Retired Policeman Using Racial Slur Prompts Review of 370 of His Cases; Gascon Wants to Abolish Hard Core Gang Unit; No More Forced Work for Prison Inmates? and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo
Palisades Village pre-identified as looting target; Elderly Asian woman beats her would-be attacker; Breonna Taylor anniversary protest turns violent;
March 23, 2021
Courts & Rulings
Grieving family shocked as getaway driver freed in bloody murder of USC grad student from China: 'Reluctant' judge has 'no discretion'
Saying he had no choice under a new narrower felony murder rule, a judge Monday changed the conviction against the getaway driver involved in the beating death of a USC graduate student from China to attempted robbery from second-degree murder and sentenced him to time served.
State appeals court won't hear DA's disqualification in SLO County protesters' case
The California Court of Appeal has declined to hear arguments over a San Luis Obispo County judge's disqualification of local prosecutors in the criminal cases against seven Black Lives Matter protesters accused of offenses during a July march on Highway 101. Instead, the ongoing appeals in the four-defendant misdemeanor case involving activist Tianna Arata, as well as the three-defendant felony case against protesters who clashed with a motorist on the highway, will all be heard by three local judges who preside over San Luis Obispo Superior Court's Appellate Division.
Child molester did not shed dangerousness at age 74
The Court of Appeal for this district yesterday rejected the contention of a man that he should be released from a psychiatric hospital where he is confined based on being a "sexually violent predator" because, at age 74, he's no longer a danger. Justice Kenneth Yegan authored the opinion for Div. Six. It affirms a March 10, 2020 order by Ventura Superior Court Judge Anthony Sabo that convicted child molester Earl Lavern Hoffman is to stay put in Coalinga State Hospital.
Judge dismisses deputy's suit seeking new probe, reinstatement
A judge Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by a former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy whose reinstatement by Sheriff Alex Villanueva initiated a legal fight between some of the county's top elected officials and who was asking a judge to give him his job back. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff took the action at the request of attorney Gregory W. Smith, who represents Caren Carl Mandoyan.
UCLA can shield identities of Palestinian rights advocates to prevent harassment, judge rules
UCLA can continue to shield the identities of Palestinian rights activists to protect them from harassment and guard their constitutional rights to freedom of association, privacy and speech, a Los Angeles judge has ruled in a case that drew national attention to the volatile battles at college campuses over the Mideast conflict. Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant denied a request by a New York attorney to order the disclosure of the names of 64 presenters at a 2018 conference sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA.
Los Angeles Times
Judge orders surveillance, body cameras installed at five California prisons
A federal judge has ordered California prison officials to install surveillance cameras and have guards wear body cameras inside areas of five prisons where disabled inmates congregate, and to reform policies for how abuse of inmates by staffers are investigated. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland issued the sweeping order Thursday requiring state prison officials to come up with plans for installing the cameras and other reforms at California State Prison, Los Angeles County; the state prison and the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility at Corcoran; the California Institution for Women and Kern Valley State Prison.
Hearing ordered for man convicted of murdering woman followed from casino
A state appeals court panel Friday ordered a new hearing for one of three men convicted of the 1997 robbery-murder of a woman who was followed from the Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood. The three-justice panel from California's 2nd District Court of Appeal found that Carl Higgins is entitled to an evidentiary hearing in a Los Angeles County courtroom to determine whether he could now be convicted of felony murder as a result of a recent change in state law.
How COVID impacted criminal courts, communities
Criminal courts have had a difficult time adapting to the pandemic because of a lack of technology and processes for operating remotely, but they have started conducting virtual hearings and allowing for more electronic filings, according to criminal justice experts. Courts, however, have failed to address due process issues for defendants such as restricted access to counsel while visitors are not allowed at prisons and jails to stop the spread of COVID-19 and indefinite suspension of jury trials, Brandon Buskey, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Criminal Law Reform Project, told Law360 Pulse.
