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

Prison Staff Must Vaccinate; Court Rules Motels' Insurance Doesn't Cover Covid; SF DA Chesa Boudin Charges all of 9 People for Mass Smash-and-Grabs; Facebook Wants Police to Stop Policing on Their Site

Cedars-Sinai pediatrician charged with child pornography; DOJ refunding police departments in SoCal; Killer and torturer of teen recommended for parole after serving less than 10 years; No fed money for CA mass transit

 

December 5, 2021

LA Rams via Facebook

LA Rams to pay $790 million to St. Louis in relocation lawsuit settlement

Courts & Rulings

Federal judge rejects California's bid to postpone vaccination of prison staff

With COVID-19 already having taken the lives of nearly 300 California inmates and prison staff, a federal judge has ordered all prison employees to be vaccinated by Jan. 12, and criticized Gov. Gavin Newsom and the prison guards' union for seeking to postpone his order. In the face of "undisputed scientific and medical evidence" that vaccines are both effective and essential in confined settings like prisons, Newsom and the California Correctional Peace Officers Association are showing "deliberate indifference" to inmates' health by seeking a stay of the vaccination order, said U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar of Oakland.

San Francisco Chronicle

BLM supporter who drove through Yorba Linda protest crowd was denied her rights at hearing, judge rules

The constitutional rights of a Black Lives Matter supporter from Long Beach accused of purposely driving through a crowd of counterprotesters during a violent confrontation at a Yorba Linda demonstration were violated when an Orange County judge abruptly ended a recent hearing meant to determine if there was enough evidence for her case to go to trial, another judge ruled on Friday.

Orange County Register

2nd Circ. wary of both sides in Calif. city gas price suit

The Second Circuit wasn't very pleased Friday with the city of Long Beach, California's argument for reviving its antitrust suit against a company the city has accused of manipulating the price of natural gas, but the panel didn't have many kind words for the other side either. While the panel expressed doubt that the city's Sherman Act monopoly claim could stand without at least the allegation that there was another competitor in the market, U.S. Circuit Judge Rosemary S. Pooler questioned the company's argument that the city should have brought claims under a different act.

Law360

9th Circuit panel says Prop 8 trial video can be made public

A split U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit panel on Thursday said sealed videotapes of the historic 2010 trial that struck down a ban on same-sex marriage can be made public, finding that opponents could not show that doing so would harm them. None of those who testified in favor of Proposition 8, the same-sex marriage prohibition approved by California voters in 2008, have declared "that they fear harassment or reprisals if the recordings are unsealed," Judge William Fletcher wrote for the majority.

The Recorder

Supreme Court case could increase number of Californians allowed to carry guns in public

A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on gun restrictions in New York could impact how many Californians are allowed to carry firearms in public. This case challenges a New York state law that now requires applicants for a concealed carry weapon permit to show they have a "special need" for it. A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on gun restrictions in New York could impact how many Californians are allowed to carry firearms in public.

CBS8 San Diego

Florida federal judge moves Trump lawsuit against Facebook to California court

Donald Trump's status as a former president does not mean he can dodge a binding clause in Facebook's terms of service requiring lawsuits against the company to be filed in California court, a Florida federal judge ruled Friday. The decision is the latest in a series of legal setbacks in Trump's attempt to restore his social media accounts after he was largely de-platformed earlier this year.

Courthouse News Service

Supreme Court denies Carmen Electra and other models' petition against strip clubs over trademark infringement

Tara Leigh Patrick, also known as Carmen Electra, and 10 other women were denied a chance to argue a case about alleged trademark infringement before the Supreme Court of the United States on Monday. The high court's denial was released without comment among dozens of other such denials - and a few orders which were granted. Electra and several other models, all of whom live in California and Texas, sued multiple strip clubs because the owners of the New York City-based adult-oriented establishments used their likenesses on various advertisements without the models' permission.

Law & Crime

California appeals court rules against virus BI coverage for motels

In what is believed to be the first state appellate ruling on the issue, a California intermediate appeals court has ruled there is no COVID-19 business interruption coverage in litigation filed by a group of motels. The California Court of Appeal in San Diego held in its Nov. 15 ruling in The Inns by the Sea v. California Mutual Insurance Co. there was no physical loss or damage caused by the virus. The policy did not have a virus exclusion.

