Monday Morning Memo for February 6, 2017

California considers an end to bail: ‘We’re punishing people simply for being poor’
On any given day, most inmates in California jails have not yet been convicted of a crime. About 63 percent are being held awaiting trial, according to data collected by the Board of State and Community Corrections, an average of nearly 47,000 people. Federal statistics on the largest urban counties show that from 2000 to 2009, California kept unsentenced felony defendants in jail at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the country.
Ex-MMA fighter Jason “Mayhem” Miller acquitted of domestic violence charges
Former mixed martial arts fighter Jason “Mayhem” Miller was acquitted Wednesday of domestic violence charges. Miller, 36, struggled to hold back his emotions as a courtroom clerk announced that jurors, after one hour of deliberating, cleared him of two felony counts of domestic battery with corporal injury and a misdemeanor charge of violating a protection order.
Conviction & Sentencing
Bus driver gets 2 years in death of autistic teen left on bus in Whittier
A judge on Monday sentenced a school bus driver to two years in prison for leaving an autistic Whittier teen in a bus for hours on a sweltering day. The 19-year-old died from overheating. Sarah Ardalani, spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office, said all the windows on the bus were closed and the temperature hit nearly 96 degrees on Sept. 11, 2015.
Pasadena man sentenced to 181 years in jail for 2014 murders
A Pasadena man who shot and killed his live-in girlfriend, her 91-year-old father and a Good Samaritan in a shooting rampage in Pasadena in 2014 was sentenced Wednesday to 181 years to life in prison,  the District Attorney’s Office announced. John Izeal Smith, 46, pleaded guilty in December to murdering three people and trying to kill another during the shooting that occurred in the 1700 block of N. Summit Avenue on July 12, 2014.
Hollywood man convicted of murdering man found in trash bin
A Hollywood man was convicted Tuesday of killing a man he had recently started dating and stuffing the victim’s body in a suitcase found in a trash bin. The Los Angeles Superior Court jury found Merdan Haydarov, 22, guilty of second-degree murder for the Nov. 23, 2013, killing of 49-year-old Randall Scott Kreeger, whose throat was cut.
OC sodomizer’s sex with 3-year-old relative: 10-year sentenced reversed
An appellate panel Tuesday reversed a 10-year sentence given to an Orange County man who sodomized a 3-year-old relative, which sparked international headlines and public rebukes for the judge, who deviated from a state-mandated life term for the defendant. Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas appealed Orange County Superior Court Judge M. Marc Kelly’s sentence for 21-year-old Kevin Jonas Rojano-Nieto.
Law Enforcement
Why local law enforcement should not be immigration agents
A prosecutor’s job is to seek justice for all people who are victims of crime, whatever their legal status in this country. To accomplish this goal, there needs to be cooperation from victims and witnesses, willing to both initially tell the police what they observed and then willing to testify in court.
LAPD Chief Beck explains why he doesn’t want his officers to be immigration cops
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and I were chatting over breakfast, and I told him the story of a Border Patrol maintenance man who spent decades repairing holes in the border fence at Calexico. Some days Albert Garcia welded and patched 10 or 12 holes, finding saws and ropes and ladders near cuts in the iron fence. The next day, he’d go back and find more holes, and patch those, too.
Los Angeles traffic is nation’s deadliest
With Los Angeles being the deadliest city in America for traffic-related deaths, officials Thursday released a plan with the bold goal of completely eliminating them by 2025. The Vision Zero Action Plan, which has been in the works for several years, calls for a number of engineering improvements along with increased enforcement of traffic laws to help reduce fatalities.
California Governor Brown: Driver’s license penalty harms the poor
When Aaron Cutchon was laid off from his job at an auto body shop, he could no longer afford to pay for two traffic tickets he got for driving in a carpool lane. His license was suspended, and he had to stop attending classes at a Napa junior college where he was working toward an associate’s degree.
Bloody double Chinatown club murders ready for prosecutors
Police Tuesday are expected to present their Chinatown murder case to prosecutors in the knife killing of two victims at a private club in an apparent debt dispute. One of the victims of the suspect who had demanded money from him at the Chinatown club was publicly identified by the Los Angeles Police Department as Tony Young. Young was in his 60s and lived in the Montebello area, according to the coroner’s office.
