Criminal Investigation of Amazon Requested by Congressional Committee; CA Legislature Stalls anti-Prop 47 Legislation; Newsom to Force Mentally Ill Homeless into Treatment; Garcetti's Ambassadorship in Peril and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo

Graffiti-writers can sue police; Crime spree counts as only one prior conviction; LA Suing Monsanto; Russian Propagandist Charged as Spy

 

March 17, 2022

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Beto O'Rourke is being sued for defamation by an oil tycoon who gave $1 million to incumbent Texas governor Greg Abbott

Courts & Rulings

FBI wins narrow high court ruling on failed mosque sting operation

The FBI can invoke privilege for state secrets to duck a lawsuit over a failed operation spying on Muslims after 9/11, the Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision Friday. Sheikh Yassir Fazaga, an imam with the Orange County Islamic Foundation, brought the suit with two other Muslim men over a decade ago, saying their rights were violated through the FBI counterterrorism investigation dubbed "Operation Flex" in which an undercover informant, Craig Monteilh, was dispatched to infiltrate Muslim communities in Southern California.

Courthouse News Service

Deputy P.D.'s challenge to Judge Gelfound is now official

A second threatened challenge to a sitting Los Angeles Superior Court judge has materialized, with a deputy public defender filing nominating papers for Office No. 41, occupied by David B. Gelfound, while a lawyer who had intended to run against the judge in Office No. 156, Carol Elswick, said Friday that a newspaper column critical of him has deterred him from running.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

No immunity for officer accused of shooting man in genitals with Taser

A jury must decide if a former Arizona police officer used excessive force when he shot a man in the testicles with a Taser as his two minor children stood by watching and crying, a federal judge ruled in a court order unsealed Wednesday. Johnny Wheatcroft and his family sued the city of Glendale, then-Officer Matthew Schneider and two other officers in 2018, claiming Schneider repeatedly used a Taser on Wheatcroft after he was handcuffed and detained following a traffic stop.

Courthouse News Service

Justices side with defense in gun-sentencing law dispute

The Supreme Court curbed mandatory-minimum sentences in federal gun cases, siding with the defense in a dispute over what it means to commit crimes on different "occasions." Successive burglaries in a single criminal episode count as just one prior conviction under a three-strikes sentencing law, the high court said in Monday's ruling authored by Justice Elena Kagan.

Bloomberg Law

Police can be sued for arresting people who wrote anti-police messages

Protesters can sue an officer who arrested them for writing anti-police slogans in chalk on the sidewalk in front of the Las Vegas police station - even if they were acting illegally, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday. Although the three activists arrested by Detective Christopher Tucker may have been violating an anti-graffiti law, he did not arrest others whose chalk slogans did not attack police, said the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

San Francisco Chronicle

Jury finds San Francisco cop not guilty of excessive force

A San Francisco jury on Monday handed down a not guilty verdict in the closely watched trial of a police officer who was accused of excessive force for beating a Black man on Fisherman's Wharf more than three years ago. The jury found San Francisco Officer Terrance Stangel not guilty on three counts of brutality. A mistrial was declared on the fourth count, which the jury deadlocked on.

KTVU

Five approved but Central District of California nominee caught in committee split

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the appointments Thursday of five federal district court nominees, with one nominee stuck in limbo over her record as a public defender. Committee members were torn over whether to recommend Judge Kenly Kiya Kato, a nominee to the Central District of California, to the full Senate. Several Republicans on the panel in particular raised objection to Kato's history as a public defender, a job title GOP members have lately deemed disqualifying for a prospective federal judge.

Courthouse News Service

Los Angeles District Attorney

Two LA County prosecutors sue DA Gascon (Video)

NBC4

High-ranking prosecutors allege DA Gascón demoted them for complaining about policies

Two veteran Los Angeles County prosecutors have filed a lawsuit alleging they were demoted from their positions as bureau directors in retaliation for complaining about District Attorney George Gascón. Head deputies Maria Ramirez and Victor Rodriguez are seeking undisclosed damages for lost wages, overtime pay and pension benefits. The allegations against Gascón are telling, Eric Siddall, vice president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, said.

