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

Convicted Double Murderer Walks Out Free Thanks to Gascon; Homicide Victims in LA Nearly All Black and Latino; Man Who Supplied Gun that Killed Chicago PD Ella French Released and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo

Lawyers should turn off Alexa when working from home; Organ donor network wants their embarrassing emails kept private; Hawaiian tourist couple arrested for faked vaccination

 

August 27, 2021

Facebook

Judge throws out attorney Michael Avenatti's defamation lawsuit against Fox News. Smartmatic's lawsuit against the network, however, still moves forward

Courts & Rulings

California Supreme Court rules prison inmates not allowed to have marijuana

The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state's law allowing the use of recreational marijuana does not apply to prison inmates, overturning a 2019 appellate court ruling that allowed prisoners to possess up to 1 ounce of pot. In a 5-2 decision, the state's high court ruled that "it seems unlikely" voters sought to decriminalize possession of marijuana in prisons.

Courthouse News Service

Ninth Circuit judge suggests reexamination of vicarious liability rule in criminal cases

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday upheld the convictions of three men for participating in a series of "smash and grab" jewelry store robberies throughout Southern California which netted about $6 million worth of high-end watches, with the case prompting one member of the three-judge panel to suggest a reexamination by the U.S. Supreme Court of a 1946 decision allowing vicarious liability of one co-conspirator for reasonably foreseeable crimes of a cohort.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

California judge is mad at quick jail releases. He set burglary defendant's bail at $1 million

Frustrated with California's justice system, a Fresno County judge on Friday set a burglary suspect's bail at $1 million to make sure she wouldn't be able to get out of jail easily. The defendant, Ashley Ellis, 28, of Oklahoma, shook her head as Judge Jon Kapetan hiked her bail from the statutory amount of $55,000 to $1 million. Typically, someone charged with murder is given a bail around $1.5 million or above.

Fresno Bee

Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor issues new general order extending certain criminal and juvenile deadlines as Covid surge continues in Los Angeles County

Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor received emergency authority from Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye to help combat and operationalize the impact of the recent COVID-19 surge. Consequently, Presiding Judge Taylor today issued a new General Order extending certain Criminal deadlines by two (2) weeks and certain Juvenile deadlines by four (4) weeks as Los Angeles County continues to experience community spread of COVID-19. A

LA Court News Release

LAPD officer fired for lying loses bid for reinstatement

A man who was fired as a Los Angeles police officer based on allegedly filing a false police report and perjury yesterday lost his bid for reversal of an order denying his bid for a writ of administrative mandamus, with the Court of Appeal for this district holding that proceedings leading to then-Chief Charlie Beck's action were not instituted beyond the permissible time period.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

VanDyke slams Fletcher and visiting jurist over opinion

Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Lawrence VanDyke, in a dissent to an order denying en banc review of a decision by a three-judge panel, excoriated that panel's majority for stuffing its opinion with "an odd and lengthy dicta discussion" taking a "weird" approach, and engaging in a "bizarre and gratuitous frolic" by launching into a discourse on a "made-up issue."

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Calif. Bar to attorneys: Disable Alexa when working from home

Working from home under emergency circumstances isn't an excuse for attorneys to slack off on their ethical obligations. That's the takeaway of a draft opinion from the State Bar of California's Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct released Thursday for public comment. The opinion clarifies that attorneys have the same ethical duties under the California Rules of Professional Conduct when working remotely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic or other disasters as they do when they are in the office.

Reuters

Employee of Fannie Mae is 'public official,' boosting sentence

An employee of Fannie Mae, though it's a private corporation, is a "public official," subject to a sentencing enhancement for wire fraud based on that status, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held Friday, affirming a sentence of six years and four months in prison meted out to a woman who engaged in a multimillion-dollar scheme involving kickbacks from real estate brokers.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Remote hearings assist in Calif. court access, report says

California courts should expand the use of remote proceedings even after the pandemic to improve access, efficiency, and the participation of witnesses and others, according to a report from the state's chief justice. Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye's Workgroup on Post-Pandemic Initiatives voiced strong support for making permanent and even increasing the use of video and other remote court technology implemented during the pandemic, in its first interim report issued Monday.

