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

Firefighters Make Headway in Anti-Vax-Mandate Lawsuit; Forging SS Number Cause for Deportation; Garcetti Advocates Pressured Sen Mark Kelly; Homeless Cleared from Downtown for Summit and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo

Gascon rescinds claim Sheriff agreed with light sentence for juvenile hit-and-run; Girardi disbarred; Prisoners have no rights to a TV; Man Accidentally Murders a Woman Who was Not his Ex; Taser drones coming

 

Facebook

Dave Chappelle attacker in plea deal regarding that attack and the attempted murder of his former roommate

Los Angeles District Attorney

George Gascón recall campaign prompts gang member's push for deal (Video)

Fox News national correspondent Bill Melugin reports on the recall effort against Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón and on a murder suspect's jailhouse audio obtained by Fox News.

Fox News

California voters think the entire justice system 'has become a joke': LA Deputy District Attorney (Video)

Eric Siddall, vice-president of Association of Deputy District Attorneys in Los Angeles County, weighs in ahead of Tuesday's recall vote against District Attorney Chesa Boudin.

Fox News

Another prosecutor sues LACo alleging retaliatory disparate treatment

A veteran deputy district attorney is suing Los Angeles County, alleging he was demoted from his position in the sex crimes division to an inferior post for telling a judge that his office's motion to dismiss the special circumstances in a case involving the killings of two children was not being done in the interests of justice. Michael Matoba, a deputy district attorney 3, brought the retaliation suit Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking unspecified damages.

MyNewsLA

Los Angeles DA George Gascon walks back claim about sheriff's involvement in hit-and-run prosecution

Progressive Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon is walking back his claim that the county sheriff's department "agreed with the felony charges" and lenient sentencing against a teenager who was convicted of driving a car into a mother and her 8-month-old son. The 17-year-old pleaded guilty to two felony charges of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and one felony count of hit-and-run, but was sentenced to spend five to seven months in a juvenile probation camp.

Fox News

Court orders LA's Gascon to enforce California laws

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón cannot bar prosecutors from seeking harsher sentencing under California's 'three-strikes' law, according to a ruling from California's Second District of Appeals. The decision supports a preliminary injunction issued in 2021 by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant, who argued that Gascón's ban contravenes state law and violates the rights of prosecutors.

The California Review

Gascón recall surpasses 500,000 signatures, raises $6.5 million

With a little over a month left until the Los Angeles County registrar's deadline, the Recall George Gascón campaign has surpassed 500,000 petition signatures and raised $6.5 million in donations as of May 31. To trigger a recall election, the campaign needs signatures from 10 percent of registered county voters - or 566,857 signatures - by July 6 to qualify for the Nov. 8 ballot. Organizers also mailed out 3.6 million petitions with pre-paid return envelopes, hoping for at least a 5 percent return rate that would provide enough signatures to pass the threshold.

The Epoch Times

Gascón derails quality of life

There are essentially two types of crimes: felonies and misdemeanors (Penal Codes 18 and 19). Felonies include murder, robbery, rape and other more serious crimes. Misdemeanors are often referred to as "quality of life" crimes. All these crimes are governed by legislation passed by legislators in Sacramento. In December 2020, however, several crimes were effectively legalized in Los Angeles County when District Attorney George Gascón took office.

Antelope Valley Times

Los Angeles DA Gascon blames increasing crime on 'bad policies' that 'over-criminalize communities'

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon on Wednesday said rising violent crime in the city is the result of "bad policies" that "over-criminalize communities." His comments came after San Francisco voters ousted District Attorney Chesa Boudin - a move that some political commentators interpreted as a preview into Gascon's fate, as his critics effort signatures to hold a similar recall vote in LA.

