Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Winner on 1970s TV Dating Game Show was a Serial Killer, Rodney Alcala Connected to Murder of 8 Women - and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo

Attacker of MAGA hat wearer gets 4 years for assault; Mexican Mafia leader's girlfriend solicits murder in Pomona

'Dating Game' serial killer connected to victims decades after their deaths

Rodney Alcala was at the height of his murderous spree in the 1970s when he put himself in the spotlight of primetime television - winning a date with a woman on the hit TV show "The Dating Game." It was decades before authorities discovered he was a prolific serial killer. Alcala has been connected to the murders of at least eight women, according to authorities. He pleaded guilty to murdering two women in New York City and was convicted of murdering a 12-year-old in Orange County, California.

Justice Stanley Mosk's abhorrence of sentences for 'ghosts' again rejected

Div. Three of the Fourth District Court of Appeal has affirmed an indeterminate sentence of 105-years-to-life imposed on a father who sexually abused his daughter, rejecting the view, as other courts have, expressed by the late California Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk that sentences which exceed the conceivable limits of a human life are an absurdity and defy constitutional scrutiny.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

California appeals court orders new hearing on juvenile's 90-year sentence

The California Court of Appeal held Monday that a juvenile offender who was sentenced to a term of 90 years to life in prison is entitled to a hearing to determine if it was proper to try him as an adult. Harquan Johnson, who was just 17 years old when he was convicted of murder, received an indeterminate life sentence of 90 years to life in state prison. In November 2016 California voters passed Proposition 57, which requires juvenile court judges to decide whether a minor should be prosecuted as an adult.


California appeals court affirms ruling against at-large election system

The California Court of Appeals, Sixth District, on Wednesday affirmed the decision by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Thomas E. Kuhnle, ruling that the City of Santa Clara's at-large election system diluted the vote of Asian Americans and thus violated the California Voting Rights Act. The CVRA was enacted by the California Legislature in 2002 to make it easier to eliminate racially discriminatory at-large election systems.

SF Gate

California Supreme Court takes a step toward abolishing cash bail at hearing

Two months after California voters refused to abolish cash bail, the state Supreme Court appeared ready Tuesday to take a step toward abolition by requiring pretrial release without bail unless a defendant was likely to commit violent acts or flee. Hearing the case of a San Francisco man who was held in jail for a year on a robbery charge because he was unable to afford $350,000 bail, the justices expressed varying viewpoints but seemed to agree that any future bail system should not discriminate based on a defendant's financial status.

San Francisco Chronicle

In virus era, US Supreme Court filings fell 16% year-over-year

New filings in the U.S. Supreme Court fell more than 16% in the last term compared with the prior year, as the novel coronavirus crisis ushered in unique and complex challenges for lawyers and the judiciary alike, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. said Thursday in his annual report. Filings generally fell starting in March at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Roberts said in the annual year-end report that is released on the last day of the year. The high court recorded 6,442 filings in the 2018 term and 5,411 filings in the 2019 term. Roberts said the number of cases on the Supreme Court's paid docket decreased 7% - 1,595 filings in the 2018 term to 1,481 filings in the latest term.

Democrats' identity crisis plays out in LA courts

The identity crisis that has divided the California Democratic Party for the last few years is now playing out in full force in the court system of the state's largest county. This is one meaning of the controversy that followed December's order by George Gascon, the newly-elected Los Angeles County District Attorney, that all 1,000 or so of his courtroom deputies immediately stop enforcing the state's "three-strikes-and-you're-out" and cease adding potential sentence enhancements to any charges they file against criminal suspects.

Oroville Mercury-Register

Court upbraids Jerry Brown on ballot measure

A political saga that began more than four decades ago came full circle last week when the state Supreme Court, including four Jerry Brown appointees, indirectly upbraided the former governor. Unanimously, the court declared that Proposition 57, a major criminal justice overhaul sponsored by Brown and overwhelmingly passed by voters in 2016, did what its critics said it would do, not what Brown told voters.


