Ransomware Attack of Azusa Police Department; Cal Colleges Give Fake Crime Statistics; Cal Suffers More Active Shooter Incidents Than Other States and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo
Man free on bail for assault kills elderly victim; Prison guards don't notice beheaded inmate
June 11, 2021
Courts & Rulings
Order snipping sentence-boosting allegations is dumped
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rob B. Villeza - who in January granted a motion made pursuant to a special directive to deputies by District Attorney George Gascón and allowed the prosecution to drop special circumstances and sentencing-enhancement allegations in a murder case - has reconsidered the matter and ordered resurrection of the original information.
Prosecutors can play child porn for the jury, CA court rules in Bay Area cop's appeal
Two years after he was convicted of aggravated possession of child pornography and sentenced to state prison, a former Bay Area policeman lost his appeal in which he argued the prosecution committed "repeated, pervasive misconduct."
Bay Area News Group
Judge denies Fernandez resentencing
A judge on Monday denied a bid for resentencing by Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, who pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of her eight-year-old son Gabriel Fernandez. The boy was routinely beaten, tortured, starved, bound, gagged and forced to sleep inside a cabinet until his May 2013 death. Pearl Fernandez, 37, was sentenced in March 2018 to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of her son.
Antelope Valley Press
California Supreme Court casts doubt, changes rules on eyewitness testimony
Eyewitness testimony is often crucial in court cases, but can be hard for jurors to assess. So judges tell them what to consider, including how far a witness was from the scene, whether the witness was under stress, whether his or her account has changed, and - until now - how certain the witness was that the identification was accurate.
San Francisco Chronicle
State Bar must bare non-confidential parts of documents on bar exam grading
Statutory provisions which render the grading of State Bar exam answers confidential are not insuperable, the First District Court of Appeal has held, declaring that a judge erred in sustaining a demurrer without leave to amend to a complaint which sought portions of a document reviewed in closed session by a subcommittee of the Committee of Bar Examiners.
Supreme Court ends tax war, says cities must pay litigation costs to hotels.com
The Supreme Court affirmed a more that $2 million court costs bill Thursday against municipalities that had accused Hotels.com and other travel booking agencies of shortchanging them on occupancy taxes. Justice Samuel Alito penned the unanimous opinion, weighing in on the suit San Antonio and more than 170 other Texas municipalities opened in 2006.
Courthouse News Service
Supreme Court reverses Ninth Circuit in Ming Dai, Alcaraz-Enriquez cases
In yet another unanimous opinion as the current term draws to a close, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled Tuesday against asylum-seeking immigrants in the companion cases of Garland v. Dai and Garland v. Alcaraz-Enriquez. The cases presented a procedural question that promises to have a profound impact on the cases of individuals seeking asylum in the United States.
Law & Crime
Officials who broke up Lafayette Square protest fight for immunity
One year after the murder of George Floyd sharpened demands in America for police reforms, a Trump-appointed judge held arguments this afternoon on one of the early protests that brought the issue into somewhat improbable relief. Floyd had been dead a week and the nation engulfed in anguish last year when a gaggle of officials departed the White House and marched across Lafayette Square to the nearby St. John's Episcopal Church.
Courthouse News Service
Habeas restrictions, copyright and the potential return of the "community caretaking" exception
After the Supreme Court's spring cleaning last week, the justices were down to just two relists on their rolls. Then on this week's order list, the court denied cert on one of the remaining two, 10-time relist Johnson v. Precythe, 20-287, involving a death row prisoner's method-of-execution claim under the Eighth Amendment. Three justices joined two separate opinions dissenting from the denial of review.
California Supreme Court to hear arguments challenging application of state's death penalty
The California Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear arguments in the case of a death row inmate from Los Angeles that challenges the constitutionality of how the death penalty has been applied and could lead to the reversal of hundreds of death sentences. As part of an automatic appeal for Donte McDaniel, who has been convicted and sentenced to death for two 2004 murders, the defense is asking the court whether the procedure in California capital punishment cases has allowed prosecutors to bypass state laws that requires a unanimous jury vote to decide whether the evidence supports a death sentence.
