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

Woman Killed the Wrong Man in Revenge Murder; Men Charged with Theft for Recycling Casino Trash; Los Feliz Homeless Encampment is Alleged Drug Marketplace and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo

Convicts to get sealed records if they stay clean for 2 years; Police to have their social media monitored; Hackers steal Apple files and want money for not sharing

 

April 29, 2021

Shuttersonthebeach.com

A County probation department employee says he was demoted for speaking out against spending taxpayer money for a retreat at Santa Monica's luxury Shutters Hotel

Courts & Rulings

Reasonable jury could find officer liable for breaking woman's arm during arrest

A District Court judge erred in granting summary judgment to a police officer who was sued by a woman on whom he applied such force in arresting her for trespassing as to break her arm, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held yesterday. The memorandum opinion reverses a Feb. 21, 2019 order by Judge William B. Shubb of the Eastern District of California awarding summary judgment to Vacaville Police Officer Stuart K. Tan on an "excessive force" claim brought by Lisa Marie Close pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Supreme Court rejects restrictions on life without parole for juveniles

The U.S. Supreme Court's new conservative majority made a U-turn on Thursday, ruling by a 6-3 vote, that a judge need not make a finding of "permanent incorrigibility" before sentencing a juvenile offender to life without parole. It was the first time in almost two decades that the high court has deviated from rules establishing more leniency for juvenile offenders, even those convicted of murder.

NPR

Federal judge limits LAPD use of 'less lethal' weapons at protests

A federal judge Monday ordered the LAPD to put additional limits on when so-called "less lethal" weapons are used during street demonstrations, directing that the projectile launchers be used by specifically trained officers, after warnings have been issued, and not aimed at the head, neck, face, eyes, or spine.

NBC4

Cavity search and shackles at trial: Sotomayor speaks up on denied cases

Announcing the Supreme Court's rejection of a case where jail officials searched the anus and vagina of an accused shoplifter, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said she did not turn down the case lightly but that the issue requires more input from other courts. The arrestee Sharon Brown described her ordeal in a petition for certiorari, saying jail officials in Polk County, Wisconsin, had subjected her to the invasive search after her 2017 shoplifting arrest based solely on the speculation of fellow detainees that she was hiding drugs.

Courthouse News Service

LA Superior Court announces pilot program for self-represented litigants

The presiding judge of Los Angeles County's courts Tuesday announced a pilot program that will allow parents and couples with pending divorce and paternity cases to receive help from volunteer attorneys to finalize necessary paperwork to get judgments. "With the help of the family law sections of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and the Beverly Hills Bar Association, the court is offering a pilot program at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse to help self-represented litigants prepare the crucial last document to conclude their dissolution or parentage actions," Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor said in a statement.

MyNewsLA

Obtaining surveillance documents might rate fee award

A reporter for a news website might be entitled to attorney fees based on his receipt of 412 pages of documents after he brought suit against the Justice Department and others pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held Friday, over a dissent protesting that declassification by Trump, not the lawsuit, triggered the release of previously withheld records.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

City/Lessor had no duty to accommodate man with disability who paid no rent

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday affirmed a summary judgment in favor of the City of Santa Monica in an action brought by a man whose spinal condition rendered walking painful but was denied permission to park his automobile next to his mobile home, situated in a city mobile home park, but where he had no lease on the space and the city had not accepted rent from him.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

LA jury hits talc supplier with $4.8 million asbestos verdict

A California jury handed down a $4.8 million verdict Monday against talc supplier Whittaker Clark & Daniels after connecting the company to a 78-year-old man's mesothelioma diagnosis. Vietnam War veteran Willie McNeal Jr. suffers from pleural mesothelioma, a cancer of the lungs caused by asbestos exposure, and convinced the jury to link Whittaker to his diagnosis due to his 22-year daily use of Old Spice Talcum Powder, according to Simon Greenstone Panatier, the firm representing him.

Law360

Judge admits he's not 'up to speed' on new bail case law, delays bail decision

The recent California Supreme Court ruling, In re Humphrey, has made it mandatory a judge must consider a defendant's ability to pay when setting bail amounts - with certain exceptions, like public safety. At least one California judge had admitted he is unsure of how to rule in consideration of a case. On Monday morning in Sacramento County Superior Court, Judge Jeffrey Goodman had a bail hearing for Michael Chipman who has charges stemming from two different cases, possession of a firearm, and robbery and assault.

