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

Newsom OKs Shorter Terms for Gang Members; Former SEIU Union Chief Charged with Evading Taxes and Grand Theft; Ghost Guns Used in 24 LA Homicides and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo

14-year-old shoots LAPD officer; County counsel can unilaterally decide constitutionality of a ballot measure; 2020 protests were covertly infiltrated by law enforcement (what good did that do?)

 

October 25, 2021

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Drunk driver who killed the fetus of a 6-months pregnant woman got out of prison early - because he got to earn an associate's degree in prison for free

Courts & Rulings

6th Circuit sides with student-athletes: Western Michigan University's vaccine policy 'burdens their free exercise of religion

A Michigan attorney was preparing to file another lawsuit Friday on behalf of student-athletes who were banned from playing despite religious and medical vaccine exemptions when an appellate court issued a precedential ruling in an identical case. On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit sided with 16 student-athletes at Western Michigan University, allowing them to continue playing intercollegiate sports after the university claimed they weren't allowed to participate because they had not received the coronavirus vaccine.

Daily Report

Approximately 99% of all employees have submitted proof of vaccination or sought a medical or religious exemption as the court's COVID vaccine mandate takes effect

After notifying employees they had 45 days to get fully vaccinated on or before October 7 as a condition of employment, approximately 99% of the nation's largest trial court's employees have provided proof of full vaccination or requested a medical or religious exemption as required under the Court's mandatory vaccination policy - and the number continues to rise hour-by-hour, Executive Officer/Clerk of Court Sherri R. Carter announced today.

LA Court News Release

Two lawsuits seeking religious exemptions to vaccine mandates saw differing outcomes

Judge Valerie Caproni warned her courtroom that anyone whose mask slipped below their nose would be subject to removal by court security, then told a group of New York City educators seeking religious exemptions for the Covid-19 vaccine they were unlikely to succeed on their claims. Ruling from the bench Tuesday, the Southern District of New York judge denied the educators' request for a preliminary injunction, in which they argued comments from New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and the process for obtaining exemptions display a clear animus toward their religious beliefs.

Courthouse News Service

Settlement between victim, culprit is no bar to further criminal restitution order

A man who embezzled from his employer more than $6.3 million, including interest, and settled a civil case by repaying roughly $450,000, with the proviso that the victim would not seek additional sums by way of restitution in a criminal proceeding, must be ordered by the criminal court to restore an additional $5.8 million-plus, under a decision by Div. Two of the Fourth District Court of Appeal.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

C.A. affirms sentence of 396 years to life in prison

The Fifth District Court of Appeal yesterday rejected a child molester's contention that his sentence of 396 years to life in prison constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, spurning the view expressed by the late California Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk in 1998 that a prison term exceeding a human life span is senseless and necessarily violates the Eighth Amendment. Presiding Justice Brad Hill noted that Mosk's concurring opinion in People v. Deloza "been rejected by other courts."

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Judge denies second motion by defense to provide mental health counseling

A motion for mental health diversion for Stevy Galvan was formally denied by Judge Otis Sterling this Tuesday at the Larson Justice Center in Riverside County Superior Court. The judge simply stated he didn't believe Galvan had mental health problems. The defense had previously filed such a motion but Deputy District Attorney Lauren Donovan objected. Galvan's defense team, led by Assistant Public Defender Jeffrey Economides, had filed this second motion with the hope of getting the defendant the treatment they think he requires - to no avail.

The Davis Vanguard

Judge acted arbitrarily in setting ADA attorney-fee award

A District Court judge, in setting an attorney-fee award, acted arbitrarily in disregarding the services of three of five lawyers who represented the plaintff in securing a settlement of his action under the federal Americans With Disabilities Act and the state Unruh Act and by making a 10 percent deduction as a penalty for the law firm inflating its fees, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held yesterday.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

California appellate court overturns fracking ban in Monterey

A California appeals court ruled Tuesday that a Monterey County measure banning oil and gas extraction was preempted by state law, meaning oil and gas companies can continue fracking in the region. "If a local regulation conflicts with a state law, the local regulation exceeds the local entity's power," wrote Justice Franklin Elia on behalf of the unanimous panel in the Sixth Appellate District of the California Court of Appeals.

