Vanessa Bryant Must Turn Over Therapy Files in Lawsuit; SCOTUS Ruling on NY Concealed Carry Has CA Implications; 3 Teenagers Behind Swatting of BLM Leader; Crime up 47% in LA; and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo
Pomona school board rehires police; CA State Bar adjusts scores of 2,429 test takers; Former criminal justice professor charged in arson spree; 2 Iranian nationals charged in election tampering
November 27, 2021
Courts & Rulings
No decision is reached on Gascón's hiring practices
Still lingering is the question of whether Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón acted unlawfully in hiring three deputy public defenders who supported his campaign effort as prosecutors without them having passed a Civil Service exam. A motion for a preliminary injunction, filed by the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, came before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff on Wednesday, but he held that action by him would be premature given that the issue is presently before the Civil Service Commission.
Court says San Diego cops not at fault in death of woman who moaned, screamed for help in patrol car
San Diego police did not violate the rights of a 24-year-old woman who groaned and screamed for help in the back seat of a patrol car but received no medical aid until after she passed out at the police station and fell into a fatal coma, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. In a 2-1 ruling, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the son of Aleah Jenkins had no grounds for a lawsuit against the city or the officers because they did not act with "deliberate indifference or unreasonableness" toward Jenkins either before or during the one-hour drive to the station.
San Francisco Chronicle
County must turn over 42,852 emails sought under PRA
A Public Records Act request seeking a voluminous number of documents was improperly snubbed by a county on the ground that some of the documents might be subject to disclosure and it would be too time consuming to review each one, the Third District Court of Appeal declared yesterday in a 2-1 decision.
9th Circuit says defamation suit can proceed against Seattle City Council member
A defamation suit against a Seattle City Council member can continue following a federal appellate court's determination that comments made against two Seattle police officers following a fatal shooting were "of and concerning them." "At most, however, the district court has identified one reasonable interpretation of [Seattle City Council member Kshama] Sawant's words, not the only reasonable interpretation," U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Judge A. Wallace Tashima wrote in the opinion.
SCOTUS interprets TPS and "lawful admission" in Sanchez v. Mayorkas
On June 7, 2021, the United States Supreme Court decided Sanchez v. Mayorkas, in which the Supreme Court held that a foreign national who entered the United States unlawfully is not eligible to become a lawful permanent resident under 8 U.S.C. § 1255 even if the foreign national has been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
City has lesser duty to keep alleys safe for walking
A city does not have the same duty to pedestrians to keep alleys in repair as it does to maintain sidewalks in safe condition, the Court of Appeal for this district declared on Wednesday. Justice Brian M. Hoffstadt of Div. Two wrote the opinion. It affirms a summary judgment granted by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Daniel M. Crowley in favor of the City of Beverly Hills. Plaintiff Nieves Martinez works at the law firm of Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley which formerly had its main office at 361 South Robertson Boulevard.
C.A. affirms murder conviction of man who shot friend in head, set him on fire
The Third District Court of Appeal held on Wednesday that a judge erred in declining to give an instruction on imperfect self-defense in the case of a man who shot a friend in the head nine times, then set his body on fire, claiming that the victim had a knife and he feared an attack by him but, the panel said, the error was harmless in light of the evidence.
Contra Costa murder conviction overturned; court says judge should have instructed jury on manslaughter laws
In what has become a trend for Contra Costa County in the second half of 2021, a state appellate court has reversed another murder conviction, this time citing the trial judge's failure to instruct jurors on voluntary manslaughter laws. Thadeus Colley, 45, was convicted two years ago of murdering his cousin, 42-year-old Jamaa Anderson, in a 2018 shooting in Richmond. Colley was sentenced to life in prison; he began serving his sentence at Mule Creek State Prison, but was transferred back to the county jail last week to await a second trial.
Bay Area News Group
WhatsApp, Facebook malware suit to continue after 9th Circuit denies foreign sovereign immunity claims
A federal appellate panel sided with the WhatsApp messaging app and its parent company Facebook on Monday after denying a private, Israeli corporation's claims of foreign sovereign immunity to dismiss a suit alleging it sent malware through WhatsApp's server to mobile devices. WhatsApp Inc. and Facebook Inc. filed a suit against the NSO Group Technologies Ltd. and its parent company, Q Cyber Technologies Ltd., in October 2019.
