SF Suspends Cannabis Tax to Help Serial-Robbed Dispensaries; Bear Spray Used in Smash-and-Grabs; LA Police Detective Tells Tourists the City Unsafe; 200 Robberies in 1 Week Alone in LA; and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo
Mom charged for her teenage daughter's sucker punch; SF has 3,000 car break-ins in 1 month; Bitcoin 'inventor' hit with $100 M Jury verdict
December 18, 2021
Courts & Rulings
Judge Ito spurns DA's entreaty to vacate death sentence
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Roger Ito on Friday rejected a stipulation by the Office of District Attorney George Gascón and the defense that a death sentence be vacated, saying that this is the first time as a bench officer that he has not accepted a proposed stipulation between the parties. The California Supreme Court ordered a hearing as to whether the defendant, Samuel Zamudio, who was convicted on Nov. l7, 1997, of two counts of murder with special circumstances, should be relieved of his death sentence based on the allegation that he is mentally disabled.
California DA must reveal jury selection notes in bias challenge
A California inmate will be able to review prosecutors' notes about jury selection used during his murder trial after the state's highest court ruled Thursday that the DA's office waived any claim of privilege when it revealed the existence of an internal juror-rating system. The ruling, which was prompted by alleged racial bias in the selection process, is the latest to challenge who gets bounced from a jury.
Maglula claims victory in counterfeit battle with Amazon
Gun accessories company Maglula says it has won a long-running court case with Amazon, seeking to make the online retail giant liable for the sale of counterfeits on its platform. The dispute, which dates back to early 2020, is significant because it maintains that Amazon should be liable as the seller of the counterfeits, rather than third-party vendors listing goods on its marketplace. Maglula has complained that knock-off versions of its products - particularly its UpLULA loader - are widespread on Amazon's US site.
Judge denies LA firefighters' union bid for injunction against vaccine mandate
A judge denied a request by the Los Angeles city firefighters' union for a preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of a mandate requiring its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 pending resolution of a labor issue, saying the balancing of harms favored protecting the public's health. "The court finds (United Firefighters of Los Angeles City Local 112) has not made the significant showing of irreparable harm necessary to enjoin a public entity in the performance of its duties," Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary Strobel wrote in finalizing her ruling Friday.
City News Service
Defining 'crime of violence' leaves justices confounded
Justice Clarence Thomas invoked "Alice in Wonderland" Tuesday as the Supreme Court tackled the question of whether an attempted robbery can be considered a crime of violence. "It just seems that if you look at the actual facts, and you consider your argument, there's a bit of a through-the-looking-glass feel to this case," the Bush appointee said at oral arguments this morning.
Courthouse News Service
Convicted Mobile doctor to get rare hearing at the U.S. Supreme Court
An Alabama doctor serving a 21-year prison sentence will get a rare shot at reversing his conviction at the U.S. Supreme Court. A federal jury in Mobile after a seven-week trial convicted Dr. Xiulu Ruan, 58, in 2017 of writing illegal prescriptions, and a judge imposed punishment. The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction last year. For the vast majority of criminal convictions, that's the end of the road.
Federal appeals court says San Diego Unified's vaccine mandate can move forward
In a 2-1 ruling, a federal appeals court sided with San Diego Unified in its bid to require all students 16 and older to be vaccinated against Covid in order to remain enrolled in in-person classes according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. In its ruling, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court's temporary injunction halting the mandate, based on a lawsuit from a student claiming that it discriminated against students who oppose the vaccine for religious reasons.
Right to a fair trial could hinge on this high court ruling
Two Arizona men are sitting in their prison cells counting the days until the state will execute them. They will be given a choice between lethal injection or a gas chamber. David Martinez Ramirez and Barry Lee Jones have different life stories, but one thing in common: They likely wouldn't be sitting on death row if their court-appointed criminal defense lawyers had not botched their cases to a degree that federal courts have found to be unconstitutional.
Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor announces Normalization of Operations Work plan (N.O.W.) to increase timely access to justice and reduce criminal pandemic-related backlog
Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor today announced the launch of the Normalization of Operations Work plan (N.O.W.) for the Court and its justice partners to systematically address pandemic related Criminal case delays and safely restore Criminal operations to pre-pandemic levels of efficiency. N.O.W. builds on the Court's measured and deliberate approach to safely restore court operations by reducing Criminal case backlogs and increasing timely and equal access to justice for Criminal litigants.
L.A Court News Release
Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor announces new General Order extending certain Juvenile deadlines
Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor today announced a new General Order extending certain Juvenile deadlines through December 31, 2021. The General Order is issued under the authority granted by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye. The Order, which is attached, extends deadlines as follows.
L.A Court News Release
Appeals court rejects Trump's bid to keep January 6 documents from House committee
A federal appeals court Thursday ruled against former President Donald Trump in his effort to block his White House records from being released to the House select committee investigating January 6. However, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals paused its ruling for two weeks so that Trump could seek a Supreme Court intervention. "The events of January 6th exposed the fragility of those democratic institutions and traditions that we had perhaps come to take for granted," said the DC Circuit opinion, which was written by Judge Patricia Millett, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama.
Los Angeles District Attorney
Los Angeles prosecutor rips Gascon for crime surge: He's a 'politician first' (Video)
Eric Siddall, vice president of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, says District Attorney George Gascon's 'refusal to hold criminals accountable' is responsible for a 'huge upsurge' in violent crime.
Liberal California DA George Gascon silent on crime wave (Video)
Association of Deputy District Attorneys Vice President Eric Siddall appears on Fox News to discuss ongoing smash-and-grab crime sprees and the inaction of LA County District Attorney Gascon.
Gascón marks 1 year in office, denies blame for crime spikes
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said Wednesday that he is constantly searching for ways to make the community safer just over a year after being sworn into office, but denied that his policies - including a series of directives limiting the length of prison sentences - have led to an increase in homicides and "smash-and-grab" robberies.
City News Service
LA District Attorney George Gascon fundraises to lower sentence of Jacqueline Avant's killer
Hours after philanthropist Jacqueline Avant was shot to death during a Beverly Hills home invasion robbery, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon distributed a fundraising letter seeking to overturn a law that would keep her killer in prison. Avant, 81, was the mother-in-law of Netflix's CEO, and her Dec. 1 murder shocked the entertainment world and beyond.
Soros-backed Los Angeles DA is slammed by union representing nearly 1,000 county prosecutors for his silence on the smash-and-grab looting across Southern California
The head of a union that represents roughly 1,000 Los Angeles County prosecutors slammed District Attorney George Gascon for keeping mum despite the recent string of smash-and-grab robberies plaguing Southern California. Gascon, one of many 'woke' DAs bankrolled by billionaire Democrat donor George Soros, has survived one recall effort and faces another that was launched Monday after he was accused of being soft on crime.
New effort launched to recall District Attorney Gascón
A new effort to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón was launched yesterday - this time, with hefty funding and professional guidance in contrast to a previous failed grass roots bid. Former District Attorney Steve Cooley told the METNEWS: "This effort to recall DA Gascón will succeed because it is beginning with $2.5 million raised or pledged. The effort is now being led by top notch professionals.
Criminals are the real victims, according to the Los Angeles district attorney
Gun control is for civilians, not criminals. The criminal justice system should view criminals as victims. These are the guiding lights of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon. On the same day that an 81-year-old woman was shot to death in a home invasion robbery, Gascon sent out a fundraising email decrying the use of sentencing enhancements. Enhancements add prison time for violent crimes for a number of reasons, from gang affiliation to the use of guns.
Gang, gun charges plummet under DA Gascón, sparking debate over justice and safety
In the year since George Gascón became L.A. County District Attorney, his office has become ground zero for the national movement to end mass incarceration and address racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Among his most controversial policies are those aimed at reducing prison sentences for serious and violent felonies.
