Monday Morning Memo for December 26, 2016

Prosecution
Judge declares mistrial in ex-Sheriff Lee Baca’s corruption trial
Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca walked out of federal court Thursday almost a free man after jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked and a judge declared a mistrial in his jail corruption trial. The jury of six men and six women deliberated almost three days to determine if Baca was guilty of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. The charges stem from an investigation into inmate abuse inside Men’s Central Jail in 2011.

Los Angeles Daily News

Mistrial in ex-Sheriff Baca corruption case: ‘Hard-working deputies should not be judged’
The mistrial declared in the federal corruption trial of former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca should not be viewed as absolving leadership failures in the department, the heads of the sheriff’s deputies’ union said Thursday. Ron Hernandez, president of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, said that instead of concentrating changes in the department at the top, the agency instead is targeting “rank-and-file deputies.”
Jinx’ star Robert Durst’s personal papers object of court battle
Prosecutors and defense lawyers in the Robert Durst case are fighting over whether reams of his personal papers can be used at his Los Angeles murder trial. Motions filed ahead of a hearing next Wednesday do not detail the nature of most of the paperwork, although there are several references to a mystery document titled “BD Story,” which uses the real-estate heir’s initials.

NBC News

Sex predator’s GPS monitor led to multiple murder charges in California
The fourth known victim was found on the trash conveyor belt at a California recycling facility in March 2014, her naked body in such poor condition that those who discovered her could not tell how she died. She had trauma to her vagina and trauma to her neck, where, distinctively written, she also had a tattoo of her mother’s name.

Washington Post

Bouncer at NoHo topless bar charged with murder in death of man punched, fatally struck by vehicle
A bouncer at a North Hollywood topless bar was charged with murder Monday in the death of a man who died in a hit-and-run crash after being punched and falling into traffic. Ernest Shawn Reyes, 34, of Arleta is accused of punching 47-year-old Wilfredo Rodriguez outside a bar early Thursday, Dec. 15. The victim was struck in the face and then fell back into the street and was hit by a vehicle that did not stop, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Drake Madison said Monday.
Conviction & Sentencing
Man finally sentenced for hiring assassin to kill 17-year-old wife decades ago
A man convicted of hiring an assassin to stage a robbery and kill his 17-year-old wife in a La Mirada park — a crime that went unsolved for nearly two decades — was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Morrad Ghonim, 43, was convicted Nov. 21 of the murder of Victoria Ghonim, who was shot on July 23, 1992, while sitting in a car with Morrad and her infant son in La Mirada Creek Park.
Pardons
Gov. Jerry Brown pardons 112, commutes one sentence in pre-Christmas tradition
Continuing his tradition of giving pre-Christmas reprieves, Gov. Jerry Brown granted 112 pardons and commuted one sentence on Friday. The pardons were granted mostly to individuals convicted of nonviolent, drug-related crimes who have since completed their sentences. Since 2011, Brown has granted 854 pardons and two commutations, according to the governor’s office.
Gov. Brown forgives more felons in past 6 years than were pardoned in previous 30
With the 112 pardons his office announced the day before this Christmas Eve, Brown has granted more than 850 pardons since 2011, many for drug crimes-a stark contrast to his recent predecessors. Between 1991 and 2010, three California governors granted a total of just 28 pardons. Brown’s pattern resembles those of earlier governors from both political parties; his father Pat Brown, a Democrat, and Republican Ronald Reagan each granted a few hundred pardons.

CALmatters

Guns
People who commit gun crimes are likely to have been shot before, new study finds
For decades, researchers have probed the “cycle of abuse” that leads some people subjected to child abuse to later commit the same acts they once suffered. A better understanding of the psychological damage inflicted on children who are abused, and the risks they face as they age, has led to well-established social programs and interventions aimed directly at those most susceptible.
Fake guns lead to real tragedies
Police across the country say they are increasingly facing off against people with ultra-real-looking pellet guns, toy weapons and non-functioning replicas. Such encounters have led police to shoot and kill at least 86 people over the past two years, according to a Washington Post database of fatal police shootings nationwide. So far this year, police have fatally shot 43 people wielding the guns. In 2015, police also killed 43.