Hawaiian Gardens casino facing loss of license says it’s now complying with laws
Managers of the Gardens Casino, the major employer and source of tax revenue to its home city, are preparing to defend their license after spending $90 million on renovations, enough to build an entirely new casino. Whether the casino and its key operators will be able to keep licenses needed to operate a card room in California follows the Gardens Casino’s admitted failure to properly follow federal anti-money laundering law.
A surprise witness steps forward in case of Black Lives Matter activist
A surprise witness was identified in Superior Court on Tuesday in the case of the Los Angeles Police Commission president who filed a temporary restraining order against a prominent member of Black Lives Matter L.A. The witness is fellow L.A. police commissioner Cynthia McClain-Hill, who will offer a rebuttal at a later date to key allegations made in the complaint filed by her colleague, board president Matt M. Johnson.
Off-duty LAPD officer shoots 2 suspects who tried to burglarize his home in Downey: Police
A Los Angeles Police Department officer shot and wounded two people after they attempted to burglarize his home in Downey early Monday, authorities said. The officer was not on duty when he confronted the burglary suspects around 1 a.m. in the 7600 block of Borson Street, according to Downey Police Department Chief Carl D. Charles.
New police chiefs bringing big pensions from former jobs
There’s one big upside to being an outsider taking over a police department – you get to keep the pension from your last job. And in the case of new San Francisco Police Chief William Scott, it’s quite a boost. As chief, Scott will earn about $316,000 a year.
Sheriff: Suspect in Righteous Brothers wife slaying is dead
More than four decades after the ex-wife of Righteous Brothers singer Bill Medley was raped and killed, officials announced Monday they used DNA to identify a suspect in the slaying: a man who was killed by police in 1982. Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said investigators believe Kenneth Eugene Troyer was responsible for the January 1976 slaying of Karen Klaas.
LA police commission reviews body-cam policy. Other cities’ rules vary, KPCC finds.
The civilian body that oversees the Los Angeles Police Department this week announced it plans to roll back the department’s prohibition on the release of body worn camera video, a move police reform activists have been lobbying for ever since officers started wearing cameras last year.
USC spatial sciences students analyze crime patterns in L.A.
When the mayor of Los Angeles considers the potential of your research on crime data and public safety so valuable that he invites you to work with his team, it’s quite exciting – especially if you’re an undergraduate. Students and researchers from USC’s Spatial Sciences Institute recently presented their work to members of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s data team and the Los Angeles Police Department.
Study ties loss of jobs to rise in violent crime
A new study out this week suggests that the loss of jobs in Chicago’s inner city has been a major factor in the rising crime rates in some neighborhoods. A new report on youth joblessness draws a strong connection between the loss of jobs in several neighborhoods and violent crime.
Walmart® caught selling counterfeits
Global name recognition and consumer perceived credibility is a significant advantage in marketing (and profiting) from consumer goods. Consumers place their confidence in, and rely on Walmart’s credibility to purchase authentic goods. But, sometimes that confidence is misplaced. Walmart was caught again selling counterfeit items on its website.
D.A. investigator’s lawsuit says he was beaten and unlawfully detained by L.A. County sheriff’s deputies
An investigator with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Sheriff Jim McDonnell and a group of deputies, alleging he was beaten and unlawfully detained while working last year.
2016 Crime statistics show less murders but more violent crime; city announces new police partnership
Year-end crime statistics unveiled last week by city officials showed murders decreased by 8.3 percent while overall crime remained essentially flat compared to 2015 levels. Violent crimes- murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults, etc.-increased by 3.5 percent compared to 2015.
Mitrice Richardson’s family speaks out as state says deputies shouldn’t be prosecuted in her death
Almost a year after opening a criminal investigation into the way the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department handled the 2009 disappearance of Mitrice Richardson, the California Attorney General’s Office concluded there was no evidence to prosecute the deputies for their actions. The decision was sent last week to Michael Richardson, the woman’s father.