Misdemeanors 'can haunt a person for life': Why LA's DA stopped charging many of them
When Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón took office a year ago, he directed the county's nearly 1,000 prosecutors to decline charges involving 13 categories of low-level misdemeanors, including driving on a suspended license, drug and paraphernalia possession, and public intoxication. The sweeping new policy called for misdemeanor charges only when there are extenuating circumstances, like repeat offenses.
Man charged in death of Jacqueline Avant, music icon's wife
Prosecutors filed charges Monday against a 29-year-old man in the fatal shooting of philanthropist Jacqueline Avant, the wife of legendary music executive Clarence Avant, last week at their Beverly Hills home. Aariel Maynor is also charged with the attempted murder of the Avants' security guard, whom he allegedly shot at during the Dec. 1 robbery but did not wound. Maynor's arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday.
Former head of LADWP agrees to plead guilty to bribery charge
The former general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has agreed to plead guilty to a federal criminal charge for accepting bribes from a lawyer in exchange for his official action to secure a three-year, $30 million no-bid LADWP contract for the lawyer's company, the Justice Department announced today. David H. Wright, 62, of Riverside, agreed to plead guilty to a one-count information charging him with bribery, a crime that carries a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.
Department of Justice Press Release
Prosecutors again charge Long Beach man with murder in burial case
A 55-year-old Long Beach man again faces a murder charge in the death and disappearance of Zach Kennedy after prosecutors filed a new case. Scott David Leo is in the midst of a second preliminary hearing, which started Wednesday, Dec. 1, and was scheduled to finish next week: A judge will decide whether enough evidence exists for him to stand trial.
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Charges filed against mom of ex-NBA player's daughter who sucker punched opponent during basketball game
The mother of a teenage girl who sucker-punched an opposing player during a youth basketball game in Garden Grove last month is now facing criminal charges, prosecutors announced Thursday. Tira Hunt, whose full name is Latira Shonty Hunt, 44, of La Puente, has been charged with misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and battery for allegedly urging her daughter from the stands to hit the other girl.
Long Beach Police Department officers face charges for filing false report
Two Long Beach Police Department officers were arrested Friday for allegedly filing a false police report related to a 2018 firearms arrest. The officers, 16-year veteran Dedier Reyes and five-year veteran David Salcedo, surrendered on Friday, the same day arrest warrants were issued, according to the Long Beach Police Department. The officers' alleged misdeeds were first discovered in February 2018, when "LBPD detectives discovered discrepancies in the police reports and the surveillance video regarding a firearms arrest," the department said in a release.
California jail guard indicted for sex assaults on inmates
A California correctional officer was indicted Thursday on multiple counts of sexually assaulting female inmates at the San Joaquin County Jail, just months after another officer at the same facility was convicted of rape and other sexual assaults on inmates. Alex Tafoya was arraigned on charges that include oral copulation by force, sexual penetration by force, false imprisonment by violence, fraud or deceit and assault by a police officer, the San Joaquin district attorney said.
Prosecutors: Couple had 14-year-old 'in tow' at Capitol riot
Federal prosecutors said Thursday that a North Carolina woman deserves a prison sentence for bringing her 14-year-old child into the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot. Virginia Marie "Jenny" Spencer and her husband, Christopher, had the child "in tow" when they joined other rioters who overwhelmed a line of police officers, invaded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office suite and demanded entry to the House chamber, prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo.
Torrance police traded racist, homophobic texts. It could jeopardize hundreds of cases
The caption read "hanging with the homies." The picture above it showed several Black men who had been lynched. Another photo asked what someone should do if their girlfriend was having an affair with a Black man. The answer, according to the caption, was to break "a tail light on his car so the police will stop him and shoot him." Someone else sent a picture of a candy cane, a Christmas tree ornament, a star for the top of the tree and an "enslaved person."