The Davis Vanguard

Warning from Alito hangs over felony-gun possession appeal

The Supreme Court appears ready to uphold a 10-year sentence for a Florida man who says he didn't know his status as a five-time felon made it illegal for him to get a gun. Justice Sonia Sotomayor pointed out at oral arguments this morning that the challenger, Gregory Greer, had been released from prison just six months before he was arrested on the felon-in-possession charge.

Courthouse News Service

Cities fight for court discount after tax war with online travel giant

Forecasting another defeat for municipalities that accused Hotels.com of shortchanging them on occupancy taxes, the Supreme Court appeared ready Wednesday to make them pay over $2 million in court costs. The appeal turns on the discretion judges have when it comes to reducing or denying a cost award to the prevailing party.

Courthouse News Service

Sky River Casino in Elk Grove moving forward after court victory

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of the Wilton Rancheria tribe in a lawsuit that attempted to stop them from building a casino in Elk Grove. Sky River Casino, which is to be built where the so-called "Ghost Mall" once stood, faced opposition by Stand Up California, a group interested in gambling issues. They argued that the U.S. Department of the Interior wrongly designated Wilton Rancheria as an indigenous tribe.

ABC10 Sacramento

Dropbox may be liable for 'reverse confusion' infringing

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, yesterday upended a summary judgment in favor of the well-known company, Dropbox, in a trademark infringement action by the relatively obscure Ironhawk Technologies, Inc., holding that under the theory of "reverse confusion," a purchaser might confuse Ironhawk's SmartSync, registered as a trademark in 2007, with Dropbox''s "Smart Sync," inaugurated in 2017.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Policy/Legal Issues

Business districts say fewer restrictions on criminals are driving out business

Local businesses say they are under attack by career criminals. Sacramento County businesses say California's no bail policy and looser chronic-nuisance-offender policies are destroying their livelihoods. It's gotten so bad in parts of Sacramento county that some businesses are asking to break their leases to escape the constant crime. "The businesses are under constant attack," said Chris Evans, Executive Director of the Antelope Business District.

CBS13 Sacramento

'Criminal justice reform needed,' victims,' families say at rally

The parents of Orange County murder victims joined prosecutors and crime victims Monday calling for criminal justice reform during a rally for victims of violent crime. The crowd gathered at the annual victim's rights rally sponsored by the Orange County District Attorney's Office. Steve Herr, the father of Sam Herr, whose killer, Daniel Wozniak, was sentenced to death, said he felt relief after jurors reached verdicts 6 1/2 years after his son's murder.

Los Alamitos-Seal Beach Patch

California board urges bias reviews of police social media

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

AP

CA bill to "sunset" old convictions approved by Senate Public Safety Committee, LA County Supes may also vote to support the bill

Next week, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will consider a motion from Supervisors Hilda Solis and Holly Mitchell to declare support for a bill that would automatically "sunset" and seal conviction and arrest records for formerly incarcerated Californians who remain free from contact with the justice system for two years after their release. The bill, SB 731, would also seal the arrest records of people who were arrested, but not convicted of a crime.

witnessLA

Cops don't have a pause button

We begin with the obvious, something on which all can agree: It is beyond heartbreaking that 13-year-old Adam Toledo was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer on March 29. The violent death of someone so young, captured on video and broadcast to the world, jars something deep in all of us and impels us to search for ways to protect other children from a similar fate. This unanimity of thought soon dissolves, however, when there is disagreement on solutions and even on the demonstrable facts of Toledo's death.

Jack Dunphy/PJ Media

The national movement to replace DAs arrives in Orange County

Orange County's race for district attorney is developing into a national story, as a movement arrives that's trying to oust DAs and replace them with people promising to reduce mass incarceration and combat racial disparities in the criminal justice system. That movement is now trying to kick out Orange County's Republican DA, Todd Spitzer, who's staring down a reportedly well-funded opponent in Peter Hardin, a Democrat and former prosecutor.

Voice of OC

Can officers stop drivers for air fresheners? Why are they illegal? EXPLAINER

The mother of a 20-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by Minnesota police this week says it all started when police pulled her son over for having air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror. How, some might ask, can air fresheners be the basis for a traffic stop? The answer: Minnesota is one of a number of states with laws that prohibit drivers from hanging objects from their rearview mirrors on the grounds that the items could obstruct their view.