Business Insurance

U.S. jury says CVS, other pharmacy chains helped fuel opioid epidemic

A federal jury on Tuesday found that pharmacy chain operators CVS Health Corp, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc and Walmart Inc helped fuel an opioid epidemic in two Ohio counties, in the first trial the companies have faced over the U.S. drug crisis. Jurors in Cleveland federal court after six days of deliberations concluded that actions by the pharmacy chains helped create a public nuisance that resulted in an oversupply of addictive pain pills and the diversion of those opioids to the black market.

Reuters

Apple sues Israeli spyware firm to stop iPhone hacks

Calling out an Israeli spyware firm for helping authoritarian governments hack into the phones of journalists and dissidents, global technology giant Apple sued NSO Group on Tuesday, less than three weeks after it was blacklisted by the United States. "State-sponsored actors like the NSO Group spend millions of dollars on sophisticated surveillance technologies without effective accountability. That needs to change," said Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, in a statement Tuesday.

Courthouse News Service

Ninth Circuit blocks discrimination suit by Black principal against Catholic school

A Ninth Circuit panel ruled Tuesday that ministerial exception bars a Black principal's discrimination suit against his former employer, a Sacramento Catholic school. The three-judge panel unanimously affirmed the lower court's ruling that Chris Orr's role as principal of Christian Brothers High School fell under "ministerial exception," a legal doctrine that protects religious institutions from most employment lawsuits.

Courthouse News Service

Appeals court order in Jan. 6 documents case may be bad news for Trump

A federal court order late Tuesday may be a worrisome sign for former President Donald Trump in his effort to assert executive privilege over documents sought by a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia notified lawyers for Trump, the House committee and the National Archives that they should be prepared to address whether the court even has the legal authority to hear the dispute. Oral arguments are scheduled for Nov. 30.

NBC News

Ninth Circuit vacates dismissal of lawsuit based on week's delay in filing document

A District Court judge erred in dismissing an action based on an attorney filing an opposition to a motion challenging the sufficiency of the complaint one week late, due to a calendaring error, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared yesterday. In a memorandum opinion, a three-judge panel - comprised of Circuit Judges Andrew D. Hurwitz and Kim Wardlaw, joined by District Court Judge Stephen R. Bough of the Western District of Missouri, sitting by designation - vacated a dismissal ordered by Judge Mark C. Scarsi of the Central District of California in an action brought by Curtis and Cynthia Wheeler against Orange County and certain of its employees.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Los Angeles District Attorney

George Gascón's policies endanger public safety

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has enthusiastically embraced radical, pro-criminal, anti-law enforcement policies to fulfill his misguided and dangerous ideology. His policies have ratcheted down punishment to its bare minimum and significantly reduced the prosecution of crime. Murders, gang shootings, organized theft and crime rates have skyrocketed.

Todd Spitzer & Steve Cooley

Can Gascon & company please make up their minds?

On December 7th, 2020, the newly elected Los Angeles County District Attorney, George Gascon, was sworn into office. It was on that very same day in which he took an oath to faithfully discharge the duty of supporting and defending the constitutions of the United States and the State of California that he also issued Special Directive 20-09 on the subject of Youth Justice. The directive stated "The office will immediately END the practice of sending youth to the adult court system."

CityWatch

Prosecutors

Suspected Shadow Hills armed prowler is charged

A man described by police as an "armed serial burglar" in Shadow Hills was charged with more than a dozen felonies and pleaded not guilty last week. Benjamin Renteria, also known as Benjamin Renteria-Herrera, was accused in a criminal complaint filed Nov. 19 with nine counts of burglary, four counts of possession of a firearm by a felon, one count of theft of firearm, one count of assault with a firearm, and one count of discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

NBC4

Former Cedars-Sinai pediatrician charged with child pornography

A recently fired Cedars-Sinai pediatrician was barred from practicing medicine Friday by the state medical board a day after he was charged with possession of hundreds of images of child pornography. Gary David Goulin, 60, pleaded not guilty to the charge Thursday, but Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victoria Wilson also barred him from practicing medicine as a condition of his bail. She also ordered home to to have any unsupervised time with children while the case against him is pending.