Los Angeles Times
Point of View: The crime spike is threatening all we love about California
The unprecedented crime wave we are currently experiencing falls squarely at the feet of the Democrats, in the form of two bad propositions and a weak-on-crime approach. Mob lootings are happening daily. Walgreens are closing quite a few stores forever because organized shoplifting is costing $25,000 a day per store according to some reports. Target stores in San Francisco are reducing store hours to reduce shoplifting losses.
San Francisco crime surge prompts city to suspend cannabis tax to help dispensaries versus drug dealers
City supervisors in San Francisco unanimously approved an ordinance suspending the city's business tax on cannabis retailers last week. San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who penned the ordinance, said in a statement to the San Francisco Examiner that the suspension is intended to help out legal cannabis retailers who are trying to compete with illegal drug dealers and a spike in theft.
Violent LA crime wave, Jacqueline Avant killing result of liberal justice reforms: critics
A day after a career criminal was arrested in the fatal shooting of philanthropist Jacqueline Avant at the lavish Beverly Hills home she shared with her husband Clarence, a 90-year-old music producer inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year, her family issued a statement that read in part, "Now, let justice be served." But in Los Angeles, where left-wing lawmakers and activists have pushed a litany of progressive reforms that help violent criminals spend less-time behind bars, justice is not only fleeting - it's twisted, critics say.
New York Post
Commissioner calls for stepping up fight against crime spike (Video)
Officials have recorded a rise in violent crimes and robberies in LA. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4 News on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021.
Smash & Grab
L.A. police detective warns visitors not to come to city
A Los Angeles Police Department detective is advising visitors not to come to his city because he can't guarantee that he and his law enforcement colleagues can keep them safe. Jamie McBride pointed to the policies of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and progressive district attorneys who are "advocating for the criminals." "We're telling people don't visit because we don't think we can keep you safe right now," he said Monday in an interview with Fox News.
Bear spray used in California smash-and-grab theft
Los Angeles police said Monday that among the implements used in the holiday season's spree of smash-and-grab crimes is bear spray, a chemical irritant similar to pepper spray but more potent. The police department said in a statement that someone who was part of a group of suspects at a Nordstrom in the city's San Fernando Valley on Nov. 24 used bear spray on a security guard. Police released security video of the guard being sprayed.
District Attorney lashes back against Governor: "Either he's ignorant... or he's a liar"
The law enforcement community is fired up after comments Governor Gavin Newsom made about crime in California Wednesday. The Governor talked about Proposition 47. That law changed certain felonies to misdemeanors. From the police perspective, it runs in tandem with Proposition 57, which reduced prison sentences, and AB-109, which shifted people from state prison to local jails.
'Difficult to make a living right now': Small businesses reel from smash-and-grab robberies
While the recent spate of smash-and-grab robberies has targeted retailers of all sizes, the relative impact on small businesses is substantial. Even a minor robbery can lead to a significant portion of their inventory being stolen, prompting some owners to reconsider whether to even reopen. "I don't want to continue. It's very difficult to make a living right now," said one business owner, who chose to conceal the identity of herself and her store for fear of reprisal. "I feel terrible. My husband wants to reopen, but I'm tired."
After LA smash-and-grab arrests, zero-bail policies trigger new questions
Los Angeles police recently announced the arrests of 14 suspects in a series of smash-and-grab robberies across the city. And not one of them spent more than a day in jail. Zero-bail policies meant the suspects were quickly released from custody after they were arrested and booked for the crimes. One was a juvenile. All remain free while awaiting their court cases to work through the system.
DAs, retailers say California needs stronger shoplifting law
Spurred by a recent run of large-scale smash-and-grab robberies, prosecutors and retailers are pushing back on assertions by California's governor and attorney general that they have enough tools to combat retail theft in the wake of a voter-approved easing of related laws. "We cannot function as a society where we have told people over and over again that there is no consequence for stealing other people's property," said Vern Pierson, immediate past president of the California District Attorneys Association and El Dorado County's district attorney.