Ninth Circuit poses sticking point for lower court expansion
The federal judiciary will release its latest proposal as soon as this week for creating new judgeships, and the biggest sticking point in Congress is expected to be expanding the appeals court that encompasses California. The judiciary's last proposal in 2019 included five seats on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit along with 65 district court judges in California and other states.
Judge rules LAPD sergeant can have trial of discrimination, other claims
A Los Angeles Police Department sergeant who alleges he was prohibited from speaking Spanish in his role as a media spokesman can take his lawsuit against the city for discrimination, retaliation and harassment to trial, a judge ruled Wednesday. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark V. Mooney denied a motion by the City Attorney's Office to deny all or part of Sgt. Frank Preciado's claims in his suit filed in April 2019, saying there were triable issues in all of them.
LADWP proposes; the Superior Court disposes: Mono County wins legal fight to stop de-watering of Long Valley
Mono County won their court case against a plan by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to remove irrigation water from the Long Valley from Crowley Lake to Bishop. On Monday, March 8, the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Alameda, issued an order requiring the DWP to continue to "provide water for wildlife, habitat, and scenic, recreational and economic resources in the Long Valley and Little Round Valley regions of Mono County," according to a news release from the Mono County Counsel's office.
Sierra Wave Media
Sheriff Chad Bianco critiques push to change Calif. Constitution to end forced work for inmates
Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco sharply criticized state lawmakers Thursday night, denouncing efforts in the Democrat-controlled Legislature to amend the California Constitution to keep inmates from being forced to work as part of their punishment. "There is absolutely nothing that the Legislature will ever pass that is going to benefit public safety, really even benefit the public," Bianco said as he addressed an online "town hall" meeting. "Everything is to benefit the inmate."
Palm Springs Desert Sun
District Attorney sends letter in opposition of proposed senate bill
This week, San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow sent a letter to the California Senate Public Safety Committee in opposition to SB 82 that would reduce the violent felony of unarmed robbery to a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of six months actual custody in a county jail.
Paso Robles Daily News
Giant senior living corporation Brookdale hit with lawsuits from LA city attorney, AG
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer joined California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and a coalition of district attorneys in filing a lawsuit Monday against the country's largest senior living facility operator for allegedly ignoring laws regarding discharging patients and reporting false information to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.
Woman charged with leading wild pursuit with 9-year-old daughter in car
A woman was charged Thursday with leading Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies on a wild chase with her 9-year-old daughter in the car, striking multiple vehicles and driving at high speeds and sometimes the wrong way on busy streets. Margaret Ann Hassan, 30, is set to be arraigned Friday in a Pomona courtroom on one felony count each of child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death, assault with a deadly weapon and fleeing a pursuing peace officer's motor vehicle while driving recklessly, along with seven misdemeanor counts of hit-and-run driving resulting in property damage, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
City News Service
New riot charges tackle assault of Capitol officers, including slain Sicknick
Two men are set to appear in federal court Monday on charges that they deployed bear spray at law enforcement during the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol. Authorities say one of those assaulted was Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick, who later died of injuries sustained in the riot, though the extent of those injuries is still under investigation.
Courthouse News Service
Costa Mesa man charged with hate crime in skateboard attack
A Costa Mesa man accused of attacking a transgender woman with a skateboard has been charged with a hate crime, the Orange County District Attorney's Office announced Friday. Johnny Santos Moreno, 23, faces felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon and threatening a witness, along with a hate crime enhancement.
Orange County Register
26-year veteran Long Beach officer charged in child pornography case
A 26-year veteran Long Beach Police Department officer who was assigned to Long Beach Airport has been charged with possessing and distributing child pornography, it was announced Thursday. Anthony Mark Brown, 56, is facing three felony counts of distribution of child pornography and one felony count of possession of child or youth pornography, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
City News Service
Los Angeles District Attorney
Beverly Hills City Council approves vote of no confidence in Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón
A majority of the Beverly Hills City Council has voted no confidence in Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón. The council voted 3-2 Tuesday night to adopt a resolution of a vote of no confidence in Gascón, who has been under increasing pressure to leave office.