Orange County Register

Gascón in retreat

In December 2020, George Gascón triumphantly rode into office as the new Los Angeles district attorney, bringing with him the radical ideas that hurt San Francisco when he served as the chief prosecutor in that city. Less than two years later, Gascón is in retreat, pivoting away from his progressivism and watching his political base wither. When Gascón first took office in the City of Angels, he immediately issued a memo setting forth his new rules.

City Journal

Los Angeles County DA Gascon expected to face more lawsuits from his own prosecutors, attorney says

More lawsuits against Los Angeles County's embattled top prosecutor from his own staff are expected in the coming weeks, an attorney who represents the plaintiffs told Fox News. Two veteran prosecutors who worked supervisory roles filed a lawsuit this week against District Attorney George Gascon, alleging they were demoted after disclosing his prosecutorial reforms violated the law.

Fox News

Inside LA County justice (Video)

Suzie Suh takes a look at LA County's top prosecutor, District Attorney George Gascón. Winning his seat by more than 53% a year ago, the controversial DA has received votes of "no confidence" by more than 30 cities and almost 98% of prosecutors in his own office support a second recall effort against him.

CBS Los Angeles

Crime, justice and district attorneys

When it comes to crime and justice, it seems like déjà vu all over again.

Starting in the 1980s, crime and fear of crime created a "school to prison pipeline" that led to America having the highest rate of incarcerating citizens of any nation on Earth - by a lot. With our "Three Strikes and You're Out" law signed by Gov. Pete Wilson in 1994, California led the way in jailing people and throwing away the key.

Pasadena Star-News

Prosecutors

Ex-LA County deputy charged in shooting death of unarmed Black man in Willowbrook

A former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy was charged Thursday in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man in his car outside a Willowbrook apartment in June 2019. NBC4's I-Team says the criminal case is highly unusual, because few police officers are ever charged for using violence on-duty. Andrew Lyons, 37, was scheduled for arraignment Friday in downtown Los Angeles on one felony count of voluntary manslaughter and two felony counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

NBC4

Man charged in assault outside SoFi Stadium during Rams-49ers game

A man has been charged in the assault of another man during a playoff game between the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers earlier this year, officials announced Wednesday. Bryan Alexis Cifuentes, 33, faces one count of battery with serious bodily injury, according to the L.A. County District Attorney's Office. The incident occurred on Jan. 30, when the victim, 41-year-old Daniel Luna, approached a group of people watching the NFC Championship Game between the rival teams in the parking lot of SoFi Stadium.

KTLA

Congressional Committee asks Justice Department to open Amazon criminal investigation

A U.S. congressional committee asked the Justice Department for a criminal investigation of Amazon, claiming "Amazon repeatedly endeavored to thwart the Committee's efforts to uncover the truth about Amazon's business practices" and "For this, it must be held accountable." An exclusive report by The Wall Street Journal's Dana Mattioli identifies the March 9, 2022 letter sent to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland by Democratic and Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee.

The Counterfeit Report

Prosecutors: Woman faked kidnapping, defrauded California

A Northern California woman whose disappearance and mysterious reappearance set off a frantic three-week search more than five years ago was arrested Thursday on charges of lying to federal agents about being kidnapped and defrauding the state's victim compensation board of $30,000. Sherri Papini, 39, of Redding, was found on Thanksgiving Day in 2016 after weeks of searching in California and several nearby states, with bindings on her body and injuries including a swollen nose and a "brand" on her right shoulder.