Probation conditions may not be amended to permit amputee to use marijuana
A three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, bowing to the circuit's self-imposed rule of strict adherence to stare decisis, yesterday rejected a man's contention that imposing a condition of probation on him barring the use of marijuana for a medicinal purpose violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Another three-judge panel rejected an identical contention in 2007 in Raich v. Gonzales, yesterday's per curiam opinion recites. It is signed by Judges Sandra S. Ikuta, Mark J. Bennett, and Ryan D. Nelson.
California bar exam pass rate falls amid tech difficulties
More than half of California test-takers passed the July bar exam, despite wide-reaching technical glitches. The 53% pass rate for the July test was down 8% from the previous summer edition, the state bar announced Friday. The bar said 31% of those who took the exam experienced problems. The 1,298 applicants who were affected by technical issues and didn't pass will be able to request that their July 2021 exam fees be applied to the February 2022 or July 2022 exam, or fully refunded.
California District Attorneys Association say there's a lack of minority attorneys
For several years, studies show there's been a lack of minority representation among attorneys across the country and the state. The California District Attorneys Association initiated their new project, "Journey to Increasing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in California District Attorney Offices" to bridge the representation gap in the state justice system. "As we've seen historically, people of color have been lifted out of all institutions in our country," said Contra Costa District Attorney Nichelle Holmes "So in order to be able to reform criminal justice, be able to have equity and inclusion, you have to have representation at the table. You can't make any changes if you're not at the table."
Ninth Circuit hears Stan Lee's daughter's appeal in suit against his former business partners
Attorneys for the daughter of comic book legend Stan Lee appeared before California's Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday to argue that a federal court incorrectly threw out her lawsuit against POW! Entertainment, a company founded by her father in 2011. That court also slapped her with a heavy fine of $1 million. Characters co-created by Stan Lee, including Iron Man, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Thor and Hulk form the backbone of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the highest grossing movie franchise of all time.
Courthouse News Service
California bar offers free tests, adjusts scores after bar exam glitches
The State Bar of California has taken the unusual step of adjusting the scores of 2,429 test takers who encountered tech problems during the online July 2021 bar exam. And it's giving nearly 1,300 of them who failed another try at no extra cost. Bar officials said Friday that examinees who faced computer crashes or time delays and didn't pass can get their test fees refunded or register free for the upcoming February or July exams. That works out to more than $1.7 million in testing fees, as the exam costs upwards of $700 apiece to take.
California bar weighs client account changes after Girardi scandal
The State Bar of California is weighing rule changes affecting how attorneys manage their client trust accounts in the wake of allegations against prominent plaintiffs lawyer Tom Girardi. Trust accounts hold client money such as settlements or court-awarded funds, and are separate from law firm operating accounts. Girardi has been accused by the state bar and others of using money from client trust accounts for his own personal gain.
Los Angeles District Attorney
Prosecutor who alleged retaliation from DA Gascón poised to get $800,000 settlement
A former high-ranking prosecutor who alleges Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón retaliated against him for refusing to drop charges against three anti-police protesters accused of attempting to wreck a train in Compton is poised to receive an $800,000 settlement. The Los Angeles County Claims Board agreed this week to recommend that the county Board of Supervisors issue the payout to Richard Doyle, a former head deputy district attorney in the Compton office who has since retired.
Los Angeles Daily News
He's remaking criminal justice in L.A. but how far is too far?
Last December, when George Gascón took over the largest local prosecutor's office in the country, he made a complete break from the past. His inaugural speech as district attorney of Los Angeles County at once thrilled progressive activists and alienated many of the lawyers sizing up their new boss. Standing alone at a lectern as a pandemic precaution, Gascón put his hands to his forehead and half-bowed, yogi-style, to thank the judge who swore him in over a video connection.
