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

Judge Judy Loses her Own Court Case; Drunk Driving Charge Dropped Against Bruce Springsteen; Black Lives Matter Targets Police Unions, Wanting Them Out of Organized Labor Coalition and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo

Former EDD employees charged with fraud; FBI accessing phone records of anyone at scene of Capitol riots including elected leaders' connections

 

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Judge Judy's attorneys says the court case isn't over yet

Courts & Rulings

U.S. Supreme Court weighs scope of police power to enter homes without a warrant

U.S. Supreme Court justices on Wednesday appeared reluctant to give police unlimited power to enter a home without a warrant when pursuing a suspect for a minor crime in a case involving a California driver tailed by an officer after honking his horn while listening to music. The driver, Arthur Lange, was later convicted of driving under the influence after being confronted inside his garage by California highway patrol officer Aaron Weikert in 2016.

Reuters: California Supreme Court upholds ban on adult trials for some juveniles

California's 2018 law barring 14 and 15-year-olds from being tried as adults and sent to adult prisons even for serious crimes such as murder and rape was upheld Thursday by the state's supreme court. The ruling cements California's status as the first state to take the step, said The Sentencing Project, an advocacy group. District attorneys like former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón support the law and plan to go further in his new position as Los Angeles County District Attorney.

CBS SF/AP

Judge's use of 'please' didn't signify request, was order

A judge who said "please" in telling a criminal defense lawyer not to contact a witness who complained of the attorney harassing him was issuing a court order, not making a mere request, the Court of Appeal for this district has held, rejecting the contention that by then telling the witness that a lawyer for either side might get in touch with him to advise that further testimony was required did not confirm that compliance was optional.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Apparent effort to evade police attention by seeming to tie shoe lace justified detention

Police had adequate cause to make an investigative stop when a man, at night and in an area known for drug dealing, ducked behind the passenger side of a parked car upon spotting them in their patrol car, and remained crouching as they approached him on foot, appearing to be hiding something, Div. Eight of the Court of Appeal for this district has held, over a dissent that protests that he could have simply been tying his shoe lace.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Appeals court rules dismissal of Black man from jury pool was legal, upholds Oakland murder conviction

A California appeals court upheld a murder conviction against an Oakland man who is serving life in prison for murdering his cousin, in an appeal centered on the argument that the court and prosecutor had improperly dismissed a Black man from the jury pool. The appellate attorney for 60-year-old James Amos argued that reasons stated by the prosecutor and trial judge for dismissing the prospective juror, known in court records as Eric H., were either proxies for racism or reasoning that amounted to a catch-22.

Bay Area News Group

Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor extends judicial emergency continuances for criminal, Juvenile Dependency matters in new General Order

Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor today announced a new General Order extending last-day deadlines for Criminal trials and specified hearings, as well as Juvenile Dependency cases, pursuant to the emergency powers granted to him by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye under Government Code 68115.

LA Superior Court News Release

Two federal court cases limit camping enforcement

The primary court case that's impacted enforcement of prohibited camping is the case of Martin vs. City of Boise, Idaho, which although was first filed in 2009 rose to prominence in the fall of 2018 after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that cities prosecuting people for sleeping on the streets when they have nowhere else to go violates the Eighth Amendment surrounding cruel and unusual punishment.

Mail Tribune

Paraplegic on the lookout for ADA violations loses two of his many lawsuits against hotels

A serial plaintiff and his lawyers lost a pair of cases that could indicate more defeats to come, as a federal judge in California dismissed claims hotels violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to include detailed descriptions of their ADA-compliant features on internet reservations systems. Attorney Russell Handy with the Center for Disability Access has filed hundreds of similar lawsuits including more than 100 this month alone, according to federal court records.