Prosecutor accuses Gascón of retaliation, unethical behavior for dropping felony case against protesters
A veteran prosecutor of the L.A. County District Attorney's Office is accusing D.A. George Gascón of retaliation and playing politics after he says he was reprimanded and punitively transferred for questioning Gascon's order to drop a case against three anti-police protesters who were charged with attempting to wreck a train.
Safety is being 'thrown away' in Los Angeles: Sister of murdered LAPD officer (Video)
Anahi Diaz, the sister of murdered LAPD officer Juan Diaz, slams the policies of L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón.
Ex-con's deadly wave of terror allegedly killed five in Valley: Victims headed to church, fishing, Father's Day, but DA drops death penalty
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office Tuesday dropped its bid for the death penalty for an ex-con from Sylmar who's charged with killing five people - most of them within less than a week - during a shooting spree in the San Fernando Valley 6 1/2 years ago.
Gascón planning to dissolve or severely downsize LA County DA Hardcore Gang unit, sources say
Major changes could soon be coming to the way Los Angeles prosecutes crimes involving gangs. The changes have George Gascón critics crying foul and his supporters singing his praises. Multiple sources within the Los Angeles County DA's Office tell FOX 11's Bill Melugin that Gascón is planning to severely downsize or outright dissolve the office's Hardcore Gang unit, which may happen as early as next month.
Monique Munoz: Family renews call for justice in deadly Lamborghini crash involving teen driver
Grieving family and community members rallied once again on Saturday to renew their call for justice in the death of a 32-year-old woman who was killed in a crash involving a Lamborghini driven by a teenager. On Feb. 17, Monique Munoz was on her way home from work when her Lexus sedan was struck by a Lamborghini SUV at Overland Avenue and Olympic Boulevard in West Los Angeles.
Gascón team eager to take second look at questionable convictions
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón plans to take a second look at questionable convictions with an eye toward freeing innocent people. The Conviction Integrity Unit was founded in 2015 by former District Attorney Jackie Lacey as the Conviction Review Unit. Gascón renamed it after taking office in December and has talked to legal experts about making it more effective.
Los Angeles Daily News
Police continue to search for murder suspect mistakenly released from jail (Video)
A man charged with murder who was mistakenly released from LA County jail last week is still on the run. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4 News on Monday, March 15, 2021.
DA to review 370 cases after retired LAPD officer recorded using racial slur
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon said Tuesday his office would review past prosecutions that involved a retired LAPD homicide detective, who was apparently recorded on cell phone video in Valencia using a racial slur during an argument that followed a minor traffic collision. "The video in question is disturbing and involves a former homicide detective exhibiting racist tendencies," Gascon said via Twitter.
'Highly unusual for a DA': Gascón touts his push to cut prison sentences
L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón said Wednesday that policies enacted during his first three months in office will result in convicted defendants spending thousands of fewer years in prison, saving the state hundreds of millions of dollars. Gascón's remarks came during a news conference making his first 100 days in office.
District Attorney Recall
Gascon accuses recall proponents of using victims in 'unconscionable' ways
Jennifer Van Laar, managing editor of Red State has an exclusive look to the despicable mindset of LA County District Attorney George Gascon. Jennifer was sent a secretly recorded video of a zoom meeting with some creeps who identify only as local Democrats. Listen to Jennifer talk to John & Ken about what she heard and what she saw. Gascon blames "KFI talk shows" for spreading misinformation and also dismisses recall efforts.
George Gascon recall petition closes in on signature gathering phase
Los Angeles County residents in favor of ousting District Attorney George Gascon may begin officially collecting signatures soon following weeks of new efforts against the embattled DA. Since being sworn in in December following a decisive win over former LA DA Jackie Lacey in November 2020, Gascon has supported many controversial new changes in the county.