Los Angeles Patch

Efferin Deans charged with impersonating an attorney; California State Bar seizes his client files, Canoga Park practice

The California State Bar has seized the practice of a Lake Balboa man who has been charged with misrepresenting himself as an attorney to unsuspecting Los Angeles clients. Efferin Deans, 54, was arrested on Oct. 28 and charged with three counts each of grand theft and practicing law without being a member of the state bar after a prior conviction, two counts of preparing false documentary evidence and one count of perjury by declaration - all felonies.

CBS LA

North Hills motel where 4 have died should be declared a public nuisance, says city attorney

The City Attorney's Office is asking a judge to declare a North Hills motel a public nuisance, saying in a new lawsuit that the business for decades has been "an epicenter of serious crime, including murders," and is located across the street from two schools. The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit was filed Thursday against the Hometown Inn along with 74-year-old Gerald Wang and 69-year-old Diane Wang, who bought the motel in 2001 for $900,000 and also own other motels in Los Angeles, the suit states.

City News Service

Parolee-at-large charged with attempted murder for shooting store clerk after credit card was declined

A parolee-at-large was charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting at a Garden Grove convenience store clerk multiple times after his credit card was declined, officials announced Wednesday. Odis Richard Cox, 33, of Buena Park, has been charged with one felony count of attempted murder, one felony count of shooting from a motor vehicle, one felony count of possession of a firearm by a felon, one felony count of a prohibited person owning ammunition, and one felony count of discharging a firearm at an occupied building, the Orange County District Attorney's Office said in a news release.

KTLA

Bay Area district attorneys form alliance to combat organized retail theft

Bay Area prosecutors are joining forces to combat organized retail theft. Around the Bay Area, video after video has highlighted a massive problem in recent days. "This is not just a theft problem, this is organized," said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. Now, Bay Area Prosecutors are creating an alliance between Contra Costa, Alameda, San Francisco, Marin, San Joaquin, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, where District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe says talking to one another will increase prosecutors' ability to be tough on crime.

ABC7 Bay Area

SF DA Chesa Boudin announces charges for 9 suspects linked to retail thefts

Following a string of brazen retail thefts in the San Francisco's Union Square last week, District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced on Tuesday nine people are now facing criminal charges. On Friday night, a group of between 20 and 40 people ran into the Louis Vuitton store on Geary Street, just across from Union Square, smashing windows and grabbing merchandise before running out. The group also targeted other stores, according to Boudin's office.

Bay City News

Justice Department tells prosecutors to prioritize cases against crimes on flights

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday directed U.S. attorneys to prioritize the prosecution of federal crimes on commercial aircraft as the holiday travel season kicks off. In a memo, Garland urged federal prosecutors to directly communicate with law enforcement about incidents on commercial flights that violate federal laws, and to encourage reporting crimes in a "complete and timely" way.

CNBC

Policy/Legal

Facebook demands LAPD end social media surveillance and use of fake accounts

The company's letter to the LA police chief comes after the Guardian revealed that the department partnered with a tech firm that enables undercover spying. Facebook is demanding that the Los Angeles police department cease all use of "dummy" accounts on its platforms and stop collecting data on users for surveillance.

City Watch

LA to send outreach workers to nonviolent 911 calls involving homeless

Starting in December, Los Angeles will begin a bold experiment and send unarmed outreach workers and trained crisis responders instead of police officers to respond to nonviolent homelessness-related 911 calls. The pilot program will cover only two neighborhoods, Hollywood and Venice Beach, both of which have large unhoused populations sleeping in tents and vehicles.

Courthouse News Service

Bay Area crime spree raises questions about district attorney, prosecution of shoplifters

At least 10 stores were broken into over the weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area, including flash-mob style robberies at upscale department stores like Louis Vuitton and Nordstrom. In what police called "clearly a planned event," a group of approximately 80 thieves stormed into a Bay Area Nordstrom on Saturday night and began stealing merchandise. "About 25 cars just blocked the street and rushed into the Walnut Creek Nordstrom making off with goods before getting in cars and speeding away," a local Bay Area reporter tweeted.