Appeals court orders recusal of Santa Clara D.A.'s Office
The Sixth District Court of Appeal declared Friday that the Santa Clara District Attorney's Office must be disqualified from the prosecution of a San Jose attorney and fundraiser on conspiracy and bribery charges, saying that his friendship with the district attorney and his chief assistant creates a conflict, and a "grave one."
Supreme Court rules on tribal police and immigrants' testimony
In a pair of unanimous decisions, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that tribal police officers may sometimes detain and search non-Native Americans on federal highways and that there is no presumption that testimony from immigrants fighting deportation is credible. The case on tribal officers, United States v. Cooley, No. 19-1414, arose from an encounter in 2016 on a federal highway in the Crow Reservation in Montana.
New York Times
Judge blocks suit to shut down OC district attorney's DNA database
An Orange County Superior Court judge on Wednesday, June 2, rejected a lawsuit by professors and students at UCI Law School seeking to shut down the district attorney's one-of-a-kind DNA collection program. Judge William D. Claster dismissed the suit for technical reasons and gave the plaintiffs until June 28 to amend and resubmit it.
Orange County Register
Los Angeles District Attorney
17 cities vote no confidence in DA George Gascón
Seventeen cities have now issued votes of "no confidence" in Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón and the list of cities opposed to his reform policies continues to grow. At the San Gabriel City Council meeting, which didn't end until after midnight on Tuesday, there were over 100 letters in support of the "no confidence" vote and only five against it. The "no confidence" vote passed by a 4-1 vote.
Why George Gascón's pick to review officer misconduct is generating controversy
A Los Angeles judge has ruled that a defense lawyer whom District Attorney George Gascón appointed as special prosecutor to review officer-involved shooting investigations cannot simultaneously represent criminal defendants. L.A. County Superior Court Judge David R. Fields said the appearance of impropriety risked eroding public confidence in the criminal justice system.
Los Angeles Magazine
Why colleagues say District Attorney Chesa Boudin must go
On January 9, 2015, four men were shot and killed inside a car in the Lower Haight near Laguna and Page streets. Police eventually arrested Lee Farley Jr. for the killings and were investigating several other suspects. Six years later, the case hasn't gone to trial, and those other suspects have all died as a result of gang-related violence.
The Marina Times
Effort to recall Gascon continues to gather steam
Petitions have been approved for the effort to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon. Elected officials must be in office for at least 90 days before a recall effort can be started. Gascon was sworn in on Dec. 7. Recall organizers announced May 20 they had received approval to gather signatures. Gascon has drawn criticism from crime victims and prosecutors over various directives, including not seeking the death penalty, not seeking sentencing enhancements in most cases and keeping cases involving juveniles out of adult courts.
City News Service
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy charged with sexually abusing teenage niece
A veteran L.A. County sheriff's deputy was charged earlier this year with sexually abusing his underage niece in San Bernardino County, according to court records and interviews with the alleged victim's family. Daniel Wai Whitten, 43, was charged in March with more than a dozen counts of lewd acts with a child, having unlawful sex with a child, possession of child pornography and communicating with a minor for a sexual purpose, according to a criminal complaint filed by San Bernardino County prosecutors.
Los Angeles Times
Murder, torture charges against Pomona stepmom in death of 16-year-old stepson: Dad knew all, allegedly failed to help his son
Murder and torture charges have been filed against a Pomona woman charged with killing her 16-year-old stepson, whose father is accused of being aware that the boy was being abused but did nothing to stop it. Both suspect are slated to arraigned this coming Tuesday.
Charges refiled against deputies in San Francisco beating
Criminal charges have been refiled against two sheriff's deputies over the 2015 beating of a surrendering suspect. But charges won't be filed against police who shot a knife-wielding man in a killing that sparked public protests, the San Francisco District Attorney's office announced Thursday.