Courthouse News Service

Draft opinion warns judges about evaluating attorneys' courtroom performances

Judges may be in the best position to critique an attorney's courtroom performance. But they must be careful how and when they offer feedback or they could face professional discipline. Those are the findings of draft guidance released Friday by the California Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions. The public has until Nov. 17 to comment on the proposed opinion. The committee will then decide whether to release the opinion as written, modify it or withdraw it.

The Recorder

County counsel need not process facially invalid initiative

Div. Two of the Fourth District Court of Appeal held Friday that a county counsel is not obliged to come up with a title for a proposed ballot measure and a summary of it where the initiative does not pass constitutional muster. San Bernardino County Counsel Michelle D. Blakemore declined to provide a title and summary for an initiative proposed by Eli G. Whitley, and Whitley, asserting that she had a ministerial duty under Elections Code §9105 to perform that task, filed a petition for a writ of mandate. San Bernardino Superior Court Judge David S. Cohn denied it.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

High court hears debate over civil rights claims for dismissed charges

Justices did not show their hand as to which they were likely to rule during the Supreme Court's hearing Tuesday of a thorny civil rights case from a Brooklyn man who was tackled and handcuffed after a case of diaper rash brought police to his door. The warrantless search happened on Jan. 15, 2014, after a woman called police because she was worried about red marks on her 1-week-old niece's bottom.

Courthouse News Service

Biden's Supreme Court commission signals opposition to adding justices

In new material released today, President Joe Biden's commission on the Supreme Court finds that striking an ideological balance on the court isn't practical and the high-stakes bitter partisan battle playing out on the high court should be a surprise to no one. The preliminary draft materials - which have not yet been reviewed by President Biden - provide an analysis to be used in the commission's final report that is set to release in November.

Courthouse News Service

Los Angeles District Attorney

Prosecutors seek injunction, allege 'cronyism' by Gascón

The union representing Los Angeles County prosecutors filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against District Attorney George Gascón on Thursday, alleging cronyism and appointments to prominent positions for "ineligible political supporters." The petition for a temporary injunction - filed in L.A. County Superior Court by the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for L.A. County - states Gascón appointed L.A. County public defenders Alisa Blair, Tiffiny Blacknell and Shelan Joseph to prominent positions within the county's prosecutorial office soon after his administration was sworn in at the end of last year.

The Signal

Prosecutors decry witness subpoena rule

Prosecutors are expressing frustration at an order from District Attorney George Gascón that prohibits them from compelling witnesses to testify in criminal trials. The order, which was not included in Gascón's publicly issued directives when he took office in December, was conveyed to deputy district attorneys via a private online meeting and email, according to prosecutors and records obtained by The Signal. In his directives published for public view in December, Gascón had prohibited "body attachment" subpoenas for crime victims, but the directive regarding witnesses was not made public.

The Signal

L.A. County district attorney proves he is soft on crime

Michelle Avan, a Los Angeles bank executive, was tortured and beaten to death, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend. He faces murder and first-degree robbery charges that, without so-called special circumstances, would allow him, if convicted, to serve less than 10 years. But L.A. County District Attorney George Gascon refuses to permit any special circumstances charges against the defendant, which would allow a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

TimesNews

Is the next Gascón recall a 'bipartisan fig leaf'?

Another recall? Indeed. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón will be facing a high-profile recall early next year. But already, there's some interesting friction between two camps with the same goal: to oust him from office. Gascón, the progressive prosecutor who won the office with the help of deep-pocketed supporters - New York billionaire George Soros and philanthropist Patty Quillin, wife of Netflix magnate Reed Hastings, to name a few - fought off the last effort to recall him just weeks ago.

Politico

Can justice reform survive in Los Angeles?

Despite a setback this fall, campaigners for the recall of Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón aren't giving up. The widely covered effort to oust Gascón after less than a year in office was seen by many observers as a key episode in the nationwide backlash by law-and-order advocates against the "progressive" prosecutor movement. Organizers of the effort, who failed to gather enough signatures to place it on the ballot ahead of an Oct. 27 submission deadline, say they plan to resume the struggle later this year.

