declined to prosecute sexual assault cases leveled against musician Marilyn Manson and “Girls” writer Murray Miller. According to documents from the D.A.’s office, the charges leveled against Manson (the stage name for Brian Miller) in 2011 have been dismissed due to expired statute of limitations on two charges and an absence of corroboration for a sexual assault claim.
Witness: California corrections counselor targeted because he was charging electric vehicle
A man present at the shooting of a corrections counselor near an electric charging station last week identified the gunman, who he said targeted the counselor because he “probably had money due to possessing an electric vehicle,” court documents say. The man said he didn’t know Robert Pernell Roberts - whom he knows as “AWOL” - had a gun on him or was going to shoot anyone, say the reports released Tuesday morning.
Black Lives Matter members oppose Lacey medical records subpoenas
Two Black Lives Matter members are seeking to block lawyers for former Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and her husband, David Lacey, from obtaining some of their medical records in a lawsuit filed after David Lacey allegedly pointed a gun at demonstrators outside the family home in 2020. The confrontation occurred when members of the group showed up at the couple’s Granada Hills home early on the morning of March, 2, 2020.
California lawmakers decline to reform state's cash-bail system
California lawmakers balked at a scaled-back attempt at reforming the state's cash bail system Wednesday, a year after a more expansive effort also stalled amid headlines over a gruesome killing. The latest version would bar suspects released prior to trial from being charged for things like ankle monitors or other conditions imposed to ensure they show up in court. It also would require that bail premiums be returned to suspects if charges are dismissed or no charges are filed within 60 days after the suspects' arrest.
California gun bill fails on tactical error in Legislature
Gun-control advocates could have had another victory in their very successful California legislative session that ended Thursday if not for a risky move supported by Gov. Gavin Newsom that backfired on a bill to impose new limits on carrying concealed weapons after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down old rules. The Legislature passed more than a dozen significant bills on gun limits during the session.
Karen Bass got a USC degree for free. It's now pulling her into a federal corruption case
During the last decade, two influential Los Angeles politicians were awarded full-tuition scholarships valued at nearly $100,000 each from USC's social work program. One of those scholarships led to the indictment of former L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and the former dean of USC's social work program, Marilyn Flynn, on bribery and fraud charges. The other scholarship recipient, Rep. Karen Bass, is the leading contender to be L.A.'s next mayor.
Los Angeles County/City
LAPD officer’s suit alleges obstruction of justice by councilwoman
A Los Angeles police officer is suing the city, alleging he experienced backlash for complaining about what he maintains was an attempt by City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez to interfere with his attempt to serve a search warrant on a marijuana business. Senior Lead Officer Cesar Contreras filed the retaliation suit Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking unspecified damages. Rodriguez is not a defendant in the complaint.
Ex-controller Laura Chick guts Kenneth Mejia in Koretz endorsement
Former Los Angeles City Controller Laura Chick fired off an open letter Tuesday that eviscerated Kenneth Mejia, the front-running candidate for her old job, while also sparing a few words to endorse his opponent, Councilman Paul Koretz. Chick, who served as the city’s top financial officer from 2001 to 2009, and as member of the City Council from 1993 to 2001, said in her letter that accountant Kenneth Mejia is “unfit” for the post, calling him a “radical,” an “extremist” and a “loose cannon” - and not, presumably, the cool Martin Riggs variety of loose cannon.
LASD relieves 2 deputies of duty after year-long investigation by Public Corruption Unit
Two deputies with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department were relieved of duty Thursday after an investigation uncovered what authorities called a "possible long-term scheme to defraud the citizens of Los Angeles County." The year-long investigation was sparked after irregularities were discovered in the concealed carry weapon application process. LASD's Public Corruption Unit, along with state and federal agencies, served search warrants at several locations, according to a release by the Sheriff's Information Bureau, for weapon law violations.
The Gascon recall failure
As one who understands elections from a first-hand perspective, I also understand the risk that is assumed when endorsing a candidate or cause. While I did support the recall of District Attorney George Gascon, I had grave concerns supporting the campaign running that effort because of the risks I identified early on with the consultants running that campaign. These risks included the fact that these very same individuals had blown $1.4 million in the 1st round effort, and then we're telling individuals they were the only ones capable to run the 2nd effort.
