Recall Gascon Petition Hits 175k Signatures; Newsom Foiled in Diverting DUI Cases from Possible Jail Time; Prison Guard Union Donates Big to Newsom Recall Campaign and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo
Democrat House wants to add 203 new judgeships; Homeless man arrested 3 times in 3 days while out on zero bail; LAPD officer tased by Ventura County sheriff's deputies
August 13, 2021
Courts & Rulings
Judge halts Newsom's planned closure of Northern California prison
A Lassen County judge this week granted the city of Susanville a temporary restraining order halting the state's work to close a Northern Californian prison that employs about 1,000 people. Superior Court Judge Mark Nareau found Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration did not comply with requirements cited in the California Penal Code when it announced plans in April to close the California Correctional Center.
Murderer's imprisonment for 48 years-plus was excessive
Confining a first-degree murderer in prison for nearly 49 years constituted cruel and unusual punishment, Div. Two of the First District Court of Appeal has held, granting a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, even though the convict has already been released on parole. He remains in "constructive custody," by virtue of being on parole, the panel said, in explaining why his petition is not moot.
All Los Angeles Superior Court employees will be required to get vaccinated under new mandatory policy
The largest trial court in the nation will require its 4,600 employees to get vaccinated as a condition of employment no later than 45 days after the Food & Drug Administration gives final approval to at least one COVID-19 vaccine, Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor and Executive Officer/Clerk of Court Sherri R. Carter announced today.
LA Court News Release
Malicious prosecution action may not be based on ringing about contempt proceeding
A malicious prosecution action may not be founded on instituting contempt charges, Div. One of the Fourth District Court of Appeal held Friday, repudiating a contrary view expressed in 1986 by a division in this district. Acting Presiding Justice Richard D. Huffman authored Friday's opinion. It affirms a judgment by San Diego Superior Court Judge Richard E. L. Strauss in favor of the law firm of Metsch & Mason, its two partners, a client of the firm and one of its principals.
Federal judge dismisses gunmaker's suit over New Jersey AG's subpoena
A federal judge won't stand in the way of the New Jersey Attorney General's Office's effort to investigate how gun manufacturer Smith and Wesson marketed its firearms for home defense and personal protection. Last year, hoping to head off a subpoena sought by the New Jersey AG's office, Smith and Wesson turned to the federal courts, arguing its constitutional rights were being infringed: The New Jersey AG's office was hostile to guns and was using the subpoena to get back at the manufacturer, the gun company said.
Courthouse News Service
Ex-judges' suit assailing policy of Cantil-Sakauye restored
The First District Court of Appeal has reinstated an action challenging Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye's new policy against granting to a retired judge more days of service on assignment than would be spent on the bench by someone elected to a six-year term on a superior court, giving the green light to an amending of the complaint to fine-tune a cause of action based on an alleged disparate impact on the elderly.
House bill calls for 203 new district court seats
House lawmakers introduced a bill Friday that would add 203 new district court judgeships spread over 47 judicial districts - far surpassing the judiciary's request earlier this year for 77 new seats across 24 districts. The judiciary's proposal, made by the 26-member Judicial Conference of the United States in March, was taken up by Senate Democrats, who introduced a bill for 77 new district court seats on Thursday.
Courthouse News Service
Diversion is precluded in DUI/alcohol cases
The misdemeanor diversion statute that went into effect on Jan. 1 does not apply to a person charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, the Appellate Division of the Los Angeles Superior Court has held, countermanding a trial court judge and rebuffing a contrary notion expressed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Judge Alex Ricciardulli authored the opinion which was filed July 14, reviewed by Div. One of this district's Court of Appeal which on July 21 determined that transfer of the case to itself was unnecessary, and made public yesterday.
California Supreme Court holds failure to promote claims accrue with employee's 'knowledge' of denied promotion
If an employee is passed over for a promotion due to alleged harassment, does the failure to promote happen when the employer decides to promote someone else or when the successful candidate actually takes on the role? The answer, as the California Supreme Court unanimously held in Pollock v. Tri-Modal Distribution Services, Inc. on July 26, 2021, is neither.