The National Desk

It is not clear how San Diego will enforce its new ghost gun ordinance

To curb gun violence, the San Diego City Council in September passed a law to prohibit the sale or possession of unfinished firearm frames, receivers or unserialized firearms - commonly used to build ghost guns. The effort has gotten attention nationwide and has already attracted legal challenges. But it's not clear how the city will enforce the law, why state law that already existed was insufficient or just how many people may wake up now having violated the law for having something that wasn't illegal to own a couple months ago.

Voice of San Diego

Flawed criminal justice reform in California has led to rising crime and drug addiction

As a former police chief, I know our laws must evolve to serve our communities better. However, I am deeply concerned about the real-world impacts we are seeing due to a steady erosion of accountability. Just look at the drug overdose crisis unfolding. California set out on a mission to reduce penalties for many crimes and promote treatment as an alternative. A laudable goal, but the evidence shows this approach has not been successful.

Times of San Diego

Los Angeles County/City

LAPD to fire six employees who violated COVID vaccination mandate

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said today that disciplinary proceedings have begun against five sworn department employees and one civilian employee for violating the city's vaccination mandate, which requires full vaccination by Dec. 18 and mandates testing at the employees' expense until then. Moore said the employees were recommended for removal and will "proceed to the civil service termination process."

City News Service

Former LAPD officer avoids jail time, gets probation after detective accuses him of assault and blackmail

A former LAPD officer accused of sexually assaulting and beating a female detective with whom he was having an affair will avoid jail time under the terms of a plea deal reached this week, officials confirmed Friday. Danny Reedy pleaded no contest to one count of misdemeanor injury of a spouse or girlfriend and was sentenced to three years' probation on Wednesday, shortly before he was set to face a preliminary hearing on charges of extortion, domestic violence and violating a restraining order, said Greg Risling, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Los Angeles Times

$9 million awarded to SoCal police departments for more officers as part of DOJ grant

The Department of Justice is giving more than $139 million in grant funding to hundreds of law enforcement agencies - including several in southern California - aimed at improving community policing. The money is being issued through the department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services' COPS Hiring Program. The DOJ said it provides direct funding to 183 law enforcement agencies across the country, allowing them to hire 1,066 additional officers.

ABC7

Counting cash at dinner: The L.A. TACO guide to the restaurants Jose Huizar dined at while allegedly collecting bribes

After digging through thousands of public records associated with former council member Jose Huizar, one thing that became clear is that he enjoyed a good meal. His discerning palate did not discriminate, feasting at Mexican restaurants in Boyle Heights to upscale Italian eateries in the Arts District. According to Huizar's calendars, he was a fixture at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse, Drago Centro, Factory Kitchen, and Officine Brera.

L.A. Taco

LA County is being sued for delaying food assistance to low-income families

Two local nonprofits are suing L.A. County, alleging its welfare department routinely fails to process food assistance applications on time for L.A.'s poorest residents. The lawsuit, filed Monday by the Los Angeles Community Action Network and Hunger Action Los Angeles along with an applicant who faced long delays, claims that throughout the pandemic, the county's failure to comply with state law has put thousands of households in danger of going hungry each month.

LAist

Deputy Angel Reinosa says he attempted to whistleblow before he was fired

On August 21, 2019, eyes across the United States were on Los Angeles, drawn to the massive manhunt for an alleged sniper who fired at the Lancaster station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Around 2:50 PM, Deputy Angel Reinosa radioed that he had been shot in the shoulder while walking across the station's parking lot, triggering the large-scale dragnet. One week later, the LASD held a press conference claiming that Reinosa had made everything up.

KnockLA

Top cops fighting COVID vaccine mandates are a public health crisis

One out of every 500 Americans has lost their life to COVID-19. And yet across the U.S., defiance against vaccine mandates stands in the way of our communities moving beyond the threat of coronavirus. This troubling trend seems to be particularly true for law enforcement officials and other first responders, many of whom are being encouraged by their leaders. While no one wants to be enforcing mandates, the reality is that over the past 18 months, we have been confronting a deadly virus that has killed millions of people across the globe.