Calif. high court asked to clarify call-recording rules

During a videoconference hearing, plaintiff Jeremiah Smith's counsel, Adrian R. Bacon of the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman PC, argued that section 632.7 of the California Penal Code requires all participants on a phone call to consent to a recording. That conclusion is supported by the plain language of the statute, legislative history, public policy and California's Invasion of Privacy Act, and the justices should reverse the lower court's ruling finding otherwise, Bacon said.


Maryland appeals court allows rap lyrics to be used in murder trial

Should someone's creative work be used against them in a criminal trial? That was the question presented before the Maryland Court of Appeals earlier this year after rap lyrics sang in a jailhouse phone call were part of the state's effort to convict Lawrence Montague of murder. "I'll be playin' the block bitch. And if you ever play with me I'll give you a dream, a couple shots snitch. It's like hockey pucks the way I dish out this. It's a .40 when that bitch goin' hit up shit."

Courthouse News Service

COVID-19 & Justice System

Chief Justice seeks vaccine priority for judges, court staff

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has asked state leaders to give judicial officers and court employees priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine, citing a "significant degree of foot traffic cycling through our courthouses." In a letter sent to the governor last month, Cantil-Sakauye said that while courts have increasingly turned to remote proceedings, some matters still require courthouse appearances.

The Recorder

9th Circuit skeptical of California church limits, but may uphold stay-home order

A federal appeals court panel appears poised to find that Gov. Gavin Newsom's monthslong coronavirus limits on houses of worship violate the religious freedom rights of Californians, but a majority of the judges on the case sounded unlikely Monday to immediately reverse tighter stay-at-home restrictions imposed last month due to a record surge in infections.


OC judge to consider jail depopulation for COVID-19

An Orange County Superior Court judge Friday will consider options to cut the county's jail population in half to better manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter J. Wilson ordered the jail population reduced by 50%. Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes has attempted to appeal the order, but so far has failed, compelling him to submit a plan on how to halve the inmate population.


ADDA Lawsuit

ADDA President discusses lawsuit against DA on John & Ken Show

ADDA President Michele Hanisee appeared on the John & Ken show & spoke with Jane Wells to discuss the legal basis of the lawsuit against the DA, what the judge said, the DA's counter-argument and the general morale of the DA's office.


L.A. prosecutors are at loggerheads with their new boss, George Gascón

On Wednesday afternoon, a judge ordered Los Angeles County's new District Attorney, George Gascón, to show why the court shouldn't block criminal-justice reforms he has issued in the weeks since taking office on December 7 - reforms county prosecutors say ignore or violate state law. The order by L.A. Superior Court Judge David Cowan was in response to a lawsuit that the union representing county prosecutors filed against Gascón earlier that day.

Los Angeles Magazine

Los Angeles County prosecutors file lawsuit against new district attorney over justice reform efforts

The union representing Los Angeles County prosecutors has sued their boss, newly elected District Attorney George Gascón, over his attempt to impose justice reforms. The lawsuit filed in L.A. County Superior Court on Wednesday aims to gut Gascón's platform by proposing to end his mandate to stop seeking prior felony conviction enhancements, including for gun possession, gang membership and violating the "three strikes" law, that lengthen sentences when suspects are convicted.

NBC News

Deputy DA Association sues Los Angeles DA over criminal justice reforms, sentencing enhancement directives

After facing backlash following his announcement to end all sentencing enhancements, Los Angeles County's District Attorney George Gascón - despite backtracking to allow for some enhancements - has still been sued by the Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA). Gascón was sworn into office as Los Angeles County's District Attorney on Dec. 7, and on his first day he announced sweeping changes, such as an end to cash bail, all sentencing enhancements, and showing "leniency to low-level offenders."

The Davis Vanguard

Michele Hanisee on KFI's Gary & Shannon Show

ADDA president Michele Hanisee appeared on the Gary & Shannon Show on KFI AM 640 to discuss the pending lawsuit against the District Attorney.


Testing categorical prosecutorial discretion

What if an elected official ordered his subordinate, a lawyer, to issue a legal opinion that the law permitted the elected official to do something it did not? No, not President Trump ordering the attorney general to assert that the Pardon Power allows him to pardon himself. Not this time, anyway. Rather, the newly elected Los Angeles County District Attorney, George Gascón, is being sued by the union representing his subordinates for directing them not to apply charging enhancements.


