Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

San Quentin must release or transfer half its prisoners because of lack of COVID care, court rules and other stories

US judge mulls competency of Mexican man who shot Kate Steinle

 

October 28, 2020

David Mark

Downtown Los Angeles

Courts & Rulings

Gang member's life prison sentence upheld for Long Beach student's murder

A state appeals court panel Thursday rejected an appeal filed on behalf of a gang member serving a life prison sentence without the possibility of parole for the robbery and murder of a 15-year-old boy targeted while walking home from Cabrillo High School in Long Beach.

My News LA

US judge mulls competency of Mexican man who shot Kate Steinle

A federal judge in San Francisco is mulling the competency to stand trial of a Mexican man who shot and killed 32-year-old Kate Steinle, a shooting that figured prominently in President Donald Trump's run for the White House four years ago. The case against Jose Ines Garcia Zarate on federal gun charges has been pending since U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria raised "serious concerns" about his mental capacities back in January.

AP

California Supreme Court to revive challenge to Bay Area bridge toll hikes

In a case that could decide whether $4.5 billion will be used to improve regional transportation options, the California Supreme Court this week agreed to take up a challenge from taxpayer advocates on whether a $3 toll hike on Bay Area bridges is legal.

Marin Independent Journal

Federal judge vacates decades-old conviction of Rialto cop killer due to racial discrimination at trial

A federal judge has vacated the conviction and death sentence of a San Bernardino man who killed a Rialto police sergeant in 1986, concluding he did not receive a fair trial due to racial discrimination during the jury selection process. And now, San Bernardino County prosecutors and public defenders are at odds over whether Dennis Mayfield, now 61, should be retried for the March 3, 1986, shooting death of Sgt. Gary W. Wolfley.

San Bernardino Sun

Judge calls federal government 'dishonest,' orders prisoner reduction at private California ICE detention center

A U.S. District Court judge on Thursday, saying he was "concerned with a lack of candor and honesty," ordered the federal government to reduce its prisoner population at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center by more than 38 percent beginning Monday. Judge Terry J. Hatter ordered ICE to release 50 prisoners a day beginning Monday until the private prison's population whittles down from 772 to 475.

San Bernardino Sun

CJP admonishes judge who was upbraided in C.A. opinion for bias, discourtesy

An Alameda Superior Court judge who was slammed in a Court of Appeal opinion for misconduct that necessitated a reversal yesterday received a public admonishment from the Commission on Judicial Performance. Incurring the discipline was Judge Frank Roesch, 73, who was appointed to the bench Oct. 4, 2001, by then-Gov. Gray Davis.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Warrantless-entry tangle faces high court unraveling

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether the belief alone that a person has committed a misdemeanor is enough basis for police to enter a home without a warrant. The case involves Arthur Lange, of Sonoma, California, who was playing music loudly in his car while headed home in 2016.

Courthouse News Service

Case of LAPD shooting at fitness club likely headed to trial

A federal judge indicated Monday she's likely to advance a wrongful death lawsuit filed against a Los Angeles Police Department officer, saying a jury should determine whether police were justified in killing a Black man who attorneys say was unarmed and posing no threat to anyone.

Courthouse News Service

Appeals court turns down NRA lobbyist Hammer in email case

A full federal appeals court has rejected a request by prominent National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer to take up a case about graphic emails she received after the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Daily Business Review

COVID-19 & Justice System

California governor enacts legislation to codify civil procedure emergency rules

Recently-signed California legislation SB 1146 immediately modifies the California Code of Civil Procedure on electronic service and remote depositions. Additionally, SB 1146 extends certain civil deadlines for the duration of the COVID-19 state of emergency, plus 180 days after the emergency ends.

JD Supra

San Quentin must release or transfer half its prisoners because of lack of COVID care, court rules

Finding that state officials have acted with "deliberate indifference" to the health of prisoners at San Quentin - where 75% of them have tested positive for the coronavirus and 28 have died - a state appeals court took the unprecedented step Tuesday of ordering at least half of the prison's 2,900 inmates transferred or released.

San Francisco Chronicle

Prosecutors

LA County sheriff's deputy charged in undercover sex sting

A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, who allegedly arranged to meet an undercover officer posing as a teenage girl on a dating app, pleaded not guilty today to felony charges. Miguel Cabrera, 38, was charged this week with one felony count each of meeting a minor for lewd purposes and distributing pornography to a minor, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

City News Service

Man pleads not guilty to trying to kill two officers at LAPD's Harbor Station

A Los Angeles man pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that he tried to kill two officers at the LAPD's Harbor Station in San Pedro, including one who was pistol-whipped and another with whom he allegedly exchanged gunfire. Jose Cerpa Guzman, 29, is charged with two counts each of attempted murder and assault with a semiautomatic firearm, along with one count each of second-degree robbery, evading and resisting an officer.