Los Angeles Magazine

Consumer

Amazon, eBay, Walmart and Wish are bad choices for Black Friday online shoppers

Consumers love a good deal and will flock to the internet for Black Friday bargains. However, online shopping may be risky, dangerous, and little, if any, actual value. A Red Points survey found that 68% of consumers were worried about buying fake or low-quality goods online. The Counterfeit Report, an award-winning consumer advocate and industry watchdog, has removed over 430 million counterfeit items offered on e-commerce websites, including Amazon, Walmart, Wish, Newegg, eBay and Alibaba.

The Counterfeit Report

International trade group files false advertising lawsuit against Amazon

The Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute ("CCMI"), whose members include major Cashmere fabric and garment manufacturers, distributors, and retailers in the United States and abroad, has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts seeking to stop Amazon's widespread marketing and sale, both in the U.S. and internationally, of garments that CCMI alleges are being falsely advertised and misrepresented as "100% Cashmere" when they are actually made entirely of a type of synthetic, petroleum-based Acrylic that is much cheaper, less warm and more flammable than Cashmere, and contains chemicals that are not present in Cashmere.

CCMI Press Release

Crime/Public Safety

Shootings in Long Beach spiked last year. With weeks still to go, 2021 is already worse.

Tirso Chavez was walking down the block from Chestnut Market, a small convenience store in the Willmore neighborhood, when he heard gunshots ring out. It was the middle of the day in a residential area, but the sound didn't rattle Chavez much. "Nobody wants to see it happen, but it does," said the 61-year-old, who works and lives as an on-site manager in a nearby apartment building. "It's getting to be like a normal thing."

Long Beach Post

Task force cracks down on follow-home robberies (Video)

The level of violence around robberies in LA this year has increased. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4 News on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021.

NBC4

Groups of thieves target two more high-end stores in California

Groups of thieves stole goods from at least two more high-end stores in California on Wednesday, according to officials, adding to a series of similar crimes in some major US metropolitan areas. In Los Angeles' Canoga Park neighborhood, at least five people went inside an open Nordstrom store at the Westfield Topanga mall on Wednesday evening and stole items including seven or eight expensive purses, CNN affiliate KABC reported.

CNN

Mob smash-and-grab robberies prompt political backlash in LA

Police arrested three people they said were connected to a smash-and-grab robbery Monday night by a mob of at least 20 people at a Nordstrom store at The Grove. The robbery occurred just before 11 p.m. when a mob descended on the Nordstrom, using a sledgehammer and an electric scooter/bike to smash a window and raid the store. According to police, the robbery was the latest in a string of heists conducted by large groups of thieves.

Los Angeles Patch

Storefront windows of Louis Vuitton, Saks Fifth Avenue on Rodeo Drive damaged

Authorities on Sunday were investigating the circumstances surrounding two incidences in Beverly Hills that resulted in windows to two stores being smashed. "This used to be the safest city in the west but it's not anymore," said shopper Salvano Fino. "Anybody can come and just take and it's just getting very easy for them." Beverly Hills police said officers responded Sunday to reports of a window smashed near the 200 block of Rodeo Drive. When they arrived, they located two storefronts that had windows smashed.

CBS LA

'Unacceptable': Newsom blasts Bay Area retail thefts, says more officers on patrol

Gov. Gavin Newsom said that the state is ramping up its assistance to Bay Area cities in the wake of a series of mass organized retail thefts over the weekend that left shopping districts reeling. The thefts - in San Francisco, San Jose, Walnut Creek and Hayward - were "unacceptable. Period, full stop," said Newsom, who appeared in San Francisco at a press conference aimed at bolstering the uptake of coronavirus vaccine boosters.