AP

Los Angeles suing Monsanto over PCB contamination of waterways

The city of Los Angeles has filed a lawsuit against agrochemical giant Monsanto and two other companies over PCB contamination in city waterways. In a statement on Friday, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer (D) said the lawsuit, filed on Friday in the L.A. County Superior Court, seeks to force Monsanto to abate its PCB pollution and reimburse the city for costs it has already incurred to address the pollution.

The Hill

Chesa Boudin's office just released new data on the S.F. district attorney's charging rates and case outcomes. Here's what it shows

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has sent a greater percentage of defendants in robbery, assault and drug cases to diversion programs than his predecessor, while obtaining convictions in a smaller share of those cases, according to data released by his office and analyzed by The Chronicle. Boudin's office has also more frequently charged defendants with crimes that are less serious than those sought by police officers after robbery and assault arrests.

San Francisco Chronicle

Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio indicted on conspiracy charge linked to Capitol riot

Proud Boys leader Henry "Enrique" Tarrio was arrested on Tuesday after being indicted on a conspiracy charge in connection with the right-wing extremist plot to overthrow America's government last year. Tarrio, 38, was arrested in Miami this morning after a superseding indictment dated Monday charged him and five other members of his right-wing extremist group with conspiring to obstruct Congress' certification of the 2020 presidential election.

Courthouse News Service

DaBaby off of the hook for January 2021 gun case after L.A. County district attorney rejects the case due to lack of evidence

Roommates, last January we reported that DaBaby was spotted being handcuffed by police while out shopping on Rodeo Drive. Documents stated while he and his team were out shopping, a security guard alleged that he saw something in DaBaby's waistband that resembled a gun, leading him to call the police. Once the police arrived, they searched the vehicle of DaBaby and his team and they did find a firearm.

The Shade Room

What happens at a murder trial when a body has not been found? Experts explain

A bullet fragment with William Alford's DNA profile was the only indication of his body authorities could find. Although Alford's body was never found, a Kern County jury found Daniel Rhoads guilty of second-degree murder and discharge of a firearm causing death. Rhoads, who said he shot Alford in self-defense, wrapped the body in a trash bag and tossed him into a large bin, according to The Californian's previous reporting. He was sentenced in 2019 to 40 years to life in prison.

The Bakersfield Californian

SF DA Chesa Boudin charges three auto burglary suspects, signaling change in actions

Three auto burglary suspects were charged with multiple felonies by San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin on Tuesday, the latest in a series of arrests, court decisions, and political maneuvers that are distancing himself away from more progressive actions that led to many more criminals not being prosecuted during the last few years and to a higher crime rate.

California Globe

Dual citizen charged as Russian spy who ran NYC propaganda center for the Kremlin

The founder of a Russian propaganda center in New York - who helped push an "I Love Russia" campaign - was hit with federal charges Tuesday that she acted as an illegal agent of the Kremlin. Alleged spy Elena Branson launched the Russia Center New York in Manhattan in 2012, after receiving the authorization from the highest levels of the Russian government, Manhattan prosecutors charged. They alleged that she even corresponded with Russian President Vladimir Putin himself as part of the effort.

New York Post

Policy/Legal

The Los Angeles Police Commission lives in fantasy land

To the debatable extent President Biden was sincere in his remarks about policing during his State of the Union speech Tuesday evening, and for that matter, to the even more debatable extent he was able to comprehend what he was reading from the teleprompter, we can be grateful the speech signaled an end to the defund-the-police madness to which so many have succumbed in recent years.

Jack Dunphy/PJMedia

Voters' frustration with Proposition 47 and crime signal sensible changes are needed

If you believe crime is a problem, you're not alone. A poll released last month by UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies found 78 percent of Californians feel crime has gotten worse across the state over the past year. What's most encouraging about these results is that voters' concerns could soon translate into action by reversing some of the state's enacted laws that loosened penalties.