Californian charged with assaulting cops in Capitol breach
A Northern California man was charged Friday with using a weapon to assault officers guarding the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection. Body camera footage caught Sean Michael McHugh, 34, of Auburn pushing a large metal sign into a line of uniformed officers during the riot and spraying an unknown, yellow chemical on police, prosecutors said.
Priest lewd acts with four 'innocent children' alleged in Palmdale, Redondo Beach: judge cuts $2.2 million bail to $5,000 despite victim 'trauma'
Over the prosecution's objection, a judge Thursday lowered bail to $5,000 for a former Catholic priest charged with lewd acts involving four boys at two parishes in Palmdale and Redondo Beach between the mid-1990s and 2001. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Katherine Mader ordered Christopher John Cunningham - who had been jailed in lieu of $2.2 million bail - to sign up for electronic monitoring and not to leave the home of a cousin, where he will be staying once he is released from custody, unless he has a medical appointment, a meeting with his attorney or a court hearing.
California Senate approves plan to decertify and limit immunity for rogue cops
Advancing the most heralded police reform of the legislative session, the California Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would create a decertification process and reduce legal immunity for crooked law enforcement officers. By a 26-9 party-line vote, Senate Democrats OK'd the proposal civil rights groups consider to be the most impactful criminal justice reform of the year.
Courthouse News Service
The future of policing: LAPD's Community Safety Partnership Bureau nears one year (Video)
This time a year ago, protestors were taking to the streets after the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day 2020. By July of that summer, the LAPD announced a new Bureau based on community policing and building relationships.
California lawmakers approve district attorney recusal law
California district attorneys whose campaigns were funded by police unions would have to recuse themselves from investigations of law enforcement officers under legislation approved Wednesday by lawmakers. Supporters say the "first-of-its-kind" bill will prevent conflicts of interest and restore public faith that bad officers will be brought to justice.
Courthouse News Service
California Senate approves bill to legalize possession of psychedelics like psilocybin and LSD
A bill to legalize possession of psychedelics in California was approved by the California Senate on Tuesday. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D), which previously cleared three committees, passed 21-16 on the floor. If enacted into law, the bill would remove criminal penalties for possessing or sharing numerous psychedelics - including psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, ibogaine, LSD and MDMA - for adults 21 and older.
Los Angeles County/City
LA County seeks dismissal of sheriff's bid to quash inspector general's subpoena
Sheriff Alex Villanueva's legal bid to avoid meeting with Inspector General Max Huntsman to discuss deputy "secret societies" that many criminal justice advocates characterize as gangs should be dismissed, a lawyer for Los Angeles County argues in new court papers.
City News Service
LA City Attorney spokesman announces run for city controller in 2022 election
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer's director of community engagement and outreach announced Wednesday he is running for L.A. city controller in the 2022 election. "I have dedicated the better part of my career to making a difference in service to the public and working with some of our most effective leaders," Rob Wilcox said. "Now, at this pivotal moment in our city's history I am ready to seek a new role and a position which is one of the most consequential in L.A. city government."
Murder in LA County jumps over 95% so far this year, concealed carry permits on the rise: sheriff
Murders in Los Angeles County have skyrocketed more than 95% so far this year compared to the same period in 2020, and other areas of crime also saw increases, with the local sheriff calling the uptick "very, very troublesome." "We don't have good news, unfortunately," L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said as before he listed off the latest crime statistics in a video streamed on social media.
Sheriff's Naloxone custody pilot project saves inmates from overdose
Two inmates are alive today after being saved by two separate doses of Naloxone also known as Narcan, administered by fellow inmates. On Wednesday, May 26th, at approximately 5:37 pm, Deputies assigned to work the North County Correctional Facility (NCCF) were alerted of two inmates in medical distress. Deputies and custody medical staff immediately responded to the dorm and found two inmates on an upper-tier, unconscious, suffering from possible overdoses.