Derna Chrichten Channel
California Attorney General Bonta, DA Gascon colluding to overturn death sentences, prosecutor alleges
District Attorney George Gascón and California Attorney General Rob Bonta are working in tandem as part of an apparent legal strategy that already has overturned the death penalty sentences of four Los Angeles County convicted killers, a high-ranking prosecutor said Tuesday. On Nov. 5, Bonta filed notices of withdrawal in Los Angeles County Superior Court and deferred to the District Attorney's Office habeas corpus petitions from the condemned inmates challenging their death sentences, records show.
Orange County Register
LAPD officer charged with filing false report, perjury
A Los Angeles police officer has been charged with one felony count each of filing a false report and perjury stemming from a traffic stop in the Hollywood area just over two years ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced today. Alejandro Castillo - described by the Los Angeles Police Department as a 13-year veteran LAPD officer - was arrested July 20 by investigators from the department's Internal Affairs Division, police at the time.
City News Service
12 years after being locked up as a teen, he finds mercy from the D.A. who put him there
In the lonely monotony of High Desert State Prison, there were no visitors and little mail for Renwick Drake Jr., so the letter was a curiosity when it arrived in the summer of 2020. It told Drake about a new law meant to undo too-harsh sentences. Maybe, it said, the district attorney would take another look at his case after 11 years of incarceration. But maybes are dangerous in prison, dealers of counterfeit hope.
Los Angeles Times
Former criminal justice college professor charged with "arson spree" near Dixie Fire
A former college professor was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday for allegedly starting four wildfires in Northern California earlier this year that threatened to trap firefighters as they battled a massive fire nearby, federal prosecutors said. Gary Stephen Maynard, 47, took part in an "arson spree" near where the massive Dixie Fire burned in the Shasta Trinity National Forest and the Lassen National Forest, prosecutors said.
Complexities of crime in California as district attorneys face recalls
The Los Angeles Police Department is advising victims of robberies to "cooperate, comply and not chase down their attackers." San Franciscans are wondering if burglaries should be "tolerated" as a part of city living. And chain drugstores have closed dozens of locations in San Francisco. The Public Policy Institute of California says crime trends in California mostly mirror those of the nation, and both California's and the United States' violent crime rates are currently around where they were a decade ago.
Sinclair Broadcast Group
Two Iranian nationals charged for cyber-enabled disinformation and threat campaign designed to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election
An indictment was unsealed in New York today charging two Iranian nationals for their involvement in a cyber-enabled campaign to intimidate and influence American voters, and otherwise undermine voter confidence and sow discord, in connection with the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs
LAPD to pursue fentanyl suppliers in certain overdose deaths
The Los Angeles Police Department said Tuesday it had begun to more carefully investigate fatal overdoses in which multiple people obtained illegal drugs from the same source. Assistant Chief Bea Girmala said the Department's Gang and Narcotics Division was now being notified as part of a new protocol and would attempt to find the source of the drugs, as a result of the nationwide spike in accidental overdose deaths linked to the synthetic opiate Fentanyl.
Residents are frustrated with RVs parked in neighborhoods. What happened to LA's ban?
The city of Los Angeles currently has no laws banning people from living in their RVs in residential neighborhoods. The ordinance banning the practice expired in January 2020. Since then, some neighborhoods have been overrun with campers. "Where are we supposed to park in the neighborhood?" one man, who lives near Rose and Main Street, can be seen saying on a video sent to NBC4. RVs are parked bumper to bumper along the street.
Panel recommends repealing death penalty in California
As nearly 700 condemned California prisoners wait in limbo under a death penalty process halted by the governor, a key criminal justice panel on Wednesday recommended making the state's temporary freeze on executions permanent. The Committee on Revision of the Penal Code, a seven-member board formed by the state Legislature last year to propose criminal justice reforms, released a 39-page report recommending that capital punishment be repealed in the Golden State.
Courthouse News Service
How the Supreme Court's gun case could affect California
The Supreme Court appears likely to rule against a New York law that imposes strict limits on who can carry guns in public, which could radically reshape the nation's relationship with guns. This is undoubtedly a big deal - the court's first major Second Amendment case in more than a decade - but you might be wondering what it has to do with California. Well, California is one of a few states with concealed carry restrictions similar to New York's.
