Justice Reform Takes a Hit - Courts Rule Against Early Release of Violent Offenders and DUI Diversion; Gascon Dismissed 12,000 Criminal Cases; Jan 6 Riot Deemed Unprotected by 1st Amendment and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo
Beverly Hills gun store sees booming business; Bay Bridge toll money held up by lawsuit; Facebook Marketplace used to sell stolen goods
January 10, 2022
Courts & Rulings
Judge halts California earlier releases for repeat offenders
A judge on Wednesday temporarily halted California's plans to speed the potential prison release dates for repeat offenders with serious and violent criminal histories under the state's "three strikes" law. California corrections officials had filed emergency regulations to boost good conduct credits for second-strike inmates serving time for nonviolent offenses who are housed at minimum-security prisons and camps.
Inglewood police barred from destroying officer records on eve of new transparency law
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge granted an emergency court order Tuesday forbidding the Inglewood Police Department from shredding officer disciplinary files sought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. Judge Dave J. Cowan issued the temporary restraining order preserving police records planned for destruction by the department just days before a new police transparency law goes into effect Jan. 1, expanding the misconduct files subject to public disclosure.
Orange County Register
DUIs don't qualify for new diversion law, appeals court rules
In a decision that could break a legal stalemate throughout California, appellate justices have ruled that DUIs do not qualify under a new law allowing judges to grant diversion to misdemeanor defendants. The binding, precedent-setting decision Tuesday by a panel of the Fourth District Court of Appeal could settle what has been described as a "wildfire" of debate over contradictory DUI laws.
Southern California News Group
Link between judge, DDA too tenuous to require recusal
A judge did not commit constitutional error in declining to recuse herself after the defendant, who was about to go on trial for murder, announced his discovery that the jurist and the prosecutor in the case were co-participants in a civics education program, the Third District Court of Appeal has declared.
Courthouse News Service sues California clerks for allegedly violating First Amendment right of access to court records
This month, Courthouse News Service filed suit against several clerks of the Superior Court of California for allegedly violating the First Amendment rights of members of the press by restricting access to newly filed civil complaints. This suit follows on the heels of CNS' recent lawsuit in Virginia that also asserted the First Amendment rights of the press to access court records, which Troutman Pepper reported here.
California loses bid to throw out lawsuit over drilling permits issued without environmental review
The California Geological Energy Management Division must face a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity accusing the agency of routinely issuing oil and gas drilling permits in Kern County without environmental review. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evilio Grillo denied judgment on the pleadings requests by CalGEM and three oil industry groups.
Courthouse News Service
Judge advances privacy claims over Chrome 'incognito' mode
For the second time, a federal judge denied Google's bid to dismiss a class action case where users of its Chrome internet browser claim they were being tracked while in private browsing mode despite the company's claims to the contrary. U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh, in likely one of her last rulings before moving to the Ninth Circuit, said if Google did track people and sell their data while they were in incognito mode, then the company breached its contract with users.
Courthouse News Service
$315M in toll money locked up until court settles dispute over increase
About $315 million in tolls collected on Bay Area bridges is tied up in litigation, and it's unclear whether the money will ever be available for transportation projects in the region. The toll money is being held in escrow until the California Supreme Court issues a decision in a case that challenges Regional Measure 3, a series of three $1 toll increases that voters approved in June 2018. The first toll increase took effect in January 2019.
Google $13 million street view privacy deal survives appeal bid
Google's $13 million class settlement resolving claims over personal data collected by its Street View vehicles remains intact after the Ninth Circuit rejected arguments Monday it unfairly benefited charitable groups at the expense of consumers. Settlements that provide monetary relief only in the form of cy pres payments to third parties may be appropriate where there is a "direct and substantial nexus" to class members' interests, Judge Bridget S. Bade said.
With the Supreme Court lurching right, state courts offer liberals hope
Liberals have good reason to despair over the Supreme Court. Transformed by President Donald Trump's three appointments, the court seems poised to roll back abortion rights, gut climate change regulations and block blue states from enacting even modest gun control laws. And it won't stop there. In the coming years, legal experts expect the court's conservative supermajority to erode the rights of criminal defendants and immigrants, further neuter the Voting Rights Act and restrict racial justice remedies like affirmative action.