Crime/Public Safety
Contra Costa Sheriff’s deputy falsified report to steal firearms from court property room; DA recuses herself from case
A Contra Costa Sheriff’s deputy who was arrested by his own agency in late August had reportedly used a falsified police report to steal firearms from a property room containing evidence seized in criminal investigations, according to a probable cause statement written by investigators. Matthew Buckley, 41, of Pinole, was arrested on suspicion of grand theft of firearms, receiving stolen property, unlawful transfer of a firearm, falsifying a police report, destroying or concealing evidence, and possessing methamphetamine allegedly found during a search of his home.
No case yet presented against deputy accused of drunkenly crashing his car
No case has yet been presented against the 50-year-old sheriff’s deputy accused of drunkenly crashing his vehicle in Stevenson Ranch last week, according to officials at the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office. The deputy, who was later identified by law enforcement as Deputy Carlos Lopez, was arrested on suspicion of DUI shortly after he reportedly crashed his patrol vehicle late in the evening on Aug. 26 near the intersection of Pico Canyon Road and Southern Oaks Drive.
'Like a sitting duck': The catalytic converter theft spree is hitting old Toyota Priuses
Nam Trinh knew something was wrong one morning in October when she turned on her 2008 Toyota Prius and heard a throaty roar, like a plane taking off. Trinh had her wedge-shaped car repaired. But she heard the telltale growl again in January while she was in Sacramento. And again in February, in the parking garage of a Las Vegas casino. And again in March, at home in Los Angeles. "By the fourth time, I was numb," said Trinh, who works for a hospitality technology company and lives in Eagle Rock.
City council to LAPD: Which LA intersections are most dangerous for street takeovers?
A panel will hold virtual conferences starting at 9 a.m. to address the dangers of street takeovers. Those in attendance will include local law enforcement, elected officials, and community outreach groups. The meeting comes as the city of Los Angeles looks to crack down on illegal street takeovers. A city council motion last week asked the Los Angeles Police Department to identify the most dangerous intersections and to come up with recommendations on how to stop these street takeovers.
LAUSD targeted in ransomware attack that led to ‘significant disruption’
Classes resumed as scheduled Tuesday after the Los Angeles Unified School District was the target of a ransomware attack on its information technology systems over the holiday weekend. The district contacted federal officials over the weekend, prompting the White House to mobilize a response from the U.S. Department of Education, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, according to the LAUSD.
Sheriff's deputy from Stockton turns himself in after double slaying. Couple ID'd
The intense manhunt for a Northern California sheriff's deputy - the suspect in a bizarre double-slaying in which a husband and wife were shot early Wednesday morning in their home - ended abruptly nearly 12 hours later with a phone call. Devin Williams Jr., a deputy with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, called police shortly before noon and said he wanted to turn himself in. He'd fled 160 miles south of the crime scene in the San Francisco Bay Area to a rural, desolate spot in the Central Valley.
Settlement: Police in Calif. city, county can't fire projectiles into crowds
Oakland police and Alameda County sheriff's officers, who have injured protesters in the past with rubber-tipped bullets and other so-called less-lethal munitions, have consented to a settlement largely prohibiting them from firing projectiles or explosive devices into crowds. The settlement, to be enforced by a federal magistrate for the next five years, also includes $125,000 in payments to each of two demonstrators who were shot with rubber bullets by sheriff's deputies in June 2020 during an Oakland protest over the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.
Vanessa Bryant's lawsuit showed that 'death books' are still a disturbing custom in law enforcement
Vanessa Bryant's lawsuit against Los Angeles County first responders over photographs taken of the remains of her late husband and daughter left spectators with lingering concerns about law enforcement's use of so-called death books. Some cops are known to keep "macabre" catalogs of bodies and human remains from crime scenes and disasters, LASD Sheriff Alex Villaneuva acknowledged in 2020 after media reports surfaced that deputies had shared images from the helicopter crash that left Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and six others dead.
Why outlawing ghost guns didn’t stop America’s largest maker of ghost gun parts
As Nevada lawmakers heard public comment last year on a bill to ban ghost guns and the parts used to make them, a resident of the rural town of Dayton called into the hearing to offer his opinion. The privately made firearms are virtually untraceable because they lack a serial number and can be easily purchased online and assembled by people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to legally buy a gun.
