Handgun Control in CA on Hold; DA Has to Shuttle in Employees Because of Crime Downtown; BLM Protesters Suing Former DA Have to Undergo Mental Evaluations; Bill to Add Shoplifting Penalties Killed in "Safety" Committee and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo
OK for LA City Hall to allow transmission of typhus; Law banning local soda tax deemed unenforceable; News reporter sued over release of confidential police records; LA Public Defender Detained in Venezuela
April 17, 2023
L.A. county police union blindsided by plan to 'depopulate' jails -- A sweeping proposal calling for depopulation and decarceration of the Los Angeles County jails will be considered Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors, drawing the ire of an organization representing police chiefs for 45 law enforcement agencies. The plan advanced by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Lindsey Horvath would declare a "humanitarian crisis" in the jails and advocate for or instruct several county agencies to evaluate, create and expand programs that would keep more people out of a jail, even after they are convicted of misdemeanors and some felonies.
Whittier Daily News
ADDA hails withdrawal of motion to 'depopulate' Los Angeles County jails
The county prosecutors' union has hailed the removal of a motion from the Board of Supervisors' agenda for yesterday's meeting that called for steps to "depopulate" the jails and "decarcerate" some of those convicted of crimes. Among the prescribed actions was closing the Men's Central Jail. The Association of Deputy District Attorneys ("ADDA") said in a statement released late Monday that Supervisors Hilda Solis and Lindsey Horvath had put forth a "dangerous proposal."
LA County will not release half its inmates after all... for now
The now (temporarily?) shelved proposal by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis to "de-populate" the local jail system raises a number of interesting questions, one of which is: How many of the inmates proposed for release by Solis - who was Barack Obama's Secretary of Labor - stole money from the unemployment agency run by Julie Su, who may become Joe Biden's next Secretary of Labor?
Courts & Rulings
City not liable for unsanitary conditions at its building
A former Los Angeles deputy city attorney has failed in her effort to persuade the Court of Appeal for this district that a judge erred in sustaining a demurrer, without leave to amend, to her complaint alleging that she contracted typhus at City Hall East, where she had her office, due to unsanitary conditions. Div. One on Monday affirmed a judgment of dismissal of the action brought by attorney Elizabeth L. Greenwood who, in her second amended complaint ("SAC") alleged a cause of action against the city based on a dangerous condition of public property.
California handgun control measures halted by federal judge
A federal judge has ordered California to stop enforcing important components of its handgun control laws after a group of gun owners and gun lobbying groups sued claiming the laws violate their Second Amendment rights. The lawsuit revolves around provisions of California's Unsafe Handgun Act.
Courthouse News Service
High court splits on death row appeal where testimony was withheld
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was joined in dissent Monday by her liberal colleagues as the Supreme Court shut the door on an alleged constitutional violation out of Louisiana. "In my view, the Louisiana Supreme Court misinterpreted and misapplied our Brady jurisprudence in a manner that contravenes settled law," the Biden appointee wrote in a 4-page opinion joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
Courthouse News Service
Judge grants Lacey's motion for mental tests of BLM protesters suing her
Three Black Lives Matter demonstrators confronted at gunpoint by former District Attorney Jackie Lacey's late husband will have to undergo independent mental evaluations given that they claim they suffered psychological issues from the 2020 encounter at the Laceys' San Fernando Valley home, a judge has ruled.
City News Service
LA wins a battle in war over new Burbank terminal
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday handed the City of Los Angeles a partial victory in its challenge to an administrative decision giving the green light to construction of a new terminal at the Hollywood Burbank Airport. Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen A. Higginson, sitting by designation, authored the majority opinion which grants, in part, the City of Los Angeles' petition for review of an order of the Federal Aviation Administration and remands the matter for further consideration by the agency.
Metropolitan News Enterprise
Judge grants motion to quash subpoena served to The Californian; defense attorney continues to seek materials
A Kern County Superior Court judge quashed a subpoena Tuesday filed by the Kern County Public Defender's Office seeking all video, audio and notes created by a Californian reporter who interviewed a murder defendant accused of killing a corrections counselor. "Turning (unpublished materials) over in response to a subpoena like this makes the newsroom merely a tool of criminal and civil lawyers," The Californian's counsel, Thomas R. Burke of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP - who filed the motion to quash - wrote in an email to this reporter.