How looting in San Francisco turned the city into a ghost town
Usually at this time of year, San Francisco's luxury stores are decked with holiday garlands. Instead, they're boarded up after widespread "flash mob" looting turned Union Square - the city's most fashionable shopping district - into an area resembling a blighted neighborhood in Detroit. "It's a ghost town," said Michelle Tandler, a San Francisco native and high-tech entrepreneur, whose photos of the stores barricaded in plywood went viral on social media this week.
New York Post
GOP, businesses slam AOC for doubting existence of smash-and-grab robberies: 'Tone-deaf and offensive'
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was slammed by Republicans and business leaders following an interview where she cast doubt on whether rampant smash-and-grabs are actually occurring. "A lot of these allegations of organized retail theft are not actually panning out," Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview with The Washington Times last week. "I believe it's a Walgreens in California cited it, but the data didn't back it up," she added.
Los Angeles County/City
LA County supervisors consider funding academy classes to fill 642 sheriff vacancies
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Dec. 7, signaled a new political battle with the Sheriff's Department over whether the board's efforts at fiscal austerity to manage department cost overruns represented "defunding the police." The tension over the department's mammoth $3.6 billion budget is nothing new. But the latest twist: whether more funding is needed to fill 642 vacancies of sworn personnel at at time when violent crime is on the rise and pre-pandemic demand for law enforcement is ramping up.
Los Angeles Daily News
Suit says supervisors lack authority to discipline unvaccinated employees
The union representing Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies is asking a judge in to declare that the Board of Supervisors does not have legal authority to suspend or fire deputies for noncompliance with the county's mandatory vaccination order. The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs sued Los Angeles County on Friday, also seeking an award of attorneys' fees and costs associated with bringing the case to court.
LA city and county seek dismissal of amended homelessness lawsuit
Attorneys for the city and county of Los Angeles have filed motions seeking dismissal of a revised lawsuit demanding local government find shelter for the thousands of people camping on sidewalks and near freeways. The L.A. Alliance for Human Rights - plaintiffs in the closely watched federal lawsuit - filed its amended complaint last month after an appeals court struck down an unusual court order that would've required the city and county to offer shelter and treatment to all unhoused people living in downtown's 50-block Skid Row within six months.
City News Service
Court filing reveals how Kobe Bryant crash photos circulated (Video)
Vanessa Bryant's lawyers have presented new, detailed accounts of exactly which LA County Sheriff's deputies and firefighters they say took or exchanged photos of Kobe Bryant's remains. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4 News on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021.
LAPD Union accuses Commissioner Salimpour of ethics violation
The Los Angeles police union has accused an L.A. City commissioner of lobbying for his company to receive a multi-million dollar city contract. "The old saying says where there's smoke, there's fire and I think these emails show there's fire," said Robert Rico, counsel for the LAPPL. The Los Angeles Police Protective League believes that the emails show that Commissioner Pedram Salimpour, appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti to the Board of L.A. Fire and Police Pensions, conspired to get his company, PPS Health, which operates as Bluestone Safe, to the front of the line for a lucrative deal testing city employees for COVID-19.
The arsonists in the media say the fire is too hot
Surely the irony on display in the Los Angeles Times is unintentional. A front-page story in Wednesday's edition tells of the murder of 12-year-old Alexander Alvaro, who was shot to death while sitting in a car outside an elementary school in Wilmington, near the city's port. Alvaro's stepmother was wounded, as was a 9-year-old girl who was on the school playground. Four Times writers are bylined and a fifth is credited for contributing to the story, which taken alone could be seen as an appeal for more effective policing and prosecution in Los Angeles.
