Courts, Rulings & Lawsuits

Ninth Circuit revives challenge of California open-carry law

A Ninth Circuit panel on Thursday reversed a lower court’s ruling in a fight over California's open-carry gun laws, finding a federal judge used the wrong standard when denying a motion for preliminary injunction. Mark Baird and Richard Gallardo want to openly carry handguns in the state. A ban with narrow exceptions on open carry in counties with over 200,000 residents bars some 95% of California residents from doing so.

Courthouse News Service

Court of Appeal: Juror-challenge may be allowed based on distrust of police officers

A judge was not statutorily bound to deny a challenge-for-cause based on a prospective juror’s expressed distrust of police officers, Div. Three of the Fourth District Court of Appeal has held. Sabrina Aranda appealed her conviction for possession of a controlled substance in a correctional facility, citing Code of Civil Procedure §231.7(e), which provides that “[a] peremptory challenge for any of the following reasons is presumed to be invalid…: [¶](1) Expressing a distrust of…law enforcement….”

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

L.A. County D.A. sued over prosecution allegedly sparked by election conspiracy theories

The head of a Michigan software company filed a lawsuit Thursday accusing Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón of targeting him in a bungled prosecution last year that was almost entirely based on the word of election deniers and conspiracy theorists. Eugene Yu, the chief executive of a 21-employee business known as Konnech, accused Gascón and the district attorney’s office of multiple civil rights violations, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress, according to the 86-page complaint.

Los Angeles Times

Ninth Circuit casts doubt on evidence seized during an SFPD pretext stop

After San Francisco police spotted a car with a broken taillight in the Tenderloin neighborhood in 2019, they questioned the driver about drugs, searched the car, and found some pills and a handgun. Those actions are commonly described as a “pretext stop“ - pulling a driver over for a minor offense in hopes of uncovering evidence of serious crimes. While California is considering a ban on most pretext stops, federal law allows them.

San Francisco Chronicle

Judge allows amendment to lawsuit against Gascón for breach of mandatory duty

Relatives of one of two El Monte police officers fatally shot by a convicted felon in that city in 2022 will have to shore up their lawsuit against two Los Angeles County entities, particularly in the area of an alleged breach of mandatory duty, a judge ruled Monday while expressing skepticism that the problems can be fixed

City News Service

Appeals court finds Biden White House violated the First Amendment

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the Biden administration likely violated the First Amendment with some of its communications with social media companies. Specifically, the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals found that some White House administration officials such as the Surgeon General, FBI, and US Centers for Disease Control “coerced or significantly encouraged social media platforms to moderate content” to curb COVID-19 disinformation, a move that violated the First Amendment.

PC Magazine

The former Twitter sues California attorney general over free speech violations

Social media giant X Corp. sued California Attorney General Rob Bonta on Friday, claiming a state law passed last year violates its First Amendment rights. Assembly Bill 587, passed in September 2022, requires large social media companies to submit semi-annual reports to the attorney general that include how it defines and moderates hate speech or racism, extremism or radicalization, disinformation or misinformation, harassment, and foreign political interference, among other requirements.

Courthouse News Service

Third parties can be liable for employment discrimination, Calif. court rules

Third parties who act on behalf of an employer can be held liable for employment discrimination under California law, the state’s High Court ruled in a unanimous decision. The court said liability under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, or FEHA, can extend to business entity agents with at least five employees. The direct liability can be applied when the outside party carries out FEHA-regulated activities on behalf of an employer.

Legal Dive

Court of Appeal restores 2014 $1,000 per-day sanction

The Court of Appeal for this district has reversed an order vacating a $1,000-a-day sanction imposed on a Palmdale family-medicine doctor based on his continuing disobedience of court orders, with the sanctions having mounted to $8.76 million as of March of last year, according to a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner’s estimate. Presiding Justice Judith Ashmann-Gerst of Div. Two authored the opinion, which was not certified for publication.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Bay Area public defenders on hook for 13-year pretrial detention

A public defender must face claims they failed in their duty to ensure that a detained man got a speedy trial for more than a decade. U.S. District Judge Kandis Westmore denied the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office’s motion for summary judgment on claims that it violated a man’s Fourteenth Amendment due process rights. The plaintiff, Francis McArthur, claims the public defender’s office failed to bring him to trial over the 13 years he spent detained on a petition for civil commitment under the Sexually Violent Predator Act. 

