Mass Evictions at Barrington Plaza to go Forward; Subway "Mystery Meat" Case Dropped; One Arrest in Glendale Flash Mob Robbery; Anaheim Former Mayor Pleads Guilty in Stadium Sale and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo
OC Judge pleads not guilty in gunning down wife; 75% of pedestrian deaths involve jaywalking; LA Councilmember Opposes New No-Camping Zones
August 28, 2023
Courts, Rulings & Lawsuits
Court trims Gascón recall supporters' access to voter records, but recall supporters call it a win
The committee seeking to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said a California appellate court decision handed down last week was a win for recall supporters, even though the appeals court limited their access to some voter records. The recall supporters said the decision does not slow down their effort to allow L.A. voters the chance to remove from office the embattled county prosecutor whose policies are blamed by many for helping to fuel lawlessness and embolden criminals in the L.A. region.
Southern California Record
California police body camera footage can't take the place of witness testimony, court rules
When a woman refused to testify against a man accused of assaulting her, a Los Angeles County judge used the accusations she made the night of the incident that were recorded on a police officer's body camera. This week, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the judge erred by using the body camera footage to stand in for the woman's testimony. Doing so, the court ruled, denied the accused man a chance to confront his accuser in court.
Brady claim may not be based on prolongation of jailing
A man who was held in pre-trial custody for three years, 11 months, and 17 days for a murder of which he was later adjudged factually innocent might have a civil rights claim against the County of Riverside, former Riverside District Attorney Paul E. Zellerbach and others, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said yesterday, but he has no cognizable claim under 42 U.S.C. §1983 based on violation of his Brady rights.
Spontaneous declaration is not necessarily admissible
The California Supreme Court held yesterday, in a unanimous opinion that resolves a conflict among the Court of Appeal districts, that where an out-of-court statement is not rendered inadmissible by the hearsay rule, its admission at a probation revocation hearing might nonetheless offend due process. There must be good cause for the lack of confrontation and a balancing of interests, the state's high court declared.
Judge denies request to postpone mass evictions at Barrington Plaza
With less than a month to go before hundreds of tenants must leave, an L.A. Superior Court judge has denied a request to postpone evictions at Barrington Plaza. Tuesday's decision will allow real estate investment company Douglas Emmett, which owns the building, to proceed with mass evictions at the 712-unit high-rise apartment complex in West Los Angeles.
Unemployed lawyer must pay $25,000 attorney-fee award
The First District Court of Appeal has rejected the protest by a man with a active law license that he was improperly ordered to pay his ex-wife $25,000 need-based attorney-fee award because he's out of work and lacks the ability to pay. Thursday's opinion by Div. Two takes into account the attorney's earning capacity and it reasons that because he was able to represent himself, money he would otherwise have had to spend on his own lawyers could be applied to legal costs his ex-wife incurred.
Mystery Meat' class action against Subway dropped, but no penalties for lawyers
Class action lawyers won't be punished for bringing a lawsuit against Subway that alleged its tuna was a sort-of "mystery meat," but they have dropped their case. California federal judge Jon Tigar on Aug. 4 granted plaintiff Nilima Amin's motion to dismiss her own lawsuit, which accused Subway of pushing "a mixture of various concoctions that do not constitute tuna." Tigar refused Subway's motion for sanctions that accused attorney Mark Lanier and others of pursuing a meritless case.
Ballot proposal and court ruling open new front in California's never-ending tax wars
For 45 years - ever since California voters passed the iconic Proposition 13 property tax limit in 1978 - powerful interest groups have fought a running political and legal battle over restrictions on new taxes. Those who want to raise taxes - public employee unions, particularly - have dueled with anti-tax groups such as the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association over restrictions imposed by Prop. 13 and subsequent measures.
Sparks fly at Gascón news conference amid smash-and-grab crime wave
George Gascón held a press conference Monday in Downtown Los Angeles to address the slew of smash-and-grab robberies and burglaries in L.A. The presser followed viral news over the weekend that thieves armed with bear spray and dressed in face masks and hooded sweatshirts had stormed a Nordstrom store in the Westfield Topanga shopping center.