474 Arrested, 28 sexually exploited children rescued during statewide human trafficking operation: LASD
Hundreds of people were arrested and dozens of sexually exploited children and adult victims were rescued across California during a statewide operation to combat human trafficking, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced Tuesday.
Ballot Measures
Prop. 57 could turn back time for minors charged with murder
Minors charged as adults in four cases working their way through Santa Maria Superior Court could be transferred to the juvenile system as a result of Proposition 57, leading to the possibility of lesser sentences and more rehabilitation.  Voters approved the California Parole for Non-Violent Criminals and Juvenile Court Trial Requirements Initiative, also known as Prop. 57, on Nov. 8.
California Supreme Court once more delays voter proposition meant to speed up executions
The California Supreme Court on Wednesday once more delayed the implementation of a voter-approved measure that seeks to speed up the state’s death penalty system, as it considers a pending lawsuit challenging the measure’s provisions.
SoCal Ballot Battles: The future of marijuana businesses in Los Angeles
Since passage of Proposition 64 in California last November, my firm has been getting calls nearly non-stop about what it takes to secure a license to operate a marijuana business in the City of Los Angeles. Some are asking me about “buying” a Proposition D-compliant dispensary now to secure a California retail cannabis license from the state in the future.
Judge confirms San Bernardino’s plan to exit bankruptcy
San Bernardino, California, won final court approval on Friday for its financial restructuring plan, clearing the way for the city to wrap up the bankruptcy case it launched more than four years ago when its leaders learned it was facing insolvency. “I look forward to the city having a prosperous future,” U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Jury said at the conclusion of a hearing in Riverside, California.
Commerce Councilman Argumedo wins lawsuit, judge slams Commerce, City Attorney, calls into question District Attorney investigation
In a wide-ranging, analytical, and hard-hitting decision, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson slammed three Commerce councilmembers and City Attorney Eddie Olivo for filing a Quo Warranto action in 2015 to remove Hugo Argumedo from his Commerce City Council seat.
California’s top court to decide whether emails and texts sent on personal devices are public record
Community activist Ted Smith suspected backroom dealing at  San Jose City Hall. San Jose’s former mayor was asking the City Council for government money to help develop a project downtown. Smith filed a public records request for all communications related to the development from elected officials and their staff.
Marin pension reformers get extra muscle for Supreme Court battle
A San Francisco lawyer has agreed to file an amicus brief on behalf of Marin’s Citizens for Sustainable Pension Plans in a high-stakes appeal to the California Supreme Court affecting public pensions. Karol Denniston, a partner in the firm of Squire, Patton and Boggs, said she will file a “friend of the court” brief in support of the Marin County Employees Retirement Association.
Domestic violence survivor brings life lessons to LA bench
When new Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Debra Archuleta was a young woman, she had a brush with death that would change the course of her life. “I was 19 years old and I had a boyfriend who had anger-management issues and threw me into a wall,” Archuleta told Courthouse News in an interview in downtown Los Angeles late last year. Archuleta suffered from headaches that worsened over the next two years.
DMV, Judicial Council hit over fees
A motorist who faced more than $1,600 in fines for a traffic violation is suing the Department of Motor Vehicles and the state Judicial Council in federal court, contending that millions of California drivers had their licenses suspended illegally because they were unable to pay spiraling fees. “Traffic courts in California routinely impose exorbitant penalty assessments, fines and fees on all traffic court cases over and above the statutory fines” required for public safety, says Howard Herships of Sacramento, who authored the pending suit.
Prison & Parole
California parole panel recommends release of former follower of Charles Manson
A state panel on Wednesday recommended parole for a former follower of cult leader Charles Manson whose release has been blocked by California governors on four previous occasions. Bruce Davis, 74, had his 31st parole hearing at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo, where he is serving a life sentence for the 1969 slayings of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald “Shorty” Shea.
California death row inmate dies; convicted in San Jose murder trial
A killer convicted in a high-profile Santa Clara County trial died of unknown causes Saturday at San Quentin State Prison. Fernando Eros Caro, 67, had been sentenced to death for the 1980 murders of two bicycling teenagers and a man in citrus orchards near Fresno. He was tried in San Jose because of pretrial publicity in Fresno County.
