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

OC School Board Ordered to Put Masks on Kids; Palmdale to Prosecute Their Own Misdemeanors Since Gascon Won't; 2 Judges Order Defendants to Get Vaccinated and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo

Defendant's apology is changed into an accusation by court translator; LAPD short 296 officers; Eavesdropping from 100 feet away

 

September 4, 2021

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Tyler Skaggs, the Angels pitcher who died of a drug overdose in 2019, was only one of 5 other MLB players getting drugs from Eric Kay, according to prosecutors

California Supreme Court rejects attempt to make it harder to impose death penalty

California's top court rejected an attempt to make it harder to impose the death penalty, ruling Thursday in favor of the current system where jurors need not unanimously agree on aggravating factors used to justify the punishment. Jurors already must unanimously agree to impose a death sentence, and to do so must decide that aggravating factors outweigh mitigating circumstances.

AP--Judge has immunity even if he authorized excessive force

U.S. District Court Judge Otis Wright II is shielded by judicial immunity even if he commissioned marshal's deputies to apply excessive force on attorney Caree Harper, as she claims, after he ordered her jailed based on his finding that she was in civil contempt, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held. Its memorandum opinion was filed Thursday.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

California Supreme Court overturns murder conviction of death row prisoner

The California Supreme Court has overturned the double murder conviction of a death row prisoner because the trial judge failed to determine the man's mental competency. The ruling means Edward Wycoff could be retried on charges he killed his sister, Julie Wycoff Rogers, and her husband, Paul Rogers, in 2006 at their home in El Cerrito, Calif. Contra Costa County, though, must first find Wycoff competent to stand trial.

UPI

Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor extends general order for certain criminal matters an additional two weeks as covid cases remain high in Los Angeles County

Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor today announced an amended General Order extending deadlines for certain Criminal matters by an additional two (2) weeks under the authority previously granted earlier this month by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye. The amended General Order extends deadlines for applicable cases - set to expire on August 27, 2021 - until September 11, 2021, as transmission of the Delta variant remains high in Los Angeles County.

LA Court News Release

Former LAPD rookie officer's murder conviction upheld for off-duty shooting

A state appeals court panel Thursday upheld a former rookie Los Angeles police officer's murder conviction for gunning down a man while off-duty outside a Pomona bar in 2015. The three-justice panel from California's 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense's contention that there were errors in Henry Solis' trial. Solis, now 34, was convicted in February 2020 of second-degree murder for the March 13, 2015, shooting of 23-year-old Salome Rodriguez Jr., along with a gun discharge allegation.

MyNewsLA

DA commander fighting ouster wins another round as state Supreme Court declines review

The state Supreme Court has refused to review an appeals court's decision that found Ventura County officials illegally disclosed personnel records of fired investigative commander Tracy Towner. The high court's denial Wednesday came four months after the 2nd District Court of Appeal faulted county officials for releasing disciplinary notices and an excerpt from a consultant's investigation related to Towner's disputed firing.

Ventura County Star

California judges push back on double-murder convict Daniel Marsh's appeal to be released next year

An attorney for Daniel Marsh - the defendant convicted of brutally killing an elderly couple when he was 15 years old - argued in California's Third District Court of Appeals on Wednesday that Marsh should be released from prison next year under a state law that would make him eligible at age 25. That law is SB 1391, which took effect in 2019. It prohibits 14- and 15-year-olds from being tried as adults.

Fox News

2nd Circ. says two evidence-fabrication suits can proceed

A Second Circuit panel ruled Friday that two former criminal defendants could sue police officers for fabricating evidence used against them in court without having to demonstrate absolute innocence in their underlying cases, reversing two district courts' decisions.The three-judge panel said two separate civil suits brought by two New Yorkers, Andrew Smalls and Deshawn Daniel, against officers of the New York Police Department and the City of New York can proceed and remanded the cases.

Law360

California court rejects calls to retry case of woman helped a gang kidnap two men in San Diego

A 31-year-old woman convicted for her role in the 2007 kidnappings of two men linked to a Mexican cartel will continue to serve a life prison sentence after a California court rejected her appeal. Lawyers on behalf of Nancy Mendoza filed a habeas corpus claim in June and called for a new trial due to the ineffectiveness of her former team of attorneys during her August 2013 court hearing in which she was sentenced to life in jail without the possibility of parole.