Los Angeles Magazine
Antioch, Pittsburg cops rounded up in early morning FBI raid following grand jury indictment
Federal authorities Thursday charged 10 current and former Antioch and Pittsburg police officers in a set of sweeping indictments alleging offenses ranging from cheating on training classes to savage violations of civil rights in one of California's biggest criminal cases of police corruption.
Bay Area News Group
Californians approved Prop 57 to allow some inmates to reduce their sentences. Did they mean sex offenders too?
In recent years, some law enforcement officials have blamed Proposition 57 for the early release of sex offenders, but that conclusion may be a little more nuanced. Prop 57 is a voter initiative that was developed by then-Governor Jerry Brown and overwhelmingly passed by California voters in 2016. It allows inmates who committed what are deemed nonviolent offenses to be eligible for parole hearings at an earlier time.
Charges announced against woman in on-camera attack of Watts taco stand vendor
Charges have been announced against the woman who was seen on camera repeatedly strike a taco stand vendor in the Watts area of Los Angeles over the weekend. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office announced Friday that Bakersfield resident Renee Latrice Hines, 36, faces charges that include use of tear gas, battery and unlawful possession of tear gas in connection with the attack.
Temecula man charged with multiple narcotics crimes, including distributing fentanyl to teenager who suffered fatal overdose
A Riverside County man has been charged in a federal grand jury indictment alleging he sold a 17-year-old boy fentanyl in May, which resulted in the boy's fatal overdose the following day, the Justice Department announced today. Kyler Thomas Overby, 22, of Temecula, was arrested on Friday and was arraigned that day on the nine-count indictment, which a grand jury returned on August 9. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and a bond of $750,000 was set.
U.S. Attorney's Office Press Release
OC judge pleads not guilty to gunning down wife, agrees to several bail restrictions
Orange County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ferguson pleaded not guilty in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday to a murder charge alleging he fatally shot his wife during an argument in their Anaheim Hills home. His lawyer says it was an "accidental shooting." The 72-year-old, who was initially jailed on $1 million bail, remains free on bond. In court Tuesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ricardo Ocampo approved release conditions including a prohibition on alcohol consumption and a requirement that Ferguson surrender his passport.
Frustration and criticism as L.A. County DA struggles to reform sentencing
Barry Hawes cuts a fierce figure, all lean muscle and sharp angles built on the frame of a one-time high school wide receiver. But when Hawes was sent to prison at age 16 for his connection to a fatal shooting, he was still a boy among men. Over the next 17 years of his 25-year sentence, he said, he was stabbed and suffered multiple broken bones while fighting for survival behind bars. Hawes maintains his innocence.
Los Angeles Times
Feds won't honor gun charge agreement with Hunter Biden, US attorney says
The federal prosecutor investigating Hunter Biden pushed back on claims that a pretrial agreement negotiated between the U.S. government and lawyers for the president's son should continue despite the dissolution of a plea deal last week - arguing Tuesday that such a program never went into effect in the first place.
Courthouse News Service
Georgia charges against 5 Trump enablers, explained
The indictment unveiled in Georgia late Monday night charged former President Trump with 13 crimes. But unlike the other three indictments Trump faces, Georgia's case sees a plethora of aides, lawyers and supporters charged, as well. In addition to Trump, 18 people have been indicted as a result of the probe spearheaded by Fulton County, Ga., District Attorney Fani Willis (D). In aggregate, prosecutors paint a picture of a concerted effort to thwart the will of Georgia voters.
Georgia prosecutors have messages showing Trump's team is behind voting system breach
Atlanta-area prosecutors investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia are in possession of text messages and emails directly connecting members of Donald Trump's legal team to the early January 2021 voting system breach in Coffee County, sources tell CNN. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is expected to seek charges against more than a dozen individuals when her team presents its case before a grand jury next week.
Smash & Grab Robberies
Los Angeles forming crime task force to address 'flash mob' robberies (Video)
Fox News' Jeff Paul provides details on Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass' plan to work with the LAPD and sheriff's department to combat the rise in retail thefts.
