Government Can Legally Track Your Location Via E-Scooter; Tesla Auto-Pilot Driver Faces Manslaughter Charges; LA Jail Diversion Program a Flop and other Stories: Monday Morning Memo
Hannah Tubbs faces stands trial for murder; It's easy to get face police ID; Nonlawyers could soon give legal advice; FAA sued over changed flight paths in Burbank; Home invasion victim recognizes one of the robbers as a friend
June 6, 2022
Los Angeles District Attorney
Barger supports recall of Gascón as district attorney
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger voiced her support to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, on Friday, citing a news report published by the Los Angeles Times as being the tipping point for her decision. "Learning that our D.A.'s 'Zero Bail' policy has interfered with a diversion program's ability to serve people who are suffering from addiction, mental illness and homelessness is unacceptable and the last straw," Barger said in a statement.
Antelope Valley Press
Gun control advocate George Gascon mulls charges over LA police ambush shooting
The campaign to recall Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon is trying to exert pressure on a presumptive decision that no gun charges will be filed against two men who ambushed a police officer. One day after the shooting, Gascon held a press conference to commemorate the two-year anniversary of George Floyd's death and demand accountability by police officers.
Courts & Rulings
C.A. won't decide applicability of immunity statute
The Court of Appeal for this district yesterday reinstated an action against a law enforcement agency based on an officer, driving at high speed without the siren and red lights on, fatally striking a pedestrian, with the justices hinting, but not deciding, that other panels have applied an immunity statute outside the context of malicious prosecution in defiance of a 1974 decision by the California Supreme Court.
Judge finds trio of LAPD officers 'factually innocent' of filing false gang reports
A judge Wednesday formalized a finding that three LAPD officers, previously cleared of charges they'd falsified records, were also "factually innocent" of the allegations they'd labeled some innocent people as gang members in law enforcement files."I wish the petitioners good luck," said LA Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor at the conclusion of the hearing, in which he directed certain arrest records associated with the failed prosecutions of officers Rene Braga, Raul Uribe, and Julio Garcia be sealed and later destroyed.
Ninth Circuit opinion does not justify city's deviation from statute
The City of Los Angeles must adhere to a statute requiring that where a citizen files a complaint against a law enforcement officer, a signature must be obtained on a form stating awareness that making such a complaint, if false, is a misdemeanor, the Court of Appeal for this district has held, rejecting the city's contention that, under unique circumstances, a 2002 California Supreme Court decision upholding the statute should be ignored.
City suing for unfairness to workers is not bound by their arbitration agreement
Instacart, a service that shops for customers' goods and deliver them, has lost its bid in the Court of Appeal to have an action brought against it by the Office of San Diego City Attorney shunted to arbitration, with the justices of the Fourth District's Div. One rejecting its argument that because it has an arbitration agreement with its shoppers, the city, in suing on their behalf, stands in their shoes and is bound by that agreement.
Juvenile court hearing ordered for man convicted of murdering his mother
In a split ruling, the California Supreme Court Thursday ordered a new hearing in juvenile court for a man who confessed to authorities that he murdered his mother and conspired to kill his stepfather at the family's home in Lynwood and contemplated killing three other people in a manner derived from the horror film "Scream" when he was a teenager more than two decades ago.
Ninth Circuit revives Arizona fight over Covid relief restrictions
Arizona has standing to challenge a provision in the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package that bars states from using the federal funds to cut taxes, a Ninth Circuit panel ruled Thursday, reversing a federal judge's decision. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed the federal suit against the U.S. Department of Treasury in 2021.
Courthouse News Service
10th Circuit reinstates claim against Mesa County deputy over inmate's jail death
A Mesa County sheriff's deputy who noticed a seizure-prone detainee might not be breathing and let 10 minutes elapse before summoning medical help may be held liable for the man's death, the federal appeals court based in Denver has ruled. At the same time, the three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit agreed that other defendants, including law enforcement and medical personnel working in the Mesa County jail, were not deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of Tomas Beauford.