Jack Dunphy/PJ Media
Sowing the crime wind, reaping the whirlwind
Who would have thought she was doing something dangerous? The young mother was returning home from a late afternoon walk on Nov. 28, pushing her infant child in a stroller. She opened the security gate in front of her home in the upscale Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, taking no notice of the two men in the car stopped across the street. Before she could close the gate and enter her home, the two men followed her into her yard and robbed her of her backpack and diaper bag before escaping. Neither the woman nor her child was injured.
Jack Dunphy/The Pipeline
200 robberies reported in last week alone, LAPD Chief Michel Moore says
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said he's working to "more aggressively" go after criminals and seek "full prosecution" as the city sees an alarming spike in violent crimes. During a virtual news conference on Tuesday, Moore spoke candidly about the increase in crime and said he's increasing patrols to curb the violence. "Right now, I believe that the efforts of the last year and a half or so created at least a perception of a more permissive environment," said Moore.
'We can't guarantee your safety': Head of LAPD's police officers' union warns tourists away
With many people feeling Southern California is experiencing a violent crime wave, even prompting the head of the Los Angeles Police Department's union to warn tourists away, LAPD Chief Michel Moore tried to assure people that crime is not out of control in the city. "My message to anyone thinking about coming to Los Angeles, especially during the holiday season, is don't," Jamie McBride, the head of the LA Police Protective League, the union representing LAPD officers, said in a television interview.
Boy fatally shot near Boyle Heights elementary school
A boy was fatally shot near an elementary school in Boyle Heights Tuesday, and police were searching for the shooter. The shooting was reported about 3:30 p.m. in the area East First Street and South Savannah Street, near First Street Elementary School, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Rosario Cervantes said. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene. His name and age were not immediately released. One woman says he's her nephew but declined to give his name.
City News Service & NBC4
Triple shooting in Wilmington leaves boy dead, 9-year-old and adult woman hospitalized
A child died at the hospital after three people including a 9-year-old were shot in Wilmington Monday evening in two incidents, likely related, that were about a mile from each other, authorities said. The Los Angeles Police Department and LA City Fire said that three people were shot in the 1400 block of E Denni St. and the 800 block of N Eubank Ave. Much is still unknown about the incident. As of Tuesday morning, police say they believe the 9-year-old was hit by a stray bullet, when shots were fired at an SUV on Denni St.
San Fernando Valley Police chase: Driver hits multiple LAPD cruisers trying to evade officers
Shocking moments captured on SkyFOX showed a driver evade police by hitting the officers' cruisers multiple times in a San Fernando Valley neighborhood. SkyFOX was initially over Van Nuys as the chase suspect led the Los Angeles Police Department on a pursuit for possibly stealing the car. Later in the chase, the suspect was briefly trapped inside a cul-de-sac in Studio City. As LAPD surrounded the suspect, the suspect began recklessly hitting parked cars and then drove into - and hit - the officers' cruisers multiple times before escaping that neighborhood and extending the chase.
3 women claim janitor at Orange County Courthouse took pictures of them inside restroom
Three women claim a janitor at the Orange County Courthouse took pictures of them while they were in the restroom. "I was scared to death. I was in disbelief of what I saw. I said, 'Did I actually see that? Did someone...was actually trying to take a picture of me while I was using the facilities?'" said an attorney who works for the County of Orange in the Lamoreaux Justice Courthouse said. The lawyer, who CBSLA is not naming, said she's not the only who was recorded using the bathroom inside of an employees only restroom either.
LAPD detective issues dire warning amid crime surge (Video)
LAPD Detective Jamie McBride responds to the rise of crime in L.A. and throughout the state of California and explains his frustration with liberal policies.
San Francisco sees 3,000 car break-ins in 1 month; it's out of control"
A recent video of an auto-burglary on a busy San Francisco street shows just how commonplace it is and how residents have become inured to the situation. Tourist hot spots are popular places for car burglars. A recent smash-and-grab on Grant Avenue near Jackson Street in Chinatown took place within feet of bystanders. A driver gets into his car across the street, as the thief peers into the victim's car.
