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Child-killer released from prison early due to COVID-19 edict and other stories: Monday Morning Memo

A roundup of the week's news about law enforcement and courts

 

November 25, 2020

Courts & Rulings

Governor Newsom appoints 10 to Los Angeles Superior Court

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday made 10 appointments to the Los Angeles Superior Court, among 19 selections for judgeships statewide. Placed on the bench in this county are: Rita L. Badhan, Alicia Y. Blanco, Robert E. Sanchez DuFour, Carla L. Garrett, Ronald O. Kaye, Elizabeth Potter Scully, David W. Swift, Hernan D. Vera, Wendy L. Wilcox and Bryant Y. Yang.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Court dismisses cities' lawsuit challenging cannabis deliveries in California

In a win for California's struggling cannabis industry, a Fresno judge has dismissed a lawsuit by 24 cities seeking to invalidate state regulations allowing delivery of cannabis to homes in communities that have outlawed sales in shops. Fresno County Superior Court Judge Rosemary McGuire said in a ruling made public Wednesday that she agreed with attorneys for the state Bureau of Cannabis Control that the state regulation does not prevent cities from enforcing local ordinances restricting home delivery.

Los Angeles Times

Case on remand need not be returned to judge who initially presided

The Court of Appeal for this district held on Friday that when it remands a case to the Superior Court, the parties have no entitlement to have the case be reassigned to the original trial judge where that judge is available. Justice Dorothy Kim of Div. Five wrote the opinion, which was not certified for publication.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Supreme Court takes up California farmworkers union case

The US Supreme Court granted certiorari Friday in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid. The case challenges union power in California's nearly $50 billion agricultural industry by questioning a regulation that allows union organizers access to agricultural businesses. For three hours a day, 120 days a year, union organizers may meet with agricultural employees at their workplaces and solicit their support.

Jurist

Ninth Circuit takes up right to counsel for asylum seekers

The Ninth Circuit on Friday considered whether Congress' silence on immigrants' right to counsel during certain immigration proceedings means a federal judge erred in finding asylum seekers can have their attorneys present during interviews involving the "Return to Mexico" program.

Courthouse News Service

Old inmate sentenced to serve 505 years imprisonment will be released

A judge in Los Angeles ordered to release an old man who is set to serve 505 years imprisonment due to money laundering. He is supposed to be released in the year 2419. Juan Carlos Seresi, a convicted money launderer, is projected to be released on July 8, 2419, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He was convicted in 1991 for laundering cocaine cartel cash.

Latin Post

Judge advances settlement over 2018 Facebook data breach

A federal judge has tentatively approved a settlement over a 2018 data breach that will require Facebook to submit to independent audits of its data security measures for the next five years. The deal would resolve a class action over hackers' infiltration of millions of Facebook accounts, accomplished by exploiting an access token vulnerability in a "View As" feature for user profiles.

Courthouse News Service

Feds barred from arresting immigrants at San Diego federal courthouses

Immigration agents have been barred from arresting immigrants at federal courthouses in the Southern District of California, a practice the judge found "degrades the administration of justice." U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, a George W. Bush appointee, granted a temporary restraining order blocking a 2018 Trump administration policy allowing Border Patrol agents to arrest immigrants at the conclusion of criminal cases in order to initiate deportation or removal proceedings.

Courthouse News Service

Federal executions on track but DC circuit flags legal errors

Though it declined to block two federal executions, the first just over 24 hours away, the D.C. Circuit was critical Wednesday that seven lethal injections have been carried out in the last few months without medical prescriptions. This year alone, President Donald Trump's Justice Department has carried out more federal executions than the combined total of his predecessors from the last 57 years.