Collection, disclosure of e-scooter data is not a search
The "third party doctrine," under which no legitimate expectation of privacy can be found where someone voluntarily turns over information to another, precludes an action under the Fourth Amendment or the California constitutional analogue based on the City of Los Angeles requirement that electric scooter companies track and disclose to the city the location of each device, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held yesterday.
Richmond's limits on ads on city buses struck down as unreasonably vague
From White Coat Waste Project v. Greater Richmond Transit Co., decided today (quite correctly, I think) by the Fourth Circuit (Judge Julius Richardson, joined by Chief Judge Roger Gregory and Judge Paul Niemeyer): When White Coat Waste Project tried to run an advertisement denouncing animal experimentation with the Greater Richmond Transit Company, the ad was denied for being impermissibly "political."
Supreme Court makes it tougher for inmates to win release from prison due to bad lawyering claims
The Supreme Court in a ruling Monday made it tougher for prison inmates to win release, barring federal courts from holding evidentiary hearings or considering new evidence of claims that their attorneys did not provide them with adequate legal representation after convictions in state court. All six of the Supreme Court's conservatives voted in the majority in the case, which related to two Arizona state prison inmates on death row for separate murders. They challenged the legality of their incarcerations.
Skip second bump stock ban case, DOJ brief tells Supreme Court
Owners of firearm accessories known as bump stocks and a gun-rights group shouldn't be granted review of a Sixth Circuit ruling upholding a ban on the items, the Biden administration told the US Supreme Court. The case presents a poor vehicle for revisiting deference to an agency under Chevron USA Inc. v. Nat. Res. Def. Council Inc., the Department of Justice said Tuesday in its brief opposing advocacy group Gun Owners of America Inc.'s petition for certiorari.
Judge orders trial in Tesla autopilot manslaughter case
The case against Kevin Riad, believed to be the first driver to face manslaughter charges over a crash while using Tesla's "Autopilot" self-driving feature, can proceed to trial, a judge ruled Thursday after a two-hour preliminary hearing. Riad faces manslaughter and gross negligence charges over a 2019 crash that killed two people. He has pleaded not guilty to both charges and declined to comment Thursday.
Courthouse News Service
Conviction doesn't revive action against felon's employer
A statute that revives time-barred causes of action against a wrongdoer upon that person's conviction for a felony does not come into play where the defendant's employer is sued under a respondeat superior theory, Div. Six of the Court of Appeal for this district held yesterday. Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert authored the opinion, in which Justice Kenneth Yegan joined. Justice Martin J. Tangeman tossed in a concurring opinion.
L.A. Archdiocese's anti-SLAPP motion properly denied
The Court of Appeal for this district held Friday that an anti-SLAPP motion brought by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles and others was properly denied, rejecting the defendants' contention that the action by seven adults, based on alleged molestation of them by a priest while they were children, stems from the church's protected speech and litigation activity.
L.A. serial killer convicted of five 2014 murders faces life in prison
A man who killed five people and injured several others during a months-long shooting rampage that stretched from the San Fernando Valley to West Hollywood in 2014 was convicted of all charges Wednesday and will spend the rest of his life in prison, prosecutors said. Alexander Hernandez, 42, was found guilty of five counts of murder with special circumstances, 11 counts of attempted murder and several other offenses following a six-week trial, according to Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Michele Hanisee.
Los Angeles Times
Man accused of firing at LAPD officers with ghost gun charged with attempted murder
An 18-year-old man was charged Thursday with attempted murder and other counts for allegedly firing with a so-called "ghost gun" at two Los Angeles police officers in a patrol vehicle. Anthony Lamont Hill is set to be arraigned June 9 at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse on two counts each of attempted murder of a peace officer in the performance of their duties and assault with a semi-automatic firearm on a peace officer in the performance of their duties, along with one count of carrying an unregistered firearm in public, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
City News Service
Hannah Tubbs ordered to stand trial on murder charge
Hannah Tubbs promised the group a better life when they moved from Spokane, Wash. to Lake Isabella, a woman told authorities. Tubbs was second-in-command of what a prosecutor termed a "survivalist transient group," placed in charge of keeping order and structure. An enforcer. Whatever order existed collapsed, however, when one of the group's members ended up dead, allegedly at the hands of Tubbs in April 2019.