San Francisco restaurant denies service to 3 police officers who made staff 'uncomfortable'
A restaurant that denied service to three San Francisco Police Department officers because their weapons made staff "uncomfortable" has apologized. The restaurant, called Hilda and Jesse, said staff politely asked the armed officers in uniform to leave on Friday shortly after seating them, according to the post. Hilda and Jesse said the restaurant is a "safe space," and the presence of weapons prompted its staff to deny the officers service, the business said in a social media post.
Nexstar Media Wire
A dozen US cities set annual murder records with three weeks left in 2021
At least 12 major US cities have already set historical murder records in 2021, even as three weeks remain in the year. Philadelphia, the nation's sixth largest city, recorded 523 murders as of Dec. 7, surpassing its formal grim milestone of 500 murders, which was set in 1990, police data showed. The City of Brotherly Love had recorded significantly more murders in 2021 than New York City's 443, despite having approximately six times fewer residents.
New York Post
Bank of America execs warn junior staffers to 'dress down' as NYC crime surges
Amid a surge in some New York City violent crime, Wall Street bigwigs continue to encourage younger staffers to come into the office - but to do so with caution. At Bank of America, senior executives have quietly encouraged younger employees to "dress down" to attract less attention as they make their way to B of A's tower at 1 Bryant Park. These execs have told their staffers that dressing up, or wearing anything with a Bank of America logo, could make them a target.
New York Post
Lavish gifts, expensive trips: Was California state worker union leader's spending justified?
Newly published credit card statements detail past spending by the longtime leader of California's largest state employee union, showing she spent nearly $7,000 on gifts for top union officers and thousands of dollars on international travel for union purposes. The documents show former SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker paid $4,500 to Disney Resorts in the largest gift to an outgoing officer, $5,700 for a flight to Tel Aviv for a labor event and $159 for a celebration at Sacramento's Device Brewing Company, along with other expenditures.
What Philadelphia reveals about America's homicide surge
Nakisha Billa's son was still a baby when she decided to make their first flight to safety. It was early in 2000 and she and Domonic were living in the North Philadelphia neighborhood of Kensington, which had long suffered some of the highest crime rates in the city. Billa was 22, proud to be living in her own place after having been raised in West Philadelphia mostly by her grandparents, and flush with the novelty of motherhood.
Consumer Alert: Fake stamps for sale! If you buy them, kiss your cash goodbye.
Are you mailing holiday cards this year? Keep reading. We've uncovered more crucial information following Monday's Consumer Alert. I've been emailing the US Inspector General in Buffalo and fake stamps are a huge problem in this country. The sites I've uncovered are just the tip of the iceberg. One of our viewers saw an ad on Facebook for this site "uustamps.com". Note the web address has a repetition of the letter u. Scam sites often look legitimate.
Italy fines Amazon $1.3 billion, saying it hurts other sellers
Italy's antitrust authority on Thursday fined Amazon 1.13 billion euros ($1.3 billion), accusing the company of exploiting its dominant position against independent sellers on its website in violation of European Union competition rules. The fine is one of the largest leveraged in Europe against the online retail giant, which expanded in particular in Italy during a coronavirus lockdown that prevented residents from going to stores to buy items considered nonessential.
Jussie Smollett found guilty for filing false police report in hoax attack
After just 10 hours of deliberation, a Chicago jury has found actor Jussie Smollett guilty on five of six counts for filing a false police report related to the hoax racist attack he suffered at the hands of two men in January 2019. The "Empire" actor alleged he was attacked, doused with an unknown liquid, had a noose placed around his neck and called racist and homophobic slurs by two men late at night on a Chicago street.
State AG Rob Bonta announces five guilty pleas in $8 million Walgreens-CVS-Target theft ring
Standing in front of a CVS in Burlingame, the attorney general announced guilty pleas in what is supposedly one of the largest theft-ring arrests in California history. San Francisco has the reputation as the national epicenter of organized retail shoplifting, though the National Federation of Retailers will tell you that it's worse in Los Angeles.
