Charges Dropped Against Woman Accused of Attempting to Kidnap Joe Montana's Granddaughter; 2 Court Interpreters Get Covid and Die Because Traffic and Eviction Court Held in Person; and other Stories: Monday Morning Memo
LAPD to launch program for mental health workers to respond to 911 calls; Fewer inmate firefighters may cause crisis in next fire season
February 17, 2021
Judge blocks some of LA district attorney's reform policies
A judge has decided some of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon's justice reform policies aimed at reducing punishment for some of the most serious crimes were, "unlawful," and cannot be implemented as the new DA ordered. L.A. Superior Court Judge James Chalfant said in a ruling Monday Gascon cannot direct prosecutors to dismiss sentencing enhancements for certain prior convictions, or strikes, in thousands of open criminal cases.
Judge determines some of Gascón's edicts are 'unlawful'
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant yesterday declared that the Association of Deputy District Attorneys' bid for a preliminary injunction to block implementation of certain "special directives" issued by District Attorney George Gascón "is granted in large part," finding some of the policies are "unlawful."
Judge blocks several reforms from L.A. County DA George Gascón
Los Angeles County prosecutors took the progressive new district attorney to court and won a ruling Monday blocking some criminal justice reforms he instituted to reduce prison sentences. Superior Court Judge James Chalfant issued a preliminary injunction blocking some directives District Attorney George Gascon issued to end enhancements that can add years to prison sentences.
Court ruling: Gascón special directives unlawful
A Los Angeles County judge issued a preliminary injunction Monday against District Attorney George Gascón's special directives that he implemented to shorten prison sentences. Gascón said he will appeal. Judge James C. Chalfant ruled that his reforms are "unlawful" and that he cannot dismiss the allegations "without legal grounds."
Judge tells L.A. District Attorney Gascón he can't limit 'three-strikes' charges
Chesa Boudin, elected to succeed Gascón in San Francisco, says he will not seek three-strikes sentences except in "extraordinary circumstances." In response to Monday's ruling, Rachel Marshall, a spokeswoman for Boudin, said his policy was "not absolute" and that Boudin decides whether to charge prior strikes "on a case-by-case basis."
San Francisco Chronicle
Kern DA Cynthia Zimmer applauds Monday's ruling against Los Angeles DA George Gascon
Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer is applauding a ruling made yesterday in the Los Angeles County Superior Court that granted a temporary injunction ordering District Attorney George Gascon to cease unethical and unlawful policies that compel his attorneys to reduce or dismiss criminal charges in violation of state laws.
LA District Attorney
Gascón issues special directive in light of preliminary injunction; 'script' abandoned
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón yesterday issued a special directive to conform office policies to the requirements set forth on Monday in a preliminary injunction, secured by the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, but capitulated on one demand by the ADDA - that deputies not be required to read a script in asking that previously alleged enhancements be vacated - on which the judge had granted only partial relief.
Deputy DA files lawsuit against Los Angeles DA George Gascón
Some would call it Hatami vs Gascón. But the ongoing battle between the recently elected LA County DA George Gascón and longtime prosecutor Jonathan Hatami has taken on a new legal step. Hatami is suing Gascón, alleging he has been defamed. Hatami has been outspoken against the DA's reform directives. He was the prosecutor in the case of Isauro Aguirre and Pearl Hernandez, in the torture and death of her 8-year-old son, Gabriel Hernandez.
Mom grieving loss of murdered son shares emotional message to LA County DA George Gascón
It's the outcome Jessica Corde prayed would never happen. One of the men convicted in the killing of her son Marquis Leblanc has been granted parole. "When do I get to go up for parole? My son don't get parole, he's locked in that casket forever. He don't get paroled," says Corde. The murder happened on April 17, 2009. LeBlanc attended a party in Pomona.
California double-murderer found suitable for parole at hearing prosecutors couldn't attend
A California man convicted of double murder in the '90s has been found suitable for parole during a hearing that prosecutors weren't allowed to attend, according to a local report. Howard Elwin Jones shot and killed 18-year-old Chris Baker and another boy at a party in 1988. Jones was convicted three years later, but he had been about to turn 18 at the time of the crime.