Los Angeles Police Chief Moore signs '30x30' pledge advancing women in law enforcement
The Los Angeles Police Department's Office of the Chief of Police announces the Department's commitment to the 30X30 Initiative. On Tuesday, May 25, 2021, LAPD Chief of Police Michel Moore informed the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners that the Department signed the 30x30 Pledge, which is a series of low and no-cost actions policing agencies can take to improve the representation and experiences of women in law enforcement.
Los Angeles Patch
New program to educate first responders on interacting with children and adults with autism
A brightly painted lifeguard tower adorned with hearts of various colors was officially unveiled Friday on Mother's Beach in Marina del Rey, highlighting a county program to better equip first-responders with tools to interact with children and adults with autism. The program implemented by the Los Angeles County Fire Department, "Sirens of Silence," began roughly a month ago, providing specialized training for firefighters, paramedics and lifeguards.
City News Service
LA agrees to pay 4 officers $30K each over disputed 'Blue Flu' claims
The city of Los Angeles agreed this week to pay $30,000 each to four LAPD officers who alleged in state court that they were wrongfully disciplined for participating in a "Blue Flu" protest action last summer. The four officers claimed to have legitimate reasons for calling out sick over the July 4 weekend, when the Los Angeles Police Department alleged that hundreds of officers had engaged in an illegal labor action by calling out sick en masse to send a political message.
Los Angeles Times
Evicted from Echo Park, he wanted to bring a homeless camp to Griffith Park. Things got messy
Six weeks ago, Los Angeles city park rangers descended on a small group of tents in Griffith Park, arresting a homeless man and at least two community activists who had gone there to show their support. Park rangers said they took that step because camping poses a major fire risk in Griffith Park, and because the group refused to take down their tents, which are prohibited by law in city parks.
Los Angeles Times
Armed and drunk: Off-duty cops get into trouble drinking. LAPD rules fail to prevent it
Early one morning last month, off-duty Los Angeles police Officer Nicolas Quintanilla-Borja allegedly threatened to kill his cousin and another man with a handgun in Inglewood before being arrested by local police, prosecutors said. Days later, LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the civilian Police Commission that the incident troubled him "a great deal," in part because Quintanilla-Borja - a probationary officer with less than 18 months on the force - was allegedly "significantly" impaired by alcohol at the time.
Los Angeles Times
San Bernardino County Sheriff's sergeant dies after desert chase shootout
A San Bernardino County Sheriff's who died following a pursuit and shooting Monday in the desert community of Yucca Valley was a father of two daughters, 11 years old and 4 months old. Sgt. Dominic Vaca, 43, died Monday night at a hospital. He was shot following an attempted traffic stop and pursuit involving a person on a motorcycle about 120 miles east of Los Angeles.
Off-duty firefighter kills colleague in Agua Dulce Fire Station shooting, fire chief says
An off-duty firefighter opened fire Tuesday morning at a fire station north of Los Angeles, killing a 44-year-old member of the LA County Fire Department, fire officials said. The shooting happened just before 11 a.m. at Los Angeles County Fire Station No. 81 in the 8700 block of Sierra Highway in Agua Dulce and touched off a rapidly unfolding series of events that ended with a standoff and fire that burned for hours at a property about 10 miles away in Acton.
Yes, you should call the cops
Belief in magic can be charming in a child. Much less so in an adult. So it's disconcerting to see so many people express a belief that crime and disorder can be wished away if only the right people are chosen to deal with it. The right people, according to Vice News, are not the police. I refer to the May 24 piece by Emma Ockerman that ran under the headline, "What If We Just Stopped Calling the Cops?"
Jack Dunphy/National Review
Ransomware hack targeted sensitive Azusa Police Department data
Late this winter, an international hacking syndicate suspected of conducting ransomware attacks around the globe turned its attention to the police department in the San Gabriel Valley city of Azusa. Through means that remain unclear, the hacking group DoppelPaymer appears to have infiltrated computers in the 63-officer department and gained access to critical data. A demand for money followed.