National Law Review
Intuit can't dodge mass arbitration of TurboTax lawsuits
A California appeals court denied an injunction requested by financial software company Intuit to move tens of thousands of arbitration requests made by users of their TurboTax program into small claims court. The company faced several class actions from taxpayers who said they were duped into purchasing a paid version of TurboTax when they were eligible for a free version offered to low-income taxpayers and members of the military.
Courthouse News Service
Court in §1983 action may award damages for decedent's suffering of 'loss of life'
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, yesterday affirmed a $3.6 million component of a $13.2 million award to the family of a man who, like George Floyd, was subjected to a choke hold, screamed for help, gasped for air, and died, holding that California law barring "loss-of-life" damages cannot be applied in a federal civil rights action.
Los Angeles District Attorney
Two deputy D.A.s sue over alleged whistleblower retaliation
Two prosecutors are suing Los Angeles County for whistleblower retaliation, claiming they are being penalized for refusing to adhere to unlawful policies instituted by District Attorney George Gascón. The plaintiffs, in separate actions filed Wednesday, are Head Deputy Shawn Randolph and Assistant Head Deputy Lesley Klein Sonnenberg. Each is represented by Beverly Hills attorney Gregory W. Smith and others in his office.
Facing possible recall, Los Angeles district attorney underwater in latest poll
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon would lose a recall election if it were held today, according to a late July poll commissioned by a group that is trying to make such an outcome possible. By nearly 40 percentage points - 61.4% to 21.5% - voters said they would prefer someone other than Mr. Gascon to serve as the top prosecutor in California's most populous county, the survey conducted by J. Wallin Opinion Research found.
Recall Gascón rally draws residents, law enforcement officials to Central Park
Approximately 150 people gathered in an open field at Central Park on Thursday to call for Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón's recall, with the prosecutor's critics saying that he has "sided with criminals over victims." During the evening, several dignitaries from across the legal system made appearances and speeches in the park, from Sheriff Alex Villanueva to Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami to Santa Clarita City Council members, among others.
SM Council delays discussion on Gascon
July 29, 2021 The City Council did not end up discussing a resolution regarding Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon that had been proposed by Councilmember Phil Brock. The resolution did not go so far as to express no confidence in the DA, as has been done by 24 other area cities. Instead, the resolution asks Gascon to follow state law regarding bail and sentencing of criminal defendants.
Culver City Observer
Manhattan Beach considers using Redondo Beach's homeless court
The Manhattan Beach City Council continues to grapple with a conundrum as it tries to address the city's homeless population. The council has been interested in Redondo Beach's innovative "homeless court" program, which, since it's implementation late last year, has worked with 50 people among its homeless population of 176, and helped 15 people avoid criminal prosecution, and instead transition into homes, with another 20 currently in process.
Easy Reader News
Gascon recall petition hits 175K signatures, cites survey indicating support for recall
While proponents for recalling Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón say they are continuously increasing the number of signatures they have gathered for the petition, anti-recall officials contend the signature drive is still "trailing far behind." Recall supporters also said Wednesday that a July survey shows strong public support for the effort to oust the district attorney from office.
Pomona man charged with murder in fentanyl overdose death of Chino Hills teen
A murder charge has been filed against an 18-year-old Pomona man who allegedly dealt fentanyl to a Chino Hills teen who died after using the powerful synthetic opioid in April, officials said Friday. The case against Brian Anaya-Esquivel, 18, of Pomona, was filed amid a growing number of drug-related deaths across the United States.
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Ex-prosecutor says Riverside County superiors told him to ditch evidence pointing to murder defendant's innocence
He spent his life being a good soldier, but this order he could not follow. Former Riverside County prosecutor Christopher Ross, an ex- Army Green Beret, says he was told to withhold DNA evidence pointing to the innocence of a murder suspect. Court papers indicate former Riverside County homicide prosecutor Christopher Ross was told to bury evidence pointing to the innocence of murder suspect Roger Parker. He did not and was taken off the case.
