Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

No More Impounding of Cars for Unpaid Parking Tickets; No More Traffic Stops for Vehicle Equipment Issues; CA Legislature Seeks to Blunt 3-Strikes-You're-Out Law; Most Homicide Victims are Black and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo

Gascon meets with public defenders but not his own deputy DAs; $14 million settlement for illegal immigrants held too long in jail; $50 million award to SC Mayor in defamation lawsuit

Los Angeles District Attorney

LA DA declines invitation to chat ahead of employee no confidence vote

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón declined an offer to meet with the union representing many of his office's prosecutors - as they consider whether or not to endorse a newly formed effort to recall Gascón from office. "The issues raised in the invitational letter appear political and have nothing to do with improving the working conditions of the individuals your board represents," Gascón said in the letter which was provided to reporters.


Freeway signs slam Los Angeles DA Gascon as snubbed deputies cry foul over his town hall with public defenders

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon came under renewed fire Thursday for taking pre-screened questions from a group of public defenders and meeting with them - after snubbing his own staff. A series of emails, dated during Gascon's 2020 campaign for office but newly released following a public records request, show one of the Democrat's staffers soliciting questions to be screened ahead of a town hall event with public defenders.

Fox News

Los Angeles deputy DAs slam George Gascon for declining their invitation to defend himself against recall

A group representing more than 800 Los Angeles prosecutors invited their boss to defend himself from a petition seeking to oust him in a recall election. He declined. Democratic L.A. District Attorney George Gascon's own deputies slammed him for blowing them off at a virtual town hall event at which they'd asked him to explain why he shouldn't be recalled Wednesday. They also wanted to ask him questions about "his policies and decisions."

Fox News

Law-enforcement unions join effort to recall George Gascón

The first attempt to recall Los Angeles district attorney George Gascón went down in flames last year much to the dismay of right-center law enforcement boosters and MAGA activists. However, it appears the new recall attempt - funded by deep-pocketed Hollywood players and Democratic donors - is rapidly gaining steam. On Monday, a pair of major law-enforcement unions took a big step toward boosting the Recall Gascón campaign.

Los Angeles Magazine

ADDA VP Eric Siddall comments on DA's policies RE: Union Pacific debacle (Video)


It's not just rising crime: Rogue prosecutors are a huge problem

The very nature of criminal justice - to protect the innocent and increase public safety - is today undermined by a group of district attorneys (Das) in America's big, mostly Democratic-run cities. These rogue prosecutors, and those who fund them, dress up their schemes with poll-tested feel-good language like "re-imagining prosecution," and argue that "data and science" back their pro-criminal, anti-victim approach.

The National Interest

Courts & Rulings

Charges dropped against 3 LAPD officers accused of filing false gang reports on innocent drivers

A judge in downtown LA Tuesday dismissed criminal charges against three of the LAPD officers accused of falsely labeling some innocent people they stopped as gang members in a statewide law enforcement database. LA Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor found there wasn't probable cause to proceed with criminal cases against LAPD Metropolitan Division officers Rene Braga, Raul Uribe, and Julio Garcia, who were charged in October, 2020 with falsifying official documents.


California Legislature urged to take control over judicial branch spending

A critical fund for California's courts that is supported by criminal fines and fees will be insolvent by 2023, the state Legislative Analyst's Office said in a report released Friday that recommends more legislative control over how the judiciary spends money. The Improvement and Modernization Fund is generally used to support ongoing infrastructure technology initiatives and judicial education programs, court self-help centers, and special projects.

Courthouse News Service

Judge orders testing company to remove Sheriff's home address from papers

A judge today ordered lawyers for a coronavirus testing company to refile documents previously submitted on Jan. 27, but this time without the home address of Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who is the subject of a potential defamation suit by the company. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elaine Lu granted the application to seal brought by Villanueva's attorneys. The order is directed at Fulgent Genetics Inc. and its subsidiary, Fulgent Therapeutics LLC.