Under fire, LA County District Attorney George Gascòn sticks to his directives
Since he took office Dec. 7, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon has come under fire for implementing a series of directives for progressive prosecution that he promised during his campaign. He was a guest on Eyewitness Newsmakers Sunday while he was still awaiting a ruling from Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant that could stop Gascon from enforcing his directives.
Families of crime victims protest DA Geoge Gascon during his Lancaster visit
As Los Angeles County DA George Gascón paid a visit to his Deputy DA's office in the Antelope Valley, a small group of protesters awaited him. Gascón waved at FOX 11's crews but didn't wave as we were outside the Antelope Valley Courthouse Friday. The DA kept driving into the courthouse's back parking lot. Inside, he apparently met with his Deputy DA for about two hours.
Mother of murder victim says Gascon's parole policy hurts victim's families
Jessica Corde is the mother of a young man who was killed by gang members in 2009. This week she had to attend the parole hearing of one of men who murdered her child ALONE, because of a new policy that LA County DA George Gascón enacted since he took office, that says prosecutors can NOT attend parole hearings. Instead, she had to see crime scene photos of her son's murder that she has never seen and relive some of the most horrible days of her life.
LA County prosecutors barred from attending parole hearings under DA Gascón's 'reforms'
The California District Attorneys Association announced Thursday their support of Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and crime victims with his announcement that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department will attend parole hearings to represent the victims in place of Los Angeles County deputy district attorneys. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has issued many new directives since being elected in November, including one which says that Los Angeles prosecutors will no longer be allowed to attend parole hearings.
Gascón's first 100 days
Ninety-two days into George Gascón's first term as Los Angeles County district attorney, he's making good on his campaign promises by redressing the harm that longtime systems of law enforcement and incarceration have done to certain communities. The former Harbor Division commander of the Los Angeles Police Department also inspired a rebellion among his deputy prosecutors and a lawsuit against him by their union, Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County.
Random Lengths News
D.A. press releases to spotlight Gascón, not his office
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office's Media Relations Division has refused to respond to inquiries as to whether it's true that an order has been issued that press releases on cases put the spotlight on District Attorney George Gascón, no longer mention the deputy handling the case, and not include the potential maximum sentence - but an answer came yesterday, with the issuance of a release conforming to those rules.
Gascón makes exception to death penalty ban for "boy next door" killer
Michael Gargiulo, who was convicted in 2019 of killing two women and seriously injuring another in a series of knife attacks, will still face the death penalty after Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón made an exception to his order barring capital punishment, according to court documents filed this week.
Los Angeles Times
Courts & Rulings
'You're not in state court anymore': Federal judge's sentence in San Ramon gun case is higher than even prosecutors wanted
At a virtual court hearing Friday afternoon, a federal judge bucked a pre-arranged sentence that both prosecutors and the defense agreed to, tacking on an extra three months for a Bay Area man who was expecting to receive three years in prison for chucking a gun out of his moving car during a police chase.
Bay Area News Group
Ca. Supreme Court won't review case of man convicted in police gunbattle
The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to review the case of an ex-con who was convicted of repeatedly shooting at police officers during a series of gunfights and wounding a police dog in South Los Angeles. Jurors found Jose Alfredo Rauda guilty of 19 counts of assault with a firearm on a peace officer, 12 counts of attempted murder, four counts of assault with a firearm and one count each of assault with a police animal, shooting at an occupied vehicle and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Judge tosses deputy's suit alleging he was endangered by Compton Station gang
A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a deputy at the Compton Sheriff's Station who claimed the department put his life in danger when he reported the activities of an alleged deputy gang known as the Executioners. On Tuesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William F. Fahey granted a motion by lawyers for Los Angeles County to toss Austreberto Gonzalez's complaint, which alleged disability discrimination, work environment harassment, retaliation, failure to prevent harassment, discrimination or harassment and civil rights violations.
