Monday Morning Memo for November 21, 2016

Law Enforcement
LAPD report on biased policing finds problem is more perception than reality
The Los Angeles Police Department has made “significant strides” in diversifying its ranks, training officers to avoid bias policing, rigorously investigating complaints and expanding community outreach programs, according to a new report on biased policing from Chief Charlie Beck. The five-member civilian police commission that oversees the department requested the report in September after a series of controversial shootings over the summer that sparked angry protests.
Documents show CalGang uses error-prone facial recognition
California’s secretive gang database, with information on hundreds of thousands of predominantly black and Latino men, uses a controversial overlay of sophisticated data analysis and surveillance technologies. The tools long have been dogged by allegations of racial profiling, inaccuracy and unconstitutional monitoring of free speech.
Jones: Undocumented license law in California may have led to UM drop
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced that Assembly Bill 60, a law which provided driver’s licenses to those who could not submit proof of legal presence in the U.S., may have led to a modest decrease in the number of uninsured motorists in the state. A preliminary analysis by the California Department of Insurance shows that in 2015, the first year since the passage of AB 60, the number of insured vehicles rose by 200,000 more vehicles than would have been expected.
LA regional human trafficking task force celebrates first year efforts
When Sheriff Jim McDonnell cut the ribbon launching the LA Sheriff’s Human Trafficking Bureau, he knew the impact would be felt throughout Southern California. Now, as the host to the LA Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, it celebrates its first year of efforts, and includes 18 governmental partners and 10 community based organizations who aid in the fight to end human trafficking.
A possible shift in L.A. transit patrols
Transportation officials are seeking to shift Metro policing duties from the Sheriff’s Department to the Los Angeles and Long Beach police departments, a significant change in approach to public safety on the county’s sprawling bus and rail system.  A report written by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and reviewed by The Times recommends transferring public safety responsibilities for more than half the subway and light rail system and 60% of the region’s bus service away from the Sheriff’s Department.
The heroin epidemic: A look inside an intervention in Simi Valley
Heroin use has grown at an exponential rate across the nation and experts say the addiction is a difficult one to break. ABC7 met with Action Family Counseling, a drug rehab facility headquartered in Santa Clarita, as it helped to facilitate an intervention for a family in Simi Valley. Robert Murphy has struggled to accept what’s become of his son. Once a happy and healthy child, Ryan Murphy became an addict on a dark and dangerous path.
LA Police Protective League will request audit to determine cause of low staff numbers
The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union representing the LAPD rank-and-file,  said Monday it will request a city audit to determine the cause of “dangerously low” police staffing levels during the post-election protests last week and provide recommendations to ensure the safety of residents and officers.
Sheriff: Wanted man killed California deputy in ‘execution’
A man shot and killed a deputy in what police termed “an execution,” then stole a car and drove 150 miles to a small central California town where he was arrested after trying to steal a purse from a woman, who fought back and called authorities. Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Wallace was shot twice in the head as he checked on a report of a suspicious van parked near a fishing access spot outside the city of Hughson, about 10 miles southeast of Modesto.
Smoked pot? No college? The police still might hire you
Police departments are relaxing age-old standards for accepting recruits, from lowering educational requirements to forgiving some prior drug use, to try to attract more people to their ranks. The changes are designed to deal with decreased interest in a job that offers low pay, rigorous physical demands and the possibility of getting killed on duty all while under intense public scrutiny.
Ex-LA Sheriff Lee Baca mentally competent: Defense won’t oppose expert’s opinion
Attorneys for Los Angeles County’s former sheriff will not oppose a court-appointed medical expert’s conclusion that the retired lawman, now in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, is competent to stand trial on obstruction of justice charges, according to court papers.
LA County counted on Prop 47 to save money. It hasn’t yet
A California law that turned some felony offenses into misdemeanors to save costs has had no monetary benefits so far for Los Angeles County, according to a report presented on Tuesday. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors heard updates from eight department leaders – including Sheriff Jim McDonnell – on whether or not Proposition 47 has had any cost saving effects.
Investigation: How effective in curbing violent crime is Prop 47?
Dubbed the “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act” before its passage in 2014, Proposition 47 divides law enforcement officials over its impact to the state criminal justice system. The proposition reduced the following felony crimes to misdemeanors: Shoplifting, where the value of property stolen does not exceed $950. Grand theft, where the value of the stolen property does not exceed $950.
A pot shop on every L.A. corner?