Legal Newsline: U.S. court to reconsider California ban on high-capacity magazines

A U.S. appeals court said on Thursday it will reconsider its decision that California's ban on high-capacity magazines violates the right to bear arms under the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment. The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals set aside a decision made last August by a divided three-judge panel, which sided with opponents of the ban on magazines with more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Reuters

East Bay fire union wins hefty payout in hard-fought legal victory

A longstanding legal dispute between Contra Costa County and a fire district union has concluded, entitling some employees to a major payday that includes raises, benefits and back pay. About a dozen battalion chiefs represented by the United Chief Officers Association had alleged in the late 2000s that they were unfairly denied raises and benefits because they unionized.

Bay Area News Group: U.S. Senate judiciary chair to retain GOP's 'blue slip' system of selecting some judges

Sen. Dick Durbin, the Senate Judiciary Committee's new Democratic leader, is retaining a Republican rule that allowed President Donald Trump's judicial nominees to be confirmed to federal appeals courts over home-state senators' objections. Under a longtime Judiciary Committee policy, senators from the home state of a president's judicial nominees are given blue slips of paper that they can return to the committee if they approve of the nominee.

San Francisco Chronicle: Prisoner who filed pro se appeal of his enhanced sentence wins Supreme Court review

An inmate convicted for breaking into 10 storage lockers has persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to review his mandatory minimum sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act. The Supreme Court accepted William Wooden's pro se appeal Monday, SCOTUSblog reports. Wooden submitted his cert petition on his own, although he was represented by Arnold & Porter on the reply brief.

ABA Journal: Lawyers' committee delays suit over bar exam face scan software

A prominent civil rights group is delaying its threatened lawsuit against the State Bar of California claiming the use of facial recognition technology in its remote bar exam has the effect of discriminating against people of color. The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law recently suggested it would file suit in advance of the latest remote bar exam to be held Tuesday and Wednesday, but decided to hold off until it receives detailed data from the Bar.

Bloomberg Law: Calif. bar mulls plan for using additional lawyer fees

In September, Newsom signed a bill that increased the annual fee by $5, requiring the additional funds be allotted to legal nonprofits so they can hire recent law graduates with a temporary provisional license issued by the bar - a program the California Supreme Court authorized last year to help law school graduates struggling through the pandemic.

Law360: Calif. bar officially begins expanded temporary licensing

The Golden State permanently lowered the exam's passing score from 1440 to 1390 last summer, citing results of recent bar examination studies as well as data from ongoing studies. Last month, the California Supreme Court agreed to retroactively lower the passing score for recent test-takers who would've passed had the new score been in place when they sat for the exam.

Law360

L.A. County bar nears accord enabling avoidance of bankruptcy filing

The Los Angeles County Bar Association appears to be nearing a settlement that will enable it to avoid declaring bankruptcy, the prospect of which had emerged in light of its past-due rent on premises it has now vacated. LACBA's Board of Trustees, meeting via Zoom in a special session on Thursday, accepted a proposal by Jamison Properties, owner of the building at which LACBA had leased space - but with an added condition: that it be able to obtain a Paycheck Protection Program ("PPP") loan, available to businesses that continue their operations during the pandemic.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

COVID-19 & Justice System

Judge denies pro bono firms' request to halt traffic, eviction hearings in LA County court

A lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Superior Court over its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic spilled Monday into the Orange County Superior Court, where a judge denied a request to temporarily halt all traffic and eviction hearings during the pandemic. Earlier this month, a group of legal aid and pro bono law firms sued LA Superior Court, arguing traffic and unlawful detainer or eviction court hearings should temporarily cease until Covid-19 is no longer a threat to the public.

Courthouse News Service

California justices predict court technology changes will outlast pandemic

Two California Supreme Court justices now accustomed to doing key portions of their work remotely predicted on Monday that technology will play a greater role in state courts after the COVID-19 pandemic abates. Associate Justices Leondra Kruger and Martin Jenkins, speaking during a webinar hosted by the Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and the LA Law Library, said the state's high court has adjusted well to oral arguments and conferences held remotely.