San Diego Union-Tribune

Effort to repeal Proposition 47 crime law fails in committee at Capitol

A group of state and local lawmakers, law enforcement officers and crime victims advocates stood on the steps of the State Capitol Tuesday to begin an effort to repeal the impacts of the voter-approved Proposition 47 in 2014. By the end of the day, that effort had stalled in the California Assembly. Proposition 47, as known as the "Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act," made various changes relating to theft and drugs crimes to reclassify some from felonies to misdemeanors and to reduce jail sentences for those convicted and already serving their sentences.

KCRA

Newsom's 'new strategy' would force some homeless, mentally ill Californians into treatment

Gov. Gavin Newsom today unveiled a much anticipated proposal to address a mental health crisis increasingly visible on trash-strewn sidewalks and in cramped jail cells around California. The proposal, known as the Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (or CARE) Court, would provide a framework for courts to compel people with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders into treatment, while also providing participants with supportive housing and wrap-around services.

KCRW

Los Angeles County/City

Former LAPD Chief Charlie Beck endorses Rick Caruso for mayor of LA (Video)

Rick Caruso, the developer behind the Grove, Americana, and now a mayoral candidate earned a big endorsement from former LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. FOX 11's Elex Michaelson spoke to both of them.

Fox11

Two more LAPD officers fired over COVID-19 vaccination mandate, bringing total to three

Two more Los Angeles Police Department officers have been fired for not complying with the city's COVID-19 vaccination mandate. In Tuesday's Police Commission meeting, Assistant Chief Dominic Choi said a total of three officers have been fired so far for refusing to get vaccinated. That was after announcing the first firing of an officer over the mandate on Feb. 8.

Los Angeles Daily News

LA County sheriff on why he won't enforce vaccine rules (Audio)

The LA County Board of Supervisors is set to vote on whether to take the duty of enforcing vaccine rules away from Sheriff Alex Villanueva. The sheriff has said this move would be akin to forming a suicide pact. He joins us this week to explain why he's clashing with the board and the impact it could have on staffing issues and crime rates in the region.

Spectrum News1

Defunding has consequences

On Wednesday, March 9, 2022, Sheriff Alex Villanueva held a press conference to discuss the severe impacts of the department's staff shortages and defunding amid a consistent rise in crime. Sheriff Villanueva began the press conference by stating that throughout the Los Angeles County's history, there was an agreement that public safety was a priority for the Board of Supervisors, but over the last couple of years, that has changed drastically.

LASD

Former LAUSD administrator fights to collect wrongful termination award

A former high school principal who won a wrongful termination lawsuit against the LA Unified School District says he has no choice but to continue an expensive legal fight in order to clear his name and reputation, after he was falsely accused of manipulating grades and having inappropriate contact with students.

NBC4

Deputy PDs chastise public defender over workloads

Deputy public defenders in Los Angeles County, in an action reflecting disgruntlement with the head of their office, have upbraided Public Defender Ricardo Garcia for failing to take action to block the loading of deputies with more defenses than they can handle competently by declaring the office's resources to be "unavailable."

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Apartment owners challenge LA County renewed eviction ban

Two apartment owner groups filed court papers Monday challenging Los Angeles County's pandemic-related eviction moratorium, which the Board of Supervisors approved in January and provides extended protections for failure to pay rent beginning next month. The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles and the Apartment Owners Association of California brought the still unofficial legal action in Los Angeles Superior Court, asking that preliminary and permanent injunctions be issued preventing enforcement of the renewed eviction ban as unconstitutional.

City News Service

Grassley privately investigating Garcetti, wants nomination held

A top Senate Republican is seeking to delay Eric Garcetti's nomination to serve as President Joe Biden's ambassador to India, pending an investigation into whether the mayor of Los Angeles lied when he told a congressional panel he was unaware of sexual harassment and assault allegations against his closest adviser. Investigators in Sen. Chuck Grassley's (R-Iowa) office are probing what Garcetti knew of longtime political adviser and City Hall confidant Rick Jacobs' inappropriate behavior toward women and men in and around City Hall.