City News Service

Eric Kay indicted in Tyler Skaggs overdose death

A federal grand jury in Texas has indicted former Angels employee Eric Kay on two counts in the overdose death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs. Returned late Thursday and filed Friday morning in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth, the indictment charges Kay with distributing the fentanyl that resulted in Skaggs' death last year.

Today Headline

U.S. charges Russian military hackers with attacking American companies, targeting foreign elections

The U.S. Justice Department on Monday accused six Russian computer hackers of causing power blackouts, financial losses of nearly $1 billion and targeting the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Court documents said the six were officers in the Russian military's main intelligence directorate and used "some of the most destructive malware to date."

NBC News

Feds arrest rapper who bragged about getting rich from filing EDD claims in music video

A rapper who bragged in a YouTube music video about getting rich from an unemployment scam was arrested Friday on federal charges of fraudulently applying for more than $1.2 million in jobless benefits, the Department Of Justice officials said. Fontrell Antonio Baines, 31, of Memphis, Tenn., is known online as Nuke Bizzle.

CBS Los Angeles

Man charged with attempted murder, hate crime after allegedly attacking 2 transgender women in MacArthur Park

A man is facing attempted murder charges after allegedly stabbing two transgender women in separate attacks at a Westlake neighborhood park, the L.A. County District Attorney's Office said Friday. Donoban Fonseca, 24, was charged with three counts each of attempted murder, conspiracy to dissuade a witness and attempting to dissuade a witness, plus two counts of extortion, the DA's office said in a news release.

KTLA

LA city attorney 'concerned' about potential voter intimidation

Calling it an "extraordinary election," Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has urged law enforcement and prosecutors nationwide to ensure that voters are not harassed or intimidated when they go to the polls next month. "Here in Los Angeles, we need to be vigilant and ensure that every single person feels free to vote the way they intend to vote ...," the city attorney said Friday as part of a national briefing by Prosecutors Against Gun Violence and the organization Everytown for Gun Safety on the threat of voter intimidation.

My News LA

DA's Race

Gascon is always looking out for Gascon

San Francisco's former district attorney, George Gascon, who left town before his term was finished so he could run for D.A. in Los Angeles, has a long history of going whichever way the winds blow, saying whatever suits his political purposes, and only looking out for himself. Nevertheless, I was shocked to read how Gascon is now trying to explain why I, along with San Francisco's well-respected city attorney, Dennis Hererra, oppose his candidacy.

Los Angeles Sentinel

San Franciscans question George Gascón's legacy as 'godfather of progressive prosecutors'

Adriana Camarena abhors the idea that George Gascón is being touted as a reformer in the nationally watched contest for control of the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. The Bay Area organizer spent years leading rallies against Gascón in San Francisco, and her voice rises with annoyance as she rattles off the names of men killed in controversial police shootings during Gascón's time as district attorney: Mario Woods, Luis Gongora Pat, Amilcar Perez-Lopez, Alex Nieto.

Los Angeles Times

Joyce Dudley: Why we women district attorneys support Jackie Lacey for Los Angeles County DA

A strong woman stands up for herself. A stronger woman stands up for everybody else. Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey is that stronger woman. It is no wonder that it was Lacey who was elected the first African-American and the first female top prosecutor after 162 years of the existence of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Noozhawk

How Black Lives Matter reshaped the race for Los Angeles' top prosecutor

The race for top prosecutor in Los Angeles has become one of the most important criminal justice elections in the US this year, with Black Lives Matter activists pushing the contest to the forefront of national debates on racist policing and incarceration. Jackie Lacey, the first woman and first African American to serve as LA district attorney, is facing a tough challenge from George Gascón, a former San Francisco district attorney who has positioned himself as a progressive candidate dedicated to police accountability and reducing the prison population.

The Guardian

Soros-funded prosecutors put 'social justice' above law and order, analysts say

Self-styled progressive political activists who win election as district attorneys with financial support from wealthy donors have made "social justice" initiatives more important than public safety, legal analysts say. George Soros, the Hungarian American billionaire investor, stands out as the big donor behind a super PAC that helped elect district attorneys who have overseen a dramatic increase in crime.

The Daily Signal

4 key changes coming to L.A. if Soros-backed challenger wins biggest D.A. race in America

If you love gang members roaming the streets, the Soros backed Gascon for DA is your candidate. If you think criminals should be on the streets instead of in jail, the Soros candidate for DA, George Gascon, is your candidate. Do you believe 17 year old convicted murderers should serve four years in juvenile hall - which in L.A. County is being closed, or in State prison for 20 years to life?

California Political Review

Sacramento County DA Anne Marie Schubert on KFI's John & Ken (Audio)

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert appears on KFI's John & Ken show to discuss her endorsement of Jackie Lacey in the upcoming LA County DA race.