11 charged in 'massive' underground illegal marijuana grow found in California desert
After the discovery of a "massive" underground illegal marijuana grow in the far reaches of the Mojave Desert, San Bernardino County authorities charged 11 men and women believed to be behind the operation that used thousands of gallons of water on a daily basis to grow more than $4 million worth of unlicensed marijuana, authorities said Monday, May 23.
Southern California News Group
DA: Riverside brewery co-owner charged with murder after reported DUI collision in Ontario
A man described as the co-owner of a Riverside brewery has been charged with murder after authorities said he drove drunk and caused a collision in Ontario that killed an Oceanside resident. Ryan Cavender Wicks, 39, who the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office said owns Wicks Brewing in Riverside with his father, was also charged with driving under the influence and causing injury. He posted $1.1 million bail and pleaded not guilty to both charges.
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.
On the run
Progressive prosecutors are on the run. Having taken office on promises of de-prosecuting and decarcerating without affecting public safety, they've helped usher in the largest one-year homicide increase in U.S. history. A CDC report notes that the nation's homicide rate has risen to its highest level in over 25 years, with the largest increase coming "among non-Hispanic Black or African American males aged 10–44 years." No surprise, then, that those who promised leniency without consequences now find themselves in serious trouble.
Assassination plot targeting former president exposes ease of obtaining fake police badges & ID
Police impersonators are a very real and frightening scenario for the public, the police, and now former President George W. Bush. A Tuesday arrest and federal search warrant reveal an ISIS plot to kill former President George W. Bush. The plan centered around smuggling terrorists across the U.S. border with previously obtained police uniforms, false identification and immigration documents. Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihabplot, a U.S. asylum candidate, is alleged to have plotted the killing and revealed the plan to an FBI insider.
The Counterfeit Report
Given chance to avoid jail and criminal charges, mentally ill, addicted and homeless people in LA pass
A diversion program in Los Angeles designed to keep mentally ill, addicted or homeless adults out of jail and instead provide treatment and housing is having little success, according to statistics provided by police officials. The problem? Little interest. Nearly three-quarters of the 283 people deemed eligible for the Alternatives to Incarceration Diversion Program since it launched at the Los Angeles Police Department's 77th Street jail last summer declined to participate in it, the LAPD figures show.
Prosecutors, public defender running in primary for Office 67 of the Superior Court of Los Angeles county
Three candidates - Fernanda Maria Barreto, Ryan Dibble, and Elizabeth Lashley-Haynes - are running in the nonpartisan primary for Office 67 of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County. The top two vote-getters will advance to the November general election. While the race is officially nonpartisan, meaning candidates will appear on the ballot without party labels, all three candidates have been endorsed by at least one organization affiliated with the Democratic Party.
California businesses launch campaign against retail theft and property crimes
The escalation of organized "smash-and-grab" robberies in cities around the country has been costly. CNN reported in January that retailers across America say shoplifting is now 2% to 3% of their total sales, forcing the retailers to install new security systems, video cameras and security staff. A 2021 survey of retailers found 65% acknowledged an increase in violence, while 37% said Organized Retail Crime gangs were much more aggressive than in the past.
The Los Angeles Times won't let the facts get in the way of a good story
Any government whose law enforcement apparatus is immune from scrutiny by a free press is all but guaranteed to become oppressive, and it goes without saying that we, as free Americans, would bridle at any such arrangement. But there is a danger in the other direction as well, one in which police leaders are so concerned with how they are portrayed in the media that they lose sight of their mission to reduce crime.
