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

CA Appeals Court Says Jails Have to Release the Mentally Ill; Two More Cities About to Vote No-Confidence in Gascon; Court Sanctions Attorney for Accusing the Same Court of Corruption; Reckless Offenses are Not Violent Felony says SCOTUS; and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo

1900 US military weapons stolen during last decade; CA Attorney General supports eviction moratorium; Son of anti-police advocate shot dead in criminal drive-by shooting

 

Reputed gang member Lafayette Shon Whaley to stand trial for attempted murder in the armed theft of Lady Gaga's French bulldogs from her dogwalker

Courts & Rulings

Tentative ruling stops LA County's most ambitious justice reform measure

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has published a tentative ruling that it appears will stop the voter-approved Measure J from taking effect. The ruling does not address the intent of the measure, which was to divert hundreds of millions of dollars from the County's budget each year away from law enforcement activities, but instead focuses on an underlying authority of government issue, which is whether or not a voter initiative can strip elected officials of their fundamental roles of making law/deciding on a budget.

NBC4

Court of Appeal voids conviction based on 'impossibility'

The First District Court of Appeal, after receiving a brief from appointed appellate counsel declaring there to be no arguable issues, yesterday treated the appeal as a petition for a writ of habeas corpus and granted it, invalidating a conviction on one count of human trafficking of a minor for a sex act in light of the victim having been 26 years old. The opinion by Justice Teri L. Jackson of Div. Three orders that seven felony counts against a pimp, Devonne Lavert Richardson, be reinstated, and that the count alleging human trafficking of a minor - to which the defendant pled no contest - be dismissed.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Face masks must still be worn in courthouses, PJ Taylor advises

Face masks must continue to be worn in courthouses notwithstanding the "re-opening" of the state, Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor announced yesterday. Social distancing requirements are still in place, he specified. Taylor noted that workplaces must continue to adhere to emergency rules promulgated by the state Department of Industrial Relations's Division of Occupational Safety and Health, and courthouses are not exempted.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Face masks, social distancing remain mandatory in all LA County courthouses as new order extends last day deadlines for criminal and juvenile dependency matters

Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor late yesterday received emergency authority from Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye to issue a new General Order extending last-day deadlines for Criminal and Juvenile Dependency matters to assist the Court in its ongoing post-pandemic expansion of jury trials in the nation's largest trial court.

LA Superior Court News Release

Federal appeals court considers police liability in Biddeford murders

An attorney for two women whose teenage children were murdered in 2012 says Biddeford police officers are partly responsible for their deaths because they agitated the teens' landlord and then left the scene minutes before the fatal shooting. The attorney for the officers says they did not act in a way that increased the danger that day and should not be held civilly liable for the violence that followed their visit.

Portland Press Herald

Order for disclosure of drug-users treatment records upset

The County of Los Angeles and the County of Alameda prevailed yesterday in the Court of Appeal in their effort to avoid producing a massive number of records relating to patients in government programs who are being treated for substance abuse. Citing the state constitutional right of privacy, Div. One of the Fourth District Court of Appeal issued a peremptory writ of mandate directing the Orange Superior Court to vacate its order, made by Judge Peter Wilson, compelling production.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

California ordered to halt prolonged detention of inmates with mental illnesses

A California appellate panel has rejected the state's policy of detaining individuals with psychiatric and intellectual disabilities in county jails - often for months or even years - while waiting for them to be declared competent to stand trial. Thousands of such people are currently being held in jails across the state because they've been found incompetent to stand trial, yet have not received treatment which could enable them to do so.

Courthouse News Service

High Court denies sentence reduction to light crack offenses

Crack cocaine offenders are only eligible for reduced sentences under the First Step Act if they were convicted of a drug possession charge that came with a mandatory minimum sentence, the Supreme Court ruled Monday. Tarahrick Terry was arrested with less than 4 grams of crack cocaine in Florida in 2008 - enough of the narcotic to add a distributional-intent element to his conviction and condemning him to prison for 15 years.