Politico

Garcetti signs new law to lower speed limits on some streets in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an ordinance into law Monday that will drop speed limits in certain parts of the city by 5 mph. Last month, the L.A. City Council unanimously passed the ordinance that will reduce speeds by 5 mph on over 177 miles of city streets that had previously been increased, according to the city. The proposal comes as a result of the passage of AB 43 that went into effect earlier this year which officials say grants cities more control of speed setting.

ABC7

LA City Council to vote on looking into City's whistleblower process

The Los Angeles City Council voted today to have the chief legislative analyst report back on the process for investigating whistleblower complaints within the Los Angeles Police Department and what reforms might provide greater independent oversight to the process. The motion was introduced by Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, who chairs the council's Public Safety Committee.

City News Service

A city council authorizes terrorism prevention grant to LAPD

The Los Angeles City Council voted today to authorize the Los Angeles Police Department to accept a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through the Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Program. The money will be used to update the curriculum for the department's Providing Alternatives To Hinder Extremism Program training, according to a report by the city administrative officer.

City News Service

Consumer

How cheap Chinese tires might explain Russia's 'stalled' 40-mile-long military convoy in Ukraine

Big explosions were heard in Kyiv overnight, but according to the British Defense Ministry's Thursday morning update, the main body of the 40-mile-long Russian military convoy advancing on the capital remains nearly 20 miles from the city center, "having been delayed by staunch Ukrainian resistance, mechanical breakdown, and congestion.

The Week

Lawsuit: Kroger-made salads, graham crackers, bagels and other food contain lead

A California advocacy group is suing Kroger in that state, charging several food items it makes under its store brands contain "dangerous" levels of lead. The lawsuit filed by Ecological Alliance on Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court seeks to eliminate the sale of these products in California. Under California consumer protection law, Kroger could also reduce the lead content or simply add a prominent health warning to the packaging.

Cincinnati Enquirer

The Ninth Circuit hooks a California policyholder win under a commercial crime policy in a phishing scam case

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals delivered a policyholder insurance coverage win in a phishing case centered in Long Beach, California, in Ernst & Haas Mgt. Co. v. Hiscox, Inc., 23 F.4th 1195 (9th Cir. 2022). The panel decision arrived January 26; on March 7, the Ninth Circuit declined rehearing en banc. The facts tell a familiar story. An employee of Ernst & Haas, a property management company, responded to phishing emails sent by a fraudulent attacker posing as her superior.

JD Supra

Crime/Public Safety

Man in custody in series of commercial burglaries in San Fernando Valley

A man was in custody today for allegedly committing dozens of commercial burglaries across the San Fernando Valley and Burbank areas, police announced today. Reuben Newhouse, 62, was arrested on March 1, the Los Angeles Police Department reported. Newhouse was being held on $505,000 bail, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

City News Service

Organized group of burglars were sought in police pursuit that ended in Van Nuys: Ventura County Sheriff's Office

The four people who were pursued by authorities in a chase that began in Ventura County and ended in Van Nuys on Wednesday were part of an organized group of residential burglars, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office announced. VCSO deputies learned on Wednesday that a crew of thieves from South America were in Camarillo to commit a residential burglary, and shortly after 7 p.m., they received a 911 call from a home in the 800 block of Corte La Cienega, Camarillo, the VCSO announced in a press release.

KTLA

2 suspects sought in armed home-invasion robbery in Studio City; LAPD investigating

Police are searching for two men suspected in an armed home-invasion robbery in Studio City Monday. The crime was reported about 8:30 a.m. in the 4200 block of Babcock Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. No injuries were reported, police said. According to officials, the men fled in a silver BMW 5 Series sedan. Descriptions of the suspects were not immediately available. A handgun was used in the crime, detectives said.