Fox News

Courts & Rulings

U.S. Supreme Court allows states to use unlawfully gerrymandered congressional maps in 2022 midterms

In the upcoming midterm elections, states may use maps that a federal court has found unlawful. You read that right: The U.S. Supreme Court recently barred federal courts from requiring states to fix their newly adopted, but unlawful, congressional maps before the 2022 midterm congressional elections. In Merrill v. Milligan, the Supreme Court in February 2022, stayed the decision of a lower court that ruled Alabama had improperly redistricted its congressional seats.

The Conversation

LA County firefighters can proceed with privacy challenge over vaccine mandate

A group of Los Angeles County firefighters can proceed with their lawsuit alleging that a mandate requiring them to get vaccinated against Covid-19 violates their right to privacy under the California Constitution. U.S. District Judge Mark Scarsi on Wednesday denied LA County's bid to throw out the firefighters' right-to-privacy claim, saying that the claim was a mixed question of fact and law that he couldn't resolve at this stage of the litigation.

Courthouse News Service

Oakland law requiring landlords to pay evicted tenants' relocation expenses survives Supreme Court review

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge Monday to an Oakland ordinance requiring property owners who evict tenants at the end of a lease to pay their relocation expenses. The 2018 law is similar to ordinances in San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles. When renters are being evicted through no fault of their own - for example, when the owner decides to move in or convert the property to a condominium - they must be compensated for costs of finding and moving into a new home.

San Francisco Chronicle

Ninth Circuit rules possession of forged SSN is grounds for deportation

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Tuesday ruled that a Honduran man's conviction in California for possession of a forged social security number card (SSN) with a counterfeit government seal is grounds for deportation as a crime of moral turpitude. Pedro Vasquez-Borjas was convicted of forgery under California Penal Code § 472 because he was in possession of a SSN with a counterfeit government seal "that he knew was fake."

Jurist

Firm properly barred for having confidential information

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed an order barring a law firm from continuing to represent the plaintiff based on the firm having received confidential information about the defendants from a disbarred lawyer who gained that information from them while purporting to be their counsel in earlier litigation.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

California Supreme Court disbars Girardi

Thomas V. Girardi, once a prominent and wealthy Los Angeles personal injury attorney with a pipeline to top-level government officials, and with insiders at the State Bar protecting him as complaints of misconduct came in, was disbarred by the California Supreme Court yesterday. The action was expected. The State Bar Court on Jan. 10 "recommended that Thomas Vincent Girardi, State Bar Number 36603, be disbarred from the practice of law in California and that his name be stricken from the roll of attorneys."

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

C.A .: Inmates have no right to TV set in cells

Inmates in state prisons have no right to a television set in their cells, Div. Two of the Fourth District Court of Appeal held Friday. Justice Michael J. Raphael authored the opinion. The challenge to the policy at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison ("CVSP") was mounted by Alan Reed Dohner and William Reno Gerber while incarcerated there. The Court of Appeal decided the matter notwithstanding that both are now confined to a prison that does allow sets in the cells, and treated their appeals from the denial of habeas relief by Riverside Superior Court Judge Russell L. Moore as an original petition.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Justice delayed leads to California judge's retirement

The presiding justice of the California appeals court in Sacramento has retired as part of a punishment announced Wednesday for delays in deciding 200 cases over a decade that cost litigants money and some criminal defendants their freedom. Justice Vance Raye agreed to step down from the Third District Court of Appeal as part of a public admonishment for excessive delays that lasted years in some cases, the Commission on Judicial Performance said.

AP

Lawyer's suit against archbishop, two bishops reinstated

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a matter argued in Pasadena, yesterday reinstated an action brought by a Florida lawyer against a Catholic archbishop in Pennsylvania, a bishop in Ohio, and a bishop in New Jersey, and their respective dioceses, based on communications that allegedly caused him to be fired by a diocese in Arizona. Circuit Judge Marsha S. Berzon wrote for a three-judge panel in reversing a dismissal with prejudice by the District Court of the District of Arizona of the action filed by North Miami attorney Dean Burri.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Floyd police reform law survives union challenge at 2nd Cir

A police union lost its bid to block a Connecticut law designed to promote transparency and accountability in law enforcement that was passed in response to nationwide protests over a Minneapolis police officer's murder of George Floyd. The Connecticut State Police Union shouldn't get a preliminary injunction freezing the law because it couldn't prevail on the merits of its constitutional challenge, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said in its ruling Thursday.