New York Times
Police have a tool to take guns from potential shooters, but many aren't using it
The most broadly adopted gun-control measure in the U.S. in recent years is rarely being used in many cities and counties, government data show. Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., now have red-flag laws, which allow authorities, and sometimes family members or co-workers, to ask judges to order the temporary seizure of guns from people threatening violence.
Wall Street Journal
Pomona school board changes course on 'defund the police'
The Pomona Unified School Board voted unanimously to hire two school resource officers, less than four months after the board had approved a budget that did not include funding for the community school resource officer program. "This is a decision we don't take lightly," said board member Adrienne Konigar-Macklin. "I do not believe in a police state for our students. The board approved an agreement with the Pomona police department to hire the officers immediately. The agreement has since been approved by the Pomona city council.
California defends private prison ban in petition to federal appeals court
California Attorney General Rob Bonta on Wednesday announced the state filed a petition to repeal a federal appeals court decision to block a law that would end the state's use of private, for-profit detention facilities. The petition comes after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit last month, in a split 2-1 decision, blocked the law known as Assembly Bill 32. That law was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019 to phase out the operation of private, for-profit prisons in the state by 2028.
Los Angeles County/City
LA's unvaccinated workers still untested
Nearly a month after the city of LA's employee COVID-19 vaccine mandate took effect no city-administered testing of unvaccinated employees has taken place, leaving other city workers and members of the public at greater risk of being exposed to the virus. As of Monday Mayor Eric Garcetti's office said about 11,600 city employees were either unvaccinated, unwilling to share their vaccination status, or were in the process of requesting a religious or medical exemption from the vaccine.
LBPD officer who led police toward compassion is third to die by suicide in recent years
When Officer Chris Zamora wanted to earn someone's trust, he'd start small. For years, the longtime detective had worked gang cases, but in 2017, he took on an extra assignment: On overtime, he'd roam a downtrodden stretch of Long Beach Boulevard to offer people help, no strings attached. From his gang work, Zamora knew how to quickly spot pieces of someone's life that others missed, according to Shoshanna Scholar, who worked with Zamora on the experimental project.
Long Beach Post
City seeks evaluation of LAPD captain who alleges stress from nude photo
The city of Los Angeles is asking a judge to order an independent psychological examination of a Los Angeles police captain who says she suffered physically and emotionally after a nude photo of a woman was circulated in the workplace amid false claims that the image depicted the plaintiff. LAPD Capt. Lillian Carranza alleges in her sexual harassment suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in January 2019 that LAPD command staff knew the naked image was being circulated within the force, along with disparaging comments about her, but didn't tell the 32-year veteran, who is the commanding officer of the Commercial Crimes Division.
City News Service
Vanessa Bryant must turn over therapy files in lawsuit over Kobe crash photos
Vanessa Bryant must turn over therapy records in her lawsuit over photos of the helicopter crash scene where her NBA legend husband Kobe Bryant and their daughter died, a judge ruled Monday. She is suing Los Angeles County and others over the photos, which she says caused her severe emotional distress and compounded her trauma after the Jan. 26, 2020, crash that killed all nine people aboard.
More dishonesty in the L.A. Times about the LAPD
By the standards of typical Los Angeles Times reporting on the LAPD, the story was balanced. Which is not to say it was truly balanced, just more so than the usual anti-police hit pieces that all too regularly appear in what once was a respectable newspaper. I refer to a story that ran above the fold on the front page of the Times's Thursday print edition, available online here. "Revolving door of crisis on the streets, in jails," reads the headline on the print edition, while the online version carries the headline, "String of LAPD shootings exposes L.A.'s broken mental health system, officials say."
Jack Dunphy/PJ Media
Teens driven by racism targeted Los Angeles BLM leader with 'swatting' calls, police say
Authorities say three teenagers driven by racial hatred were behind hoax calls that brought major police responses to the home of a leading Black Lives Matter activist in Los Angeles. The teenagers, aged 13 to 16, connected over the Discord chat platform and are suspects in more than 30 bomb threats and so-called "swatting" incidents across the country, according to Los Angeles police.