Juror misconduct can't be shown based on declaration by attorney as to what juror told him - Appeals Court
A new trial cannot be granted on the ground of juror misconduct based on a declaration by the attorney for the losing party as to what a member of the jury told him after the verdict as to improper discussions that took place, Div. Three of this district's Court of Appeal said in a decision on Friday. The unpublished opinion by Justice Anne H. Egerton affirms a judgment of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lia Martin.
Two out of two: Another appellate court upholds constitutionality of California's felony forfeiture statute
On February 5, 2021, a second court of appeal in California upheld the constitutionality of the felony forfeiture statute enacted as part of the Public Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA) in Wilmot v. Contra Costa County Employees' Retirement Association (2021 Cal. App. LEXIS 101 (Feb. 5, 2021)) ("Wilmot"). We wrote about the first felony forfeiture decision, Hipsher v. Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Assn ("Hipsher"), in our December 16, 2020 eAlert.
Appeals court upholds murder conviction in 2017 Concord DUI crash that killed 21-year-old woman
A California appeals court upheld the murder conviction of a Concord man who, in 2017, collided head-on with an oncoming car while driving under the influence, killing a 21-year-old woman. Bo Robledo, 36, was convicted of murder and drunk driving in 2019 and sentenced to life without the chance for parole for 22 years. Authorities say Robledo was driving drunk to a store to buy more alcohol when he swerved out of his lane on Willow Pass Road in Concord and collided with a car containing 21-year-old Natalie Davies and her boyfriend.
Bay Area News Group
L.A. judge properly declined to award $0 in attorney fees
The Court of Appeal for this district has affirmed a $141,165 attorney-fee award in an action under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, rebuffing the defendant's contention that no fees should have been allowed because the jury's verdict was for $25,000, one-cent less than the minimum amount that may be sought in an unlimited jurisdiction case and, in any event, it is grossly out of proportion to the damages.
Supreme Court lifts some restrictions on California church services
The Supreme Court late Friday ruled that California can't enforce some of its restrictions on church services, partially lifting limits put in place during the coronavirus pandemic. In a 6-3 ruling, the judges held that the state can't ban indoor worship, but it can cap indoor services at 25 percent capacity. The court also didn't stop the state from enforcing a ban on indoor singing and chanting.
Judge vacates man's murder conviction tied to 1978 Seal Beach robbery
An Orange County Superior Court judge on Friday vacated the murder conviction of a Seal Beach jewelry store robber, potentially freeing the 71-year-old defendant after 42 years behind bars. Eddie Tyler Burnett, who has been in custody since March 7, 1978, had been denied parole in October 2017 and was not due for another parole hearing until 2024.
City News Service
Civil rights group threatens suit over bar exam facial scans
A prominent civil rights group is threatening to sue the State Bar of California unless it agrees to stop using facial recognition technology to prevent cheating on online bar exams, which the group says discriminates against women and people of color. "It is by now well-established by experts in that field that FRT is disproportionately inaccurate in identifying women and people of color," the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said in a Feb. 10 letter to California bar officials.
Possible release of cop's murderer upsets SVPD
The man who shot and killed Michael Clark, Simi Valley's only police officer to die in the line of duty, is up for parole next month. Daniel Tuffree, 73, is scheduled to go before the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's Board of Parole Hearings on March 10, where he can make the appeal to be released early for parole.
Simi Valley Acorn
COVID-19 & Justice System
How the pandemic has pressed fast forward on access to justice efforts across the country
With state courts navigating backlogs, budget problems and what's essentially been a non-stop emergency sprint over the past 11 months, you might expect that getting a group of top state court judges from around the country together could yield a collective gripe session.
Lawsuit seeks to limit in-person L.A. County civil trials because of COVID-19 risk
A number of public interest attorneys filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to halt in-person traffic and eviction trials held in Los Angeles County, claiming COVID-19 prevention protocols are failing after two court interpreters who were infected died in recent weeks. The suit, brought by Public Counsel, the Inner City Law Center, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, accuses the courts of prioritizing the "continuity of nonessential operations over community safety and human life."