Jack Dunphy/PJ Media
From more cops to defund: Candidates for L.A. mayor differ on crime and policing
One candidate wants to make the Los Angeles Police Department larger than it has ever been. Another envisions a future where America's second largest city no longer needs police. The others have staked out middle ground. After the tumult of recent years, it should come as no surprise that the race to become Los Angeles' next mayor has focused largely on issues surrounding crime, public safety and policing.
Los Angeles Times
Seven lawyers vie for the open L.A. City Attorney seat
Los Angeles voters will choose from seven largely unknown attorneys vying for Los Angeles City Attorney in the June 7 primary, a race that could set the course for the city's approach to corruption, homelessness, housing, public safety and other pressing issues. The two top winners face each other in November, barring the unlikely event that one candidate wins 50% of the vote, plus one vote, to win outright in June.
Los Angeles Daily News
Proposal to let non-lawyers provide some legal services inches forward
California is one step closer to letting specially trained non-lawyers known as paraprofessionals deliver limited legal services in the state, though many hurdles remain. The State Bar of California's Board of Trustees on Friday accepted a revised set of recommendations for a new category of providers who would offer specific legal services at a lower cost than attorneys.
Sex abuse suits pouring in as state's Catholic leaders seek relief from highest court
In California, the lawsuits are mounting - middle-aged men, saying they were sexually assaulted as children by a Boy Scout leader or a priest. A woman, now in her late 30s, detailing how she was allegedly assaulted in a center for foster children. A man who said he was abused while volunteering with the Salvation Army. At least 750 of those lawsuits filed since January 2020 are against Catholic dioceses, and more than 800 people are in the process of filing to beat a Dec. 31 deadline, according to lawyers involved in the cases.
Anaheim's corruption scandal is also shaking Long Beach's political world
An influential consultant in Long Beach politics has been revealed as one of the key players in a federal political corruption investigation in the city of Anaheim, a disclosure that set off a scramble among local officeholders to distance themselves from her, and, in one case, prompted her firing from a leading mayoral campaign.
Long Beach Post
Businesses that violate disabled citizens' rights must pay up. Should that include public schools?
Hearing a Bay Area case, the state Supreme Court appeared reluctant Tuesday to allow disabled students to seek damages under a California civil rights law, including triple damages in some cases, if a public school violates their rights. Disabled students can recover some damages under state education laws for harm caused by discrimination. But the 1959 Unruh Civil Rights Act, at issue in this case, goes further, with penalties of at least $4,000 for each denial of equal access, punitive damages for intentional violations and attorneys' fees.
San Francisco Chronicle
Los Angeles County/City
Why is Los Angeles tossing food for its homeless population in dumpsters?
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority has responded to the furor over an investigative report showing footage of staffers with the beleaguered agency dumping what appears to be hundreds of perfectly good meals intended for L.A.'s unhoused into dumpsters in multiple instances over several months.
Los Angeles Magazine
L.A. wants to tow abandoned RVs, but city has nowhere to put them
When the City Council ended a moratorium on impounding campers being used as homes on the streets of Los Angeles earlier this month, officials hoped that would mean they could start clearing away such vehicles that have been abandoned and are clustering in some areas. But the city has little room where tow services could put these campers, even those destined for the scrap heap.
Los Angeles Daily News
East LA 'ambush': Suspect hurt in shootout after opening fire on officer, deputies, authorities say
A suspect was shot and wounded Tuesday morning in East Los Angeles after a California Highway Patrol officer and L.A. County sheriff's deputies "came under fire" in what authorities described as an ambush. The CHP officer was driving a patrol cruiser about 9 a.m. when he "came under fire" at the intersection of Third Street and Ford Boulevard, sheriff's Lt. Patricia Thomas said at a news conference.
Court documents appear to show coverup of LA County sheriff deputy gangs (Video)
Some newly revealed court documents appear to show a deliberate cover-up related to the existence of deputy gangs at the LA County Sheriff's Department, after an off-duty beating incident in East LA. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4 News on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Residents sue FAA over changed flight paths out of Burbank and Van Nuys airports
Chanting "stop the noise" and "save our families," dozens of LA residents from neighborhoods across the San Fernando Valley gathered in front of a Pasadena courthouse to support a federal lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration Friday. The group known as Save Our Skies LA is asking the court to end the health and environmental harms of flight path changes around the Van Nuys and Burbank airports.
