Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

350k Signatures Collected on Recall Gascon; CA AG to Investigate Big Oil for Plastic Pollution (Really); Chain Retailers Fight Back Against Shoplifting; Hertz Customers Falsely Arrested After Rentals

Court rules Ohio man legally arrested for parodying the police; Fewer traffic stops by LAPD after restrictions take effect; Union Station victim of homeless violence; USC settles sex misconduct cases

 

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Paul Marciano, co-founder of Guess, is suing victims' rights attorney Lisa Bloom, for extortion, claiming she threatens civil defendants with untrue allegations

Special Note To Readers

Oral argument in the appeal of ADDA v. Gascon and the companion case People v. Nazir will occur at 1:30 pm Monday, May 9th. The hearing can be viewed using the BlueJeans app vial this link. It is recommended that viewers download the app in advance of the hearing. The audio feed can be accessed by calling +1 (415) 466-7000.

Courts & Rulings

City attorney must provide discovery in infraction case

A city attorney's office is obliged to respond to discovery requests in infraction cases, the Appellate Division of the San Diego Superior Court has held, rejecting a contention that a failure to provide records was excusable because such obligations had been delegated by the city to local law enforcement agencies. A refusal of the San Diego City Attorney's Office to involve itself in the discovery process, the court held, was an error of federal constitutional dimensions, justifying a dismissal of the case.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

9th Circ. says CBA governs police officer's union exit

The Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal of a Calfornia police officer's lawsuit alleging his union violated his rights by refusing to let him resign in 2018 following a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision holding that government employees couldn't be forced to join unions or pay dues.

Law360

Gascón crosses the line - again

Blanket "papering" of a judge is nothing new. The Office of District Attorney has done it. The Public Defender's Office has done it. What's new about Friday's command - that a deputy D.A. must file a disqualification motion under Code of Civil Procedure §170.6 every time a case is assigned to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rob B. Villeza - is that prosecutors were told to proclaim under penalty of perjury that a judge is biased against their client, the People, with no inkling on their part as to why he should be so branded.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Supreme Court expands free speech on government property

Once a government opens up a forum to the public, it might have to allow viewpoints it doesn't agree with, the Supreme Court ruled Monday in a decision that scolds Boston for being selective about which flags citizens can fly outside city hall. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the lead opinion, which is joined by five colleagues. No member of the court dissented, but Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch all wrote concurring opinions.

Courthouse News Service

C.A. affirms denial of 50-block ban on drug dealers

The First District Court of Appeal yesterday affirmed an order denying a preliminary injunction sought by the San Francisco city attorney barring alleged street drug peddlers from a 50-block area in the heart of the downtown area known as the Tenderloin, agreeing with the trial court that the relief sought was too broad, but declaring that such a sweeping relief could be valid where the circumstances warranted.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Judge tosses cannabis growers' claims of Mendocino County shakedown conspiracy

A federal judge shot down claims that a cadre of corrupt law enforcement officials conspired to extort cash and cannabis from Northern California pot farmers under the guise of enforcing marijuana laws. In a ruling late Friday, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston called the complaint "larded with conclusory and speculative allegations," about a complex hub and spoke racketeering conspiracy with Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and Mendocino County District Attorney's Office at the center.

Courthouse News Service

Creator of parody Facebook page loses First Amendment case against police

An Ohio man arrested and tried for disruption of public services after he created a parody Facebook page for his local police department cannot pursue First Amendment retaliation claims against the city, the Sixth Circuit ruled Friday. A three-judge panel unanimously held that police and city officials in Parma, Ohio, acted under the reasonable belief Anthony Novak had committed a felony when he created a satirical account that mimicked that of the Parma Police Department almost to the letter.

Courthouse News Service

Supreme Court leak indicates justices will overturn Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court's conservative majority will overturn the landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade, according to a leaked draft of the majority opinion that Politico released Monday night. "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start," Justice Samuel Alito writes in the draft. "Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division."