The Crime Report

Prosecutors

Los Angeles City Council member indicted on federal bribery charges

Longtime politician Mark Ridley-Thomas and a former dean at the University of Southern California were indicted Wednesday on federal bribery and corruption charges involving political support for county contracts, prosecutors said. The charges against Ridley-Thomas, 66, a Los Angeles City Council member, stem from his time serving on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. He was indicted with Marilyn Louise Flynn, the former dean of USC's school of social work, on counts of conspiracy, bribery and mail and wire fraud, prosecutors said.

NBC News

Prison gang member and associates charged with murdering inmate in DTLA

A federal grand jury Thursday returned a superseding indictment charging three Pomona-area gang members and prison gang associates with murdering an inmate at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles. The expanded indictment alleges Jose Valencia "Swifty" Gonzalez, 39, Carlos "Popeye" Gonzalez, 38, and Juan "Squeaks" Sanchez, 28, all of Pomona, killed the victim on June 28 last year at the direction of prison gang member Michael "Big Mike" Lerma, 65, also of Pomona, who is also charged with the murder.

MyNewsLA

California union director faces grand theft, perjury charges

Former SEIU California Executive Director Alma Hernández and her husband, Jose Moscoso, are facing 13 felonies in a criminal complaint filed Oct. 4 in Sacramento County Superior Court. Hernandez and her husband, Jose Moscoso, are accused of theft and tax evasion worth about $236,000. The felony charges include grand theft, perjury, filing false income taxes and failing to pay unemployment and disability insurance taxes, according to the complaint.

Sacramento Bee

New York prosecutor to pursue charges against Robert Durst in 1982 disappearance of his first wife Kathie

The Westchester County, New York, district attorney intends to pursue charges against convicted killer and real estate heir Robert Durst in the long-unsolved 1982 disappearance of his first wife, a source confirmed Friday to the Daily News. District Attorney Mimi Rocah has decided to take the case to a grand jury in the 39-year-old investigation as first reported by News 12 Westchester. The source declined to provide any additional information about the case.

New York Daily News

Policy/Legal

Transfer of Inland inmates off death row angers some; others defend program

Sixteen inmates from Riverside and San Bernardino counties have been quietly transferred out of their death row lockups, infuriating the mother of a slain police officer, but the co-author of the voter-approved state law that created the jobs program in which the inmates are enrolled said the initiative appears to be working as intended. The men were moved from San Quentin State Prison to maximum-security units at other prisons where they have more privileges, including additional time out of their cells.

Riverside Press-Enterprise

California eases gang enhanced sentence rules

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday approved limiting prison terms for those associated with street gangs, among several criminal justice bills restricting enhancements that can add years to offenders' sentences. In doing so he followed recommendations from an advisory committee the most populous state created last year to continue reducing criminal penalties in the latest attempt to relax tough-on-crime policies that jammed prisons to the bursting point just a decade ago.

AP

Biden administration to urge Supreme Court to reinstate the death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber

The Biden administration will try to persuade the Supreme Court this week to reinstate the death penalty for convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev by arguing that a jury had no need to examine evidence that the government itself relied on at an earlier phase of the case. Tsarnaev's guilt in the deaths of three people in the shocking bombing near the finish line of the marathon in 2013 is not at issue in the case the justices will hear Wednesday - just whether he should be sentenced to life in prison, or death.

AP

Police face a 'crisis of trust' with Black motorists. One state's surprising policy may help.

In the months after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, public defenders in Virginia saw an opportunity to overhaul policing in the state. Among their key priorities to address racial disparities: a ban on traffic stops for such infractions as broken taillights, tinted windows and the aroma of marijuana. What happened next stunned police officials across Virginia. In just three months, the ban the public defenders pitched to Democratic legislators sailed to the governor's desk and was signed into law.