Daily Mail

California Supreme Court rejects Orange County Board of Education's mask lawsuit

The California Supreme Court has rejected a request by the Orange County Board of Education to block students from being required to wear face coverings in school according to court records. The state's high court on Wednesday rejected the request filed by board's pro bono law firm Aug. 10. "I am surprised it was that quick to be honest with you,'' Orange County Board of Education member Tim Shaw told City News Service.

City News Service

Granting compassionate release for father not a basis for releasing co-defendant son

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the District Court's denial of a motion by an inmate for compassionate release based on the COVID-19 epidemic, spurning his contention that's it's only fair to let him go free because his co-defendant/father, who received the same sentence as he, was allowed to go home early.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Judge rules California's gig worker law is unconstitutional

A California Superior Court judge ruled Friday evening that a 2020 ballot measure that considered gig workers as independent contractors with limited benefits is unconstitutional. The movement behind Proposition 22 was supported by gig economy companies such as Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, who spent more than $200 million to promote the ballot initiative which passed last November.

Courthouse News Service

California's top court overturns death penalty for mentally ill man

The California Supreme Court on Monday overturned the death penalty for a man who was allowed to act as his own lawyer after a court-appointed expert found him too disabled to even stand trial. In a unanimous decision, the state's highest court overturned the capital verdict and sentence of Edward M. Wycoff, condemned for the 2006 killings of his sister Julie Rogers, 47, and brother-in-law Paul Rogers, 48, at their home in the Contra Costa County city of El Cerrito.

Los Angeles Times

Non-english speakers find justice can be lost in translation

A defendant who a prosecutor insists has shown no remorse for a shooting apologizes to the victim in Spanish in a Richmond, Virginia, court, but his interpreter mistakenly tells the judge he wants an apology from the victim. An Amharic-speaking woman describes the domestic violence she faced in a New York court, but her interpreter alters her testimony, possibly because he is uncomfortable with its graphic nature.

Law360

Federal judge halts Biden deportation policies

Siding with Texas and Louisiana, a federal judge ruled Thursday the Biden administration's new policies limiting deportations violate standards set by Congress. In the latest blow to President Joe Biden's immigration policies, U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton in Texas agreed with the two states in finding the Department of Homeland Security is unlawfully allowing some immigrants to go free when it should be deporting them due to their criminal records.

Courthouse News Service

U.S. Supreme Court requires Biden to revive Trump-era 'remain in Mexico' immigration policy

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday denied President Joe Biden's bid to rescind an immigration policy implemented by his predecessor, Donald Trump, that forced thousands of asylum seekers to stay in Mexico awaiting U.S. hearings. The court, with three liberal justices dissenting, rejected the Biden administration's effort to block a Texas-based judge's ruling requiring the government to revive Trump's "remain in Mexico" policy, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program.

Reuters

2 New York judges ordered defendants to get vaccinated. Can they do that?

The defendant was charged with a number of minor crimes, including drug possession and shoplifting. He was prepared to plead guilty, and prosecutors agreed. But a Bronx judge approving the deal added his own unusual condition. The defendant had to get a COVID-19 vaccine. A week later, a Manhattan judge made the same order, this time of a woman seeking bail before a trial.

New York Times

Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor: Court will provide LA Court Connect free of charge during Delta variant surge using one-time covid state budget funding for backlogs

Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor today announced the Court will waive the $15 cost recovery fee for all hearings beginning Tuesday, September 7 for LACourtConnect (LACC), its remote courtroom appearance technology. The Court has elected to devote some of the one-time state budget funds provided by the Legislature for COVID-related backlogs to cover the cost of LACC for all litigants to encourage the use of remote appearances, which will greatly assist the Court in addressing its backlog of pending cases.

LA Court News Release

National eviction ban has been struck down. What renters need to know

Millions of Americans who remain behind on their rent could now be at risk of being pushed out of their homes after the Supreme Court rejected the Biden administration's most recent eviction ban. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced its new eviction ban at the start of this month, a few days after its previous moratorium had expired.

CNBC

Los Angeles District Attorney

Mother of murdered son pleads to recall Los Angeles County DA George Gascon: 'I am begging'

The policies of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon have walked him right into the danger zone of a recall as city residents fight for a fair and balanced justice system. Desiree Andrade, whose son was brutally murdered in 2018, organized the "Recall George Gascon" movement after the DA's policies allowed her son's killers to have their sentences reduced.