Courthouse News Service

Policy of concealing jurors' names from counsel faulted

The Court of Appeal for this district yesterday disapproved a general practice of some judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court's San Fernando Courthouse in withholding from defense counsel in felony cases the names of prospective jurors, saying that nondisclosure should occur only where circumstances in the individual case call out for it. Justice Gail Ruderman Feuer of Div. Seven wrote the opinion.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

US Supreme Court rules reckless offenses do not qualify as 'violent felony'

The US Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that "reckless" crimes qualify as violent felonies for purposes of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). The ACCA mandates a 15-year sentence for those persons found guilty of illegally possessing a firearm who have been convicted of three or more violent felonies in the past.

Jurist

Lafayette Shon Whaley ordered to stand trial in shooting of Lady Gaga's dog walker

One of three reputed gang members charged with attempted murder in the shooting of Lady Gaga's dog walker and the theft of two of the singer's French bulldogs was ordered Thursday to stand trial. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Francis Bennett found sufficient evidence to allow the case against Lafayette Shon Whaley, 27, to proceed to trial, according to Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee.

CBS LA

Justices united against "magic words" and judge-made rules on asylum seekers' credibility

Last week in Garland v. Dai and Garland v. Alcaraz-Enriquez, the Supreme Court held that reviewing courts cannot treat an asylum seeker's testimony as credible unless the agency first finds the applicant credible. The unanimous opinion, penned by Justice Neil Gorsuch, rejected the contrary approach of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. In argument and briefing, the government contended that the 9th Circuit rule - which took asylum seekers' testimony as credible when faced with agency silence on credibility - violated standards of federal court review.

SCOTUSblog

Federal judge charges US marshals in vaccination dispute

A federal judge in South Dakota on Monday criminally charged three members of the U.S. Marshals Service with contempt of court and obstructing justice after a dispute with a marshal who refused to disclose her COVID-19 vaccination status and removed prisoners from a courthouse. Three supervisory marshals, including the agency's Chief of Staff John Kilgallon,were accused of allowing a deputy marshal to leave the courthouse in Aberdeen, South Dakota, with prisoners in tow on May 10, after the marshal refused to tell the judge whether she had been vaccinated against COVID-19, the Aberdeen American News reported.

AP

C.A. fines lawyer $2,000 for impugning court's integrity

Div. Three of the Fourth District Court of Appeal has imposed a $2,000 contempt fine on a Claremont attorney - $1,000 for accusing the court of being under the domination of The Irvine Company, a major real estate development outfit, and $1,000 for likening the justices to Thomas V. Girardi, a lawyer on involuntary inactive bar status. The Irvine Company is wholly owned by Donald Bren, said to be the wealthiest real estate developer in the nation, with assets of $16.4 billion.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Judge: FBI illegally seized emails of suspected Saudi spying accomplice

Evidence used to arrest a former Twitter employee accused of helping Saudi Arabia spy on its critics in exchange for bribes may have to be thrown out after a federal judge ruled Tuesday that the FBI lacked probable cause to seize the man's emails. Ahmad Abouammo, who managed media partnerships for Twitter's Middle East and North Africa region from November 2013 to May 2015, is accused of supplying Saudi Arabia with private information on dissidents in exchange for at least $100,000 in cash and a $20,000 luxury watch.

Courthouse News Service

Los Angeles District Attorney

Norwalk, La Habra Heights poised to say they have no confidence in Gascón

Two more Whittier-area cities are poised to cast a vote of no confidence in Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón. Both directed their respective staffers to bring back resolutions of no confidence for approval at future meetings. Norwalk City Council voted 5-0 on Tuesday, June 15, while La Habra Heights' City Council voted 3-2 on Monday, June 14.

Whittier Daily News

Family outraged at possible probation sentence in hit-and-run

On March 11, 40-year-old journalist Margo Spann was walking her dog when she was struck and killed in an Arlington Heights crosswalk. One day later, the Los Angeles Police Department announced the suspect, 56-year-old Ruben Granados, had been arrested. But recent talks with LA County prosecutors have left Spann's family worried, and angry, that Granados may get no more than probation.

NBC4

Gascón: County's top blind eye

We've been alarmed, in principle, about the approach L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón is taking to criminal justice. We've decried his policies as a criminal-friendly threat to public safety. And now, the numbers are bearing it out. Multiple criminals are being arrested by law enforcement, only to be released without bail - or not charged at all - to commit more crimes. Violent crime is up in L. A. County - the Sheriff's Department is reporting a whopping 127% increase in criminal homicides through the first four months of this year versus last year.

