More of Gascon's Employees Sue Him; Vax Mandate for Prison Workers Overturned; Authorities Accused of Ignoring Warning Signs Before Mother Kills Children; DWP Exec Gets Prison and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo
University's ban on harassment violates 1st Amendment; Attorney gets $260k and his client gets $2.5k in judgment; 3 Chilean nationals arrested in retail theft ring
May 6, 2022
Courts & Rulings
Court hears case over deputy who didn't read Miranda rights
You have the right to remain silent. Everyone knows police aren't supposed to question suspects without reading them their Miranda rights. But what happens when law enforcement officers don't first read suspects their rights? The Supreme Court on Wednesday wrestled with whether a sheriff's deputy can be sued for money damages for violating the rights of a hospital employee who was accused of sexually assaulting a patient.
US Supreme Court rejects Kalamazoo murderer's argument to be freed
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against a Michigan man convicted of murder who a lower court had said should be set free because he had been shackled at his trial. In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court said a panel for the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was mistaken when it ruled that Ervine Davenport should be freed since, in its estimation, the unconstitutional shackling had a "substantial and injurious effect or influence" on the outcome of Davenport's trial in Kalamazoo County 14 years ago.
Detroit Free Press
2nd Circuit denies Yanks request in letter unsealing case
The 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals has denied a request by the New York Yankees to rehear the team's attempt to keep sealed a letter from baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to general manager Brian Cashman detailing an investigation into sign stealing. In a brief order without explanation Thursday, the appellate court said its active judges had denied the team's petition to have the entire 13-member court hear the case or order a rehearing before a three-judge panel.
University's ban on 'discriminatory harassment' likely violates the First Amendment, 11th Circuit says
A federal appeals court has ruled that the University of Central Florida's ban on speech constituting "discriminatory harassment" likely violates the First Amendment. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Atlanta ruled Thursday in an opinion by Judge Kevin Newsom. The Volokh Conspiracy has highlights in a series of posts here, here, here and here. The appeals court said the discriminatory-harassment policy likely violates the First Amendment because its regulation of constitutionally protected speech appears to be overbroad, content-based and viewpoint-based.
City on Rives: 'We couldn't let injustice slide'
Now that Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant has granted the City of Lancaster its complaint in quo warranto to remove Michael Rives from his elected seat on the Antelope Valley Healthcare District Board of Directors, the city released a statement, Thursday, from Mayor R. Rex Parris. "We expected Mr. Rives to do the right thing, but he refused. We couldn't stand by and let this injustice slide," Parris said.
Antelope Valley Press
Ninth Circuit throws out vaccine mandate for California prison guards
A Ninth Circuit panel on Monday overturned a federal judge's order requiring all prison staff in California to get vaccinated against Covid-19, a mandate that had been opposed by the state government and the politically powerful prison guards' union. The San Francisco-based appellate court on Monday agreed with the state and the union that California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's failure to implement a vaccine requirement for all prison staff, as opposed to only those working in a health care setting, didn't amount to deliberate indifference to inmates' serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Courthouse News Service
New hearing ordered over California ban on private prisons
A federal appeals court on Tuesday agreed to reconsider a ruling that rejected the state's first-in-the-nation ban on for-profit private prisons and immigration detention facilities. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new hearing before an 11-judge panel, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Last October, a three-judge appellate panel kept in place a key piece of the world's largest detention system for immigrants - despite a 2019 state law aimed at phasing out privately-run immigration jails in California by 2028.
$260,000 fee award proper though damages were $2,500
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed an attorney-fee award of nearly $260,000 in a case in which a prison inmate was awarded $2,500 based on ill-effects from a chemical grenade having accidentally been discharged, with fumes seeping into the area of the cells. District Court Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. of the Northern District of California made the award under California's private attorney general statute, Code of Civil Procedure §1021.5, ruling that the statutory criteria were met, including a benefit to the public that overshadows the personal benefit to the prisoner, Daniel Manriquez.
Appeals court delays execution of Texas mom accused of killing daughter
A Texas appeals court on Monday delayed the execution of Melissa Lucio amid growing doubts about whether she fatally beat her 2-year-old daughter in a case that has garnered the support of lawmakers, celebrities and even some jurors who sentenced her to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a request by Lucio's lawyers for a stay of execution so a lower court can review her claims that new evidence would exonerate her.
Airline not liable for unforeseeable attack by one passenger against another
Southwest Airlines is not liable to a passenger who was injured when an unanticipated fight broke out, with a man who was being punched falling onto him, the Court of Appeal for this district has held, declaring that while the defendant is a common carrier, with a special relationship to persons it transports, its duty to them does not extend to protecting them against unforeseeable events and public policy would not be served by imposing liability.