Courthouse News Service

Instagram defeats suit over embedding feature

Instagram has defeated a lawsuit from users unhappy with its embedding feature, as a California federal judge has dismissed their suit without leave to amend. Two photographers, Alexis Hunley and Matthew Scott Brauer, in May 2021 sued Instagram on behalf of themselves and any other users who since July 1, 2013 had uploaded content to the app that was embedded elsewhere without permission.

The Hollywood Reporter

California's Private AG Act is a scourge, employers tell SCOTUS

If you believe the accounts of California employers in newly filed amicus briefs at the U.S. Supreme Court, the state's Private Attorneys General Act has been a billion-dollar catastrophe for them and not much use to their workers. PAGA litigation, these employers contend, results in less recovery for workers than in cases brought by the state and mainly benefits a coterie of plaintiffs lawyers who have figured out how to leverage precedent from the California Supreme Court and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to score fat paydays for themselves.


U.S. Supreme Court's Alabama ruling signals new threat to voting rights law

When three federal judges last month blocked Alabama's new Republican-backed map of U.S. congressional districts as likely discriminatory against Black voters, they said they were applying "settled law" and that the outcome was not even close. An increasingly assertive conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court disagreed.


Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor announces full resumption of criminal, civil jury trials

Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor today announced the full resumption of Civil jury trials and Criminal trials and preliminary hearings beginning Monday, February 14 as the Omicron surge continues to subside in Los Angeles County. The Court's longstanding mandatory face mask Order remains in effect. "The Court is working with its justice partners and members of the Civil bar to resume full trial operations now that COVID trends are improving in LA County after the Omicron surge," Presiding Judge Taylor said.

L.A. Court News Release


Prosecutors accuse 9 alleged Crips members of carrying out retaliatory killings in South L.A.

Law enforcement officials in Los Angeles have charged nine alleged gang members with committing six homicides, multiple shootings and various other crimes in a pocket of South L.A. hit hard by the city's recent surge in violence. Police said all nine men - identified in charging documents as members of the Kitchen Crips - regularly committed violence in furtherance of the gang and in retaliation for threats to its members, instilling fear and attempting to assert control in neighborhoods including Florence-Firestone and Watts.

Los Angeles Times

City wants to prosecute some crime on its own

The City Council, on Wednesday, approved a contract for a study to determine the feasibility of the city prosecuting on its own some misdemeanor offenses, as Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has stopped filing charges in many such cases. The City Council, in August, agreed to pursue the study in response to Gasćon's directive to deputy district attorneys to reject filing 13 types of charges, with some exceptions, including items such as trespassing, driving without a valid or a suspended license, disturbing the peace, resisting arrest, criminal threats, public intoxication, minor in possession of alcohol, loitering, drug possession and under the influence of controlled substances.

Antelope Valley Press

Trevor Bauer will not face criminal charges following sexual assault allegation

Los Angeles prosecutors on Tuesday decided not to charge Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer for allegedly beating and sexually abusing a San Diego woman he met through social media. Prosecutors were unable to prove the San Diego woman's accusations beyond a reasonable doubt, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said in a document concluding their investigation.


Mayor Garcetti's former top spokeswoman wants him charged with perjury

Mayor Eric Garcetti's onetime chief spokeswoman has filed a complaint with local, state and federal prosecutors, demanding that he be prosecuted for perjury for repeatedly denying that he knew about another former aide's alleged sexual misconduct. A nonprofit law firm sent a 31-page letter on behalf of Naomi Seligman to the U.S. Department of Justice, the California attorney general's office and Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón last week, accusing Garcetti of lying and conspiring with top staffers to cover up multiple accusations of sexual harassment against Rick Jacobs, the mayor's former deputy chief of staff.

Los Angeles Times

Sonoma County prosecutors lay out evidence against PG&E over the Kincade fire. What's at stake?