Courthouse News Service

Contempt committed by calling opposing counsel a 'liar'

A lawyer can be held in civil contempt for accusing opposing counsel, during a mandatory settlement conference, of lying, without specifying what specific utterance was untruthful, Div. Three of the Fourth District Court of Appeal has held. It expressed its views in an opinion that winnows four counts of indirect contempt - based on conduct not committed in the immediate view of the judge - to one count, because there was a single course of conduct.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

COVID-19 & Justice System

Courts deny LA apartment owners' challenge to city eviction moratorium

An attempt by apartment owners to overturn the city of Los Angeles' coronavirus pandemic-prompted protections for renters has failed. U.S. District Court Judge Dean Pregerson denied the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles' motion for a preliminary injunction against the city's protections for renters during the public health emergency.

Bisnow

COVID-forced ban on California capitol protests probed by Ninth Circuit

An attorney for California residents who were denied permits to protest coronavirus public health orders at the state capitol told a Ninth Circuit panel Tuesday his clients' appeal isn't moot just because the protest ban has been lifted. Christine Bish and Ron Givens sued Governor Gavin Newsom this past April after being separately denied permits for large protests on state Capitol grounds against the governor's stay-at-home order, a move officials contemplated as a measure to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Courthouse News Service

California judge rules Gov. Gavin Newsom overstepped authority with mail ballot order

A California judge has ruled that Gov. Gavin Newsom overstepped his authority when he issued an executive order requiring vote-by-mail ballots sent to all registered voters, according to reports. Sutter County Superior Court Judge Sarah Heckman ruled Friday that Newsom did not have the authority to amend or change existing election law - even during a pandemic.

Fox News

DA: Stockton father accused of abusing 2-month-old son to death was released from prison early due to COVID-19 edict

Prosecutors say the man facing child abuse and murder charges after the death of his two-month-old son had been released from prison early due to the coronavirus pandemic. Matthew Garcia, 24, was arrested last week after the baby was admitted to the UC Davis Medical Center with serious injuries. The baby went into the PICU but was not expected to survive, authorities said; several days later, the baby passed away.

CBS13 Sacramento

Prosecutors

Two businesses reach plea deal in blaze that injured 12 firefighters

Two businesses agreed Thursday to a plea deal in a criminal case stemming from a massive fire and explosion in the downtown Los Angeles Toy District that injured a dozen firefighters, a spokesman for the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office said. Smoke Tokes and Green Buddha are required to pay $139,000 each in investigative costs and serve three years of summary probation, according to Rob Wilcox, the director of community engagement and outreach for the City Attorney's Office.

MyNewsLA

Apple to pay $113 million settlement involving iPhone batteries

Apple Inc. will pay $113 million to resolve allegations that the company misled consumers through software updates that purposely slowed iPhone performance to mask battery issues that made the phones susceptible to unexpected power shutoffs, with a portion of the total settlement going to various California agencies, including the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, it was announced Wednesday.

City News Service

2 men allegedly filed fraudulent voter registration forms on behalf of homeless people

Two men in Los Angeles County, California filed fraudulent voter registration forms on behalf of homeless people, say prosecutors. One of them, Carlos Antonio De Bourbon-Montenegro (a.k.a. Mark Anthony Gonsalves), 53, allegedly sent more than 8,000 fraudulent applications between July and October of 2020, according to a statement from Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Law & Crime

John Gilligan, former LA County deputy district attorney, dies at 64

John Francis Gilligan, a former Los Angeles County deputy district attorney who prosecuted his office's only successful case against a police officer in the shooting of an unarmed citizen in the past 18 years, has died following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 64. The San Pedro resident, who helped convict killers in 1995's high-profile University CityWalk murders and 1998's "body double" slayings in West Los Angeles, spent 29 years with the District Attorney's Office before finishing his career as supervising attorney in the county's Inspector General's Office.

Whittier Daily News

Los Angeles mother charged in 2017 murders of her infant and seven-year-old daughters

A double child murder case that has baffled Los Angeles police, prosecutors and the accused's family for three years, finally came to court Tuesday. Jasmine Hickman, 30, was seen walking naked - and covered in white powder - along a south LA street at night, holding her one-month-old baby and hand-in-hand with her seven-year-old daughter, shortly before both children were killed, police say.