AP

Stanford prof's book explores US violence and the law

The most important question of the virtual panel that Stanford Law School recently held to discuss professor David Alan Sklansky's latest book, "A Pattern of Violence: How the Law Classifies Crimes and What It Means for Justice," arrived about 40 minutes into the session. "How are you defining violence there, David?" his colleague and panel moderator Dr. Rabia Belt asked. The question was a crucial one, as much of the discussion to that point had dealt with how social movements, technology, racism and shifting politics shape a concept that the criminal justice system inconsistently defines.

Law360

New bill would end California's spousal rape distinction

A number of California legislators are teaming up to end an outdated distinction between spousal rape and other forms of sexual assault. Assemblymember Evan Low, D-Campbell, Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, D-Downey, and Senator Dave Cortese, D-San Jose, have brought forward Assembly Bill 812 and Senate Bill 530 to update the state's penal code that classifies spousal rape separate from other rape cases.

Spectrum News1

Prosecutors

On heels of Chauvin conviction for George Floyd's death, Contra Costa DA files manslaughter charges against sheriff's deputy

The day after a jury convicted a former Minneapolis police officer of murdering George Floyd, Contra Costa County's district attorney announced she is charging a sheriff's deputy with voluntary manslaughter for fatally shooting a man in Danville in 2018. The same deputy, Andrew Hall, also fatally shot another man - Tyrell Wilson - in Danville last month.

Bay Area News Group

Mother charged in stabbing deaths of three children in Reseda

A mother was charged Monday with murder after allegedly killing her three young children, ages 6 months to 3 years, in Reseda. Liliana Carrillo, 30, was charged with three counts of murder. The charges include an allegation of using a knife as a deadly and dangerous weapon. Her arraignment will be scheduled for a later date. It was not immediately clear whether she has an attorney.

NBC4

Torrance woman arrested in mistaken ID revenge murder of NorCal rapper

A Torrance woman has been arrested in connection with the murder of a Northern California rapper who investigators say she misidentified as the shooter who killed her boyfriend in Seal Beach last August. Amanda Young, 29, was arrested in Torrance on April 15 on charges of conspiracy and homicide. According to San Mateo police, Young was the girlfriend of 27-year-old Lewis Reupena, a musician who was shot and killed on Aug. 29 while driving on the 405 Freeway in Seal Beach.

CBS LA

LAPD veteran, 2 others accused of running high-dollar Super Bowl betting operation

A Los Angeles police officer and two other men who allegedly orchestrated an illegal gambling operation in which participants placed high-dollar bets on the outcome of the Super Bowl pleaded not guilty Thursday to bookmaking charges. Robert Felix - a 13-year Los Angeles Police Department veteran who was last assigned to the LAPD Transit Services Division - was assigned to his home with no police powers while the investigation continues, the LAPD announced earlier this month.

City News Service

Recyclers turned Las Vegas trash into California cash, prosecutors say

With California paying a nickel or a dime for recycled beverage containers, seven men ran an illegal scheme to turn Las Vegas casino trash into cash, prosecutors say. The state Department of Justice announced on Wednesday it had charged seven men with conspiracy, grand theft, and unlawful recycling, including the owner of West Coast Waste Industries - the state's third-largest recycling processor. More than $300,000 in cash was seized during a search of West Coast Waste.

GV Wire

LA City Attorney announces injunction to stop vaping company marketing to kids

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Monday that the city obtained a court order that prohibits a vaping company from targeting youth in its marketing campaigns and requires the company to pay a $1.2 million penalty. According to Feuer, Kandypens Inc., which sells vape products online, engaged in youth-targeting marketing through YouTube and Instagram, as well as product placement in music videos for artists with young fan bases, including Justin Bieber and DJ Khaled.

City News Service

Underage transgender hooker forced into Orange County prostitution: Charges of pimping a minor, human trafficking a minor with force

A 20-year-old esthetician was charged Friday with pimping an underage transgender victim in Orange County. Daniel Eldair Bautista, who will turn 21 on Tuesday, is charged with one count each of human trafficking of an underage victim, pimping a minor older than 16 and pandering a minor older than 16, all felonies. He also faces sentencing enhancement allegations of human trafficking a minor with force.