Fox News

DA rejecting most drug cases, city says

More than 90% of narcotics involved cases taken to the District Attorney's Office this year have been rejected, according to a report made at Tuesday night's City Council meeting. At its meeting this week, the City Council was given insight as to how the city has fared under the controversial directives of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon, who was elected last year. According to the report - which was presented by Police Captain Leslie Murray - Downey has seen the most impact when it comes to misdemeanor cases.

The Downey Patriot

Gascón policies discussed at council meeting

On Tuesday night, the Glendale City Council took up two hefty issues for relatively long discussions. The council extensively debated a report from the police department critical of several policy directives issued by newly elected District Attorney George Gascon. Specifically, Glendale Police Chief Carl Povilaitis and Captain Robert Williams reported on the negative impact of three of the DA's new edicts, noting a "slight uptick in the crime rate" in the city (overall crime is up 3%, violent crime up 13%, grand thefts up approximately 50%, they shared), coupled with the ongoing impact of the pandemic in delaying the courts in processing a backlog of cases.

Crescenta Valley Weekly

Cash bail issue the key to state's second-biggest recall

Just in case George Gascon, the embattled district attorney of Los Angeles County, wonders why recall fever has made him the No. 2 target among California officials, he need look no farther than cash bail. No, Gascon did not order his almost 1,000 deputies to stop seeking cash bail for all defendants. Rather, he ordered them not to try for it on those accused of misdemeanors, "non-serious" felonies or nonviolent felonies.

Napa Valley Register

Palmdale looks at prosecuting misdemeanors

The City Council agreed to start the process to conduct a feasibility study to have the City Attorney's office take on prosecution of a greater number of misdemeanor offenses, as Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has stopped filing charges in many such cases. The Council on Tuesday voted unanimously for the study, which City Attorney Christopher Beck reported is estimated to cost between $65,000 and $75,000, and no more than $85,000.

Antelope Valley Press

Prosecutors

New murders and more MS-13 members added to sprawling case against gang's clique

Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have expanded a case brought two years ago against the MS-13 gang, charging nine additional members with crimes and accusing the gang of four new murders. A grand jury indictment returned earlier this month and unsealed Tuesday charges a total of 31 alleged members and associates of MS-13 with a decade-long string of crimes, including 11 killings.

Los Angeles Times

Attacks on transgender women expose MS-13 gang's grip on MacArthur Park

Night settled on a woman sitting alone on a bench in MacArthur Park. Three people moved toward her. One locked an arm around the woman's throat as the others pulled out knives and began to stab her. The attack in October marked the second time in weeks that a transgender woman had been stabbed nearly to death in the Los Angeles park by members of MS-13, a street gang that considers the park the heart of its territory.

Los Angeles Times

Arraignment set for two sheriff's deputies accused of filing false report

Two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies are scheduled to be arraigned today on charges of filing a false report that prosecutors contend covered up one of the deputies allegedly using excessive force during a September 2018 arrest. Woodrow Kim, 39, and Jonathan Miramontes, 30, were charged Wednesday. Kim was charged with one felony count each of filing a false report and assault under the color of authority, while Miramontes was accused of one felony count of filing a false report.

City News Service

Porn star Ron Jeremy indicted on more than 30 sexual assault charges, LA County prosecutors say

Adult film star Ron Jeremy has been indicted on more than 30 sexual assault counts involving 21 victims dating back more than twenty years, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office announced. Jeremy is accused of sexually assaulting more than 20 women over a 23-year span dating back to 1996, the DA's office said. The victims range in age from 15 to 51. A 17-year-old was raped at a Woodland Hills home in 2008, prosecutors contend.

ABC7

Accused killer of Whittier police officer goes on trial 4 1/2 years after shooting

Four and a half years after Whittier Officer Keith Boyer was killed during a shootout, suspect Michael Christopher Mejia of Los Angeles is headed to trial in Norwalk Superior Court. Jury selection began Thursday, Aug. 19 and opening arguments are expected Monday. Many Whittier residents, who grieved and took part in a vigil following the shooting, have been anticipating the trial, said David Gonzalez, a longtime Whittier resident and chairman of the Whittier Homeless Consortium.