Los Angeles District Attorney
Los Angeles DA George Gascon hit with new lawsuit: 'Required prosecutors to unlawfully hide the truth'
A group of Los Angeles County deputy district attorneys (DDAs) on Monday filed a new lawsuit against the county and District Attorney George Gascon. Deputy District Attorneys Peter Cagney, Richard Hicks, Mindy Page and Karen Thorp are accusing Gascon's office of demoting them from their positions for expressing opposition to his resentencing policies.
LA deputy district attorneys lawsuit vs. Gascón moving forward
A lawsuit to issue an injunction against LA District Attorney George Gascón from hiring "unqualified" deputy public defenders is closer to setting a trial date, according to an April 20 ruling from Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff. The lawsuit, filed by the Association of Deputy District Attorneys in October of 2021, alleges Gascón hired three "unqualified political cronies" of the LA County Public Defenders' office early last year who were "political supporters" of his election campaign in 2020.
The Epoch Times
Crime victims call for Gascón's recall
April 24-30 is National Crime Victims' Rights Week. This year's theme is Rights, Access, Equity, for all victims, underscoring the importance of helping crime victims find justice by enforcing victims' rights; expanding access to services; and ensuring equity and inclusion for all. Unfortunately for crime victims in Los Angeles County, their elected district attorney, George Gascón, has abandoned victims and instead focuses on helping offenders who already have criminal defense attorneys representing them.
Los Angeles Daily News
Caitlyn Jenner says 'disaster' Los Angeles DA Gascón is 'enemy number one' as crime soars
Fox News contributor Caitlyn Jenner called Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón an "absolute disaster" and "enemy number one" of the people on Friday for his harmful progressive crime policies. In an appearance on "America's Newsroom," the L.A. native castigated Gascón, D., who's facing his second recall effort since taking office in 2020, for a "woke" approach that's making crimefighting more difficult.
LA DA George Gascon causing 'havoc and mayhem,' recall effort will be a 'photo finish,' deputy DA says
A leading voice in the movement to oust Los Angeles County's top prosecutor told Fox News the race to collect the number of signatures required to put a recall question on the ballot will come down to the wire. "I believe that we will get the required signatures to get the recall of [District Attorney] George Gascon on the ballot," Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami said. "However, it is going to be a photo finish."
The Stars Post
Why California wants to recall its most progressive prosecutors
San Francisco and Los Angeles are two of America's most liberal large counties. Democrats dominate their elected offices up and down the ballot. Yet in both places, serious efforts are under way to recall left-leaning district attorneys who have not even completed their first term. San Francisco's Chesa Boudin and L.A.'s George Gascón each ran for office on confronting structural racial inequities, reducing incarceration, and toughening accountability for law enforcement.
Criminal case dismissed against two LAPD officers
Criminal charges were dismissed Monday against two of three Los Angeles police officers accused of falsifying records that claimed people they had stopped were gang members or gang associates, after a judge earlier this year dismissed similar charges against three other officers. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Kerry L. White dismissed the case against Michael Coblentz, 44, and Nicolas Martinez, 38, at the prosecution's request after Deputy District Attorney Kaveh Faturechi cited "additional evidence" received during a hearing in which another judge ruled Feb. 8 that there was insufficient evidence to require Los Angeles Police Department Officers Rene Braga, 41, Raul Uribe, 36, and Julio Garcia, 38, to stand trial.
7 federal criminal cases charge drug dealers who allegedly sold fentanyl that caused deadly overdoses in Orange County
Federal authorities today announced seven criminal cases against drug dealers who sold fentanyl-laced narcotics that caused fatal overdoses in Orange County, including one case in which three people died in Newport Beach. The sweep has resulted in the arrest of six defendants pursuant to federal grand jury indictments or criminal complaints. One charged defendant is a fugitive currently being sought by authorities.
Department of Justice Press Release
Move over, Patty Hearst - renegade publisher's daughter Nika Soon-Shiong is captivating LA
The last time a reform-minded insurgent candidate aiming to challenge the status quo was supported by the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times, lightning-rod progressive District Attorney George Gascón took office. Currently, Gascón is polling at 29 percent and staring down his second recall. So earlier this month, when the board at the Times endorsed a political neophyte and self-described radical for the staid position of city controller, some critics wondered what its members were smoking.
