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

Open-Carry a No-Go Still in California; Religious Organizations Don't Have to Perform Sex-Change Care; Cal Poly Pomona President Charged With Interfering in Criminal Investigations

Police Officer Charged After Showing Naked Pix of Wife; Open-carry a no-go in California still; Newsom warns of chaos when Title 42 dropped; Religious organizations don't have to perform sex change operations;

 

December 26, 2022

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Rapper Megan Thee Stallion arriving at court to testify against Torey Lanez for allegedly shooting her in the foot.

LA County loses bid for contempt hearing for Villanueva, for now

A judge has denied on procedural grounds a request by attorneys for Los Angeles County that a hearing be scheduled on whether to hold former Sheriff Alex Villanueva and his ex-undersheriff in contempt for allegedly ignoring subpoenas to appear before the Civilian Oversight Commission and testify about suspected deputy cliques.--City News Service

Judge declines to shoot down California's restrictions on openly carrying guns in public

A federal judge on Thursday denied a request by two men to block California's restrictions on openly carrying firearms in public. If that sounds familiar, that's because the same federal judge made the same ruling in 2020. Following the U.S. Supreme Court's 2021 decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, in which the high court struck down a New York law which severely restricted the right to carry handguns in public, the plaintiffs were allowed to re-file an amended version of their federal lawsuit.---Courthouse News Service

New trial not required where it emerges that juror was seeking job at D.A.'s office

A defendant, convicted of sex offenses, was not entitled to a new trial based on a recent revelation to him by the prosecutor that a juror, at the time of trial, had an application pending for employment by the District Attorney's Office, Div. Three of the First District Court of Appeal held yesterday. Justice Carin T. Fujisaki authored the opinion which affirms the conviction of Johnny Carabajal on three counts of contacting or communicating with a minor with the intent to commit a sex offense. --Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Doped-up defendant waived right to presence at trial

The California Supreme Court, in a 5-2 decision, yesterday upheld the Court of Appeal's affirmance of an attempted first-degree burglary conviction secured at a trial that, on what was both the second and final day, proceeded in the absence of the defendant who had voluntarily ingested illicit drugs and opted to go to the hospital rather than acceding to the judge's telephonic order to come to court.--Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Journalists rejected by HFPA for memberships lose appeal in lawsuit against Golden Globes group

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a federal district court's dismissal of a lawsuit brought against the Hollywood Foreign Press Association by Kjersti Flaa and Rosa Gamazo Robbins. In 2020, the two journalists sued the organization behind the Golden Globes over its membership policies after they were not accepted. Flaa, a Norwegian journalist based in L.A., filed suit after she was denied admission in 2018, 2019, and 2020.--The Wrap

Shouting profanities at neighbor walking dog justified civil harassment restraining order

Div. One of the First District Court of Appeal yesterday affirmed a civil harassment restraining order. Code of Civil Procedure §527.6, against a man who shouted threats and profanities at his next-door neighbor who was walking his dog. The man, Tony Meneghetti, commanded the neighbor, James Smith, to get the dog off his lawn. The dog was apparently on a patch of grass on the sidewalk which, according to testimony, is public property.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Supreme Court declines to block California's ban on flavored cigarettes

The Supreme Court on Monday denied a request from tobacco company R.J. Reynolds to challenge a California law that bans the sale of flavored cigarettes. There were no noted dissents. The company, which makes menthol cigarettes, argued the state law conflicts with a federal law called the Tobacco Control Act that gives the federal Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate the sale of cigarettes.

CNN

Twitter ordered to identify Jane Doe who accused All Time Low of sexual abuse

When All Time Low filed a libel lawsuit last February denying anonymous claims of alleged sex abuse, the pop-punk band said it planned to use the court's subpoena power in an aggressive bid to unmask its accusers. This week, a Los Angeles judge sided with the band members and gave Twitter 10 days to hand over "identifying information" for Jane Doe 2, the person behind the account that posted the lengthy statement in October 2021 - the most detailed first-person account of alleged abuse referenced in the lawsuit.

RollingStone

Supreme Court takes case on immigration scam case

The Supreme Court said Friday it will hear a case involving a scam that falsely promoted adult adoptions as a path to U.S. citizenship. The case tests whether a section of federal immigration law is unconstitutional because it is so broad it violates the First Amendment's free speech guarantees. The high court two years ago heard arguments on the same issue in a different case, but the court's ruling ultimately did not reach the question.