The Signal

Two county probation officers to stand trial in pepper spray case

Two Los Angeles County probation officers accused of unlawfully using pepper spray on teenage girls housed at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey will stand trial, a judge ruled today. Following a preliminary hearing that stretched over multiple days, the judge ruled there was sufficient evidence against Marlene Rochelle Wilson, 48, and Janeth Vilchez, 51, to proceed to trial.

City News Service

DA George Gascón launches team to re-examine fatal use-of-force incidents

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced the creation of an independent team that will re-examine fatal use-of-force incidents by law enforcements officers. Upon review, the group will also recommend further action when appropriate. "Significant concerns have been raised by law enforcement officials, civil rights attorneys, activists and others regarding the handling of numerous police use-of-force cases," said District Attorney Gascón.

Fox11

Prosecutors

Charges won't be filed against protesters, journalists arrested at Echo Park

Criminal charges will not be filed against the 179 protesters, legal observers and journalists who were arrested for failure to disperse during demonstrations against the city's clearing of a large homeless encampment that had developed at Echo Park Lake during the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the demonstration on March 25, the Los Angeles Police Department reported that 182 people were arrested.

City News Service

D.A. case rejections on the rise

In the first four months of 2021, the District Attorney's Office declined to file charges on 537 Santa Clarita Valley criminal cases - already 156% of the total number of declined cases for the entire previous year. If the trend holds for the rest of the year, it will represent a 369% increase in rejected cases. Of those rejected cases, 60% are the result of new policy directives by L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón, fueling concerns among some government leaders that Gascón's plan to reform the system is threatening public safety.

The Signal

Civilian grand jury probing Metro executives and board of directors' actions

Hews Media Group-Cerritos News has received a redacted complaint dated June 26, 2020 by a whistleblower accusing Los Angeles County elected officials, L.A. City elected officials, LA Metro Board Members and Executive Leadership of fraud, waste, abuse, and corruption. The person or persons who filled out the complaint form received a letter two months later in August from a representative of Los Angeles County's Civil Grand Jury acknowledging the receipt of the complaint and stating a grand jury will investigate the claims.

Hews Media Group-Cerritos News

Man charged with kidnapping ex-girlfriend, killing good samaritan

A Tujunga man has been charged with kidnapping his ex-girlfriend and fatally shooting a good Samaritan who attempted to come to her aid as a struggle between the former couple unfolded in broad daylight, prosecutors said Thursday. The counts against 37-year-old Shane Winfield Rayment include murder, kidnapping, criminal threats and first-degree residential burglary, according to a Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office news release.

KTLA

Couple arrested in Aiden Leos shooting got into different freeway altercation, prosecutors say

Just days after 6-year-old Aiden Leos was shot and killed on the 55 Freeway in Orange County, the couple charged in the deadly road-rage incident got involved in another traffic altercation, prosecutors said in court papers filed this week. Marcus Anthony Eriz, 24, and Wynne Lee, 23, are scheduled to be arraigned on Friday when Orange County Superior Court Judge Larry Yellin will consider a request from prosecutors to set bails at higher-than-usual levels.

City News Service

Los Angeles dentist charged with sex assaults on patients

A Los Angeles dentist was charged Monday with sexually abusing nine women while they were undergoing procedures. Emad Fathy Moawad, 50, was charged with more than a dozen counts of sexual battery by restraint and other acts involving force. Moawad appeared in court Monday but didn't enter a plea and his arraignment was continued. He was jailed on nearly $2 million bail and it wasn't immediately clear whether he had an attorney to speak on his behalf.

AP

Harvey Weinstein's extradition to Los Angeles on sex-crime charges approved by judge

A New York judge gave the go-ahead Tuesday for convicted sex offender and ex-movie mogul Harvey Weinstein to be extradited to Los Angeles County, likely by mid-July, to face nearly a dozen sex-crime charges there. Erie County Judge Kenneth Case, presiding over the latest virtual hearing in the matter, once again heard arguments by Weinstein's New York lawyer, Norman Effman, and Erie County Assistant District Attorney Colleen Curtin Gable, standing in for Los Angeles prosecutors, about whether the California paperwork seeking Weinstein's transfer was complete and proper.