Bloomberg Law

Arizona prisoner asks Supreme Court to delay his execution

An Arizona prisoner made a last-minute request to the U.S. Supreme Court to delay his execution scheduled Wednesday for his murder conviction in the 1984 killing of an 8-year-old girl. Frank Atwood made the request Tuesday after a lower court rejected his arguments that the execution should be called off because his degenerative spinal condition would make it excruciatingly painful for him to be strapped on his back to the gurney he will lie on during the lethal injection.

AP

Federal law increasing bankruptcy fees in all but two states ruled unconstitutional

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a bankruptcy law that significantly increased quarterly bankruptcy fees in all but two states. Justice Sonia Sotomayor concludes in the unanimous opinion that Congress violated the Constitution's Conformity Clause when it increased bankruptcy fees in some states in not others. "The question in this case is whether Congress' enactment of a significant fee increase that exempted debtors in two States violated the uniformity requirement," the Obama appointee wrote. "Here, it did."

Courthouse News Service

Prosecutors

OC task force results in hundreds of arrests, seized guns and narcotics (Video)

A task force team organized by Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer resulted in hundreds of arrests, pounds of seized narcotics, dozens of guns and millions in stolen property over a three-year span.

CBS LA

Hate crime charge for California woman in Starbucks attack

San Francisco Bay Area prosecutors have charged a 33-year-old woman with a hate crime after she hurled racist epithets at a Starbucks manager and struck a customer several times. The woman was arraigned in Santa Clara County Thursday and faces jail time if convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime, the office of District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a press release. She was appointed a public defender and did not enter a plea, the DA's office said Friday.

AP

A California couple died because man mistook woman for his ex, prosecutors say

A California man accused of killing a couple after mistaking the woman for his ex-girlfriend will spend the rest of his life in prison, Orange County prosecutors reported. A judge on Friday, June 3, sentenced James Rayon Buggs, 47, of Huntington Beach, to two consecutive life terms without parole plus 54 years to life in prison in the 2019 slayings, an Orange County District Attorney's Office news release said.

Sacramento Bee

Registrar refers Councilman Mendoza to district attorney

Just two hours after Hews Media Group-Community News published a story about embattled Councilman Leonard Mendoza's 500 square foot, 1 bedroom, 1 bath dwelling in Commerce showing ten voters registered and living at the tiny home, emailed complaints have caused the Los Angeles County Registrar/Recorder's Office to refer Councilman Mendoza to the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office. "Thank you for your emails concerning this matter. We will be referring this to the District Attorney's Office for investigation."

Hews Media Group

Policy/Legal/Political

San Francisco voters oust DA Chesa Boudin in 'people-powered' recall

The Democrat-led Campaign to Recall San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced success in "Holding Boudin Accountable" last evening. This is big. Very big. The Yes on Recall Chesa Boudin Committee announced near 11:00pm Tuesday evening, "Game Over." In November 2021, the the Safer SF Without Boudin group announced that 83,484 signatures had been collected and sent in - well over 30,000 more than the minimum needed.

California Globe

LA officials warn DA George Gascon after Chesa Boudin recall: 'You're next'

Top Los Angeles law enforcement officials have warned District Attorney George Gascon this week that he will be "next" to be thrown out of office following the successful recall effort against San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin. Boudin, a former public defender in one of America's most liberal cities, was recalled Tuesday after 60% of the city's voters objected to his soft-on-crime policies - as lawbreaking runs rampant in the Bay Area city.

New York Post

Garcetti allies tried to put the screws to Mark Kelly. It may have backfired.