AP

US appeals court: religious organizations do not have to provide gender-affirming medical care

The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit Friday issued a permanent injunction against the enforcement of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which would require medical providers to provide gender-affirming medical services to transgender individuals. Two groups of Catholic employers and health care providers, the Religious Sisters of Mercy and the Catholic Benefit Association (CBA), challenged the ACA's prohibition on discrimination "based on race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in certain health programs and activities."

Jurist

Texas judge recommends vacating conviction of Jewish death row inmate

A Jewish Texas death row inmate has convinced a state judge his punishment is unconstitutional because the trial judge insulted him with anti-Semitic remarks, as revealed in testimony by the former judge's family members, one-time staffers and childhood friends. Dallas County District Judge Lela Mays ruled late Monday in Randy Halprin's habeas case that he did not receive a fair trial in 2003 before Judge Vickers Cunningham and recommended the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals vacate Halprin's conviction and sentence.

Courthouse News Service

Prosecutors

LASD sergeant charged with firing gun in negligent manner

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department sergeant was charged Tuesday with unlawfully firing his handgun at his home last year, prosecutors announced. Sgt. Joel Nebel faces one felony count of discharging a firearm in a grossly negligent manner. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 7. According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, Nebel was off duty on July 27, 2021 when he fired several rounds from his handgun in his backyard.

City News Service

Megan Thee Stallion delivers tearful testimony during day 2 of Tory Lanez trial: "I wish he had just shot and killed me"

Megan Thee Stallion appeared in Los Angeles court Tuesday (Dec. 13) on the second day of the closely watched trial over whether Tory Lanez shot her in the foot on July 12, 2020. The rapper was met with a legion of her supporters at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, several of whom held a big, black "WE STAND WITH MEGAN" banner during a rally that was organized by non-profit The Gathering of Justice in conjunction with multiple women's and violence prevention organizations.

Hollywood Reporter

'My own husband is a predator': LAPD officer accused of sharing explicit photos of his wife with other officers

A Los Angeles Police Department officer faces multiple charges after he allegedly shared explicit photographs and videos of his wife with other men, including fellow police officers, without her knowledge or consent. Brady Lamas, 45, faces six misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct by distributing multiple private intimate images without consent, according to a press release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.

KTLA

MS-13 defendants won't face federal death penalty in LA

Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have been directed by the U.S. Attorney General not to seek the death penalty against suspected MS-13 gang members facing racketeering charges alleging the killings of seven people, including the machete slaying of a gang rival who was dismembered and had his heart removed, according to court papers obtained Friday.

City News Service

Cal Poly Pomona president allegedly interfered with campus criminal investigations

The president of Cal Poly Pomona has routinely interfered with high-profile criminal investigations at the university, including a 2017 incident when she prohibited campus police from searching a professor's home as part of an embezzlement probe, according to a whistleblower lawsuit. The 25-page civil complaint filed by university police Sgt. Marcus Simpson accuses President Soraya Coley of systematically blocking such probes to protect the school's reputation and preserve her job, which she has held since January 2015.

Orange County Register

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried indicted for fraud and conspiracy

Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and former CEO of crypto's second-largest exchange, FTX, was slapped with an eight-count criminal indictment Tuesday as well as a separate complaint from the Securities and Exchange Commission. The federal criminal indictment against the 30-year-old comes after his arrest Monday night by Bahamian authorities. At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York called the FTX founder's scheme "one of the biggest financial frauds in America's history."

Courthouse News Service

Policy/Legal/Political

Newsom says California about to 'break' amid flood of illegal migrants when Title 42 expires

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom of California warned Monday that President Biden's plan to reverse former President Donald Trump's border policies could "break" his state. The Biden administration is planning to lift the Trump-era Title 42 policy, which allows police and border officers to expedite the expulsion of illegal immigrants. Newsom, speaking to ABC News on Monday, said, "The fact is, what we've got right now is not working and is about to break in a post-42 world unless we take some responsibility and ownership."