LA County Sheriff focuses on homeless issue on Skid Row (Video)
LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is turning his attention to the homeless on Skid Row. John Cádiz Klemack reports for the NBC4 News on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021.
Public safety concerns regarding LA Metro policing services
On Wednesday, November 17, 2021, Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Chief Gene Harris from the Los Angeles County Police Chief's Association, along with Special Operations Division Chief Jack Ewell and Transit Services Bureau Captain Shawn Kehoe, held a press conference to address public safety concerns for LA Metro and the pending vote to significantly alter dedicated law enforcement services as we know them.
LA County sheriff's deputy acquitted of manslaughter for on-duty shooting
A jury Friday acquitted a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy of voluntary manslaughter for the fatal, on-duty shooting of man at a Norwalk gas station nearly six years ago. The downtown Los Angeles panel spent just under a day before returning its verdict in the trial of Luke Liu, whose attorneys jubilantly hugged him. "Mr. Liu, you can put this behind you," Superior Court Judge Mark S. Arnold said after jurors left the courtroom.
Walmart consumer counterfeit protection falls flat
Holiday consumers expect Walmart to provide authentic and safe products when they shop on Walmart's website - but that confidence is misplaced. Walmart is both a direct retailer of counterfeits and has opened its website, Walmart.com, to global third-party sellers who can list just about anything they want, including counterfeit, fake and replica products. Counterfeit items appear right alongside authentic products, creating the illusion they are from Walmart or have Walmart's endorsement.
The Counterfeit Report
CBP at the LA/Long Beach Seaport reports record-breaking year for seizures of counterfeit and prohibited merchandise
In Fiscal Year 2021 (October 1, 2020 - September 30, 2021), amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport identified and seized an unprecedented amount of high-value contraband, counterfeit goods and other prohibited merchandise. The number of trade enforcement seizures increased by 24% and the overall value of these seizures increased by 652% over the previous year.
Homeland Security Today
Someone snuck a card skimmer into Costco to steal shopper data
You may normally associate card-skimmer attacks - which impersonate credit card readers to steal your payment info - with ATMs and gas pumps, to the extent that you think of them at all. But recently someone placed a card-skimming device in a Costco warehouse, of all places. An employee discovered the interloping equipment during a "routine check," according to a report from BleepingComputer. The company has informed people whose credit card info may have been stolen. It's a good reminder to double-check where you stick your plastic - or stick with NFC payments.
Synchrony Bank agrees to dish out $3.5M over harassing collection calls
Synchrony Bank has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged the bank harassed residents throughout the state with debt collection calls, it was announced Monday. The case, brought by a coalition of California district attorney's offices, including San Diego's, alleged the Utah-based company and its agents used call centers both in and out of the country to make collection calls that were "unreasonably frequent or harassing."
City News Service
Crime is up over 47% in LA. Should we really be reducing the LAPD budget?
Home invasion robberies, follow - home robberies. Brazen robberies at local restaurants and other business locations. Is serious crime actually increasing and are more people getting shot and murdered in Los Angeles neighborhoods? You be the judge after reviewing the following verified City-Wide Statistics from the official LAPD files. LAPD COMPSTAT Citywide Profile as of October 30, 2021.
Suspected Shadow Hills serial burglar arrested near Hansen Dam
Police arrested a man they believe to be a suspected prowler who has frightened residents in the northeast San Fernando Valley area of Shadow Hills and Sunland-Tujunga for weeks after home surveillance videos showed an armed man lurking in neighborhoods. The suspect was taken into custody just before 11 p.m. near Wheatland Avenue and Wentworth Street, police said. He was identified as Benjamin Renteria, 25, and booked on suspicion of felony burglary.
FBI's email system compromised; Hackers warn of cyber threat
Hackers compromised the Federal Bureau of Investigation's external email system on Saturday. The hackers sent out tens of thousands of emails from an FBI email account warning about a possible cyberattack, according to the Spamhaus Project, which tracks spam and related cyber threats. The FBI said it, along with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, is "aware of the incident this morning involving fake emails from an @ic.fbi.gov email account."