NBC News

California protects reporters covering protests with new law

California will protect journalists from interference by police while covering civil protests under a bill signed into law Saturday by Gov. Gavin Newsom. It was the second new law within days with free speech implications. The measure says that reporters can be behind police lines in the area of demonstrations, marches or rallies without being cited or arrested. It bars police from "intentionally assaulting, interfering with, or obstructing" their newsgathering.

AP

Los Angeles County/City

'Ghost Guns' used in 24 LA murders in 2021

The LAPD said Friday that so-called "ghost guns" had been used in 24 murders, eight attempted murders, 60 assaults with deadly weapons, and 20 armed robberies so far in 2021, amid a swell in killings, shootings, and street violence most often committed with firearms. A report prepared for the Board of Police Commissioners and the LA City Council said officers had seized 863 such firearms during the first six months of 2021, compared with 813 in all of 2020.

NBC4 Los Angeles

Where Los Angeles' political candidates get 'free money'

On Monday Rob Wilcox, who is running for City Controller, held a "Fall Campaign Kick-Off" fundraiser. The late afternoon event on the outdoor patio of a West L.A. restaurant drew a crowd of enthusiastic supporters who want him to be Los Angeles' next fiscal watchdog. The primary election is in June 2022. Wilcox, who currently is the director of Community Engagement and Outreach for City Attorney Mike Feuer, and who previously served as Deputy Controller under former Controller Laura Chick, was certainly seeking backing from those who could donate $1,500, the maximum individual amount allowed, to his campaign.

Los Angeles Magazine

County renews effort to compel sheriff to abide by OIG subpoena

Los Angeles County is renewing its effort to require Sheriff Alex Villanueva to appear before the Office of Inspector General and answer questions about deputy gangs while under oath and with his testimony transcribed by a court reporter. Harvinder S. Anand, an attorney for the county, filed a petition Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, asking that a judge order Villanueva to accept those conditions and respond to inquiries from Inspector General Max Huntsman.

MyNewsLA

Can Cecil Rhambo establish himself as the reform candidate to beat in the sheriff's race?

In the Los Angeles County Sheriff's race, there's one big question coming into view: Who is going to emerge as the anti-Trump, er, anti-Villanueva candidate? Cecil Rhambo is hoping it's him, and with a major new endorsement from a well-known civil rights attorney and his involvement with the passage of police accountability measures, he's looking to claim the mantle of the reform candidate against a sheriff who once did the same before dramatically changing tack.

Los Angeles Magazine

871 LA firefighters file intent to sue over city's COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Hundreds of firefighters in Los Angeles have filed a notice of intent to sue the city over its public employee vaccine mandate. The notice, filed on Oct. 7, said that the 871 firefighters are seeking $2.5 million each in damages. "The claims will be filed in Superior Court as an unlimited civil case pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure," Kevin McBride, attorney for the firefighters, wrote in the notice.

The Epoch Times

Los Angeles parking tickets tumble

In the month of August, the city of Los Angeles handed out 135,219 parking tickets. That may sound like a lot, particularly when fines routinely run more than $70 each. But it's actually only a few drops in what was once a very large bucket. In June, 150,106 tickets were given out, according to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. And back in January of 2020, before the onset of the pandemic, 210,399 tickets were dispensed in city limits.

Crosstown

Q&A with Mark Stainbrook, new BHPD Chief

After more than a year without a permanent Police Chief, the city of Beverly Hills has announced the appointment of Mark Stainbrook to fill that role. Stainbrook most recently served as the Chief of Police and Vice President of Public Safety for the Port of San Diego. In that role, he oversaw 146 sworn and 32 non-sworn staff with jurisdiction over the San Diego Bay, the San Diego International Airport, and the Tidelands around the Bay.

Beverly Hills Courier

Crime/Public Safety

Bullet shot by 14-year-old grazes back of LAPD officer's head as he drives to work

A Los Angeles Police Department officer on his way to work was shot early Thursday near a police station in the South Los Angeles area by a 14-year-old, according to the department. The shooting happened at 34th Street and Central Avenue as the officer arrived for work in his vehicle, police said. The location is near the LAPD's Newton Division Police Station. The officer, who was transported to a hospital, was conscious and breathing, police said. He suffered a graze wound to the head, police said.