Daily Mail

Hollywood man arrested on federal charge alleging he recklessly operated a drone that crashed into and damaged LAPD helicopter

Special agents with the FBI this morning arrested a Hollywood man on a federal charge alleging that he recklessly operated a drone that crashed into a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter. The drone damaged the LAPD aircraft and the pilot was forced to initiate an emergency landing. The drone also damaged a vehicle when the unmanned aircraft fell from the sky after the crash.

Department of Justice News Release

US prosecutors take second swing at Philly supervised injection site in federal appeals court

Eight months ago, Philadelphia residents packed City Council chambers to the gills to make their voices heard on the controversy of the day: Should Philadelphia become the home of the nation's first supervised injection site? Just a few days later, as the dangers of COVID-19 came into focus, the shouting and shoulder-to-shoulder action at City Hall seemed awfully ill-advised, and the opioid epidemic was swiftly eclipsed by the coronavirus pandemic as the most pressing public health crisis of our time.

WHYY Philadelphia

Los Angeles County District Attorney-Elect promises progressive criminal justice reform

The Los Angeles district attorney's office oversees the largest jail system and prosecutor's office in the U.S., and it now has a new boss - George Gascón. Gascón, a Democrat, unseated incumbent Jackie Lacey in this month's election, and progressives are calling his election a victory for criminal justice reform. But Gascón received little to no support from the law enforcement establishment during his campaign, and he will face challenges implementing his agenda.

WBUR Boston

Politics/Elections

George Gascon announces transition team for DA's office

District Attorney-elect George Gascon announced his transition team today, less than three weeks before he is set to be sworn in to replace two-term District Attorney Jackie Lacey. "I was elected by the people and this community will have a seat at the table as we work to modernize our criminal justice system,'' Gascon said in a written statement.

City News Service

Cash bail will remain in California after the landslide defeat of Prop 25

California's plan to end cash bail hit a major roadblock with the defeat of Proposition 25. More than half of California's voters want to repeal the 2018 law that would have replaced cash bail with a risk assessment tool - like the one used in Tulare County. Tulare County officials say the law doesn't change much here, but bail agents and law enforcement are hoping the defeat puts more pressure on judges to keep offenders behind bars.

Visalia Times Delta

Soros-backed LA DA vows to reopen 30 officer-involved-shooting cases

The newly elected district attorney for Los Angeles County was elected on a "progressive" platform that favors Black Lives Matters and other groups. This background has come to fruition as DA-elect George Gascon announced he would be xxxx reopening past officer-involved-shooting (OIS) cases that the previous district attorney decided not to prosecute.

Law Enforcement Today

Policy/Legal Issues

County to keep fighting reinstatement of Tracy Towner to job in DA's Office

Ventura County officials are continuing their fight to keep fired investigative commander Tracy Towner off the job he lost in the District Attorney's Office more than two years ago by taking their case to a state appeals court. The county is contesting Ventura County Superior Court Judge Mark Borrell's denial of a court order to nullify the decision of the Civil Service Commission to reinstate Towner.

Ventura County Star

How technology is trying to address bias in policing - and why experts say it won't be enough

For the past few months, Axon has been reviewing its products and internal policies with an eye toward racial equity, diversity, and inclusion. Companies across the tech industry undertook similar initiatives following the high-profile police killings of unarmed Black people this summer. But few are as close to law enforcement as Axon, with the ability to have a direct impact.

GeekWire

Verbal consent now a must to search someone during a routine stop

Los Angeles Police Department officers who search people during routine stops must now document getting consent for those searches, according to a new policy approved Tuesday. The new rules, adopted in a unanimous Los Angeles Police Commission vote, mean LAPD officers must use their body cameras to record detainees verbally agreeing to a search, or get written permission, if they're making the stop without a reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred.