Los Angeles Magazine
FBI director highlights overlooked 'phenomena' of violence against police
FBI Director Christopher Wray in an interview Sunday highlighted the increased violence against police officers in 2021, including an alarming jump in police murders. During an interview on "60 Minutes," Wray was asked about the 59 percent increase in police killings, including 73 officers murdered last year. "Violence against law enforcement in this country is one of the biggest phenomena that I think doesn't get enough attention," he responded, adding that, in 2021, "officers were being killed at a rate of almost one every five days."
Los Angeles County/City
Securing the Metro
Last fall I acquired an internal survey on riders' perceptions of safety and security on the Metro system. I also acquired a video montage of major crimes committed on the system; 1 in 2019, 1 in 2020 and 6 in 2021. Just prior to receiving these items, executives from Metro requested a meeting on 'background only', meaning names and specific quotes could not be used on the record. I have since emailed Metro twice to participate in an on-the-record interview about the video and their security plan. I received no reply, not even an acknowledgement.
Possible reopening of controversial juvenile probation camps for youth offenders sparks lawsuit, protests
In November 2020, the Santa Clarita City Council approved a 375-unit project called Bouquet Canyon Residential. It will boast a public open space, hiking trails, recreation areas, and public parks. Its neighbor is a shuttered juvenile correction facility that's being eyed for reopening to house some of Los Angeles County's most violent young offenders. That has homeowners concerned.
LASD did not obtain proper approval for helipad near Sheriff Villanueva's home, audit finds
An audit found the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department did not obtain the proper approval to build an emergency helicopter landing pad near Sheriff Alex Villanueva's home, according to a report published Wednesday. The Los Angeles County Auditor-Controller released a report that contradicted Villanueva's claim last year that his department had secured permission from La Habra Heights - where the sheriff lives - or the landowner, Southern California Gas Co., the Los Angeles Times reported.
City News Service
Judge says 9 of LAPD captain's lawsuit allegations need shoring up
A Los Angeles police captain who sued the city, alleging a fellow LAPD captain and others wrongfully conducted a search of his home in 2021 knowing that only the plaintiff's wife and minor son would be present, will have to shore up his complaint in order for it to move ahead with all its allegations, a judge has ruled. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Fruin issued his ruling Friday in the complaint brought Jan. 4 by Capt. Jonathan Tom and his spouse, Yoomi Tom.
Los Angeles sheriff appears to back down after signaling he was investigating reporter
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is the subject of national scrutiny right now. On Tuesday he alarmed press freedom advocates by lashing out at a press conference and indicating that a Los Angeles Times reporter was under criminal investigation. Later in the day, he attempted to walk back his alarming comments, but it's important to understand the background, including Villanueva's highly controversial behavior and his attacks against the media.
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.
Lawsuit claims LAPD, social workers ignored warnings before mother killed 3 young kids
A lawsuit was filed against the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County by the father who lost his three children, ages 3, 2, and 6 months after they were found slain inside their mother's Reseda apartment. The mother, Liliana Carrillo, admitted to drowning them in a television interview. Erik Denton filed the lawsuit Thursday and claimed social workers with the county's Department of Children and Family Services and the Los Angeles Police Department did not take his concerns seriously and failed to thoroughly investigate the reported issues.
One arrested after brazen robbery in traffic: LAPD searching for one other suspect
One person has been arrested for an attempted car robbery near the Melrose neighborhood of Los Angeles, but police are still trying to identify a second suspect. Cyree Jamal Carter, 23, of Inglewood, was arrested back on April 19, and has been charged with attempted robbery and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
LAPD serves search warrants, makes arrests after 80-year-old man murdered in Encino home
LAPD detectives served search warrants and made arrests in Simi Valley and Sherman Oaks Tuesday in connection with the murder of an 80-year-old man in Encino earlier this year, multiple law enforcement sources confirmed. The first location searched early Tuesday was in Simi Valley near the intersection of Madera and Tierra Rejada Roads. A man in his late 40s was arrested and was being questioned.
3 Chilean nationals in South American theft group arrested in Thousand Oaks: officials
Three Chilean nationals believed to be connected to a South American organized retail theft group were arrested in Thousand Oaks. According to authorities, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office responded to a vehicle burglary call in a parking lot at The Oaks Mall on April 15. The witness told authorities a man was breaking windows of a parked car. When authorities arrived, three suspects ran away from the scene.
Lethal drug cocktails and two women left for dead bring LA cops back to old rape cases
When men dropped the lifeless bodies of two women outside hospitals, police immediately suspected foul play. Christy Giles, 24, died that Saturday in November. Her friend, Hilda Cabrales Arzola, was taken off life support a few weeks later, the day before her 27th birthday. Los Angeles detectives soon figured out that the men, one a small-time actor and the other a hanger-on to Hollywood fringes, had been lying when they claimed to have found the women passed out on a curb.