MyNewsLA

Prosecutors to again seek death for ex-deputy convicted of killing 2

The Kern County District Attorney's office will retry the penalty phase of David Keith Rogers' murder trial after the state Supreme Court overturned the former deputy's death sentence two years ago. Prosecutor Eric Smith said in court Wednesday he's prepared to go forward with retrying the penalty phase and Judge John W. Lua confirmed the retrial for June 7 but noted a courtroom may not become available until August.

KGET

Judge orders Proud Boys jailed pending Capitol riot trial

A federal judge on Monday ordered two members of the far-right Proud Boys back to jail to be detained pending trial, backing the Justice Department's most aggressive effort to jail those accused of participating in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly said federal prosecutors provided enough evidence to demonstrate that Ethan Nordean, 30, and Joseph Biggs, 37, should return to custody because they posed a danger to the public if they continued to remain free.

Los Angeles Times

Long Beach prosecutor expands diversion program to get homeless help

A diversion program sending homeless people charged with or convicted of misdemeanor crimes to places where they can get help instead of going to jail is expanding in Long Beach. City Prosecutor Doug Haubert announced last week expansion of his Priority Access Diversion (PAD) program to include review of all misdemeanors. Before now, only those already in custody and facing at least a year in county jail were considered for diversion.

The Grunion

Los Angeles District Attorney

Family, detectives call Saugus murder charges a 'miscarriage of justice'

Detectives and loved ones described the charges filed Monday by the District Attorney's Office against James "Matthew" Dorsey - the estranged husband accused of stabbing his wife to death in Saugus last week - as a "miscarriage of justice." Officials said the five counts filed against Dorsey, which include one count of murder and one count of kidnapping, will result in him possibly facing a maximum 20 years in prison, when accounting for elder parole and good behavior, should he be convicted of all the charges.

The Signal

Gascon's downsizing of gang unit draws criticism, confusion

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón says he's going to fundamentally change the way the largest prosecutor's office in the nation handles gang crime. After weeks of rumors that he would eliminate the office's Hardcore Gang unit - long a treasured spot for veteran prosecutors hoping to take on some of the most violent crimes in Southern California - Gascón finally confirmed Tuesday the unit would be reduced in size, renamed and reorganized.

Los Angeles Times

He brought down his 10 commandments... it's not working': L.A. Sheriff bashes leftist L.A. County DA

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva blasted leftist Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, snapping, "He brought down his 10 Commandments, the tablets from the mountain, his special directives, and expects the entire world to go with it, somehow it's going to work. Well, it's not working." He added that he had only spoken to Gascón once since Gascón was sworn in as DA last December, adding, "We want him to be successful, but it can't come at the expense of public safety and at the expense of victims of crime. That's where I have to draw that firm line in the sand."

The Daily Wire

LA County DA George Gascón details plans for new crime reduction division

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón on Tuesday formally announced a reorganization of the vaunted Hardcore Gang Unit to reduce crime in troubled neighborhoods. The disbanded unit will be replaced by the newly established Community Violence Reduction Division, which will be staffed by experienced prosecutors who will collaborate with the Los Angeles Police Department and other community partners, Gascón said in a statement.

Orange County Register

Ideology, not data, drives DA's pro-criminal crusade

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón says that "science and data" justify his criminal justice policies, including his decision to eliminate sentencing enhancements and abandon the three strikes law. According to Gascón, scientific evidence unequivocally confirms that longer sentences harm public safety by boosting repeat offenses.

ADDA

Los Angeles County/City

Parolee pleads guilty to killing LA County sheriff's sergeant

A parolee pleaded guilty Thursday to murdering a Los Angeles County sheriff's sergeant outside a Lancaster apartment complex in October 2016. Trenton Trevon Lovell, 31, of Lancaster, is set to be sentenced May 17 to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the execution-style killing of Sgt. Steve Owen, 53, who was shot five times on Oct. 5, 2016, in the 3200 block of West Avenue J-6.

MyNewsLA

Ex-Palmdale mayor pleads guilty to perjury in $500,000 pay-to-play scandal

Former Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford pleaded guilty to a single count of perjury Thursday, ending a years-long probe of a pay-to-play scandal where he was accused of raking in $500,000 from consultants who he then helped attain lucrative contracts with the high desert city.