Courthouse News Service

Los Angeles judge refuses to dismiss sex crimes case against megachurch leader Naason Joaquin Garcia

A court judge in California declined to dismiss a case against the controversial Light of the World megachurch leader. Naason Joaquin Garcia will still be held accountable for his alleged sex crimes after Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Stephen A. Marcus on Monday refused to dismiss the accusations against the controversial megachurch leader.

Christianity Today

Los Angeles District Attorney

Mothers rallying to recall LA DA George Gascon say he 'does not care about victims'; DA defends reforms

Three Los Angeles-area mothers who lost their children to violent crime told Fox News they are pushing to recall Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon because he does not care about victims. "I think he empathizes with every criminal out there and not with us. What did we do?" asked Imelda Hernandez whose son, Christian David Silva, was shot and killed in February 2020.

Fox News

Campaign leaders: There's 'a clear path to success' in recalling Gascon

Just a little over the halfway mark in terms of time left to gather signatures, Recall District Attorney George Gascón campaign leaders said Friday there is "clearly a path" to getting a possible referendum on the county's top prosecutor on the November ballot. According to the recall counters, earlier this week the campaign reportedly had 350,000 signatures with eight weeks left to collect the needed 566,857 signatures - 10% of the registered voters in L.A. County - to qualify to be placed on a ballot.

The Signal

Gascón supporters, foes exchange barbs

During a press conference on Tuesday, officials from the campaign opposing the recall of District Attorney George Gascón accused the recall attempt's organizers of conducting a "blatant and malignant power grab." Those who spoke in favor of the current district attorney praised him for creating policies that do not criminalize addiction and mental health, and said that Gascón has "kept his promises" as it pertains to his campaign platform from 2020.

The Signal

Prosecutors

Dave Chappelle attacker's misdemeanor charge ripped by comedy club owners: 'Shocking to hear'

The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office's decision not to bring felony charges against Dave Chappelle's alleged onstage attacker has already sent shockwaves through the world of entertainment, and live venue owners across the country are coming down hard on what they say is DA George Gascón's lack of justice. "This is shocking to hear," New York comedy club owner Dani Zoldan told Fox News Digital Thursday.

Fox News

Prosecutors charge 3 with murder in Sacramento mass shooting

Three alleged gang members were charged with murder Tuesday in the slayings of three women fatally shot in a gunbattle that rocked California's capital city a month ago. Prosecutors say the mass shooting that ultimately killed six people and erupted before dawn on April 3 in downtown Sacramento was a result of a feud between two rival gangs, the Garden Blocc Crips and G-Mobb, and their allies. G-Mobb is affiliated with the Bloods street gang.

AP

Ex-LA County deputy pleads not guilty in fatal shooting of unarmed man in car

A former Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy pleaded not guilty Monday to charges in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man in a car outside a Willowbrook apartment. Andrew Lyons, 37, is charged with one felony count of voluntary manslaughter and two felony counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm in the June 16, 2019 shooting death of 24-year-old Ryan Twyman. Lyons' attorney entered the plea during a brief court hearing that included the denial of a defesnse motion seeking to dismiss an assault charge.

NBC4

LA sheriff's deputy charged with on-duty assault of mentally disabled woman, lying about incident

A California sheriff's deputy was charged Wednesday with assaulting a mentally disabled woman while on duty and lying about his actions, prosecutors said. Konrad Thieme, 37, a former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, was charged with two felony counts of assault under the color of authority and a felony count of making false statements in a report while working last April, District Attorney George Gascón announced.

New York Post

L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer charges Sun Valley funeral home for leaving human remains to rot

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer charged a Sun Valley funeral home owner after allegedly failing to properly handle the human remains of at least 11 individuals, including infants and another said to be under 10 years old. The bodies were reportedly found in various stages of decay and mummification, after several families filed complaints about the funeral home. Feuer's office filed 22 criminal misdemeanor charges against Mark B. Allen, the owner of Mark B. Allen Mortuary and Cremation Services, two for each body.