Los Angeles Times
LAPD officer charged with stealing pickup truck in Orange County
A Los Angeles Police Department officer pleaded not guilty Monday to stealing a pickup truck from a small dealer in Orange. Matthew Calleros went to B & J Car Company on Oct. 25, 2019, and asked a car salesman to retrieve some information about a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado on the lot, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office. While the salesman was doing that Calleros drove away with the vehicle, prosecutors alleged.
City News Service
OC Sheriff's Deputy charged for allegedly filing false police report, perjury
An Orange County Sheriff's Deputy has been charged with two felonies in connection with allegedly filing a false police report under his trainee's name and forging a victim's signature, the Orange County District Attorney's Office said Tuesday. Chat Matthew Renegar, 30, has been charged with one felony count of filing a false police report and one felony count of perjury.
California cop arrested on suspicion of possessing child pornography
A Long Beach police officer was arrested on suspicion of possessing child pornography on Wednesday, Feb. 10, officials said, and was suspended without pay pending the outcome of multiple investigations. Anthony Mark Brown, 56, has been a Long Beach police officer for 26 years and was arrested while on duty, police said in a statement. He was booked on suspicion of felony possession of child pornography, and was being held on $20,000 bail at the Signal Hill jail, according to police and inmate records.
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Charges dismissed against woman arrested for breaking into Joe Montana's Malibu home and trying to kidnap granddaughter
The woman accused of breaking into Joe Montana's Malibu home and trying to kidnap his granddaughter was freed from jail Friday morning. Sodsai Dalzell, 39, was released from the Los Angeles County jail around 4:30 a.m., according to the records. The charges against her were dismissed. It is not clear why the charges were dropped.
The Hollywood Reporter
Feds secure two indictments in investigation probing alleged drug trafficking by California prison gangs
A federal prosecution aimed at curbing a drug ring allegedly run by incarcerated prison gang members and associates has been split in two. In separate indictments secured in December but unsealed earlier this week, 17 people who prosecutors have tied to the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang were charged with offenses related to drug and weapon trafficking, court records show.
Bay Area News Group
LA-area atty indicted in $4.5M investment fraud scheme
A Los Angeles-area real estate attorney has been accused of swindling at least $4.5 million from investors by lying about the assets of his purported investment firm and a purported venture capital firm, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday in New York federal court. Prosecutors say that Derek Jones, 46, coerced investors into backing his firm BlueRidge Realty by falsely claiming that it was developing a resort village on land it controlled in Washington state.
Orange County DA Todd Spitzer announces "guiding principles" to attack systemic racism
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer announced a set of "guiding principles" Wednesday to address systemic racism in the criminal justice system. "We as a society have engaged in systemic mass incarceration," Spitzer said. "As a prosecutor, I will stop it. We as a society have prosecuted people of color differently. As a prosecutor, I will stop it."
City News Service
California panel urges changes to reduce criminal sentences
California should allow all but death row inmates and those spending life behind bars without the chance of parole to request lighter sentences after they serve at least 15 years, one piece of a dramatic overhaul of the state's sentencing laws that an advisory committee to Gov. Gavin Newsom recommended Tuesday.
'It's a showdown': California district attorneys battle over criminal justice reforms
Criminal justice reformers nationwide rejoiced when L.A. County voters chose George Gascón to lead the nation's largest prosecutor's office, celebrating a big win in a years-long campaign to replace traditional law-and-order district attorneys with ones intent on change. And just hours after being sworn in, Gascón delivered to his backers.
Los Angeles Times
A prosecutor's job doesn't end at sentencing
One of the many directives that Los Angeles County District Attorney Gascón ordered on his first day in office was that deputy district attorneys were barred from attending parole hearings. Ignoring pleas from victims' families, Gascón simply doubled down, declaring that "a prosecutor's job ends at sentencing." His inexperience and lack of duty as district attorney to the residents of Los Angeles County cannot be understated.
Taking on "progressive prosecutors"
From San Francisco to Los Angeles to Chicago to Philadelphia to Boston, urban dwellers have elected a new breed of district attorneys who style themselves "progressive prosecutors." In this denomination, the adjective does the heavy lifting. The prosecutors' campaigns have been funded by the bogeyman of the Right, billionaire leftist George Soros, and animated by extreme left-wing political movements such as Black Lives Matter.