Democratic powerbrokers close to Eric Garcetti privately pressured Sen. Mark Kelly to support the Los Angeles mayor's ambassadorial nomination, according to five people familiar with the outreach. As part of the push, they left the strong impression that the Arizona Democrat could find himself cut off from donor networks should he refuse to back the beleaguered nominee to be U.S. ambassador to India.

Politico

California crime surge: Former candidate rips far-left DAs Boudin, Gascon, says 'people are angry'

A former California congressional candidate is slamming the Golden State's ultra-progressive district attorneys for their soft-on-crime approach as violent crime surges across the state. Republican Elizabeth Heng warned against San Francisco's Chesa Boudin and LA's George Gascon on "Fox & Friends First," arguing their handling of the state's crime is setting a dangerous precedent. "The drugs and homelessness is rampant," Heng told co-host Todd Piro.

Fox News

Democrats and Republicans fight to a draw in national redistricting battle

After nearly a year of partisan battles, number-crunching and lawsuits, the once-a-decade congressional redistricting cycle is ending in a draw. It leaves Republicans in position to win control of the House of Representatives even if they come up just short of winning a majority of the national vote. That frustrates Democrats, who had hoped to shift the dynamic so that their success with the popular vote would better be reflected by political power in Washington.

AP

Amazon battle over work-from-home expenses a step closer to trial

Employees at Amazon trying to recoup expenses incurred working at home during the pandemic are a step closer to trial after a California judge rejected the company's request to dismiss the lawsuit. David Williams, a California-based engineer for the e-commerce giant, claims the company violated state laws by not having a policy to compensate employees for remote work expenses.

Human Resource Director

Will California gun laws go national?

On Thursday morning, Democratic lawmakers gathered at the western steps of the state Capitol to commemorate victims of gun violence and orate on the need for tougher gun laws - both in California and nationally. Whatever fissures erupted into public view earlier this week in an Assembly leadership fight, almost all California Democrats seem to be on the same page on guns. Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted about it and blasted out a stats-packed press release promoting California as a national model.

CalMatters

Los Angeles County/City

Confidence in LAPD drops sharply, poll finds, but LA voters don't want to shrink force

Voters in Los Angeles have serious concerns about the Los Angeles Police Department but little interest in shrinking its size amid worries over rising crime, according to a new poll by UC Berkeley and The Times. Fewer than a third of the city's registered voters surveyed said they approve of the LAPD's overall performance - a startling drop from 2009, when a Times poll found 77% of people approved of the department under the leadership of William J. Bratton, an influential chief who oversaw dramatic reforms.

Los Angeles Times

Some L.A. homeless camps cleared as world leaders arrived for Summit of the Americas

As their Uber ride headed from Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles late Thursday morning, Bella Reith and Paul Campo couldn't help but notice the row of tents on sidewalks and freeway underpasses. But when they arrived in South Park - a downtown neighborhood district dotted with luxury hotels, L.A. Live and restaurants - Reith, 29, said she realized the homeless people were gone.

Los Angeles Times

Crime/Public Safety

California teen who rammed car into mother and infant child was on probation at time of incident

The 17-year-old who pleaded guilty to driving a car into a woman walking her child in a stroller in Venice, California has a criminal background and was on probation at the time of the incident, Fox News has learned. The teenager was previously convicted of felony poisoning after spiking a teenage girl's drink in 2019 at Palmdale High School, which sent her to the hospital.

Fox11

FBI raids home in Justice Kavanaugh threat (Video)

A man armed with a handgun, a knife and pepper spray was arrested near Justice Brett Kavanaugh's house, according to law enforcement officials. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4 News on Wednesday, June 8, 2022.

