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

Arrest of Vicente Fernandez Memorial Shooter; 11 Antifa Members Charged in anti-Trump Riot; One Woman Accused of Stealing $300k in Merchandise; LA Speed Laws to Change and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo

Bobby Kennedy's children oppose parole of his assassin; Would-be robbery victim in South LA gets assailant's gun and shoots him dead; KC police officer's puppy beheaded

 

December 27, 2021

Facebook

Taylor Swift is the subject of a copyright infringement lawsuit over the lyrics to her 2014 song, "Shake it Off"

Courts & Rulings

Judge stops LAPD union's request to nix COVID vaccine mandate

The union representing LAPD officers lost a round Monday in its lawsuit alleging unfair labor negotiations related to the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for municipal employees - with a judge denying its members' request for a preliminary injunction against the directive. The Los Angeles Police Protective League alleges the city failed to negotiate in good faith by withholding information about the city's testing contractor, Bluestone.

City News Service

Case of two convicted in Altadena killing sent back to Los Angeles court

A state appeals court panel Monday ordered the case of two men convicted of the 1999 killing of an Altadena woman, who was the aunt of one of the defendants, to be sent back to a Los Angeles judge. The three-justice panel from California's 2nd District Court of Appeal reversed Superior Court Judge Stephen A. Marcus' order denying petitions by Nathan Sheard and his then-roommate, David Emanuel Talmadge, for re-sentencing under a new state law, and instructed the judge to "conduct further proceedings."

City News Service

Judge's ruling limits what prosecutors can share about Torrance police text scandal

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge issued an order this week slowing the process by which prosecutors can disclose evidence of racist text messages and images sent by Torrance police officers embroiled in a scandal that could affect hundreds of criminal cases. Prosecutors, who first uncovered evidence of the texts in July by obtaining a search warrant for the phones of ex-officers Cody Weldin and Christopher Tomsic, must now seek the approval of the judge who issued the warrant before disclosing any such information to defense attorneys, according to the ruling from Judge Kerry White.

Los Angeles Times

Ninth Circuit restores suit over death of incarcerated woman's newborn baby

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday ordered reinstatement of an action by a mentally ill homeless woman who sued Orange County under 42 U.S.C. 1983 based on an alleged deliberate indifference to her medical needs when she was about to give birth by delaying unduly in transporting from jail, where she was a pretrial detainee, to a hospital. The infant was delivered at the hospital but died there.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Senate group recommends free online access to federal court records

The Senate Judiciary Committee pushed Thursday morning for the government to remove digital paywalls for online court records, opening free access to the digital document system known as PACER. Short for the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system, PACER charges users 10 cents per page and a maximum of $3 per document. While these fees may seem small, court filings and dockets often range from dozens to hundreds of pages, and it is common for cases to drag out over the course of years.

Courthouse News Service

California law combating 'pay-for-delay' deals blocked by federal judge

A federal judge on Thursday blocked California from enforcing a groundbreaking law that bars "pay-for-delay" settlements between brand-name and generic pharmaceutical manufacturers, saying it unconstitutionally regulates out-of-state commerce. U.S. District Judge Troy Nunley in Sacramento at the request of a generic drug industry trade group preliminarily enjoined the first-of-its-kind law aimed at combating patent settlements that the state said could reduce competition.

Reuters

Judge-induced confusion requires invalidating 2013 plea

A citizen of South Korea who was convicted in 2013 of assault with a deadly weapon pursuant to a plea of no contest, and has served his term in prison, will be allowed to withdraw that plea, the Court of Appeal for this district held yesterday, because the judge, though providing the required advisement of the deportation consequence, intimated that ejection from the U.S. would be a possibility. Authoring the unpublished opinion for Div. Seven was Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Audra Ibarra.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Supreme Court takes up military discrimination spat

A Texas state trooper who was denied a disability accommodation after his last tour in Iraq will go before the Supreme Court in 2022 to argue that states are not immune from military discrimination claims. Le Roy Torres had been juggling his job with the Texas Department of Public Safety and his duties as a U.S. Army reservist for 18 years before he deployed to Iraq in 2007 and sustained lung damage through exposure to toxic fumes from burn pits.