California police unions back bill that aims to diversify departments, add training
California's largest law enforcement union on Thursday announced its support for a bill that seeks to modernize training for officers and diversify police departments by creating new recruitment channels. The bill's author state Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge, said Senate Bill 387, known as the Law Enforcement Academic and Recruitment Next Act, would lead to increased recruitment of potential peace officers from under-represented populations.
Los Angeles County/City
Villanueva fills Gascón gap
File this one under, "If you won't do your job, someone has to do it." That, in essence, is the message L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva delivered this past week to county District Attorney George Gascón. Gascón, since taking office in December, has famously abdicated his responsibility as the county's chief prosecutor and protector of crime victims' rights. Instead, he's an advocate for criminals, issuing a raft of executive orders that can only be characterized as pro-criminal and anti-victim.
Possible violations of employee conduct in Hilda Solis' camp (Audio)
KFI's Steve Gregory has been provided posts from the Twitter account of Esther Lim, the Justice Deputy for LA County Supervisor and Board Chair, Hilda Solis. They were provided by a source within LA County Government. They outline possible violations of employee conduct and standards as noted in the LA County Employee Manual - excerpts below. Take a listen to Steve break it down with Gary and Shannon.
LAPD cop broke her neck in on-duty car crash: Lawsuit alleges retaliation for disabled discrimination complaint
A longtime Los Angeles police officer is suing the city, alleging she experienced retaliation that included an internal affairs investigation after she spoke out against disability discrimination against herself as well as other officers. Officer Kathy Simpson's Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges discrimination, retaliation, failure to accommodate and failure to engage in the interactive process.
LA City Council sitting on motions to reimagine public safety, community groups say
Moving quickly in response to protests and demands to overhaul public safety in Los Angeles, city councilmembers introduced a pile of motions last June to explore options for changes to the 911 system, emergency response, and other aspects of policing. The city is making progress on its efforts to reimagine 911 and emergency response to eliminate the need for law enforcement to answer non-violent mental health, homeless, and substance use-related calls.
Villanueva: 'Shameless politicians,' pandemic drive up violent crime in L.A. County
On Wednesday, Villanueva took to social media to discuss the number of violent crimes that his department responded to in the first month of 2021. "Judging by these preliminary numbers for 2021, it is not a very encouraging sign for what happens once the pandemic is over," he said. Throughout the month of January, two dozen instances of criminal homicide were reported to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, up by 140% when compared to January of 2020.
ACLU sues Lancaster and the LASD for criminalizing poverty with $500 and $1,000 citations
In Lancaster, a desert city in the northern part of Los Angeles County, local officials have come up with an unconstitutional "scheme" to punish unhoused people and other low-income residents with $500 and $1,000 fines for violating the city's municipal code, according to a new lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Southern California and UC Irvine School of Law.
LAPD launches program for mental health clinicians to respond to some calls
The Los Angeles Police Department has started a program to dispatch a mental health response team, consisting of a sworn officer and a Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health clinician, to certain mental health calls, Assistant Chief Horace Frank announced Tuesday. The program, which is led by the police department's Mental Evaluation Unit, launched on Monday, Frank told the Police Commission.
City News Service
Ewww! Sex offender "fondling himself" nabbed in Riverside still wearing ankle monitor from prior conviction
A registered sex offender accused of "fondling himself" in a Riverside parking lot while wearing an ankle monitor as a result of his other problems with the law remained jailed Monday. Officers responded at about 11:30 a.m. Thursday to a store in the 9100 block of Magnolia Avenue after receiving a report that a man was exposing himself, according to the Riverside Police Department.
2021 ushers in huge spike in Los Angeles homicides
The city of Los Angeles recorded 11 homicides last week, up from four homicides during the same week in 2020 and continuing an upward trend. According to Los Angeles Police Department Assistant Chief Horace Frank, the city so far this year has had 50 homicides and 192 shooting victims, versus 31 homicides and 70 shooting victims at the same point in 2020.