Beginning this week, a Santa Rosa courtroom will become the next battleground for prosecutors who hope to prove that the 2019 Kincade fire, sparked by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power lines, was a criminal act by the giant utility. Sonoma County prosecutors are pursuing 30 felony and misdemeanor charges against California's investor-owned electrical utility for its role in the fire, which scorched more than 77,000 acres, displaced nearly 200,000 people and destroyed 174 homes.

The Press Democrat

Criminal assault trial against police officer kicks off in San Francisco

In a case that has deepened a rift between the city's police force and district attorney, a jury on Monday heard dueling arguments on whether the beating of a Black man by a baton-wielding police officer was a reasonable action or excessive force. Police responding to reports of domestic violence tried to stop and question Dacari Spiers near Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco on Oct. 6, 2019. Police say Spiers refused to comply with their commands and shoved officers away when they tried to stop him.

Courthouse News Service

District Attorney will grant Scott Peterson juror immunity

A woman accused of being a "stealth juror" in Scott Peterson's murder trial will be granted immunity when she testifies in a San Mateo County courtroom later this month. Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager announced Monday that she will grant juror Richelle Nice immunity from self-incrimination for Peterson's hearing. The Feb. 25 hearing will be a make-or-break moment in Peterson's battle for a new murder trial.



Tawdry plan to spike union prez's pension

The president of Santa Ana's police union, Gerry Serrano, is one of the city's highest-paid employees even though he does no police work for the city. Yet his nearly $500,000 in compensation isn't enough for him. Public records show that he received help at the state's highest levels in an attempt to boost his pension by as much as $60,000 a year.

Orange County Register

Blanket nonenforcement policies are unconstitutional in California

In local jurisdictions around the country, self-described "progressive prosecutors" like San Francisco district attorney Chesa Boudin have asserted (among other things) an absolute prerogative to suspend enforcement of laws they disfavor. Amid rising concern about crime, such nonenforcement policies are attracting attention and controversy nationwide. In San Francisco itself, the mayor plans to step up enforcement, while Boudin faces a recall election in June.


State committee threatens three-strike law

At the very moment when Gov. Gavin Newsom and his appointed attorney general, Rob Bonta, were talking tough on crime just after last fall's wave of smash-and-grab burglaries, an influential new state panel was plumping hard to soften California's signature law for getting tough on career criminals. The first-in-the-nation "three strikes and you're out" law - passed with 72 percent approval as a ballot initiative in 1994 - demands life in prison without possibility of parole for convicted murderers.

California Focus

Los Angeles County/City

No impounds for cars with more than 5 parking tickets - thanks to new lawsuit (Video)

Parking violators in LA have caught a break now that the city has decided to stop impounding cars due to unpaid parking tickets. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4 I-Team on Feb. 7, 2022.


One LAPD officer fired for refusing City's vaccine mandate

The LAPD said Tuesday that one officer has been terminated for refusing to participate in the City's mandatory vaccination program for employees, which has allowed thousands of unvaccinated workers to remain on duty while they await decisions on their religious or medical exemption requests. Seven additional officers were facing termination at a Board of Rights, an internal police administrative trial board, according to LAPD Assistant Chief Bea Girmala.


Venice residents accuse LA City of ignoring their safety amid homeless population concerns in area

A group of Venice residents says it is putting the city of Los Angeles on notice, accusing government officials of not enforcing overnight camping prohibitions, and saying it makes the city liable for multimillion dollar lawsuit payouts. The president of the 11-year-old Venice Stakeholders Association, Mark Ryavec, says residents of the beach community are frustrated that a significant homeless population is still living along the boardwalk and starting fires that threaten nearby buildings and homes.


The Hollywood publicist advising the man critics call "Sheriff Trump"

L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, the disowned Democrat turned Fox News favorite decrying mask mandates, police defunding and zero-bail policies, exchanged his trademark cowboy hat for a sport coat on the evening of Dec. 13 at a $1,000-per-person fundraising reception for his re-election. At Avra, a glitzy Greek restaurant in Beverly Hills, the controversial lawman listed what he deemed to be his first-term accomplishments - touting the implementation of body-worn cameras, an increase in diversity hiring and kicking ICE out of department jails - while also assailing his enemies, including progressive Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon.