Washington Post

Local Government
No charges for government critic who penned racist comments and images about L.A. City Council member
Prosecutors have declined to file charges against a vocal critic of the Los Angeles City Council who submitted a card during a public meeting with racially incendiary drawings, including a burning cross. The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said the card submitted by Encino attorney Wayne Spindler, which labeled City Council President Herb Wesson with a racial slur, was “deeply offensive, morally wrong and socially reprehensible,” according to a memo released Thursday.
Carson Mayor Al Robles settles campaign-finance law violations for $12,000
Carson Mayor Albert Robles has settled his cases with the state’s campaign-finance watchdog for violations of the Political Reform Act, agreeing to pay fines totaling $12,000. Robles faced more than $85,000 in fines for repeated violations of campaign-finance law since 2012 in his campaigns for mayor and for a board member of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California. He won re-election to both offices in November.
Hack of LA County emails exposes personal data of nearly 800,000 people
A Nigerian national has been charged, and others are being sought, in connection with a hack of Los Angeles County emails that might have exposed personal data from hundreds of thousands of people who had business with county departments, officials said Friday. Kelvin Onaghinor, 37, of Nigeria faces nine counts related to the breach, including unauthorized computer access and identity theft, according to the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office.
Nigerian fingered for phishing attack on 750,000 employees
County officials Friday announced criminal charges against a Nigerian national who allegedly waged a phishing e-mail attack that targeted Los Angeles County employees and potentially affected more than 750,000 people. “Based on intensive investigation and monitoring, there is no evidence that confidential information from any members of the public has been released because of the breach,” according to a statement released by Los Angeles County’s Chief Executive Office.
LA doesn’t just ban the box, It gives it the boot
Los Angeles just joined the ranks of other cities like San Francisco and New York City by enacting its own ban-the-box ordinance, prohibiting private employers from inquiring about criminal convictions during the application process. But not to be outdone by other cities, the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring, Ordinance No. 184652, will be among the most restrictive in the country for private employers, taking it a few steps beyond the restrictions faced by other employers across the country.
How Los Angeles’ first homeless coordinator approaches her job
Los Angeles leaders are hoping to make a significant dent in homelessness, thanks to a series of steps designed to address the issue head-on. The City developed a comprehensive plan that emphasized a “housing first” that the City Council then helped fund in a budget that included millions of dollars in short-term spending. Then, in November, voters approved $1.2 billion to build housing for the homeless.
Law Enforcement
LAPD Chief pulls over distracted drivers to deliver message and some holiday cheer
Some drivers got an unexpected gift when Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck pulled them over for distracted driving Thursday. Instead of writing a ticket, he warned about the dangers of distracted driving and sent drivers off with a gift card to spread some holiday cheer. Beck documented his day with officers from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Van Nuys and Valley Traffic divisions Thursday on Instagram and Twitter, as he and two other motor officers looked for distracted drivers.
CNN fans more hatred of cops, in touting flawed study
CNN is making a desperate pitch to further enflame the ideological war on cops while it still has a sympathetic ear in the White House. The CNN website is promoting a laughably incomplete study of police use of fatal force under the headline “Black men nearly 3 times as likely to die from police use of force, study says.” Utterly ignored in the study and in CNN’s write-up is any mention of violent-crime rates, which vary enormously by race and which predict officer use of force.