In the city of Los Angeles, no more than 135 pot shops are considered to be somewhat legit. They enjoy limited legal immunity under 2013’s voter-approved Proposition D. But state tax officials say there are more than 900 dispensaries in the city, and some experts estimate the number could be as high as 1,500 – the vast majority of them illegal. It isn’t exactly amnesty, but there’s a movement afoot to legalize at least some of them.
Conviction & Sentencing
Appellate panel upholds man’s 12-year prison sentence for live-in boyfriend’s killing
A state appeals court panel Thursday upheld a man’s 12-year prison sentence for fatally stabbing and mutilating his live-in boyfriend at the West Hollywood apartment they briefly shared. The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark Windham should have sentenced Andre Davids to six years in prison for the March 29, 2014, death of Kurtland Ma.
Court: California sentencing measure applies to plea deals
A voter-approved ballot measure that reduced penalties for certain drug and property crimes applies to prisoners convicted under plea deals, the California Supreme Court said Thursday. A unanimous court overruled a lower court decision that could have limited the number of inmates eligible for Proposition 47’s benefits.
Canyon Country man sentenced to 27 years, eight months, for attack on deputies
A Canyon Country man who fought four sheriff’s deputies who responded to a domestic violence call was sentenced Wednesday to 27 years and eight months in prison. Calvin Charles Lynch, 29, appeared Wednesday in San Fernando Superior Court where he was sentenced. “Lynch was sentenced to 27 years, 8 months which is the maximum he faced,” Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, said Wednesday.
California prosecutor faces one-year suspension for falsifying confession
A county prosecutor in California who falsified a defendant’s confession and then said it was just a “joke” he was playing on a public defender now faces a year’s suspension of his law license. The California State Bar announced the action Thursday against Kern County Deputy District Attorney Robert Alan Murray.
He was supposed to drive an intoxicated teenager home. Prosecutors say this Uber driver raped her instead.
An Uber driver was charged with raping an unconscious teenager after she passed out in the back of his car while she was intoxicated, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors charged Samer Alaaeldin Mahran, 23, a resident of Huntington Beach, Calif., with multiple felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, forcible oral copulation upon a minor over 14 years of age, sexual penetration of a child over age 14 by a foreign object and force and unlawful sexual intercourse.
Ex-rehab owner accused of sexually assaulting patients, $175M billing fraud
The ex-operator of more than a dozen Southland drug treatment and rehabilitation facilities pleaded not guilty today to nearly 100 felony counts accusing him of sexually assaulting nine patients and masterminding a $175 million billing scheme. Christopher Bathum, 55, formerly owned and operated 13 Community Recovery treatment centers in Los Angeles County and Orange County, as well as six in the state of Colorado, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Lancaster man charged with murder of LASD officer has arraignment pushed back
The man charged with killing Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Steve Owen in Lancaster last month had his scheduled arraignment on Monday pushed back to Dec. 15 so his public defender could gather more information about the case. Deputy District Attorney Michael Blake told the judge in the courtroom he had spoken with Trenton Trevon Lovell’s public defender Monica Thelen about trying to provide a preliminary list of witnesses sometime this week.
County Government
Antonovich calls for more support for crime victims owed restitution
The county is trying to preserve restitution for crime victims, after voters once again approved a ballot measure – this time, Prop 57 – which has made it more difficult for the courts to collect from criminals. The increasing rate of recidivism since voters passed Proposition 47 in 2014, combined with the fact voters have once again lessened the penalties for many crimes – Prop 47 reduced nearly all drug and theft charges to misdemeanors – have hampered efforts by county officials to help victims.
Janice Hahn taps Supervisor Don Knabe’s aide as her chief of staff
An aide to Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe has been tapped as the new chief of staff for Rep. Janice Hahn when she succeeds the veteran Fourth District supervisor in December. Hahn’s office announced Wednesday that Nick Ippolito will serve as her top staffer. Ippolito has worked for the county for 25 years and currently serves as Knabe’s assistant chief of staff.
Pension battle pushes precedent in distressed California town
Letters sent by certified mail usually aren’t how state and local governments signal they’re about to breach the promise that public workers consider ironclad when it comes to retirement benefits. But that’s how Patsy Jardin, 71, of Loyalton, California, found out that she may lose much of her $48,000 annual pension because the town government failed to fund its long-term liabilities. Reading the letter delivered to her rural home made the former clerk “sick,” she said in an interview. “It’s my livelihood.”
State Government
Here’s why Mike Ramos wants to be appointed California attorney general
San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos said Monday, Nov. 14, that he’s interested in being appointed to serve the remainder of Kamala Harris’ term as California attorney general now that she’s been elected to the U.S. Senate. Ramos announced his intention two years ago to run for attorney general in 2018, when Harris’ term expires. But now that she’s a senator-elect Gov. Jerry Brown will have to appoint a replacement with approval from a majority of the Assembly and state Senate.