Opioid judge's 'many errors' ruined trial, pharmacies charge
The airing of grievances consumed most of a 50-page motion the pharmacies filed late Tuesday seeking a new trial after the first jury verdict in opioid crisis litigation found that their dispensing of narcotic painkillers contributed to a "public nuisance" of opioid abuse in two Ohio counties. "From the beginning of this trial until the jury's verdict, this court erred in ways making it easier for plaintiffs to prove their case and harder for defendants to fairly defend themselves," the three pharmacies wrote in a joint motion.
Russian court fines Google, Meta over banned content
Russian court has fined Alphabet Class A and Meta, Inc., the parent companies of search engine Google and social networking site Facebook, respectively, for their non-cooperation in removing banned content by local law, according to MarketWatch. Shares of GOOGL closed at $2,938.33, while FB closed at $335.24 on December 23. As per the report, last Friday, the Tagansky District Court in Moscow fined Google $98.4 million (7.2 billion roubles) and Meta $27.2 million (2 billion roubles) for failing to delete banned content, despite repeated reminders.
Two more circuit courts reject COVID-19 business-interruption claims
The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the coronavirus did not cause a direct physical damage or loss to a New York City art gallery - issuing the latest in a long series of defeats for policyholders seeking coverage for losses caused by pandemic closure orders. It was the second federal appellate court ruling within a week that rejected a COVID-19 business-interruption claim.
Judge rejects Proud Boys' First Amendment claims
A federal judge rejected First Amendment claims brought by a group of Proud Boys on Tuesday, allowing criminal charges against the members of the far-right organization to proceed through federal court. U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly sided with the Justice Department in his 43-page opinion, writing that the conduct that Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Charles Donohoe were charged with is not shielded under the constitution, as the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was not a protected First Amendment demonstration.
Courthouse News Service
Appeals court rules Calif. man can face criminal charge for threatening emails to McConnell
A federal appeals court in Northern California said this week that a Bay Area man can face criminal charges over threatening emails he sent in 2018 to then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The three-judge panel in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling that tossed out a criminal charge against Howard Weiss. Prosecutors alleged Weiss sent anonymous emails to McConnell with the "intent to abuse, threaten, or harass any specific person."
Court rules in LA's favor on plan for denser housing near Metro Expo Line
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced today that a court ruled in favor of the city in a lawsuit aimed at overturning a plan for the construction of up to 6,000 new apartment and condominium units within a half-mile of five Metro Expo Line stations. "We urgently need more housing and we should put it close to public transit to reduce traffic congestion. This victory is an essential step in dramatically reimagining how Angelenos live, work, shop and play.'' Feuer said.
City News Service
Bid to block release of landmark gay marriage trial video fails, again
A federal appeals court on Tuesday said it would not reconsider its November decision upholding the release of rare federal court video from the 2010 landmark trial in California that struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage. The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals order denied a petition urging the court to convene "en banc" and overturn the three-judge panel decision. The trial court lawsuit successfully contested California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage.
Employer is liable for fire-fighting costs resulting from employee's negligence
The California Supreme Court yesterday affirmed a decision by the Court of Appeal for this district under which a nonprofit corporation could be held liable for the $12.2 million in costs incurred by the state in battling a wildfire caused by the negligence of the defendant's employee. Justice Joshua P. Groban wrote for a unanimous court in repudiating the Third District Court of Appeal's Dec. 6, 2017 majority opinion by Justice M. Kathleen Butz in Department of Forestry & Fire Protection v. Howell.
Los Angeles District Attorney
Sheriff criticizes D.A. for 12,000 unprosecuted cases
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva criticized District Attorney George Gascón this week for dismissing thousands of criminal cases rather than prosecuting them. "Well, the danger is ... our deputies are making the reports, they're making the arrests, but in the one first year that George Gascón has been in office we've seen over 12,000 cases where he's refused to prosecute when the crime has been committed," said Villanueva in an interview Wednesday on "Fox News @ Night."