Fox News

Spit on sidewalk led to Torrance man getting life without parole in LA rapes and murders

A Torrance man who pleaded no contest in the midst of his trial to raping and murdering a teenage girl and a young woman about eight months apart in 2011 was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole. And it was the DNA in some spit on the sidewalk that led police to the arrest and conviction. Geovanni Borjas, 38, pleaded no contest Oct. 31 to two counts each of first-degree murder and forcible rape, along with a single count of kidnapping to commit rape.

City News Service

Tricky measure allows release of violent felons

Six years ago, then-Gov. Jerry Brown tricked California voters into passing a ballot measure that, he said, would make it easier for non-violent felons to earn paroles and thus ease the state prison system's severe overcrowding. Brown and other supporters of Proposition 57 spent millions of dollars on the campaign. "All of us learn. I've learned in 40 years," Brown said, "I think prisoners can learn." The initiative, Brown argued, "orients the prison toward rehabilitation, and I think that's a good thing."

Napa Valley Register

Sailor's conviction overturned due to judge's suspended law license

The Navy legal system is making some changes after a military judge's failure to renew her law license resulted in at least one botched court-martial. A decision handed down by the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals found that the findings and sentence of Aviation Electrician's Mate First Class Aaren Painter, a USS Essex sailor convicted in February of photographing unclothed shipmates without their consent, should be set aside and a rehearing authorized.

Navy Times

Consumer

What you need to know before you buy on Amazon

Consumers love a good deal, and Amazon is often the first stop for online shoppers. But, behind the scenes at the e-commerce juggernaut is a massive retail apocalypse; an unchecked monopoly and tsunami of destruction on Amazon third-party sellers, bullied retail partners, crushed manufacturers, and deceived consumers. Amazon's free-flowing marketplace enables unvetted third-party global sellers, and Amazon as a direct seller, to flood the consumer market with an inexhaustible supply of counterfeit, fraudulent, pirated, and replica merchandise, books, medical devices, and OTC drugs boosted by deceptive endorsements and accompanying phony product reviews.

The Counterfeit Report

Crime

As hate crimes continue to rise, LAPD chief blames social media, Kanye West

Hate crime reports across Los Angeles are up 13% over last year's record-setting levels, according to LAPD Chief Michel Moore, who said he believes inflammatory rhetoric on social media was contributing to the increase. The new statistics, presented at Tuesday's Police Commission meeting, showed that with less than two weeks left in the year the city will almost certainly top 2021's total of 615 reported hate crimes.

Los Angeles Times

Paul Pelosi attacker David DePape also targeted Tom Hanks, Gavin Newsom & Hunter Biden in 'suicide mission'

San Francisco Police Sgt. Carla Hurley testified Wednesday David DePape - who had gone to the Pelosi residence with the intention of kidnapping House Speaker Nancy Pelosi - made the admissions in a post-arrest interview. In a video of the interview played for the court, conspiracy-obsessed DePape made rambling claims against Pelosi and the Democratic party - and claimed his break-in was the start of a wider crime spree.

New York Post

Los Angeles City/County

Two female sheriff's deputies allege harassment by boss in office of sheriff

Two female sheriff's deputies are suing Los Angeles County, alleging a commander sexually harassed them and that they were subjected to retaliation by both him and the county when they complained. Deputies Carrie Robles and Gisel Del Real allege harassment, retaliation, discrimination and failure to take corrective action to prevent harassment in the Los Angeles Superior Court suit filed Thursday that also names Cmdr. John Burcher as a defendant.

MyNewsLA

LAPD's broken Internal Affairs Division

few years back, when Edward Prokop was the Captain III of LAPD's Newton Division, he removed and transferred Ten Thousand dollars from the Newton's Division Booster Club (non-profit ) without their knowledge and or consent. The Booster club ended up filing a lawsuit naming Prokop, LAPD and the City of Los Angeles. Jasmyne Cannick a journalist wrote an extensive article on this theft by Prokop which included printed copies of all of the sworn depositions.

CityWatch

L.A. Sheriff's dept. rookie's open mic captures sex romp ... 'you're gonna rip my underwear!!!'

A Los Angeles Sheriff's deputy is under investigation for, apparently, having sex on the job ... or at least that's what it sounds like on the radio broadcast that picked up some of the nitty-gritty. The audio, obtained by TMZ, could be heard over LASD airwaves this past weekend, and we're told it came from a rookie female deputy working at the Men's Central Jail that night. It sounds like, during a break in her shift, she got into some risky business.