Deputies lose in court to Gascon, and he gives Biden-esque phony message of healing and unity

Update: The Association of Deputy District Attorneys dispute Gascon's interpretation of today's court ruling as a victory. In fact, says the ADDA, the court ordered Gascon to show cause why an injunction against his behavior should not be issued. Gascon has until January 15 to file papers supporting his position, and a hearing will be held on February 2, 2021.

Santa Monica Observer

LA District Attorney's Office

DA extends olive branch to deputies; DDA scoffs at gesture

Los Angeles County's new district attorney, George Gascón, faced with widespread resistance within his department to policies he has promulgated aimed at minimizing prison sentences and requiring actions toward that end which many deputies proclaim to be unethical, if not unlawful, sent a New Year's Eve message to the deputies seeking unity.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Deputy D.A. speaks out against Gascón's no-strikes policy

A Los Angeles deputy district attorney expressed exasperation yesterday over having been forced by virtue of a special directive by District Attorney George Gascón to move that morning for the striking of priors in the case of a parolee/probationer caught in possession of child pornography, bemoaning the granting of the motion by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dorothy Reyes despite her request that it be denied.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

San Diego DA sends George Gascón scathing letter criticizing policies, rescinds permission to prosecute case

The San Diego County District Attorney has sent newly-elected Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón a scathing letter criticizing his policies as not "in the interest of justice," and rescinding permission for Gascón to prosecute an accused Los Angeles cop killer's San Diego armed robbery charges. "I did not want to pick this fight, but I just can't be silent," San Diego County DA summer Stephan told FOX 11 in an interview on Thursday.

Fox11 Los Angeles

Critics and family torn by violence hold a 'Recall George Gascón' vigil

Families who have been torn apart by violence and senseless murders of their loved ones gathered for a candlelight vigil outside the Hall of Justice Thursday. They congregated to send a message to new LA County District Attorney George Gascón. At issue are Gascón's new policies which these families say benefit only the defendants. As Cynthia Carerra points out, "Someone who commits a crime has to pay. I don't really care what age you are. You committed a crime. You chose to commit a crime."

Fox11 Los Angeles

Protesters take aim at policies of new District Attorney Gascon

Protesters, including victims of violent crimes and their families, gathered on Thursday, Dec. 31, to demonstrate against policies proposed by new Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón. The "Candlelight Vigil for Victims of Violent Crime," outside of the Hall of Justice, was organized by a Facebook group seeking to recall Gascón. The group, which had around 35,000 members as of Wednesday, said the district attorney's special directives put "criminals first, victims last."

Daily Bulletin

Gascón speaks out against cash bail system

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón yesterday spoke out against money bail, on the day the California Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the system. (A story on the arguments appears separately.) Gascón, who issued a directive on Dec. 7, his first day in office, ordering deputies not to seek bail where a defendant is charged with a misdemeanor or a non-violent and non-serious felony, said in a statement released by his office.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

New DA Gascón's assault on the law

Newly elected Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón will prohibit his deputies from seeking lengthier sentences by proving the defendant was responsible for a prior robbery, rape or burglary. He has ordered his deputies not to plead and prove gang or the most serious gun enhancements. Gascón has decided not to follow the will of the people. Instead of lobbying the California Legislature to repeal sentencing enhancements with argument, evidence and reason, he tears up the part of the Penal Code he doesn't want to enforce. It is de facto legislative nullification.

Read more from Pasadena Star-News


2 charged in killing of LA youth counselor

Two 18-year-old men were charged Tuesday with the weekend killing of a counselor who was trying to break up a fight at the residential youth facility where he worked in the Windsor Hills area. Nyier Mason and Keith Lewis are set to be arraigned Wednesday, Jan. 6, at the Airport Branch Courthouse on a murder charge in the killing of 25-year-old David Mcknight-Hillman, according to Ricardo Santiago of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

City News Service

Company agrees to settlement over unapproved coronavirus antibody test kits

A company that sold in-home COVID-19 antibody test kits that were not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has agreed to pay a $50,000 civil penalty and made full refunds to consumers who bought the tests, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced today. The settlement, pending court approval, also requires Applied BioSciences Corp. to comply with a permanent injunction barring the company from selling unapproved tests in the future, according to the City Attorney's Office.