City News Service
Grieving all over again': Cremated ashes of LAPD detective, army veteran stolen during burglary
A wooden box containing the cremated ashes of a family's loved one was stolen during a burglary and now the family is hoping the thief will come forward and return it. Detective Dan Moran dedicated his entire adult life to public service from serving in the U.S. Army and then on the streets of Los Angeles when he joined the Los Angeles Police Department. Steve La Flower says Moran spent about 43 years with LAPD, most recently with the Van Nuys station.
Sex slavery horror for 19-year-old prostitute in Moreno Valley: Accused pimp nabbed for human trafficking, liberty deprivation
A convicted felon accused of pimping out a 19-year-old woman for illicit sexual services in Moreno Valley was charged Friday with human trafficking and other offenses. Christian Scott Meeks, 32, of Moreno Valley was arrested Wednesday following an investigation by the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, comprised of Riverside sheriff's deputies, prosecutors and other area law enforcement personnel.
Suspect in fatal S.F. crash faced another, separate DUI charge weeks earlier
Police on Thursday said Lyons was driving a 2003 Ford Explorer reported stolen out of San Jose when the crash occurred before 8 a.m. near Higuera Avenue and Lake Merced Boulevard. Four people, including Lyons, were injured in the collision. The fatal crash was the latest and most serious of Lyons' many brushes with the law this past year following his April 11 release from prison.
San Francisco Chronicle
'This has gone too far': San Franciscans call for change, solutions amid string of violent crimes
The string of violent crimes in San Francisco has left many residents asking: What can be done to make the city safer? Sarah Vorhaus, who was attacked at gunpoint in Russian Hill last month by three men who stole her puppy, is joining the chorus of people calling for change and solutions. She said she would like to see more cameras and street lights around the city. "I had to ask private citizens for whatever footage they had because there aren't city cameras."
ABC7 Bay Area
Pursuit suspect arrested after showing up to CHP office asking to access impounded vehicle
A man wanted for allegedly leading police on multiple high-speed pursuits was arrested when he showed up to a police station asking for permission to access his impounded car, authorities said Saturday. Agustin Lerma III, 30, of Vista was taken into custody at around 1:50 p.m. Friday after he showed up at the California Highway Patrol office in Temecula to inquire about retrieving items from his impounded 2017 Dodge Charger.
City News Service
Search warrant at downtown warehouse nets 660,000 counterfeit items, illegal guns
Three people were arrested and more than 660,000 counterfeit items were seized in a search of a warehouse in downtown Los Angeles, where police also discovered three illegal assault weapons, authorities said Monday. While serving a search warrant at the warehouse in the 500 block of Towne Avenue, police "observed a manufacturing and distribution operation for counterfeit vape (cartridges) that included several well-known brands,'' the Los Angeles Police Department said.
City News Service
E-commerce - America's marketplace for fakes, fraud, and scams
COVID-19 has changed consumer behavior and shopping patterns catapulting e-commerce websites into worldwide juggernauts disrupting national and international retail frameworks. The staggering simultaneous sales growth of the unchecked $1.3 trillion global counterfeit criminal enterprise will far outlast the pandemic. The consequences of an inexhaustible supply of fakes, fraud, and scams will impact virtually every business and consumer.
The Counterfeit Report
Face masks mysteriously appearing on doorsteps part of 'brushing' scam, Better Business Bureau says
Scams have become part and parcel of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the latest one being face masks reportedly appearing in residents' mailboxes. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), consumers have reported receiving box loads of merchandise on their doorsteps allegedly labeled from Amazon and other retailers. The scam is called "brushing," and while it involves an array of different items, the scammer's goals are relatively the same.
The FBI warns about this new threat to home security devices
A scary, new attack targets owners of smart devices including home security cameras - and could have deadly consequences. We may be getting smarter about our digital security, but hackers are getting smarter too. Recently, criminals have targeted smart devices with cameras and voice capabilities in scary attacks called swatting, according to a new report by the FBI. Learn why the FBI warns about this new online shopping scam, too.