City takes lead for safety
2020's most quiet disaster, as we stated in our editorial of Dec. 12, is becoming less and less quiet. "The least reported, most consequential election" of last November has become more and more looked at and reported on since the election. Thanks to family members of crime victims, Santa Clarita resident Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami, former District Attorney Steve Cooley as well as many other deputy district attorneys, the Deputy District Attorneys Association and many others, the election of George Gascón as Los Angeles County district attorney has become infamous.
California mother of murder victim blasts 'coward' DA Gascón: Feels like 'nobody has our back'
Desiree Andrade, whose son Julien was murdered in California in 2018, told "Fox & Friends" on Monday that she thinks Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón is "in the wrong office" and "should be a public defender." "He'd be a great public defender," Andrade told host Ainsley Earhardt. "The district attorney's office is about protecting us victims. I feel like... nobody has our back and it's sad."
Facing a potential recall election, DA George Gascon boasts of his 'reforms' that keep criminals out of prison; meanwhile homicides are spiking in Los Angeles
In a press release that proves he has no idea of his job description, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon boasted of the ways he has helped criminals and flouted state and local laws during his first 100 days in office. The top "accomplishments" he lists are "no longer seeking the death penalty in 17 active cases" and "a 71 percent reduction in enhancements filed" in sentencing demands.
Santa Monica Observer
Gascon's leadership crisis - can we trust him to protect hate crime charges?
Leadership does not come from power or your title. It does not come from winning an election. It has nothing to do with being "seasoned," reaching a certain pay grade or with seniority. Leadership is the ability to translate vision into reality. Inconsistencies in Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon's directives show a complete crisis in true leadership. His policies completely ignore the rights of victims and their families, while focusing exclusively on the criminal and wrongdoer.
The Current Report
Push poll to save Gascon
On Thursday, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon released a press statement regarding a poll conducted by Californians for Safety and Justice, claiming the results proved that crime victims prefer public resources go toward crime prevention and rehabilitation of criminals rather than their incarceration. Gascon wrote, "Large majorities [of victims of violent crime] support policies to shift resources away from incarceration and move toward prevention and rehabilitation."
Culver City Observer
Los Angeles County/City
Baldwin Park Unified moves to disband police department as part of sweeping budget cuts
The Baldwin Park Unified School District is disbanding its 36-year-old police department to save $1.3 million as part of sweeping budget cuts triggered by declining enrollment and revenue. The Board of Education, on a 3-2 vote with board members Betsabel "Betsy" Lara and Diana Miranda voting no, approved a resolution during its Feb. 23 meeting to eliminate the police department.
San Bernardino Sun
LAPD SWAT officer injured, suspect dies in shootout with police during barricade near USC
A Los Angeles Police Department SWAT officer was shot and injured, but able to walk away from the scene, during a barricade situation in L.A. about a mile north of the University of Southern California campus on Tuesday afternoon. The armed suspect, identified by family as 37-year-old George Serda, was shot and killed by police at the scene. LAPD Chief Michel Moore says the unnamed 17-year veteran officer is recovering in the hospital after being shot at twice - once in the chest - but that shot was blocked by the tactical vest.
10 arrested, 3 officers injured as Breonna Taylor protests turn violent in LA
Police Chief Michel Moore said Sunday that three officers were injured - none seriously - during clashes in Hollywood last night with demonstrators marking the first anniversary of the death of Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot by police in her Louisville, Kentucky, home. Nine businesses were vandalized and smoke grenades as well as other projectiles were thrown at police, the chief said.
City News Service
LA Police Protective League calls BLM's demands "incredibly reckless"
The Los Angeles Police Protective League responded to Black Lives Matter's demands on March 10. The movement held its third weekly protest outside the league's headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles where they called for abolishing the LAPD and removing the PPL from the House of Labor. The PPL represents close to 10,000 LAPD officers and provides them with benefits such as administrative aid and legal defense.