The Hollywood Reporter

LA County approves motion that would discipline workers who don't comply with COVID vaccine mandate

With Sheriff Alex Villanueva declining to enforce the county's COVID-19 vaccine mandate among his deputies, the Board of Supervisors Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a proposal that would give the county personnel director overriding authority to discipline any employees who fail to comply with the requirement. Villanueva condemned the proposal, calling it a "death blow to public safety'' that would result in the firing of 4,000 members of his department.

City News Service

Calls for impeaching LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva growing among some community organizations

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is coming under fire again, this time from community organizations who are calling for a measure that would lead to impeaching the sheriff. A large group of people who represent community organizations and labor unions, protested outside the L.A. Hall of Justice on Monday. They want to be able to impeach the sheriff. "So that we can have real accountability from the Civilian Oversight Commission, and other oversight bodies," said Joseph Williams from Black Lives Matter.


LAPD chief greenlights new policy limiting minor traffic stops to 'eliminate bias'

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore is green-lighting a new department policy aimed at limiting "pretextual" traffic stops, or traffic stops for minor violations. Instead, police will be encouraged to pull people over only if they are suspected of committing of other crimes including street racing, burglary, hit-and-runs, and narcotics possession, according to a letter from Moore obtained by Fox News Digital. Police will also be encouraged to restrict traffic stops for vehicle equipment and other minor violations.

The California Sun

Vanessa Bryant, LA County urged to settle lawsuit over crash site photos

A federal judge urged Vanessa Bryant to settle her lawsuit with Los Angeles County over photographs of the remains of her husband and daughter that were taken and shared by sheriff's officers and firefighters. U.S. District Judge John Walter said at a pretrial hearing Friday that if basketball great Kobe Bryant's widow wants to hold the LA County Sheriff and Fire Department accountable for the actions of their employees, there's not much that either he or a jury could do.

Courthouse News Service

Judge approves $14-million settlement over Sheriff's Department's illegal immigration holds

A federal judge on Friday approved a $14-million settlement in a class-action lawsuit over the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's past practice of holding people in jail beyond their release dates because of requests from immigration authorities. The settlement caps a nearly decade-long court battle for people who were held in L.A. County jails illegally for days or months because of pending investigations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Los Angeles Times

Villanueva defends hiring private law firm in deputy reinstatement attempt

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is defending his hiring of a private law firm in his failed attempt to reinstate a deputy fired over domestic violence allegations, despite the argument of county lawyers that the firm did not have a valid contract to be counsel for the sheriff. In a new sworn declaration, Villanueva says he was told by the County Counsel's Office in a Feb. 28, 2019 letter that he was permitted to seek independent counsel in the case involving former Deputy Caren Carl Mandoyan.

City News Service

Come work for us, Sheriff suggests to disgruntled LA County deputies in social media video

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has some unhappy deputies. Kern County just happens to need some new sheriff's deputies. If that sounds like an ideal match, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood agrees with you. Why the unhappiness in L.A.? The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of a motion that could result in the termination of more than 4,000 sheriff's employees over their COVID-19 vaccine status.


Crime/Public Safety

Most homicide victims in many US cities are Black, key data shows

At least 16 U.S. cities witnessed record-high homicide rates in 2021, while New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, saw notable homicide spikes. Who were the victims in these American cities? New data provided by Freedom of Information Act requests and analyzed by Fox News shows Black males were overwhelmingly the No. 1 demographic killed in most cities. In Chicago, which tallied the most homicides since 1996, 648 of the city's 797 homicide victims were Black.