City News Service

United States Attorney Nick Hanna to leave justice department after serving as Chief Federal Law Enforcement Officer in L.A. for 3 years

United States Attorney Nick Hanna announced today that he will resign his position as the chief federal prosecutor for the Central District of California. While serving as the top federal law enforcement officer in the Los Angeles-based district for the past three years, Mr. Hanna oversaw approximately 280 Assistant U.S. Attorneys who staff the largest Justice Department office outside of Washington D.C.

Department of Justice News Release

Orange County bar owner faces criminal charges for operating during pandemic

A Costa Mesa bar owner has become the first Orange County proprietor to face a criminal charge for illegally operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Roland Michael Barrera, 47, who owns Westend Bar, was charged with a misdemeanor after repeatedly failing to mandate that customers and employees wear face coverings, declining to enforce social distancing requirements and continuing to operate during restricted hours, the Orange County district attorney's office said Thursday.

Los Angeles Times

Sacramento man accused of bilking $219K from California EDD debit cards

Prosecutors have filed charges against a Sacramento man suspected of fraudulently taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from California unemployment. The Sacramento County District Attorney's Office says, back in early December, a man named Walter Lee Dawson was arrested after a probation compliance check uncovered a Glock-style pistol with no serial number, $58,000 in cash and drugs. But, prosecutors say that's not all that was found.

CBS13 Sacramento

Deadly Hemet beating was hate crime: Prosecutors

A convicted felon accused, along with a friend, of fatally beating and stabbing a 31-year-old man in a racially motivated attack outside a Hemet bar pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder and other charges. Angel Melesio Sanchez, 32, of Hemet, allegedly joined 28-year-old Ernesto Gonzales of Hemet in killing the victim, identified in court documents only as "A.C.," on Dec. 28. Along with murder, Sanchez is charged with assault resulting in great bodily injury and a sentence-enhancing hate crime allegation.

City News Service

Policy/Legal Issues

LA's three strikes legal battle may impact SF rules

San Francisco's controversial sentencing policies may end up getting caught in an unusual legal battle that pits Los Angeles county prosecutors against their new boss - former SF District Attorney George Gascon - over his newly adopted policies against pursuing cases under the state's Three Strikes law. That battle down south comes as San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin is under fire for the release of a parolee now blamed for the hit and run deaths of two pedestrians on New Year's Eve.

NBC Bay Area

Driving under the influence must have consequences

Innocent people are dying in Orange County - and they shouldn't be. A 12-year-old boy with autism killed by a driver suspected of driving high. The driver had a previous DUI. The boy was riding his bike in a Costa Mesa crosswalk with his dad. Three young children - ages, 1, 4, and 5 - were in their car seats looking at Christmas lights with their parents in Newport Beach when a suspected impaired driver ran into the family car. Both parents were killed - leaving three young girls orphaned.

Orange County Register

California Board urges bias reviews of police social media

California police agencies should routinely review officers' social media, cellphones and computers for racist, bigoted or other offensive content that contributes to disproportionate police stops of Black people, a state advisory board said Monday. The controversial recommendation comes from community and law enforcement representatives who analyzed nearly 4 million vehicle and pedestrian stops by California's 15 largest law enforcement agencies in 2019.


Los Angeles County/City

Los Angeles County appoints its first black CEO

Fesia Davenport was formally confirmed Tuesday as Los Angeles County's first Black chief executive officer, one of a host of diverse senior appointments made by the Board of Supervisors. Supervisor Hilda Solis, who currently chairs the board, welcomed the new executives in a series of statements. "I am proud to welcome a history-making, diverse, and highly accomplished group of new department heads," Solis said.


Watch out Los Angeles: Feds calculate riskiest, safest places in U.S.