NBC4

Man killed near homeless encampment in Lincoln Heights

The Los Angeles Police Department has launched a homicide investigation Thursday after a man was shot and killed near a homeless encampment in Lincoln Heights. Officer Drake Madison, a spokesman for the LAPD, said paramedics responded at 3:08 a.m. to a report of a gunshot victim near the intersection of North Avenue 18 and Pasadena Avenue. When paramedics arrived, they found a man in his 30s lying on the street.

Los Angeles Times

A violent L.A. gang, an FBI informant and the truth behind a deadly fire

The middle-aged man took the witness stand and was asked to recall an afternoon 29 years ago. "I do remember that day," he said. He had been eating with his friends at a burger stand in Westlake when firetrucks and ambulances screamed by, he said. They followed the lights and sirens and saw the fire. A three-story apartment building was belching smoke; people were jumping out of balconies. He said he helped carry victims across the street and laid them on the pavement. It was, he said, a "horrible incident."

Los Angeles Times

Consumer

Is someone snooping around your Google or Gmail account? Do this FREE check now

Nothing can send a chill down your spine faster than getting a warning about an unauthorized login attempt to your Facebook profile or Gmail account. Luckily, the social media giant has a few steps that you can take to see if someone managed to get unauthorized entry. But what about your Google account? If you use Gmail, there is a good chance that you also use Chrome to browse the internet. And there is a treasure trove of information linked to your Google account that cybercriminals can't wait to get their hands on.

Komando.com

California/National

Mothers of couple killed during police chase sue CHP, state for wrongful death

The mothers of a man and his girlfriend who were killed during a California Highway Patrol chase of an ex-convict in 2021 are suing the state for wrongful death, alleging the deaths could have been prevented had the driver of the CHP vehicle called for air support and abandoned the vehicle chase. Aziza King and Melissa Gonzalez, the mothers of the late couple Ryan Davis and Asia Boatwright, respectively, brought the complaint Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking unspecified damages.

City News Service

Garland may be taking Jan. 6 Capitol riot probe 'up a notch'

A lawsuit filed this week signaled for the first time that Attorney General Merrick Garland may be investigating former President Donald Trump as part of the Department of Justice's investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack. Gene Rossi, a former federal prosecutor who served at the DOJ for 30 years, told Courthouse News that it appears Garland is taking the department's investigation "up a notch."

Courthouse News Service

'They don't even know this law exists': A new alcohol rule hangs over state bars, restaurants

By the end of summer, every bar and restaurant employee who serves alcohol in California must obtain a new certification. So far, just 33,000 people have become certified, a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of workers employed by not only bars and restaurants but also wineries, breweries, distilleries, brewpubs, event centers and stadiums - essentially any place of business where you can drink.

Los Angeles Times

Convictions/Pleas/Sentences

Los Angeles police officer pleads guilty to stealing pickup

A veteran Los Angeles police officer was sentenced to six months in jail after pleading guilty to stealing a $29,000 pickup truck from a dealership, according to court records. Officer Matthew Calleros was arrested in 2020 at the Los Angeles police station where he worked - and where the missing 2015 Chevy Silverado was parked. Calleros had been looking at the truck at a used car dealership in the city of Orange southeast of Los Angeles in October 2019, Orange police Sgt. Phil McMullin told The Associated Press at the time.

AP

La Luz del Mundo megachurch leader sentenced to 16 years in prison for sexual abuse

The leader of a megachurch with 5 million followers worldwide was sentenced to 16 years and eight months in prison Wednesday for sexual abuse. Naasón Joaquín García was sentenced Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court after pleading guilty to three felonies on the eve of a long-awaited trial. García, who is considered the "apostle" of Jesus Christ by his followers, had vigorously fought the charges until he abruptly pleaded guilty last week.

NBC4

Man charged with killing man at Malibu campground is convicted of attacking deputies

A jury in downtown LA convicted a man of attacking two deputies while awaiting trial for the murder of a father shot to death while camping with his daughters at Malibu Creek State Park. Anthony Rauda, 46, was not in court when the verdict was read Thursday afternoon in downtown LA. The jurors also found true an aggravating factor on one of the counts: that Rauda is a danger to society. That finding can affect sentencing.