SF, LA police unions target SF DA Gascón in letter to Gov. Brown
Police union officials took another shot Wednesday at their longtime nemesis, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, this time in a letter sent to Gov. Jerry Brown asking that he not appoint a “failed prosecutor” to replace U.S. Sen.-elect Kamala Harris as state attorney general. Gascón, whose push to reform the police force has been met with stiff resistance, has been mentioned as a possible candidate for attorney general, but could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday. In the past, he has said he had no plans to run for the job.
Lots of strong prospects for California attorney general
Gov. Jerry Brown won’t have a hard time finding a well-qualified candidate to succeed U.S. Sen.-elect Kamala Harris as state attorney general. If there is one thing California has in abundance, it is lawyers with skill, steel spines and ambition. The difficulty will be in coming up with just one nominee.
Is Sacramento really boys’ town? Women lose ground in California’s Legislature
On a night many believed would be a milestone for women in politics, Cristina Garcia donned a Hillary Clinton T-shirt and a gray pantsuit and left her house in southeast Los Angeles. “Buenas noches,” the Democratic assemblywoman from Bell Gardens greeted her neighbors as she walked to an election-night party. Garcia was hopeful not only that voters would send a woman to the White House, but also that they would propel a bumper crop of women to the California Capitol.
A dozen hopefuls step up to the starting line for Los Angeles mayoral race
Y.J. Draiman would take Mayor Eric Garcetti’s job by boosting business. David Hernandez would supplant the mayor by building infrastructure. And Garcetti would be re-elected mayor by having already led Los Angeles. They were among the dozen candidates to formally declare they would run for mayor before the deadline ends at noon today. Candidates have until Dec. 7 to collect enough signatures to get onto the March 7 city election ballot.
L.A.’s March ballot has more than a mayor race
The election is over. Get ready for the election. In only a little more than 100 days, Los Angeles residents will go back to the polls to vote for mayor, city attorney, city controller, eight of the 15 L.A. City Council members and three of the seven L.A. Unified School Board members. Dozens of candidates have declared their intention to run. Quietly, serious campaigns are well under way. Where should the focus be?
Post-Election 2016
California parole changes may speed end to federal oversight
Voters’ approval of Gov. Jerry Brown’s sentencing reform initiative may finally give California the long-term solution it needs to end a decade-long legal battle over prison conditions that twice reached the U.S. Supreme Court and has cost taxpayers billions of dollars. Proposition 57 was pitched as a safety valve to reduce an inmate population that is steadily increasing despite state efforts to shift felons from overcrowded state prisons into equally burdened county jails over the past five years.
Passage of Prop. 57 poses questions
Law enforcement officials say they are concerned the passage of a new law that provides early parole consideration will place more felons “back on the streets” without addressing crucial program gaps. California voters on Tuesday passed Proposition 57 by a wide margin, with about 64 percent voting yes. The proposition, backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, was touted as a cost-saving measure to address the ballooning prison population.
Why Brown must actively guide Prop. 57’s criminal justice reform
Proposition 47, the 2014 state ballot measure that reclassified many felonies as misdemeanors, has proven divisive. Some strongly defend it, but many in law enforcement say it has led to more crime. Now Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest criminal justice reform measure, Proposition 57, has passed. It will make it easier for many felons – mostly those convicted of nonviolent crimes – to win parole from the state Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections by earning sentence credits for good behavior, rehabilitation or educational achievements.
Law enforcement leaders brace for Prop. 57 impacts
Law enforcement leaders are bracing for the impacts of Proposition 57, the voter-approved initiative that will make thousands of prison inmates eligible for earlier parole, allow state prison officials to expand credit for rehabilitation and give judges authority as to whether juveniles should be tried as adults. “There is less offender accountably and to a degree it also revictimizes the victims of crimes,” Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said.
Local authorities still determining impact of Prop 57 passage
San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said he will continue working with the Secretary of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to determine what impact the passage of Proposition 57 will have in the county. California voters approved the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act, better known as Prop 57, last week. It is supposed to help reduce the state’s prison population by providing more parole opportunities for some convicted felons.
Criminal justice reform rolls on in California, much to the chagrin of police leaders
Another defeat at the ballot box this week for California law enforcement leaders. For months, many police chiefs, sheriffs and prosecutors urged voters to reject Proposition 57, which will give thousands of state prisoners an early opportunity to be released. Voters overwhelmingly approved the measure 63.59 percent to 36.41 percent. The passage of Proposition 57 is only the latest measure to roll back the policies of the 1980s and 90s when crime rates were much higher than they are today.