The Recorder: Coronavirus: Los Angeles County Superior Court system struggles with backlog amid pandemic

Los Angeles County Superior Court is struggling to figure out how to operate amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The courts have instituted several safety and health protocols, but while some trials have been allowed to be held, others have been postponed, creating a large backlog of cases. Charmane Henderson of Hawthorne has been waiting nearly three years for her civil trial against the Torrance Police Department to begin.

ABC7

Video available for courtroom appearances in family law cases on March 1

Effective Monday, March 1, 2021, video will be available for remote courtroom appearances via LACourtConnect (LACC) for all Family Law case types, except AB 1058 (Child Support) hearings, Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor announced today. (Child Support court hearings will continue to be conducted by conventional telephone appearance.)

LA Superior Court News Release

Judiciary is pressed over plan to confront virus-era case backlog

State lawmakers on Tuesday pressed judiciary leaders for answers about how they plan to clear a backlog of cases that has amassed during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in California's largest courts. But those leaders did not offer specifics during a legislative hearing on COVID's impact on the courts, even when asked how much money the branch needs to clear the backlog.

The Recorder: LA District Attorney

Crime victims file motion to disqualify DA George Gascón in double murder case

A motion filed this week in a double murder case seeks to disqualify Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón for among other issues, hiring a former public defender to write his Youth Justice policy when she was still a Deputy Public Defender, representing criminal defendants, allegedly benefitting her criminal clients.

California Globe: Gascón under scrutiny after hiring public defender to high-ranking prosecutor position

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón is under scrutiny after he hired a public defender who helped with his campaign to a high-ranking prosecutor position in his administration. That public defender has in the past posted anti-police comments on social media and now, the police and prosecutor unions are crying foul.

Fox11

Blacknell to hop from P.D.'s office to D.A.'s

Tiffiny Townend Blacknell - a member of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón's transition team, who has been involved in two recent controversies - as of March 1 will be handling the recruitment of prosecutors for Gascón, duplicating the function she performed at the county's Public Defender's Office. This drew fire yesterday from Steve Cooley, who was district attorney from 2000-2012.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Mother of Bree'Anna Guzman, woman found dead in Silverlake in 2011, wants DA Gascón recalled (Video)

Darlene Duran and other loved ones gathered Friday near Elysian Park where Bree'Anna Guzman's body was found in 2011 to hold a demonstration urging voters to recall newly-elected District Attorney George Gascón.

CBS LA

Double murder suspect's case being handled in juvenile court (Video)

A family is outraged after a case involving a man accused of killing their daughters is being handled by juvenile court because the suspect committed the crime just weeks before his 18th birthday.

Fox11: LA DA demands police name-names in misconduct files

LA County District Attorney George Gascón has sent letters to every law enforcement agency in the County, demanding within 30 days the departments turn over the names of officers caught being dishonest, using excessive force, or committing other crimes or misdeeds of character. The DA's demand is aimed at assembling a master file of so-called Brady material, that will inform prosecutors about police officers with problematic histories, whose credibility could be challenged in court, according to a County official familiar with the effort.

NBC4

DA won't seek death penalty over murders of East L.A. man and Whittier police officer

Over the objection of the two prosecutors assigned to the case, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office dropped its bid today to seek the death penalty for an admitted gang member accused of killing a family member in East Los Angeles and then opening fire on two Whittier police officers, killing one and wounding the other.

City News Service

Prosecutors

Man charged with 1978 murder at El Monte motel

A 61-year-old man who authorities say was linked by DNA evidence to the killing of a man at an El Monte motel more than four decades ago has been charged with murder, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon said Friday, Feb. 19. Anthony Davis was charged Thursday in connection with the Jan. 7, 1978, slaying of Rudolfo Chavez. The 42-year-old victim was stabbed more than 40 times at the Spic and Span motel and was found dead the next day by a motel employee.