LAPD pre-identifies Palisades Village as potential looting target
As the trial against Derek Chauvin - the police officer charged with killing George Floyd - began in Minneapolis last week, the LAPD says it has identified Palisades Village as a potential target for looting and vandalism in the event of unrest, despite having no specific intelligence threats. Last week, Los Angeles Police Department West Los Angeles Area Captain Jonathan Tom notified residents and business owners the department is preparing for different reactions to the trial.
'This is getting stupid.' How the quest to build a helipad next to Sheriff Villanueva's home turned ugly
When aides to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva wanted to build a helicopter landing pad near the sheriff's home, they sought help from a familiar face. J. Isaac Gonzalez, a former sheriff's deputy, now works for the parent company of the Southern California Gas Co. The utility owns a plot of land on a hill above Villanueva's La Habra Heights house that sheriff's officials decided was a suitable spot for a helicopter to land in an emergency.
Los Angeles Times
These LA residents peacefully coexisted with their homeless neighbors. Until one man made that impossible
Talia Landman is a talkative, petite 30-year-old social media manager and ultra-runner who had the misfortune of moving into a Venice apartment house next to an alley frequented by a violent man with a long record of arrests. She and her lab mix, Juno, love the balcony of their second-floor studio and would relax there in the sun, especially after the pandemic hit and everyone was stuck at home.
Los Angeles Times
All LA council members don't agree on LA's role in 2028 Olympics security
The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to authorize Mayor Eric Garcetti and Council President Nury Martinez to bring the city into a cooperative to manage safety and security services for the 2028 Olympics. The City Council's approval authorized Garcetti and Martinez to enter into a memorandum of understanding to join the already created California Olympic and Paralympic Public Safety Command.
City News Service
Sheriff's deputies alleged to have shared photos from Kobe Bryant crash site named in Vanessa Bryant's lawsuit against LA County
The names of four Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies alleged to have shared unauthorized photos taken at the site of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others were added Wednesday to Vanessa Bryant's civil rights lawsuit against the county. A Los Angeles federal judge ruled last week against county attorneys who argued the deputies' names should remain under seal because releasing them would make their personal information including their addresses accessible online, and possibly make them targets of hackers.
School principal pocketed big bucks from illegal schemes at his Pasadena, Inglewood schools, according to DA allegations
A former principal at schools in Inglewood and Pasadena pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges that he was "betraying students, their parents and school administrators" by pocketing tens of thousands of dollars in illegal schemes over the past four years. A prosecutor called the suspect's alleged conduct "the ultimate failure."
Inland Empire family ran sex-trafficking ring, authorities say
A five-month investigation into human trafficking led the Ventura County Sheriff's Department to bring down a multi-county sex-for-money ring. Eight people were arrested and six locations allegedly harboring the sex businesses have been shut down. Authorities say the ring was operated by a family based in the Inland Empire.
Parolee out on early release arrested for assault on an officer, felony hit-and-run after wild chase in El Cajon
A man with an extensive criminal history of stealing cars and leading police on chases was arrested Saturday after a short pursuit through El Cajon that left four people injured. Jerred Winkler, 32, is accused of ramming his vehicle into an ECPD patrol vehicle during a traffic stop near the intersection of Main Street and Jamacha Boulevard at about 6:35 p.m. on Saturday. He then led officers on a chase that resulted in several people injured, according to ECPD Lt. Randy Soulard.
Naked arsonist sets fire at Subway shop in Anaheim? He's already twice convicted of exposing himself
A 50-year-old man twice convicted of exposing himself is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on charges of setting fire to a potato chip rack at a Subway restaurant in Anaheim while nude. Jason William Ackroyd was charged with single counts each of arson of property, attempted arson of property of another and indecent exposure with a prior conviction of the crime, all felonies, as well as a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest, according to court records.
Elderly San Francisco Asian woman gives attacker the street justice he deserves
CBS San Francisco reports that an elderly Asian woman delivered a beat down to a man who attacked her on Market St. Wednesday morning around 10:30 AM. The 76-year-old woman was reportedly minding her own business when a man assailed her. She made him experience instant regret. Xiao Zhen Xie says she was just waiting at the traffic light and then the suspect punched her by her left eye.