Orange County Register
Woman accused of killing her children transported from Bakersfield to LA
Lilliana Carrillo, arrested in April on suspicion of carjacking a pickup in Kern, has been transported to Los Angeles to face murder charges in the deaths of her three children. Records show Carrillo was booked into the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood on Thursday. She's held on more than $6 million bail. Kern County Assistant District Attorney Joseph Kinzel said the carjacking case won't proceed until the murder case is over.
Inglewood fired 5 officers who killed a couple on a date in 2016. LA's DA still hasn't made a decision on charges
More than four years. That's how long the L.A. District Attorney's office has been reviewing the controversial 2016 killing of a Black couple by Inglewood police. "I would say that's extraordinarily long and not typical," said former L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley, who served as DA from 2000-2012. "That's a very, very long time," said Vern Pierson, president of the California District Attorneys Association.
Prosecutor is on public defender's payroll, motion says
Slated to come before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Roger Ito this morning is a motion to disqualify the county's Office of District Attorney from continuing to handle habeas corpus proceedings in a case in which a prosecutor is on loan from the Office of Public Defender and - according to the moving party - remains on its payroll. The District Attorney's Office yesterday insisted that it is paying Deputy Public Defender Diana Teran but declined to say when that began.
Local carjacking victim shares frustrations over search for justice
"Give me your keys." The first time Shannon Dave heard the suspect, she thought it was a joke, and didn't recognize the gesture the teen was making toward his waistband. Dave, a mother who'd raised her children in the surrounding neighborhood, was caught off-guard, thinking maybe it was someone playing a joke on her. Her fiance's car was parked on Jakes Way, and she was walking toward Pauline Court, returning to a family gathering with some Tupperware that she'd left in the vehicle.
California homeless man arrested three times in three days because of 'Zero-Dollar' bail, police say
A 23-year-old homeless man was arrested Wednesday for stealing a truck outside a Los Angeles-area police station immediately after being released, making it his third brush with the law in as many days because of a county policy that releases suspects accused of non-violent low-level felonies and misdemeanors without bail. All the arrests occurred in Glendale, located 8 miles from downtown Los Angeles.
Stanislaus Sheriff Dirkse: CA must stop early release of prison inmates
The state of California is putting our community in danger. In the last 14 months the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has released 773 convicted felons early from state prison back into Stanislaus County. Of those inmates, 289 have already been rearrested, some multiple times for a total of 598 rearrests. The first arrest was, on average, four months after their re-release.
Hollywood elites leave a trail of suffering and increased crime in California
In 2014, these Hollywood elites, along with Gavin Newsom, labor unions, and Democrats across California sponsored, funded, and helped pass Proposition 47 - the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, and in 2016, Proposition 57. Prop. 47 was not about making neighborhoods safe. In fact, it did just the opposite, and now we are paying the price. Prop. 47 was about reducing the prison population at all costs, even if it meant putting some of the most dangerous criminals on the street.
Some inmates from Merced County could see reduced sentences under new state program
Merced is of nine California counties chosen to participate in a pilot program that aims to bring justice to people who may be serving excessive prison sentences by returning them home to their community. The California County Resentencing Pilot Program was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom as part of California's 2021 Budget, allocating $18 million to county governments for prosecutor-initiated resentencing.
Former LAPD Chief Bill Bratton discusses how progressive district attorneys are affecting the criminal justice system. (Video)
Los Angeles County/City
L.A. sheriff has 'grave concerns' over death of man fatally shot by deputies
Facing a lawsuit and video from multiple angles of deputies fatally shooting a man holding a knife, embattled Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villaneuva on Friday night said he had "grave concerns" over the death. David Ordaz Jr. was fatally shot by deputies March 14 outside his family's home in East Los Angeles. His family released cellphone video of the incident when it announced its lawsuit against Los Angeles County and four deputies on Thursday.
