OK to 'scrape' publicly available data off Internet; Villanueva rips Gascon on Fox's Tucker Carlson; Man exonerated of murder after 30 years behind bars; $400k awarded to professor punished for refusing to use student's preferred pronouns
Courts & Rulings
DMV's license-revocation hearings run unconstitutionally
The Court of Appeal for this district on Friday declared unconstitutional the system under which one person acts as both the hearing officer and an advocate for the Department of Motor Vehicles at a hearing to determine if the driver's license of a person arrested for drunk driving should be suspended. "[W]e conclude combining the roles of advocate and adjudicator in a single person employed by the DMV violates due process under the Fourteenth Amendment and the California constitution Article I, section 7," Justice Brian S. Currey said in an opinion for Div. Four.
CDC mask mandate for travelers struck down by federal judge
A federal judge in Florida struck down on Monday the Biden administration's mask mandate for airplanes and other public transport methods, and a Biden administration official says the order is no longer in effect while the ruling is reviewed. US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle said the mandate was unlawful because it exceeded the statutory authority of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and because its implementation violated administrative law.
Death sentence tossed in murders of dad, stepmom, stepsister
A Los Angeles man twice convicted of murdering his father, stepmother and 8-year-old stepsister 40 years ago had his death sentence reversed Thursday by the California Supreme Court. The court upheld Robert Bloom's first-degree murder conviction in his father's slaying but reversed second-degree murder convictions in the other killings because his lawyers violated his 6th Amendment right to choose his defense.
Inmate may not contest unauthorized sentence by motion
The Court of Appeal for this district yesterday dismissed an appeal from the denial of a motion to vacate and correct an unauthorized sentence, declaring that the Los Angeles Superior Court was devoid of jurisdiction to act on such a motion. That rendered the ruling on such a motion nonappealable, Presiding Justice Elwood Lui of Div. Two wrote, thus foreclosing jurisdiction in the appellate court.
State Bar fails to protect against persistent ethics violators
The State Bar of California is doing an inadequate job of dealing with attorneys who persistently violate ethical standards, thus failing to deter future misconduct, a state auditor's report, issued yesterday, declares. While acknowledging that most of the deficiencies alleged in the report do exist, the State Bar cautioned in a formal response that implementation of all of the recommendations in yesterday's report would require adding 30 persons to its staff, a one-time allocation of $1 million, and an annual boost in its budget of $200,000.
Killer put on death row by jury infected with prejudice loses high court appeal
After the Supreme Court refused Monday to entertain claims of racial bias from a Black man on death row, the court's three liberal justices railed in dissent against the Texas justice system's choice to ignore the plain legal error. "When racial bias infects a jury in a capital case, it deprives a defendant of his right to an impartial tribunal in a life-or-death context, and it 'poisons public confidence' in the judicial process," Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote, joined in the opinion by Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan.
Courthouse News Service
New evidence, fraud justify dumping $44 million judgment
A company that at one point had a judgment for more than $44 million against a manufacturer of cigarillos based on anticompetitive conduct will wind up with nothing under a decision yesterday by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which held that a District Court judge properly granted relief from the judgment based on newly discovered evidence of fraud. The plaintiff, Trendsettah USA, Inc., had contracted with defendant Swisher International, Inc., to manufacture cigarillos for it, which is marketed under the brand name "Splitarillo."
A federal appeals court just backed the rights of data scrapers again
A federal appeals court ruled on Monday that scraping of publicly available data does not violate the anti-hacking statute known as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The move by the Ninth Circuit in HiQ Labs v. LinkedIn is a win for researchers and journalists who have long pulled extensive data from public sources, but may represent a setback for massive tech platforms who previously argued that U.S. law helped them protect their users' data by declaring it off limits.
D.A. must testify as to entreaties by county lawyers
Div. Two of the Fourth District Court of Appeal yesterday reversed an order quashing a deposition subpoena served on Riverside District Attorney Mike Hestrin to secure his account of efforts by county attorneys to dissuade him from testifying as to the lack of ethics of his predecessor in office. The deposition is sought by a former deputy district attorney, Christopher Ross, who is suing the county for whistleblower retaliation and disability discrimination which he contends was pursuant to instructions from then–District Attorney Paul Zellerbach.
Los Angeles District Attorney
DA Gascon derailed veteran prosecutor's career amid media storm over rapist's bid for early release.