Officer.com

California police groups back reform plan to require college classes for recruits

California organizations encompassing both police chiefs and rank-and-file officers proposed legislation Thursday in the wake of recent civil unrest that they said would raise standards for police recruiting and training while increasing diversity. Prospective officers should have to complete college classes that the groups said would prepare them "to meet the expectations of a modern police force," including courses on mental health, social services, psychology and communication.

NBC4 Los Angeles

Los Angeles County/City

High ranking LAPD officer speaks on the problems within the department

A high ranking LAPD officer spoke anonymously and exclusively to KTLA about what he sees as the biggest issues within LAPD: a dwindling morale, command staff that's promoted through relationships rather than merit, and lack of support from the city. His comments come after a new police union survey reveals officers surveyed gave an 86% disapproval rating of the Chief and 89% disapproval of command staff.

KTLA

Toward Change: The breakaway plan of a Los Angeles police commander

It is such an honor to be with you today, even if we cannot yet gather together. I keep wondering how many people are like me, thankful for technology, but longing to be able to gather in person once again. As you have heard in that gracious introduction, I am Ruby Flores, a Police Commander of the Los Angeles Police Department. I've had a long career in law enforcement, having worked for the LAPD since 1994.

Commander Ruby Flores, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer for the LAPD

LA County gets $500K grant for human trafficking prevention program in schools

The Los Angeles County Office of Education has been selected as one of eight agencies nationwide and three in California to develop a program to prevent human trafficking victimization. The Human Trafficking Youth Prevention Education demonstration program is among the first federal programs specifically designed to build resiliency to human trafficking in children and youth, LACOE officials said.

City News Service

Sheriff Villanueva responds to LA County board's vote to explore removing him from office

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he wants the County Board of Supervisors to focus their attention on solving other pressing issues facing the region in light of the their vote to look at options for removing him from the elected position. "I wish they would explore ways to solve the homeless crisis, the pandemic, the economic meltdown," Villanueva said during an interview with ABC7.

ABC7

LA County sheriff's deputy charged in 2018 rape

A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy was charged Friday with raping a woman in 2018, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. Jason Ghassan Kailany, 26, was charged with one count each of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation. The Los Angeles County District Attorney says Kailany made his initial appearance in court Friday, and has been scheduled for a Jan. 15 arraignment.

CBS LA

LA County sheriff faces contempt hearing over civilian board subpoena spat

Sheriff Alex Villanueva must show in a hearing early next year why he should not be held in contempt for defying a subpoena to appear before the civilian board that oversees his department and talk about the coronavirus problem in the jails, a judge ruled Friday. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Holly Fujie rejected arguments by Villanueva's attorney, Linda Miller Savitt, that the subpoena was "procedurally and substantively deficient" and an abuse of power by the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission.

City News Service

Compton family calls for police accountability, justice

Time has faded the photograph on his memorial along a ravine in Compton, but not the anguish of Donta Taylor's father, Andrew. When deputies shot and killed his son in 2016, they said he was pointing a gun. No weapon was ever recovered from the scene. There was no video of the shooting. The only two witnesses were the deputies who opened fire.

Spectrum News1

Off-duty deputy shot in Los Angeles, suspect at large

An off-duty Los Angeles County deputy was shot early Sunday morning while he was driving and returned fire at the suspect, authorities said. The deputy, whose name has not been released, was struck once in a lower extremity and is expected to survive his injuries, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a news release.

AP

LAPD officers refuse to discuss potential pay cuts because of pandemic

The union that represents most LAPD officers says it will not entertain discussions of pay cuts as the city of LA faces a budget crisis as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. "The Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Police Protective League is unanimous in its belief that its members deserve every penny of compensation that our contract prescribes. Period," league president Craig Lally wrote to the city's head labor negotiator.