ACLU fights California’s new death-penalty law
Following Californians’ Election Day approval of a proposition to keep the death penalty and speed executions, the ACLU sued the state, claiming Proposition 66 gives unelected officials “unbridled discretion” over executions. The ACLU of Northern California and two death-row inmates, Mitchell Sims and Michael Morales, claim California’s death-penalty law violates the state constitution’s separation of powers clause by allowing the defendant Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation instead of legislators to develop execution procedures.
Trump election won’t change immigration enforcement at some Southern California police agencies
Several major Southern California police agencies have no plans to alter immigration policies despite a pledge from President-elect Donald Trump to impose tougher immigration laws and deport some 2 million to 3 million immigrants with criminal records. The Los Angeles Police Department will not change its immigration policies, Chief Charlie Beck said in remarks reported Monday. “I don’t intend on doing anything different,” Beck said in a Los Angeles Times story.
In CA, some winners and losers
It’s all over and, with a few exceptions, it will stay that way for two more years. But like any other public event, ranging from bridge tournaments to the Super Bowl, there were winners and losers.  Here’s our take on who came out winners and who lost in the 2016 general election. WINNERS: Jerry Brown – California voters approved his Proposition 57, a move to loosen parole restrictions and reduce the prison population. The governor must be thinking “If only I were a few years younger, I could have clobbered Trump!”
Poll: Republican gubernatorial candidates would perform well behind Democrat Newsom
Good news for California Republicans: In a field of nine candidates for the 2018 gubernatorial race, they have two of the top three names, according to a poll released Tuesday. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Ashley Swearengin, the termed-out mayor of Fresno, placed just behind Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom in a poll of registered voters taken prior to last week’s presidential election, conducted by The Field Poll and the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley.
The Riggs Report: Death and taxes on the ballot
Benjamin Franklin is famously quoted as saying, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes.” California voters underscored that saying in last week’s election, turning down another effort to repeal the death penalty while also approving a higher tobacco tax and an extension of higher income taxes for the state’s wealthiest residents. But with the dust settling on the outcome of a ballot crammed with the most propositions in 16 years, the overall results defy an easy explanation or road map of where the state may be heading.
GOP assemblyman defeated, giving California Democrats supermajority
Republican Assemblyman Eric Linder has been defeated by Democratic challenger Sabrina Cervantes, giving the Democrats an expected supermajority in the California Assembly. Linder was one of at least two GOP incumbents who lost after last week’s election. Assemblyman David Hadley of Torrance also was defeated. Results from Riverside County showed Wednesday that Cervantes won 53 percent to 47 percent.
His party’s refusal to keep illegals out let Trump stomp his way in
America’s Republican elites are as stunned by Donald Trump’s conquest of the White House as the Democrats and the press. They shouldn’t be, since they created the conditions that led to Trump’s improbable victory. For decades the Republican establishment suppressed debate about the costs of mass low-skilled immigration. Anyone who questioned the wisdom of America’s de facto open borders policy was silenced with charges of xenophobia or simply ignored.
L.A. leaders just vowed to fight deportations under Trump. Here’s what they’ve proposed
s Angeles city officials on Thursday began outlining a wide-ranging battle plan for dealing with the Donald Trump presidency, vowing to push back against efforts to deport people in this country illegally while also working to protect – and perhaps even increase – federal funding for projects ranging from transportation to homelessness.
Texas was Obama’s chief antagonist. In Trump’s America, California is eager for the part
In the early morning hours after Donald Trump became president-elect of the United States, California Senate leader Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon were on the phone grappling with what comes next. Trump’s upset victory left the two Democrats reeling.  They saw the incoming administration as an existential threat to the progressive work they accomplished in the nation’s most populous state.
California voters embrace anti-gun ammunition control
Cementing California’s status as the most anti-gun state, voters overwhelmingly voted on Election Day for stronger gun control regulations, including new ammunition controls. The proposition features a provision that requires a person or business to get a single year license from the state Department of Justice to sell ammunition and requires sellers to conduct background checks for ammunition purchases.
The marijuana-initiative blunder that could cost California millions of dollars
Benjamin Franklin said that taxes, like death, are one of life’s few certainties. But due to a glitch in the technical language of California’s successful marijuana legalization initiative, the state’s pot smokers may prove him wrong. California’s marijuana legalization initiative is designed to raise significant tax revenue for the state.

Recommended Posts