Car crushes catalytic converter thief to death in Anaheim
A thief was killed when the Toyota Prius he was under while trying to saw off a catalytic converter fell on him in a parking lot of a business in Anaheim early Wednesday, police said. An employee on his way into work discovered the body at 6:19 a.m. in the 1600 block of Placentia Avenue, police said. Catalytic converter thefts are skyrocketing across the country since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March and as the value of the precious metals inside them has increased, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Armie Hammer accused of rape and emotional abuse; LAPD investigating
A woman publicly accused actor Armie Hammer of raping her in 2017, and police confirmed Thursday that an investigation has been opened. The woman, who identified herself as Effie, gave a statement Thursday with her attorney, Gloria Allred, in which she claimed that she began an affair with Hammer, who was married at the time, in 2016, when she was 20, after having spoken to him on Facebook.
Walmart shoppers face counterfeit, replica, and fraudulent products
Walmart shoppers expect Walmart to provide authentic and safe products when they shop on Walmart's website - but that confidence is misplaced. Walmart's push to capture a portion of the exploding e-commerce marketplace exposes a seedy and dishonest practice - the sale of counterfeit, replica, and fraudulent products.
The Counterfeit Report
Will US lawmakers rein in marketplace counterfeits?
On Jan. 14, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative unveiled its 2020 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy, a report detailing which markets are known for ample fake goods. High levels of knockoffs were sold through Amazon's foreign domains, including in the U.K., France, Germany and Italy, the report noted.
Beware of buying counterfeit products through Instagram
A simple, daily gesture like charging an iPhone turned into a life-threatening task for Andrea Stroppa, a cybersecurity researcher. The charger that exploded after he borrowed it from a friend, Stroppa discovered, was a counterfeit Apple product bought through an unofficial channel on Instagram. Stroppa and his colleagues at Ghost Data Team, a cybersecurity, social-media research firm, looked into the incident and found he was far from alone.
More than $200 billion in unemployment aid may have gone to fraudsters in the pandemic
A significant chunk of the government support reserved for unemployed Americans went to fraudsters instead during the pandemic, according to new estimates. More than $200 billion of unemployment benefits distributed in the pandemic may have been pocketed by thieves, according to ID.me, a computer security service that 19 states - accounting for 75% of the national population - use to verify worker identities.
US prison guards refusing vaccine despite COVID-19 outbreaks
A Florida correctional officer polled his colleagues earlier this year in a private Facebook group: "Will you take the COVID-19 vaccine if offered?" The answer from more than half: "Hell no." Only 40 of the 475 respondents said yes. In Massachusetts, more than half the people employed by the Department of Correction declined to be immunized. A statewide survey in California showed that half of all correction employees will wait to be vaccinated.
NYC police unions blame gun violence on bail reform
On Monday, New York City's five police unions joined in solidarity with victim's loved ones as they collectively pleaded with judges and lawmakers to address the alarming surge in gun violence - particularly through changing the bail reform laws that they say are simply not working to keep New Yorkers safe, the NY Daily News and New York Post report.
The Crime Report
Gang member accused of murdering police sergeant while out on bond gets released on bond again
The career criminal accused of murdering Houston Police Sergeant Sean Rios while out on bond for a weapon-related offense last year has again been released on bond. Robert Soliz, a 24-year-old gang member, was the subject of a massive manhunt in the wake of the Nov. 9, 2020 shooting death of the 47 year old police sergeant, KSAT reported.
The Police Tribune
FBI releases videos of 'most egregious' assaults on officers at Capitol riot
The FBI released 10 videos of what it describes as the "most egregious" attacks on law enforcement officers during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, where one officer died from injuries sustained that day. In the two months since the attack on the Capitol, federal agents have arrested more than 300 individuals who took part in the mob, according to the FBI Washington Field Office.