Courthouse News Service

CJP publicly admonishes Superior Court Judge Spear

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Emily T. Spear yesterday incurred a public admonishment from the state’s disciplinary body which pointed to her finagling and falsehoods. The Commission on Judicial Performance (“CJP”) said in its written decision: “In light of the number of incidents of misconduct, the judge’s lack of insight into the seriousness of her misconduct, and the fact that some of her misconduct reflected a lack of integrity…, the commission has determined that a public admonishment is the appropriate discipline.”

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

California law banning gun ads to minors blocked by federal appeals court

A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday blocked a California law that restricts advertisements of firearms and related products to minors, saying it would unlikely reduce gun violence or the number of illegal guns. The San Francisco-based U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the law could infringe on free speech and noted that California gun laws are among the strictest of any state in the country. 

Fox News


LA County race for district attorney: Field of candidates challenging Gascón expands to 7

The primary is less than six months away, but the field vying to replace Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón continues to grow with seven who have filed. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Chemerinsky entered the race Tuesday. He has served as a federal prosecutor since 2014, most recently as head of the violent and organized crime section in Los Angeles.


LA DA failed to apply for additional resources to combat smash and grab’s

Candidate for Los Angeles County District Attorney Eric Sapetto Siddall slammed District Attorney George Gascón’s failure to secure additional resources to combat the rampant smash and grab retail theft happening throughout Los Angeles. The deadline to secure state funding to combat organized retail theft passed today and counties from all over California applied and received grants. 

2 Urban Girls

Women pimped out their massage parlor employees, prosecutors say

Two owners of massage parlors in Ventura and Los Angeles counties are facing felony charges that they pimped out their employees. Shuzhi Fan, 47, and Qiuju Jia, 43, face felony charges of pimping and pandering, as well as a special allegation that the crime was done in a sophisticated manner, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office said Monday. The women have pleaded not guilty.


Woman accused of setting Target on fire to steal baby formula

A woman has been arrested for allegedly intentionally setting a fire in a Buena Park Target store earlier this month. The fire happened back on Sept. 5. Just after 7:15 p.m. That night, crews from the Orange County Fire Department were called out to the Target store in the 7500 block of Orangethorpe Avenue for reports of a fire in the store. 



California police officer who protested ticket ‘quotas’ is awarded $2.8 million

A jury on Thursday, Sept. 7, awarded $2.8 million to a former Riverside Police Department motorcycle officer who sued after he said supervisors retaliated against him because he spoke out against what he alleged were ticket quotas, his attorney said.The lawsuit was filed in 2019. Shawn Casteel retired from the department in 2022, said his attorney, Matthew McNicholas. Casteel said supervisors prevented him from being promoted, caused him to lose overtime opportunities and pay and wrote negative evaluations after he protested.

Riverside Press-Enterprise

Gallegly Center donors demand refund from Cal Lutheran

Some of the donors who helped pay to open the Elton and Janice Gallegly Center for Public Service and Engagement at California Lutheran University want their money back, accusing the university of letting the center wither due to political differences with retired U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly. Gallegly, a Republican from Simi Valley, represented parts of Ventura County in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1987 through 2012. When he retired from Congress, he agreed to donate his papers to CLU and the university promised to open the Gallegly Center in its library.

Ventura County Star

Anonymous posters singling out judges for leniency in drug cases earn condemnation from defense lawyers

An anonymous poster campaign calling out judges who dropped charges against people accused of selling fentanyl is getting strong pushback from San Francisco legal professionals. “This is just wildly inappropriate,” said Kirk Jenkins, senior counsel at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer. “You could cause violence against judges.” It is unclear when the two colorfully designed posters were pasted to the side of a building on Mission Street near 22nd, or who is behind the campaign. 

San Francisco Public Press

Senate Democrats kill attempt to ‘make crime illegal again’ with reforms to Prop. 47

Make crime illegal again. Please. There have been numerous attempts since 2014 to repeal and/or reverse Proposition 47, passed by tragically misinformed voters in 2014, and flagrantly titled “The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act,” which reduced a host of felonies to misdemeanors, including drug crimes, date rape, and all thefts under $950, even for repeat offenders who steal every day.

California Globe

Los Angeles City/County

Former Sheriff Alex Villanueva to run for LA County Board of Supervisors' seat

Former Sheriff Alex Villanueva is looking to once again lead Los Angeles County - this time as a member of the Board of Supervisors. FOX 11's Marla Tellez reported Villanueva plans to run for the county's District 4 seat, which is currently held by incumbent commissioner Janice Hahn. "LA County voters- including District 4 - resoundingly rejected the man known as the ‘Donald Trump of LA County’ last November for his incompetence and corruption," Supervisor Hahn's campaign said in response. 