Courthouse News Service

Ninth Circuit probes restitution award for corporate victims of Russian hacker

A federal judge's $1.7 million restitution award to four corporations hacked by Russian national Yevgeniy Nikulin took center stage at a hearing before three Ninth Circuit judges Friday as Nikulin's attorney argued that the companies did not substantiate their losses. In 2020, a jury found Nikulin responsible for three data breaches in 2012 at LinkedIn, Dropbox and now-defunct social media platform Formspring, and stealing more than 100 million encrypted user passwords that he sold to associates.

Courthouse News Service

Judge Lucy Haeran Koh becomes first Korean American woman in Ninth Circuit

President Joe Biden's nomination for U.S. District Judge Lucy Haeran Koh to act as a circuit judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was approved through a vote on Monday by the Senate. According to the U.S. Court for the Ninth Circuit, the confirmation came through a 50-45 vote.

News4 Tucson

In seeking to collect on millions in debt, bail bonds company says consumer law doesn't apply

Bad Boys Bail Bonds asked a California appeals court on Tuesday to overturn an injunction barring it from collecting on millions of dollars in bail debt, saying state consumer protection laws requiring notice to cosigners do not apply to its business. This past April, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Brad Seligman ordered the company to stop filing collections actions against cosigners on the hook for nearly $34.5 million in outstanding debt for contracts they signed to get their loved ones out of jail.

Courthouse News Service

Los Angeles District Attorney

ADDA Vice President Eric Siddall talks about the Los Angeles County District Attorney. (Audio)

The Association of Deputy District Attorneys Vice President Eric Siddall spoke on the John & Ken Show (KFI AM640) regarding the current state of affairs in Los Angeles County with the current District Attorney.

LA ADDA

Eric Siddall was on Judge Jeanine's radio show to discuss the rise in crime in our cities, focusing on the failures of many district attorney's to prevent recidivism (Audio)

Los Angeles District Attorney and Vice President of the Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys Eric Siddall calls into the show to discuss the recent crime wave sweeping the west coast and the failures in governance of left-wing cities.

LA ADDA

Los Angeles DA George Gascon blasted over 'tone deaf' press conference amid spiking crime: 'An embarrassment'

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon was surrounded by several colleagues from other states Wednesday while defending his policies amid a second recall attempt to oust him and a crime wave of shootings and brazen robberies. Gascon has taken heat since taking office last year over his rollback of tough-on-crime measures like the death penalty, charging juvenile suspects as adults and the leveling of criminal enhancements, which can significantly increase prison sentences.

Fox News

San Diego prosecutor battles liberal policies of Los Angeles DA Gascon

San Diego may be a neighbor to Los Angeles, but that's where the similarities end between their two district attorneys, summer Stephan and George Gascon. Both are in their first elected terms, with the constitutionalist Stephan of San Diego constantly finding herself dragged into the liberal policies of Gascon, who seeks reduced prison terms for offenders.

Washington Examiner

LA District Attorney Gascon tells murder victims' families: You're on your own

When Shaun McCarthy became a detective with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, he never envisioned doing the job of a prosecutor, fighting to keep his best friend's shooter behind bars at a parole hearing. But that's exactly what happened when McCarthy recently fended off the release of an inmate who shot off-duty Deputy Carlos Ponce in the head at a flower shop in 1998.

Washington Examiner

Prosecutors

Ex-NYPD and LAPD boss Bill Bratton: George Soros and aligned prosecutors 'destroying criminal justice system'

Left-wing billionaire George Soros and his Open Society foundation are "destroying the criminal justice system in America," William Bratton - the former top cop in Boston, Los Angeles and New York City - told Fox News on Wednesday, amid an exponential spike in crime in cities nationwide. However, Bratton said, he is heartened by incoming New York Democratic Mayor-elect Eric Adams and Keechant Sewell, the current Nassau County, N.Y., chief of detectives Adams named to replace current NYPD commissioner Dermot Shea.