San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Target shoplifting suspect arrested for thefts over $40,000

A woman was arrested at a Target store in San Francisco after allegedly stealing more than $40,000 worth of merchandise over the course of 120 visits to the store, officials said Wednesday. San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott described the woman, identified as Aziza Graves, as "a particularly brazen and prolific retail theft offender," the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

NBC Bay Area

California's alarming cocktail of criminal justice 'reforms' responsible for major crime wave

The house that Californians built and Democrats cheaply remodeled is on fire. This crime wave is also reflected in recent Globe articles about Walgreens announcing that five additional outlets in San Francisco would be closing on top of the 17 already shuttered just since 2019, as well as serious daily theft and crime troubles at the iconic Target on Mission Street between Third and Fourth Streets. "This store loses $25,000 a day to shoplifting," an SFPD officer recently told the Globe in lengthy, taped interviews.

California Globe

Arrest made in random stabbing outside West Hollywood Whole Foods

An arrest has been made in the random stabbing of a man outside of a West Hollywood Whole Foods on Monday night, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. David Cook, 44, was taken into custody on Sunday after LAPD officers were alerted by someone who recognized the suspect from a prior press release. West Hollywood Station deputies responded to Beverly Boulevard and Martel Avenue in the City of Los Angeles regarding LAPD officers detaining the attempted murder suspect, police said.

NBC4

Trucker arrested in record-breaking drug seizure at border

A trucker from Mexico was arrested after trying to smuggle record-breaking amounts of methamphetamine and fentanyl into the U.S., federal prosecutors said. More than 17,500 pounds (7,930 kilograms) of meth and 389 pounds (176 kilograms) of fentanyl were discovered last Thursday hidden inside a tractor-trailer at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

AP

California/National

Oakland police officers leaving the struggling department for others across the Bay Area: Police union

The "Great Resignation" happening across the country appears to include Oakland police officers. The police union says officers - including rookie cops - are leaving the struggling police department for other departments across the Bay Area. But now, the police union says the department's staffing has dropped so low, that it's putting millions of parcel tax funding in jeopardy - and it couldn't come at a worse time.

NBC Bay Area

Strength in San Diego

Homicides are up, radical prosecutors are taking office, and politicians are hobbling the police. Is any large urban area managing to maintain order in this tumult? Yes - and believe it or not, it's in California, that hotbed of progressive disorder. The eighth-largest city in the United States, with 1.4 million residents, San Diego has been called the safest big city in America as it keeps crime down while maintaining sensible law enforcement policies. Even with a large metropolitan area, the city's violent- and property-crime rates remain low.

City Journal

Lessons from Kenosha

The only thing surprising about the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict was how long it took the jury to reach it. As should be obvious to anyone who understands the law and had the merest familiarity with the facts of the case, Rittenhouse should never have been charged in the first place. The American Bar Association establishes criminal justice standards for lawyers, among which are those pertaining to prosecutors.

Jack Dunphy/The Pipeline

FBI acknowledges some agents may have Havana Syndrome symptoms

The FBI is promising to make sure employees who have symptoms consistent with Havana Syndrome get access to medical care after a former agent suffering almost daily headaches was rebuffed when he sought testing and treatment, according to documents obtained by NBC News. In an email last month, an FBI official told a former agent who had reported possible brain injury symptoms that "unfortunately, the FBI is not authorized to give any medical advice and there are not any medical programs in place for current and/or retired employees."

NBC News

Survey says more than half NYPD wishes they never joined the force

They're New York's Grimmest. More than half of NYPD cops wish they never joined the force in the first place, according to a damning internal department survey of 6,000 uniformed officers obtained by The Post. The survey is a sobering snapshot of how the Finest feel in an era of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter riots, the Defund the Police movement, bail-reform laws that keep violent offenders out of jail, and legislative measures that put the burden of liability on officers while emboldening criminals.

New York Post

Backlash brewing over coffee shop owned by border patrol agent

A Barrio Logan business owner living his dream of opening up his own coffee shop is facing backlash, not because of the way he brews his coffee but because he's a law enforcement officer. Brewing coffee is a labor of love for Jeff Rambo, but some people in the community where he set up Storymakers Coffee Roasters aren't returning that love. "It hurts personally in the sense this is my dream and someone is trying to tear it down," explained Rambo.