3 LAPD officers plead not guilty in gang framing scandal
Three Los Angeles Police Department officers pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that they falsified field interview cards to claim the people they stopped were gang members. Rene Braga, 40, Raul Uribe, 35, and Julio Garcia, 36, were charged last October, less than three months after three other officers from the LAPD's Metropolitan Division - Braxton Shaw, 38, Michael Coblentz, 43, and Nicolas Martinez, 37 - were charged with similar crimes.
Ex-Torrance officer given probation for illegal gun sales
A former Torrance police officer was given a probationary sentence Thursday for selling dozens of guns illegally while on the force. Lindley Hupp was sentenced to three years' probation with the condition that he perform 10 hours of community service per week for nine months, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Hupp, 32, pleaded guilty in December to dealing in firearms without a federal license and falsely certifying that he was the buyer of a Glock handgun that actually was intended for someone else.
A California man who killed his 2 autistic sons by driving them off a wharf was sentenced to 212 years in prison
A California man was sentenced to 212 years in federal prison for intentionally driving his ex-wife and two disabled sons off an L.A. wharf, DOJ officials say. Ali F. Elmezayen, 45, was sentenced by US District Judge John F. Walter on March 11, who called the crime an"evil and diabolical scheme." Elmezayen was also ordered to pay $261,751 in restitution to the insurance companies that he defrauded, according to a release from prosecutors.
Man sentenced in 5-year-old boy's accidental shooting death
A licensed security guard who left a loaded gun inside a bedroom in a Leimert Park home, where his mother's 5-year-old foster son fatally shot himself while playing with the weapon, is on home confinement with a long stretch of probation also ahead. Jaylin Burdette, 27, was sentenced Friday under an agreement with prosecutors in which he pleaded to criminal storage of a firearm and child abuse resulting in the death of a child.
City News Service
Corrections & Parole
Parole denied for man who shot, killed Simi Valley police officer in 1995
Parole was denied Wednesday for the man who shot and killed Simi Valley Police Officer Michael Clark in 1995. Daniel Tuffree, now 73, got a chance at parole early due to a 2017 law establishing an elderly parole program. Commissioners with the state Board of Parole Hearings this week did not find that his elderly status was enough to grant his release.
Ventura County Star
California governor commutes sentence of abuse survivor, grants clemency to several others
Teresa Paulinkonis had her sentence commuted today after spending 31 years in prison for the 1989 murder of her stepfather in Alameda County. At the time, Paulinkonis was 24 years old. She was sentenced to 25 years to life. Paulinkonis's attorney, Lilli Paratore, told The Appeal that Paulinkonis was sexually abused by her stepfather for a number of years.
Gov. Newsom grants nine pardons and other reprieves
Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday announced that he has granted nine pardons, one commutation, and 10 medical reprieves. The California Constitution gives the governor the authority to grant executive clemency in the form of a pardon, commutation, or reprieve. These clemency grants recognize the applicants' subsequent efforts in self-development or the existence of medical exigency. They do not forgive or minimize the harm caused.
Paso Robles Daily News
Newsom grants clemency for 20, including California inmates with elevated COVID-19 risk
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday granted clemency for 20 people, including 10 California prison inmates with an elevated medical risk if they were to contract COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. Among the clemency actions, Newsom also commuted the prison sentence of a woman who has been in prison for 31 years for killing her stepfather in Alameda County. He also granted pardons to nine people, according to a news release from the Governor's Office.
San Quentin death row inmate Johnny Mungia dies at outside hospital
Johnny Mungia, a convicted killer on Death Row at San Quentin State Prison for more than two decades, died Tuesday morning at an outside hospital, corrections officials said Tuesday. Mungia, 64, was convicted in the brutal beating death of 73-year-old Alma Franklin in Riverside County and was sentenced to death in 1997. Franklin lived next-door to Mungia's sister and court documents show Mungia killed Franklin during a home robbery.