Fox News

Woman charged with stealing $300K from California retailers

A woman has been charged with grand theft for allegedly stealing more than $300,000 in merchandise from retail stores in California. Ekaterina Zharkova, 38, was arrested last month after an investigator with the California Highway Patrol's Organized Retail Theft task force saw her stealing from a Nordstrom Rack in Costa Mesa.

AP

18-year-old California man indicted in death of teen who fatally overdosed from fentanyl

A Los Angeles man is facing felony charges of providing fentanyl-laced pills to a 15-year-old who died after taking them earlier this year. Johnny Castillo, 18, was arrested late Monday, Dec. 13, on a federal grand jury indictment accusing him of distributing the pills to the minor who died in a Los Angeles County residence on July 8. It wasn't immediately known if Castillo is represented by an attorney.

Southern California News Group

Two men charged with murder in USC student's death

Two men who reportedly had been street racing were charged Tuesday with murder stemming from a crash that left a 21-year-old USC student dead. Ricardo Aguilar, 24, and Carlos Andres Valdes Moscoso, 21, are charged in the death of Arian Rahbar, who was crossing Jefferson Boulevard at Harvard Boulevard near his home when he was struck about 3 p.m. Saturday.

MyNewsLA

Police, prosecutors bugged California courtroom

Police and prosecutors bugged a holding area of a Southern California courtroom to secretly record two people who were accused of murder in a move defense lawyers say violated their rights. The office of San Diego County District Attorney summer Stephan said the planting of listening devices in the Vista courtroom in 2019 was legal but it shouldn't have occurred and the office is working on a policy banning staff from taking part in future eavesdropping inside courtrooms, spokesman Steve Walker told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

AP

WABC investigative report: Cities will set murder records because of 'Soros Effect'

On Nov. 21, six lives were senselessly taken as a deranged SUV driver intentionally mowed down scores of people attending a Christmas parade in the quiet Wisconsin town of Waukesha. The alleged assailant, Darrell Brooks, 39, was a registered sex offender who had been arrested 21 days prior for allegedly running over the mother of his child and then released on a shockingly low $1,000 bail.

WABC-Radio

Ex-deputy accused of pouring scalding water on mentally ill California inmate

A former sheriff's deputy was accused Monday of pouring scalding water on a mentally ill inmate at a Southern California jail this year, causing first- and second-degree burns that weren't treated for more than six hours, authorities said. The former Orange County sheriff's deputy, Guadalupe Ortiz, 47, was charged with two felonies - assault or battery by a public officer and battery with serious bodily injury, the Orange County District Attorney's Office said in a news release.

NBC News

Public safety loses out if 'progressive' DAs like those in SF, LA have their way

The recent Kyle Rittenhouse trial in Kenosha and the Waukesha Christmas parade massacre by career felon Darrell Brooks Jr. have brought deserved criticism to two Wisconsin district attorney's offices. But a greater threat to our criminal justice system is the increasing election of rogue district attorneys, or "un-D.A.s," who coddle the offender and ignore the victim. By tradition, district attorneys are vigorous prosecutors, like Fresno County's Lisa Smittcamp and Madera County's Sally Moreno.

Fresno Bee

Prosecutors make first move to break up Antifa cell as 11 activists charged with violence

For the first time in the U.S., prosecutors are attempting to break up a network of alleged violent antifa cells. This week, the San Diego County District Attorney's office charged 11 alleged antifa members with felony conspiracy and felony assault charges, among other crimes, in a riot case where supporters of former President Donald Trump and random bystanders were beaten in Pacific Beach, California in January.

Newsweek

Ex-Saugus High School principal charged with perjury, conflict of interest

A former principal of Saugus High School has been charged with perjury and conflict of interest involving a student exchange program he helped set up with a school in China, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced Monday. William Bolde, 65, is set to be arraigned Jan. 12 in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on the two felony counts.

Antelope Valley Times

1-800-GET-THIN fraud defendants pin blame on prosecution's star witness

Lawyers for the two Southern California doctors accused of defrauding insurance companies out of more than $250 million through the 1-800-GET-THIN lap-band surgery network insisted the Justice Department's main cooperating witness is the mastermind behind the fraud. The criminal trial in Los Angeles federal court will go to the jury Tuesday after almost three months of testimony.