Whittier Daily News

No liability based on not locking up gun that was stolen

The U.S. government cannot be held liable, under California law, for the wrongful death of a woman who was fatally struck by a bullet from a gun fired either accidentally or purposelessly by a man who had just found the weapon by a park bench on which he was seated, rejecting the theory that a federal ranger was negligent in having left the gun, loaded, in a backpack in an unattended vehicle from which it was stolen four days earlier.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Ex-Angels employee allegedly supplied drugs to 5 players including Tyler Skaggs

A former Angels employee facing trial in connection with the 2019 fatal overdose of pitcher Tyler Skaggs may have also supplied illegal drugs to at least five other Major League players, according to court documents filed by federal prosecutors. The documents, which were filed Friday, outline the intention of federal prosecutors to present testimony from at least five Major League Baseball players who allege they received oxycodone from former Angels public relations director Eric Kay, according to the Los Angeles Times.

City News Service

Iraq War veteran denied competency hearing on Capitol riot charges

A federal judge denied a competency hearing Thursday for a two-time Iraq veteran whose criminal history of illegal weapons, drugs, theft and arson predates his turn in the riot at the U.S. Capitol. Landon Copeland, 33, was arrested and charged after an acquaintance of his in southern Utah identified Copeland and Copeland's girlfriend in footage from the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Courthouse News Service

2 California men arrested for assaulting law enforcement during Capitol breach

Two men from Southern California were arrested and charged with federal offenses related to their alleged assault of law enforcement during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Both men made their first court appearance Thursday in the U.S. Central District of California, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, which is prosecuting the case with the counterterrorism section of the Justice Department's National Security Division.

Courthouse News Service

Mental health online: Police posts of crises may traumatize

The videos are difficult to watch. In one, a man dangles over the edge of an Oklahoma City overpass, his legs swinging in midair as police grab his arms and pull him from the brink. In another, a woman hangs high above the Los Angeles Harbor as a half-dozen officers drag her, head-first, up the side of the bridge. The panicked voices of cops cry out, "We got you, we got you!" just before they pin her to the ground and pull out handcuffs.

SF Gate

Policy/Legal

DA Anne Marie Schubert exposes violent early prison release REOFFENDERS

In 2015, Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert began opposing and publicizing the early release of so-called "non-violent second-strike felons." Under California law, "non-violent" felonies include domestic violence, rape of an unconscious person, human trafficking, and assault with a deadly weapon. "Second strike" refers to an inmate who was previously convicted of a serious or violent felony.

Sacramento County District Attorney Press Release

The unexpected player in California criminal justice reform: The DA

In recent years, California has been at the forefront of criminal justice reform. Over the last decade, we have enacted a series of legislative changes: reforming the overly punitive three-strikes law, removing the possibility of prison for certain low-level offenses, and granting judges the discretion to strike firearm use and prior felony conviction enhancements.

Bloomberg Law

DAs, crime victims sue to stop early release of violent prison inmates

Some California district attorneys at a Wednesday press conference in Sacramento welcomed crime victims who have joined a lawsuit to stop what they believe is the early release of serious and violent felons from prisons. Organized by Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, the 50-minute press conference, in-person and via Zoom, began with her citing a just-released CBS news poll showing that nearly 70 percent of respondents said crime was "a very important issue" and 26 percent called it "somewhat important."

Vacaville Reporter

LAX-based employees don't get pay for security waits

A business operating at Los Angeles International Airport is not required, under California's Labor Code, to pay employees for the time they spend going through security checks, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has decided. Ruling in a diversity action - initially filed in Los Angeles Superior Court and removed by the defendant, Host International, Inc., to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California - a three-judge panel on Wednesday held in a memorandum opinion that the complaint in a putative class action failed to allege any cognizable claims.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Has the criminal justice pendulum swung too far?

California was once tough on crime. If you violated the law, it meant jail time. There were real consequences to criminal behavior. If you broke the law, there was a punishment. If you broke the law and used in gun or beat the victim or belonged to a criminal gang, you would spend more time in jail. Like everything else in California, the attitude of elected officials and Hollywood elites has put the right of the criminals above the victim's rights.

California Globe

Los Angeles County/City

Coronavirus pandemic blamed as key factor in LA's spiking homicide rate

The number of homicides reported in Los Angeles each year were at historic lows for at least a decade before COVID-19 started to spread across the U.S. Then the number of killings spiked in 2020 and continued to climb through the first half of 2021, records show. In 2019, the homicide rate was one of the lowest recorded in the city since the 1960s, said Officer Norma Eisenman, a Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman.