LA County sheriff says district attorney's policies contribute to crime wave
Los Angeles County's sheriff slammed the county's district attorney, saying his policies and failure to prosecute all criminals is contributing to the crime wave in the city. Sheriff Alex Villanueva made appearances at both a neighborhood group's town hall and on Fox News on Dec. 22. During both appearances, Villanueva said the policies and directives DA George Gascón has implemented have led to an increase in crime.
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.
Lenient CA prosecutors spur voter ire - and Gascon recall
An imperfect storm of political events and policy misfires has sparked a national crime crisis. Homicide and violent crime are increasing in most major cities, 12 of which have set new records for homicides. However, in California and nationally, the political pendulum may be swinging back to public safety and victims' rights. But this crime wave should not be viewed through a racial prism.
L.A. D.A. Gascon: Kidnapper/rapist of minor girl deserves ZERO bail
Why should George Gascon be Recalled as L.A. DA? He wants a zero cash bail for a kidnapper who had sex with a minor. I would go further - since this criminal might not attend hearings or the trial, Gascon should be consider an assessor after the fact and be tried as any other common criminal is charged. "Police in Glendale, Calif., say that the office of left-wing Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón recommended "zero bail" for a 21-year-old man arrested on multiple charges including kidnapping and having sex with a minor girl.
California Political Review
Soros-funded Los Angeles DA Gascon blames recall bid on Fox News and Trump voters
Embattled Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon blamed a bid to recall him on Trump supporters and Fox News in a three-paragraph rebuttal statement filed with the Los Angeles County Clerk's Office. "California DOES NOT NEED another political recall attempt sponsored by Donald Trump backers and frequent Fox News guests," Gascon wrote.
Los Angeles needs Batman...and another district attorney
Last week, I wrote about my various anxieties related to the worrisome uptick in crime in Los Angeles. Recently, I've begun to feel that I live in an unpredictable and chaotic Gotham City, and Batman - the one person tasked with keeping everyone safe - has moved to Florida. Like Gotham City, we have our own villains, too. Ask many Angelenos about crime today and they'll put the blame squarely on one man: District Attorney George Gascón.
L.A. prosecutors reject threat charges against prominent LAPD critic
Three men were sentenced to less than a year in prison after they pleaded guilty last week for their roles in an August armed robbery that left one man injured. Chandler Alexander, 20, Giovanni Juarez, 38, and Roniah Friedlander, 21, pleaded guilty Dec. 23 to second-degree assault and conspiracy to commit first-degree theft. The group of men were driving around on Aug. 21 looking for someone to rob when they spotted an acquaintance, Wesley Pace, in a parking lot, according to court documents.
Glendora man charged in fatal shooting of UPS employee/good samaritan
A 34-year-old man was charged today with murder and other counts for allegedly gunning down a man who was in a group of people trying to detain the suspect after an attempted carjacking and burglary in Covina. Trevor Howard Thompson, of Glendora, is accused in the Dec. 21 shooting that killed Joey Manuel Casias, a father of three and a 19-year UPS employee. Thompson is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in the Pomona Courthouse.
City News Service
David Pearce, charged in deaths of Christy Giles, Hilda Marcela Cabrales-Arzola, held on bail for sex assaults
A judge Thursday ordered a Beverly Hills man who was arrested in connection with the deaths of two women last month and subsequently charged with sexually assaulting four women in alleged attacks dating back as far as 2010 to remain jailed in lieu of $3.4 million bail.
Lawsuit settled against former No. 2 in San Diego DA's office, his daughter
San Diego County has agreed to pay $125,000 to a man who filed a civil rights suit after discovering he was the target of a secret investigation ordered by the former assistant district attorney aimed at getting damaging information for use in a child custody battle. The settlement reached on Nov. 16 resolves a lawsuit filed by Nathaniel Moore against the county, former Assistant DA Jesse Rodriguez and Elizabeth Rodriguez, his daughter who is also a prosecutor.
San Diego Union-Tribune
San Francisco father whose son was shot dead in 2020 slams DA for charging killer, 17, as a juvenile
The father of a six-year-old boy who was shot and killed last year on the streets of San Francisco while watching a Fourth of July fireworks display slammed the city's district attorney Wednesday for laws that will allow one of the boy's killers to walk free before the end of the decade.