Courthouse News Service

Policy/Legal

After smash-and-grab thefts across California, is it time to reconsider Proposition 47?

For many, the lead villain in the rash of smash-and-grab thefts plaguing California is a sentencing reduction ballot measure that voters approved overwhelmingly seven years ago. "I think it was the biggest con job in California history," says Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, a former Republican who intends to run for state attorney general next year as an independent.

Los Angeles Times

Jerry Brown on advice to Gavin Newsom on California's crime, budget and more

Former California Governor Jerry Brown is now living about an hour's drive from Sacramento, but it feels like a world away. "I'm very happy I'm here. This is probably the best time in my life." The 4-term California Governor is running a 2,500 acre ranch in Colusa County that's been in his family since the nineteenth century. In 1878, Brown's great-grandfather August Shuckman developed a stagecoach inn here. He called it "Mountain House."

Fox11 LA

Bay Area mayors push to reverse police cuts and expand surveillance tools

More than a year after moving to cut and redistribute police funding in the wake of racial justice protests, two city leaders in Northern California are now pushing to hire more officers, crack down on crime and expand police surveillance powers. The mayors of San Francisco and its across-the-bay neighbor Oakland recently unveiled proposals to increase police presence in their cities and broaden law enforcement's ability to use surveillance tools, such as license plate readers and access to private security camera networks.

Courthouse News Service

In defense of civil forfeiture

With all due respect to my PJ Media colleague Megan Fox, and in full awareness of agonized commentary soon to appear below, I rise to defend civil forfeiture laws. On Wednesday, Megan wrote derisively on the seizure of over $100,000 in cash discovered in the checked suitcase of a woman from Chicago whose flight connected at Dallas Love Field Airport. A police dog alerted officers to the suitcase, leading to the discovery of the money. Megan mocked the tweet from the local CBS affiliate that included a photo of the dog and the seized cash.

Jack Dunphy/PJ Media

Speed limits on L.A. streets have gone up for decades. That's about to change

Los Angeles, perhaps the American city most famous for driving, has a speeding problem. But soon, safe street advocates hope they'll be able to say LA had a speeding problem. That's because the way the city determines its speed limits is about to change thanks to a new law going into effect Jan 1, 2022. Prior to Assembly Bill 43, Los Angeles has been setting speed limits using the "85% rule" under California Vehicle Code. Basically, speed limits are set by speed surveys.

KTLA/Nexstar Media Wire

Robert Kennedy's children speak out against possible parole of his assassin

In a rare interview, the children of the late U. S. Sen. Robert Kennedy spoke out against the possible parole of his assassin. "We need to be an advocate for our father. He is not here to advocate for himself," Christopher Kennedy told Lee Cowan in an interview to be broadcast on Sunday at 9 a.m. on the CBS television network and streaming on Paramount+. "That's the legacy he taught us, the notion of duty and honor and what is required of a child, of family, of a country."

Boston Herald

Smash & Grab

Smash-and-grab robbery rings organized, use social media to run heists, California AG says

It looked like chaos when groups of young people dashed from cars into the Louis Vuitton store in San Francisco's Union Square and ran off with luxury purses, bags, and designer wear. A few days later, about 80 people stormed through a Walnut Creek mall, stealing expensive items before fleeing. At L.A.'s Grove shopping mall not long after, a smaller group used sledgehammers on a Nordstrom.

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles crime wave forces celebrity designer to close her store: 'It's just such a scary time'

One celebrity fashion designer told FOX Business she has closed her store in Los Angeles, citing the recent spike in "grab and go" crimes that are taking place. Elle B. Mambetov is the owner of the boutique Elle B. Zhou, which had a location at the Beverly Center in Los Angeles. The shopping mall has been the target of several "flash mob thefts," where individuals enter a store and run out with merchandise without paying.

Fox Business

Famous LA shopping center The Grove adds barbed-wire-like fence to deter smash and grabs

As a recent wave of mob-led store robberies has put retailers, mall operators and communities on edge, one popular shopping center is keeping an unusual security measure in place through the holiday season. The Grove, a famous open-air shopping complex in Los Angeles, has added a high coil fence barrier that resembles barbed wire at the property's entrances and exits. Management added the "tangled tape" coil fencing, which is made from a custom aluminum-and-steel mesh, ahead of Thanksgiving weekend.