California Farm Bureau reports farmers hit by catalytic converter thefts - Merced County Sheriff Vernon Warnke says perpetrators are identified and arrested, but district attorneys too often fail to prosecute
There aren't many things that can throw a farmer or rancher off stride. But messing with their pickup can seriously disrupt their life and work. This is what happened to Merced County hay grower John McLaughlin. A thief stole his truck, which was packed with equipment and tools, and also ripped off vehicle components increasingly prized by criminals. "They stole catalytic converters," said McLaughlin, who also operates a custom harvesting business.
Sierra Sun Times
Father shot and killed in front of his children
A 30-year-old man was shot and killed in front of his children as they walked home from a family gathering early Sunday morning in South Los Angeles. "James was an amazing guy," said his brother Billy Vargas as he began to weep. "All I keep hearing in my head is my mom - 'Take (care of) your brother he'll always be by your side." James Vargas was walking to get tacos with his wife and two children early Sunday morning when a man approached the father and shot him. The murder took place in South Los Angeles on the corner of Central Avenue and 92nd Street.
Couple attacked with stun gun and robbed outside Upland home after being followed from Hollywood
Police are looking for the robbers who followed a couple home, held them at gunpoint and used a stun gun on one of the victims after he refused to give up his car. The early morning attack outside of the couple's home was all caught on camera. Police believe this couple was followed nearly 50 miles into a community in Upland. Video captured by a neighbor's home-security camera shows the couple pulling into their driveway near North 23rd Street in Upland early Sunday morning.
LAPD investigating more than 100 cases of 'follow-home' robberies
The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating more than 100 cases of "follow-home" robberies. According to police, suspects would target victims while they were out, follow them to their homes and commit the robberies as the victims were arriving home. Due to the new crime trend, Robbery-Homicide detectives began tracking various robberies and found that most victims were being followed from places such as Melrose Avenue, the Jewelry District in downtown, high-end restaurants and nightclubs from Hollywood and Wilshire Area.
Capitol rioter fights to suppress self-disparaging FBI interview
A man who used a stun gun on a police officer during the Jan. 6 insurrection asked a federal judge Tuesday to have his incriminatory FBI interview erased from the record, saying agents took advantage of his emotional state. Daniel Rodriguez broke down at the Riverside, California, office of the FBI after agents executed a warrant on his home in Fontana at dawn on March 31 and took the 38-year-old away in handcuffs.
Courthouse News Service
Video shows suspect allegedly attack NYPD officer - and he is later freed without bail
Surveillance video shows an NYPD officer allegedly getting attacked from behind in the Bronx by a man who has been violent toward police before - but he was freed without bail just a day later. The unprovoked and seemingly random attack was captured on video from two angles, security camera and police body camera videos. Investigators said that the recordings show the suspect, identified as 39-year-old Isus Thompson, walk up to a police officer on East 194th Street Sunday and strike him from behind.
NBC4 New York
Amazon sued over crashes by drivers rushing to make deliveries
Ans Rana was in the back seat of his brother's Tesla Model S when they stopped behind a disabled car just before 9 p.m. on Atlanta's busy Interstate 75. Seconds later, a blue Amazon.com Inc. delivery van slammed into them from behind - mangling the rear of the car and sending Rana, his brother and father to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital. Rana bore the brunt of the collision, suffering life-changing brain and spinal-cord injuries.
Fired Angels clubhouse attendant Bubba Harkins asks appeals court to revive his lawsuit
The attorney for Brian "Bubba" Harkins, the long-time visiting clubhouse manager fired by the Angels in March 2020, asked Orange County's 4th District Court of Appeals on Tuesday to reverse a Superior Court decision to dismiss Harkins' defamation complaint against the club and Major League Baseball. Daniel L. Rasmussen, who represents Harkins, and Adam Lauridsen, the attorney representing the Angels and MLB, exchanged oral arguments for 45 minutes before a three-justice panel, which has 90 days to render a decision.