How do cops know if you’re too high to drive?
A month after California voted to approve Proposition 64 and legalize recreational marijuana, law enforcement officials throughout the state are prepping for what many view as the obvious: a jump in the number of people driving under the influence of pot. What they’re not prepped for is less obvious: how to prove it when people are driving under the influence of pot.
Mayor Lee picks William Scott, LAPD veteran, as SF police chief
Mayor Ed Lee plans to announce Tuesday that he is hiring a veteran Los Angeles deputy police chief to lead the San Francisco force as it implements broad changes in the wake of several shootings of African Americans and Latinos, according to City Hall sources. William Scott, who is 52 and African American, has been with the Los Angeles Police Department for more than 25 years and heads the department’s 1,700-member South Bureau, a nearly 58-square-mile territory.
Beloved Deputy in Compton dubbed ‘unofficial mayor’
“You need some help” asks Compton Deputy Rafer Owens. He’s talking to a student doing homework at YAL, the Youth Foundation for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. It’s a typical day on the job for the veteran deputy who now works community relations in his hometown. At a time when some in law enforcement say they can feel unappreciated, Owens is beloved. His captain Michael Thatcher calls him the unofficial mayor of Compton.
Chemerinsky: A long overdue investigation
The announcement on Thursday that the United States Department of Justice is launching an investigation of civil rights violations by the Orange County District Attorney and the Orange County Sheriff is terrific news, but long overdue. The evidence is overwhelming that there long have been systematic unconstitutional practices by these offices. Yet, it is still unknown how many convictions are tainted and the problems still are unremedied.
Ballot Measures
California set a bunch of drug offenders free-and then left them hanging
California’s experiment with releasing thousands of drug offenders from its prisons-a major step in the fight against mass incarceration-has run up against a big problem: Once they’re out, there aren’t enough social service programs to help these offenders overcome addictions and restart their lives.
Heinous acts deserve death penalty
In the most recent election, Californians reaffirmed their strong support of the death penalty. California voters simultaneously voted to keep the death penalty as a possible punishment (Proposition 62) and enacted a series of reforms (Proposition 66) to ensure that the death penalty actually works, bringing meaningful justice for murder victims whose lives were cut short and some semblance of closure to the victims’ loved ones, while still safeguarding the constitutional due process rights of defendants.
Felony pot convictions could become misdemeanors under California’s marijuana legalization law
When Californians voted last month to legalize recreational use of marijuana, they may not have realized they were also allowing retroactive changes that could turn a felony pot conviction into a misdemeanor. Under Proposition 64, people who have been found guilty of possession, transportation or cultivation of marijuana can now ask the Superior Court to reduce those felony convictions to misdemeanors, as long as there are no disqualifying factors in their criminal histories.
Lawmakers try to fix a side effect of reducing drug and theft crimes: Not enough DNA samples for cold cases
California lawmakers are once again trying to expand the collection of DNA evidence in criminal cases, something they say has declined under Proposition 47, hurting cold rape and murder investigations. The landmark ballot measure, which voters passed in 2014, reduced drug possession and some theft crimes to misdemeanors in a move to lower the jail and prison population across the state.