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County commits to bail reform

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors called Tuesday on prosecutors, public defenders, courts and law enforcement to work together to develop a bail reform plan in line with a recent California Supreme Court ruling. The state's high court ruled in March that it is unconstitutional to keep someone in custody only because they cannot afford to pay bail. Judges are now required to favor pretrial release and only order bail if there is clear and convincing evidence that it is the only way to ensure public safety and make certain that the defendant returns to court for future hearings.

City News Service

Black Lives Matter interrupts LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva during Hall Of Justice news conference

Black Lives Matter protesters interrupted a news conference while Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva was speaking, prompting a large response from more deputies. Villanueva, and several other city officials, were scheduled speak Tuesday morning in support of crime victims in front of the Hall of Justice on Temple Street in Downtown Los Angeles. But when protesters showed up, the group was declared an unlawful assembly and deputies in tactical helmets and carrying crowd control shields were called out to push them off Hall of Justice property.

CBS LA

National Crime Victims' Rights Week: Emotions run high at rally in downtown LA

Tensions flared Wednesday at a rally in downtown Los Angeles marking National Crime Victims' Rights Week, as deputies were met by protesters who criticized L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who was in attendance, and his department. Thirteen-year-old Natalia Jackson broke down in tears when she spoke about her father who was murdered at his store in 2013.

ABC7

L.A. plans nearly $1 billion in spending to address homelessness

Faced with an out-of-control homeless crisis and an economy walloped by the pandemic, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday proposed spending nearly $1 billion in the coming year to get people off the streets and $24 million for a pilot program to give no-strings-attached cash to struggling households.

AP

Investigative reporter creates database of alleged deputy gang members

The paper trail on alleged deputy gangs in Los Angeles County goes back to the 1970s. Investigative journalist Cerise Castle has uncovered at least 18. "These gang members are the men who are often admired the most at their station," Castle said. Castle's plan to compile a complete history of alleged gang affiliations inside the county sheriff's department unfolded in the wake of the George Floyd uprising last summer.

Spectrum News1

Alcohol, PTSD diagnosis cited in parallel reviews of off-duty LAPD campsite shooting

A Los Angeles police officer who was criminally charged with shooting a fellow cop at an Apple Valley campsite last year has avoided criminal conviction after entering into a diversion program for those with mental disorders, but still faces administrative sanctions and possible firing after LAPD overseers found his actions violated department policies.

Los Angeles Times

County employee alleges backlash for questioning management retreat cost

A veteran Los Angeles County Probation Department employee is suing the county, alleging he was demoted and denied promotions for speaking out against the spending of more than $17,000 in taxpayer money for a management leadership retreat at a Santa Monica luxury hotel in 2019. Walter Le Vaughn Mann Sr.'s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, and failure to investigate and prevent discrimination and retaliation.

MyNewsLA

L.A. ordered by judge to provide shelter for entire homeless population on Skid Row by fall

A federal judge overseeing a sweeping lawsuit about homelessness in Los Angeles on Tuesday ordered the city and county to find shelter for all unhoused residents of Skid Row within 180 days and audit any spending related to the out-of-control crisis of people living on the streets. In a fiery 110-page order, Judge David O. Carter slammed officials' inability to restrain the unprecedented growth of homelessness that has seen encampments spread into nearly every neighborhood in the region.

AP

Lawsuit blames LAPD for wrongful death of burglary suspect

A lawsuit recently filed in federal court reportedly alleges police caused the wrongful death of a burglary suspect by improperly using a stun gun and excessive force after the man had surrendered. Rivera's claim for damages was rejected by the City of Los Angeles on Dec. 10. According to the federal suit filed on behalf of his mother and son, police officers tased Daniel Rivera four times and kneeled on his back after he had surrendered and was on his stomach in a paved wash in an Arleta neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley last Aug.

LexBlog

Public Safety/Crime

Venice woman loses home, dog in fire as neighbors blame growing homeless encampment

A home in Venice was destroyed and a dog was killed in a fire early Wednesday morning. While the cause remains under investigation, neighbors are pointing to growing homeless encampments in the area, including one near the home. The fire was reported at 3:55 a.m. at the one-story bungalow on Clubhouse Avenue. It took 26 firefighters 18 minutes to put out the flames, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

ABC7

Gang allegedly using Los Feliz homeless camp to deal drugs (Video)

Residents of a Los Feliz neighborhood say what began as a homeless encampment more than a year ago has been transformed into a street gang-run drug distribution center.