Prosecutor Jodi Link describes herself as a "good soldier," quietly obeying District Attorney George Gascon's controvsial policies at a time when her more strident, vocal colleagues publicly criticize him as soft on crime and a tool of the progressive left. But that was before Link's 26-year-career was derailed in October 2021, when she was removed as second-in-command of the vaunted Sex Crimes Division of the District Attorney's Office. Now Link has joined the ranks of nearly a half-dozen deputy district attorneys suing Los Angeles County over Gascon's management style.
Orange County Register
ADDA VP Eric Siddall on the John & Ken Show (Video)
ADDA Vice President Eric Siddall appears on the John & Ken Show to discuss the human-level impact of Gascon's policies on fellow prosecutors.
Convicted murderer vows to get LA DA Gascon's name tattooed on his face in audio obtained by Fox News
Fox News has obtained audio of a convicted murderer saying he's going to get Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón's name tattooed on his face because the prosecutor massively reduced charges in his case. "I'm going to get that n-----'s name on my face. That's a champ right there. F---in' Gascón," says gang member Luis Angel Hernandez in a jailhouse phone call.
Melugin investigates the effects of LA district attorney's 'criminal friendly' policies
Fox News national correspondent Bill Melugin investigates the effects of the Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón's "criminal friendly" policies in a first look at "The Suicide of Los Angeles" coming to Fox Nation next week. BILL MELUGIN: All of my best sources in all of LA are deputy DAs within the DA's office. Dozens of them. I typically know what happens in that office before the ink dries on something because people are so pissed off about what's going on.
Former ADDA chief lambastes District Attorney Gascón
A past president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, in his capacity as a member of the Calabasas City Council, has directed a stinging rebuke to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, declining to meet with him and blaming him for the rising crime rate. James R. Bozajian, who was ADDA president in 1996 and 1997. Served six terms as Calabasas mayor, and is currently president of the Los Angeles County Division of the League of California Cities, sent his letter on Thursday.
Los Angeles Gascon recall organizers optimistic as more signatures keep coming in
Organizers working to oust Los Angeles County's top prosecutor said they are on pace to collect the number of signatures required to put a recall question to voters on November's ballot. As of April 13, the Recall District Attorney George Gascon campaign has collected around 300,000 of the 567,000 signatures it needs, organizers told Fox News. The group still has 72 days left to reach its threshold.
Washington News Post
Cases against LAPD officers accused of making false gang claims fall apart
When Los Angeles police officers were accused two years ago of deliberately misidentifying people as gang members, the fallout was swift and sweeping. Six officers were charged with crimes and police officials opened investigations into two dozen more, seriously tarnishing the reputation of the LAPD's vaunted Metropolitan Division.
Los Angeles Times
San Francisco police officers charged with destroying evidence
Two San Francisco police officers surrendered Tuesday to face charges of destroying evidence, while a retired officer who had been working part-time with the gun destruction unit at the SFPD evidence room, faces unrelated felony charges of taking a soon-to-be-destroyed MP5 submachine gun and silencer home from the property room, authorities said.
NBC Bay Area
'Beyond outrageous': L.A. company accused of faking hundreds of COVID test results
A company accused of handing out fake results for hundreds of coronavirus tests will pay more than $20 million in a settlement announced by Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer. Feuer and Dist. Atty. George Gascón accused Sameday Technologies and its chief executive, Felix Huettenbach, of sending fake results to hundreds of people, telling them they had tested negative for the coronavirus when laboratories had not actually run their tests.
Los Angeles Times
Florida prosecutor's crackdown on repeat offenders leads to drop in violent crimes as Dem city crime soars
By targeting known violent criminals and seeking stiff penalties for the worst offenders, a Republican Florida prosecutor has reduced violent crime in her community as big cities with Democratic district attorneys around the country, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, are witnessing crime spikes.
They called for defunding the LAPD. Now they're looking to defeat City Council members
Not long after the death of George Floyd in 2020, labor organizer Hugo Soto-Martinez protested at Echo Park Lake, where he and hundreds of others demanded cuts to the Los Angeles Police Department. "We're not going to stop until we defund the police, get rid of [Dist. Atty.] Jackie Lacey and transform this society," he wrote on Twitter. Weeks later, college administrator Dulce Vasquez posted her response to the City Council's decision to cut hundreds of LAPD officers.
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles County/City
Crime upstages progressive priorities in Los Angeles mayor's race
Frustrations over crime and homelessness are setting the tone in the race to become Los Angeles' next mayor, pushing progressive candidates like Rep. Karen Bass to set their liberal priorities aside - and bolstering the chances of a billionaire centrist in California's most sprawling and diverse metropolis. Public safety is proving to be a potent platform for Rick Caruso, a developer and former Republican who has spent $9 million on ads vowing to crack down on criminals and corruption in City Hall ahead of the June 7 top-two primary.