Fox News

Student beat up and robbed in South LA caught on video, authorities investigating

At least two individuals were caught on video attacking a student in the Willowbrook area of South Los Angeles prompting an investigation by Los Angeles police and L.A. County Sheriff's Department. The disturbing cell phone video shows the two attackers punching, kicking, and grabbing the student before taking off with the victim's cell phone and cash. The crime happened Thursday shortly after 3 p.m. at Avalon and El Segundo Boulevard near a Burger King restaurant, and near the student's school.


Union Pacific, LA County DA provide updates on cargo theft prevention

Officials from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office on Tuesday, Feb. 8, reiterated the agency's focus on prosecuting those charged with rail theft while once again pushing back on criticism from Union Pacific. They did so during a hearing, organized by LA City Councilman Joe Buscaino, on the stark increase in thefts that have hit Union Pacific amid the coronavirus pandemic, causing another blow to an already stressed supply chain.

Southern California News Group

Sheriff: "Attack on rule of law" causing increase in officers getting shot

Recent statistics released by the National Fraternal Order of Police showed an increase in law enforcement officers being shot, with January 2022 seeing a 67 percent increase compared to January 2021, with 30 officers being shot this year, of which 5 were killed. This comes as 2021 saw 73 officers feloniously killed, the highest since 2011. In an interview with The Epoch Times, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said he believes there are a number of reasons behind the high numbers.

The Epoch Times

Venice residents afraid fires at homeless encampment create unsafe area

Despite some recent progress, Venice Beach residents have concerns about the safety of the area around the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Last January, a homeless encampment caught fire, and the blaze spread to a nearby building. More recently, trash cans and a park bench near the boardwalk have also been set ablaze, prompting fears that the next fire could spread and damage the nearby area.



DA Alvin Bragg looking to charge thefts at 'higher level'

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on Wednesday said he's looking at ways to bring harsher charges for certain types of thefts - specifically taking aim at "opportunists" who methodically hit up city stores. The sudden shift from the DA, who's been accused of being soft on crime, comes amid a surge in retail thefts, complaints of which have jumped 36 percent from 2020 to 2021, according to the NYPD.

New York Post

Long-secret email warned San Jose State president about sex abuse claims

A newly disclosed, long-secret memo reveals how Mary Papazian received a dire warning in 2016 when she arrived at San Jose State University to begin her tenure as president: "there was inappropriate handling, touching of female athletes by the director of sports medicine, who is still here!" Despite the disturbing message from her predecessor, Papazian took no direct action for another three years to root out trainer Scott Shaw's sexual abuse of more than a dozen female athletes in an explosive scandal that would ultimately lead to her downfall last year.

Bay Area News Group

US to pay $227 million to Sutherland Springs shooting survivors, families

A federal judge in San Antonio told the federal government Monday to pay more than $227.3 million in damages to the survivors and family of victims of the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history. "Ultimately, there is no satisfying way to determine the worth of these families' pain," wrote U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez in the 185-page order. The award falls short of the $400 million requested by the victims' attorneys last November, but remains far greater than the $32 million originally offered by Department of Justice attorneys.

Courthouse News Service

Hate crimes in US skyrocketed 46% in 2021: New York City saw 96% spike, LA had 71% increase and Asian Americans experienced 342% rise in the worst numbers this century, California State University reveals

The level of hate crimes in the U.S. shot up in 2021 across a dozen of the nation's biggest cities, and Asian Americans were among those being targeted most often amid the coronavirus pandemic as crimes against them skyrocketed 339 percent. Data from metropolitan police departments in 14 cities found hate crimes were up by 46 percent in 2021 from 2020.

Daily Mail

How Eric Adams outmaneuvered Manhattan's progressive district attorney

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg were elected to their respective positions in November after running on radically different messages about policing. Adams, the former NYPD captain, argued police officers should resume enforcing quality of life crimes such as graffiti and pushed a tough-on-crime message that helped him connect with voters in the outer boroughs. In Manhattan, home to progressive elites, Bragg vowed to pull back on prosecutions - even reducing some felony charges, including commercial robberies.


Fight crime or reform policing? As homicides spike, mayors nationwide insist they can do both.