Zero cash bail to blame for 'brazen' smash and grab robberies in LA, police union says
Los Angeles' controversial zero cash bail policy is to blame for the recent surge in smash and grab robberies across the city, according to the union representing LAPD officers. "The elimination of cash bail for these types of offenses is really an invitation to these kind of folks who are inclined to break the law and inclined to do it so brazenly, to push them over to say, 'hey, if I was to get caught, I'm going to be right back out again,'" Los Angeles Police Protective League spokesperson Tom Saggau told Fox News Digital.
New York Times Post
Glendale flash mob robbery suspect arrested, 2nd suspect identified
A Los Angeles man suspected of taking part in a flash mob-style robbery at the Americana at Brand mall has been arrested, Glendale police announced Thursday. Ivan Isaac Ramirez was booked on suspicion of organized retail theft, burglary, grand theft, and conspiracy. However, according to L.A. County jail records, Ramirez was cited and released from custody Thursday afternoon.
Hancock Park denim store latest target in string of flash mob robberies
A Hancock Park clothing store is the latest in Los Angeles County to be targeted in a flash mob robbery, as police search for a group of masked thieves who took off with an undisclosed amount of goods. Ksubi, a luxury denim store on La Brea Avenue, was robbed Tuesday in a swift heist. Community members said they're frustrated with recent string of robberies in the city and fear for their wellbeing.
East L.A. Nike store hit by grab-and-dash thieves, the latest in series of daytime robberies
A group of thieves were captured on video stealing boxes of shoes and other items from a Nike store in East Los Angeles on Sunday, the latest in a string of smash-and-grab thefts carried out during regular business hours. A man and woman can be seen scrambling with a handful of shoe boxes in a video posted to the Citizen app and reported by KTLA-TV.
Los Angeles Times
LAPD chief says zero-bail policy sets unequal stage for law enforcement
Shoplifters are often caught in the act time after time on camera, in front of witnesses, and they just don't seem to care. Does L.A. County's zero-bail policy for non-violent offenders mean zero consequences? When it comes to shop owners and workers, what's legal and what's not when it comes to stopping thieves in their tracks? Can a shrinking LAPD address this growing problem? Marc Brown talks to LAPD Chief Michel Moore on Eyewitness Newsmakers.
CLU's betrayal of contractual obligations and integrity
California Lutheran University's latest attempt to hoodwink the public into believing that the Gallegly Archives are now available obscured the fact that appointments may be made fall 2023. This early announcement suggests CLU fulfilled its contractual obligations to former Congressman Elton Gallegly. The university did not. The statement boasts the availability of 356 boxes, far less than the original 454 boxes.
Ventura County Star
Shoplifting and thefts from businesses are increasing (Video)
Although crime rates have decreased, it appears that shoplifting and thefts are increasing. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4 News on Aug. 14, 2023.
Man seen on TikTok video lurking near women in Burbank released from jail
A man who was seen in a TikTok video lurking near women's legs in Burbank was arrested and released from jail allegedly due to overcrowding. According to the victim, Michaela Witter, 28, this release marks the criminal justice system failing her and so many others in similar situations. The suspect, Calese Crowder, 37, was seen in a viral video lurking extremely close to Witter's legs while she was browsing at a Barnes & Noble store on Aug. 7.
California legalized jaywalking in the name of equity as Los Angeles pedestrian deaths soared
As the City of Los Angeles struggled to reduce pedestrian deaths after its deadliest year in decades, state lawmakers have repealed jaywalking laws in the name of equity. And one high-profile prosecutor questioned whether the new rules are saving any lives. So far this year, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, the city is on track to see a reduction from 2022's 20-year high in pedestrian fatalities. But nearly three-quarters of the deaths involved potential jaywalkers.
California Bar says it's not buying Eastman's rationale for delay, citing recent interviews
The California State Bar responded to Trump coup attorney John Eastman's request to postpone disbarment proceedings against him, arguing that special counsel Jack Smith's latest indictment of Donald Trump is not a good enough reason to delay the license trial. Bar authorities in California also accused Eastman of hypocrisy in his requests to delay proceedings, citing Eastman's recent, revelatory series of interviews with Tom Klingenstein, the Chairman of the Trumpite Claremont Institute.