He called Biden a rapist. Now his deleted tweets are shaking up the city controller's race
Two years ago, certified public accountant Kenneth Mejia was an activist with a lot to say about the presidential campaign, especially then-Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden. Mejia, then a Green Party member and onetime supporter of presidential nominee Jill Stein, advised his followers on social media that both Biden and President Trump were "sexual predators" - and declared that he would never vote for either of them.
Los Angeles Times
After fireworks explosion: Residents still struggling in South LA
It has been almost ten months since the LAPD Bomb unit botched the detonation of illegal fireworks on East 27th Street in South LA. Many residents were injured and homes were destroyed and left uninhabitable, leaving many residents homeless. According to home owner Jose Becerra, "Our Life is still a mess! I just want to get home. I have been residing in a hotel for close to a year." This is what has been learned since this horrific event.
LA County sheriff rips liberal prosecutor George Gascón: Unless you're a BLM activist, you don't exist
Alex Villanueva, LA County sheriff, slammed Los Angeles DA George Gascón for fostering a climate where homelessness and drug abuse are spiraling out of control on "Tucker Carlson Tonight." Villanueva told host Tucker Carlson that there is no serious public support for Gascón's policies. ALEX VILLANUEVA: I've had one conversation with him, that was this first week in office, where we had an issue of mutual concern, on a case, one particular case.
LA: A city in crisis
There are seven candidates vying to fill some pretty big boots in the Office of the City Controller when Ron Galperin leaves later this year. On April 10, the Neighborhood Council Budget Advocates hosted a forum with, in alphabetical order by last name, Stephanie Clements, Paul Koretz, Reid Lidow, Kenneth Mejia, James (J. Carolan) O'Gabhann, David T. Vahedi, and Rob Wilcox. There is a link to the Town Hall at the end of this article and it's more interesting than many, since the candidates were held to a two-minute maximum and, to keep them on target addressing policies rather than attacking their rivals, any mention one of the others gave the named candidate a 30-second rebuttal.
Violence & vanishing supervisors at Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall
At 9:37 PM on the evening of Monday, April 11, 2022, a veteran staff member, who has worked with youth for more than a decade at Los Angeles County Probation, got a text from a friend who also works for probation and was, at the time, on duty at Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall. "BJNJH on lockdown," the friend wrote. "5 unit disturbance. Minors on roof. DPO injured fell through the roof. Juveniles have taken over the facility. Armed units responding. What're they going to do? Shoot them? It's not looking good..."
34 people shot in LA in what police chief calls one 'troubling week'
Thirty-four people were shot in Los Angeles in the last week, and 23 of the shootings were concentrated within a "remarkably small area'' of the Los Angeles Police Department's 77th Street and Southeast divisions, Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday. Moore told the Los Angeles Police Commission that last week was a "troubling week,'' noting that many of the shootings were concentrated in "a remarkably small area of town when you look at that frequency or that concentration.''
City News Service
3 men kidnap 4 Northern California tourists, steal roughly $70,000 worth of property, LAPD says
The Los Angeles Police Department is now calling a follow-home robbery in the Beverly Crest area a kidnapping. Investigators say three armed men followed four Northern California tourists from a restaurant in the Beverly Grove area to their Airbnb on Coldwater Canyon early Wednesday morning. The suspects stole about $70,000 worth of clothes and jewelry. No one was seriously hurt. The suspects were described as males between the ages of 19 and 25.
A$AP Rocky out on bond after LAX arrest in November shooting
Rakim Mayers, better known as A$AP Rocky, was arrested Wednesday at Los Angeles International Airport in connection with a shooting in November, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Mayers was arriving on a private plane from Barbados, where he had been on vacation with his girlfriend, the singer Rihanna. According to multiple law enforcement sources familiar with the matter, Rihanna was with Mayers when he was arrested, and a search warrant has been executed at Mayers' residence in Los Angeles.
Is California, one of the bluest states in the US, at a turning point over crime, homelessness?
Ron Wyghtman has watched L.A. and his small corner of Venice change drastically over decades. The 66-year-old remembers when the city saw violent crime reach historic highs in the 1990s with gangs, murders and a crack epidemic. It got safer. But now, Wyghtman says he sees it both backtracking and moving toward a new crisis. Tents and a disheveled RV now line his streets. Feces often mark the black fence that surrounds his small community.
DA: 3 of 6 dead in Sacramento shootout were in gang dispute
Newly filed court documents in the downtown Sacramento shooting that killed six people and wounded a dozen others reveal that three of the dead had been involved in the gang dispute that led to the massive shootout, with at least one of them firing a weapon. Documents filed Friday by Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert's office show that the three deceased men affiliated with gangs were Joshua Hoye-Lucchesi, 32, Devazia Turner, 29, and Sergio Harris, 38, The Sacramento Bee reported Saturday.