ABC7

Suspect in Kristin Smart killing previously suspected in 2007 rape allegation

A man charged with murder in the death of Kristin Smart, a California college student who vanished walking home from a party in 1996, was investigated in the alleged rape of a woman in Southern California a decade after Smart's disappearance. Paul R. Flores, now 44, became the subject of the investigation in 2012 when his DNA profile matched a profile collected from the woman, who was given a forensic examination at a hospital the morning after the alleged January 2007 assault, according to a report from the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.

NBC News

Long Beach officials hope to address violent crime, which grew amid pandemic

Violent crime has grown during the coronavirus in Long Beach - as it has in nearly every major city in the country - and officials are committed to addressing it as part of the city's broader recovery plan. That was one of the messages that came out of a study session the City Council held during its Tuesday, April 20, meeting on the issue of violent crime. During 2020, overall crime in Long Beach fell by 1.4% compared to the prior year, Police Chief Robert Luna said during the meeting, but the murder rate increased by 5.9%.

Long Beach Press-Telegram

Wanted felon accused in 2018 fatal Banning shooting captured in Mexico

A wanted felon facing murder and attempted murder charges for allegedly gunning down two cousins in front of a Banning liquor store in 2018 was arrested in Mexico and is now awaiting extradition to Riverside County. Brody Joseph Baca, 22, was arrested Wednesday in Puerto Peñasco, a Mexican fishing and resort city on the Gulf of California, and is now in custody at the Santa Cruz Detention Center in Nogales, Arizona, according to the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.

MyNewsLA

Armed suspect caught on camera robbing group of people in a West Hollywood alley

An armed robbery suspect disguised in a bandana and letterman-style jacket in the heart of West Hollywood got away and now authorities are asking the community to be on the lookout. This latest incident, among a string of similar crimes, happened near Larrabee Street and Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. The victims were able to record the encounter and the video is now being shared with hopes of tracking down the unknown robber.

CBS LA

LAPD investigating Paul Flores on sexual assault allegations in L.A. area

In the same week Paul Flores was charged with first degree murder in connection to the 1996 disappearance of Kristin Smart, the Los Angeles Police Department said it is also investigating sexual assault accusations against him. The allegations are separate from the Kristin Smart case, but do share some similarities.

KEYT

57 arrested in San Joaquin County child sex predator operation

Dozens of people were arrested as part of a child sex predator sting throughout San Joaquin County over the last week. In total, 57 people were arrested and 37 were cited over a five-day span from April 12-16. The San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office said the operation "targeted out-of-compliance sex offenders and persons on probation or parole for sex crimes, sex traffickers, prostitution, pimping, and pandering."

CBS13 Sacramento

Policing Los Angeles: The forces at work and the scope of their power

The sight of an officer holding his knee on George Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes until he died from asphyxiation triggered nationwide protests in 2020. L.A. was one of the epicenters of the reawakened Black Lives Matter movement, with daily protests across the city, county, and surrounding areas.

It wasn't the first time there was national outrage about a Black American being killed by police (see: Stephon Clark, Philando Castile, Freddie Gray, the list goes on).

LAist

Consumer

China's profiteering from fake money and other products must end

Despite assurances that it would crackdown on counterfeit goods and intellectual property flowing from its country, communist China continues to reap billions from the sale of fake merchandise and it's now affecting an area of the U.S. economy that many would not suspect. Multiple studies have shown that little appears to significantly stem the tidal wave of bogus goods leaving cargo ships each and every day from any number of Chinese ports of call or by mail.

The Epoch Times

California/National

Spokane sheriff targets major western cities with recruiting billboards

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office latest recruiting tactic is turning heads in several major western cities. SCSO has launched a series of billboards in Portland, Seattle, and Denver that advertise a hefty bonus for sufficiently experienced officers. "We put up billboards in Portland as close to the police precincts as we could get, saying '15 thousand dollar signing bonus. We're hiring 40 lateral deputies. We want you,'" said Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.

KREM

California lawmakers vow to hold DA Association accountable for misspent funds

A coalition of environmental justice and other advocacy groups want the California Legislature to stop giving the California District Attorneys Association money after an outside audit found the organization misused nearly $3 million in public money earmarked for environmental enforcement efforts and fighting wage theft and unsafe working conditions.