Spending her life in Los Angeles, Morgan Andersen knows natural disasters all too well. In college, an earthquake shook her home hard. Her grandfather was affected by recent wildfires in neighboring Orange County. "It's just that constant reminder, 'Oh yeah, we live somewhere where there's natural disasters and they can strike at any time,'" said the 29-year-old marketing executive.


A year like no other for L.A. crime: Homicides surge, robberies and rapes drop

As commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department's data-driven Compstat division, Capt. Paul Vernon's job is to track crime trends in L.A. - highlighting problems and pinpointing solutions in order to optimize the department's effectiveness. It has not been easy this year, he said, as crime - like so much in 2020 - went absolutely haywire. Homicides, shootings and car thefts spiked, while robberies, rapes and lesser property crimes dropped off.

Los Angeles Times

'Justified' or 'despicable'? The twisted tale of an LAPD excessive force case

Pinned to the ground by the cop who lived across the street, Daniel Garza tried to mentally prepare for the moment his wrist would break. The pain was already intense. What would it feel like if his wrist actually snapped? "I was trying to be a man and trying to hold in the pain, but, man, that wristlock hurts," Garza recalled. "He's just bending it and bending it."

Los Angeles Times

20% of LAPD officers, civilian employees say they won't take COVID-19 vaccine

One-fifth of the 9,500 sworn and civilian Los Angeles Police Department employees who took a survey said they would not take the COVID-19 vaccine if offered, the police chief said on Tuesday, Jan. 5. Another 20% said they would take the vaccine with more information. The results of the survey, sent to all LAPD employees in late December, show the vast majority would take the vaccine, with 60% answering they would sign up to get their doses.

Los Angeles Daily News

Officers reject plan to raise $10 million to fight layoffs, fund candidates

Los Angeles Police Department officers voted down their union's plan to raise $10 million to fight department layoffs and support and oppose 2022 political candidates, a union official said today. The special assessment would have taken about $22 out of each paycheck over 48 pay periods, according to Tom Saggau of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents LAPD officers. Special assessments are the only way unions can raise money aside from increasing dues, Saggau said.

City News Service

Public Safety/Crime

Several taken into custody after Trump protesters clash during rally in downtown LA, police say

As Congress convened in Washington to certify the results of the presidential election, dozens of supporters of President Donald Trump rallied Wednesday morning in front of Los Angeles City Hall, prompting authorities to declare an unlawful assembly. Holding flags and carrying signs that read "Stop the Steal," members of the group stood along Spring Street while others circled the area in their vehicles.


San Francisco DA blames 'system' for parolee's hit-and-run killing 2 pedestrians

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who was Hugo Chavez's trusted propagandist, translator and advisor, just stepped in a hot steaming pile of controversy. A drunk driver accused by police of killing two pedestrians in downtown San Francisco on New Year's Eve, and in a stolen car, is a parolee who remained free despite being arrested several times in the city in recent months, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

California Globe

Dr. Dre's LA home target of attempted burglary while he remains hospitalized

While Dr. Dre was in the hospital for a possible brain aneurysm, his home in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles was the apparent target of a burglary ring Tuesday night, though police say nothing was taken. Authorities initially believed the suspects may have been targeting Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' house in the area. But investigators determined a home owned by Dr. Dre, born Andre Young, was the actual target.


CA officials say SF DA's failure to file criminal charges led to deadly hit-and-run on New Year's Eve

The case of a double fatal hit-and-run that happened on New Year's Eve in San Francisco is igniting a firestorm among critics, who say this tragedy could have been prevented. That's because the suspected driver, Troy McAlister, was out on parole at the time of the crash. In a live interview with ABC7 News anchor Dion Lim Sunday night, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin addressed the incident.


2 women fatally struck by stolen car being driven by parolee in San Francisco: Police

A stolen car struck and killed two women in the South of Market neighborhood on Thursday, and the driver, a paroled robber, was arrested after running away, police said. The car, which had been reported stolen at about 4 p.m., struck a car and then two women, one of whom died at the scene, police said. The other woman died at a hospital. One woman was believed to be about 70 years old and the other was in her 20s or 30s, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, citing San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney.