Los Angeles Times
Scooter rider arrested on suspicion of DUI in collision that killed man on Venice sidewalk
An electric scooter rider was arrested on suspicion of DUI in a collision Saturday night that killed a man walking on a Venice sidewalk. A man and woman were riding on the rented scooter when it struck the man on Lincoln Boulevard, Los Angeles police said. The man on the scooter was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Details about the victim's identity and age were not immediately available.
Defund the police? No, fund them better
Congress and the White House are trying to overhaul police practices. By tradition in such efforts the obvious will likely be overlooked, so here is the obvious: Violent crime is rising in almost every major American city, after decades of falling. Police departments are in crisis, battered by charges of abuse, targeted for cuts, many struggling under recent bail-reform laws. Officers are demoralized.
Wall Street Journal
Crime stats reported by some California colleges inaccurate
Four California colleges and universities failed to accurately or completely report crime statistics as required by federal law, including Sonoma State University that did not include a sexual assault that had occurred on campus in 2019, according to a state audit whose findings were released Thursday. The institutions were the University of California, Irvine, San Joaquin Delta College, Santa Clara University, and Sonoma State University.
LAPD after George Floyd: Fewer officers, fewer arrests but hardly defunded
A year after protesters massed in the streets of Los Angeles chanting "Defund the police!" and "Abolish the LAPD!" the Los Angeles Police Department is a changed organization but hardly in the ways its critics wanted. Its operating budget was cut by $150 million last May with much fanfare, to $1.71 billion, then more quietly increased this year by about 3% - to $1.76 billion, a huge chunk of the city's overall spending.
Los Angeles Times
He just got out of jail and Anaheim suspect already accused of killing 70-year-old innocent victim
A 30-year-old man free on bail after an assault case earlier this month has been arrested on suspicion of killing an elderly man and assaulting another man. David Abbott of Anaheim was accused of attacking a man about noon in the 1300 block of Devonshire Road. The victim suffered minor injuries and was not hospitalized, said Anaheim police Sgt. Shane Carringer.
LAPD use-of-force trainer finds renewed hope in the badge
With his profession taking one hit after another over the past year, LAPD Sergeant Cleon Joseph often felt like he had his back against the wall. Joseph works with LAPD's Training Division, and with the agency's Arrest and Control Lifetime Fitness Unit, and helps teach proper use-of-force and de-escalation techniques to both new recruits and veteran officers. But as calls for police reform in the wake of George Floyd's death turned into the anti-police rhetoric and the "Defund the Police" movement took shape, it took an immense toll on Joseph.
After Washington, D.C., sues Amazon, other states reportedly consider antitrust actions
Antitrust clouds are gathering over Amazon in a week that saw the retail giant face its first U.S. lawsuit alleging competition-squelching practices just before the company announced its second-biggest acquisition ever. Washington, D.C., filed a suit against the U.S.' largest online seller Tuesday, accusing Amazon of monopolistic behavior. The suit claims the e-commerce giant's dominance allows it to impose onerous terms on third-party sellers on its platform that drive up prices for online shoppers everywhere.
Amazon scrambling after arbitration strategy backfires
Buried in Amazon's Conditions of Use (COUs) agreement was a binding arbitration clause forcing buyers, marketplace sellers, and infringed trademark-owners to utilize arbitration to settle disputes. The practice allowed Amazon to skirt the traditional court system and dodge plaintiffs aiming to launch big class-action lawsuits against the e-commerce juggernaut.
The Counterfeit Report
San Francisco homeless man's assault on cop shows dangers of police staff shortages, progressive agenda
Severe staffing shortages at the San Francisco Police Department, paired with the local prosecutor's "criminal-first agenda" is creating a dangerous situation on city streets headed into the summer months, union president Tony Montoya said after one of his officers - left patrolling alone in Chinatown - was violently tackled to the ground by a homeless man until bystanders intervened.