Former Assistant Sheriff Cecil Rhambo wants the top job in 2022
If you were trying to build a resume to become Los Angeles County Sheriff, it would be hard to beat Cecil Rhambo's credentials. A 33-year department veteran who later became the city manager in his hometown of Compton, Rhambo is now chief of police at LAX. If elected in 2022, he would become LA County's first Black sheriff. "I'm biracial: half Korean and half Black," Rhambo said. "I'm from South Central, from Compton.
Poll: Majority of voters say more police are needed amid rise in crime
A vast majority of voters say more police are needed on the street amid concerns over a rise in violent crime across the country, according to a new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey. Seventy-five percent of respondents said more police are needed on the street while only 25 percent say they do not need more cops on the beat.
Fentanyl overdoses, deaths on rise in Riverside County
More people are taking fentanyl unknowingly as it's mixed with other drugs. Since 2016, there has been an extraordinary increase in fentanyl-related deaths in Riverside County, according to county data. There were 686 overdose deaths in 2020, and 279 were fentanyl-related - an increase from just two in 2016. There have been 158 deaths to date this year where fentanyl was either the primary cause of death or a significant factor, according to data from the Riverside County Coroner.
Palm Springs Desert Sun
LAPD report on Echo Park homeless camp cleanup finds 'room for improvement'
A Los Angeles Police Department report on the Echo Park closure and resulting protests in March found several shortcomings in the department's response, including insufficient tracking of projectile weapons and poor communication with media in the field. The report concluded that the closure and subsequent fallout - which occurred after city officials determined that a homeless encampment in the park had grown out of control, necessitating repairs - might have been avoided if municipal park rangers had prevented the encampment's expansion.
Los Angeles Times
LAPD taking fewer people into custody
In the past year, the Los Angeles Police Department has come under intense scrutiny, as advocates for racial justice demanded it reform the way it interacts with Black, Hispanic and other communities of color. But in one significant way, the LAPD has altered its approach to law enforcement: It is putting fewer people in handcuffs. Though the roots of this change can be traced back a decade, the decline in arrests has accelerated recently.
LAPD officer is tased while resisting arrest on suspicion of battery of his adult son
A Los Angeles police officer was tased by Ventura County sheriff's deputies who were trying to arrest him on suspicion of committing battery on his adult son Saturday. Armando Magana, 46, a training officer in the LAPD's Van Nuys Division, was heavily intoxicated when he violently resisted attempts to arrest him before being tased and taken into custody at his Camarillo home shortly after 6 a.m., said Ventura County Sheriff's Capt. Eric Buschow.
Los Angeles Times
Insurer wants Amazon to pay for solar generator house fire
American Family Mutual Insurance Co. is seeking reimbursement from Amazon for the cost of repairing fire damage at a couple's home caused by a solar generator purchased through the e-commerce platform, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Minnesota Federal Court.
Judge greenlights suit over telemarketing robocalls
A federal judge has denied a New York-based telemarketer's request to toss consumer and privacy claims brought by a vexed member of the national do-not-call registry. Anton A. Ewing, a former nuclear physicist and current financial planner from San Diego says that beginning around January 2017 he began to experience something many Americans have become well acquainted with in the modern era: unwelcome phone calls from a telemarketer.
Courthouse News Service
Zoom settles privacy suit for $85 million
Zoom, the video teleconferencing company that became ubiquitous during the pandemic, has settled a lawsuit related to privacy concerns for $85 million. In the settlement announced Sunday, Zoom did not admit wrongdoing related to the central claims that the company shared the personal information of users with other internet media companies like LinkedIn, Facebook and Google, but agreed it needed to take additional steps to protect user privacy.
Courthouse News Service
Homicide rise continues in major US cities, report says
The number of homicides continues to rise in major American cities following a year that saw a record increase in homicides across the country, according to a report published Thursday by the Council on Criminal Justice. A study of homicides during the first six months of this year in 22 cities showed that the number of murders increased by 16% compared to the same period in 2020 and by 42% compared to the first six months of 2019.