Probe of Oath Keepers finds hundreds of public servants in its ranks
The Center on Extremism at the Anti-Defamation League sifted through 38,000 names on leaked Oath Keepers membership lists and identified more than 370 people believed to work in law enforcement, more than 100 current military members and more than 80 people who were running for or served in public office as early as August.
Manson follower and convicted murderer Bruce Davis denied parole - again
Charles Manson cult follower and convicted murderer Bruce Davis isn’t going anywhere but back to his prison cell after he was denied parole again. Though he’s been recommended for parole seven times between 2010 and 2021, a panel denied that he was suitable for parole Friday, the Associated Press reported. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown all have rejected parole recommendations in the past. 
Articles of Interest
Fox producer's warning against Jeanine Pirro surfaces in Dominion defamation suit
The November 2020 email from an anguished Fox News news producer to colleagues sent up a flare amid a fusillade of false claims. The producer warned: Fox cannot let host Jeanine Pirro back on the air. She is pulling conspiracy theories from dark corners of the Web to justify then-President Donald Trump's lies that the election had been stolen from him. The existence of the email, confirmed by two people with direct knowledge of it, is first publicly disclosed by NPR in this story. Fox News declined comment.
Trump threatens lawsuit against Fox News over Lincoln Project ad: ‘See you all in Court!’
Donald Trump threatened legal action against Fox News on Thursday in response to an ad from the conservative Lincoln Project. The former president wrote on Truth Social, his social media platform, that he would see the network and, apparently, the Lincoln Project “in Court” and blamed them for supposed “false advertis[ing]”. As with his previous criticism of the network, Mr Trump’s statement once again targeted former House Speaker Paul Ryan, a conservative critic of his who supported impeachment after the Jan 6 riot and now sits on the Fox Corporation’s board of directors.
‘Nevermind’ baby’s lawsuit over Nirvana album cover is thrown out
The man depicted on Nirvana's monumental 1991 album "Nevermind" when he was four months old and with his penis in full view waited too long to sue the former band members and the record label for child pornography, a federal judge said. U.S. District Judge Fernando Olguin on Friday dismissed the claims by Spencer Elden against the estate of Kurt Cobain, Universal Music Group and the two other former members of the Seattle grunge band.
FBI inventory of Trump’s office details empty folders marked classified
Empty folders with classified banners and more than 10,000 government records were among the records seized from former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence last month, according to records unsealed on Friday. The inventory list provides a more detailed look at what was taken from Mar-a-Lago during the Aug. 8 search. Detailing its removal of 33 boxes from the property, the Justice Department says the items were discovered in an office and storage room.
Counterfeit pills have become more prevalent in the street drug supply
These days, if you buy a pill off the streets, it’s most likely a counterfeit. Even if a pill says “Xanax” on it - unless acquired directly from a pharmacy - it’s likely something else. Drug analysts who examine counterfeit pills and toxicology screenings of overdose victims often find fentanyl or other dangerous additives instead of what’s printed on the pill. Fentanyl is an extremely potent opioid, driving up overdose deaths across the country.
Uber’s former security chief goes on trial for data breach cover-up
2017 was a tumultuous year for Uber, with the loss of $4.5 billion in revenue and embattled co-founder Travis Kalanick resigning his position as CEO following a sexual harassment scandal. The last thing the ride-hailing giant needed was more negative press. Now, lawyers for Uber’s former security chief Joe Sullivan say the company used him as a fall guy for a massive data breach that exposed the personal information of 57 million users to protect the legacy of incoming CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who promised to rehabilitate Uber’s image.
5 Android phone settings that drastically improve your privacy
Privacy is everything. In a world where data breaches have become commonplace, we must protect our information and privacy in every way possible. Your Android phone doesn’t come with perfect privacy. No product does. You have to tweak your settings and adjust how your information is shared. It’s time to reclaim some privacy. Here are five Android phone settings to adjust ASAP.
California pension fund seeks to halve exposure to carbon emitters
The California State Teachers’ Retirement System plans to reduce its holdings by 50% in greenhouse-gas-emitting companies by 2030. This will involve ditching some heavy fossil fuel users. The pension plan’s board intends to achieve a net-zero portfolio by 2050, if not sooner, and it moved this week to refine its strategy to do so. As part of that effort, CalSTRS will designate 20% of its public equity assets to track the MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target Index.
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