The future of work now: AI-driven policing in Wilmington, NC
Melody Raper is a police officer in Wilmington, NC, a port city on the southeastern coast of the state. She's been an officer in the police department there for 13 years. She likes her job and finds it much more interesting than the office job she held previously. Many aspects of her role are typical of any patrol officer in a medium-sized city of about 125,000 residents: she drives around the city in a patrol car, responds to service calls from the dispatcher, and gets out of her car and engages in "community policing" with residents in different parts of the city.
Dwindling inmate firefighter population forces California to hire more expensive crews
Governor Gavin Newsom is looking to hire firefighters to battle the inevitable threat of statewide firefights since the inmate firefighter population in California has dwindled in numbers. Local law enforcement told FOX40 Sunday that the ramp-up in firefighters will cost the state millions compared to the historically low-cost inmate firefighter program but it's an issue they saw coming.
In Florida, a near-miss with a cybersecurity worst-case scenario
A hacker broke into a Florida water treatment plant and ordered it to increase the amount of lye in the water to extremely dangerous levels, officials said Monday. The plant operators noticed and remedied their systems before anyone was put in danger, but the event highlights the risks of internet-connected controls to civic infrastructure.
Yes, bail reform in Chicago has increased crime
A recent report confirms, however inadvertently, that Cook County's controversial limits on the use of cash bail caused more crime on the streets of Chicago and resulted in fewer defendants showing up in court. A close look at the analysis from Loyola University's Don Stemen and David Olson - though it purports to show the opposite - makes clear that bail-reform skeptics were right to worry about how policies like Chicago's would affect public safety and criminal justice.
Facial recognition may help find Capitol rioters - but it could harm many others, experts say
In the days following the Jan. 6 riot at the nation's Capitol, there was a rush to identify those who had stormed the building's hallowed halls. Instagram accounts with names like Homegrown Terrorists popped up, claiming to use artificial intelligence software and neural networks to trawl publicly available images in order to identify rioters.
Los Angeles Times
California salon owner charged in Capitol riot lingers in L.A. jail
A Beverly Hills salon owner charged for her involvement in the Capitol riot apparently fell through the cracks following her arrest in Los Angeles last month and has lingered in jail there for more than two weeks despite a judge's order that she be promptly moved to Washington for further hearings, a prosecutor said Monday.
Feds charge over 200 in Capitol riot. We've learned a lot about why it happened.
Federal prosecutors have now filed charges against 211 people accused of taking part in the assault on the U.S. Capitol last month, alleging a wide range of motives and behavior, from extreme violence to apparent ignorance that what they were doing was illegal. Some defendants have been accused of assaulting police officers and threatening to attack lawmakers, while others are charged with the lesser offense of illegally entering a protected building.
S.F. man and alleged Capitol rioter arrested in Texas
Goodwyn was arrested in Corinth, Texas on Jan. 29 and charged with knowingly entering a restricted building without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Goodwyn is currently in custody and is scheduled to appear in court Friday, an FBI spokeswoman said. Goodwyn was still in custody Monday, the spokeswoman said. It was not immediately clear whether he had retained an attorney.
San Francisco Chronicle
Man gets five years for using online `bait ads' to extort Southland men
A 29-year-old man was sentenced Monday to five years behind bars for using the internet to extort at least $150,000 from men in Los Angeles, Santa Monica and elsewhere who responded to online "bait ads" offering gay sex services. Over a period of six years, Tyler Buchanan purchased ads on Craigslist, Backpage and other websites that appeared to offer sex services for hire, primarily targeting gay men in multiple cities and states, including numerous locations in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
ICE probe leads to 15 years in prison for California ex-lawyer who executed multimillion-dollar fraud
A disbarred lawyer was sentenced today to 180 months in federal prison for stealing more than $4 million from his clients through a variety of means, including collecting fees for work he never performed. The case is the result of an extensive investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and the State Bar of California.