Police cited wife of California prison guard to cover up his illegal fireworks, report says
Two Livingston police officers accused of filing a false report allegedly did so to protect a local correctional officer from getting in trouble with his job at a state prison after using illegal fireworks, according to an incident report obtained by the Sun-Star. Sgt. Wapinder Kang, 34, and Officer Harjinder Singh Heer, 24, were arrested after investigators received information about a July 3 incident concerning a false arrest/citation of a Livingston resident, the Merced County District Attorney's Office said.
George Soros' right-hand man was accused of BDSM assaults in his sex dungeon
As a high-earning money manager - including for the Soros Fund - Howard Rubin seemed to have it all. There was the multi-million-dollar co-op on the Upper East Side, as well as a $9 million waterfront estate in the Hamptons. Rubin and his wife, Mary, were known for their generosity on the city's philanthropy circuit; from 2015 to 2016, the couple gave nearly $500,000 to charitable causes, including the New York Junior League and Hope for a Cure.
New York Post
Mother blames Houston bail reforms for daughter's murder
Challenging a settlement that led to bail reforms in Texas' largest county, a mother filed a federal lawsuit against the county and several judges for instituting the changes she says are to blame for her daughter's murder. On behalf of the estate of her daughter Caitlynne Guajardo, Melanie Infinger sued Harris County, 10 magistrates who set bail at probable-cause hearings and 16 misdemeanor court judges in Houston federal court late Tuesday.
Courthouse News Service
CA's prison-guard union gives $1.75M to Newsom's anti-recall committee after negotiating bonuses and raises
Last month, California's prison guard union struck a deal with Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom's administration that secured $5,000 pandemic bonuses and raises for correctional officers. On Tuesday, it made a $1,750,000 donation to Newsom's anti-recall committee. The filing was publicized on social media by Rob Pyers, research director for the non-partisan California Target Book and an expert in campaign finance.
California state and county youth justice expect major changes
Once the nation's most vast youth prison system, California's Division of Juvenile Justice stopped admissions this month - with the state's highest level offenders headed for starkly different settings. Instead of a cell block monitored by guards, Los Angeles County young people will soon be moved to detention camps, where formerly incarcerated men will mentor them alongside local probation officers.
Congress begins hearing on January 6 Capitol riot
A congressional panel investigating the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol Building began hearings this week, starting with testimony from Capitol police officers who were on scene that day. Televised on several networks, officers shared emotional testimony about being assaulted, tased, struggling to breathe, and more as they sought to prevent rioters from running over the Capitol building.
Post News Group
Huntington Beach man who texted from the Capitol riot arrested
A Southern California man has been arrested in connection with the U.S. Capitol riot after prosecutors said he texted a selfie of himself in the Jan. 6 mob to members of his church group, a newspaper reported. A member of Glenn Allen Brooks' prayer group tipped federal authorities on Jan. 30. after he shared a photo he took of himself standing in a the crowd that had forced its way into the Capitol, according to a sworn statement from an FBI agent.
Jury finds ex-detective guilty of leaking police secrets to Long Beach street gang
A unanimous jury on Tuesday found former Long Beach Police Detective Yvonne Robinson guilty on a conspiracy to obstruct justice charge, nearly eight years after the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office first accused her of leaking confidential information to a member of the Baby Insane Crips street gang.
Long Beach Post
Money laundering expert sentenced for money laundering offences
Money laundering prevention experts were sentenced to probation for money laundering crimes after allowing his company to be used as a £ 850,000 conduit created by investment fraud. Dominique Thorncroft, a former chairman of the British Payment Institutions Association, who worked with lawmakers and regulators to provide money laundering prevention training, was convicted by a jury in June for several financial crimes.