‘Whatever it takes to reduce crime’: Why Lancaster is creating a police department

The city of Lancaster is creating a new police department to help Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies respond to crimes and practice proactive policing, the mayor announced Tuesday. The Antelope Valley city of 180,000 north of Los Angeles has never had its own police department and relies on the Sheriff’s Department to handle crime and 911 calls. But the Lancaster sheriff’s station is one of the busiest in the county, according to Sheriff Robert Luna. 

Los Angeles Times

Ben Crump files $500M suit accusing Beverly Hills police of racial profiling

Attorneys Benjamin Crump and Bradley Gage are accusing the city of Beverly Hills of racial profiling, hitting the city with a $500 million class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit represents 1,086 Black people out of the 1,088 they say were unjustly arrested by the Beverly Hills Police Department between Aug. 30, 2019 and Aug. 30, 2021. That number represents 34% of all arrests within Beverly Hills while African Americans only make up less than 2% of the city's residents.


Top Gascón aide receives $10,000 settlement for Azusa public intoxication arrest

The city of Azusa has paid a $10,000 settlement to Joseph Iniguez, the top aide of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, who in July dropped his federal civil rights lawsuit against the municipality stemming from his 2021 arrest for public intoxication. The seven-page settlement agreement finalized last month states that Iniguez and the city of Azusa are each responsible for their own attorney fees and costs.

Orange County Register

LAPD assistant chief is investigated over allegations he stalked a subordinate

A high-ranking Los Angeles Police Department official is under internal investigation after an LAPD officer with whom he was romantically involved accused him of using at least one Apple AirTag to track her movements, sources say. The official, Assistant Chief Al Labrada, had his city phone confiscated shortly after the woman filed a police report in Ontario within the past week, according to the sources, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing probe publicly.

Los Angeles Times

The fired officer manning a lonely picket line outside LAPD HQ

Nothing much fazes Gabriel Cabrera after 17 months of picketing outside Los Angeles Police Department headquarters. There was the time, he said, a bicyclist spat on him. And the glares he encounters from officers on their way to and from work. Plus, the occasional “F-12” taunts hurled from passing cars, “12” being slang for police. He said he mostly tunes them out and tells himself, well, at least people are paying attention.

Los Angeles Times

Nearly 700 LAPD undercover officers sue city for releasing their photos

Nearly 700 undercover Los Angeles Police Department officers sued the city on Tuesday, alleging their safety was affected by the release of department photographs and personal information earlier this year through the California Public Records Act. Lawyers representing the 691 officers sued in Los Angeles County Superior Court, saying the city and the department negligently released personal information that was subsequently posted on various websites.

Los Angeles Times

Organized Retail Crime

Task force making progress on SoCal smash-and-grab robberies (Video)

The task force focusing on organized retail thefts has made yet another arrest, as authorities say progress continues in solving a series of mob-like robberies at Southern California stores. Eric Leonard reports Sept. 13, 2023.


Retail theft and robbery rates have risen across California

So-called smash-and-grabs at high-end stores across the nation frequently make the national headlines, as do retail closures - especially in San Francisco - that are seen as partly due to shoplifting. Our examination of retail theft and robbery in California points toward recent increases across the state. Using the most up-to-date data and focusing on California’s 15 largest counties, we find that while these recent trends are especially notable in the Bay Area and the Central Valley, there have been significant jumps in commercial burglaries in Southern Coastal California, and Los Angeles County has the highest commercial robbery rate.

Public Policy Institute of California

California hoping $267 million can combat epidemic of retail, flash mob thefts

More than $267 million in state grants will be distributed to law enforcement agencies and prosecutors in 51 cities and counties to help crack down on brazen retail, motor vehicle, catalytic converter and cargo thefts. Amid an epidemic of such thefts, many organized on social media and carried out by flash mobs, the California Board of State and Community Corrections on Thursday, Sept. 14, unanimously approved the allocation request from Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Orange County Register

TikTokers are teaching people how to steal amid shoplifting epidemic

They’re offering bootleg online courses in robbery. The nationwide shoplifting epidemic could soon get a whole lot worse: As if looters weren’t acting brazen enough of late, self-proclaimed “borrowers” are now taking to the platform to teach aspiring criminals how follow suit, per the clips. The hashtag “borrow tip and tricks” has amassed 8.9 billion of views on TikTok amid the uptick in brazen theft, spawned by increasingly lax looting laws and “revolving door” bail reforms.