ABC7

California/National

When public sector unions control California, you get this

Santa Ana police union President Gerry Serrano makes nearly $500,000 per year, which wouldn't be the business of the public except for the fact that his compensation is paid by the taxpayers of Santa Ana. He does no police work. His only job is to head the city's police union. In this lunacy, California State Treasurer Fiona Ma came to Serrano's aid in his bid to get his pay as a union boss incorporated into his public pension.

Southern California News Group

Turning on fellow Three Percenter, witness says Capitol rioter had guns, zip ties and plan

A former member of a right-wing militia group testified Friday against the first Capitol rioter to go on trial for their attempt to overthrow the U.S. government last year, telling jurors that Guy Reffitt stormed the Capitol building armed with a gun and zip ties. Rocky Hardie is the government's sixth witness in proceedings that began earlier this week.

Courthouse News Service

California jury rules in favor of cops who shot man in 2017

A jury has decided that Southern California police officers did not use excessive force when they shot and killed a man behaving erratically at a crowded sports complex five years ago. Jurors ruled that Huntington Beach officers Trevor Jackson and Casey Thomas acted appropriately for the defense of human life when they fired at Steven Schlitz, the Orange County Register reported Friday.

AP

California city passes nation's 1st law requiring gun owners to have liability insurance

San Jose's city council this winter passed an ordinance requiring most of the California city's gun owners to carry liability insurance for accidental shootings - a first in the nation. It might seem to herald big change for those gun owners and in coverage. But the effects may be more limited than you'd first expect. The new measure, which follows deadly mass shootings in and near the Silicon Valley city, aims to incentivize safer behavior, the mayor's office says, arguing insurers could offer lower premiums to gun owners who take safety measures, like using gun safes and installing trigger locks.

CNN

Convictions/Sentences/Pleas

Ex-Danville officer Andrew Hall sentenced to 6 years in deadly 2018 shooting of mentally ill man

A California police officer was sentenced Friday to six years in prison for fatally shooting an unarmed mentally ill man nine times as the man drove slowly away from police in a wealthy San Francisco suburb. Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Terri Mockler said evidence showed that 33-year-old Laudemer Arboleda was driving 6 miles per hour (10kph) as he tried to evade Danville police officer Andrew Hall, who fired a barrage of bullets into him that violated his own training and put fellow officers in danger.

AP

Sherman Oaks man sentenced to 49 years to life for fatally shooting his wife, injuring her father

A Sherman Oaks man convicted of gunning down his recently estranged common-law wife and wounding her father early on New Year's Day 2020 in Compton was sentenced Friday to 49 years to life in state prison. Eduardo Ubiarco Jr., 39, was found guilty last Nov. 4 of first-degree murder of his 37-year-old common-law wife, identified only as "Claudia L.," and the attempted murder of her then-62-year-old father, who survived gunshot wounds to his upper body.

City News Service

Custody assistant pleads not guilty to trying to bring drugs into jail

A man who worked as a Los Angeles County sheriff's custody assistant pleaded not guilty today to charges that he tried to bring methamphetamine into the Men's Central Jail. Jose Flores, 42, was stopped Nov. 28, 2018, by law enforcement officers in the jail's parking structure, and more than 100 grams of methamphetamine were found inside the vehicle he was in, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

City News Service

First trial of Capitol rioter ends in conviction on all charges

After just 2 1/2 hours of deliberations, a federal jury returned with a unanimous verdict Tuesday for the first Capitol rioter to go to trial, finding Guy Reffitt guilty on all five of the charges against him. Reffitt, 49, of Bonham, Texas, did not show emotion and looked down at his hands after the verdict was read.

Courthouse News Service

Jussie Smollett sentenced to 150 days in jail in fake attack

A judge sentenced Jussie Smollett to 150 days in jail Thursday, branding the Black and gay actor a narcissistic charlatan for staging a hate crime against himself to grab the limelight while the nation struggled with wrenching issues of racial injustice. Smollett responded by defiantly maintaining his innocence and suggesting he could be killed in jail.