California News Times
West Hollywood man sentenced to over 12 years in prison for real estate fraud scheme that victimized more than 2,000 homeowners
A West Hollywood man was sentenced today to 152 months in federal prison for orchestrating a real estate fraud scheme that victimized more than 2,000 homeowners, involved fraudulent filings that affected the title to properties across the country and caused more than $7 million in losses.
Department of Justice News Release
Animal charity founder pleads no contest to vet malpractice
Marc Ching, the founder of the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, pleaded no contest to a charge of practicing veterinary medicine without a license, City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Tuesday. Ching, who owns a pet food store PetStaurant with locations in Sherman Oaks and Santa Monica, will serve 12 months of summary probation, the maximum allowed by the law.
Los Angeles Patch
Articles of Interest
How James 'Hollywood' Craig hoodwinked Detroit and became the GOP gubernatorial front-runner in Michigan
In March 1991, the nation watched in horror as TV stations looped footage of mostly white Los Angeles police officers savagely beating Rodney King, a Black man. For many minority Angelenos, the incident came as less of a surprise: Frustrated community leaders detailed how the beating represented the culmination of the vicious and terrifying 13-year reign of white Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates, who downplayed it as an aberration.
Detroit Metro Times
Varsity Blues' parents say feds muzzling key witnesses
Four parents set for trial in the "Varsity Blues" college admission scandal accused prosecutors of trying to keep jurors from hearing key evidence, asking a Massachusetts federal judge on Tuesday to toss the case if their witnesses are not granted immunity.
Notes show how hard Trump leaned on DOJ to label election corrupt
A series of handwritten notes published Friday reveal former President Donald Trump actively pressured the top most officials at the Department of Justice to proclaim publicly that the 2020 election results were fraudulent and to "leave the rest" to him and his allies in Congress. Obtained by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, the notes were written by former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue during a phone call with Trump and then acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen on Dec. 27.
Courthouse News Service
Newsom sometimes his own worst enemy
Gov. Gavin Newsom blames right-wing extremists for the drive to recall him, and there's no doubt that they want him gone. However, the recall would not have qualified for the ballot, nor would polling indicate that the issue is in a virtual tie (47% of likely voters in favor, 50% opposed) if only die-hard Trumpies were supportive. The polling by UC Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies indicates that a very sizeable segment of California's voters dislike or distrust Newsom.
Bacon may become scarce in California as new law could make pork harder to find, more expensive
At the beginning of next year, California will begin enforcing an animal welfare proposition approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2018 that requires more space for breeding pigs, egg-laying chickens and veal calves. National veal and egg producers are optimistic they can meet the new standards, but only 4% of hog operations now comply with the new rules.
Third police officer at Capitol riot dies by suicide
An officer with Washington, D.C.'s metro police force who responded to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol has died by suicide, becoming the third officer at the Capitol that day to take their own life in the months since the attack. A fundraiser posted online Sunday in support of Gunther Hashida's family - he leaves behind a wife, three children and a sister - says the Metropolitan Police Department officer passed away Thursday.
Courthouse News Service
Sexual harassment report sheds new light on how CNN's Chris Cuomo advised his brother
State prosecutors shed new light Tuesday on CNN anchor Chris Cuomo's involvement in managing the response to the sexual harassment scandal surrounding his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Chris Cuomo was in the governor's inner circle as they developed talking points and strategies in late February as accusations threatened the three-term governor, according to emails and text messages made public by investigators for New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Facebook shuts out NYU academics' research on political ads
Facebook has shut down the personal accounts of a pair of New York University researchers and shuttered their investigation into misinformation spread through political ads on the social network. Facebook says the researchers violated its terms of service and were involved in unauthorized data collection from its massive network. The academics, however, say the company is attempting to exert control on research that paints it in a negative light.
Hundreds of new California retirees aren't getting their pension checks from UC system
In a record year for retirement, the University of California is lagging in paying pensions for its new retirees, hundreds of whom won't be paid on time - and don't know when they will be paid. Hundreds of newly retired University of California employees aren't getting their pensions and they don't know when they'll start receiving their checks.
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