Orange County Register

LAPD is short about 300 officers but the chief hopes to fill the gap

The Los Angeles Police Department has 296 empty officer positions and almost 500 fewer officers on duty than it did this time last year, according to LAPD reports. The shortage signals the department's officer-retention and budgeting woes in addition to the challenges of the pandemic and the 2020 uprisings after the murder of George Floyd when thousands locally took to the streets to call for reform, defunding police departments, and finding public-safety alternatives to policing.

San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Artist inked 'Banditos' tattoo months after sheriff banned deputy cliques

A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy received an alleged "Banditos" tattoo six months after a new policy banned cliques in the department, according to the tattoo artist who inked it. Sheriff Alex Villanueva instituted a policy banning deputy cliques in February 2020 after investigating a fight among East LA sheriff's deputies at Kennedy Hall that resulted in the termination of four employees and the discipline of 22 others.

Spectrum News1

Three off-duty LAPD officers arrested in unrelated incidents

Three off-duty LAPD officers were arrested in the last week in unrelated incidents in Long Beach, Corona, and Anaheim, jail records and officials confirmed Monday. The Long Beach Police Department says it booked LAPD Sgt. Carey Coco on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon August 18 after Coco allegedly pointed a gun at a man outside a business on East Stearns St.

NBC4

LAFD Captain calls vaccine mandate 'tyranny,' prompting internal investigation

A Los Angeles city fire captain is under investigation after a video posted on social media showed him calling the city's vaccine mandate a "tyranny." "I am so hopping mad right now, you have no idea my head could pop," Los Angeles Fire Department captain Christian Granucci said in the video. Granucci's comments on the social media app Telegram come days after Los Angeles City Council voted in favor of requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all city employees, which includes LAFD staff, except for those who have medical or religious exemptions.

Fox11

Crime/Public Safety

Booming black market for fake COVID-19 vaccination cards is going mainstream

Fake COVID-19 vaccination cards are easy to acquire for anyone with a smartphone. Although counterfeits have long been accessible on the dark web, until now they've only been available to those willing to install complicated encryption software to make transactions on shady markets. Today, phony vaccination cards are easy to find and cheap to acquire for anyone with a Telegram messaging app account and a little cryptocurrency.

CBS News

Former San Clemente insurance agent arrested for allegedly stealing $1.2 million from elderly consumers

Formerly licensed insurance agent Robert Stoddard, 66, of San Clemente, was arrested after a Department of Insurance investigation found he allegedly stole over $1.2 million from more than 20 victims, including 14 seniors. He is being charged with 51 felony counts of grand theft, elder abuse, money laundering, securities violations and aggravated white-collar crime enhancements.

California Department of Insurance

Why crime has spiked

Throughout the last decade, Governor Gavin Newsom and his predecessor effectively nullified laws that were passed to get tough on crime and to make us safer. Three strikes laws have been gutted, truth in sentencing has been eliminated and certain crimes have been downgraded and recategorized. Newsom offered early release to 76,000 existing prisoners, including 63,000 serving time for violent crime and at least 20,000 prisoners serving life sentences.

Coastal View

Police kill active shooter at Redondo Beach Pier after 2 people wounded

Redondo Beach police shot and killed a gunman suspected of wounding two people at the Redondo Beach Pier, and authorities Thursday morning reported the wounded victims were in stable condition at a hospital. Redondo Beach police received a call regarding a gunshot victim and an active shooter in the area of the Horseshoe Pier in the 100 block of West Torrance Boulevard about 8:20 p.m. Wednesday, said Deputy Tracy Koerner of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which was aiding in the investigation.

MyNewsLA

Consumer

How hackers use power LEDs to spy on conversations 100 feet away

If you thought hackers being able to make use of any ordinary light bulb to spy on your conversations from 80 feet away was ingenious, wait until you see what they have come up with now. Security researchers from the cyber unit at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel have a good track record of leftfield thinking regarding eavesdropping on your conversations.

Forbes

California/National

Bakersfield police to overhaul use-of-force guidelines to settle civil rights suit by California

Settling a civil rights investigation brought by the California Department of Justice, the city of Bakersfield and its police department agreed Monday to update use-of-force guidelines and implement a sweeping range of training policies. Under the five-year plan the department will stop using Tasers on handcuffed people, limit officers' ability to restrain subjects face down and require any use of force above standard handcuffing to be reported.