It was the summer of 2020, and the streets of American cities pulsed with demands to defund the police. In Baltimore, the City Council president - a young activist turned politician, Brandon Scott - led the charge to cut tens of millions of dollars from the department's budget, arguing it was past time to "reinvest in other areas and reimagine what public safety is." Nearly two years later, Scott is the city's mayor. But the police budget during his tenure has gone up, not down, in the face of an onslaught of homicides that shows no signs of relenting.

Washington Post


Michael Avenatti convicted of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for stealing from Stormy Daniels

Michael Avenatti was convicted Friday of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for stealing from Stormy Daniels. Prosecutors alleged that Avenatti - who helped negotiate the $800,000 advance for Daniels' October 2018 book "Full Disclosure" - defrauded his former client by instructing her literary agent to send two of the installments of the advance totaling nearly $300,000 to an account controlled by him, rather than directly to Daniels, without her knowledge.


California man sentenced for hacking two women to death with meat cleaver while wife, son waited outside

A man in California will spend the rest of his life behind bars after admitting he hacked two women to death using a meat cleaver after a New Year's Eve party while his wife and child waited for him outside. Orange County Superior Court Judge Sheila Hanson on Friday handed down a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for Christopher Ken Ireland, 42, over the gruesome murders of 59-year-old Yolanda Holtrey and 49-year-old Michelle Luke, the Orange County Register reported.

Law and Crime

Corrections & Parole

Encino woman convicted of COVID-related fraud flees before prison sentence begins

A third person has fled and is being sought by authorities after being convicted of fraud in a family-based ring in the San Fernando Valley. Tamara Dadyan disappeared from her Encino home one week ago, the same day she was supposed to start serving an 11-year prison sentence, according to the FBI. Dadyan was convicted in December. Ryan Heaton, a special agent with the FBI, said there was "some surprise" when Dadyan did not show up for her sentence.


Articles of Interest

Jury awards $50 million to SC mayor in defamation lawsuit

A jury in South Carolina awarded $50 million in damages to a mayor in a defamation case against a longtime critic. The Beaufort County jury decided Thursday that Skip Hoagland has to pay Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka $40 million in actual damages and $10 million in punitive damages, The Island Packet reported. Hoagland - who wasn't in the courtroom throughout the trial or when the verdicts were read - laughed when the newspaper informed him of the outcome. "That's a joke, right? ... That's insanity," he said.


Amazon is still selling products used for suicide, despite lawmakers' pleas

Lawmakers are demanding Amazon take down listings for a food preservative that's often linked to deaths by suicide, after early questions about the preservative yielded no results. Amazon has been selling this preservative for years now, and both the government and the public have been asking Amazon to remove the listings for nearly as long.


Is this another way to end California's death penalty?

Instead of outright abolition, opponents of the California death penalty are pushing legislation to limit death sentences. But the blowback to Gov. Gavin Newsom's plan to dismantle Death Row at San Quentin demonstrates the political risk. Unable to persuade California voters to do away with capital punishment altogether, the movement to abolish the death penalty is quietly shifting its strategy to shrinking the nation's largest Death Row.


Ninth Circuit gives Betsy DeVos a pass on deposition in student debt relief case

A federal judge made a big mistake when he ordered former U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to testify in a class action over long delays and mass denials of student debt relief claims, a divided Ninth Circuit panel ruled Friday. "Although granting this request is an extraordinary action, so too is compelling the testimony of a cabinet secretary about the actions she took as a leader in the executive branch," U.S. Circuit Judge Milan Smith, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote for the majority in a 28-page opinion Friday.

Courthouse News Service

No right to intervene? - IRS third-party summonses

Third-party summonses. Taxpayers, individuals, and companies, alike, should be aware of the Internal Revenue Service's power to issue third-party summonses. Even more, interested parties should note that only parties who receive notice of a third-party summons may intervene in district court regarding the summons' enforcement. In a recent decision, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that certain third parties were not entitled to notice of the summonses, and, therefore, the district court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over the proceedings to quash the summonses.