AP

Corrections & Parole

Boston Marathon bomber returned to death row by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court reinstated a death sentence for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a 6-3 ruling on Friday morning. The decision fell along ideological lines with Justice Clarence Thomas delivering the opinion for the majority joined by Roberts, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a dissenting opinion joined by Kagan and Sotomayor. "Dzhokhar Tsarnaev committed heinous crimes," Thomas wrote.

Courthouse News Service

In wrongful death settlement, family of Shaylene Graves will get $3.5 million and a platform to urge CA's prison officials to implement policies that better protect women in custody

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) will pay $3.5 million to the family of Shaylene Graves, a 26-year-old mother killed in a women's prison in Chino. In the early morning hours of June 1, 2016, guards at the California Institution for Women (CIW), found Shaylene Graves dead on the floor of a two-person cell. Her cellmate, Johney Davis, told prison staff that she woke up to find Graves dead.

Witness LA

Articles of Interest

Second taxpayer lawsuit filed against Chargers, NFL in wake of team's move to Los Angeles

The Chargers professional football team, which played in San Diego for more than 50 years, has been named in a second civil lawsuit challenging the club's 2017 move to Los Angeles. The complaint, filed in San Diego Superior Court last month, asserts many of the same claims put forward in a separate lawsuit filed early this year. Both cases are modeled after a Missouri complaint against the National Football League and the former St. Louis Rams, who also moved to Los Angeles.

San Diego Union-Tribune

Beto O'Rourke faces defamation suit from Texas oil tycoon

A Texas oil tycoon is accusing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke of defaming him on the campaign trail with a "relentless and malicious attack" of a $1 million political donation he made to Republican Governor Greg Abbott months after the state's deadly winter storm. O'Rourke, who called the lawsuit "frivolous" at news conference on Monday afternoon, won the Democratic nomination for governor last week.

Courthouse News Service

Smartmatic can pursue election-rigging claims against Fox News, Giuliani

A New York state judge on Tuesday said Smartmatic can pursue its US$2.7 billion defamation lawsuit claiming that Fox News Network, Rudolph Giuliani and others falsely accused the electronic voting systems maker of helping rig the 2020 U.S. presidential election to favor Democrat Joe Biden. Justice David Cohen of New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan rejected bids by Rupert Murdoch's Fox Corp FOXA.O, anchor Maria Bartiromo and former anchor Lou Dobbs to dismiss Smartmatic's claims against them.

Reuters

Biden ordered to stop exempting migrant youth from expulsion policy

The Biden administration must stop giving unaccompanied children a pass from a pandemic-related policy used to promptly expel immigrants who have entered the country without papers, a federal judge ruled Friday. Under pressure from then-President Donald Trump in March 2020 as the coronavirus caused panic throughout the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention invoked Title 42, part of the Public Health Services Act of 1944, which authorizes the CDC to prohibit entry into the U.S. persons and property it determines will increase the danger and spread of a communicable disease.

Courthouse News Service

Pensions

Union official who missed CalPERS work during pandemic won't regain six months' pay, judge rules

A CalPERS IT specialist who was also a top state union official was unsuccessful in his attempt to restore his pay after CalPERS determined he submitted fraudulent time sheets. Lonnie "Tony" Owens, a former vice president at SEIU Local 1000, spent six months away from his state job after volunteering to perform contact tracing of COVID-19 cases in the middle of 2020. Owens said he was doing a combination of union work and contact tracing in that time.

Sacramento Bee

Top US pension fund rejects calls for fossil fuel divestment

One of the US's biggest public pension schemes has rejected efforts by legislators to make it dump its holdings in fossil fuel companies, warning that such demands would hit the value of its members' savings. The $319bn California State Teachers' Retirement System (Calstrs) has pushed back against a new bill from the California Senate which would block it from owning stakes in oil and gas producers.

Financial Times

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A lawsuit alleges Kroger salads contain unacceptable levels of lead

 

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