USA Today

San Bernardino District attorney disputes claim Kevin Cooper framed, disagrees with Newsom's order

"The grave doubts about Mr. Cooper's guilt have only worsened over time, with a federal judge who reviewed his case in 2009 concluding that 'he is probably innocent,' and more recently, DNA testing on a towel connected to the crime pointing to another person. Additionally, multiple witnesses have come forward who argue that another man has confessed to the crime and implicated two accomplices," wrote the National Association of Colored People Legal Defense Fund (NAACP LDF) in an Innocence Appeal to California Governor Gavin Newsom in March.

Black Voice News

Driver charged in deadly San Jose crash reportedly was having sex

A man charged with barreling his pickup truck into a San Jose bar, killing a woman and seriously injuring two other people, was having oral sex at the time, according to court documents. Alex Moreno, 32, of San Jose was charged Wednesday with gross vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence causing injury in the crash Friday night. He remained jailed and it wasn't immediately clear whether he had an attorney to speak on his behalf.

AP

Prosecutors seek 'very substantial' prison time for Avenatti

Prosecutors urged a judge Wednesday to impose a "very substantial" prison sentence on Michael Avenatti for trying to extort millions of dollars from Nike. Prosecutors noted in a Manhattan federal court submission that Probation Office officials recommend an eight-year prison term for the California attorney who gained fame three years ago through his representation of porn star Stormy Daniels against then-President Donald Trump.

AP

Policy/Legal Issues

Bill Bratton on police reform: 'Let's do it right this time'

Few figures have been as transformative in U.S. policing as Bill Bratton. It's not only because he ran police forces in two of America's largest cities - New York (twice) and Los Angeles - but because many of the senior officers who served under him went on to run police forces of their own, in effect spreading the Bratton style of technology-informed, community-oriented law enforcement that has become standard operating procedure in police command headquarters across the nation.

The Crime Report

LAPD announces diversion program in attempt to reduce recidivism

The Los Angeles Police Department on Tuesday June 15 announced the launch of an adult diversion program that will place individuals arrested for certain crimes in support programs in lieu of other legal consequences. The LAPD, in cooperation with Los Angeles County's Alternatives to Incarceration Office, established the ATI Pre-File Diversion Program on Monday, according to a police statement.

City News Service

Los Angeles County/City

Bill Bratton on policing & homelessness in Los Angeles (Video)

Bill Bratton knows more about policing than just about anyone in the country. He led departments in Los Angeles, New York, and Boston. He has a new memoir about his experiences called "The Profession." He joined us on FOX 11 Los Angeles to discuss rising crime statistics in Southern California, efforts to defund the police, and the challenges in confronting homelessness.

Fox11

Pressure mounts on LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to resign as more groups join resignation effort

The Los Angeles County Democratic Party (LACDP) became the latest group calling for the resignation of Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva on Tuesday, formally adopting a resolution that specifically notes the shooting of Andres Guardado as the main reason for the demand. On June 18, 2020, less than a month following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, 18-year-old Gardena security guard Andres Guardado was shot by an LA County Sheriffs Deputy following a foot chase.

California Globe

Video released of aftermath of gun battle between off-duty LAPD officer, armed man in Van Nuys

Authorities released a frantic 911 call and new body camera video Saturday of the aftermath of a gun battle between an off-duty Los Angeles police officer and an armed suspect in Van Nuys in April. The incident occurred around 2:30 p.m. on April 28 in the 5200 block of Vesper Avenue, where Los Angeles police officers responded to a call of shots fired. The video includes audio of a 911 call from a woman who was trying to help the wounded officer following the shooting.

ABC7

Sheriff Alex Villanueva defends LASD intervention in Venice homeless presence

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva joined us live to talk about the homelessness crisis in the county, public safety and California's gun laws, among other things. Villanueva touched on the L.A. County Sheriff's Department's recent intervention among homeless encampments in Venice, the reversal of California's assault weapons ban, the recall effort against District Attorney George Gascón and more.

KTLA

Sheriff, DA seek additional funding going into next fiscal year

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco and District Attorney Mike Hestrin both requested increased appropriations for their respective agencies Monday, telling the Board of Supervisors they're operating extremely lean and that meeting obligations in the next fiscal year will be challenging without some additional funding. "We're working with less than anyone," Bianco said during the first round of hearings on the proposed 2021-22 budget. "We're working at an absolute minimum. There's no leeway."