Los Angeles Times
One man arrested, another sought in Melrose shooting
Police announced the arrest Friday of a 22-year-old man who allegedly shot at a man in the Melrose District, and authorities sought the public's help to locate two additional suspects. The victim exited a clothing store located on Melrose Avenue about 6 p.m. April 10 and noticed two men walking out of a nearby alley, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. "The victim was wearing an expensive watch and felt like the men were looking at him," the LAPD reported.
City News Service
What's it like being an LAPD officer on patrol in the San Fernando Valley
The shift began at 6:45 am with Roll Call and briefing. Following Roll Call, my partner another Reserve Officer, and I obtained the B/W unit and hit the field. We rolled on a number of radio calls and backed up units during the 12- hour shift. One thing I noticed was the lack of respect displayed by many people we encountered. Not during an arrest or traffic stop. Just an encounter. It was obvious to me that many people have a total lack of respect for police officers for what they do to "Protect and Serve" the members of the community.
Woodland Hills Rite Aid store closing permanently due to increase in crime
A Rite Aid store in the middle of Woodland Hills is closing its doors permanently over an increase in safety concerns. Some employees say they were caught by surprise. "Nowadays, everywhere it's getting bad," Karla Martir, a Rite Aid customer, said. Customers outside the Rite Aid at the corner of Ventura and Topanga in Woodland Hills say they'll miss this local staple when it closes for good on Monday.
Already heavily surveilled, Beverly Hills adds more cameras in hopes of stopping crime
Beverly Hills is already one of the most heavily surveilled cities in the nation, but city officials say more is better as it looks to combat increased crime. Existing security cameras didn't stop a smash-and-grab robbery at a jewelry store last month, but the city's police chief said the footage will help in the investigation. Now the city plans to expand its use of surveillance cameras, but the idea has some locals pushing back.
Consumer counterfeit protection is lacking on e-Commerce websites
Most shoppers don't know or understand that e-commerce websites enjoy a unique and profitable exemption from liability for selling counterfeit and other infringing products. Brick and mortar stores don't have the same protection as online retailers and skirt product liability suits by consumers who purchase online from third-party vendors. Shoppers already face the daunting challenge of identifying counterfeit, fraudulent, and replica products and should be shocked at a behind-the-scenes look at the counterfeit enforcement practices of the e-commerce giants.
The Counterfeit Report
Quick check to see if someone is spying on your computer
We all know the feeling. You're scrolling through your phone, and there it is. An ad that you can tie back to a recent conversation with a friend. Bad habits could spill even more of your secrets. If you go the easy route and use your Facebook or Google account to log in to other sites and apps, knock it off. Maybe it's not advertisers or Big Tech tracking. Here's a check to see if there's something very sinister going on - a copy of everything you do on your PC or Mac is being gathered and sent to who knows who.
Google issues warning for billions of Chrome users
Google has confirmed multiple new vulnerabilities have been discovered in Chrome that impact the browser across all major platforms. Google confirmed the vulnerabilities on its Chrome blog post, revealing 30 new security flaws have been discovered in Chrome, seven of which it says pose a 'High' threat level to users. They affect Chrome on Windows, macOS, Linux and mobile. As is standard practice in these circumstances, Google is currently restricting information about the vulnerabilities "until a majority of users are updated with a fix" and you should use this time wisely.
Showdown between reform and tough-on-crime policies in California attorney general's race
The most contentious and closely watched California election in 2022 is likely to be the race for attorney general, where voters will choose in June from the liberal incumbent who was appointed to the job last year, three unheralded challengers and an openly gay career prosecutor whose campaign could hinge on the public's new fears about crime.
Los Angeles Times
Thirteen Larry Nassar survivors seeking $130 million from FBI over bungled investigation
Thirteen sexual assault survivors of Larry Nassar are seeking $10 million each from the FBI, claiming a bungled investigation by agents led to more abuse by the sports doctor, lawyers said Thursday. It's an effort to make the government responsible for assaults that occurred after July 2015. The Justice Department's inspector general concluded last year that the FBI made fundamental errors when it became aware of allegations against Nassar in 2015.
Former LADWP GM sentenced in bribery scandal (Video)
A former top executive of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was sentenced today to six years in federal prison for his role in a bribery scheme stemming from a probe of the city's handling of the botched launch of a DWP billing system. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4 News on Monday, April 25, 2022.