City News Service

Former EDD employees prosecuted in unemployment fraud cases

Two former employees of the state Employment Development Department are facing federal charges for allegedly filing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent unemployment claims. One of the defendants lives in San Diego. The other lives in Sacramento and is accused of stealing the identity of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. Public records indicate defendant Nyika Gomez lives in a condo in Black Mountain Ranch. Neighbors also confirm she lives there.

CBS8 San Diego

CHP officer charged with unlawfully using database in OC for friend

A California Highway Patrol officer is facing criminal charges after prosecutors alleged he illegally accessed a confidential law-enforcement database in order to help a friend's business. Todd Steaffens has been charged with three misdemeanor counts of computer access and fraud and three counts of disclosing DMV information without authorization, according to an Orange County District Attorney's Office statement.

Orange County Register

Top OC prosecutor calls for treatment instead of jail for drug use and mental illness

District Attorney Todd Spitzer, who oversees the vast majority of criminal prosecutions in Orange County, is publicly calling on his colleagues to overhaul how they deal with drug use and mental illness - offering treatment instead of jail and criminal charges. Spitzer specifically argues people arrested for drug use or mental illness should have the option of treatment instead of jail.

Voice of OC

Policy/Legal Issues

Prosecutors feud over criminal sentencing laws

The starkest aspect to California's evolution from a relatively conservative state into a blue bastion has been an evolving attitude toward crime and punishment. In the 1980s and 1990s, California became a national leader in increasing penalties for crimes large and small, symbolized by a three-strikes-and-you're-out law calling for life imprisonment of repeat offenders.

CalMatters

Juvenile court reform impacts Anthony Lopez II murder case

On the night of January 12, 2020, the Lopez family was praying for their son's life. The next morning they were grieving the loss of their 20-year-old son who was the victim of gun violence. Just recently passing the 13 month anniversary of their son's death, Terry and Anthony Lopez agreed to be interviewed by Key News to discuss that tragic night and the events that followed.

Key News Network

FBI seized congressional cellphone records related to Capitol attack

Within hours of the storming of the Capitol on January 6, the FBI began securing thousands of phone and electronic records connected to people at the scene of the rioting - including some related to members of Congress, raising potentially thorny legal questions. Using special emergency powers and other measures, the FBI has collected reams of private cellphone data and communications that go beyond the videos that rioters shared widely on social media, according to two sources with knowledge of the collection effort.

The Intercept

Los Angeles County/City

LA County leaders affirm crime victims remain priority amid criminal justice reform

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a measure Tuesday, Feb. 23, to ensure that crime victims' rights remain a priority for the District Attorney's Office. Supervisor Kathryn Barger submitted a motion recommending that county lawyers provide an analysis of the Victims' Bill of Rights Act of 2008 and related state laws and the county policies that support those laws.

City News Service

Los Angeles Sheriff's deputies say gangs targeting "young Latinos" operate within the department

A CBS News investigation has uncovered allegations of gangs existing within the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, possibly for decades. Current deputies out of the East Los Angeles station say the existence of gangs within law enforcement has been a problem in the area. The deputies, who do not want to be identified for fear of reprisal, claim the most prevalent are called the Banditos - comprised of mostly Latino deputies who serve predominantly African American and Latino neighborhoods.

CBS News

Coroner's inquest finds Willowbrook fatal shooting by deputy was one gunshot to the back: Deputy would take the Fifth

A retired justice appointed by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner to conduct an inquest into the death of a parolee shot by a sheriff's deputy last fall issued her findings Monday, listing the medical cause of death as "a single gunshot wound to the back" and the manner of death as "by the hands of another person other than by accident."

MyNewsLA

Push and pull over LA policing hits roadways and transit

The ongoing debate over policing levels in Los Angeles centered on the transportation sector Thursday as Metro officials considered paying for more officers on the city's transit system and the Los Angeles Police Department announced it would no longer send officers to minor traffic collisions.