CNN

Los Angeles cell phone stores ransacked by smash-and-grab thieves, LAPD to increase patrols and add detectives

The Los Angeles Police Department will deploy extra patrols and detectives following a series of smash-and-grab robberies at three cell phone stores Monday night in what has become an ongoing trend where organized gangs of thieves loot retail shops for thousands of dollars worth of merchandise in a matter of seconds. The thefts all occurred in the city's San Fernando Valley area, the LAPD told Fox News.

Fox News

Smash-and-grab bandits: Opportunity and peril for Newsom

One thing for sure in the wake of the Thanksgiving week smash-and-grab flash mobs: The bandits who raided high-end stores from Walnut Creek and San Francisco to Beverly Hills and the Fairfax district of Los Angeles were not thinking about Gov. Gavin Newsom when they sledge-hammered their way to tens of thousands of dollars in plunder. But they have presented Newsom with both opportunity and peril, as evidenced by the immediate reaction of California Republican Party operatives who blamed the whole mess on him and his fellow Democrats.

California Focus

Crime is back in America

On Thanksgiving weekend, a rash of smash-and-grab robberies at some of the most expensive malls (Century City and the Beverly Center), department stores (Nordstrom) and shopping strips (Melrose) in Los Angeles left the city and its retailers terrorized. Then there was the murder of one of the most prominent philanthropists in the city, Jacqueline Avant, and a robbery at a house party in Pacific Palisades, not to mention the echoes of out-of-town violence.

West Central Tribune

Inside look at retail theft sting (Video)

NBC News' Vicky Nguyen takes us to Perrysburg Township, Ohio, where a team of detectives respond daily to organized retail crime and track stolen goods online. The goods often end up on Facebook Marketplace. In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson says in part, "We prohibit the sale of stolen goods on our platform and use a number of tools to prevent this kind of fraud."

NBC News

Organized Retail Theft (Podcast)

A Best Buy in Minneapolis, a Louis Vuitton store in Chicago, and a Nordstrom in Walnut Creek, CA were all struck recently by organized retail theft. But even before these high-profile thefts in the news, some cities have been plagued by constant theft. Wal-Greens in San Francisco had to close 5 stores due to rampant and brazen shoplifting. A Safeway in SF's Castro neighborhood previously was open 24 hours a day, but will now operate from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m due to the relentless shoplifting.

Crime News Insider Podcast

Los Angeles County/City

LAPD captain sues, says he was downgraded for reporting beanbag guns were wrongfully fired at non-violent protesters

A Los Angeles police captain is suing the city, alleging he was downgraded in his position after complaining that beanbag shotguns were wrongfully being used against non-violent demonstrators and media members in 2020 during protests after the George Floyd murder. Capt. Johnny Smith's Los Angeles Superior Court whistleblower suit was filed Tuesday and seeks unspecified damages. A representative for the City Attorney's Office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

City News Service

Sheriff Villanueva says department is underfunded, understaffed

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Tuesday that his department is underfunded and understaffed during a time that Los Angeles County is in need of "more law enforcement presence" to ensure public safety. The sheriff said during a press conference that he's concerned with rising violent crime, as the department is in the midst of a hiring freeze, combined with staff retirements or leaving to other departments. This year's budget removed 1,281 positions, not including 379 sworn retirements so far this year, Villanueva said.

Long Beach Press-Telegram

Robberies. Drought. Tent camps. Los Angeles's next mayor faces a litany of crises.

Peter Nichols has lived for 22 years in a two-bedroom Cape Cod in the Fairfax District, in the flat, bungalow-lined midsection between the east and the west sides of Los Angeles. His block used to make him proud, with its neat lawns and palm trees: Crime was low. Streets were clean. When a problem arose - drug use in the park, traffic from the nearby Melrose Avenue shopping district - the city seemed to know how to address it. All that has changed.

New York Times

LA city employee vaccine mandate deadline nears (Video)

City Hall says it's not sure how many jobs could be in jeopardy as the dealine approaches. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4 News on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021.