NBC4 Los Angeles

LAPD sergeant sues after being disciplined over his social media posts on Nipsey Hussle, other topics

A Los Angeles police sergeant who was repeatedly disciplined over controversial posts on his personal Facebook and Instagram accounts is suing the LAPD and its top commander for violating his constitutional rights, alleging they punished him simply for expressing political viewpoints they didn't like.

Los Angeles Times

Two LAPD officers are suing after alleging they were falsely accused of faking illnesses

Two veteran Los Angeles Police Department officers are suing the city, alleging they were wrongly accused of being part of a so-called "blue flu" officer sickout during the July 4 weekend when they were actually ill when they took time off. Officers Ryan Putman and Meggan Stroup brought their cases Nov. 9 and 10, respectively, in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging retaliation and violation of the state Labor Code.

City News Service

LA County fire captain sues over phone demand in Kobe Bryant crash photo probe

A Los Angeles County fire captain who was at the scene of the helicopter crash that killed NBA star Kobe Bryant and eight others has filed a retaliation lawsuit against the county, alleging he was demoted for refusing to fully cooperate with an investigation into graphic photos taken of the crash site. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday by Capt. Tony Imbrenda, marks the latest fallout from the photo scandal that embroiled the county's fire agency and the Sheriff's Department.

Los Angeles Times

Victim of hate crime receives new car thanks to LAPD officers

The victim of a terrible hate crime got an early Christmas present thanks to some LAPD officers and a local car dealer. An elderly woman living in LAPD's Hollenbeck division was victimized by five gang members who called her vicious racial names and then destroyed her car. After the officers arrested the suspect they knew more work had to be done.

Fox11 Los Angeles

LA police commission looks to reduce racial disparities in traffic stops

The Los Angeles Police Commission voted Tuesday to continue to explore ways to reduce racial disparities in traffic stops, following a report that examined hundreds of thousands of police actions last year. The commission also voted to add language to the officers' field notebooks that requires them to state they are asking for consent to search someone's vehicle and to clearly state that the driver has the right to refuse.

ABC7 Los Angeles

LAPD shuts down Sexual Assault Unit due to budget cuts (Video)

Detectives are rushing to try to catch several known serial rapists and predators still prowling the streets of LA before the LAPD's sex crimes unit is closed at the end of the year because of budget cuts. Eric Leonard reports for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Nov. 20, 2020.

NBC4 Los Angeles

Public Safety/Crime

If the police won't defend you, defend yourself

There is a natural tendency in some people to search for the silver lining in every cloud, no matter how ominous that cloud may appear. Americans, it seems to me, are especially prone to this brand of sunny optimism, though perhaps not to the degree of past generations. So it's unsurprising that many of President Trump's supporters, in assessing the odds against his success in challenging the election results, would be casting about in search of an upside to a Biden win should it come to pass.

Jack Dunphy

Thief found time to make pizza during restaurant burglary, police say

A thief took a break during his burglary of a Southern California pizzeria to make himself a pizza pie before fleeing with the restaurant's delivery car, authorities said. The suspect, later identified as 25-year-old Oscar Sanchez, broke into Big Slice Pizza in Fullerton, Calif., on Nov. 8, police said. He was arrested on Wednesday and police posted security video of the pizza-making to Facebook on Friday.

AP

FBI and LAPD arrest 14 in alleged storefront drug ring run by South L.A. gang

FBI agents and Los Angeles police arrested 14 suspects with alleged ties to the Hoover Criminals gang in South Los Angeles on federal drug charges Tuesday night and Wednesday. A three-year investigation, dubbed Operation Hoover Dam, culminated in three indictments detailing narcotics sales from a South L.A. market and smoke shop and inside a state prison. The indictments charge a total of 15 defendants.

Los Angeles Times

FBI releases 2019 hate crime statistics

Today the FBI released Hate Crime Statistics, 2019, the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program's latest compilation about bias-motivated incidents throughout the nation. The 2019 data, submitted by 15,588 law enforcement agencies, provide information about the offenses, victims, offenders, and locations of hate crimes. Law enforcement agencies submitted incident reports involving 7,314 criminal incidents and 8,559 related offenses as being motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity.