New York Post


Online shoppers face counterfeits and scams on Amazon, eBay and Walmart

Consumers love a good deal and flock to the internet for perceived bargains. However, online shopping is risky, dangerous, and little, if any, actual value. A Red Points survey found that 68% of consumers were worried about buying fake or low-quality goods online. The Counterfeit Report, an award-winning consumer advocate and industry watchdog, has removed listings for over 435 million counterfeit items offered on e-commerce websites, including eBay, Amazon, Walmart, Wish, Google, Newegg, and Alibaba.

The Counterfeit Report

Kaiser to pay $49 million to California for illegally dumping private medical records, medical waste

Healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente is settling a $49 million dollar lawsuit with the state and multiple counties throughout California. State Attorney General Rob Bonta says they took action after allegations Kaiser improperly disposed of hazardous waste and failed to protect sensitive patient information.


Kroger settles nationwide opioid claims for $1.2 billion

The Kroger Co. will pay $1.2 billion to settle the majority of nationwide opioid claims, the grocer announced Friday. The company is one of a handful of retail pharmacy chains accused of failing to control the distribution of the highly addictive painkiller drugs. Numerous government entities have filed lawsuits seeking to recoup costs associated with the addiction fallout in their communities.

Courthouse News Service

California governor ramps up Cal Guard at southern border, aiming to curb fentanyl smuggling

Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced that more Cal Guard members will deploy to four U.S. ports of entry along the southern border in the fight against the fentanyl and opioid crisis. The 50% increase to the California National Guard will bring the number of soldiers from 40 to 60. They’ll help U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents with narcotic searches using a vehicle X-ray system that detects the transport and concealment of drugs.

Courthouse News Service

New California law stems from stymied housing project at UC Berkeley

Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a housing bill into law in an attempt to tackle an environmental act he says is misused to stymie building projects. Assembly Bill 1307 by Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks, an Oakland Democrat, stems from a February court ruling that stopped an affordable housing project at UC Berkeley.

Courthouse News Service

Police veteran hailed for reform efforts in Washington, California nominated to be New Orleans chief

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said Monday that she has chosen Anne Kirkpatrick, a former chief of police in Spokane, Washington, and Oakland, California, to head the New Orleans Police Department, a nomination subject to the approval of the City Council. Kirkpatrick, if approved, would be the permanent replacement for Shaun Ferguson, who retired from the job last year.



Crimes against street vendors reached new high in July

Angelenos were stunned last month by news reports of thieves robbing six taco trucks and stands on a single night in a 3-hour period. Some victims lost hundreds of dollars, and others had their cell phone stolen. The string of attacks on Aug. 16 happened in Downtown, Hollywood and other neighborhoods. It turns out, unfortunately, that has not been an isolated experience this summer.


2 arrested after trying to follow shopper home from Costa Mesa mall, police say

Two men were arrested Tuesday after they were caught trying to follow a shopper home from an Orange County mall, police said. According to the Irvine Police Department, the shopper was driving home from South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa with several purchases when they noticed someone was following them. The person called 911 and police stopped the car soon after.



Bling Ring’ suspect convicted in multimillion dollar burglaries of celebrities’ homes

A Southern California man has been convicted on three counts related to the “Bling Ring,” a group that burglarized the homes of celebrities in 2018, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. A jury on Wednesday found Benjamin Ackerman guilty of three counts of first-degree residential burglary, the court docket shows.


Convicted stalker out of Venice released from prison, distressing victim

A victim of stalking is scared for her life now that her attacker has been released from state prison without her prior knowledge. Talia Landman posted on social media that she was "relieving the Hell" she was in when David Kroll started stalking her in 2020 behind her Venice apartment. Landman said the then-unhoused man threatened to sexually assault and kill her and threw rocks at her windows. 


Agoura Hills accountant pleads guilty to lying to federal officials investigating illegal gambling operation

An entertainment industry accountant pleaded guilty today to a felony charge for lying to federal law enforcement officials about his role in laundering illicit proceeds from an illegal gambling operation run by a former minor-league baseball player and which involved professional athletes. William Eric Fulton, 59, of Agoura Hills, pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements.