Killing of teen by stray police bullet was tragic, but not every tragedy demands a change in the law
No one can dispute that the outcome was horrific. Valentina Orellana-Peralta, an innocent 14-year-old girl, was struck by a police office's bullet and died in her mother's arms. It was the type of tragedy from which police reforms often arise. "Body-cam video shows chaos in Burlington store," reads the headline of the front-page, above-the-fold story in Tuesday's Los Angeles Times. The headline over an accompanying "analysis" article reads, "'Active shooter' strategy under scrutiny."
Jack Dunphy/PJ Media
Criminals will decide how big an issue crime will be
Politicians thrive on power. Psychological studies often find they seek office and once there, try to stick around to preserve their power more than to get rich. So it's ironic that criminals, a group despised by this state's political class, should now be in position to set much of California's political agenda for 2022. In this state of almost 40 million persons, as few as 200 to 300 individuals took group actions in November that might reverse years of liberal lawmaking and leftist defiance of the voters' will on things like cash bail.
Napa Valley Register
Los Angeles County/City
LAPD officer who fatally shot 14-year-old described as 'heartbroken,' 'shattered'
Los Angeles police Officer William Dorsey Jones Jr. saw himself as a bridge-builder, the neighborhood cop who rounded up toys for disadvantaged children, volunteered as a high school football coach and offered words of hope to those considering suicide. Jones, 42, was labeled by one admirer in a published report as "Officer Good Guy." Union official Thomas Saggau described Jones as the police officer he'd most like to clone.
Orange County Register
LAPD task force arrests four men on murder, robbery charges
Three men face murder and robbery charges and a fourth faces a robbery charge in connection with a spate of follow-home robberies that have plagued the city in recent weeks, police said Friday. A Los Angeles Police Department task force on follow-home robberies, with assistance from an LAPD SWAT unit and Beverly Hills, Glendale and Fontana police, made the arrests on Dec. 21 in various locations in Los Angeles and Fontana.
City News Service
L.A.'s arms race of the affluent
In Beverly Hills, even the purchase of a firearm comes with certain...expectations. The city's only gun store, Beverly Hills Guns, is a "concierge service" by appointment only, for a largely affluent clientele. And business is booming. Since opening in July 2020, the store has seen upscale residents from Santa Monica to the Hollywood Hills increasingly in a panic following several high-profile smash-and-grab and violent home invasion robberies.
Los Angeles Magazine
Gun violence is approaching its 15-year high in LA in 2021
Sean Reynolds almost lost his life due to a PlayStation. The 17-year-old high school senior had arranged to sell his game console through the OfferUp app, and agreed to meet the buyer - another teenager - near a public housing complex in Watts. He intended to save the money he earned for college expenses that fall. Instead, one of two teenagers who met Reynolds at his car on the hot day in May drew a gun and shot him, the bullet ricocheted from his hip and fragmented through his abdomen.
Disabled man, caretakers zip-tied during Studio City home invasion: LAPD
A disabled man, his child, and their caretakers were terrorized by a group of criminals during what authorities described as a home invasion in Studio City, police said. The Los Angeles Police Department responded to a call from a home on Alta View Drive, near Mulholland Drive, around 7:30 p.m. Thursday. According to LAPD, one of the victims went outside to take out the trash. While performing the routine task, the victim was confronted outside by a group of suspects, LAPD told FOX 11's Gina Silva.
San Francisco Board of Supervisors vote in favor of mayor's emergency declaration over drug use
At a special session Thursday that extended into early Friday morning, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors ratified Mayor London Breed's public health emergency declaration concerning rampant, open air drug use in the city's Tenderloin neighborhood. The 8-2 vote followed more than eight hours of fraught discussion, where some supervisors expressed concern about granting the mayor sweeping emergency powers set to last 90 days, along with perturbation at not being consulted about Breed's accompanying plan aimed at curtailing brazen drug abuse, street crime and skyrocketing fatal overdoses.