`Western Bandit' sentenced to life without parole in deadly crime spree
An ex-con who killed two people and shot at numerous others on or near Western Avenue in Los Angeles in attacks attributed to the so-called "Western Bandit" over a three-year period was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole, with some victims and their families clapping as the term was handed down.
Corrections & Parole
Judge rules California Department of Corrections inflicted cruel and unusual punishment on incarcerated people at San Quentin during COVID-19 pandemic
On Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, Judge Geoffrey Howard of Marin County Superior Court made a final ruling in the case against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and San Quentin State Prison, affirming that prison officials acted with deliberate indifference and violated the constitutional rights of nearly 300 petitioners who filed writs of habeas corpus during a massive COVID-19 outbreak in the summer of 2020.
San Francisco Bay View
Scott Peterson to be re-sentenced to life without parole
Convicted killer Scott Peterson is set to be resentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for the murder of his pregnant wife Laci and their unborn son. Peterson, now 49, had previously been convicted in 2004 and sentenced to death for the slayings. But last year, California's Supreme Court last year tossed out the death sentence while allowing the murder convictions to remain in place.
Fox2 Bay Area
Articles of Interest
Federal appeals court rejects Oakland lawsuit over Raiders' departure
A federal appeals court refused Thursday to reinstate Oakland's antitrust suit against the National Football League over the Raiders' move to Las Vegas, saying the city could not show it was harmed by the NFL's refusal to add more teams or other allegedly anti-competitive practices. Oakland filed the suit against the league and the Raiders in 2018, a year after NFL teams voted 31-1 to approve the team's relocation to Las Vegas.
San Francisco Chronicle
Alec Baldwin's interview following 'Rust' shooting 'was a mistake,' legal experts say: It 'may backfire'
Legal experts believe Alec Baldwin should have given his televised interview a second thought before speaking out. On Thursday night, the actor gave his first sit-down since the Oct. 21 shooting on the set of the Western film "Rust." The 63-year-old told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that he did not pull the trigger on a prop gun he was holding on a New Mexico film set when it went off, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Netflix can't recruit Disney's Fox executives, appeals court rules
Netflix may see fixed-term contracts for entertainment executives as a form of involuntary servitude, but on Thursday, the streamer experienced a tough legal loss when a California appeals court refused to accept that perspective and overturn an injunction that prevented Netflix from poaching executives at Disney's Fox unit. Fox sued back in September 2016 upon the defection of production executive Tara Flynn and marketing executive Marcos Waltenberg.
Bitcoin 'inventor' hit with $100M jury verdict
Self-professed bitcoin inventor Craig Wright escaped a potential multibillion-dollar verdict Monday in his fight with the estate of computer forensics expert Dave Kleiman after jurors hit him with a $100 million judgment but found that there was no breach of any business partnership between the two. After more than a week of deliberations, jurors in Miami gave Wright a win on all counts except conversion, awarding $100 million not to Kleiman's estate but to W&K Info Defense Research LLC, the Florida company that Kleiman and Wright created in 2011.
Larry Krasner owes an apology to the 521 families of Philly's homicide victims
District Attorney Larry Krasner's recent remarks about whether we are experiencing a crime crisis are some of the worst, most ignorant, and most insulting comments I have ever heard spoken by an elected official. At a Monday press briefing, Krasner told reporters: "We don't have a crisis of lawlessness, we don't have a crisis of crime, we don't have a crisis of violence."
Justices look for happy medium in university retirement plan snarl
The Supreme Court devoted oral arguments Monday to the search for middle ground in a suit over excessive fees built in to university employees' retirement plans. "I don't know, counsel, that we can say a rule as broad as the Seventh Circuit has without harming the beneficiaries," Justice Sonia Sotomayor said in an exchange with the attorney representing the Northwestern University. "You may not have a rule as wide as the petitioner wants but there has to be a happier medium than what you're advocating."
Courthouse News Service
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