Courthouse News Service

After a deadly year on the roads, states push for safety over speed

As more Americans start commuting to work and hitting the roads after a year indoors, they'll be returning to streets that have gotten deadlier. Last year, an estimated 42,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes and 4.8 million were injured. That represents an 8% increase over 2019, the largest year-over-year increase in nearly a century - even though the number of miles driven fell by 13%, according to the National Safety Council.

California Healthline

Law enforcement reacts to Derek Chauvin guilty verdict (Video)

Eric Leonard reported on NBC4 News on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.

NBC4

Suspect in Orange mass shooting was barred from buying gun

The man accused of going on a shooting rampage at a business in Orange, California, killing four people, should not have been allowed to buy or own guns because of a California law that prohibits people from purchasing weapons for 10 years after being convicted of a crime. Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez was convicted of battery in 2015, which should have kept him from possessing or buying guns or ammo at stores that conduct background checks.

Fox11

Hackers try to extort Apple after stealing files from manufacturer

A hacker gang has stolen files from a company that manufactures Apple products and is openly trying to extort the tech giant in exchange for not leaking them. Apple declined to comment on whether it intended to pay. The hackers' extortion letter to the company remained online Thursday night. The Taiwanese company that was hacked, Quanta, makes a range of computer products, including the Mac Pro.

NBC News

Convictions/Sentences/Pleas

Steven Crittenden sentenced to 63 years to life for 1987 murder of Chico doctor, wife

A long-running Chico double murder case that landed a man on death row until his conviction was overturned in 2015 has come to a conclusion. Steven Crittenden, 53, pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of first-degree murder, and one count of first-degree robbery in connection with the murders of William and Katherine Chiapella during a burglary at their home on Jan. 13, 1987.

Action News Now

Woman used Sen. Feinstein's name, SSN to commit unemployment fraud

A Northern California woman who acknowledged using U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein's name and Social Security number to receive $21,000 in pandemic-related assistance pleaded guilty Monday to stealing unemployment benefits. It was part of nearly $200,000 in unemployment insurance and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits contained in debit cards shipped to the home of Andrea M. Gervais, 44, of Roseville, authorities said.

AP

Burglar pleads guilty after downloading porn during break-in, leaving semen on laptop

A 22-year-old man pleaded guilty Monday and was immediately sentenced to more than six years in prison for breaking into the residence of three female college students in the city of Orange, helping himself to refreshments and using a laptop computer belonging to one of the residents to download porn and commit a sex act.

City News Service

Former Peckerwoods Motorcycle Club president sentenced to 15 years in prison for methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy

Steven Edwards Moncrief, a Temecula resident and former president of the Riverside chapter of the Peckerwoods Motorcycle Club, was sentenced in federal court today to 180 months in prison for participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. According to the government's sentencing memorandum, Moncrief displayed symbols of hate on his clothing, motorcycle and in his home, including banners and stickers that said "Support Your Local White Boy" and "White Pride Worldwide," and patches featuring Nazi SS Bolts - sentiments that are shared by the club.

Department of Justice News Release

Corrections & Parole

El Cajon neighbors outraged over placement of 10 registered sex offenders together in one house

Neighbors in El Cajon are livid, after learning that ten registered sex offenders are now living together in one house in their kid-friendly community. Calling it "a living nightmare," these parents say they are now fearful for their children's safety, and are demanding answers from the state. According to California's Megan's Law website, the crimes these registered sex offenders living here are convicted of range from sodomy with a minor under age 18, to lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14.

CBS8 San Diego

Parole rescinded for Monterey County man convicted of killing four family members in 1977

The Monterey County District Attorney's Office announced Monday that the California Board of Parole has rescinded the parole granted to Harold Bicknell last summer. Bicknell's parole was granted in July 2020, despite opposition from family members who wrote letters and appeared during the hearing. The commissioners who represented the board said they did not find Bicknell's denial of involvement implausible, and Bicknell also claimed that he faced childhood abuse.

KION

State to shut second prison as inmate population falls

A decade after prison crowding forced California to realign its criminal justice system, the population in what once was the nation's largest state correctional system has shrunk to the point where officials announced Tuesday they will close one of two inmate firefighter training centers. The California Correctional Center in Susanville will close by July 2022, officials said, the second such prison closure announced in recent months.