FBI Press Release

31 registered sex offenders arrested during pre-Halloween probation searches in L.A. County

31 arrests were made during a compliance sweep of registered sex offenders in Los Angeles County conducted by the county's probation department in preparation for Halloween 2020 as a part of Operation Safe Halloween. Since 2010, Operation Safe Halloween has seen the probation department's Special Enforcement Operations (SEO) teams conduct sweeps of homes and vehicles inhabited by probationers with past child endangerment convictions from mid-September to the end of October each year to ensure child safety during Halloween.

Hometown Station

Ventura County Board of Supervisors declares racism a public health crisis

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors last week unanimously approved a resolution proclaiming racism a public health crisis - a move lauded by community groups. "By approving and adopting this resolution Ventura County is taking the first necessary step of acknowledging we have a problem," said Rabiah Rahman, vice president of Black Lawyers of Ventura County. "We can no longer turn a blind eye to the fact that there are members of our community who are traumatized every time we leave our homes."

Ventura County Star

California suspect flees using underwater 'sea scooter'

A man wanted for his role in an alleged $35 million Ponzi scheme was arrested Monday after evading FBI agents by swimming into California's largest reservoir using an underwater "sea scooter," federal prosecutors said. Matthew Piercey spent nearly 30 minutes in frigid Lake Shasta using the Yamaha 350Li submersible device before he eventually resurfaced and was handcuffed, the Sacramento Bee reported. It wasn't immediately known if the 44-year-old has an attorney.

AP

Consumer

Amazon faces penalties up to $37 billion for EU antitrust violations

The European Union formally charged Amazon with antitrust violations for abusing its dominance in online shopping and using non-public data gathered from sellers to make informed decisions on its own products. A second probe focuses on whether Amazon favors its own retail offers or those of marketplace sellers who use its logistics and delivery services. The criteria Amazon uses to select products featured in its prominent "Buy Box" are also scrutinized.

The Counterfeit Report

Consumer Alert: Crackdown underway on fake websites selling cleaning supplies

Scammers are trying to get money out of you by setting up fake websites, which are selling cleaning supplies that are in high demand. Now, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken action after uncovering 25 websites claiming to sell Clorox and Lysol. One of the websites, cloroxsale.com, uses the names and logos of Clorox to try and make people believe it is real. The FTC says none of the 25 websites are owned, affiliated with or authorized by companies that make Clorox and Lysol.

WBAY Wisconsin

Buyer Beware: Don't let counterfeit goods ruin your holidays (Video)

Counterfeit goods are a problem all year long, but demand for gifts, household products, virtual learning items, and even health products, means the holiday season is an especially busy time for crooks.

First Coast Living

California/National

Inside Black Lives Matter's push for power

This is the year Black Lives Matter grew from a grassroots, ad-hoc agitator to a potential political powerhouse. And with Joe Biden as president-elect, its leaders are seeking to expand their influence beyond the streets - and into the corridors of Washington. The summer of protests against racial injustice and police violence brought millions to the streets under the banner of Black Lives Matter.

Politico

California unemployment: As many as 1 in every 3 EDD claims is fraudulent, security firm says

As many as one out of three unemployment claims filed in California may be fraudulent - That's the estimate from a security company hired by EDD to assist in stopping such claims. EDD can't confirm the 30 percent fraud rate, but all that fraud has not only led to your tax dollars being stolen, but it's also caused many legitimate claims to be delayed or even denied. The goal is to stop these claims so help can get to those who truly need it.

ABC7 Bay Area

Can the state, or even your job require you to get a vaccine?

It's a question on most of our minds: Will you take a coronavirus vaccine when it's ready? There are factors to consider on both sides, but have you considered this: What if you are told you have to get a vaccine? The state has extraordinary power to maintain the public health. You see it in its decisions regarding which businesses can open and which must stay closed.