Los Angeles Times

L.A. developing unarmed response model for nonviolent calls

The Los Angeles City Council heard an update today on the development of an unarmed crisis response model to divert nonviolent calls for services away from police officers, but the program is not expected to be ready until the 2022-23 or 2023-24 fiscal years. Council members voted on June 30, 2020 to have the chief legislative analyst and the city administrative officer develop the model amid public calls for police reform and new models of community safety during anti-racism and police brutality demonstrations following the death of George Floyd.

City News Service

LA County's legal costs jump, fueled by settlements and fees

Los Angeles County's legal bills ticked upward last fiscal year, jumping from $148.5 million to $151.9 million, fueled by an increase in the amount paid out to settle lawsuits. Costs and fees to outside law firms working on the county's litigation helped drive up the number, officials said on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

Los Angeles Daily News

City sues homeowners in Pacoima, Panorama City whose properties saw frequent gang violence

The city attorney of Los Angeles is suing the owners of two homes in the San Fernando Valley he says were hubs for gang violence that left neighborhood residents fearing for their safety. A home at 13285 Corcoran Street in Pacoima was the site of five shootings since 2016, all targeting members of a gang who hung out there, City Attorney Mike Feuer alleged in one lawsuit.

Los Angeles Daily News

Black Lives Matter-LA launches campaign against law enforcement unions

Organizers with Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles launched a campaign Wednesday targeting two of Southern California's biggest police unions, saying they will push to have them ejected from the powerful Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and ultimately disbanded. Activists said they intend to stage protests every week outside the headquarters of the Police Protective League, the union that represents roughly 9,800 Los Angeles police officers, while also working to end that group's status as a labor union.

Los Angeles Times

Public Safety/Crime

Police search Long Beach home of LAPD captain

Los Angeles Police Department detectives served a search warrant at the Long Beach home of a department captain, but officials declined to discuss the nature of the investigation. "We can confirm LAPD served a search warrant Thursday morning," an LAPD spokesperson told NBCLA Monday. The warrant is under seal, the LAPD said, "therefore no additional information is being provided."

NBC4

Lady Gaga offers $500,000 for return of dogs after thief steals them, shoots dog walker

Lady Gaga is offering $500,000 for the return of her two French bulldogs after someone stole them and shot the man who walked her dogs Wednesday evening in Hollywood, according to two sources close to the Oscar-and Grammy-winning singer. The sources said the pop star "is offering half-a-million dollars to anyone who has her 2 dogs, no questions asked. Anyone who has the dogs can use this email - [email protected] - to retrieve the reward."

NBC News

Onlooker hit, injured after vehicle loses control during street takeover in South LA

A spectator was injured during a street takeover in South Los Angeles overnight. The incident happened early Saturday morning at the intersection of Gage and Normandie avenues, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Video from the scene shows the cars doing spinouts and donuts, surrounded by a crowd that had gathered to watch the dangerous spectacle.

ABC7

Five arrested in felony cases involving credit cards stolen from parked cars in Thousand Oaks

Authorities in Thousand Oaks arrested five Chilean men in recent weeks in connection with a string of burglaries from parked vehicles where victims' credit cards were used to buy high-end electronics and other goods. The arrest announcement followed a general warning from the Ventura County Sheriff's Office about a recent increase in thefts from parked cars in the Conejo Valley.

Ventura County Star

1 wounded in shooting at Hollywood & Highland mall shoe store; suspect in custody

A suspect was in custody after a gunman opened fire in the heart of Hollywood Monday afternoon, wounding one person, officials said. The gunfire rang out just before 4:30 p.m. at the Shoe Palace store at the Hollywood & Highland shopping mall at the corner of Highland Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard, said Officer William Cooper with the Los Angeles Police Department.