NBC4 LA

Surprise plea deals in Los Angeles water billing lawsuit scandal signify much more to come

For Los Angeles lawyer Brian Kabateck, the most surprising aspect of the first criminal case over a municipal water overbilling class action lawsuit is the finality of it. Paul O. Paradis' agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Central District of California calls for him to plead guilty to a federal bribery charge that's based on facts Paradis has long tried to publicly refute.

The Recorder

Traffic Stop Video: New York man files excessive force lawsuit against LA deputies

A man is suing the Los Angeles County Sheriff after cellphone video captured the man being restrained and repeatedly struck by deputies during a traffic stop in Long Beach. The federal civil rights lawsuit was filed against the county, the sheriff and the individual deputies. Although the cellphone video is shot from a distance, two LA County Sheriff's Department deputies can clearly be seen on top of Andre Olivas, and one of them is striking him continuously in the face.

NBC4 LA

Crime/Public Safety

After decreases in 2020, both property and violent crimes are up in 2021

Preliminary data from four of California's major cities - Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, and San Francisco - show increases in property and violent crime numbers this past year. In particular, the troubling increase in homicides that we saw in 2020 appears to continue - homicides in these cities are up by about 17% in 2021. The increase in property crime in 2021 was driven by car break-ins and auto thefts.

Public Policy Institute of California

One of three suspects shot dead during attempted South LA robbery

An attempted robbery in South Los Angeles quickly went sideways when three men in their 20s pulled up in a vehicle and tried to rob a man in his 50s, only to have one of them drop his handgun, allowing the victim to shoot dead one of the perpetrators, authorities said Saturday. The incident happened shortly before midnight Friday in the 1300 block of West 35th Place, the Los Angeles Police Department's Media Relations Division reported.

City News Service

Off-duty UC Berkeley officer shoots, kills armed robber at San Pablo restaurant

An off-duty University of California police officer shot and killed an armed robber Sunday morning at a restaurant in San Pablo, according to the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office. At about 11:30 a.m. Sunday, deputies responded to a report of a shooting at Nation's Giant Hamburgers in the 16300 block of San Pablo Avenue in unincorporated San Pablo, where an armed suspect entered and robbed the cashier, the sheriff's office said.

NBC Bay Area

Crime is on the rise in L.A. How is the Jewish community responding?

On December 1, paroled felon Aariel Maynor allegedly killed philanthropist Jacqueline Avant, wife of music executive Clarence Avant and mother-in law of Ted Sarandos, Netflix co-CEO, in her Beverly Hills home. He then allegedly burglarized a second home and accidentally shot himself in the foot. Maynor has an extensive criminal record and was released this past September after spending years behind bars for robbery with enhancements for being a prior convicted felon. He has been charged with Avant's murder.

Jewish Journal

LAPD arrests alleged shooter at Hollywood memorial for Vicente Fernandez

Los Angeles police arrested the alleged gunman who fired at a crowd near the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where fans had gathered to remember 81-year-old performer Vicente Fernandez, who died Sunday morning in Mexico. The shots were fired from an apartment building across the street and was reported around 6:30 p.m. Sunday, according to LAPD Sgt. Andrew Dineen at Hollywood Division.

MyNewsLA

Tory Lanez yelled 'dance, b--' before shooting at Megan Thee Stallion, detective claims

An "intoxicated" Tory Lanez allegedly shouted, "Dance, bitch!" before shooting at Megan Thee Stallion during a roadside dispute after a July 2020 party at Kylie Jenner's house, hitting her in the foot, according to a police officer's testimony at Lanez's preliminary hearing Tuesday in his felony assault case in Los Angeles, according to Rolling Stone. Lanez (real name: Daystar Peterson) is charged with felony assault regarding the July 2020 incident, which took place following a party at Kylie Jenner's home in the Hollywood Hills.

Variety

California/National

Ex-La Mesa police officer found not guilty of falsifying report in controversial arrest

A former La Mesa Police Department officer whose controversial arrest of a Black man set off protests for racial justice last spring has been found not guilty of falsifying a police report. The trial for ex-officer Matthew Dages came to an end Friday when the jury acquitted him of the felony charge. Minutes after leaving court, Dages could be seen hugging loved ones and celebrating with family.