Courthouse News Service
VIDEO: Woman wielding pickaxe robs Venice Beach Rite Aid, threatens employees and customers
Bystander video in a Los Angeles Rite Aid recently captured a bizarre sight - a woman wielding a pickaxe blatantly stealing merchandise while wandering around the store and repeatedly cursing. The video - entitled "Los Angeles, Prop 47 in action" - referring to Proposition 47, a law that changed certain low-level crimes from potential felonies to misdemeanors - shows a woman dressed in black walking around the Venice Beach store on Lincoln Boulevard at approximately 3 p.m. on Wednesday with a pickaxe over her shoulder and pulling a wheelie cart full of items behind her.
The Published Reporter
Thousand Oaks man arrested on suspicion of torturing, killing girlfriend on Christmas Eve
A 21-year-old man who allegedly tortured and killed his girlfriend in their Thousand Oaks apartment was arrested early Christmas Eve, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office announced. Deputies responded to an emergency call at about 1:18 a.m. Friday on the 600 block of McCloud Avenue, where they found the woman unresponsive and suffering from serious injuries, the Sheriff's Office said in a news release.
Man accused of taking up-skirt, bathroom photos of women across LA, Ventura counties
Ventura County Sheriffs arrested a man for filming multiple women without their permission, including up their skirts, in public places on Friday. Juventino Jesus Miranda Cardona was arrested on Christmas Eve for invasion of privacy. The arrest comes after an investigation into an incident that took place back in October, according to the sheriff's office. On Oct. 27, Thousand Oaks Police responded to The Oaks Mall, for a complaint about a man recording a woman in the bathroom.
Armored cars and safe rooms: Hollywood's answer to the crime surge
Los Angeles elites are using their wealth to fight back against the spike in violent crime that has gripped the city. Bulletproof cars, safe rooms, barbed wire, and armed guards are some of the new essentials that residents from Beverly Hills to Pacific Palisades are utilizing to protect themselves and their property, home security experts say. "We even have one client in Brentwood that has security detail follow the kids to playdates and follow the housekeeper when she's walking the pets," said Bryan Peele, president of Estate Managers Coalition.
'It's an easy fast dollar': How organized retail theft rings in one Ohio town use Facebook Marketplace to sell stolen goods
He called himself Rick Nye, at least on Facebook Marketplace. His friendly profile picture featured a little girl giving him a hug. His page was filled with great deals - deeply discounted power tools still in the box. Nye's social media presence was unremarkable for a man from this suburb just south of Toledo. He looked like just another guy who had extra equipment to offload.
New California traffic safety laws for 2022
Heads up California drivers. There are new laws ahead in 2022. Bills signed into law during the last legislative session cover a range of rules on the road, including illegal sideshows, safety gear requirements for people riding horses and a change that began this year, but bears repeating. Here are some of the new laws on California roads for 2022. These laws take effect Jan. 1, 2022, unless otherwise noted.
New California laws on mental health, traffic and wages taking effect on Jan. 1
Every year, new laws are approved in California in the hope of tackling the problems people face in the Golden State. Those taking effect on Jan. 1, 2022 range from wildfire management, minimum wage, traffic safety rules and mental health. Here are some new laws that might affect you.
Surge in shootings in 2021 blamed on reforms as Adams vows action
The bullets keep flying over Broadway - and everywhere else in the Big Apple.
A year after the city suffered its worst crime surge in more than a decade, the number of shootings - and victims - continues to climb. So far 1,828 people have been shot in the five boroughs - 0.4 % more than last year's astronomical tally of 1,821, according to NYPD data through Dec. 19. The number of shootings - 1,526 - is up 2.4%.
New York Post
Police officer on-duty deaths hit record high in 2021
Police officers recorded the highest number of on-duty deaths in 2021, compounding the challenges departments and officers have faced this year. Estimates for the year range between 358 and 477 officers killed in the line of duty, but both numbers show a significant increase over previous years by about 30%. The cause of death remained fairly varied, but COVID-19 accounted for the bulk of fatalities with 67% of deaths in 2021, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
California criminal justice panel eyes 'three strikes' law changes in 2022
For more than a year, a seven-person California commission has been quietly spearheading a massive effort to overhaul the thicket of criminal laws that make up the state penal code. Its ideas for 2022 are ambitious, including an eventual end to the state's controversial "three strikes" law and changes to lifetime prison sentences without the possibility of parole. "I think there are a great number of injustices," said Michael Romano, the chairman of the state Committee on Revision of the Penal Code and a Stanford Law School lecturer.