NBC4

Mother arrested for using part of multi-million dollar settlement with police to buy guns for gang

A woman who recently won a $4.9 million settlement for the police killing of her 16-year-old son has been arrested on suspicion of using some of the money to buy guns for her younger son and his fellow gang members, authorities announced Friday. Christina Lopez, 42, of Madera was among 14 people charged in a takedown of a Fresno-area gang allegedly involved in the shooting death of a man in July, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said. The arrests included teenagers as young as 13 and 14 years old.

CBS LA/AP

Man possibly beaten to death by Hawthorne crowd after almost hitting people on sidewalk

The coroner identified a 40-year-old man who died Saturday at the hands of an angry crowd that pulled him from a pickup after he drove at them on a Hawthorne sidewalk and then crashed. Melguin Lopez Santos was a Los Angeles resident, according to the coroner's office. An autopsy was pending to determine the cause of his death. Family members who spoke with NBCLA Sunday asked anyone with information about the altercation to come forward.

City News Service

Recall fever hits Venice as voters target Councilmember Mike Bonin

Election season is starting early on LA's Westside, where the homeless crisis is fueling a recall attempt targeting Councilmember Mike Bonin. Bonin represents Council District 11, which includes Brentwood, Mar Vista, Venice, Westchester and Playa del Rey. "There's no one else to root for, you know, they're saying they don't want Mike in office but there's no alternative," volunteer Anne Freiermuth said as she set up a table outside Ralph's in Marina Del Rey. "It's ridiculous."

Spectrum News1

Downtown Los Angeles Italian Catholic church hit with graffiti (Video)

LAPD is investigating after the St. Peter's Italian Catholic Church in downtown Los Angeles was vandalized Monday morning.

Fox11

California/National

Northern California sheriff sued for sharing license plate data with immigration authorities

Community activists in Northern California sued the Marin County sheriff on Thursday, claiming he illegally shared millions of local drivers' license plates and location data with hundreds of federal and out-of-state agencies. The activists argue in their complaint that since 2014, Sheriff Robert Doyle collected information through a vast network of automated license plate reader cameras peppered across the coastal county northwest of San Francisco Bay.

Courthouse News Service

NYC drug store shelves empty amid shoplifting surge

Thanks to a citywide shoplifting tsunami, bare necessities are now rare luxuries on drug-store shelves across New York City. "It looks like the Third World," bemoaned one Manhattan resident, after eyeing the aisles of a CVS on Sixth Avenue in Soho desperately low of toothpaste, face wash and hand sanitizer, among a long list of other items. "They've all been stolen," a CVS employee told The Post. State bail reform laws make shoplifting a promising career option for some New York City crooks.

New York Post

Portland police respond to 14 shootings in 28 hours

Portland police said they responded to 14 shooting calls in just 28 hours over the weekend. One of them left one person dead and three others were injured. In the East Precinct, five shots fired calls were taken in the span of about 3 hours. At one of the shootings, a sergeant was left to process one of the crime scenes alone. At another crime scene, officers needed the help of community members to block traffic while they looked for and collected evidence.

KPTV

State trooper shot dead while on duty wasn't found for 14 hours: cops

The body of a veteran Louisiana state trooper who was gunned down on duty wasn't found for a "absolutely unacceptable" 14 hours, the department's superintendent revealed Monday. Master Trooper Adam Gaubert, a 19-year member of the force, was working a traffic accident in Ascension Parish after 2:30 a.m. Saturday when he was killed during a string of shootings that also left a woman dead.

New York Post

DEA approved more than 50 requests for covert surveillance of racial justice protests last summer

The Drug Enforcement Administration approved at least 51 requests from state, local and federal law enforcement agencies to conduct covert surveillance during racial justice protests last summer, according to records obtained by CREW. The nationwide surveillance operation occurred in cities including Los Angeles, Tampa, Denver and St. Louis, and involved agents infiltrating crowds undercover, as well as aerial and vehicular surveillance to monitor protesters.