NBC4 Los Angeles

Judge questions ICE detention center's Covid-19 plan

Three months after a Covid-19 outbreak infected more than half the detainees and a quarter of the staff at a privately run California detention center, a federal judge on Monday questioned why U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has not enacted basic safety protocols to prevent another outbreak there. "Why, by now, would you not have a policy for Mesa Verde that says one dorm has to remain empty at all times?"

Courthouse News Service

Judge urges California lawmakers to end 'war' between landlords, tenants

The extreme economic pressures wrought by the coronavirus pandemic have turned hundreds of thousands of tenants against tens of thousands of landlords in what one federal judge has called "but for the shooting, a war in every real sense." But the courtroom should not be the battlefield, he said. U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson upheld an eviction moratorium in Los Angeles as "eminently reasonable under the extraordinary circumstances," and exhorted lawmakers to devise a solution that helps both property owners and renters.

Courthouse News Service

Discrimination in public schools not covered by Unruh Civil Rights Act

A public school district is not a business establishment and accordingly, cannot be liable for an Unruh Civil Rights Act violation, Div. One of the First District Court of Appeal has held. Justice Kathleen M. Banke wrote for the panel in denying a petition for a writ of mandate seeking to overturn an order by Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Charles S. Treat sustaining the demurrer of the West Contra Costa Unified School District without leave to amend.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Convictions/Sentences

California Governor Newsom issues 22 pardons

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) last week issued 22 pardons, 13 commutations of sentences, and four medical reprieves. Some were garden-variety acts of clemency, but 10 were issued to allow the recipients to avoid the immigration consequences of their criminal activity. Three of the latter variety really stand out.

Center for Immigration

Former La Jolla restaurateur sentenced 40 years for multiple sex assaults

A former La Jolla restaurant owner convicted of sexually assaulting intoxicated or unconscious women over a nine-year period was sentenced Tuesday to 40 years in state prison. Daniel Dorado, 62, who owned Voce del Mare in the Bird Rock area, was convicted last December of 20 felony counts, including rape of an unconscious person and rape of an intoxicated person, involving sexual assaults on four women that occurred between 2009 and 2018.

City News Service

Ex-GM board member, union leader sentenced to 30 months in prison

Former General Motors board member Joe Ashton, a retired United Auto Workers leader, was sentenced Tuesday to 30 months in prison for fraud and money laundering as part of an ongoing federal probe into the union. Ashton, who resigned from the GM board in December 2017 after being linked to the corruption, pleaded guilty to the charges in December as part of a deal with U.S. prosecutors and agreed to forfeit $250,000 he admitted to illegally receiving in bribes and kickbacks.

CNBC

Glendale man sentenced to prison for credit card fraud scheme

A Glendale man was sentenced today to seven years behind bars for running a series of "bust-out'' schemes that defrauded more than 20 banks out of nearly $5 million by, among other things, using fraudulently obtained credit cards to buy millions of dollars in liquor and cemetery plots that were later sold for a profit. Mikayel Hmayakyan, 43, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge George H. Wu, who also ordered him to pay $4.9 million in restitution.

City News Service

2 teens who fatally attacked California middle school student on campus admit guilt

The two 14-year-old boys accused of fatally attacking Moreno Valley middle school eighth-grader Diego Stolz in 2019 have acknowledged their guilt. Both juveniles "made admissions" to involuntary manslaughter and assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury at a Thursday, Nov. 12, hearing, John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney's Office, said Wednesday, Nov. 18. "Made admissions" is a terminology used in juvenile court similar to pleading guilty, Hall said.

Southern California News Group

Corrections & Parole

COVID cases at state prison in Susanville on sharp increase

Seemingly with every passing hour the number of inmates at Susanville's High Desert State Prison continues to rise (as of 2:28 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13, CDCR reports 260 inmates at the prison have been infected within the last 14 days). The number of infected residents in Lassen County also continues to rise. Lassencares, the county's COVID-19 pubic information center, currently reports 65 active cases with four currently hospitalized.