JD Supra

How Democrats went from defund to refund the police

A young Democratic member of Congress declared the "defund the police" movement "dead" on Thursday, and Black Democratic mayors from San Francisco to New York, Chicago to Washington, D.C., are moving to increase police budgets and end "the reign of criminals." As violent crime surges ahead of the November midterms, President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party are toughening their talk on crime, and refunding the police only two years after some progressive activists took up the call to defund them.

NBC News

The man who cracked the code of L.A.'s notorious sheriff gangs

John Sweeney, a 70-year-old civil-rights attorney from Los Angeles, doesn't have the name recognition of Ben Crump, who has represented the families of Trayvon Martin and George Floyd and appears, Zelig-like, seemingly whenever there is a major police shooting. Nor does Sweeney much resemble Johnnie Cochran, a mentor to the young Sweeney when they worked together at the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office in the late 1970s. "He was a real peacock," Sweeney remembered recently.

New York Magazine

How Jose Huizar's lavish Las Vegas jaunts tripped alarms for FBI in L.A. bribe case

Las Vegas casinos pamper their big spenders with loads of perks, and the $13 million Wei Huang had lost gambling at the Palazzo made him a coveted "whale" of a customer. So the casino charged him nothing to fly on its private jet and stay in its presidential suite overlooking the Strip. But when Palazzo security learned one day in July 2015 that the billionaire developer was bringing Los Angeles politician Jose Huizar to Las Vegas that night on the resort's luxury Gulfstream IV, it set off alarms.

Los Angeles Times

Seventh Circuit finds the First Amendment did not protect employees complaints about their supervisor

In this case, the plaintiff was employed as a customer service representative in the clerk-treasurers office in Bargersville, Indiana. The plaintiff's duties included collecting bills and setting up payment plans for utility customers. In late 2017, the plaintiff found that a wealthy resident of the area had failed to make utility payments and had the customer's services disconnected. Soon after, the decision was countermanded by the clerk-treasurer who had services reconnected after business hours.


'You just show up': Case managers work to keep drug users healthier, safer and free

It was a brisk and gray Friday when Jason Sodenkamp parked his weathered Nissan Altima under a freeway overpass in East Hollywood and headed to meet the man he called Lucifer. Lucifer had been his client for a few years after police officers referred the blue-eyed man with the devilish nickname to a program meant to keep him from heading back to prison. Its name was the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program, but Sodenkamp puts it more plainly with new clients: He's going to help them get stuff done that they want to get done.

Los Angeles Times

What law is broken when you cheat on a college admissions test?

Moving past the ethical implications of cheating, a parent who paid to swap out answers on his son's college entrance exam fought on appeal Wednesday to draw the line well before criminal liability. If federal wire fraud law applies here, then "every act of cheating, in grade school, in middle school or in high school is a crime," defense lawyer Carter Phillips told a panel of judges in Boston hearing the appeal of Bill McGlashan, who pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud after he was implicated in the massive college admissions scandal of 2019.

Courthouse News Service


State pension funds still underfunded (Video)

State pension funds have been falling short of about $740 billion. How did this happen? Brent Wilsey, President & CEO of Wilsey Assets Management, joined KUSI's Elizabeth Alvarez on "Good Morning San Diego" to discuss how state pension funds became underfunded and the risks of private equity.


CalSTRS to speak publicly with divestment advocates at Sustainability Symposium

For the first time ever, the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) is engaging publicly with advocates of fossil fuel divestment. Sacramento State's College of Continuing Education Consensus and Collaboration Program will be hosting a virtual Sustainability Symposium on Wednesday, February 9th from 4:00-6:30 PM PST. Speakers at the symposium will include CalSTRS staff, investment professionals, teachers, and climate activists, including divestment advocates from Youth vs. Apocalypse, CTA Divest, and Fossil Free California, according to a news advisory from Fossil Free California.

Daily Kos

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