Los Angeles Times
Deputy tossed urine test of woman he wrongly accused of using drugs, California DA says
When a driver's urine test turned up negative for drugs, a former Ventura County deputy tossed it in a trash can and tried to have her jailed anyway, California prosecutors say. Richard Charles Barrios III, 29, pleaded guilty Tuesday, Nov. 16, to discarding physical matter, a felony, according to a news release from the Ventura County District Attorney's Office.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's son, Adam, sentenced for stabbing neighbor
The son of basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was sentenced to six months in jail for stabbing a Southern California neighbor with a hunting knife during an argument over trash cans, prosecutors said Wednesday. Adam Abdul-Jabbar, 29, was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty to three counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of carrying a dirk or dagger, with sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.
Ventura dentist sentenced in admissions scandal, gas station shooting arrests, more news
A Ventura dentist was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in connection with the national college admissions scandal. Homayoun Zadeh, 60, was sentenced in federal court in Boston to six weeks in prison, a year of supervised release with 250 hours of community service, a $20,000 fine and $8,414 in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts.
Ventura County Star
2 L.A. area men collected ransom payments for people kidnapped near U.S.-Mexico border: DOJ
Two Los Angeles County men were found guilty of collecting ransom payments for the release of people kidnapped near the United States-Mexico border, officials said Monday. The kidnapping operation targeted people who either were waiting or trying to cross the U.S. border from Mexico. Kidnappers would offer to help with smuggling the victims across the border, then hold them for ransom instead, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Central District of California.
'QAnon Shaman' sentenced to 41 months for role in US Capitol riot
Jacob Chansley, the self-described "QAnon Shaman" who infamously marched through the U.S. Capitol with a spear and horned helmet during the Jan. 6 riot, was sentenced Wednesday to 41 months in prison for his role in the attack. It matches the longest sentence handed down to any Jan. 6 participant, following the 41-month sentence handed down last week to Scott Fairlam, a former mixed martial arts fighter who pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer during the riot.
His Netflix movie proposal was a scam - now California man heads to prison, feds say
A California man was sentenced to over 8 years in prison for embarking on a multimillion dollar scam in which he claimed money from investors would be used to produce a feature film for Netflix, federal prosecutors said. Adam Joiner, 43, of Manhattan Beach, used fake documents and forged signatures to coax foreign investment firms in South Korea and China to give him millions of dollars for a movie project, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California, said in a news release.
Judge waxes on punishment propriety at sentencing of Capitol rioter
A federal judge sentenced a Capitol rioter to one year of probation on Monday, calling it abnormal for someone with a nonviolent misdemeanor to get prison time. "In my experience as a judge and a former prosecutor, it's almost unheard of for someone who is a first-time offender to get jail time for a nonviolent misdemeanor," U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden said, emphasizing that he has had to think about how misdemeanors are handled in the general sense, not just in the context of the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Courthouse News Service
Horrendous' online threats sent to women land California man behind bars, feds say
A California man who met women at work or networking events, then harassed them online when they tried to break off contact, will be going to prison, authorities said. A judge sentenced Samuel Trelawney Hughes, 33, of Pasadena, to 37 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to stalking, witness tampering and making threats by interstate communication, a Nov. 15 news release from the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California said.
Man convicted of woman's shooting death in Long Beach
A Riverside County man was convicted Monday of second-degree murder for a woman's shooting death at her Long Beach home, but acquitted of charges involving the woman's husband and the couple's 2-year-old son. Jurors deliberated more than four days before finding John Kevin McVoy Jr., now 40, of Corona, guilty of the Jan. 10, 2017, killing of 33-year-old Susan Garcia. Jurors also found true an allegation that he personally used a handgun.
Corrections & Parole
Workers at federal prisons are committing some of the crimes
More than 100 federal prison workers have been arrested, convicted or sentenced for crimes since the start of 2019, including a warden indicted for sexual abuse, an associate warden charged with murder, guards taking cash to smuggle drugs and weapons, and supervisors stealing property such as tires and tractors. An Associated Press investigation has found that the federal Bureau of Prisons, with an annual budget of nearly $8 billion, is a hotbed of abuse, graft and corruption, and has turned a blind eye to employees accused of misconduct.