Plumas News

California AG fights back on request to release hundreds of incarcerated people from San Quentin

The California Attorney General's Office is fighting back about the proposed release of hundreds of people incarcerated in San Quentin as a result of a court decision that found their custody in aging buildings and cramped quarters during coronavirus constituted "deliberate indifference."

KTVU Fox2

Articles of Interest

Special report: When cops and America's cherished gun rights clash, cops win

The night a cop killed Andrew Scott started out like many others had for the 26-year-old pizzeria worker. Home from his evening shift, he and his girlfriend, Miranda Mauck, ate a late supper and spent several hours watching television and playing video games. Then, around 1:30 a.m., as the two sat talking in T-shirts and underwear, they were startled by a loud knock at the door.

Reuters

Study: Race and gender impact views on whether someone should own a gun

New research from Rice University found that race and gender play a role in whether white people think someone has a right to own a gun. Researchers asked white Republicans and Democrats about who has the right to own a firearm. White Republicans were more likely to be supportive of gun ownership overall - except if the person with a gun is a Black man.

Houston Public Media

The Chump Effect: Progressive policies penalize those who play by the rules and shower benefits on those who don't.

Last January, a small but telling exchange took place at an Elizabeth Warren campaign event in Grimes, Iowa. At the time, Warren was attracting support from the Democratic Party's left flank, with her bulging portfolio of progressive proposals. "Warren Has a Plan for That" read her campaign T-shirts. The biggest buzz surrounded her $1.25 trillion plan to pay off student-loan debt for most Americans.

City Journal

Psychedelics as health and wellness aid? Not a hallucination

Melissa Lavasani never expected to grow psychedelic mushrooms in her Washington, D.C., home or become a force behind a successful measure that makes cultivation and possession of plant and fungi medicines the lowest priority for local police and prosecutors. But the mother of two grew desperate in 2018 as her mental health suffered from a yearslong battle with postpartum depression and chronic pain. She had tried everything: antidepressants, talk therapy, meditation and even cupping. None of it seemed to work.

NBC News

L.A. Times food critic Patricia Escárcega accuses the paper of discrimination

After the death of Jonathan Gold, the Los Angeles Times decided it would need two critics to take up the mantle. In December 2018, the paper named Patricia Escárcega and Bill Addison as co-critics, and sent the pair out together to promote a purported "revival" of the publication's food section. Together, the theory went, the pair could more effectively cover the breadth of dining in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Magazine

Student-athletes sue NCAA over endorsements, social media revenue

A federal judge is entertaining another student-athlete led antitrust class action against the National Collegiate Athletic Association, this time over endorsement deals, autographs and social media revenue. In June 2020, Arizona State swimmer Grant House and Oregon women's basketball player Sedona Prince sued the NCAA and the Power Five conferences over rules prohibiting them from receiving any compensation for marketing themselves through third-party deals and sponsorships.

Courthouse News Service

Pension

As public pension costs soar, some Southern California agencies turn to controversial borrowing to fill deep holes

The little agency responsible for killing mosquitoes and rats in the Coachella Valley will see its bill for worker pensions nearly triple over just four years. Payments will also nearly triple for Cal-OPTIMA, Orange County's health care system for low-income people, seniors and those with disabilities, as well as for the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission, the folks who bring events to the historic stadium in Exposition Park.

Southern California News Group

State auditor releases updated rankings of California cities

The financial situation of cities around California generally seemed to be improving over the last few years, but the coronavirus pandemic has likely thrown a big wrench into their progress, according to new data from State Auditor Elaine Howle's office. The auditor on Wednesday, Nov. 18, released an update to a dashboard of cities' fiscal information that includes rankings of their financial health.

Orange County Register

 

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