U.S. Attorney’s Office Press Release

Feds want $5.2 million in Bitcoin returned by teen hacker - and a sports car, too

The U.S. Department of Justice is moving to seize millions of dollars in Bitcoin that a teenage hacker had stolen from crypto executives four years ago. Prosecutors are also making sure they recover the sports car he bought with the stolen Bitcoin back, too. Last week, a federal judge signed off on an order demanding that Ahmad Wagaafe Hared turn over $5.2 million in Bitcoin that he stole back in 2016, according to a report in The San Francisco Standard.


‘He did his time’: Man found to be an accessory to a double-murder in 1998 could be released soon thanks to a recent law

Marysville native Leon Lampkin Jr. was convicted of being an accessory to a double murder in 1998 and sentenced to two life terms in prison, but on Sept. 29 that judgment may be thrown out pending results of an evidentiary hearing in Yuba County. “He should have never been convicted in the first place,” Lampkin’s sister Bertha Felix told 


Articles of Interest

The Hunter Biden indictment, annotated

Special counsel David Weiss has indicted President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, on three criminal charges stemming from a gun he purchased in 2018. The charges include making false statements on a federal firearms form and possession of a firearm as a prohibited person. A summons was issued Thursday for Hunter Biden to appear in court for an initial appearance, though it is unclear when that will take place.


Can states ban high-capacity gun magazines?

The First Circuit struggled during oral argument Monday to figure out whether Rhode Island’s ban on gun magazines with more than 10 rounds is constitutional - a question that could imperil 13 other state laws that restrict such devices. A lower court denied an injunction against Rhode Island’s ban on the grounds that magazines aren’t “arms” under the Second Amendment.

Courthouse News Service

District court in California has jurisdiction based on Texan’s past residency here

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, held yesterday - over a stern dissent by Judge Lawrence VanDyke - that the District Court for the Northern District of California has jurisdiction in an action against a one-man Austin, Texas company because that company operated largely out of San Diego from 2014-16. 

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Report reveals special grand jury recommended 39 indictments in Trump election interference probe

The full findings of the special purpose grand jury's investigation that led to the indictment in Georgia of former President Donald Trump and several of his affiliates was released Friday, revealing that an additional 20 people were recommended for criminal charges. The 23-person jury's report was finalized in January, but a majority of its content was kept under seal by a Fulton County Superior Court judge, as requested by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who led the investigation.

Courthouse News Service

Washington State and Oregon State sue Pac-12 to protect future of conference

Washington State University and Oregon State University sued the Pac-12 Conference along with its commissioner George Kliavkoff on Friday to prevent 10 departing schools from dissolving what’s left of the conference. The complaint, filed in Washington state's Whitman County Superior Court, accuses the Pac-12 Conference of violating its bylaws by scheduling an upcoming board meeting that would allow departing schools to vote on matters involving the conference's future.

Courthouse New Service

Alito rebuffs call for recusal in case with attorney who interviewed him

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito released a sharp statement on Friday, rebutting a request from lawmakers to step down from an upcoming tax case after he gave an interview with an attorney involved in the matter. In July, Alito sat for an interview with David Rivkin Jr. and James Taranto to discuss the workings of the court. The resulting favorable article, which was filed on the Wall Street Journal’s opinion page, revealed the justice's thoughts on prior rulings and his colleagues.

Courthouse News Service

Dispute over Dianne Feinstein’s family fortune aired further as attorneys spar in court

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s family squabble over the extreme wealth left behind by her late husband, Richard Blum, was on full display in a San Francisco courtroom for the first time Monday, before a judge ordered private mediation that will drag the case into next year. As was already clear from multiple court petitions filed in recent months, the dispute is over millions of dollars in assets and several valuable properties, including a multimillion-dollar beach house north of San Francisco and a mansion in the city worth more than $20 million.

Los Angeles Times


Google exploited exclusive search engine deals to maintain its advantage over rivals, DOJ argues

Google has exploited its dominance of the internet search market to lock out competitors and smother innovation, the Department of Justice said Tuesday at the opening of the biggest U.S. antitrust trial in a quarter century. “This case is about the future of the internet and whether Google’s search engine will ever face meaningful competition,” said Kenneth Dintzer, the Justice Department’s lead litigator.



San Diego pension debt back over $3B thanks to higher long-term projections for salaries, retiree benefits

San Diego’s pension debt will rise above $3 billion again thanks to a new analysis showing sharper-than-expected increases in future years to the salaries of city workers and to payouts for retirees. The rise in debt is expected to increase the city’s annual pension payment by just over $20 million per year, leaving city officials with less money to spend on libraries, parks, police officers, firefighters, lifeguards and other services.

San Diego Union-Tribune

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