TMZ

LAPD officers make fewer traffic stops in recent months (Video)

The LAPD says officers have been making far fewer traffic stops in recent months. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4's I-Team on Dec. 13, 2022.

NBC4

Tackling the homeless crisis (Video)

The city of LA and LA County collect all kinds of data that can provide some perspective on where things stand now and help in the city's efforts to deal with the growing population of people who are considered homeless. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4's I-Team on Dec. 12, 2022.

NBC4

LAPD officers with serious offenses still on the job; critics blame civilian disciplinary panels

An off-duty Los Angeles police officer drank at least a dozen beers, possibly 17 or more, then went to a convenience store to buy more. The intoxicated officer drove away with a gun on his dashboard. Passing Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies at a traffic stop, he careened around them, sending his pistol flying. He tried to grab the weapon, and accidentally fired a shot directly at the deputies.

Los Angeles Daily News

Convictions/Sentences/Pleas

Ex-Laguna Beach cop pleads guilty to holding gun to fellow officer's head

An ex-Laguna Beach police officer pleaded guilty Friday and was immediately sentenced to a day in jail and 20 days of Caltrans work for holding a gun to a fellow officer's head during a night of partying. Luke Christian Gilbertson pleaded guilty to a felony count of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and admitted a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a firearm. He accepted a plea deal from Orange County Superior Court Judge Anre Manssourian, which prosecutors objected to.

MyNewsLA

TSA employee sentenced for drug smuggling at LAX

A former Transportation Security Administration officer was sentenced today to 70 months in federal prison for smuggling what he believed was methamphetamine through Los Angeles International Airport in exchange for $8,000. Michael Williams, 39, of Hawthorne, pleaded guilty in June to one federal count of attempting to distribute methamphetamine. Williams was arrested in 2020 after authorities conducted undercover operations, monitoring him, as it was suspected he was smuggling narcotics past security checkpoints.

CBS LA

Beverly Hills father and son sentenced to prison for scheming to defraud COVID-relief programs designed to help businesses

A Beverly Hills father and son were sentenced today to federal prison terms for defrauding government programs designed to help businesses survive the economic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ramiro Da Rosa Mendes, 61, was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison by United States District Judge Percy Anderson, who also ordered him to pay $2,228,302 in restitution.

Department of Justice Press Release

Man accused of attacking Dave Chappelle pleads no contest and is sentenced

The man accused of attacking comedian Dave Chappelle onstage in Los Angeles pleaded no contest and was sentenced to jail Wednesday, the prosecutor's office confirmed. Isaiah Lee, 24, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor counts of battery and entering a restricted area during a live event, and he was sentenced to 270 days in jail, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office said. City News Service reported about the plea and sentence earlier Wednesday.

NBC News

California/National

Major U.S. police departments plagued by officer-on-officer sexual abuse and retaliation

They came forward with stories of abuse that are varied and vile. A female police officer in Chicago says a supervisor forced her to perform oral sex on him inside a car. A female officer in Philadelphia says a sergeant grabbed her hand and placed it on the crotch of his pants. And a female officer in New York says one of her superiors hacked into her Snapchat account and showed off her intimate photos to a male commander.

NBC News

CHP Yuba-Sutter commander found dead in Tennessee months after husband killed in homicide

A California Highway Patrol captain in the Sutter-Yuba area was found dead in the state of Tennessee, officials said Tuesday. Her death comes months after her husband's shooting death. A Napa man recently arrested at Sacramento International Airport has been charged with the husband's murder. The Clay County sheriff in Tennessee told KCRA 3 that Julie Harding, 49, was found dead Saturday morning in the county with a gunshot wound and that her death investigation was handed over to the state.

KCRA

Libyan man charged in Lockerbie plane bombing is in U.S. custody

A Libyan man accused of making the bomb that killed hundreds of people on Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 is now in U.S. custody, Scottish and American officials said Sunday. Abu Agila Mohammad Mas'ud Kheir Al-Marimi was charged two years ago for his alleged involvement in the bombing that killed all 259 people aboard the flight from London to New York and 11 people on the ground.