Judge lacked power to reassemble jurors to determine if allegation of prior was valid
Once a judge told jurors, "You are all excused from jury duty," he was powerless to order the bailiff to gather them for further deliberations after the prosecutor pointed out that no determination had been made by them as to whether a prior had been validly alleged, Div. Five of the First District Court of Appeal has held. "[W]e conclude that the court lost jurisdiction over the jurors before they were ostensibly reconvened, thus rendering their verdict as to appellant's prior serious felony conviction a nullity," Napa Superior Court Judge Monique Langhorne, sitting on assignment, said in the published portion of an opinion, filed Tuesday.
Ninth Circuit revives religious bias suit over California loyalty oath
A Ninth Circuit panel on Monday revived a California state employee's lawsuit over being forced to take the public employee loyalty oath. Brianna Bolden-Hardge, who practices the Jehovah's Witness faith, says in her complaint against the Office of the State Controller that she began working for the California Franchise Tax Board - and did not sign the loyalty oath - in 2016. She later applied to work for the controller and was offered a higher-paying position.
Courthouse News Service
Civil Code §47 covers news story on unpublished decision
A news report on a decision of a court of appeal is not exempt from the privilege conferred by Civil Code §47 on the basis of that opinion not being certified for publication, the Fifth District has held, rejecting the contention of a lawyer that an anti-SLAPP motion was improperly granted in an action he brought based on an article appearing in the METNEWS's online archive. The report was published in the newspaper, itself, on March 11, 2020.
Calif. cities can collect soda taxes despite state law
California cities can collect sales taxes on soda and sugar-sweetened drinks despite a state law that would have penalized them by cutting them off from all sales taxes, an appeals court ruled, upholding a trial court decision declaring the law unenforceable. California legislators passed the Keep Groceries Affordable Act in 2018 after several cities passed tax ordinances to discourage consumers from ingesting sugary foods on the belief that would curb obesity.
Judge Connolly seeks disqualification of Judge Lowenthal
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patrick E. Connolly is seeking the disqualification-for-cause of a colleague on the court, Daniel J. Lowenthal, in connection with a resentencing sought by a man who was convicted in 2007 of first-degree murder under the felony-murder rule, with Connolly, in his pre-bench days, having been the lead prosecutor.
The LA District Attorney can barely keep his own employees safe
Why should Los Angeles residents depend on District Attorney George Gascón to protect them when he can't even protect his own employees? Earlier this month, Gascón started shuttling employees who work in his office and are assigned to downtown's Civic Center area to and from their cars. The reason for this is the fact that crime in the area has created a safety concern for those employees, according to an internal memo from Gascon's office that was analyzed by The Epoch Times.
Why did Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon refuse to charge an armed suspect that threatened a school?
The 2024 election can't come soon enough when it comes to George Gascon. During his time as the District Attorney for the city of Los Angeles, he's made a lot of questionable moves that have left police fuming. He's currently facing over a dozen civil suit claims, and recently paid $1.5 million to L.A. County prosecutor Shawn Randolph over a flubbed case.
Connecticut man charged for murder in West Hills Trader Joe's parking lot
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has charged a Connecticut man connected to a deadly shooting in a West Hills Trader Joe's parking lot. "This brazen act of violence occurred in the middle of a Saturday afternoon. Innocent shoppers could easily have been hurt or killed." District Attorney George Gascón said. "This shocking level of disregard for the safety and well-being of our community will not be tolerated."
LA County Deputy charged with possession of "assault weapon," tracer ammunition
A Los Angeles County deputy has been charged with unlawfully possessing an assault rifle and tracer ammunition. "While I support the rights afforded to us under the Second Amendment, I also respect the laws of our state. It is illegal to possess an AR-15 assault rifle in California and I expect everyone, including sworn officers, to follow the law," District Attorney George Gascón said. "These weapons have repeatedly led to massive loss of life across this nation and I fully intend to enforce the ban in Los Angeles."
6 CHP officers, sergeant make first court appearance in death of man arrested for DUI in 2020
Six California Highway Patrol officers and one sergeant were allowed to remain free on their own recognizance at their first court appearance on Wednesday on charges stemming from the death of a Burbank man who was restrained after refusing to have his blood drawn following a traffic stop on the 5 Freeway. Superior Court Judge Armenui Amy Ashvanian ordered Sgt. Michael Little, 57; Dionisio Fiorella, 39; Dustin Osmanson, 41; Darren Parsons, 48; Diego Romero, 35; Justin Silva, 30; and Marciel Terry, 32, to return to the downtown Los Angeles courtroom May 15 for arraignment on one count each of involuntary manslaughter and assault under the color of authority.