Los Angeles Times

Politics
Lawyer: ‘Appalled’ by FBI warrant that shook Clinton
The FBI warrant that shook Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign in its final two weeks has been unsealed, and the lawyer who requested it says it offers “nothing at all” to merit the agency’s actions leading up to the Nov. 8 election. The warrant was released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by Los Angeles lawyer Randy Schoenberg, who wants to determine what probable cause the agency provided to suspect material on disgraced congressman Anthony Weiner’s computer might be incriminating to Clinton.
Prosecutor is ninth candidate in L.A. congressional race to replace Becerra
The number of candidates fighting to replace Rep. Xavier Becerra is now at nine, with L.A. County prosecutor Steven Mac the latest to jump in. Mac, 35, filed papers with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday. He previously lived in Glendale, but moved to Eagle Rock this week due to rising rent, he said.
Marijuana
Lending money to pot businesses is a high-risk move: ‘This is not for the faint of heart’
Despite California voters’ approval last month of Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana, and coming ground rules for pot businesses set to take effect in 2018, it remains difficult and expensive for companies that want to grow, process or sell marijuana to borrow money. Most banks won’t even open checking accounts for marijuana businesses, much less lend to them.
What new marijuana laws mean for employers
On election day, voters in California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada decided to legalize the use of recreational marijuana, joining Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia. Residents in Montana voted to roll back marijuana provider restrictions, and Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota legalized marijuana use for medical reasons. Medical marijuana is already legal in 25 other states and the District of Columbia.
Death Penalty
Death sentences and executions are down, but voters still support death penalty laws
In 2016, 30 people were sentenced to death in America, and 20 people were executed. Those numbers are the lowest in decades, according to a report by the Death Penalty Information Center, which collects data on capital punishment in the United States, and advocates against the death penalty. The 2016 numbers fit with a multi-decade trend.
California Supreme Court halts death penalty measure
A ballot initiative approved by voters to speed up death penalty appeals was put on hold Tuesday by the California Supreme Court to consider a lawsuit challenging the measure. The court issued a one-page decision staying the “implementation of all provisions of Proposition 66” and set a timeline for filing briefs that the court will consider before deciding to hold a hearing.
Pensions
CalPERS opts to keep ban on tobacco stocks
CalPERS said no again to tobacco Monday. Amid a passionate debate on the wisdom and morality of investing in tobacco, the big California pension fund rejected a recommendation by its staff to end its 16-year-old ban on the practice. CalPERS’ investment committee, in a 9-3 vote, concluded that the tobacco industry is heading toward long-term decline and presents too much of a risk.
California employee pension will consider cutting return assumption
Calpers may be getting a bit more real. The $300 billion California public employees’ pension manager is considering cutting its investment return assumption. The move would squeeze the budgets of public authorities and employees, but secure funding for retirees. If the American government pension bellwether can do it, others will follow.
Presidential Transition
New fund provides legal help for immigrants facing deportation proceedings
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Monday announced the creation of a $10 million fund to help provide legal assistance to local immigrants facing deportation proceedings. Garcetti said the plan is a direct response to Donald Trump’s threat to increase deportations of undocumented immigrants and other “dangerous rhetoric” by the president-elect.
What jury duty with Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson was like
The following is a Dec. 13 post by Emily Roden on the five days she spent serving jury duty in Denton, Texas with Donald Trump’s Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson. (Emily Roden is the wife of Denton City Councilman Kevin Roden.) “Nine years ago, I showed up to the Denton County Courthouse for jury duty and got myself picked for the job. A young girl had accused her mom’s boyfriend of sexual assault and the case was being brought to trial.”
If feds try to ID deportable immigrants using California data, state will block access
Ever since Maribel Solache began teaching her own version of driver’s ed in Spanish two years ago, the classes – held around San Diego County – have been jammed. But lately, apprehension has smothered that enthusiasm. “More people come with fear. They say, ‘What is going to happen to my information?’ ” she said. “I tell them they have to get (their driver licenses) before Jan. 20, before Donald Trump.”
How much will Trump reverse course on mass incarceration?
California has been leading the way on prison and sentencing reform, a cause that Barack Obama embraced in the final stretch of his presidency. But it looks like mass incarceration will be another huge policy U-turn from President-elect Donald Trump. His law-and-order crusade, however, would ignore the reality that locking up a lot of nonviolent and drug offenders costs taxpayers a ton of money without improving public safety very much. A new study estimates that nearly 40 percent of those behind bars don’t need to be there, based on the seriousness of the crime and the risk of committing another.
Trump can end the war on cops
Donald Trump’s promise to restore law and order to America’s cities was one of the most powerful themes of his presidential campaign. His capacity to deliver will depend on changing destructive presidential rhetoric about law enforcement and replacing the federal policies that flowed from that rhetoric. The rising violence in many urban areas is driven by what candidate Trump called a “false narrative” about policing.
How pollsters with close Alabama ties helped propel Trump into the White House
Pollsters make a living being public opinion experts. But 2016 has been a tough year for the polling industry after the overwhelming majority of the “experts” were flat out wrong on two of the world’s most significant events – Brexit in the U.K. and the presidential election in the U.S. However, a polling firm with close ties to Alabama correctly called President-elect Donald J. Trump’s improbable victory, and their insight helped propel him to the White House.
Trump’s apparent disregard for nation’s laws raises fears
From flag-burning to libel, from conflicts of interest to torture, President-elect Donald Trump has made comments – in tweets, campaign orations and calm discussions – that have suggested he was either unaware of the applicable laws or didn’t care about them. “Nearly every president has probably done something that a court has later held unconstitutional or contrary to law,” said Pamela Karlan, a Stanford law professor who recently served as supervisor of voting rights cases in the Obama administration’s Justice Department.