National Review

Warnings on gay club shooter stir questions about old case

A California woman who warned a judge last year about the danger posed by the suspect in the Colorado Springs gay nightclub shooting said Friday that the deaths could have been prevented if earlier charges against the suspect weren't dismissed. Jeanie Streltzoff - a relative of alleged shooter Anderson Lee Aldrich - urged Colorado Judge Robin Chittum in a letter last November to incarcerate the suspect following a 2021 standoff with SWAT teams that uncovered a stockpile of more than 100 pounds (45 kilograms) of explosive material, firearms and ammunition.

AP

Could Newsom's drinking and womanizing come back to haunt him?

Gov. Gavin Newsom does not want to stay in California forever. But if Newsom does try for the presidency or another national position, he might encounter more resistance to his sordid past than he did when he was running for governor of California. As mayor of San Francisco, Newsom had a secret relationship with his married secretary and publicly dated a 19-year-old. His admitted problems with alcohol abuse led him to show up drunk to an official mayoral visit at least once.

American Spectator

Man bitten by K-9 after chase had nothing to do with pursuit: Witness

A lengthy chase ended in a chaotic search for suspects at a Downey strip mall on Tuesday, but one moment is raising questions. The chase ended near Imperial Highway and Paramount Boulevard at a liquor store. Around that time, AIR7 HD captured a man with a baseball cap walking away from the liquor store when he was bitten by a K-9. Witnesses, however, told ABC7 on Wednesday that man had nothing to do with the chase.

ABC7

Articles of Interest

Judge orders parents of slain woman to pay legal costs to Hollywood producer

A Hollywood film producer who averted possible civil liability in the drowning death of his personal assistant during a 2015 trip to Bora Bora is entitled to more than $50,000 in legal costs from the victim's parents, who live in San Diego County, a judge has ruled. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Upinder S. Kalra on Thursday ordered Ronald and Ann Musgrove of La Mesa, the parents of the late Carmel Musgrove, to pay Joel Silver $52,250, which includes more than $9,500 spent on deposition costs.

City News Service

Ex-NFLer Ryan Grant posts bail for accused NYPD cop shooter Nelson Pizarro

An ex-con accused of shooting an NYPD detective during a Staten Island drug bust was sprung from jail Wednesday after former Green Bay Packers running back Ryan Grant helped secure bail, sources told The Post. Grant was among those who kicked in the $500,000 cash needed to secure a $5 million bond to release Nelson Pizarro, putting up a large portion of the money, sources said. The move outraged cops.

New York Post

Third Circuit nullifies intended loss as sentencing enhancement

The Third Circuit dropped what could be a groundbreaking sentencing decision Nov. 30 when it invalidated the use of intended loss as a sentencing enhancement. The court in United States v. Banks held that the loss enhancement in the US Sentencing Guidelines' commentary "impermissibly expands the word 'loss' to include both intended and actual loss."

Bloomberg Law

Supreme Court will dive into row on proprietary fishing data

The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to review the conviction of a software engineer who got ahold of secret fishing coordinates that a Florida business was selling for $200 a pop. StrikeLines, based in Pensacola, Florida, uses sonar equipment to locate artificial fishing reefs in the Gulf of Mexico and sells that data to commercial and recreational fishermen. To prevent overfishing, these locations are generally kept private.

Courthouse News Service

Corrections

Atascadero woman convicted of killing a CHP officer paroled

Facebook

Former Green Bay Packer Ryan Grant put up most of the bail money for a man who shot and wounded a police officer in Staten Island

The Atascadero woman convicted of second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in 2011 was paroled from prison. She spent 12 years of a 15-year to life sentence. At 23 years old, Kaylee Weisenberg crashed into and killed CHP Officer Bret Oswald while driving on South River Road. The jury concluded that Weisenberg was under the influence of methamphetamine when she crossed a double yellow line and hit Oswald, who was attending to a disabled vehicle.

CalCoastNews.com

Pensions

LACERA retirees boost L.A. County economy by $2.7 billion

As part of fulfilling our mission to protect member benefits, LACERA regularly informs public stakeholders about the multifaceted ways that our members contribute to the health and vitality of our communities, both while working and after retirement. With retirement security becoming a pressing national issue, LACERA recently commissioned a report that balances out the narrative - detailing how the defined benefits our retired members receive ripple throughout the economy, supporting various industries and job sectors.

LACERA

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