Talking Points Memo
Stockton mayor criticizes Proposition 47 after 7-Eleven robbery (Video)
The mayor of Stockton, California, is criticizing Proposition 47 for repeat crime, as a video of the 7-Eleven robbery that took place in his city went viral. He says existing laws allow them to keep shoplifting, hindering businesses.
Pamela Price gets it wrong
Oakland's social, economic, and criminal justice challenges are well known. Lost jobs, expensive housing, poor performing schools, and a crime problem that exceeds neighboring cities are constant challenges. However, a recent surge in crime shows violent crime is up 14 percent, rapes are up 18 percent, robberies are up 18 percent, burglaries are up 26 percent, carjackings up 4 percent, and vehicle thefts are up 36 percent. Only homicides are down a scant 2 percent.
Pacific Research Institute
Los Angeles City/County
Men's central madness
For over a decade now, Los Angeles has debated the fate of Men's Central Jail, a massive, outdated facility located in the county detention complex near downtown. When it began, the debate was about how to replace Men's Central Jail with a modern correctional facility. Over the years, though, progressives, animated by "defund" ideology, have shifted the focus to closing Men's Central without a replacement, which would shrink county jail capacity by about one-quarter.
LA police union blames 'anti-police rhetoric' for staffing shortages
At the end of July, the Los Angeles Police Department dropped to having below 9,000 officers, marking its smallest force since the 1990s. The Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) is blaming anti-police rhetoric, among other factors. LAPPL spokesperson Tom Saggau told Fox News Digital, "They're leaving to either go work in a different agency or just to leave the profession completely ... Los Angeles costs a lot to afford a home, pay rent, commute times; but also, some of the anti-police rhetoric wears on you."
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy shot, killed by police on Fontana golf course
The man shot and killed by police on a Fontana golf course was identified as an off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy Wednesday. The incident began around 4 p.m. in the area of the Sierra Lakes Golf Club when authorities received a 911 call from a woman saying her husband had fired a gun at a wall inside their home, according to the Fontana Police Department. The man was said to be distraught and drinking before allegedly firing the shots.
Westlake neighborhood Downtown LA wants to slow down the Mayfair Hotel homeless housing conversion
A growing number of residents and businesses in the Westlake neighborhood are voicing concerns over Mayor Karen Bass' proposal to convert the historic 15-story Mayfair Hotel into a permanent homeless housing facility. With an estimated cost exceeding $83 million, residents are questioning the project's financial feasibility and long-term impact. The Mayor's office is attempting to railroad this project through with not one public notice, not one community meeting and no outreach to the predominantly Latino neighborhood.
As she pushes for new homeless housing, Yaroslavsky shifts gears on no-camping zones
Six months ago, Los Angeles City Councilmember Katy Yaroslavsky took a firm stand on the city's law regulating homeless encampments, saying she would not support the creation of any new no-camping zones until she had received a written report analyzing the law's effectiveness. Yaroslavsky made that announcement in February, as she and three of her colleagues voted to oppose the creation of no-camping zones in Westchester, Venice, North Hollywood and other locations.
Los Angeles Times
How criminal justice reform reduced 600 California inmates' prison terms by 11,000 years
Neko Wilson wasn't present when Gary and Sandra DeBartolo were brutally killed in their Central Valley home in 2009. Still, Fresno County prosecutors alleged he was culpable for their murders because he had helped plan the botched robbery. At the time, California law allowed for people to be charged with first-degree murder if they were involved in a felony that led to a killing, even if they hadn't intended for anyone to be hurt and didn't commit the violence themselves.
Los Angeles Times
Who paid for a mysterious spy tool? The FBI, an FBI inquiry found
When The New York Times reported in April that a contractor had purchased and deployed a spying tool made by NSO, the contentious Israeli hacking firm, for use by the U.S. government, White House officials said they were unaware of the contract and put the F.B.I. in charge of figuring out who might have been using the technology. After an investigation, the F.B.I. uncovered at least part of the answer: It was the F.B.I.