MyNewsLA

'Never thought it would be my kid.' LAPD critic's son is killed in drive-by shooting

Late Tuesday night, William Gude took to his Twitter account @FilmThePoliceLA - which is usually dedicated to holding the LAPD and other area law enforcement accountable - in a sudden burst of personal grief. "My 22 year old son got shot," he wrote. "I don't think he made it." Gude later confirmed the worst after getting a call from his son's mother, who was sobbing, and connecting with a hospital social worker: His son, Marcelis Gude, was dead.

Los Angeles Times

Public Safety/Crime

The L.A. Times needs a reality check on policing

The Los Angeles Times has been leftward-leaning for decades, but there was a time not long ago when it tried to maintain a veiled pretense of objectivity, even if the veil was sometimes all but transparent. Now, the veil has been abandoned altogether in favor of outright activism, even in front-page, above-the-fold stories in which the activism masquerades as news. In no arena has this been more evident than in the paper's coverage of law enforcement issues, most especially those involving the Los Angeles Police Department.

Jack Dunphy/PJ Media

Man charged with crimes against children; released from state hospital; received $4.5 million

A Porterville man who was released from Coalinga State Prison three years ago and received a $4.5 million settlement for essentially having his due process violated has been charged with crimes against children. Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward announced the filing of criminal charges against Jorge Vasquez, 46, for crimes against multiple children. Vasquez is charged with eight counts of child molestation and one count of failure to register as a sex offender.

The Porterville Recorder

Traffic stop leads to arrest of alleged fentanyl dealer in Pasadena

Police arrested a man with a long criminal history on suspicion of dealing fentanyl after pulling him over for a traffic violation in Pasadena on Friday, authorities said. Officers stopped a car for a traffic violation just before 4 p.m. at Lake Avenue and Villa Street, Pasadena police Lt. Anthony Burgess said. It was determined the driver was already on probation due to prior convictions.

Pasadena Now

Effort to defund Riverside County Sheriff's Department continues amid new budget

George Floyd spurred Peter Sisson to hit the books - the budget books, to be exact. The Riverside resident read municipal budgets to see if taxpayer dollars for law enforcement could go elsewhere. "I was aware of the issues, but didn't have a lot that I was doing outside other than being aware," Sisson said. "(Floyd's death) was kind of a real wake-up call. I kind of pushed myself to get more involved (and) do more."

Riverside Press-Enterprise

How prosecuting nonviolent misdemeanors may lead to more crime

After a police officer murdered George Floyd, and the Black Lives Matter movement took wing across America, many of us learned, for the first time, that one key model for contemporary police departments was the slave patrols of the antebellum South. After the Civil War, former slave states passed "black codes," laws that essentially aimed at re-enslaving African Americans. New crimes, like vagrancy, were invented to control emancipated Black people.

Los Angeles Times

Consumer

Counterfeits, fraud, and scams await Amazon Prime Day shoppers

Most consumers would be shocked to learn that Amazon's touted (and expensive) Amazon Prime program has no protection against counterfeit, fraudulent, and dangerous items. "Buyer beware" is the mantra for the June 21st and 22nd event. Amazon is a free-flowing conduit that enables Amazon, as a direct seller, and its third-party global sellers to flood the consumer market with an inexhaustible supply of counterfeit, fraudulent, pirated, and replica merchandise, books, medical devices, and OTC drugs.

The Counterfeit Report

Internet products need labels that show nation of origin

One significant result of the COVID-19 pandemic is that U.S. consumers have become more interested in buying American-made products. Recent polling shows that 40% of all consumers will no longer buy anything made in China. This is good news for America's manufacturers, as the poll also found that nearly 80% would be willing to pay more to see production move from China back to the United States. Clearly, Americans want to buy products stamped "Made in America."

Las Vegas Sun

Federal safety regulators investigating AmazonBasics electronic products

The federal agency responsible for overseeing consumer product safety is investigating Amazon-branded electronic products highlighted in a CNN investigation last year, according to records and interviews. CNN reported last year that dozens of AmazonBasics electronics remained for sale on Amazon.com, despite customers reporting the products had melted, exploded or burst into flames.