LA ADDA

Former LAPD chiefs split over endorsement for district attorney

After decades in uniform as an officer, commander and deputy chief for the Los Angeles Police Department, officer-turned-San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón is pledging to hold officers accountable when they use deadly force in controversial shootings if he's elected in November. His campaign to unseat incumbent Jackie Lacey has critics looking closely at his own record at the LAPD.

Los Angeles Times

Policy/Legal Issues

ADDA President Michele Hanisee debates California's Proposition 20

ADDA President Michele Hanisee debated Lenore Anderson on the merits of Proposition 20. Proposition 20 expands the list of violent crimes for which early release is not an option. Under 2014's Prop. 47, rape of an unconscious person, trafficking a child for sex, assault of a peace officer, felony domestic violence and other similar crimes are not classified as "violent felonies" - making criminals convicted of these crimes eligible for early release under Proposition 57.

NBC4 Los Angeles

Central CA man who sexually abused, tortured and killed Black teen might soon be set free

A convicted murderer will likely be released from prison unless Governor Newsom overturns the California parole board's decision. In 2001, Gerardo Zavala and two others lured a 17-year-old to a home in the small town of Delano to smoke meth. But while they were there, the teen, Eric Jones, was assaulted, electrocuted, sexually abused, kidnapped, tortured for hours, and then shot to death.

ABC30 Fresno

U.S. police chiefs grapple with new Election Day threat: armed men at the polls

The 2020 election is taking place against a backdrop of extreme partisan rancor and social unrest, placing unprecedented strain on the police chiefs and sheriffs responsible for maintaining order at the polls. The situation is compounded by the increasing threat of right-wing militia groups and a president who has called for an "army" of poll watchers to monitor contested election areas.

NBC News

Spy plane sent to protest near home of National Guard chief

In early June, four National Guard spy planes took to the skies over several cities to monitor street protests following the killing of George Floyd, triggering concerns that the military was improperly gathering intelligence on U.S. citizens. Three of the reconnaissance planes kept watch on demonstrations in Minneapolis, Phoenix and Washington, D.C., that drew hundreds or thousands of protesters and were marred by violence.

Los Angeles Times

Serious injuries prompt renewed calls from state assembly leaders to ban police from shooting foam bullets

At least three Southland residents are speaking out against the Los Angeles Police Department after they claim they were injured in the streets of L.A. by police deploying hard foam projectiles. Among the events that the Angelenos say left them injured was a protest over the death of George Floyd, a celebration of the Los Angeles Lakers' first championship title since 2010, and driving near a demonstration with a car window down.

CBS Los Angeles

Los Angeles County/City

Murders in Los Angeles increased by 20% vs. 2019, according to report

While overall crime decreased in Los Angeles during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of murders increased by 20% this year compared to 2019, according to a report released Monday. Between January and September 2020, 239 people were murdered in Los Angeles compared to 199 people during the same period in 2019, according to the report produced by Crosstown, a nonprofit news organization based out of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism.

City News Service

Exclusive: Mayor of Los Angeles repeatedly witnessed top adviser's alleged sexual misconduct

This summer, a 23-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department filed a lawsuit against the city. Officer Matthew Garza, who had served on the security detail that protects Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, alleged that one of Garcetti's top aides, Rick Jacobs, routinely assaulted and harassed him-and that Garcetti had witnessed the assault and harassment and did nothing to stop it, nor hold Jacobs accountable.

Yashar's Newsletter

Oversight commission to consider resolution condemning Villanueva's leadership

One month after some members called on Alex Villanueva to resign, the county's Civilian Oversight Commission on Thursday is scheduled to consider a resolution condemning the sheriff's leadership and vowing to hold him accountable if he continues to "facilitate dysfunction" in the agency.

City News Service

Sheriff defied court orders, did not name deputies with histories of misconduct. It was a costly decision

On three occasions, a judge ordered the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to produce a roster of deputies with histories of misconduct. Court deadlines came and went. Tens of thousands of dollars in sanctions against the county piled up. But the list was never disclosed. Janet Williams had requested the so-called Brady list in a 2017 civil rights lawsuit after a deputy shot and killed her son, Dennis "Todd" Rogers, 41.

Los Angeles Times

Law enforcement reform roils L.A. County supervisor race between Holly Mitchell and Herb Wesson

L.A. City Councilman Herb Wesson was early into his bid for a seat on the Board of Supervisors when the endorsements and donations from law enforcement started flowing in. The biggest prize: $500,000 from the union that represents a majority of county sheriff's deputies. But that was all before the police killing of George Floyd in late May and a spate of local police shootings that prompted protests and renewed calls for increased police oversight.

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles faces lawsuit over marijuana delivery licenses

Two marijuana trade organizations filed a lawsuit Monday against the nation's largest legal pot market over restrictions on stand-alone delivery services that have blocked them from obtaining licenses until 2025. The lawsuit against Los Angeles and its Department of Cannabis Regulation seeks to overturn rules enacted earlier this year that postponed the availability of those licenses for certain businesses, even though broad legal sales began in the state in January 2018.

AP

 

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