Law360

Ninth Circuit says robocall ban has broad scope

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held yesterday that the statutory ban on robocalls is not limited to messages that constitute telemarketing. At issue was an interpretation of the scope of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA") which provides, in part: "It shall be unlawful for any person...to make any call (other than a call made for emergency purposes or made with the prior express consent of the called party) using any automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice...to any telephone number assigned to a...cellular telephone service."

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Organ network asks 11th Circuit to keep 'embarrassing' emails secret

An attorney for the United Network for Organ Sharing asked an 11th Circuit panel Thursday to overturn a lower court's order unsealing private emails that came to light as part of a legal battle over a policy for allocating organs to transplant patients. Arguing on behalf of the nonprofit UNOS, attorney Linda Coberly of Winston & Strawn told a three-judge panel of the Atlanta-based appeals court that the move to make the emails public is nothing more than an attempt to "make allegations of bias by trying to embarrass people who specifically disagree with [the plaintiffs] on matters of liver allocation policy."

Courthouse News Service

State judges to receive automatic pay boosts

California judges are receiving a 4.3 percent pay raise, retroactively to July 1, the Judicial Council advised members of the judiciary yesterday. Administrative Director Martin Hoshino forwarded to the state's judges a letter from the California Department of Human Resources ("CalHR"), dated Wednesday, telling of the fiscal year 2021–22 salary increases.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Second Circuit orders tougher sentence for Islamic State supporter

A federal appeals court vacated the sentence of an Islamic State supporter on Wednesday after federal prosecutors argued she got off too easy. Sinmyah Amera Ceasar, a U.S. citizen also known by her online nom de guerre Umm Nutella - Arabic for mother of Nutella - was convicted in 2017 for conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization.

Courthouse News Service

Judge rules Twitter can be sued for failing to take down child porn videos

A law signed by former President Donald Trump has opened the door to potentially hold Twitter liable for allowing child pornography to circulate on its platform, a federal judge ruled Thursday. In 2018, Trump signed the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), which carved out an exception to a 1996 law that shields internet platforms from lawsuits over content posted by their users.

Courthouse News Service

C.A. orders remand for second time in case where Faretta right was denied mid-trial

A man who tried to steal a bicycle in 2016 was convicted of attempted robbery, but in 2018 gained a conditional reversal because the judge had denied as untimely a mid-trial motion to represent himself, has now won another conditional reversal because, on remand, he was allowed to argue why he should be allowed to act as his own lawyer without a knowing and voluntary waiver of the right to counsel being obtained.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Los Angeles District Attorney

Palmdale: No confidence in Gascón

The City Council joined more than two dozen other cities in registering a vote of no confidence in Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón on Tuesday. The approval of the resolution stating the Council had no confidence in Gascón was a 4-1 vote, with Councilmember Juan Carrillo casting the lone dissenting vote. The Council a month ago discussed the impact of Gascón's policies on the City and asked staff to bring back a vote of no confidence resolution for the Council to consider.

Antelope Valley Press

Murderer from Hacienda Heights goes free after DA refuses to move case

A convicted double murderer from Hacienda Heights is about to walk out of prison over a technicality. In April of 2006, along a flood canal near Hacienda Blvd and Colima, 17-year-old Chris Murray and his buddies, who were armed, confronted 15-year-old Christopher Trevizo and 17-year-old Demetrius Flores over a marijuana deal gone bad - Flores' 17-year-old twin brother Damon was also there.

KFI 640AM

Prosecutors

Hundreds of cases are being reviewed after police officers involved were relieved of duty over racist and anti-Semitic messages

Two former officers with the Torrance Police Department were charged Thursday with vandalism for allegedly spray-painting an impounded vehicle with a swastika, authorities said. In addition, Torrance Police Chief Jeremiah Hart said that he has relieved 13 other officers of their duty because of an ongoing investigation into messages that he characterized as "racism and hatred."

CNN

Prosecutor exposes lies, questions Durst's credibility

Robert Durst said he deeply regretted telling his life story to filmmakers in hopes of restoring his reputation. If a Los Angeles prosecutor keeps exposing lies Durst told over the years, the New York real estate heir on trial for murder may wish he hadn't taken a chance to appeal directly to jurors in his bid for acquittal.