California Corrections Board 'unfairly awarded, inadequately monitored' federal COVID funds
The California State Auditor recently released an audit of the Board of State and Community Corrections', which found that the board "unnecessarily delayed, unfairly awarded, and inadequately monitored federal Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental funds. Adding insult to injury, the board left money on the table risking the State having to return unspent or misused funds to the federal government. This should come as a surprise to no one.
Lawsuit accuses California of endangering female prisoners by forcing them to share housing with biological males
A feminist advocacy organization sued the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on Wednesday, accusing the agency of putting female prisoners at risk by housing biological males in women's prisons. The Women's Liberation Front lawsuit, first reported by the Daily Signal, argues that the state department of corrections is violating the First, Eighth and 14th amendments with a new law known as the Transgender Respect, Agency, and Dignity Act, or SB 132.
Judge rules CDCR inflicted cruel and unusual punishment on San Quentin inmates during massive COVID outbreak
A judge has ruled California prison officials inflicted cruel and unusual punishment on inmates at San Quentin State Prison as a massive COVID-19 outbreak infected more that 2,600 prisoners and staff in the summer of 2020. Marin County Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Howard made a final ruling in the case against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) on Tuesday, the San Francisco Public Defender's Office announced Thursday.
Articles of Interest
Is stealing wrong? Not on the left
To most readers of this column, the question is absurd. The reason is not because the question is, in fact, absurd; it is because most readers of this column are conservative, and many are religious. Am I implying that most leftists do not believe stealing is wrong? Yes, I am. As incredible as this assertion is to just about all religious people and virtually all conservatives, most leftists do not believe stealing is wrong. Since I always draw a distinction between those on the Left and liberals, let me add that I suspect most liberals think stealing is wrong.
Jon Gruden's lawsuit raises several different claims against the NFL, Goodell
In the 21-page lawsuit filed by former Raiders coach Jon Gruden against the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell, Gruden does what plaintiffs in civil cases often do. He has advanced every potential legal theory that the facts and circumstances may support. As expected, Gruden leads with a claim for intentional interference with contractual relations. Gruden claims that the leaks of his emails to former Washington Football Team executive Bruce Allen caused Raiders owner Mark Davis to force Gruden to resign.
NFL's business structure will make it much harder to remove Jon Gruden' lawsuit to federal court
The early stages of a civil lawsuit can in many ways determine its outcome. For big-money interests sued in a different state by a citizen of that state, the first task is to find a way to remove the case from state court to federal court. Congress has recognized the concept of home cooking when it comes to the court system.
Rams owner threatens NFL over St. Louis lawsuit and league could be out billions if he follows through
Rams owner Stan Kroenke probably isn't going to be a very popular person at the next NFL owners meeting and that's because he's basically issued a threat that could end up costing the other 31 owners billions of dollars if he follows through with it. The NFL and its 32 owners are currently the defendants in a lawsuit that revolves around the Rams decision to leave St. Louis.
St. Jude hoards billions while many of its families drain their savings
A series of sharp knocks on his driver's side window startled Jason Burt awake. It was the middle of the night on a Saturday in 2016. Burt was sleeping in his pickup truck in the parking lot of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, where his 5-year-old daughter was being treated for brain cancer. He'd driven more than 500 miles from his home in Central Texas to visit her.
California pension law causes DOL to cease federal transit assistance
Elected officials in California are calling on the Department of Labor to reverse a decision that a state pension reform law violates a federal law related to mass transit funding. The California Public Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2013, or PEPRA, constitutes an "impermissible interference" with the collective bargaining rights protected under the federal Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964, the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards said in an Oct. 28 letter to Ray Tellis, regional administrator at the Federal Transit Administration.
Pensions & Investments
Many California public employees to pay more for pensions as CalPERS lowers earnings target
Public employees in California will bear the brunt of an investment policy change the CalPERS board made Monday, contributing more toward their pensions while their employers enjoy a short-term reprieve thanks to last year's stock market boom. The vote by the California Public Employees' Retirement System Board of Administration concluded a once-every-four-years review of the pension fund's assets, which were recently valued at $495 billion.
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