NBC7 San Diego

'Organized criminal elements' are filing fake disability claims, California officials say

State officials Tuesday said they were quickly acting to stop a recent move they described as "a recent move by organized criminal elements to file false disability insurance claims." The scheme involved suspected organized criminal elements "filing false disability insurance claims by attempting to use stolen credentials of individuals and medical or health providers," according to a statement by the state's Employment Development Department.

Sacramento Bee

18 new California laws taking effect in 2022

A host of new laws are taking effect next year. Many of them are related to crime and policing, while others affect housing and workplaces. Click through the gallery above to see what is changing in 2022. All laws take effect Jan. 1, unless stated otherwise.

The Press Democrat

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." It takes a certain audacity of ignorance and white privilege to say that right now.

Philadelphia Inquirer

San Francisco's vaunted tolerance dims amid brazen crimes, open drug use and dirty streets

Caitlin Foster fell in love with San Francisco's people and beauty and moved to the city a dozen years ago. But after repeatedly clearing away used needles, other drug paraphernalia and human feces outside the bar she manages, and too many encounters with armed people in crisis, her affection for the city has soured. "It was a goal to live here, but now I'm here and I'm like, 'Where am I going to move to now?' I'm over it,'" said Foster, who manages Noir Lounge in the trendy Hayes Valley neighborhood.

AP

'We will never abandon our people': BLM leader says Jussie Smollett has 'our full support' and slams 'corrupt' justice system despite actor's conviction for lying about fake lynching

The Black Lives Matter movement brazenly continues to back shamed actor Jussie Smollett with their 'full support' despite him being found guilty of staging a homophobic and racist attack to boost his career. Smollett, 39, faces 20 years in prison after being found guilty on five of six felony counts of disorderly conduct as his highly-publicized trial came to an end on Thursday.

Daily Mail

Eric Adams slams bail reform after tree arson suspect is released to 'wreak havoc'

Mayor-elect Eric Adams on Thursday slammed a lenient bail reform law that allowed the unhinged firebug who allegedly torched the Fox News Christmas tree to be quickly set free. The former cop said accused arsonist Craig Tamanaha, 49 - who was freed without bail early Thursday despite a lengthy rap sheet of low-level crimes - will likely "continue to wreak havoc" on the Big Apple due to the flawed law.

New York Post

Chicago police chief wouldn't have arrested Smollett if he'd apologized

The Chicago police chief who arrested Jussie Smollett for staging a race-baiting attack on himself said Friday that he would have let the actor go free if he'd just apologized and admitted that he was lying early on. Eddie Johnson, head of the Chicago Police Department in 2019, wouldn't have pursued charges against the "Empire" actor if he'd simply admitted he'd made it all up, he told "Morning in America."

New York Post

Kansas police officer's German Shepherd puppy beheaded in what authorities are calling a 'targeted attack'

A young puppy belonging to a Kansas police officer was beheaded in what authorities are calling a "targeted attack." Earlier this month, the Parsons Police Department said in a press release that they received a call from one of their own employees that their dog had been murdered. The puppy, the release said, was a purebred black German Shepherd - named Ranger - who was approximately 3 months old.

People

Consumer

DHS warns of critical flaw in widely used software

The Department of Homeland Security's top cyber official on Saturday urged government and private-sector organizations to address a critical flaw in widely used software that hackers were actively using to try to breach networks. DHS's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency ordered federal civilian agencies to update their software. And Jen Easterly, the head of the agency, warned that the vulnerability was being widely exploited by "a growing set" of hackers.

CNN

Counterfeit postage stamps becoming a growing problem, Postal Service says

The U.S. Postal Service is becoming increasingly concerned about the growing problem of counterfeit postage stamps making their way into the United States. In a statement to FOX 8 News, Postal Inspector Ian Ortega of Cleveland says, "The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is aware of an increase in suspected counterfeit stamps offered for sale with many being offered on online platforms and websites. It is believed many of the counterfeit stamps are produced outside of the United States."