AP

Compton city councilmember charged with conspiracy to commit election fraud

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced Friday that a Compton city councilmember and five others have been accused of obtaining fraudulent votes in a local election earlier this year. That election was ultimately decided by a single vote. Isaac Galvan, 34, was one of six people arrested Friday and charged with felony conspiracy to commit election fraud connected to a June 2021 city council runoff race, according to a criminal complaint filed by Gascón's office.

KNX 1070 Newsradio

Defendant in Orange mass shooting still under evaluation for competency

An Orange County Superior Court judge Friday granted prosecutors additional access to medical records of the man charged with killing four people in a mass shooting in Orange because the defendant was injured in a conflict with police. Defense attorneys for Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez, 44, objected, arguing that any access to some of the records might give prosecutors "a leg up" on any possible mental health defense down the line.

City News Service

DA: Man murdered girlfriend, tried killing their 4 children when he crashed his SUV into oncoming traffic

A man is facing several charges after officials say he murdered his girlfriend and tried killing their four children when he crashed his vehicle into oncoming traffic in California last week. Cesar Iban Torres, 31, is slated to be arraigned Tuesday on one count of murder, four counts each of attempted murder and child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death, and one count each of assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.

WHDH

DA drops felony charges against transgender women involved in Huntington Beach bar fight

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer on Monday, Aug. 16, dropped felony charges against two transgender women who wielded pepper spray and a stun gun at a Huntington Beach bar fight. The charges against Noelle Matthyssen and Karina Valenzuela-Vasquez - who claimed to be victims of a hate crime - were formally dismissed by Superior Court Judge Andre Manssourian because of insufficient evidence.

Orange County Register

OCDA Spitzer says the voters don't want a "woke" DA

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer has announced that his campaign committee has raised $790,000 as of the June 30 reporting deadline. The total collected included donations from 667 individual donors, $416,496.58 more than Spitzer's next closest opponent. The campaign reported $547,373.35 in cash on hand.

California News Times

Policy/Legal

Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor appoints Diversity Inclusion Working Group to reach out to LA County attorneys to help them overcome barriers in the legal profession

Under the leadership and direction of Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor, the nation's largest trial court is proud to announce a comprehensive diversity and inclusion collaboration with legal aid and bar associations to support underrepresented attorneys gain valuable litigation and courtroom experience.

LA Court News Release

DA speaks out against new regulations for parole hearings

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to hold a meeting this week to consider new regulations for parole hearings that would burden crime victims. The CDCR's Board of Parole Hearings is proposing a new policy requiring crime victims to notify the board of their intent to participate in a parole hearing at least 30 days before the hearing date.

Paso Robles Daily News

Riverside Appeals Division opinion clashes with L.A. ruling

A person charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol may be granted diversion, the Riverside Superior Court's Appellate Division has held in a 2-1, reaching a conclusion opposite that set forth in an opinion by the Los Angeles Superior Court Appellate Division. The Riverside opinion was filed July 27 and was posted yesterday after Div. Two of the Fourth District Court of Appeal found that transfer to itself was unnecessary. It comes in three consolidated cases.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Californians consider crime a major issue, new poll finds

A new poll has found that crime is a major issue for residents of the Golden State. In a CBS News poll released Wednesday on crime and crime prevention, 68% of respondents deemed crime a very important issue and 26% called it somewhat important. Only 6% said it was not important. When asked specifically about the areas they live, 50% of respondents said their local police agencies make them feel protected.

CBS LA

Scores of police officers are refusing the COVID vaccine

Significant numbers of police officers across the country are refusing the COVID-19 vaccine, ignoring mandates and leaning on their unions to back them up. Why it matters: The Fraternal Order of Police, a national police union that represents 356,000 officers, estimates that more than 500 officers have died from COVID since the pandemic began.

Axios

Los Angeles County/City

LAPD officer suspended after video shows him punching handcuffed suspect in San Fernando

A Los Angeles Police Department officer has been suspended after a video showed him punching a suspect who was handcuffed to an ambulance gurney, officials said. According to the LAPD, the incident occurred late Saturday afternoon after two suspects were arrested in San Fernando for an alleged carjacking that occurred in the LAPD's Mission area.