Ex-Commish with the dish
Cops have never been so blue. "The morale has never been as low as it is right now in the 50 years I've been dealing with it," says Bill Bratton, the top cop who transformed the police departments in New York and Los Angeles, only to watch much of that progress go up in smoke. I Zoomed with Bratton about his new memoir, "The Profession," the day after President Biden met in the Oval Office with George Floyd's family, a poignant image that capped another year of intense debate and soul-searching about why Black Americans are still treated so differently by the police.
New York Times
When police get woke, society gets broke
One of the blessings of growing older is, when tensions roil the social landscape, being able to look back on the troubled times of an earlier day and say, "Those tribulations I survived, these I shall also." I am a Baby Boomer, born in the late '50s to a World War II Navy veteran and a stay-at-home mother, both of whom were conservative Republicans who did their best to usher their children through the tumult of the '60s and '70s.
Jack Dunphy/The Pipeline
Amid surge in violent crime, Atlanta's wealthiest neighborhood ponders new city
Just a few days after Beth Weaver moved from the suburbs to a new townhouse in this city's wealthy Buckhead district, she began to worry that she had made a mistake. One night she sat on her balcony and watched a thief rifle through her BMW. A few weeks later, someone broke into her family's truck. In November, there was a shootout on her narrow street lined with townhouses that start at a half-million dollars.
'Varsity Blues' mom says arrest caused serious heart trouble
A mother charged in the "Varsity Blues" college admissions case asked a federal judge to toss the charges Friday, claiming the heavy show of force agents used in arresting her caused her to suffer a dangerous cardiac incident known as broken heart syndrome. Elisabeth Kimmel claims that a raid on her home by federal agents before dawn on March 12, 2019, caused her to suffer a temporary but dangerous heart condition called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy.
Gov. Newsom orders probe of Kevin Cooper case as convict in Chino Hills murders seeks clemency
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday, May 28, ordered an independent investigation into the high-profile case of Kevin Cooper, a death row inmate convicted in the 1983 slaying of three members of a Chino Hills family and one of their friends. Cooper, who has maintained his innocence, has applied for clemency, and Newsom ordered the investigation to aid him in his decision, the governor's office said Friday.
Microsoft: SolarWinds hackers target 150 orgs with phishing
The state-backed Russian cyber spies behind the SolarWinds hacking campaign launched a targeted spear-phishing assault on U.S. and foreign government agencies and think tanks this week using an email marketing account of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Microsoft says.
Courthouse News Service
Catalytic converter thefts a growing problem in Texas, across the US
Catalytic converters reduce emissions - nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon. While vehicles can still run, loudly, without them, they will not pass emissions tests required in some jurisdictions before owners can renew their registrations. Thefts of catalytic converters are skyrocketing across the United States because they contain three valuable precious metals: rhodium (worth $23,000 per ounce), palladium ($2,861) and platinum ($1,190).
Courthouse News Service
FBI releases report looking at 20 years of active shooter incidents
In a study looking at 20 years of active shooter incidents in this country, the FBI found California had more incidents than any other state. The report comes out just a few days after a man opened fire at a Northern California rail yard, killing nine coworkers and then himself. The agency looked at data from 333 incidents between 2000 and 2019. In those incidents, a total of 2,851 people died or were wounded, excluding the shooters.
Former L.A. Councilman Mitchell Englander begins serving prison sentence
Former Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander, convicted in a sprawling City Hall corruption case last year, has begun serving his 14-month sentence at the U.S. penitentiary in Arizona, prison records show. Englander was sentenced in January for lying to federal authorities about his dealings with a businessman who provided him $15,000 in secret cash payments and a debauched night in Las Vegas.
Los Angeles Times
Former Ventura County sheriff's deputy found guilty of sexual misconduct with inmate
A judge ruled a former deputy in Ventura is guilty of sexual misconduct with an inmate after the woman reported the encounter to jail staff in 2019. Ventura County Superior Court Judge Gilbert Romero said Leonard Lopez, 49, pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges, including being a peace officer engaged in a sexual act with an inmate and entering a cell occupied by an inmate of the opposite sex, the Ventura Country Star reported.