CREW

Capitol rioters increasingly going it alone, rebuffing counsel

Detained since June as he awaits trial for assaulting police in the Jan. 6 insurrection, Brian Mock made a rookie mistake in court last month when he asked for a second detention hearing. "I have found flat-out lies, fraud," Mock told U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg. "At this point I can't prove all of it. This is not me being crazy, not me being some extremist." Boasberg had to remind Mock multiple times, however, that the procedure he needs to follow is a motion for bond review.

Courthouse News Service

Governor Newsom signs legislation to bolster California's nation-leading gun safety laws, support survivors of domestic violence

Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that he has signed legislation to enhance protections for survivors of domestic violence and bolster the enforcement of California's nation-leading gun safety laws, including measures to strengthen gun violence restraining orders and analyze crime gun data to track trends impacting communities across the state.

Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

New law bans harassment at vaccination sites, but free speech concerns persist

It's now illegal in California to harass people on their way into a vaccination clinic, under a law signed Friday by Gov. Gavin Newsom. But First Amendment experts continue to raise legal questions about the law's constitutionality, including its definition of harassment. The new law, which takes effect immediately, makes it a misdemeanor to harass, intimidate, injure or obstruct people on their way to get a covid-19 or any other kind of vaccine, punishable by a maximum $1,000 fine and/or up to six months in jail.

California Healthline

770 new laws coming to California

You'd be forgiven for not knowing Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed the largest expansion of California's college financial aid system in a generation - he did so during the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants' first playoff game Friday night. Hours later, it was all over: Newsom signed his final bills on Saturday, a day ahead of the Oct. 10 deadline to act on the 836 proposals state lawmakers sent to his desk. Of those, he signed 770 (92%) and vetoed 66 (7.9%), according to Sacramento lobbyist Chris Micheli.

CalMatters

Consumer

Amazon copied products and rigged search results to promote its own brands, documents show

Amazon.com Inc has been repeatedly accused of knocking off products it sells on its website and of exploiting its vast trove of internal data to promote its own merchandise at the expense of other sellers. The company has denied the accusations. But thousands of pages of internal Amazon documents examined by Reuters - including emails, strategy papers and business plans - show the company ran a systematic campaign of creating knockoffs and manipulating search results to boost its own product lines in India, one of the company's largest growth markets.

Reuters

Convictions/Sentences/Pleas

California man sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for scheming to defraud Afghan government on U.S.-funded contract

A former Orange County resident has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for his role in a scheme to defraud the government of Afghanistan out of more than $110 million in funds provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to construct an electrical grid in Afghanistan. Saed Ismail Amiri, 38, who now lives in the Northern California community of Granite Bay, but who resided in Irvine at the time of the offense, was sentenced on Tuesday by United States District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld Jr. after pleading guilty in April to one count of wire fraud.

Department of Justice Press Release

Man sentenced to life without parole for killing at Hollywood Hills home

A transient was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the bludgeoning death of a friend of Canadian talk show host George Stroumboulopoulos during a burglary at the celebrity's rented home in the Hollywood Hills. Keenon Jamal Buchanan, now 27, was convicted Aug. 18 of first-degree murder for the Sept. 23, 2016, killing of 41-year-old Richard Hong, who was staying at the home in the 6700 block of Milner Road.

MyNewsLA

Domino's worker who first pointed the finger at 'antifa' cops guilty plea to Capitol riot

A Massachusetts man famously photographed at the Capitol riot alongside the infamous QAnon shaman pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor Thursday, nine months after he first told FBI investigators that it was not Trump supporters but "antifa" who stormed the halls of government. The claim disproven by every piece of footage from the well-documented attempted coup appears in the Feb. 3 criminal complaint against Brian McCreary, 34.

Courthouse News Service

Corrections & Parole

Not justice for my son': Driver in DUI crash that killed pregnant woman's baby gets early release

The man sentenced to six years in prison for causing a Rio Linda crash that sent a woman to the hospital and caused her to prematurely deliver her baby back in 2019 will get an early release. A release notice sent to the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office notes that Ronny Ward will be released in November after serving less than half his original sentence. The reason: He received credits for an associate's degree.