KTLA5

Consumer

Kroger data breach now includes sensitive consumer info

Kroger has reported a data breach that could include social security numbers of customers who use the grocer's pharmacy services. But Kroger said consumer payment information had not been compromised. Even so, the incident provides fresh warning for food retailers that as data becomes more digital and voluminous, criminals have more opportunity to steal valuable information.

Progressive Grocer

California/National

Berkeley moves closer to ending police traffic stops

Last summer after Californians stirred the streets of cities across the state to protest police brutality and racism, elected leaders pledged to implement reforms. The Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, pledged to transfer $250 million from city departments - including a $150 million deduction from the police department - to move to communities of color.

Anand Market

Biden opposes defunding the police. Here's what that means

President Joe Biden said at a CNN town hall on Tuesday that he remains opposed to calls for "defunding the police" - a rallying cry for activists seeking reforms in law enforcement. In response to a question about how to avoid overly constraining police while addressing racial disparities, Biden replied, "By number one, not defunding the police."

CNN

New California bill would decriminalize psychedelics, expunge criminal records

California could be on the verge of becoming the latest state to decriminalize psychedelics for personal and therapeutic use, building on a growing movement across the country to rethink the so-called war on drugs. The bill, introduced Thursday by state Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat who represents San Francisco, would decriminalize substances such as psilocybin, MDMA, LSD, ketamine, DMT and mescaline.

NBC News

Multiple bills filed in CA to shorten criminal sentences

Today is the last day for bills to be introduced in Sacramento - and supporters of criminal-sentencing reform have filed nine proposals, all intended to make the system more just for people of all races. The bills would follow through on recommendations made in a new report from the California Committee on the Revision of the Penal Code.

Public News Service

'Hidden homeless crisis': After losing jobs and homes, more people are living in cars and RVs and it's getting worse

For months, Nicholas Atencio and his girlfriend, Heather Surovik, spent nearly every minute of their lives together in a 2000 Cadillac Escalade. After Atencio, 33, lost his job as a plumber in May, he and Surovik, 36, delivered for Grubhub by day and at night curled up with their puppy on an air bed in the back of their car parked in a lot in Longmont, Colorado, dreaming of being reunited under one roof with Surovik's teenage son who was living with his grandmother.

USA Today

Wife of Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzmán arrested on drug trafficking charges at Virginia airport

The wife of the notorious Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera was arrested Monday at a D.C.-area airport on drug trafficking charges, federal authorities said. Emma Coronel Aispuro, 31, was taken into custody at Virginia's Dulles International Airport near Washington and faces charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana for importation into the U.S., the Justice Department said in a news release.

NBC News

Convicitons/Sentences/Pleas

Long Beach man pleads guilty in shootings that killed his ex-wife in Covina and a Rancho Cucamonga woman

A 46-year-old Long Beach man pleaded guilty Wednesday, Feb. 24, in the killings of his estranged wife in Covina and another woman who was shot two months earlier in Azusa. Miguel Angel Prieto, who also tried to kill a woman in Long Beach, is set to be sentenced March 3 at the Pomona courthouse in connection with his plea to one count each of first-degree murder and second-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

City News Service

Former Pomona councilman sentenced to probation for possessing child sexual abuse material

Former Pomona City Council member Rubio Gonzalez is required to register as a lifetime sex offender, attend counseling and will serve probation following his sentencing on Wednesday, Feb. 24, after pleading no contest to possession of child sexual abuse material, prosecutors said. Gonzalez was ordered to attend a minimum of 52 weeks of counseling and was placed on two years of felony probation and one year of summary probation, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.

Southern California News Group

Defendant in D.A. vs. D.A. clash pleads guilty to murder

The defendant in a case that has pitted the district attorney of Orange County against his counterpart in Los Angeles County yesterday pled guilty to the murder of two boys in the 1980s, admitting the special-circumstance allegation of multiple murders. Defendant Kenneth Rasmuson, 60, is expected to be sentenced on April 27 by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Juan C. Dominguez to life in prison without the possibility of parole ("LWOP").