90 arrested amid crackdown on New Year's Eve 'super-spreader' events in L.A. County

Dozens of people were arrested and hundreds of others received warnings as a sheriff's task force cracked down on coronavirus "super-spreader" events in L.A. County on New Year's Eve, officials announced Friday. Hundreds of personnel with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Super-Spreader Task Force fanned out across the region on Thursday night, shutting down five total events: two in L.A., and one each in the cities of Hawthorne, Malibu and Pomona.


244 suspected DUI drivers arrested in California on New Year's Eve, CHP says

California Highway Patrol officers arrested 244 suspected DUI drivers across the state on New Year's Eve, a dramatic increase over last year in the number of arrests made during the agency's maximum enforcement period. Thursday night's arrests came in just the first six hours of the New Year's enforcement period, CHP tweeted. With 244 DUI arrests in the first six hours of the Maximum Enforcement Period, it was busy New Year's Eve for CHP officers throughout the state.


Amid COVID-19, San Francisco sees opioid overdoses skyrocket

In early 2019, a previously homeless man named Tom Wolf posted a thank-you on Twitter to the cop who had arrested him the earlier spring, when he was strung out in a doorway with 103 tiny bindles of heroin and cocaine in a plastic baggie at his toes. "You saved my life," wrote Wolf, who had lastly gotten clear after that bust and 90 days in jail, ending six months of sleeping on scraps of cardboard on the sidewalk.


Metro encourages riders to look out for human trafficking victims

January is Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority wants to educate riders by encouraging them to look out for potential victims on public transit. Officials said Tuesday more people may be trafficked now more than ever due to hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and victims are often transported on buses and trains in the United States.



District attorney warns L.A. citizens of COVID-19 stimulus fraud

The District Attorney of Los Angeles County is warning local residents, including those in Santa Clarita, of scammers offering fraudulent early COVID-19 stimulus checks. In a post released December 30th from the District Attorney's Office of Los Angeles County, community members are warned to avoid text messages or emails offering to send early federal stimulus money by check or direct deposit.



A US Capitol police officer has died as a result of the attempted insurrection in Washington, DC

A US Capitol Police officer died on Thursday evening after being injured during riots in the Capitol building, according to a statement released Thursday night by the department. "At approximately 9:30 p.m. this evening (January 7, 2021), United States Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick passed away due to injuries sustained while on-duty," the statement read. Officer Sicknick was injured while "physically engaging with protesters," according to the department.

Business Insider

S.F. sees record overdose deaths, even as police seize millions of lethal fentanyl doses. What is happening?

More than 630 people died of overdoses in San Francisco from January to the end of November, a new record and a staggering increase from 441 in all of 2019. Amid the wave of death this spring, the San Francisco Police Department increased the number of officers focused on drug dealers in the Tenderloin - particularly those selling fentanyl to people like Stanphill's 26-year-old son.

San Francisco Chronicle

Millions in California coronavirus jobless benefits sent to out-of-state prisoners

In the latest revelation of potential criminal fraud involving California jobless benefits, an analysis has found that more than $42 million in claims went to out-of-state prison and jail inmates, giving more clarity to what officials now estimate could be $4 billion in scammed coronavirus relief funds. A large number of Florida inmates, including a man sentenced to 20 years for second-degree murder, are among the thousands of out-of-state prisoners who have allegedly received California pandemic unemployment benefits, according to a December analysis commissioned by the state Employment Development Department and reviewed by The Times.

Los Angeles Times

Eight new California laws explained - each in 1 minute

CalMatters is a nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism venture committed to explaining how California's state Capitol works and why it matters. Here, their staff explain eight new laws taking effect in California this year. 1. California widens mental health conditions insurers must cover 2. California expands paid family leave 3. California aims to improve policing 4. Cal State requiring ethnic studies class 5. California eases hiring of ex-inmate firefighters 6. California committee to study slavery reparations 7. California closing state youth prisons 8. California businesses must report COVID outbreaks


Here are some of the biggest new laws that went into effect Jan. 1

With a new year comes new rules and regulations across the country. State legislatures and local jurisdictions passed hundreds of bills last year on topics ranging from police reform and employment regulations to road safety and environmental protection. Here are some of the biggest changes that went into effect on Jan 1. Criminal justice reform: Following George Floyd's death at the hands of police officers, elected officials across the country pushed ahead with bills designed to curb racial profiling, reduce violent conflicts between officers and civilians, and improve transparency among police precincts.