LA homeowner shoots, kills armed burglar after he and his wife hear footsteps overnight: deputies
A Los Angeles area homeowner took matters into his own hands to defend himself and his wife early Saturday when authorities say he shot and killed one of two suspected burglars who broke into their home overnight. The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department said deputies responded to reports of a burglary happening around 4 a.m. in the 20000 block of East Country Hollow Drive in Walnut, in eastern Los Angeles County.
Jewelry store employees repel smash-and-grab attempt
A smash-and-grab robbery attempt at a jewelry store in Bella Terra mall in Huntington Beach resulted in a melee as the store's employees refused to let the business be ransacked without a fight. At about noon on Sunday, four hooded robbers entered Princess Bride Diamonds and began using hammers to smash display cases full of valuable jewelry. The employees, including a brother and sister who work for their father at the family-owned business, responded by punching and kicking the attackers.
Diamond Bar resident recognizes alleged home invasion robber as his friend
A Diamond Bar resident who scuffled with two armed individuals in an armed home invasion robbery early Thursday says he recognized one of them as his friend. "I cannot say anything, he is my friend you know," the victim said. Deputies from the Walnut/Diamond Sheriff's Station were called at about 1:30 a.m. to the 23000 block of Sunset Crossing Road.
Security warning for Facebook users who login with Gmail OAuth code
How do you sign into services? Because a newly disclosed Facebook exploit might change how you go about it in future... In an eye-opening blog post, security researcher Youssef Sammouda has revealed that chaining Gmail's OAuth authentication code with vulnerabilities in Facebook enabled him to hijack Facebook accounts when users logged in with their Gmail credentials.
Voters, investors and crime experts have eyes on bid to recall San Francisco DA
Ahead of the June 6 primary election in California, San Francisco residents and special-interest groups are witnessing a record-setting influx of money in a bid to recall progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin. Voting has already begun in the primary and the recall effort has garnered national attention, having reportedly raised about $5 million.
Courthouse News Service
UC pays record $700 million to women who accused UCLA gynecologist of sexual abuse
The University of California system agreed Tuesday to settle lawsuits brought by hundreds of alleged victims of a former UCLA gynecologist, bringing total litigation payouts to nearly $700 million, the largest ever related to sexual abuse involving a public university. The latest $374.4 million in settlements covers 312 former patients who sued alleging they were abused by Dr. James Heaps under the guise of medical examinations between 1983 and 2018.
Los Angeles Times
Congress might have inadvertently legalized a form of cannabis under Trump
Although marijuana remains strictly forbidden by federal law, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday that Congress quietly amended the statute in 2018 to legalize cannabis cigarettes and vaping products that have similar intoxicants but are made from hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill, signed by President Donald Trump, included provisions removing most legal restrictions on hemp, a cannabis plant with a wide range of uses in industrial products, food, personal care and medicine.
San Francisco Chronicle
Contra Costa's DA sent a sheriff's deputy to prison. Now law enforcement groups are spending big to defeat her
Police groups have poured more than $250,000 into defeating Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton since her office's successful prosecution and conviction last fall of a sheriff's deputy for a 2018 fatal on-duty shooting, county elections filings show. Meanwhile, a pro-criminal justice reform group backed by billionaire George Soros has piped more than $400,000 into an independent campaign to reelect Becton and fend off attacks from her challenger - and colleague - Deputy District Attorney Mary Knox.
Seattle activist creates anti-crime tool loved by both Left and Right
A progressive public defender who was on the outs with Seattle's law enforcement and the district attorney over her advocacy for police reform isn't normally the type of person conservatives would select as a partner. In fact, she was called "the devil" in a 2007 police union newsletter. Add to the mix $2.8 million in funding from George Soros and the Ford Foundation for a public safety program while crime surged, and you have the makings of deep division between the Right and the Left.