Fox8 Cleveland

Convictions/Sentences/Pleas

Ex-LADWP executive agrees to plead guilty to lying to FBI about agreeing to accept job in exchange for 'guarantees' to contractor

A former Los Angeles Department of Water and Power executive has agreed to plead guilty to a federal criminal charge for lying to the FBI about a lucrative job offer he secretly solicited and agreed to accept in exchange for providing "guarantees" of additional LADWP contract money to a lawyer who held a bribery-fueled contract with the department, the Justice Department announced today.

Department of Justice Press Release

Jussie Smollett is in 'matrix of arrogance' before sentencing: experts

Jussie Smollett left the Leighton Criminal Court building Thursday looking as stoic and defiant as ever, despite being found guilty of staging a fake hate crime three years ago. When Smollett is sentenced next month, prosecutors said they plan to emphasize his bizarre turn on the witness stand, in which he lied for "hours and hours and hours" about how two Trump-loving bigots beat him up, tied a noose around his neck and doused him in bleach.

New York Post

Derek Chauvin pleads guilty to violating George Floyd's civil rights

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges of violating George Floyd's civil rights. Chauvin, 45, appeared in U.S. District Court in Minnesota to plead guilty to the federal charges against him, including two counts that the then-police officer barred Floyd of his rights when he knelt on his neck as the 46-year-old Black man was handcuffed and not resisting, according to The Associated Press.

The Hill

Corrections & Parole

California aims to fix 'broken' discipline system for guards

California prison guards accused of misconduct are almost always cleared of wrongdoing. So state corrections officials on Wednesday proposed changes aimed at holding them more accountable. The latest effort tries again to strip away some of the wardens' disciplinary powers. It centralizes the initial review of inmates' staff misconduct complaints in a separate headquarters unit. Corrections officials earlier this fall also proposed moving the appeals process into a separate division.

AP

OJ Simpson a 'completely free man' after parole ends in Nevada

Orenthal James (O.J.) Simpson has been granted an early discharge from parole by the Nevada Parole Board. According to a statement provided by the Nevada State Police, Parole and Probation Division and the Nevada Parole Board, Simpson has been on parole since Oct. 1, 2017. His parole term would have otherwise expired on Feb. 9, 2022. AP notes that Simpson had remained on parole following his release from prison after serving nine years for armed robbery, kidnapping and assault with a weapon.

Fox5 Las Vegas

Articles of Interest

Taylor Swift unable to 'shake off' infringement lawsuit, will go to trial

Taylor Swift's years-long legal battle over the "Shake It Off" lyrics will stretch on into at least 2022 after a federal judge ruled Thursday that she must stand trial in the copyright case. The singer was first sued in 2017 by songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who claimed her 2014 hit "Shake It Off" lifted lyrics from their 2001 song for 3LW, "Playas Gon' Play"; specifically, both songs include variations of the phrases, "playas gonna play" and "haters gonna hate."

Rollingstone

Pensions

Biden helps unions attack California pension reform

Parsons Police Department

The 3-month-old German Shepherd puppy, Ranger, owned by a Kansas City police officer who was beheaded in a "targeted attack"

Jerry Brown signed thousands of legislative bills during his two eight-year stints as California's governor but two stand out as fundamental and potentially long-lasting alterations in the status quo. One is the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), which changed how California public schools are financed to provide more money for improving the educations of poor and English-learner students. The second is the California Public Employees' Pension Reform Act (PEPRA), which reduced pension benefits for new state and local government employees in an effort to keep the California Public Employees Retirement System from sliding into insolvency.

CalMatters

California pension fund sunk $340 million into its headquarters before COVID. Was it a mistake?

The reality of a depressed COVID-19 commercial real estate market is testing the California State Teachers' Retirement System's plan to pay for a $340 million expansion of its headquarters in part by renting out space to commercial tenants. The ambitious plan calls for a second 275,000 square feet 10-story building next to the 17-story CalSTRS tower on Waterfront Boulevard in West Sacramento along the Sacramento River. The building, which began construction a year before the pandemic, is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022. CalSTRS won't need all the space for several decades.

Sacramento Bee

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