AP

Driver in DUI crash that killed 4 denied parole

A man convicted 20 years ago of driving drunk at speeds reaching 104 mph in a crash that killed his four passengers was denied parole this week, according to prosecutors and corrections officials. Michael Curtis, 41, will have to wait five years for his next chance at parole, according to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He's housed at Avenal State Prison in Kings County, where he's serving 15 years to life.

KGET

CA prisons must fire toxic, racist guards who hazed officer

"My son was hazed to death." These are the words of Valentino Rodriguez Sr. His son officially died from fentanyl intoxication - as his family sees it, however, Valentino Rodriguez Jr. was killed by a toxic culture of hazing inside California's prison system. Rodriguez Jr. wasn't an inmate. The West Sacramento resident was an officer with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Sacramento Bee

Second-strike offender walks away from Los Angeles, California reentry program, CDCR reports

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials are searching for Michael Rogers, who walked away from the Male Community Reentry Program (MCRP) facility in Los Angeles on Saturday, April 17. At approximately 1:25 a.m. it was determined that Rogers had departed the MCRP without authorization and an emergency search was initiated. Within minutes, agents from CDCR's Office of Correctional Safety were dispatched to locate and apprehend Rogers.

Sierra Sun Times

Articles of Interest

Justice Department sues Trump ally Roger Stone, alleging millions in unpaid taxes

The Justice Department on Friday sued Roger Stone, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, accusing Stone and his wife, Nydia, of owing nearly $2 million in unpaid federal income taxes and fees. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, says the couple underpaid their income taxes by $1,590,361 from 2007 to 2011. It further says Stone, 68, did not pay his full tax bill in 2018, coming up $407,036 short.

NBC News

Amazon, Microsoft Team against facial recognition lawsuits

Cloud-computing and crosstown rivals Amazon and Microsoft have teamed up to defend themselves against twin lawsuits challenging how the companies built their facial recognition software. Illinois residents Steven Vance and Tim Janecyk uploaded images of themselves to the photo-sharing website Flickr in the mid-2000s. Without their knowledge, IBM included their faces in a data set of 1 million images, called Diversity in Faces, intended to help train facial-recognition algorithms to better distinguish between people of color - something facial recognition tools are notoriously bad at doing.

Government Technology

Jack in The Box says drive-thru not discriminatory against blind

Jack in the Box Inc.'s late-night-drive-thru-only policy may "discriminate" among people based on whether they are in a car, but it doesn't unlawfully deny service based on anyone's visual impairment or other disability, the chain told the Ninth Circuit. And driving isn't a "major life activity" protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Jack in the Box and affiliated company Different Rules LLC said in an April 16 filing.

Bloomberg Law

'He was the angel of death': Trial over Sutherland Springs shooting concludes

A federal judge in San Antonio must determine whether the victims of a mass shooting can hold the federal government responsible for the deaths and injuries caused by a gunman who shouldn't have passed his federally mandated background check when he bought the murder weapons. U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez heard closing arguments Tuesday morning, concluding a 10-day bench trial in which the court heard from more than a dozen witnesses and experts who testified about the Nov. 5, 2017 massacre at Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church.

Courthouse News Service

San Francisco settles suit over fatal police shooting of man who cursed at cops

Senator Feinstein website official photo

A woman used Senator Feinstein's name and social security number to steal $21,000 in pandemic-related unemployment benefits. So far as we know, Feinstein was gainfully employed as a U.S. Senator during this time period.

The city of San Francisco has reached a settlement in a lawsuit over the 2017 police shooting of an unarmed Black man who cursed at officers on his front porch less than two months before a civil rights trial was set to begin. The lawsuit claims two police officers violated San Francisco resident Sean Moore's free speech rights and failed to recognize he was suffering from a mental illness when they ignored his demands to get off his front steps, ordered him to come outside and used lethal force against him.

Courthouse News Service

Pensions

CalPERS sues former employee for allegedly stealing pension money

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) is suing a former employee who allegedly stole about $685,000 from 10 retiree accounts, the fund said. Among the victims targeted by the accused former employee was a homeless person, as well as three beneficiaries who are under legal conservatorships, according to a complaint filed last week with the Superior Court of the State of California in Sacramento County.

Chief Investment Officer

 

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