ABC7

Can Alejandro Villanueva keep his job?

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alejandro Villanueva thinks he can survive at the ballot box in 2022. But the local Democratic Party establishment that helped elect this law-and-order Democrat in 2018 has turned against him, suggesting an uphill battle. A series of events on June 8 captured his plight.

City Journal

The LAPD used drones just 5 times in a year

The LAPD has been using its drones very sparingly. In the fiscal year that ended June 30, it turned to them just five times, according to a report to the Los Angeles Police Commission. The department did not use drones to monitor last year's protests over the murder of George Floyd, according to the report. Officers may only use drones in a limited and strict set of scenarios: hostage situations, bomb squad responses, shootings and other immediately dangerous incidents.

LAist

Review of accidental fireworks blast in South LA neighborhood due in weeks

The investigative report that's expected to explain how members of an LAPD bomb squad caused a massive explosion on a residential street in South Los Angeles should be completed in the next few weeks, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives had initially said its findings would be ready by the end of August.

NBC4

Crime/Public Safety

Home burglaries on the rise in these traditionally safe California cities

Home burglaries are increasing in Orange County in some of the safest cities in California, police say. Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) spokesman Ryan Anderson said the burglaries are increasing in residential areas that have nearby trails or large open spaces. OCSD suspects burglars are utilizing the trails to enter and exit neighborhoods.

The Epoch Times

Investigation continues into July shooting connected to LASD sergeant

Law enforcement officials on Thursday said Sgt. Joel Nebel of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office was arrested on suspicion of shooting a house in Valencia, but the prosecutor had not yet been charged. Nebel was officially arrested on July 30, three days after being reportedly shot at 7:29 am at block 25400 on Escobar Square, away from Willey Canyon Road.

California News Times

Latino and Black victims account for nearly all of LA's surge in homicides

The surge in homicides in Los Angeles since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has played out almost entirely among Latino and Black victims, according to a Times analysis of Los Angeles Police Department data. The figures reflect wide disparities in public safety across the city, experts say, as well as compounding trauma for communities of color hit hard by past gang violence and devastated at disproportionate rates by the economic and social upheaval of the last 18 months.

Los Angeles Times

LAPD launches new strategy to address skyrocketing crime and gang violence

In South Los Angeles, crime is skyrocketing - a public safety issue that the Los Angeles Police Department is concerned about. Homicides are up 46% within city limits compared to 2019, according to the LAPD, and the department attributes much of the rise in violence to gangs. Michelle Ordaz works at All Peoples Community where most of the clients she helps are low-income minorities who are typically struggling through hard times.

Spectrum News1

Parolee and documented gang member arrested with `ghost gun'

A documented gang member on parole was arrested Monday for allegedly being in possession of a so-called "ghost gun" and ammunition, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department reported. Members of the Coachella Community Action Team conducted a parole compliance check at 8:45 a.m. in the 83-000 block of Avenue 50 in Coachella and took Juan Hernandez, 22, into custody, according to sheriff's Sgt. Mariano Matos.

MyNewsLA

'Easy money': How international scam artists pulled off an epic theft of Covid benefits

In June, the FBI got a warrant to hunt through the Google accounts of Abedemi Rufai, a Nigerian state government official. What they found, they said in a sworn affidavit, was all the ingredients for a "massive" cyberfraud on U.S. government benefits: stolen bank, credit card and tax information of Americans. Money transfers. And emails showing dozens of false unemployment claims in seven states that paid out $350,000.

NBC News

Florida couple arrested after traveling to Hawaii with fake Covid vaccination cards, officials say

A Florida couple was arrested in Hawaii after allegedly presenting fake Covid-19 vaccination cards for themselves and their two children. Enzo Dalmazzo, 43, and Daniela Dalmazzo, 31, were taken into custody Aug. 11, shortly after they arrived in Honolulu. "The screener at the airport when they came through noticed an anomaly about the age of the children and the vaccine," Special Agent Joe Logan with the Hawaii Attorney General's Office told NBC Miami.