Los Angeles Times
Smash & Grab
Thieves smash into Ulta Beauty in Rolling Hills Estates on Christmas Eve
A group broke into a cosmetics store at an outdoor mall in Rolling Hills Estates on Christmas Eve, Sheriff's officials said, making off with about $4,000 worth of items. Thieves smashed through the glass front doors of the Ulta Beauty at the Peninsula Shopping Center on Indian Peak Road, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. John Apostle, before grabbing numerous pieces of merchandise and stuffing them into a waiting car.
Los Angeles Daily News
$1 million worth of Birkin bags robbed in Palm Beach boutique smash-and-grab
More than a dozen Hermes handbags valued at roughly $1 million were snatched from a Palm Beach boutique earlier this month during an overnight smash-and-grab theft, a report said. Eight of the French handbag maker's Birkin bags and five Kellys were stolen from Only Authentics on Dec. 14, the owner told the Palm Beach Daily News. Multiple bags were worth over six-figures each, the report said.
New York Post
Thieves raided Catherine's family shop. California blames organized retail gangs
When the hammer hit the glass one recent Tuesday afternoon, Catherine Kim said it sounded like gunshots. "It's an indoor [shopping] mall and the smashing of the glass was so loud and it echoed," Kim said. "They went straight for our most expensive section - our gold chains. And they took all four trays. They had shopping bags ready, and they stuffed the trays in those shopping bags."
Macy's store security thwarts violent smash-and-grab in San Jose; bystander arrested
A 43-year-old woman has been arrested for interfering with an arrest, allowing a retail theft suspect to escape officers Saturday night at a Macy's store in San Jose's Oakridge Mall. Abeer Hamed, of Morgan Hill, allegedly interfered as a police officer was trying to help store employees handcuff a suspect - one of about 15 that mobbed the store shortly after 6 p.m.
The great shoplifting freak-out
You've probably seen the shoplifting stories, if only because there are a lot of them. On local news and in national publications, they paint a shocking picture: Across the United States, retail stores are fighting a war against large, violent, highly organized criminal gangs. The attacks are common, and they're escalating in severity. Thieves smash windows at luxury clothing stores, go full-on Supermarket Sweep in the aisles of drugstores, and sell their wares undetected on Amazon or eBay or Facebook Marketplace.
NFL, fanatics accused of monopolizing Amazon market
The NFL, its 32 teams and merchandise powerhouse Fanatics allegedly weaponized their licensing policy to "strangle the competition" on Amazon and drive up prices for consumers, according to a pair of putative federal class actions filed in California on Wednesday. After a roughly $95 million equity investment in Fanatics in 2017, the NFL began threatening to withhold fan gear licensing from distributors who supplied the merch to Amazon retailers other than Fanatics, according to lawsuits by Nebraska merchant Casey's Distributing and Ohio consumer Natalie Wheeler Hastings.
Use these Google tips and tricks to find exactly what you're searching for faster than ever
We all know how to search Google: you pop some words into a box and hope for the best! These tips and tricks will supercharge your searches so you can find exactly what you're looking for, even faster than ever! Want to exclude certain words from your search? Put a hyphen in front of the words you don't want in your results. For instance, [Dodgers -tickets] will bring up results that don't have anything to do with tickets to the game.
Here's what the new ban on surprise medical billing means for you
The new year brings new protections for patients with private health insurance who will no longer be blindsided by "surprise" medical bills when they unknowingly receive out-of-network care. The No Surprises Act, passed by Congress in 2020 as part of the coronavirus relief package, takes effect Jan. 1. It generally forbids insurers from passing along bills from doctors and hospitals that are not covered under a patient's plan - such bills have often left patients to pay hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars in outstanding fees.
California synagogue shooter sentenced to life in federal prison
Chabad of Poway shooter John T. Earnest was sentenced in the Southern District of California Federal Court on Tuesday to life in prison plus an additional 30 years. Earnest, who attacked the congregation in Southern California, had been sentenced to life three months ago in a state court, although this ruling comes down from a US federal court and will lead to his incarceration at a federal facility.