CBS LA

California AG subpoenas ExxonMobil for information on plastic pollution problem

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced he would begin investigating major petrochemical companies for their role in creating global plastic pollution problems. His first target: ExxonMobil. On Thursday, Bonta's office subpoenaed to ExxonMobil, one of the largest oil and gas corporations, in an effort to understand the extent to which it knew recycling plastic was an ineffective means of waste management but pursued it anyway to trick consumers into thinking single-use plastics have little to no environmental repercussions.

Courthouse News Service

DaBaby to face charges after allegedly attacking 65-year-old man

The L.A. County District Attorney's Office charged DaBaby with felony batter after the "ROCKSTAR" rapper allegedly attacked 65-year-old property manager Gary Pagar. Pagar claimed he was left with serious injuries after a physical altercation occurred at an unauthorized music video shoot at his Los Angeles rental property last December.

Ok! Magazine

Adrian Peterson to undergo counseling after domestic incident with wife on plane at LAX

Former NFL MVP Adrian Peterson - who was arrested for alleged domestic violence at Los Angeles International Airport in February - has agreed to complete 20 sessions of domestic violence and alcohol counseling within the next six months, a spokesman for the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office said Monday. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office opted in February not to file a felony case against Peterson and instead referred the matter to the City Attorney's Office to determine if a misdemeanor case is warranted.

City News Service

Policy/Legal

Many homeless people resist group shelters even as L.A. mayoral candidates push to build more

The Los Angeles mayoral primary has seen candidates throwing big numbers around concerning how much shelter they'd like to see built for homeless people. Rick Caruso wants 30,000 new beds in his first year in office, Rep. Karen Bass says 15,000 new beds in hers and Councilman Joe Buscaino wants 9,000 new beds within 36 months, to name a few of the candidates' publicized ideas.

Los Angeles Times

CalPERS rules out Santa Ana police union boss' pension boost

The man who had Santa Ana officials wondering whether he'd "burn the city to the ground unless he gets what he wants" apparently won't get what he wants: A pension boost for his duties as the Santa Ana police union president. Gerry Serrano can't count the special compensation he earns as police union president as pensionable, and thus cannot boost his public employee retirement benefits, ruled state pension officials at a CalPERS Board of Administration meeting on April 19.

Voice of OC

California voters agreed to give prisoners shorter sentences. Did they mean violent ones, too?

California voters in 2016 wholeheartedly approved Proposition 57, a measure that promised to help prison overcrowding by letting nonviolent inmates seek parole sooner and shave down their sentences with credits for good behavior and rehabilitation programs. At the time, the California District Attorneys Association warned it could cause trouble. "The authors of Proposition 57 claim it only applies to nonviolent crimes ..." they wrote in the opposition ballot argument.

Sacramento Bee

LAPD introduces virtual reality training for police officers (Video)

The LAPD is using 3D animation, measurements of an officer's heartbeat, stress level, and more in an interactive virtual space to prepare for real-life scenarios. Chief of Police Michel Moore sees virtual reality as a game changer for officers, especially in de-escalation training. This comes as use-of-force tactics come under intense scrutiny. The LAPD reported 37 police shootings last year, up from 27 in 2020.

NBC News

3rd whistleblower lawsuit accuses LA Sheriff Villanueva of coverup in leaked jail video

Yet another lawsuit has been filed against Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva in connection with the leaked jail video showing a deputy with his department kneeling on a handcuffed inmate's head. In the lawsuit, former LASD Chief Lajuana Haselrig claims Villanueva was "desperate and panicked for a cover story, turned around and illegally fabricated" that Haselrig and LASD Assistant Sheriff Robin Limon were the ones in the department that did the coverup instead of him.

Fox11

LAPD makes fewer traffic stops after restrictions (Video)

New data obtained by the NBC4 I-Team shows the LAPD made fewer traffic stops in April after some new restrictions on officers took effect. Eric Leonard reports on the NBC4 News at 6pm on Thursday, May 5, 2022.

NBC4

Crime/Public Safety

Secret surveillance, mining customer data: How retailers help bag shoplifting kingpins

Many of the country's major retailers - Target, Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe's and Publix supermarkets - now employ former police officers and sheriff's deputies who go to such lengths as secretly tailing people whom they believe are part of a shoplifting enterprise, according to a NBC News review of more than 50 organized retail theft prosecutions over the last 10 years.