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Santa Ana police officer pleads guilty to federal bribery charge

A Santa Ana police officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to accepting $128,000 in bribes from a crime figure who was seeking to thwart law enforcement activities against his illegally operating businesses. Steven Lopez, 28, of Chino, pleaded to a single count of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, a felony carrying a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II set sentencing for May 3.

MyNewsLA

Corrections & Parole

Former prisoner helps others rebuild their lives

A San Diego man who was convicted of murder as a child, is now free and helping other men who were incarcerated, get their life on track. Eddie Blajos is opening a new transitional housing center at a time when the California prison system is releasing thousands of inmates. "The ultimate goal is to help them be successful. Help them get a car. Help them have money in the bank," said Blajos.

NBC4

40% of inmates in California's corrections system have been vaccinated for COVID-19

About 40% of people in the custody of California's corrections system have received the COVID-19 vaccine, a figure praised by prison advocates who say that only a fraction of the state's vaccine is needed to protect a population that's one of the most vulnerable to the virus. The vaccinations began Dec. 22 at the California Health Care Facility in Stockton, according to California Correctional Health Care Services.

Los Angeles Times

Articles of Interest

C.A. reinstates claim based on Wi-Fi-induced illness

The Court of Appeal for this district yesterday ordered reinstatement of a cause of action by a teacher against the Los Angeles Unified School District for failure to accommodate a disability - an adverse physical reaction to a Wi-Fi system - with a concurring justice remarking that under California's lax pleading standards, a demurrer was improperly sustained, but expressing concern that offbeat disability claims will be encouraged.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

U.S. Supreme Court to hear from Ann Arbor law center challenging nonprofit disclosures

A case pitting Ann Arbor's Thomas More Law Center against California's attorney general over whether nonprofits should be forced to disclose their donors will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in April. The lawsuit filed by the Thomas More Law Center challenges a disclosure rule in California that requires all nonprofits soliciting donors in the state to report their contributors to the state, similar to what's required of nonprofits at the federal level.

The Detroit News

Judge Judy has a bruising day in court over $22M profits battle, but it ain't over

A loss in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday means Judge Judy may have to dip into her own pocket to deliver a promised $4 million to charity. The famed small-screen judge saw her $22 million counterclaim suit against talent agent Richard Lawrence and Rebel Entertainment Partners essentially tossed out of court this morning.

Deadline

C.A. revives suit over ouster from Disney's private club

Div. Three of the Fourth District Court of Appeal has reversed a summary judgment in favor of a unit of The Walt Disney Company in an action brought by a company whose corporate membership in Disneyland's exclusive Club 33 was terminated after park personnel determined that the company's president was in a drunken state on the premises. Disney declined to reinstate the membership after it became aware that the man had actually suffered a severe allergy attack.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

NFL players' painkiller class action gets green light

The NFL failed, for now, to shake off proposed class action claims by Hall of Famer Richard Dent and other retired players over the alleged distribution of drugs to keep them on the field, after the Northern District of California ruled that the league hasn't shown federal labor law bars the claims. The league unsuccessfully argued the Labor Management Relations Act preempts the players' claims that the NFL voluntarily assumed a duty to ensure proper record keeping, administration, and distribution of medications, the court said, denying its motion to dismiss.

Bloomberg Law

Drunken driving charge against Bruce Springsteen dropped

The government dropped drunken driving and reckless driving charges against Bruce Springsteen on Wednesday stemming from an incident in November, admitting that the rocker's blood-alcohol level was so low that it didn't warrant the charges. Springsteen pleaded guilty to a third charge, consuming alcohol in a closed area, the Gateway National Recreation Area. Better known as Sandy Hook, it is an Atlantic Ocean peninsula with views of the New York City skyline.

NBC4

Inside the strange world of the police. A photographer and a writer look back on their time embedded with the Los Angeles Police Department in 1994.