NBC4

Green Gaiter Bandit gets 46 months in prison

The Green Gaiter Bandit was sentenced to nearly four years in federal prison Wednesday for robbing three Orange County banks. Christopher Paul Daniels, 55, of Torrance, pleaded guilty in April to robbing the U.S. Bank branch in Mission Viejo on Jan. 7, Chase branch in Fullerton on Jan. 21, and the Bank of the West branch in Fullerton on Jan. 27, according to court records. U.S. District Judge David O. Carter sentenced Daniels to 46 months in prison, which prosecutors recommended. Carter ordered Daniels to pay $15,362 in restitution.

MyNewsLA

Corrections

Ex-Manson follower Patricia Krenwinkel recommended for parole in California

Former Charles Manson follower Patricia Krenwinkel was recommended for parole this week. Krenwinkel, 74, was found suitable for parole by a Board of Parole Hearings Panel on Thursday, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation confirmed. Krenwinkle has been denied parole 14 times dating back to 1976, and her last parole bid was blocked in 2017, per online records. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon didn't attend this week's parole hearing to challenge Krenwinkel's arrest, per his office's hands-off policy when it comes to release hearings.

Oxygen

Sacramento judge blocks murderer's parole

In a decision announced Friday, June 3, a Sacramento Superior Court judge has blocked the parole of Lawrence Cottle, finding a 2017 state law that made him eligible for parole unconstitutional. The decision in the case of Peterson v. Board of Parole Hearings, was in response to a lawsuit by Laura Peterson, whose father, Alan Peterson, was murdered by Cottle in 1996 during a five-day crime spree. While Cottle could have received a death sentence were he an adult at the time of the murder, because he was 16 he was sentenced to life in prison without parole (LWOP).

Criminal Justice Legal Foundation Press Release

Articles of Interest

Dave Chappelle attacker is now in plea deal negotiations

The man who tackled Dave Chappelle during the Netflix Is a Joke festival has been offered a plea deal. Isaiah Lee has been charged with battery, possession of a weapon with intent to assault, unauthorized access to the stage area during a performance, and commission of an act that delays the event or interferes with the performer. The 23-year-old says he identifies as bisexual, and hearing Chappelle's jokes regarding the LGBTQ+ community triggered him to confront the comedian during the May 3rd set.

Baller Alert

The completely logical reason why a bee can be considered a fish now

On Tuesday a California court ruled that, under some circumstances, a bee can be a fish. The decision was veritable chum to libertarians who like to poke fun at California's environmentalism. And at first, I thought they might have a point there - it does seem like a bizarre decision to just throw the rules of taxonomy out the window. But then I fell down a rabbit hole trying to understand what's happening there - and it's a lot more complicated that you might think.

Slate

Policing tech's biggest ethics panel collapses over proposed Taser drone

Facebook

Estate Wine and Bar's photo of Larry David: most bar and restaurant owners don't realize their employees who serve alcohol require new certification by the end of the summer

Most of Axon's ethics board has resigned over the company's fast-tracked idea for a Taser-equipped drone, swiftly collapsing the most prominent advisory panel in the police technology industry. Following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Axon announced last week plans to mount its Taser weapons on drones in order to help stop school shootings. The idea sparked concerns about privacy, safety, and potential abuses, and blindsided many of the legal experts, technologists, and former police officials who sit on the Arizona-based policing giant's 12-member ethics panel.

Fast Company

Pensions

Report: At $12.5 trillion, California has nation's largest public pension debt load

California has a larger unfunded pension liability than any other state in the nation, a new report released this week. The report, released by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), found that unfunded pension liabilities nationwide have climbed to $8.28 trillion, "or just under $25,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States." The report found that California has the greatest amount of unfunded pension liabilities of any state, totaling over $1.5 trillion.

The Center Square

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