NBC News

Venice hit-and-run: Alleged DUI driver, 16, slams into woman pushing infant in stroller

Horrifying video shows a woman pushing a baby in a stroller when they are mowed down by a driver in Venice, later identified by police as a 16-year-old under the influence of drugs. Los Angeles police said the crash happened the morning of Aug. 6 at Speedway and Galleon streets. Video shows a woman pushing a stroller when a car drives straight into them, sending her and the 8-month-old child flying into the air.

ABC7

Husband of child care center operator arrested on suspicion of inappropriate sexual conduct against minors: LAPD

The husband of a licensed child care center operator in Los Angeles was arrested last week after being accused of inappropriate sexual conduct, officials announced Monday. Marco Cruz Ruiz was arrested on Aug. 10 after an investigation found that he allegedly inappropriately touched three adolescent victims at the Ruiz Family Child Care Center between 2005 and 2020, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a news release.

KTLA

Consumer

Federal class-action lawsuit exposes Amazon fraudulent products

After repeatedly ignoring the opportunity to avoid a dangerous and potentially deadly situation, Amazon is again the target of a significant class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court (Crosby/Johnson v. Amazon.com Inc) for misleading consumers and the direct and repeated sales of fraudulent and potentially deadly products.

The Counterfeit Report

Amazon to pay up to $1,000 for injuries from sellers' goods

Amazon.com is offering to compensate customers for injuries caused by goods from its third-party sellers, a guarantee that follows numerous lawsuits seeking to hold the world's largest online retailer responsible for dangerous products purchased from its digital shelves. In a blog post on Amazon's corporate site Tuesday, the company said it would pay shoppers for injury or property damage claims under $1,000, which Amazon says account for more than 80 percent of cases, at no cost to sellers.

Bloomberg News

California/National

San Francisco DA sues ghost gun manufacturers

San Francisco's top prosecutor on Wednesday sued three makers and sellers of "ghost guns," claiming their businesses are flooding California streets with untraceable weapons and violating multiple state and federal laws. "Today we directly take on those who are responsible for bringing these dangerous and unregulated weapons into the streets of San Francisco and throughout the state of California," San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin said in announcing the lawsuit Wednesday.

Courthouse News Service

Chicago police superintendent outraged after judge orders release of man accused of supplying gun used to kill officer

Chicago police Superintendent David Brown late Wednesday issued an angry statement against a federal judge's decision to release the man accused of making a straw purchase of the gun used to kill Chicago police Officer Ella French. Jamel Danzy, who faces federal charges of conspiring to violate firearms laws, was granted a $4,500 appearance bond pending trial, meaning he will not need to pay bail to get out of custody.

Officer.com

UC Safety Plan follows UC Davis reforms

The UC Community Safety Plan published today (Aug. 16) by the UC Office of the President adopts a number of reforms already implemented or well under way at UC Davis, said Joseph Farrow, the UC Davis police chief and coordinator of chiefs for the UC system. The lead reform calls for an independent police accountability board at each campus to promote accountability and communication between the campus community and police.

UC Davis

Convictions/Sentences/Pleas

Career criminal found guilty of attacking police: DA

He has been arrested countless times for robbery, spoofing, drug possession, and car theft, to name just a few. Thursday night, 36-year-old Francis Hume is back behind bars after running for almost 7 months. "We did some good old fashion police work. There were some trees and it led us to their dwelling."

California News Times

Former owner of Roseville gun club sentenced for buying, selling firearms using officers' identities

The former owner of a Roseville gun club was sentenced to four years in prison earlier this month after selling firearms using the identities of multiple peace officers. A release by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California said 51-year-old Joseph John Deaser IV pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and the illegal sale of firearms by a federally licensed firearms dealer back in May 2019.

Fox40 Sacramento

Corrections & Parole

San Quentin suffers new COVID-19 outbreak

San Quentin State Prison is experiencing a new COVID-19 outbreak after four incarcerated men in a cell block tested positive, chief medical executive Alison Pachynski said on Saturday. Earlier in the week, the prison put the Alpine unit of the South block on quarantine after one incarcerated man tested positive for COVID-19. On Friday night, three more followed, for a total of six.

San Francisco Public Press

Parolee pleads guilty to theft of government property for stealing Humvee from Army Reserve Center in Upland

A Pomona man who stole a military Humvee from the Army Reserve Center in Upland and briefly led police on a chase through Pomona's residential streets pleaded guilty today to a federal criminal charge. Armando Garcia, 30, pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government property. At the time of the offense, Garcia was on parole after being convicted in 2019 in state court on theft and burglary charges.