Articles of Interest
A police officer wrote this on March 15, 2021 at 5:27 pm. I've reproduced it here because I found it humbling, worrying and really quite frightening. 'I'm a cop of 20 years. I'm leaving. I'm done. I'm done with the duplicitous liars and twisters of truth in Parliament, who have destroyed policing in order to further their own careers. I'm done with those charlatans and snake oil salesmen and women who spread their bile, whose acid eats away at society and it's values and future. I'm done with the utter lack of consequences for their corruption.'
California governor admits mistakes, says recall unjustified
California Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledged mistakes in his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, but insists the recall effort against him has more to do with politics than the public health crisis. Newsom made his most direct comments yet about the push to unseat him during an interview Friday with KQED, saying his opponents are taking aim at his his broader progressive policy agenda.
Newsom will appoint Black woman if Feinstein retires early
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday he'd appoint a Black woman to replace U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein if she retires before her term is up in 2024. "We have multiple names in mind and the answer is yes," he said during a interview on MSNBC's "The ReidOut" when asked if he would name a Black woman to the seat if given the chance. Feinstein, 87, is the oldest sitting U.S. senator.
Councilman and longtime LAPD officer Joe Buscaino to enter 2022 LA mayor's race
Councilman and ex-LAPD Officer Joe Buscaino is entering the race for mayor of Los Angeles. Buscaino, who represents an area from Watts to San Pedro, is expected to make an official announcement Monday. His office confirmed early Monday that he will officially open a committee to seek the office of mayor. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Buscaino, 46, said the city faces an emergency due in part to homelessness and violence.
Attorney and former lobbyist for LAPD union announces run for city council
Tim McOsker, a former city prosecutor, mayoral aide and lobbyist for the union that represents Los Angeles police officers announced Wednesday he will run for the City Council's District 15 seat in 2022. The San Pedro area district is currently represented by Councilman Joe Buscaino, who announced Monday he will run for mayor. McKoster is a longtime resident of San Pedro.
Meet Ford's new pursuit-rated F-150 pickup for police
The next time you get pulled over, it may be by an officer in a Ford pickup truck instead of a traditional "cop car." Ford Motor unveiled its new 2021 F-150 Police Responder on Tuesday ahead of spring state and local government bid cycles. Commercial vehicles, such as police vehicles, are a focus of the company under Ford CEO Jim Farley, who took over the helm from Jim Hackett in October.
AT&T halting some free data services in response to California law
AT&T Inc said Wednesday it will halt some free data services in response to a California net neutrality law, the latest flashpoint in an ongoing debate over internet rules. The U.S. wireless carrier said the state law bans "sponsored data" services that allowed companies such as video providers to pay for some data usage of certain AT&T wireless customers.
Massive Facebook study on users' doubt in vaccines finds a small group appears to play a big role in pushing the skepticism
Facebook is conducting a vast behind-the-scenes study of doubts expressed by U.S. users about vaccines, a major project that attempts to probe and teach software to identify the medical attitudes of millions of Americans, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post. The research is a large-scale attempt to understand the spread of ideas that contribute to vaccine hesitancy, or the act of delaying or refusing a vaccination despite its availability, on social media - a primary source of health information for millions of people.
NYPD unions lament rise in crime following bail reform, predict no end in sight unless laws are changed
The city's five police unions Monday said the surge in gun violence will only get worse unless the bail reform laws are changed - and elected officials worry more about protecting New Yorkers than trying to reform the NYPD. "Our cops on the street warned us that it was happening," Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said at a press conference, referring to a startling spike in gun violence in 2020 and so far this year. "We warned the politicians that this won't work. Violence will rise."
New York Daily News
Pension cuts for California public employee felons upheld
No, California public employees can't commit felonies on the job and then keep their pensions earned while they were perpetrating their crimes. "When misconduct turns into outright criminality, it is beyond dispute that public service is not being faithfully performed," the state Court of Appeal has concluded. "To give such a person a pension would further reward misconduct." The February ruling in a "felony forfeiture" case from Contra Costa and a similar December appellate court ruling in one from Los Angeles County correctly reject arguments from two firefighters that they are entitled to their full retirement pay despite their felonious conduct while working.
Bay Area News Group
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