Orange County Breeze
Long Beach man sentenced for role in prison drug-smuggling scheme
A Long Beach man serving time in state prison for attempted murder was sentenced Tuesday to seven years and eight months in federal prison for his role in a drug-trafficking scheme that smuggled narcotics to inmates with the help of a prison cook. Deandre "Casper D'' McIntosh, 44, was convicted last year in downtown Los Angeles of one federal count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
City News Service
Corrections & Parole
In a first, California correctional officers at this prison must wear body cameras
The state of California is paying for corrections officers at a state prison in San Diego County to wear body cameras, a first for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The department rolled out the pilot program at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility last month, as part of a court order in a long-running lawsuit that seeks better treatment of disabled California prison inmates.
Sonora man again denied parole for 1988 killing of ex-girlfriend
A former Sonora man who has spent his entire adult life behind bars for murdering his ex-girlfriend in 1988 when he was 17 years old and lying about his dog instructing him how to do it was once again denied parole this week, Tuolumne County Acting District Attorney Eric Hovatter announced late last month.
The Union Democrat
Articles of Interest
Is this Beverly Hills cop playing Sublime's 'Santeria' to avoid being live-streamed?
Last Friday, a man entered the Beverly Hills police department, only to be treated to a mini DJ set that could potentially get his Instagram account banned. Sennett Devermont was at the department to file a form to obtain body camera footage from an incident in which he received a ticket he felt was unfair. Devermont also happens to be a well-known LA area activist, who regularly live-streams protests and interactions with the police to his more than 300,000 followers on Instagram.
Bloom's civil rights firm accused of operating unlawfully
A law firm that once collaborated with prominent civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom sued her firm in California state court Thursday on allegations it is improperly operating without registering as a corporation with the state bar, a claim Bloom characterized as a desperate attempt to evade a debt owed to her practice.
Column: Some newspapers are deleting old crime stories to give people fresh starts. Is that wise?
About 10 years ago, a woman called me from the San Fernando Valley with a request I could not accommodate. She had been arrested many years earlier for prostitution, when she was barely out of her teens. Her name and the charges against her had been published in The Times and now, in the internet era, the article was one of the first things that popped up when you googled her name.
Los Angeles Times
The secret history of the shadow campaign that saved the 2020 election
A weird thing happened right after the Nov. 3 election: nothing. The nation was braced for chaos. Liberal groups had vowed to take to the streets, planning hundreds of protests across the country. Right-wing militias were girding for battle. In a poll before Election Day, 75% of Americans voiced concern about violence. Instead, an eerie quiet descended.
Adding Supreme Court justices? Progressives may be on collision course with Joe Biden
A number of progressives appear to be heading toward a showdown with President Joe Biden over a new commission that will study changes to the Supreme Court, underscoring the tricky politics at play for an administration that is aiming for bipartisanship but also hoping to retain support from the left flank.
$740 million: How two brothers' feud led to a surprising verdict in South Florida
It's a case arising from an overseas family feud, where two half-brothers from Turkey have been battling over an inheritance from their father, a real estate tycoon. The back story: Mehmet Salih Tatlici died in 2009; Forbes magazine had ranked him as one of Turkey's wealthiest people. Since then, it's been all out war between Mehmet, a son from the patriarch's first marriage, and Ugur, a son from the dad's second marriage.
Buckle up: Amazon wages legal war vs. counterfeits and PR battle vs. vestiges of Trump administration
Amazon and luxury retailer Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A. filed two lawsuits Thursday in federal court in Seattle against four people and two entities that the companies allege sold knock-off Ferragamo belts via Amazon's online marketplace, in violation of Amazon's policies and federal intellectual property law. Prior cases: It's the latest in a series of legal actions taken by Amazon against counterfeiters in partnership with third-party sellers and brands.
Public pensions increasingly rely on investment earnings
Public pension funds derived 71% of their revenue from their investment earnings last year, up from 69% in both 2019 and 2018, according to an annual study from the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS). Employer and employee contributions made up the rest of the revenue, accounting for 20% and 9%, respectively.
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How a public pension can hurt in retirement: Social Security rule cuts benefits for government workers with second jobs
Gary Monto fell in love with martial arts long before he decided to become a Toledo police officer. So, instead of picking one over the other, Monto had two careers. He served 22 years in law enforcement and ran the American Academy of Martial Arts. He never regretted joining the police force.
The Columbus Dispatch