Department of Justice Press Release

Articles of Interest

Major police departments across U.S. face retirements and burnout

Burnout and exhaustion are widespread in police departments big and small across the country, as more officers have retired this year due to anti-police protests, budget cuts and the effects of the pandemic. The Los Angeles Police department was particularly hit hard after budget cuts led to many officers leaving, along with difficulties recruiting and training replacements.

American Police Beat

Judge throws out Avenatti defamation suit against Fox News

A federal judge sided with Fox News on Friday in a $250 million defamation suit brought against it by famous anti-Trump attorney Michael Avenatti. U.S. Circuit Judge Stephanos Bibas - a member of the Third Circuit sitting by designation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware - said in an 11-page ruling that news outlets are not liable for minor mistakes made when reporting on public figures or matters of public concern.

Courthouse News Service

Judge tosses $87 million free-speech lawsuit by San Francisco school board member

A federal judge on Monday found no merit in a First Amendment lawsuit brought by the former vice president of the San Francisco Unified School District board after her ouster over anti-Asian tweets. Alison Collins filed the $87 million-dollar lawsuit in March, claiming the board violated her freedom of speech when members voted her out as vice president and removed her from her committee assignments after tweets surfaced that caught the ire of both parents and board members alike.

Courthouse News Service

Jim Bakker loses fight to block COVID 'cure' investigation

The Eighth Circuit dismissed televangelist Jim Bakker's lawsuit against the Arkansas attorney general and three California prosecutors for allegedly violating his constitutional rights during an ongoing fraud investigation into a coronavirus "cure" he hawked on his television show.

Law360

Privacy suit over Thomson Reuters database advances

A federal judge took a dim view of the constitutionality of a Thomson Reuters database containing peoples' identities for investigative research purposes, pushing forward claims that the database infringes privacy rights. "The harm to plaintiffs is tremendous: an all-encompassing invasion of plaintiffs' privacy, whereby virtually everything about them - including their contact information, partially redacted social security number, criminal history, family history, and even whether they got an abortion, to name just a few - is transmitted to strangers without their knowledge, let alone their consent," U.S. District Judge Edward Chen wrote in a 29-page ruling.

Courthouse News Service

California Supreme Court issues ruling in important peer review case

The California Supreme Court recently issued an important decision that clarifies a physician's ability to challenge peer review hearing officers for impermissible bias. The California Medical Association (CMA) filed an amicus brief in the case, in support of neither party, that sought to provide the court with the appropriate background, procedural understanding, and evidentiary foundation to fashion a robust, clear, and contextualized hearing officer impartiality standard.

California Medical Association

Fox News, Giuliani circle drain in bid to duck defamation suit

The voting-technology company Smartmatic appeared likely Tuesday to advance a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News and Rudy Giuliani for pushing a baseless ballot-rigging conspiracy theory after the 2020 election. Smartmatic's complaint, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, is one of the largest defamation complaints ever filed and, at 285 pages, is the first to target the lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, as well as Fox News and three of the network's prime-time, on-air personalities: Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro, herself a former Westchester County Supreme Court justice.

Courthouse News Service

Once disbarred, civil rights attorney now fights to stop the Newsom recall

Facebook

A judge released on zero bail the man who supplied the gun that killed Chicago police officer Ella French in the line of duty

Less than two years ago, Stephen Yagman was a disbarred Southern California attorney whose career as a sharp-tongued, headline-grabbing civil rights advocate was on ice. Today Yagman is an active lawyer once again, and a key figure in a long-shot lawsuit trying to stop the Sept. 14 recall election targeting Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Law.com

Pensions

Appellate court sides with retired fire chief in battle over pension reduction

A state appeals court this week overturned a lower court ruling, paving the way for a retired fire chief in the East Bay to recoup close to $1.5 million stripped from his pension by an organization that provides retirement benefits for county employees. The Contra Costa County Employees' Retirement Association board had alleged that former Moraga-Orinda Fire District Chief Peter Nowicki improperly calculated his pension prior to his retirement from the district.

CBS & Bay City News Service

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