CNN

California/National

Fells Point businesses threaten to withhold taxes if Baltimore does not address crime, drug dealing and other issues

More than 30 business and restaurant owners in Fells Point are threatening to withhold taxes if city leaders do not address crime, trash and other issues they say are plaguing the waterfront neighborhood. The group sent a letter to Baltimore officials Tuesday - two days after three people were shot in the popular and historic nightlife destination early Sunday morning - complaining about blatant drug sales, public drinking and other problems they say are happening in plain sight while police are handcuffed from enforcing the law.

Baltimore Sun

City of Susanville to sue CA over proposed prison closure

Leaders of one Northern California city say they are planning on suing Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration over a proposed California state prison closure next year that would devastate the local economy. During closed session of a special City Council meeting on Thursday, Susanville's city attorney was authorized to take the state to court over the closure of the California Correctional Center, currently scheduled for June 30, 2022.

Sacramento Bee

Did the FBI go too far questioning Chinese researchers without reading them their rights?

As federal prosecutors press forward with cases against Chinese researchers accused of lying about their ties to China's military to gain access to prestigious American universities, the FBI's conduct in two Northern California cases has become a central focus of court proceedings. Prosecutions involving researchers at the University of California, Davis, and Stanford University now include claims by defense attorneys that FBI agents improperly interviewed their clients without first explaining that they had the right to refuse to answer questions.

Sacramento Bee

California Attorney General Bonta joins brief in Supreme Court in support of national eviction moratorium

California Attorney General Rob Bonta on Thursday joined a coalition of 23 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) eviction moratorium. Earlier this year, a coalition of property owners, property managers, and trade associations filed a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the moratorium, a move which would cause an unprecedented wave of evictions in states and local communities that lack their own protections for tenants.

Sierra Sun Times

Law enforcement agencies struggle to recruit since killing of George Floyd

Law enforcement agencies across the country experienced a wave of retirements and departures and are struggling to recruit the next generation of police officers in the year since George Floyd was killed by a cop. And amid the national reckoning on policing, communities are questioning who should become a police officer today. Mass protests and calls for reforming or defunding the police, as well as the coronavirus pandemic, took their toll on officer morale.

NBC7 San Diego

US military guns keep vanishing, some used in street crimes

In the first public accounting of its kind in decades, an Associated Press investigation has found that at least 1,900 U.S. military firearms were lost or stolen during the 2010s, with some resurfacing in violent crimes. Because some armed services have suppressed the release of basic information, AP's total is a certain undercount.

AP

Napa District Attorney and deputy elected to California District Attorneys Association board

Napa County District Attorney Allison Haley and Deputy District Attorney Aimee McLeod have been elected to serve on the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA) Board of Directors for the 2021-2022 term. That means two of the nine statewide seats are now filled by Napa County prosecutors. CDAA members are prosecutors throughout the state of California. Their mission is to promote justice by enhancing prosecutorial excellence through continuing legal education and legislative advocacy.

Napa Valley Register

Convictions/Sentences/Pleas

Former L.A. exec sentenced to 6.5 years for embezzling $22 million from employer

A former executive of a Los Angeles-area digital marketing company was sentenced to 79 months in jail for embezzling $22 million from his employer and allegedly using the money to play in professional poker tournaments and to invest in cryptocurrency. Dennis Blieden, 31, of Cincinnati, but who formerly lived in Santa Monica, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge André Birotte Jr. on Wednesday, who also ordered him to pay $22,669,979 in restitution.

L.A. Biz

3 Inland Empire women plead guilty to wire fraud for illegally obtaining COVID-related jobless benefits in prison inmates' names

Three Inland Empire women have pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges accusing them of using information belonging to other people - including California state prison inmates - to file for pandemic-related unemployment benefits, with each defendant causing at least $350,000 in losses. Paris Denise Thomas, 33, of San Bernardino, pleaded guilty today to a one-count information charging her with wire fraud.

Department of Justice News Release

Corrections & Parole

Inmate fatally stabbed at Kern Valley State Prison, officials say

Two inmates are accused of stabbing a third inmate to death at Kern Valley State Prison in Delano. Marcos Lomeli, 37, and Alberto Mejia, 27, attacked 40-year-old Artemio Gomez on Friday morning with inmate-manufactured weapons, according to corrections officials. Gomez suffered multiple stab wounds and was pronounced dead 30 minutes later. Officials said prison guards used chemical agents to stop the attack and recovered the stabbing weapons.