LA councilwoman targets ‘sleazy businesses’ in fight against human trafficking
Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez announced an effort Tuesday to increase enforcement of a 2013 state law mandating certain businesses post anti-human-trafficking posters near their entrance. “We must send a message to these sleazy businesses that if you are contributing to the problem then you have a moral obligation to be part of the solution as well,” Martinez said.
Lawmakers have doubts that the system to license marijuana sales in California will be in place by deadline
State lawmakers voiced doubts Monday about the ability of state agencies to finish crafting regulations and a licensing system for the sale of recreational marijuana in California by the end of this year, as promised to voters. The possibility of delay was raised at a hearing at the Capitol by three state Senate committees looking into whether state agencies are on track to complete the work this year.
Politics & Local Government
Mike Feuer: Four – no, make that 5½ – more years
Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer is soon to be elected to a second term. That’s a statement we can make with confidence because he is running without opposition. So why bother with an endorsement? Feuer is in, and not for merely another four years. Because of a voter-approved change in city election schedules, he will have a one-time, extra-long 5½-year term.
LA leaders urge voters to pass countywide quarter-cent sales tax to help homeless
Just a few blocks from where homeless encampments stretched along Silver Lake Boulevard, Los Angeles city and county officials launched a campaign Monday to encourage voters to approve a sales tax to boost social services to help those who sleep on the streets, in shelters and in their cars. Called Measure H, the proposed quarter-cent sales tax will be on the March 7 ballot for Los Angeles County voters.
D.A. Green to retire in 2018, sparking potentially competitive race
District Attorney Lisa Green will not run for re-election in 2018, she said Monday, setting up what could be a very competitive race to be Kern County’s top prosecutor. There already are three potential candidates to succeed Green, who told her staff Thursday she will not be seeking a third four-year term. The first is Assistant District Attorney Scott Spielman, Green’s right-hand man. That’s whom she will support.
Presidential Administration
Emboldened by Trump, some police unions seek to overhaul Obama’s reforms
Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, had a blunt message for Donald Trump during a meeting in September: court-ordered reforms aimed at curbing police abuses in the midwestern city are not working. Loomis and two other attendees said Trump seemed receptive to Loomis’s concerns that federally monitored police reforms introduced during the Obama administration in some cities in response to complaints of police bias and abuse are ineffective and impose an onerous burden on police forces.
Trump’s ‘sanctuary’ order sets up showdown between cities and states
President Trump’s vow to cut off millions of dollars in federal funds to cities that protect undocumented immigrants has set up a clash not only between his administration and local mayors — but between the largely Democrat-led cities and Republican-led states. GOP governors who share Trump’s goal of ending sanctuary city policies could even be in a better position than the president to pressure local governments defying federal requests. 
Spurred by Trump’s immigration crackdown, L.A. City Council moves to decriminalize street vending
Immigrant advocates had long pushed Los Angeles to legalize street vending, arguing that sidewalk sellers who hawk ice cream, hot dogs wrapped in bacon, or other food and goods should not face criminal charges that could put them at risk of being deported. But the idea languished at City Hall as lawmakers sparred over where and how sidewalk vending should be allowed.
Los Angeles ‘prepares for worst’ after Trump immigration order
At the inaugural meeting of Los Angeles City Council’s Immigrant Affairs Committee, city leaders responded forcefully to President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, indicating the city will introduce a series of measures to resist efforts to deport undocumented immigrants.
‘I’m not going to do it.’ Police aren’t eager to help Trump enforce immigration laws
A day after Donald Trump was elected president, two detectives walked up to a building site in Koreatown. The pair was hoping to find someone who might have witnessed a motorist intentionally knocking down a construction worker.  They introduced themselves to a group of Latino workers. The workers got up and walked away.
Trump wants to enlist local police in immigration crackdown
To build his highly touted deportation force, President Donald Trump is reviving a long-standing program that deputizes local officers to enforce federal immigration law. The program received scant attention during a week in which Trump announced plans to build a border wall, hire thousands more federal agents and impose restrictions on refugees from Middle Eastern countries.

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