NBC News

Chain retailers hire 'corporate cops' to combat organized retail crime

A sophisticated network of shoplifters raking in billions of dollars of stolen goods ranging from cold medicine to power tools is becoming a growing problem, police say. Retailers estimate organized retail crime cost them $68 billion in 2019, leading chains like CVS and Target to employ teams of so-called "corporate cops." These investigators work with actual cops and federal agents to gather intel on suspects and even surveil them by recording undercover videos.

NBC News

LA Union Station workers demand safety changes after uptick in violence involving homeless

Violent crime has spiked at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, and now, train station workers are demanding better protection. Janitors at Union Station say their lives are on the line as violence by homeless and mentally ill individuals at the iconic landmark has skyrocketed. "One of my coworkers was actually attacked around 1 a.m., she was actually beaten by a homeless person here at the station," said Alberta Mendez through a translator.

ABC7

1 dead in shooting at Tarzana dispensary; 2 suspects flee

One man was found dead from gunshot wounds in a Tarzana dispensary business Saturday afternoon, officials said. Los Angeles Police Department officers went to the 18300 block of Ventura Boulevard just before 12:30 p.m. after receiving a report of an assault with a deadly weapon or possible active shooter, said Officer Matthew Cruz, a spokesperson for the LAPD. They found the man suffering from multiple gunshot wounds inside and he was declared dead at the scene.

Los Angeles Daily News

Why did federal police square off with abortion rights protesters in LA streets?

An abortion rights protest had been going on peacefully for hours in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday when a "help call" suddenly went out over police radios about 9 p.m. The SOS didn't come from Los Angeles police officers, but a small group of federal officers with the Department of Homeland Security. They claimed, according to a statement by the LAPD, that they had come "under attack" from protesters while in their patrol cars near the intersection of Fifth and Hill streets - about a half-mile away from the federal courthouse where the protest had begun and where federal officers have jurisdiction.

Los Angeles Times

Consumer

Hertz to face 100 new false arrest claims from customers

Lawyers are preparing to file 100 new claims over the coming weeks on behalf of Hertz customers who say they were victims of false arrest incidents. Among the new cases is Brittany Morgan and Jeremy Benjamin, a couple who was pulled over and arrested at gunpoint in Houston, Texas after renting a Ford Mustang from Hertz at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Fox Business

How to spot if a Kate Spade bag is real vs fake

There are a lot of counterfeit Kate Spade New York purses out there. In fact, according to The Counterfeit Report, an online site that documents and exposes counterfeit bags, "Kate Spade is one of the most commonly counterfeited designer brands in the world." Law enforcement tries to stop the production of counterfeit bags, but it is not always possible. So how can you make sure that the purses you are buying are not fake Kate Spade bags?

SarahScoop.com

Don't want to get any more ads for weight loss or dating? Here's how to opt out

As you search the internet for products or services, companies like Google and Facebook build up a profile of your habits. They use this information to serve you ads that the company thinks will interest you. While it might be accurate for the most part, there could be some topics that you would rather not see advertised. For example, a vegan or vegetarian wouldn't want to see ads about meat. Fortunately, you have some control over what kind of ads you see. Read on to see how Google makes it easier to opt out of sensitive topics.

Komando

California/National

What would Anne Marie Schubert do as California attorney general?

If you've heard Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert speak at any point in the last half decade, you've probably heard about her special disdain for two numbers: 47 and 57. Those are the two ballot propositions that California voters passed overwhelmingly as part of the decades-long policy upheaval to reduce the state's crowded prisons and make the legal system less punitive.

CalMatters

Las Vegas police: Body found in barrel at Lake Mead may have been there for decades

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said a body found in a barrel at Lake Mead over the weekend may date back to the 1980s. One man said he was there with young children around when it happened. He said it was a scary sight. "It just so crazy," said Las Vegas resident Daniel Ruiz. "It started out as just a normal day at the lake and that is just the craziest thing I have seen at Lake Mead. "My fiancé's little cousins were there, and they are about 10 and 12 years old and is just something you really don't want them seeing," said Ruiz.