ABC News

2021 New Laws | Here is what's new in California related to victim and criminal reform

As a year of uncertainty has finally come to an end, 2021 has brought something that everyone can count on: new state laws. Here is what you need to know about these new California laws that are being enforced on the first day of 2021. AB 2147 Summary: Allows inmate firefighters to seek occupations as emergency first responders upon their release from prison.

CBS8 San Diego

Portland mayor promises to 'hold people responsible' after 2 days of vandalism, violence

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler on Friday promised a tougher response to people who commit violence and vandalism, in a press conference organized after two successive days of people damaging property and clashing with police downtown. "We need more accountability and we need to hold people responsible for their criminal conduct," the mayor said, hours after police said demonstrators launched commercial grade fireworks at a federal courthouse and Portland Justice Center and hurled projectiles at police.

ABC News

Trump's made-up claims of fake Georgia votes

President Donald Trump put forth a dizzying array of fuzzy accounting and outright false claims in an extraordinary phone call to Georgia's secretary of state seeking a reversal of his election defeat, fabricating a slew of votes that he said should've been counted in his favor. In the hourlong conversation Saturday with Georgia's secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, Trump suggested that the Republican "find" enough votes to hand Trump the victory.

NBC4 Los Angeles

Ruling on Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on death row, puts execution in doubt

A ruling by a federal judge to delay the execution of the only woman on federal death row could push the new date into the early days of the administration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has said he would work to end federal capital punishment. The woman, Lisa Montgomery, had been scheduled to be executed on Dec. 8, but that date was delayed after two of her lawyers tested positive for the coronavirus shortly after traveling to a federal prison in Texas to visit her in November.

New York Times

San Diego's hidden gambling problem: Illicit casinos attract gangs, drugs, violence

Tucked in an aging strip mall next to a coffee shop and a tax preparer in central San Diego, a clothing alterations shop was running a particularly brisk business. But expert tailoring wasn't the draw. A task force raid in October found evidence of an illegal gambling parlor, with 16 video gaming machines, drugs, methamphetamine pipes and about $1,700 in cash concealed in drywall, according to an FBI search warrant affidavit.

Los Angeles Times

Michigan overhauls probation, parole system

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a package of criminal justice reform bills Monday that supporters said would significantly reshape the state's probation and parole system. The measures include reducing adult felony probation sentences from five years to three years, preventing endless extensions on misdemeanor and felony probation terms, limiting jail sanctions for technical probation violations and requiring parole supervision terms to be tailored to a person's individualized risks and needs.

The Crime Report


Pomona woman who acted as imprisoned gang leader's `voice' gets 12 years

A high-level female associate for an imprisoned Mexican Mafia member was sentenced Monday to a dozen years behind bars for using her power on the streets of Pomona to solicit a murder and for participating in a carjacking attempt that resulted in a shooting. Cheryl Perez-Castaneda, 58, of Pomona pleaded guilty in October to one federal count each of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and using a firearm during a crime of violence.


Outrage over red MAGA hat in Hermosa Beach eatery gets attacker four years in prison

A San Fernando Valley man who attacked a patron wearing a red hat bearing the slogan "Make America Great Again" written in Russian was sentenced Monday to four years in prison. David Delgado, 33, of Winnetka, pleaded no contest in March to a felony count of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury for pummeling the hat-wearer in a Hermosa Beach restaurant bathroom after learning the meaning of the Russian phrase.


Medical equipment packaging company hacker sentenced

When the COVID-19 pandemic reached the United States last spring, a Georgia-based medical equipment packaging company worked to get personal protective equipment (PPE) to medical workers treating sick patients. But a disgruntled former employee thwarted those efforts at a time when protective equipment was desperately needed. Christopher Dobbins, a vice-president in the company who'd been fired a few weeks earlier, still had a secret account on the company's computer system that he'd created before he was fired.