New York Times
Father sues Tulare County for wrongful deaths of infant son, 16-year-old fiancée, in Central Valley massacre
The father of an infant murdered in a gang-related mass shooting in the Central Valley is suing the county that placed his son in the home just days before it happened. Shayne Maupin, the father of 10-month-old Nycholas Parraz, alleges Tulare County social workers and sheriff's deputies failed to fulfill their mandatory duties under California law, causing the deaths of Nycholas and his mother, 16-year-old Alissa Parraz.
FBI fatally shoots man in Utah who allegedly threatened Biden, Alvin Bragg and others
The FBI on Wednesday shot and killed a Utah man who allegedly made online threats to kill President Joe Biden and New York prosecutor Alvin Bragg while serving a warrant at his Provo home, officials said. The suspect was identified in charging documents obtained by NBC News as Craig Deleeuw Robertson. Robertson allegedly made a threat Monday that referenced the president's trip to Utah this week, saying he needed to prepare his camouflage and sniper rifle.
Former mayor of Anaheim agrees to plead guilty to federal charges stemming from attempted sale of Angel Stadium
The former mayor of Anaheim has agreed to plead guilty to federal felony charges for obstructing an FBI public corruption investigation by destroying evidence and for making false statements to FBI agents, the Justice Department announced today. In court documents filed today in United States District Court, Harish "Harry" Singh Sidhu, 66, of Anaheim, also admits cheating California tax authorities and making false statements to the Federal Aviation Administration in relation to his purchase of a helicopter.
U.S. Attorney's Office Press Release
Former head of FBI intelligence pleads guilty to conspiracy in connection to scheme working for sanctioned Russian oligarch
The former head of counterintelligence for the FBI's New York field office pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of conspiracy in connection to a scheme working for a sanctioned Russian oligarch in 2021. Charles McGonigal, a 22-year veteran of the FBI who retired in 2018, pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and money laundering, per a plea deal struck with prosecutors from the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.
Woman gets probation for stabbing in 2021 anti-vax protest melee at LAPD headquarters
A Long Beach woman arrested in a stabbing that took place during an anti-vaccine protest turned street fight outside of Los Angeles police headquarters in 2021 will receive probation under the terms of a plea deal reached last week, according to the district attorney's office. Nina Cohen, 32, pleaded no contest to two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and will be placed on probation for two years if she completes a community service and anger management regimen over the next year, according to Venusse Navid, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.
Los Angeles Times
Articles of Interest
How would-be assassins are identified by the Secret Service
In the past few days, the world has seen an assassination executed and several alleged assassination plots interdicted. An alleged informant for Russia was detained by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) in connection with a plot to allegedly assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy via a Russian airstrike, the SBU said Monday, according to CNN. Russia has not publicly commented on the allegation.
An incorrect correction request
Though it may not seem that way at times, reporters are human beings and as human beings we can on occasion make a mistake. Typically, after a story has run, if there is a possible error a call or email arrives from the offended party saying "such and such is wrong - fix it now!" Sometimes, these requests are correct - on the minor side they involve typos or misspellings or mis-identifiers - writing "assistant director of the department of departments" instead of "deputy assistant director of the department of departments" - that sort of thing.
Parole request denied for Mary Spears, 'mastermind' of 1979 Ranzo murders
Marty Don Spears, 61, the alleged mastermind of the robbery and brutal slaying of a Modesto couple in June 1979, is too dangerous to be released from San Quentin State Prison, the Parole Board has determined. At an Aug. 2 hearing, prosecutor Amy Elliott Neumann argued that Spears' persistent drug addiction continues to pose an unreasonable risk of endangering the public if released.
Inmates at California women's prison sue federal government over sexual abuse
Eight inmates at a San Francisco Bay Area lockup - dubbed the "rape club" by prisoners and workers alike - filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the federal Bureau of Prisons, saying sexual abuse and exploitation has not stopped despite the prosecution of the former warden and several former officers. The lawsuit filed in Oakland by attorneys representing the inmates and the advocacy group California Coalition for Women Prisoners also names the current warden and 12 former and current guards.
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