NBC7 San Diego

Mich. woman tried to order hitman for ex-husband using satirical website

A Michigan woman has admitted to trying to hire a hitman to kill her ex-husband through a fictional website called "Rent-A-Hitman." On Friday, 52-year-old Wendy Wein pleaded guilty to solicitation to commit murder and illegal use of a computer to facilitate a crime, MLive, the Huron Daily Tribune and WJBK report. Wein was arrested in July after she went to the fictitious website rentahitman.com and requested a consultation to help kill her ex-husband, according to a release from Michigan State Police.

People

Convictions/Sentences/Pleas

Former LAPD officer accused of sexually assaulting assistant chief's wife pleads guilty (Video)

A former LAPD officer accused of sexually assaulting the assistant chief's wife, and charged with extortion for threatening to share explicit photos has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. Eric Leonard Reports for the NBC4 News at 5 P.M. on Nov. 22, 2021.

NBC4

All 3 men guilty of murder in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery

All three men who were found guilty in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery face the possibility of life in prison when they are sentenced. Travis McMichael, who shot and killed Arbery, was convicted on all nine counts. Five of the counts - malice murder and four counts of felony murder - carry a possible life sentence. His father, Gregory McMichael, was found guilty of all but the first count - malice murder. He faces possible life in prison for the four counts of felony murder that he was convicted on.

CNN

California doctor who ran opioid pill mill convicted

A doctor was convicted Friday of illegally issuing hundreds of opioids and other drug prescriptions at several locations in the San Francisco Bay Area and Central Valley, including in a back room of a nail salon, federal prosecutors announced. Edmund Kemprud, 78, of Dublin, was convicted of 14 counts of illegally prescribing hydrocodone, alprazolam and oxycodone - all highly addictive - to patients who did not medically require them, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert for the Eastern District of California announced.

AP

Capitol rioter gets 2-week prison stretch after remorseless court rant

A Capitol rioter who got kicked off of his flight home from Washington because he wouldn't stop chanting "Trump 2020!" was sentenced to 14 days in prison on Friday, following a long-winded story in court that galled U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta. "I will say that I'm disappointed to hear a lot of what you had to say today," Mehta told John Lolos, after Lolos doubled down on baseless theories of election fraud, insisted that he thought he was allowed to be in the Capitol building and accused the media of framing him and ruining his life.

Courthouse News Service

Trio who deliberately caused 15 crashes on LA freeways sentenced

A trio from Los Angeles who admitted to purposely causing 15 car crashes on local freeways as part of a massive insurance fraud scheme were sentenced to prison Monday. The crashes left 21 victims in their wake, including several people who suffered severe injuries, according to prosecutors. Victor Valle-Diaz, Eduardo Retana and Ausencio Gomez were sentenced to between four and seven years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $344,000 in restitution. The three men pleaded no contest to insurance fraud and assault charges.

Sherman Oaks Patch

Corrections & Parole

Man convicted in 2010 murder of Santa Maria teen granted parole suitability

One of five people convicted in 2013 of murdering Santa Maria teen Dystiny Myers was granted parole suitability Thursday. According to the California Department of Corrections, Jason A. Greenwell is being held at the California Institute for Men. Greenwell, from Nipomo, was one of five people charged in the killing of 15-year-old Dystiny Myers. She was tortured and beaten in Nipomo on Sept. 25, 2010, then driven to an area near Santa Margarita where her body was dumped and burned.

KSBY

Koi Nation member pardoned for 2006 assault conviction

A member of Sonoma County's Koi Nation tribe was pardoned for a 2006 conviction of assault with a deadly weapon, Gov. Gavin Newsom's office announced Friday afternoon. Robert Gary Morgan, 37, was convicted of one count on Aug. 3, 2006, in Sonoma County Superior Court and sentenced to three years of probation and 91 days in jail. Morgan applied for executive clemency and "has provided evidence that he is living an upright life and has demonstrated his fitness for restoration of civic rights and responsibilities," according to Newsom's declaration.