Courthouse News Service

Capitol Police officers sue Trump and extremist groups over Capitol riot

A group of seven U.S. Capitol Police officers sued Trump and a slew of far-right extremist organizations and political organizers on Thursday over the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, in the most comprehensive and expansive lawsuit filed regarding the riot thus far. The officers claim Trump, the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, Trump ally Roger Stone and others conspired to use violence to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden as the winner of the 2021 presidential election, and that Trump worked with these organizations and political organizers to promote the baseless claim that the election was stolen.

Courthouse News Service

Indio's Hunter Lopez, son of couple in Riverside County Sheriff's department, killed in Afghanistan

A Coachella Valley man was among the 13 U.S. service members killed during two bomb attacks near the international airport in Kabul Thursday, according to the Riverside Sheriff's Association. U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, was from a family with deep roots in the Coachella Valley. He is the son of two Riverside County Sheriff's Department employees. Capt. Herman Lopez, who commands the Coachella Valley's Thermal sheriff station, has worked for the department since 1997.

Palm Springs Desert Sun

Convictions/Sentences/Pleas

Former Long Beach police detective sentenced to 2-year probation for leaking information to street gang

Former Long Beach police detective Yvonne Robinson was sentenced on Wednesday to two years probation for leaking confidential police information to a known gang member. The 13-year police veteran listened in court on Wednesday as she was told the felony conviction against her would stand, solidifying the fact that her career in law enforcement is over.

Long Beach Post

Disbarred lawyer found guilty of multiple felonies for stealing client settlement money and cheating on federal income taxes

A disbarred personal-injury lawyer was found guilty by a federal jury today of 22 felonies for stealing the majority of a multimillion-dollar settlement that should have been paid to a car accident victim, as well as cheating on his federal income taxes. Philip James Layfield, a.k.a. "Philip Samuel Pesin," 48, of Las Vegas and formerly of Coto de Caza, was found guilty of 19 counts of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, one count of tax evasion, one count of failure to collect and pay over payroll taxes, and one misdemeanor charge of failure to file a tax return.

Department of Justice Press Release

Jury finds ex-con guilty in crime spree that left one dead

An ex-con was convicted Tuesday of taking part in a violent crime spree that included a motorist being fatally shot in Panorama City and a wrong-way freeway crash in which a woman and her three children were injured in Sun Valley. The downtown Los Angeles jury deliberated about two days before finding Artyom Gasparyan, 37, guilty of more than 30 counts, including a first-degree murder charge stemming from the Dec. 30, 2015, killing of Adan Corea, a 32-year-old father of two who lost control of his vehicle after being shot.

MyNewsLA

Six Southern California companies convicted of scheming to avoid payment of $1.8 billion in duties on imported Chinese aluminum

A federal jury today found six corporate entities guilty of participating in a wide-ranging conspiracy to defraud the United States via a wire-and-customs fraud scheme in which huge amounts of aluminum - disguised as "pallets" to avoid $1.8 billion in customs duties - were exported to the United States and were "sold" to fraudulently inflate a China-based company's revenues and deceive investors worldwide.

Department of Justice News Release

Capitol rioter is first with 'Three Percenter' group ties to plead guilty

A New Jersey woman became the first person linked to the far-right militia group the Three Percenters to plead guilty to charges stemming from the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Rasha Abual-Ragheb, 40, is one of seven Capitol rioters who has ties to the Three Percenters - an antigovernment group whose name stems from the inaccurate historical claim that only 3% of American colonists took up arms against British tyranny during the American Revolution.

Courthouse News Service

'Boogaloo' militia member pleads guilty to obstruction in killing of federal officer

One of four militia group members tied to the antigovernment, pro-gun "Boogaloo" movement pleaded guilty Monday to destroying evidence to obstruct an investigation into the fatal shooting of an officer at an Oakland courthouse in May 2020. Robert Jesus Blancas, a 34-year-old from Castro Valley, entered his plea during a virtual hearing before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria. Blancas donned a red jumpsuit as he appeared via video link from Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County.

Courthouse News Service

Corrections & Parole

Op-Ed: In assassinating my father, Sirhan committed a crime against America. He must not be released

My father, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was murdered in June 1968 by Sirhan Sirhan in full view of many witnesses, including my mother, some of my father's closest friends and a number of journalists and photographers. There is no question that Sirhan killed my father. On Friday, a two-person panel of the California Board of Parole Hearings determined that Sirhan's request for parole should be approved. I was shocked by this decision. On behalf of my mother and all Americans whose lives were altered by this appalling crime, I condemn this unwarranted recommendation and urge Gov. Gavin Newsom to do the right thing and publicly reject the panel's decision.