City of Brawley reaches $1-million settlement in suit alleging officer raped DUI suspect
The city of Brawley, Calif., agreed to pay a $1-million settlement to a woman who accused a city police officer of rape after he arrested her on suspicion of driving under the influence, her attorneys announced Wednesday. Former Brawley Police Officer Ricardo Gabriel Valdez drove the woman back to her home in a patrol car, where she allegedly woke up to the officer having sex with her, according to a lawsuit she filed.
Los Angeles Times
Undercover LAPD officers file claim after identities made public (Video)
A lawsuit is filed over the mistaken release of photos and names of some undercover LAPD officers.
City of LA sues reporter, police critics over mistaken release of officers' photos
The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office Wednesday sued a news reporter and the "Stop LAPD Spying Coalition," demanding the return and destruction of photographs and files released by the City that mistakenly included the pictures and names of some undercover LAPD officers. The suit claims that despite the City's production and release of the files in response to a California Public Records Act request and lawsuit, an LA Superior Court judge should order the Knock-LA.com reporter, Ben Camacho, and members of the Coalition to give them back.
Retired Oxnard firefighter who aided shooting victim sues Santa Paula over police treatment
Joseph Garces was driving down A Street in Santa Paula on the afternoon of Oct. 9, 2020, when he saw a woman standing on the sidewalk, talking on the phone, obviously distraught. He pulled over and saw why: a man lying face-up in a parking lot, in a pool of liquid. At first Garces thought the liquid was beer and the man was passed out, he would later tell police. He pulled his Jeep over next to the man, and that's when he realized the woman was calling 911, and the liquid was blood.
Ventura County Star
Park Police pulled over a Black Secret Service officer - twice
Nathaniel Hicks recalled crying three times in his adult life: when his grandmother died, when his father died, and when he was stopped by the U.S. Park Police. It began with a gun in his face and lasted an hour, during which Hicks had been detained twice and missed the motorcade he was supposed to lead as a U.S. Secret Service officer on July 11, 2015. Hicks sued the two Park Police officers involved, Gerald Ferreyra and Brian Phillips, and a jury in 2021 awarded him $730,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.
Lawsuit over Gascón recall petition heads back to court
The lawsuit over a recall petition aimed at unseating District Attorney George Gascón is heading back to court Thursday in an ongoing dispute about the validity of the petition's signatures. After the Committee to Recall George Gascón submitted more than 715,000 names on a petition it circulated, the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's Office deemed 196,000 signatures were invalid.
'Extortionate' LA jail service fees enrich PE firms, suit says
A former inmate and local resident hit Los Angeles County with a proposed class action in California state court, alleging its exclusive commissions-based contracts with private equity-owned vendors amount to illegal taxes that charge inmates and their families "extortionate" fees for jail services in violation of the Golden State's constitution.
What is the significance of Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California?
Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California is a landmark case in US law that established a legal duty for mental health professionals to warn potential victims of their patients. The case arose from the murder of a young woman, Tatiana Tarasoff, by a former patient of a university psychologist who had expressed an intent to harm her.
Former LAPD Chief/LA City Councilmember Bernard Parks' statement re. the conviction of Mark Ridley-Thomas
These were not victimless crimes. You can see the victimization in the faces of the people of the Second Supervisorial District, who were sold a $10 million bill of goods by the organization who bought Mark Ridley-Thomas his seat: the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor (County Fed). In situations such as these, it is important not to just look at the here and now - but how this all started.
Los Angeles City/County
LA County public defenders hold rally to demand safe return of co-worker detained in Venezuela
Around 100 employees of the Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office spent their lunch hours demonstrating outside of the Criminal Courts Building in downtown Los Angeles, demanding that the Biden administration do something to bring one of their own home. Eyvin Hernandez is a deputy public defender who was on vacation in Colombia in March of 2021 when he was taken into custody by Venezuelan authorities.