The Press Democrat

Newsom reversed parole decisions in 129 cases during first 2 years in office

The future of a man currently behind bars for the 2010 murder of a Santa Maria teen could be up to Governor Gavin Newsom. Jason Greenwell was recently granted parole suitability, meaning he could be released from prison following a review. According to data from the governor's office, in 2019 and 2020, Newsom reversed the parole board's decision in 129 cases in which parole suitability was granted. During that same time, the California Board of Parole Hearings had 13,745 parole suitability hearings and granted parole in 2,418 cases.

KSBY

Gavin Newsom denies parole for Kern County inmate who killed toddler in 2000

Gov. Gavin Newsom has denied parole for a Kern County man convicted of killing a toddler 21 years ago, reversing a California Board of Parole Hearings decision. Michael Todd Panella, 51, will remain in prison for the death of the 20-month-old boy, the son of a woman whom he was dating, according to prosecutors. Panella became eligible for elderly parole as a result of amendments passed by the state legislature in 2020 that reduced requirements for inmates who were at least 50 and had served 20 years of their sentence.

KGET

Articles of Interest

Cuomo report from NY Assembly credits harassment evidence as 'overwhelming'

Commissioned to study the grounds for removing New York's then-governor from office, the Judiciary Committee of the New York Assembly issued a damning report Monday that says Andrew Cuomo engaged in sexual harassment, used state resources to publish a self-aggrandizing book and obscured the death toll that state nursing homes experienced at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Courthouse News Service

Yes, it is possible for a sitting vice president to be nominated to the Supreme Court

In the days after CNN published a report about Vice President Kamala Harris's performance in the White House, rumors trended online based on one paragraph in the article. "Defenders and people who care for Harris are getting frantic. When they're annoyed, some pass around a recent Onion story mocking her lack of more substantive work, one with the headline, 'White House Urges Kamala Harris To Sit At Computer All Day In Case Emails Come Through.'

ABC10 Sacramento

Playboy landlord's pal flips on him in sex-trafficking suit

Two California businessmen and notorious playboys were accused last year of participating in an international sex trafficking ring. Now, one appears to have flipped on the other, and is providing evidence to suggest that his friend may have been engaged in a harassment campaign against his accusers. Ten women sued Danny Fitzgerald, a Hollywood real estate developer and landlord to the stars, and pal Steven Powers last November, claiming they took part in a trafficking operation perpetuated by Canadian fashion designer Peter Nygard.

Daily Beast

Tesla's Elon Musk responds to JPMorgan suit with "final warning" - for a 1-Star Yelp review

Last week, reports emerged that JPMorgan, one of the United States' biggest banks, has sued Tesla for $162 million over stock warrants that are linked to CEO Elon Musk's "funding secured" tweet from August 2018. The lawsuit seems to have been taken in stride by the Tesla CEO, who responded to the litigation in a way that is very much in character. As noted in a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, Elon Musk and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon have been clashing behind closed doors for years.

Teslarati

$790 million settlement reached in Rams relocation lawsuit

Lawyers on Wednesday clinched a deal to settle the Rams relocation lawsuit for $790 million, ending a 4-year-old legal saga and avoiding a high-stakes civil trial that could have overshadowed Super Bowl LVI in the very stadium billionaire Stan Kroenke built after leaving St. Louis. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell approved the settlement before noon Wednesday. The agreement binds the league to pay St. Louis, St. Louis County and the public agency that owns The Dome at America's Center within 30 days.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Pensions

No mass transit grants for California, Biden Administration rules

rentahitman.com

A Michigan woman admitted to trying to hire a hitman to kill her husband, not realizing the website, rentahitman.com, was a joke.

We just learned that the U.S. Department of Labor has denied California $12 billion in transit funding, including grants from the recently signed infrastructure bill. The reason? A 1964 federal law requires the labor department to certify that the state agencies seeking any mass-transit grants are "protecting the interests of any affected employees," The Fresno Bee reported. So, the Biden administration is claiming that California - the state that provides its public employees with unparalleled pay and pension benefits, and provides collective-bargaining rights unheard of anywhere else - is being mean to its "affected" public employees because the state passed a 2013 law, authored by Democrats, that infinitesimally reined in pension benefits.

Reason

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