Fox5 Las Vegas

Dairo Antonio Úsuga David, called "the most dangerous drug trafficker in the world," extradited to the U.S. from Colombia

Colombia extradited the alleged head of the feared Gulf Clan, who had been the country's most wanted drug lord before his capture, to the United States Wednesday where he faces indictments in three federal courts. Colombian President Iván Duque said Dairo Antonio Úsuga David is "comparable only to Pablo Escobar," referring to the late former head of the Medellin drug cartel.

CBS News/AP

Convictions/Sentences/Pleas

Guilty pleas for 2 men in $1M California retail theft ring

Two men have pleaded guilty for their role in an organized retail theft ring that stole about $1 million from stores across California, officials said Friday. Authorities said Anton Salaam, Marion Paul Tilley and two other suspects stole high-end jewelry from multiple JCPenney and Sam's Clubs stores in nine counties between September 2020 and February 2021. They then sold or exchanged the items.

AP

Former federal agent found guilty of participating in bribery scheme that brought him approximately $100,000 in ill-gotten gains

A former special agent with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) was found guilty by a federal jury today of dozens of criminal charges for accepting cash payments and other benefits to help an organized crime-linked person, including taking official action designed to help two foreign nationals gain entry into the United States.

Department of Justice Press Release

Corrections & Parole

Russian ex-minister jailed for bribery granted parole

Russia's former economic development minister, the country's highest-ranking official to be jailed in nearly two decades, has been granted parole after serving more than half of an eight-year sentence on a bribery conviction, Russian officials confirmed Friday. Alexei Ulyukayev filed a petition for early release after serving more than five years. A court in the Tver region, some 140 kilometers northwest of Moscow, granted him parole on Wednesday, court officials told the Interfax news agency.

AP

California inmate killed at prison south of San Francisco

An inmate has been killed in an assault at a California state prison south of San Francisco, officials said Wednesday. Edgar Delgado, 39, died Tuesday evening after he was attacked by another inmate armed with a homemade weapon in a maximum security exercise yard at Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad, prison officials said. Correctional officers used chemical agents to stop the assault.

AP

Articles of Interest

'Guess' co-founder accuses prominent #MeToo lawyer of extortion, claims her ex-client admitted rape allegations were 'false'

Guess clothing line co-founder Paul Marciano sued prominent victims' rights attorney Lisa Bloom on Monday in a Los Angeles court, claiming that she extorted him with rape allegations that her ex-client admitted were "false." "The Bloom Defendants' practice is to target well known individuals and public companies with accusations of improper behavior, typically under the guise of a purported sexual harassment claim, and threaten to make those accusations public. Whether the accusation is true or not does not matter," Marciano's attorney Gary Jay Kaufman wrote in a 27-page complaint.

Law and Crime

USC settles lawsuits with 80 men who accused doctor of sexual misconduct

The University of Southern California settled lawsuits with 80 former students, many of them gay men, who accused a campus doctor of sexual misconduct over the course of two decades, officials said Friday. The resolution marks a key point in holding USC "accountable for its failure to protect" students from Dr. Dennis Kelly, according to attorney Mikayla Kellogg, whose firm represented 57 of the 80 male plaintiffs.

NBC News

Facebook

Rapper DaBaby was charged with felony assault after attacking a 65-year-old property manager at an unauthorized music video shoot

Pensions

Controller urges LA to divest $46.2 million in pension funds from Russian assets

The city's premier accountant called on the city to divest over $45 million in pension funds from any Russian investments after the country invaded Ukraine. "Due to the heinous war crimes committed by Russia, I believe the city of Los Angeles should explore every option and take every measure in our power to support the people of Ukraine," said Los Angeles Controller Ron Galperin. According to Galperin's office, between the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions, the Los Angeles City Employees' Retirement System and the Water and Power Employees' Retirement plan, the city has invested $46.2 million dollars in various Russian securities.

CBS LA

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