KGET

California prisoner stabbed to death; 2 inmates suspected

A California prison inmate was stabbed to death Friday and two other men were identified as suspects, authorities said. Artemio Gomez, 40, was attacked at around 8:15 a.m. at Kern Valley State Prison, north of Bakersfield, according to a statement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Guards quickly used "chemical agents" to break up the attack but Gomez received several stab wounds and died at a hospital, the department said.

AP

One of two murderers in Reseda stabbing resentenced as a juvenile

The killer of an 18-year-old man who was stabbed to death while playing handball at Reseda's Cleveland High School in 2013 was resentenced Monday as a juvenile - which may mean his release from confinement is imminent. Judge Morton Rochman ruled that 25-year-old Anthony Carpio - who was a 16-year-old gang member when he pulled a knife on Kevin Orellana and stabbed him multiple times - would be subject to a maximum confinement of 16 years to life.

MyNewsLA

Articles of Interest

Newly released emails show Trump pressured DOJ to challenge election results, House Oversight says.

In his final days in office, then-President Donald Trump pressured top Department of Justice officials to challenge his election loss to Joe Biden, the House Oversight Committee said Tuesday. The oversight panel said a cache of more than 200 pages of newly released emails from Justice Department officials and White House staff sheds new light on how Trump tried to undermine the results of the 2020 election and advance unsupported voter fraud claims with the "apparent goal" of keeping himself in power.

CNBC

The problematic ties between homelessness, mental illness and crime

Mental-health issues are a prevalent and ongoing concern in addressing homelessness. That includes how already vulnerable homeless populations are exposed to crime. From Jan. 1-May 31, there were 32 instances of crime reported that involved an unhoused person who was also suffering from mental health issues, according to Los Angeles Police Department data. That is actually down from the 49 reported during the same time last year.

Crosstown

New US intel report warns of more violence by QAnon followers

A new federal intelligence report warns that adherents of QAnon, the conspiracy theory embraced by some in the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol, could target Democrats and other political opponents for more violence as the movement's false prophecies don't come true. Many QAnon followers believe former President Donald Trump was fighting enemies within the so-called "deep state" to expose a cabal of Satan-worshipping cannibals operating a child sex trafficking ring.

AP

USC creating national public police misconduct registry

A law enforcement registry is under creation by a team of University of Southern California scholars that will make officer misconduct information publicly available. Professor Erroll Southers is the co-founder of the Law Enforcement Work Inquiry System, or LEWIS registry, which will compile a number of publicly available data points on officer misconduct.The registry's creators say it will combat trends identified in 2020 research published in the Yale Law Journal which found that terminated officers often travel to other police departments and repeat improper conduct.

The College Fix

Opinion: It's time for Californians to recognize that Prop. 47 criminal justice reform failed

Law enforcement agencies across San Diego County are inundated with property crime reports. But even if the crime victim has a video of the thief stealing a package off a porch or a bicycle from the driveway, not much will be done to apprehend the perpetrator due to a lack of resources and restrictions imposed by Proposition 47. This proposition, approved by voters in 2014, makes it almost impossible to incarcerate shoplifters and thieves.

Times of San Diego

Reporter releases tape of 'corruption,' 'censorship.' Fox Corp boss told Hecker "cease & desist" posting on hydroxychloroquine & 'poor African-Americans' don't care about Bitcoin. "Viewers being deceived"

Project Veritas released a new video today featuring a sit-down interview with recently-suspended Fox 26 reporter, Ivory Hecker, who blew the whistle on her own network for what she says are acts of deception. She claims the station's editorial decisions are an affront to honest journalism.

Project Veritas

Pensions

Civil grand jury: Vacaville needs to address pension liability risk to city's stability

SCOTUS rules asylum applicants must be judged credible before their testimony is deemed credible, no more "magic" words

Vacaville needs to overhaul its pension liability model and establish an "annual contribution schedule to retire the unfunded liabilities over a 10- to 15-year period." That was among six recommendations attached to five findings by the 2020-21 Solano County civil grand jury, which revisited the issue of Vacaville's troubled unfunded pension liability issue after a critical report two years earlier.

Daily Republic

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