LA Controller: Mejia performance so far
I am a semi-retired public sector manager. When I was working full-time, I managed a municipal performance audit program. If you don't know the definition of a performance audit, "Performance audits evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of government programs to determine if there are ways of making them work better. We use laws and leading practices as criteria to evaluate City departments and make recommendations when we find opportunities for improvement."
California parole chief tapped by Gavin Newsom resigns to lead LA's troubled juvenile halls
The head of California's adult parole division is leaving to oversee Los Angeles's long-troubled juvenile halls and manage the nation's largest juvenile justice system. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday night to hire Guillermo Viera Rosa as the county's new chief strategist for juvenile operations. Viera Rosa will join the Los Angeles Probation Department during a time of turmoil.
CA committee kills proposal to increase serial shoplifting penalty
The California Senate's Committee on Public Safety on Tuesday voted 3-1 against SB 316, a bill supported by the Citrus Heights City Council and others that sought to increase penalties for serial theft. The Citrus Heights City Council earlier this month voted to approve a letter of support for the bill, in response to a request from the office of Senator Roger Niello (R-Fair Oaks), the bill's author.
Citrus Heights Sentinel
Opinion: California must repeal Prop. 47, a virtual 'get out of jail free' law for thieves
Keeping communities safe from crime is one of government's biggest responsibilities. However, crime in San Diego has increased over the past year, and if current laws continue to allow criminals to be released from jail without bail and ignore what are now considered low-level property and drug crimes, San Diego will end up like San Francisco, riddled with open drug use and theft.
Times of San Diego
Alleged sexual misconduct, cover-up at Redlands Police Department triggers FBI probe, sources say
Persistent allegations of sexual misconduct at the Redlands Police Department, culminating with a new claim alleging three ranking supervisors attempted to cover up evidence, have triggered an administrative investigation by the city and an FBI probe. In a claim for damages filed against the city on March 16, forensic specialist Geneva Holzer alleges that in December 2019, now retired Deputy Chief Mike Reiss, then a lieutenant, and Sgt. Kyle Alexander attempted to destroy physical evidence of sexual misconduct by Reiss.
San Bernardino Sun
D.C. must defend claims stop and frisk policy is racially biased
The District of Columbia failed to shake off a proposed civil rights class action alleging its Metropolitan Police Department policy of stopping and searching for guns is racially biased. The allegations that the department's gun recovery unit unlawfully targets Black males without reasonable suspicion or probable cause are sufficient to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of the US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled Wednesday.
California backlog persists on illegal guns
California's first-in-the-nation program to take guns away from people prohibited by courts from owning them continues to tread water: A backlog of cases numbering between 23,000 and 24,000 people has stubbornly persisted, even as Attorney General Rob Bonta insisted on Monday that the program is making progress. "That's why we're not taking our foot off the gas," Bonta said at a press conference announcing the release of an annual report on the weapons seizure program.
How to stop your smart devices from listening to you and recording what you say
Voice recognition is undeniable proof that we live in the future, making daily life more convenient. But what's the downside for always-on devices that constantly listen for commands? It's just that: They're always listening. Nearly all voice-activated technology uses microphones that listen for "wake words." It also means companies like Apple, Facebook and Google hear all your commands and can pick up conversations if your device thinks it hears the wake word.
Suspect steals LA sheriff's SUV, arrested after high-speed chase into OC
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies chased a woman who allegedly stole a patrol vehicle and fled at high speeds over local freeways from Compton to Orange County. The incident started with a crash involving a sheriff's SUV in the Compton or Carson area. The suspect, who was described only as a woman in her 30s, apparently stole a sheriff's SUV after the crash and then fled at high speeds, first along surface streets then on the 110 Freeway.
Popular store and Trader Joe's rival to close in major city after 'rampant shoplifting'
San Francisco has been forced to say goodbye to a popular supermarket after claims of shoplifting and increased competition drove the location to shut down. The community of North Beach is losing its only full-scale grocery store with late-night hours as the local Safeway prepares to close its doors. The store couldn't compete with the nearby Trader Joe's, leaving North Beach with limited options to purchase groceries.
The Sun U.S.
Tech executive Bob Lee dead after apparent stabbing attack in San Francisco
Bob Lee, the former chief technology officer of Square who helped launch Cash App, has died after an apparent stabbing attack in San Francisco. Lee's death was confirmed by Josh Goldbard, the CEO of his current employer, MobileCoin. Lee joined MobileCoin, a cryptocurrency and digital payments startup, in 2021 as its chief product officer.