Longtime leader of South Los Angeles street gang found guilty of RICO conspiracy, including participating in rival's murder
A federal jury today found a long-time senior leader of the South Los Angeles-based East Coast Crips (ECC) street gang guilty of federal criminal charges for conspiring to commit racketeering through various criminal acts including murder, extorting local businesses and the distribution of narcotics.
Department of Justice Press Release
California judge sentences man linked to sexual abuse of more than 20 kids
A federal judge in California sentenced a man linked to the sexual abuse of more than 20 children, acts that were recorded and distributed on the internet, prosecutors said, to life in prison Friday. In a courtroom, Judge André Birotte Jr. described the actions of John Richard Brinson Jr., 28, and members of his child exploitation ring as "evil." "I don't know how else to say it," the judge added.
Corrections & Parole
Felons turned firefighters find new lives on the front lines
John Reyna peeled off protective gear at the firefighter Ventura Training Center (VTC), and reflected on dark days in prison. "The worst for me was having that feeling of letting my family down," said the 40-year-old married father with four children. "That was the hardest part for me. I'm a provider." Reyna and his mentors are confident he will soon earn a good starting salary as a firefighter, with excellent benefits when he leaves the VTC.
Parole granted for Stockton man convicted in 1991 Salida shooting case
A 49-year-old Stockton man who was 18 when he killed a man in Salida was recently granted parole, the Stanislaus County District Attorney's office said. Terrell Lamont Threet was sentenced in 1992 to serve 18 years to life in state prison after pleading guilty to second degree and attempted murder. The state Board of Parole Hearings granted Threet parole at a April 15 hearing, the office said in a press release, and considered his age at the time of the murder on May 25, 1991.
California inmate overdoses plummet under drug program
The spiraling number of overdose deaths and hospitalizations among California prison inmates fell dramatically during the first two years of a program that uses prescribed drugs to treat more incarcerated addicts than any such program in the country, officials said Tuesday. The rate of overdose deaths dropped 58% after the program began in 2020. Hospitalizations were 48% lower among those receiving the anti-craving drugs than among those waiting to begin treatment.
Oldest Texas death row inmate executed for officer's death
Texas' oldest death row inmate was executed Thursday for killing a Houston police officer during a traffic stop nearly 32 years ago. Carl Wayne Buntion, 78, was executed at the state penitentiary in Huntsville. He was condemned for the June 1990 fatal shooting of Houston police officer James Irby, a nearly 20-year member of the force. The U.S. Supreme Court had declined a request by Buntion's attorneys to stop his execution.
Articles of Interest
Supreme Court says Congress can deny federal disability benefits to Puerto Rico residents
The Supreme Court on Thursday said Congress is not required to extend federal disability benefits to residents of Puerto Rico, finding that denying the payments, which are by law available only to residents of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, does not violate the Constitution. The court ruled 8-1 against the bid by Puerto Rico residents to receive equal treatment under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, with Justice Brett Kavanaugh delivering the opinion for the majority. Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only dissenter in the case, known as United States v. Vaello Madero.
$65,820 of Bacardi cognac goes missing on an American Airlines flight from Paris
Fort-Worth-based American Airlines is being sued in the US District Court in Pasadena by Barcardi USA over the mysterious disappearance of more than $65,000 worth of imported French cognac last year. The lawsuit does not automatically mean that the liquor maker is directly accusing the airline. Instead, Bacardi contends that American Airlines is accountable because the cargo was in the airline's possession, as mentioned in the lawsuit.
Supreme Court to hear case of praying coach who his lost job after kneeling on the field
From coach Joseph Kennedy's perspective, the yearslong fight over his decision to pray on the 50-yard line following his team's football games is clear cut: He made a promise that he would offer his thanks on the field - win or lose. "That's where I made my commitment to God before I even took the coaching job," Kennedy told USA TODAY in an interview. "There on the field of battle."
Trevor Bauer files defamation lawsuit against woman who accused him of sexual assault
Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer announced Monday that he has filed a defamation lawsuit against the San Diego woman who accused him of sexual assault. Bauer also named one of the woman's attorneys, Fred Thiagarajah, in the lawsuit, alleging he made "knowingly false statements" about the player in the media. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Bauer said on Twitter.
Fox5 San Diego/AP
Actual ignorance of identity justifies naming a 'Doe'
The First District Court of Appeal yesterday rejected the view, expressed in earlier cases, that the actual identity of a Doe defendant may not be inserted after the statute of limitation has run on instituting a lawsuit if the plaintiff "should have known" who the Doe was at the time the litigation was instituted. Justice Gordon B. Burns wrote for Div. Five in reversing a summary judgment in favor of defendant New York Air Brake.
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