The Jerusalem Post
Jury finds Ghislaine Maxwell guilty of sex trafficking a minor for Jeffrey Epstein and four other charges
A jury in a New York federal court has found Ghislaine Maxwell guilty on five of six counts related to her role in Jeffrey Epstein's sexual abuse of minor girls between 1994 and 2004. Maxwell, 60, was found guilty of five federal charges: sex trafficking of a minor, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and three related counts of conspiracy. She was acquitted on the charge of enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts.
A Hillary Clinton vote leads to murder and life in prison for California man
A musician who shot to death a bandmate's wife during an argument over the 2016 presidential election was sentenced to 35 years to life in prison on Monday. The case against John Kevin McVoy, Jr., 40, began in 2017 and was well underway before current District Attorney George Gascon issued a mandate against enhanced gun charges.
Corrections & Parole
A panettone baked in prison, and it's one of Italy's best
Panettone is the Italian national Christmas cake, and it is notoriously tricky to perfect. So when the version from Pasticceria Giotto was named one of the 10 best in Italy, it was a real honor. But the most striking difference between the panettone at Giotto and the nine others on the list is that Giotto's is made in a prison. Inside the Due Palazzi prison (above) on the outskirts of Padua, in northeastern Italy, a crew of inmates in white coats are supervised by four professional pastry chefs.
New York Times
Articles of Interest
Riot games to pay $100 million in gender discrimination case
Riot Games, the video game maker behind popular titles like League of Legends and Valorant, said on Monday evening that it had agreed to pay $100 million to settle a gender discrimination suit with more than 2,000 current and former female employees. The class-action lawsuit, which was filed in 2018, was originally on track for a $10 million settlement. But in early 2020, the women suing Riot changed lawyers, and the new lead attorney, Genie Harrison, determined that the amount was not sufficient.
New York Times
California appeals court advances lurid suit against Coke bottling heir Alkiviades David
Billionaire Alkiviades David's attempt block a former employee's lawsuit through an anti-SLAPP motion met with failure once again Tuesday, when a California appellate panel upheld a lower court's rejection of the motion. David, the eccentric heir to the overseas Coca-Cola bottling fortune, has had various business ventures of his own, including a modeling agency, a streaming site and a hologram theater.
Courthouse News Service
Avenatti likely to testify at trial over Stormy Daniels deal
There is a strong likelihood that Michael Avenatti will testify at a New York trial where the once high-flying California lawyer is accused of swindling porn star Stormy Daniels out of a book deal's proceeds, his lawyers say. The lawyers mentioned the likely testimony in a letter Thursday as they asked a judge to postpone his Jan. 24 trial for four months. They cited voluminous materials they say were recently demanded by prosecutors in the event Avenatti planned to testify.
Federal prosecutors question legal fee arrangement in case against former Trump adviser
Federal prosecutors in New York have asked a judge to inquire about potential conflicts of interest in their case against an employee of Tom Barrack, a former adviser to then-President Donald Trump who is facing federal foreign lobbying charges. Matthew Grimes, an assistant to Barrack at his company Colony Capital, was charged along with Barrack in July with acting as a back channel for the United Arab Emirates to influence US policy during Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and his time in office.
Oberlin College's appeal of $25M award to family-owned bakery continues to hang in limbo
More than two years after an Ohio jury ordered Oberlin College to pay millions of dollars in punitive damages to a local family business in a widely publicized defamation lawsuit, the school's appeal of the ruling remains pending before an appellate court. In June 2019, Gibson's Bakery was awarded more than $33 million in damages after filing a lawsuit accusing Oberlin College of slander, libel and tortious interference in the aftermath of a November 2016 shoplifting incident involving two Oberlin students.
The College Fix
Friendly family man's 50-year secret: He was fugitive, too
Just before Thomas Randele died, his wife of nearly 40 years asked his golfing buddies and his co-workers from the dealerships where he sold cars to come by their home. They gathered to say goodbye to a guy they called one of the nicest people they'd ever known - a devoted family man who gushed about his daughter, a golfer who never bent the rules, a friend to so many that a line stretched outside the funeral home a week later.
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