A top California Democratic Party official resigns after FBI arrest becomes public
Melahat Rafiei, a longtime leader in Orange County's Democratic Party, resigned Sunday night from her position as secretary of the California Democratic Party and state representative to the Democratic National Committee. A host of Orange County lawmakers and party leaders increasingly called for her resignation this week after news came out that she was arrested by the FBI in 2019.
Voice of OC
Red states are enacting criminal justice reform at the urging of crime victims
In 2009, Detroit native Aswad Thomas, a former NCAA Division III college basketball standout, was just three weeks away from playing professionally in Europe when gun violence derailed his career and nearly killed him. "I was shot twice in my back," he told Yahoo News. "That incident changed my life." Thomas recalled learning from doctors and therapists of the physical challenges he would endure after suffering collapsed lungs and a dislocated shoulder, but said he was never told of the psychological challenges he might face.
California podiatrist convicted of insurance fraud, sentenced to almost 1 year in prison
A Tustin podiatrist found guilty in February of billing insurance companies for medical services that were never actually done was sentenced to almost a year in jail, officials said Monday, May 23. Renae Louise Witt, 42, was sentenced to 364 days in jail followed by two years of probation, Orange County District Attorney's officials said in a news release. The podiatrist was also ordered to pay restitution to two insurance companies she billed for care she didn't actually perform.
Orange County Register
Articles of Interest
Grassley backs SuperValu whistleblowers in SCOTUS challenge
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told the US Supreme Court that an appeals court improperly rejected whistleblowers' False Claims Act suit alleging that SuperValu Inc. overcharged federal healthcare programs for prescription drugs. The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in a split decision, held that SuperValu didn't knowingly misreport the usual and customary prices it charged, which caused Medicare and Medicaid to overpay.
How Bimbo lost its trademark case
Forty-some years ago, Leland Sycamore developed a recipe for making at commercial scale something that resembled homemade bread. To avoid the mass-produced look, the loaves were mass-produced in pairs, in special two-part pans, to be pulled apart after baking, giving each a "breakaway side." He called his creation Grandma Sycamore's Home-Maid Bread. (Yes, really, it's "maid," not "made.") As soon as it launched in Utah, it became a hit.
Plaintiffs can't challenge supposed disinformation by government agency, unless it affected them specially
From yesterday's opinion in Ohio Stands Up! v. U.S. Dep't of Health & Hum. Servs., decided today by the Sixth Circuit (Judge Alice Batchelder, joined by Judges Eric Clay and Joan Larsen): Kristen Beckman and Douglas Frank ... alleged that ... defendants knowingly and intentionally published misleading and fraudulent data that overstated the number of nationwide COVID-19 cases and deaths, in violation of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. §§ 3501-3521, the Information Quality Act, 44 U.S.C. § 3516 (Policy and Procedural Guidelines), the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 500-706, and the "Implied Constitutional Duty of Honesty and Fair Dealing."
The Volokh Conspiracy
Garcetti's parents hire lobbyists to aid ambassadorship confirmation
Mayor Eric Garcetti's parents hired McGuireWoods Consulting to lobby for the mayor's ambassadorship nomination to make it through the U.S. Senate, it was reported Friday. President Joe Biden nominated Garcetti to be the U.S. ambassador to India on July 9, 2021. The Senate's confirmation of the nomination has become more uncertain amid accusations that Garcetti was aware of allegations of sexual assault and harassment made against his former senior adviser Rick Jacobs.
City News Service
Bauer grievance hearing begins on attempt to overturn ban
The hearing on Trevor Bauer's attempt to overturn his unprecedented two-year suspension under Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy began Monday before an arbitrator. Bauer was suspended by Commissioner Rob Manfred on April 29, a penalty that if unchanged will cost the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher just over $60 million of his $102 million, three-year contract.
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