Read more from Los Angeles Times

Local families part of lawsuit against CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

For Cindy Craddock-Biletnikoff of Hanford, the pain of losing her great grandfather will never go away. "He was also the most heinous murder in Kings County to date," she said. "Stabbed 63 times and his eyes were taken out." Philip Watts was convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for Harrison's murder. Biletnikoff has joined two crime victims advocacy groups in the lawsuit to halt new opportunities for inmates to earn credit for good behavior.

KFSN

Some California prison workers now required to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Guards, janitors, administrators and other California corrections personnel who don't provide health care services directly but who may be exposed to the coronavirus will now be required to get vaccinated under a new state public health order released this week. The public health order issued Thursday builds upon an earlier order requiring that an estimated 2.2 million healthcare workers in California, whether private or public employees, be fully vaccinated by the end of September.

AP

San Francisco's top prosecutor was 3 when his dad went to prison. Cuomo just granted his father clemency

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin awoke on Monday certain of one thing: The fate of his father, David Gilbert - who was sentenced to 75 years to life in prison for his role in a 1981 robbery that left two police officers and a guard dead - was in New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's hands. In the wake of a sexual harassment scandal, it was Cuomo's last day in office, a time when outgoing governors typically grant commutations.

Washington Post

Notorious Aryan Brotherhood hitman dies on California's death row

A 74-year-old man died of yet-to-be-determined causes while serving a death sentence of two notorious murders that were attributed to his role as a hitman for the Aryan Brotherhood, authorities announced Tuesday. Curtis Floyd Price became the third California death row prisoner to die over the last month.

Bay Area News Group

Articles of Interest

Al Capone's granddaughters are auctioning off his belongings, including his favorite handgun

Notorious gangster Al Capone's granddaughters, who've lived quietly in the Bay Area and Auburn area for decades, are preparing to action off much of their grandfather's personal possessions, including his favorite .45 automatic, hand-tinted photographs with family and "associates," and a letter sent from Alcatraz to his only child, son Sonny.

San Francisco Chronicle

Trump lawyers sanctioned for filing frivolous election lawsuit in Michigan

Attorneys who represented former President Trump during his quest to overturn the 2020 presidential election were hit with sanctions late Wednesday from a Michigan federal judge who did not close the door on additional punishment. Lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood are the most well-known names in a group of lawyers who helped litigate the election in the Wolverine State in order to discredit President Joe Biden and his victory over Trump.

Courthouse News Service

L.A.'s mayoral election is months away. But some are already unhappy with the choices

Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas took much of City Hall by surprise last week, revealing that after months of speculation, he had closed the door on a bid for mayor. The announcement served as a potent reminder that the candidate pool in the June 2022 election remains remarkably thin. With the primary about nine months away, City Atty. Mike Feuer and Councilman Joe Buscaino are still the only major political figures currently running to replace Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Los Angeles Times

Google 'founder' created revenge site against estranged wife

In 2018, Google shirked off its unofficial motto, "Don't be evil." Maybe that was a sign. Scott Hassan, 51, who wrote much of the original code that powers the search giant, is embroiled in a nasty divorce battle that has raged for seven years and involves millions of dollars, claims of treating his children unfairly - and even a shocking online revenge campaign.

New York Post

What we know about the Trevor Bauer case, and what we'll never know

On Thursday, an L.A. Superior Court judge denied a woman's request for a permanent restraining order against Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer. The woman said in her petition for a temporary restraining order, and again on the stand this week at a hearing to make the order permanent, that Bauer had choked her during sex causing her to pass out and she woke up to him assaulting her.

Los Angeles Times

Facebook

US Marine Corps Cpl Hunter Lopez of Indio was the son of two Riverside County Sheriff employees, killed in Kabul by a suicide bomber

California jobless rate steady at 7.6%, but experts say labor market picking up steam

California's unemployment rate remained at 7.6% in July, with employers adding 114,400 payroll jobs. That rate remains above the national 5.4% unemployment rate, according to numbers released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the California Employment Development Department.

Courthouse News Service

Pensions

Largest US pension bet big on Covid-vaccine maker Moderna, Costco stock

The largest U.S. public pension recently made big changes to its investment portfolio. The California Public Employees' Retirement System bought more Moderna, Costco Wholesale, and Carnival stock, and cut its investment in Coca-Cola in the second quarter.

Barron's

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