"Police work is doing what people in the city want done," Willie Williams, the Los Angeles Police Department chief, told me in 1994. Williams, the agency's first Black chief, had been brought in from Philadelphia to make changes after LAPD officers beat Rodney King in 1991, the incident that ultimately led to the Los Angeles riots.

The Atlantic

Harvey Weinstein has been behind bars for a year: What's changed?

One year after Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was convicted of sex crimes, the deadly COVID-19 pandemic has taken over the headlines, and the #MeToo movement that his case helped propel has lost some steam and attention. What has been accomplished by the three-year-old campaign against sexual harassment and abuse, aside from Weinstein's conviction?

USA Today

Supreme Court rejects Amazon's driver arbitration dispute

The U.S. Supreme Court won't consider whether Amazon.com Inc. "last mile" delivery drivers can escape contracts that require them to arbitrate their wage claims, a key issue percolating in courts for gig companies and other businesses that rely on contractors. The justices on Monday declined to review a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that found the drivers can move forward with a proposed nationwide class action, despite agreements they signed, because they fall under a Federal Arbitration Act exemption for transportation workers engaged in interstate commerce.

Bloomberg Tax

On June 30, 2023, CA's youth prisons will close their doors, but right now there are essential steps to be taken for youth safety

Governor Gavin Newsom's proposed 2021-22 state budget nails down plans for the closure of the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), California's youth prisons. The slow-motion shuttering will begin on July 1, 2021, when DJJ will, for the most part, shut down the pipeline of young people being sent from the state's counties.

Witness LA

How The New York Times and CafeMedia have taken divergent approaches to complying with California's privacy law

More than a year after the California Consumer Privacy Act took effect, publishers and programmatic ad sellers are still split on how they are required to comply with California's privacy law. Some like The New York Times have taken a strict interpretation, adopting a conservative approach in complying with the law.

Digiday

My Pillow and CEO Mike Lindell hit with $1.3 billion lawsuit

Dominion Voting Systems, the election technology company that has been the focus of debunked conspiracy theories about election fraud, is suing MyPillow and its CEO Mike Lindell. The company is seeking about $1.3 billion in damages for Lindell's numerous unfounded public statements by allies of former President Donald Trump that Dominion rigged its machines in favor of Joe Biden in the 2020 US presidential election.

CNN Business

Supreme Court allows release of Trump tax returns to NY prosecutor

The Supreme Court cleared the way for a New York prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump's tax returns, dealing a massive loss to Trump who has fiercely fought to shield his financial papers from prosecutors. The documents will be subject to grand jury secrecy rules that restrict their public release. The ruling is a bitter loss for Trump, even if the tax records are shielded from public disclosure, after he consistently argued that the subpoena issued by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance was overbroad and issued in bad faith.

CNN

Pension

California public employees disabled by COVID-19 could get tax-free pensions under proposal

Facebook

Prosecutors say Springsteen's blood-alcohol level wasn't high enough to warrant charges in his drunk-driving arrest

Public employees who become disabled from COVID-19 could be eligible for tax-free pensions under a new proposal from a California lawmaker. Assembly Bill 845, introduced last week by Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez, D-Chino, would temporarily create a presumption that employees disabled by COVID-19 were infected on the job for the purposes of pension eligibility. Work-related injuries can qualify public employees for industrial disability pensions, which, unlike other pensions, are exempt from taxes.

Sacramento Bee

Cop collected $600,000 in disability pension for a broken finger. CalPERS wants some back.

Former Oakland police officer Michael Shinn was on leave with a broken finger when he found out his boss planned to fire him for failing to file a report, according to an account in a recent ruling from an administrative law judge. Two weeks later, in June 2008, Shinn applied for an industrial disability pension with the California Public Employees' Retirement System, saying the injury he had sustained to his right ring finger while making an arrest was so severe he could no longer do the job.

Sacramento Bee

 

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