California DA rips 'woke' prosecutors including LA's Gascon for crime surge: 'It is out of control'
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer warned America's crime surge is "out of control" on "America's Newsroom," Tuesday, as "woke" officials with "soft on crime" policies like Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon are being elected across the country. TODD SPITZER: This is happening all over the country. We're electing woke judges, woke prosecutors. Look, in my county, they've recruited an individual to run against me from George Gascon's team.
Court halts South Carolina plan for firing squad execution
South Carolina's highest court on Wednesday issued a temporary stay blocking the state from carrying out what was set to be its first-ever firing squad execution. The order by the state Supreme Court puts on hold at least temporarily the planned April 29 execution of Richard Bernard Moore, who drew the death sentence for the 1999 killing of convenience store clerk James Mahoney in Spartanburg.
California man exonerated after 32 years in prison: 'The system failed you catastrophically'
A California man who spent more than three decades behind bars for a murder he did not commit was exonerated of the crime Monday, clearing the way for his release from prison, officials said. Joaquin Ciria was arrested in 1990 and convicted of a shooting death based on false witness testimony and police misconduct, said District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who dismissed the case against Ciria, 61, after a judge overturned his conviction.
Jacqueline Avant's killer sentenced to more than 150 years in prison
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Tuesday sentenced the man convicted in the murder of Jacqueline Avant to more than 150 years to life in prison, saying he shot a "highly vulnerable" 81-year old woman in the back and then giggled about it afterward. Judge Kathryn Solorzano said that after fatally shooting Avant, a well-known philanthropist, Aariel Maynor fired multiple times at an unarmed security guard as he fled the Beverly Hills home.
Los Angeles Times
Marijuana worker convicted of killing California deputy
A marijuana field worker who shot and killed a Northern California sheriff's deputy was convicted Friday of second-degree murder. Juan Carlos Vasquez-Orozco, 22, also was found guilty of assault with a gun on three other deputies. He could face life in prison when he is sentenced in May. Prosecutors say Vasquez-Orozco killed El Dorado County sheriff's Deputy Brian Ishmael in October 2019. Ishmael, 37, had answered a 911 call from the owner of land in rural Somerset about people possibly stealing plants at a marijuana garden, prosecutors said.
Judge tells Capitol rioter supervision is necessary to protect democracy from 'people like you'
A federal judge imposed a prison sentence plus house arrest and probation on a Tennessee man who stormed the Capitol, saying the government wants to keep an eye on people like him as the 2024 presidential election approaches. U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl Howell spoke at the Thursday hearing about the "conundrum" many sentencing judges are facing as they decide how to sentence a nonviolent Capitol riot defendant like Blake Reed, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of entering and remaining in a restricted building.
Courthouse News Service
California woman pleads guilty to 2016 kidnapping hoax
A Northern California woman pleaded guilty Monday to faking her own kidnapping and lying to the FBI about it, leaving her motive unanswered in the carefully planned hoax that set off a massive three-week search before she resurfaced on Thanksgiving Day in 2016. Sherri Papini, 39, of Redding, offered no explanation for her elaborate hoax during the half-hour court hearing. "I feel very sad," she said tearfully when Senior U.S. District Judge William Shubb asked her how she was feeling.
Dealer sentenced to almost 11 years in rapper Mac Miller's overdose death
An Arizona man who helped supply the counterfeit oxycodone drugs that led to the overdose death of rapper Mac Miller was sentenced to nearly 11 years in prison Monday, federal prosecutors said. Ryan Reavis, 38, is one of three men charged in Miller's death in the Studio City section of Los Angeles in 2018. Reavis pleaded guilty in November to one count of distribution of fentanyl. His attorney has described him as a "runner" who delivered pills containing oxycodone but did not know they contained fentanyl.
LA rapper-actor convicted of sexually assaulting teen girls and women
A rapper-actor who appeared in the 2018 film "SuperFly" was convicted Monday of raping multiple teens and young women in attacks dating back to 2013, but jurors acquitted of him of charges involving three other alleged victims. Kaalan Walker, 27, was convicted of charges relating to three teenage girls and four women. He had originally been facing more than a dozen counts involving 10 alleged victims.