South LA gang associate to plead guilty in fatal shooting of LAPD officer
A street gang associate is expected to plead guilty Wednesday to her role in the robbery and killing of an off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officer who was gunned down in January 2022 while house-hunting. Haylee Marie Grisham, 20, has agreed to enter her plea to a federal statute for her role in the robbery and fatal shooting of Los Angeles Police Officer Fernando Arroyos, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Man pleads guilty to $3.1M Medicare fraud scheme
A Southern California man pleaded guilty today to submitting false enrollment applications to Medicare that hid the real owners of a fraudulent hospice company, which then submitted over $3.1 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare. According to court documents, Karen Sarkisyan, aka Kevin Sarkisyan, 44, of Glendale, submitted false and fraudulent Medicare enrollment forms for San Gabriel Hospice and Palliative Care Inc. (San Gabriel), falsely identifying a straw owner as the sole owner and manager, concealing the actual beneficial owners and managers.
Department of Justice Press Release
Ex-San Diego vice detective, three others plead guilty in massage scheme
A former San Diego police detective and three others charged by federal prosecutors with operating massage parlors that offered commercial sex services pleaded guilty Tuesday. Peter Griffin, 78, a former vice detective and attorney, owned and operated five businesses in California and Arizona with his co-defendants between 2013 and 2022, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. The defendants advertised sexual services online and employed women to perform those services, prosecutors said.
Times of San Diego
Articles of Interest
Fraudster whom Trump let out of prison denied high court relief
The Supreme Court advanced a $40 million judgment Tuesday against a man who swindled millions of dollars from the U.S. health care system but got his prison sentence cut short. Justice Clarence Thomas denied emergency relief for Philip Esformes without comment, having opted not to refer the Florida business owner's application to the full court for consideration. Back when it charged Esformes, the Justice Department called the case against him the largest health care fraud scheme it had ever prosecuted.
Courthouse News Service
In a city rocked by corruption, Ridley-Thomas' conviction brings public tributes, not scorn
The corruption cases that have upended Los Angeles city politics in recent years have been greeted by a familiar set of reactions: public disgust, condemnation from elected officials, urgent calls for reform. But in the days since a jury found former City Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas guilty of bribery, conspiracy and fraud charges, some of the city's political leaders have given a markedly different type of response, offering tributes instead of scorn.
Los Angeles Times
Despite a progressive reputation, California is where public records laws are abused
The nation recently marked National Sunshine Week (which happened to coincide with the birthday of James Madison, the founder of the First Amendment.) But you wouldn't know it from the behavior of officials at the national, state and local levels. At the national level, we have a strong Freedom of Information Act. But as anyone who's made a FOIA request to a federal agency can tell you, the bureaucrats in federal agencies habitually resist disclosing records, responding to FOIA requests with delays at best and flimsy denials at worst.
Dominion suit against Fox News will go to trial
A high-profile lawsuit filed by a voting systems company against media giant Fox News will have its day in court, a Delaware state judge ruled Friday. Dominion Voting Systems claims Fox pushed a narrative on its news shows that the company's voting machines had incorrectly tabulated votes in the 2020 election that ended in victory for President Joe Biden - part of a larger, roundly debunked theory from former President Donald Trump and his surrogates that the election was fraudulent.
Courthouse News Service
Stormy Daniels must pay $122,000 in Trump legal bills
Stormy Daniels must pay nearly $122,000 of Donald Trump's legal fees that were racked up in connection with the porn actor's failed defamation lawsuit, an appeals court ruled Tuesday. The decision in California came at about the same time that that Trump became the only ex-president to be charged with a crime. Trump pleaded not guilty in a New York City courtroom to a 34-count felony indictment accusing him falsifying business records in a scheme to hush up allegations of extramarital affairs with Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal that broke during his first White House run.
Title IX rule would allow schools to restrict transgender athletes in some cases
Less than a week after the Biden administration condemned discrimination against transgender youth, the U.S. Department of Education has proposed new regulations that would allow schools to bar transgender athletes from some competitive sports. The Department of Education announced Thursday its proposed regulations on athletic eligibility under Title IX, which bars discrimination on the basis of gender identity at federally funded schools.
Courthouse News Service
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