CBS13

I got COVID in San Quentin and watched as hundreds more were infected and 29 died. Here's our story

On June 27, 2020, a guard came to my cell at San Quentin's North Block to tell me that I tested positive for the coronavirus. Later that day, I was ordered to pack up my belongings and herded to South Block along with 62 other infected prisoners - part of a scramble that one infectious disease expert would later describe as "reckless." The virus spared my life, but killed 28 prisoners and a beloved correctional sergeant. A court would later call it "the worst epidemiological disaster in the history of California corrections."

San Francisco Chronicle

Articles of Interest

California Gov. Newsom signs bill prohibiting secretly removing condom during sex

California Governor Gavin Newsom approved bill on Thursday prohibiting removing a condom during sex without consent. This practice is known as "stealthing," Reuters reported. The new law makes this a civil sexual battery offense, language in the bill specifies. "I have been working on the issue of 'stealthing' since 2017 and I am elated that there is now some accountability for those who perpetrate the act," Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, the bill's sponsor, said in a statement on her website.

California Globe

Newsom's vetoes: Why did governor block California bills?

Gov. Gavin Newsom has now completed three rounds of the annual ritual of deciding what should become law in California by giving a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to hundreds of bills sent to him by the Legislature. In year one, he used the routine to demonstrate differences from his predecessor, signing dozens of bills that Jerry Brown had vetoed - but also vetoing a greater proportion of bills than Brown typically did.

CalMatters

Trevor Bauer informs court he plans to demand that his accuser pay his attorney fees

Trevor Bauer plans to ask a court to order the California woman who accused him of sexual assault to pay for his costs in defending himself against her request for a restraining order. In a notice filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Sept. 20, Bauer did not ask for a specific amount of money. Instead, he asked to defer that request until he receives her telephone records from the Pasadena Police Department.

Los Angeles Times

Capitol rioter admits to new felonies while representing himself in court

A 27-year-old Capitol rioter who is representing himself failed to argue his way out of jail in a bond hearing Tuesday. He accidentally admitted to several additional crimes while he was at it - which a federal judge warned him about at the onset of the hearing. "I should note that I did not want to go pro se. I thought it was a stupid decision," Brandon Fellows said of his decision to represent himself, or appear before the court "pro se."

Courthouse News Service

LA, Long Beach ports to go 24/7 to relieve shipping bottleneck

Dozens of cargo ships carrying as many as 1 million containers bob idly off the California coast, many filled with things that ideally will end up on store shelves and then under Christmas trees and in stockings this holiday season. The flotilla is the aftermath of a perfect storm created by the Covid-19 pandemic: A surge in e-commerce accompanied by a labor disruption for thousands of port workers tasked with getting goods off the ships.

Courthouse News Service

As circulation dives, U-T publisher sees Sunday-only paper in its 'digital future'

Facebook

California Assemblymember responsible for free feminine hygiene in CA schools says she's been "working on" the issue of stealth removal of condoms for years

Days after his newspaper posted another sizable decline in daily circulation - to an average 66,192 copies - publisher Jeff Light said Thursday that The San Diego Union-Tribune would someday publish only once a week. He wouldn't say when. "Our plan for the Union-Tribune, like all big newspapers, calls for a digital future, with Sunday remaining in print," he said via email Thursday. "We have robust business planning for the future of the company that we put in place back in 2017, and we have been hitting all of our marks."

Times of San Diego

Pensions

FBI official fired under Trump wins back his pension

Hours before he was scheduled to retire in 2018, Andrew G. McCabe, then the F.B.I.'s deputy director, was fired by the Justice Department, depriving him of his pension and prompting cheers from President Donald J. Trump, who had been hounding him over his role in the Russia investigation. On Thursday, the department reversed Mr. McCabe's firing, settling a lawsuit he filed asserting that he was dismissed for political reasons. Under the settlement, Mr. McCabe, 53, will be able to officially retire, receive his pension and other benefits, and get about $200,000 in missed pension payments.

New York Times

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