City News Service
Corrections & Parole
State denies request by inmate, convicted of slashing wife, to postpone parole hearing
At a state Parole Board suitability hearing Wednesday, a prison inmate convicted of severely slashing his wife in 2011 in a secluded field in Fairfield was denied release, The Reporter has learned. In a press statement, Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams, who attended the hearing, said Jose Pablo Romero, 45, found guilty in 2012, afterward agreed to a "three-year denial due to his unsuitability to be released from prison at this time."
Chowchilla school bus kidnapper up for parole. How district attorney plans to fight it
Madera County District Attorney Sally Moreno on Thursday said she would move to have a full parole board overturn the parole of Chowchilla school bus kidnapper Frederick Woods. A panel of two commissioners on March 29 ordered the 70-year-old Woods' parole for the July 1976 kidnapping of 26 children and bus driver Frank Edward "Ed" Ray. Woods, then 24, and brothers Richard and James Schoenfeld were convicted of abducting the children from Dairyland Union Elementary School in Madera County and holding them hostage in a buried moving van in Livermore.
Articles of Interest
University to pay $400,000 to professor punished for refusing to use student's preferred pronouns
Shawnee State University in Ohio has reached a settlement with a professor whom it punished for refusing to use a transgender student's preferred pronouns, according to a new report. The university will pay philosophy professor Nick Meriwether $400,000 in damages and attorney fees and will rescind a written warning it issued to Meriwether in June 2018 in response to a biological male student's complaint that the professor refused to use female pronouns for the student, Fox News reported.
Divided federal appeals court upholds dismissal of Devin Nunes' defamation suit against CNN
The US Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second District Thursday upheld the dismissal of former congressman Devin Nunes' lawsuit against CNN for defamation and civil conspiracy in a 2-1 decision. The case began while Nunes was still a member of the US House of Representatives, representing California's 22nd Congressional District. Nunes sued CNN for over $400 million after running a story that directly linked Nunes with efforts to get damaging information about President Biden and his son Hunter from Ukrainian officials in 2019.
Coverage was not in the cards for Circus Circus Casino, holds Ninth Circuit
Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a succinct but well-reasoned decision that there was no coverage for a Las Vegas Hotel & Casino's COVID-19-related business interruption loss under the coverage provided by an "all risks" insurance policy. Even though Nevada law governed the analysis, the court's written opinion leaned heavily on appellate authorities that applied California law (in particular, the California Court of Appeal's Inns-by-the-Sea decision and the Ninth Circuit's Mudpie decision).
Duane Morris Insurance Law
The Ninth Circuit addresses website design for enforceable terms of service
Many companies use browsewrap or related sign-in agreements to present their terms of service for consumer acceptance. On April 5, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit refined the standard for enforcing terms of service presented on websites via hyperlinks. The decision affects how companies should design their webpages and present their terms of service to ensure that those terms - including their accompanying arbitration agreements, class-action waivers, product licenses, and warranty disclaimers - are enforceable.
Jerry West demands retraction for portrayal in HBO's 'Winning Time' series about 1980s 'Showtime' Lakers
Former Los Angeles Lakers executive Jerry West is demanding a retraction and an apology for what he called "a baseless and malicious assault" on his character in the HBO series "Winning Time," in a letter sent Tuesday evening by his legal team to the network and producer Adam McKay that was obtained by ESPN. West's lawyers allege that "Winning Time falsely and cruelly portrays Mr. West as an out-of-control, intoxicated rage-aholic," saying that "bears no resemblance to the real man."
CalPERS retirees could face new limits on part-time work under proposed pension rule
The California Public Employees' Retirement System is considering new limits on retirees who return to work for public agencies. A proposal before the CalPERS Board of Administration would put a two-year limit on "retired annuitant" appointments - which allow retirees to collect both a government paycheck and a pension - but would allow extensions in some circumstances. Public agencies often hire retirees to perform specialized work on a limited basis.
Kemp signs a bill that exempts military pension from state income tax in Columbus
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp will be in Columbus later Monday afternoon to sign a key piece of his legislative agenda into law. The governor will be at the National Infantry Museum, where he will sign a bill that will exempt taxes on some military retirement pay. The ceremony is scheduled for 4 p.m. The bill was sponsored by House Rules Committee Chairman Richard Smith - a Columbus Republican - and has been talked about for more than 15 years.
California's pension fund saw $700M go up in smoke following earnings-triggered sell-off in Netflix
Netflix, Inc. shares suffered a bloodbath on Wednesday, having shed over 35% in a single session, following its disappointing quarterly results and weak guidance. One of the largest U.S. pension funds, which held a chunk of the streaming giant's shares, incurred a massive loss amid the plunge. What Happened: The California Public Employees' Retirement System lost about $695 million of its Netflix bets following Wednesday's plunge.
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