Corrections & Parole

California begins vaccinating inmates, but not at its hardest-hit prisons

California's prison system, which has been exceptionally hard-hit by the coronavirus, has started vaccinating some inmates - but none so far at the 25 prisons that have been most overwhelmed by infections, including San Quentin, Avenal State Prison and the California Institution for Men. Elizabeth Gransee, a spokeswoman for J. Clark Kelso, a court-appointed official who oversees prison health care in California, said on Wednesday that the prison system had decided to concentrate its vaccination efforts at facilities where "people are at significant risk of becoming infected or severely ill from the coronavirus."

New York Times

Marin judge might let San Quentin inmates relocate over virus

A Marin County judge might soon begin ordering the transfer of San Quentin State Prison inmates to other prisons in response to a wave of coronavirus safety complaints. Some inmates, however, might prefer to remain where they are if they can't be released. Charles Carbone, a prisoner rights lawyer in San Francisco, said that is because "right now everywhere else is hotter than San Quentin." As of Saturday, there were 9,155 active coronavirus cases among inmates at California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sites throughout the state.

Marin Independent Journal

Death row inmate found dead in cell Monday

An inmate at San Quentin State Prison was found dead in his cell Monday, prison officials said. The cause of death of Jose Francisco Guerra, 61, will be determined by the Marin County coroner's office, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Guerra, housed on death row since 1993, was found unresponsive at about 2:15 p.m. Staff sounded an alarm and performed life-saving measures, but Guerra was pronounced dead around 3 p.m., CDCR officials said.


Articles of Interest

6 things former presidents aren't allowed to do after leaving office

There are restrictions about what presidents can do while in office - and what they can't do once they leave the White House. When we think about former presidents of the United States, we may immediately picture our former heads of state establishing their presidential library, participating in charitable work, and attempting to live a (relatively) quiet life out of the spotlight. But it's a little more complicated than that.

Reader's Digest

US extradition of Julian Assange blocked by London court

Citing concerns for the WikiLeaks founder's mental health, a British judge on Monday rejected America's request to extradite Julian Assange. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser found there was a "high risk" that detention conditions in the United States would result in the Australian activist killing himself. "Mr. Assange faces the bleak prospect of severely restrictive detention conditions designed to remove physical contact and reduce social interaction and contact with the outside world to a bare minimum.

Courthouse News Service

Former FPPC chair seeks probe of mystery Newsom recall funder

California's former campaign finance watchdog is urging the state to investigate a mysterious funder of the effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom. The campaign to topple Newsom recently received a $500,000 infusion from an Orange County-based LLC called Prov. 3:9 that has a minimal business presence and has not filed any of its own political disclosures. In a letter to the Fair Political Practices Commission and the California Department of Justice, Ann Ravel - who previously chaired the FPPC and ran as a Democrat for the state Senate this year - urged a probe into the money's true source.


At 1st bankruptcy hearing, embattled attorney Tom Girardi is a no-show

Embattled plaintiffs attorney Tom Girardi was a no-show at the first bankruptcy hearing to discuss the future of his personal assets and those of his Los Angeles firm, Girardi Keese. At a Zoom hearing on Tuesday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Barry Russell, overseeing two Chapter 7 involuntary bankruptcy petitions filed last month, asked whether Girardi or his firm, or any lawyers representing them, were present.

The Recorder


San Diego County judge invalidates Prop B pension reform

A San Diego Superior Court judge on Tuesday invalidated San Diego's 2012 pension reform ballot measure Proposition B, setting the stage for thousands of city workers to join a pension system they've been excluded from for nearly a decade. The ruling was not unexpected and follows a string of defeats for the measure's supporters. The California Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that city officials violated state labor law when they placed it on the ballot without first negotiating with unions representing city workers.


Public pensions aren't causing state and local budget gaps - the pandemic is

In the drama over the federal Covid-19 relief legislation, Republicans led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) rejected state and local budget aid, claiming it would be used to bailout badly managed states, including their public employee pension systems. Although Democrats offered a bill preventing that use of federal funds, McConnell still refused to compromise. Why are Republicans so opposed to public pension funding?



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