Man convicted on all counts in 2010 triple-murder trial
A Kern County jury convicts Tokunbo Okwoga of killing three people in 2010: Felipe Bravo Jr., Dyna Caraveo, and Felipe Bravo Sr. The Kern County District Attorney's Office has announced that Okuwoga is facing multiple life imprisonments with no possibility of parole. In addition to being convicted of first-class murder, he was also found guilty of attempted murder, robbery, and robbery.
Corrections & Parole
Prison guards didn't notice after a California inmate was beheaded in his cell, report says
Shortly after the sadistic torture slaying and beheading of a convicted killer in a California prison, apparently at the hands of his cellmate, prison guards making their rounds reported that both men were alive, according to two new reports from the state inspector's general office. The reports on California lockups raise new questions about the heinous attack at Corcoran State Prison in March 2019 that has prompted investigations and a lawsuit by the family of the victim, Luis Romero, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
Gov. Gavin Newsom pardons 1998 drug case in San Diego
A former San Diego resident almost missed a life-changing call. What he thought was a robocall turned out to be California Governor Gavin Newsom calling to let him know he was pardoning his 1998 drug case. "I thought it was one of my friends messing with me. You know they always call me with some crazy stuff and so I was like, I was about to hang up on him. But I just got quiet for a second and tried to take it in. And as soon as I put it on speaker she's [His wife] like, 'Oh my gosh! It's Governor Newsom," said Dan Dogan.
NBC San Diego/AP
Gov. Gavin Newsom pardons inmate firefighters
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday pardoned more than a dozen people, including two inmate firefighters who faced deportation, and commuted the sentences of three people who were convicted of killings where they didn't pull the trigger. Newsom announced pardons for 14 people, commuted sentences for 13 others and granted medical reprieves for eight state prisoners, most of them in their 60s or 70s, who are considered to be at high medical risk.
Condemned sex offender dies awaiting execution in 4 deaths
A 74-year-old sex offender sentenced to death for killing a woman and three of her children has died on death row, California corrections officials said Tuesday. Richard Allen Benson was found unresponsive alone in his San Quentin State Prison cell early Monday and pronounced dead about a half-hour later. Officials said foul play is not suspected, though his cause of death will be determined by the Marin County coroner.
Double murderer who killed two teens in LA to be released from San Quentin
A gang member and double murderer convicted in the shooting and killing of two teenagers at a party in Los Angeles more than thirty years ago is set to be released from San Quentin on Monday. Howard Elwin Jones has been imprisoned at San Quentin state prison since 1991 for the December 1988 shooting and killing of 18-year-old Chris Baker and another boy at a party in Rowland Heights.
Articles of Interest
Newsmax apologizes to Dominion employee for false claim he manipulated election results
Newsmax apologized on Friday for falsely reporting that a Dominion Voting Systems employee, Eric Coomer, manipulated the results of the 2020 election. In a statement published to its website, Newsmax said it "found no evidence that Dr. Coomer interfered with Dominion voting machines or voting software in any way, nor that Dr. Coomer ever claimed to have done so. Nor has Newsmax found any evidence that Dr. Coomer ever participated in any conversation with members of 'Antifa,' nor that he was directly involved with any partisan political organization."
Democrats ignore the crime spike at their own peril
On the anniversary of the death of George Floyd, dozens of gunshots rang out in the middle of the day at George Floyd Square in Minneapolis, forcing reporters and bystanders to duck and cover. The symbolism was unmistakable - the yearlong bout of protest and activism after Floyd's killing has coincided with a surge of urban crime that has made gunplay dismayingly common.
California's pension crisis
In states with healthy, growing economies, government and the private sector are partners, not adversaries. The business community not only pays taxes to fund the core services of government, but private companies often actually perform those services themselves. Smart governments, including many localities in California, have identified certain government services that are best outsourced, saving taxpayer dollars and allowing the government to focus on areas it has unique competency.
Gold Country Media
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