Monday Morning Memo for December 19, 2016

Prosecution
Attorneys paint dueling portraits of obstruction in Baca trial
Five years ago, when then-Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca appointed Paul Tanaka as second in command of one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the nation, the Japanese-American lawman became his boss’ confidant and likely successor. In 1998, Tanaka supported Baca’s campaign for the sheriff rather than backing the incumbent Sheriff Sherman Block. 
Ex-Sheriff’s deputy recalls culture of abuse in jails under Lee Baca
A convicted Los Angeles County deputy whose actions within the Men’s Central Jail triggered criminal charges against former Sheriff Lee Baca and many others down the chain of command, recounted for a jury Tuesday how the culture of abuse against inmates was commonplace, and how he got caught.
Man who was shot by LAPD during exchange of gunfire is charged with attempted murder
Prosecutors have charged a 23-year-old man with attempted murder after he allegedly shot at police in South L.A., prompting one officer to fire back and wound him. Quentin Durity also faces charges of assault on a peace officer and being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to Greg Risling, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. He is scheduled to be arraigned in January.
Robert Durst’s lawyers challenge evidence and accuse prosecutor of ‘deceptive’ jailhouse interview
Robert Durst has said he’s eager to let a Los Angeles jury decide whether he killed his friend and confidant Susan Berman, but a brewing legal battle may impede the start of any trial. Attorneys for Durst filed court papers Thursday that challenge some of the evidence against the eccentric millionaire and offer a clearer glimpse into their defense.
Conviction & Sentencing
Man convicted of Hollywood murder of woman from Morro Bay
A Los Angels jury convicted a marijuana dispensary security guard and small business owner for the murder of Carrie Jean Melvin, 30, who grew up in Morro Bay. Ezeoma Obioha, 32, is now facing the possibility of receiving life in prison without parole. In July 2015, Melvin was walking with her boyfriend near Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood when a gunman walked up behind them, fired one round into Melvin’s face and fled.
Murder of girlfriend’s sleeping grandparents ‘cowardly act’
A young man was convicted Friday of the murders of his 14-year-old girlfriend’s grandparents, who were stabbed in their bed in Rosemead more than six years ago. The Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated about two days before finding Roldolfo Lopez, 27, guilty of first-degree murder for the Aug. 9, 2010, killings of Jack Bezner, 71, and his 64-year-old wife, Susan.
Prison
Man who spent nearly 20 years on California death row dies
A man who has been on California’s death row for nearly two decades for a double killing has died. Authorities say 65-year-old Dennis Webb died Tuesday at a hospital. An autopsy will try to determine the cause of death. Webb has been on San Quentin’s death row since 1988. Prosecutors say the Utah parolee had been out of prison for two months when he broke into an Atascadero lodge in 1987.
Law Enforcement
Busted! Officials arrest 38 ‘notorious LA-area gang members’
More than three-dozen gang members wanted for crimes including murder stemming from a gang war that has terrorized an area dubbed the Vermont Corridor have been arrested by a task force composed of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Marshals Service, Sheriff Jim McDonnell announced Monday.
Sheriff Clarke pushes for federal death penalty for cop killers
In the wake of the latest deadly attack on police officers in the United States, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said the government needs to take a tougher line with cop killers, PJ Media reports. On Wednesday, Americus police Officer Nicholas Smarr, age 25, and Georgia Southwestern State University public saftery officer Jody Smith, age 26, were allegedly shot by career criminal Minquell Kennedy Lembrick after responding to a domestic disturbance call. Both officers sadly succumbed to their injuries — Smarr shortly after the incident and Smith on Thursday evening.
DEA dismissed its own misconceptions about pot, group says
Defending the government’s classification of marijuana as one of the most dangerous drugs, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration declares on its website that pot causes mental illness and lung cancer and leads youths to heroin and cocaine. But an advocacy group says the DEA, in a legal filing in August, said it found no evidence to support any of those conclusions.
Crime rates going up in Monrovia
At a community meeting last week to warn citizens of the potentials of holiday theft, representatives of the Monrovia Police Department shares crime statistics for the city that showed a marked increase in criminal activity. In his weekly City Manager’s Update, Oliver Chi wrote, “crime rates in Monrovia are up 25 percent in 2016, when compared against 2015 crime levels.”
Consumer group warns of counterfeit items on eBay
Buyer beware is good advice to consumers in general, but especially when purchasing items online from an individual or company you know little about. The Counterfeit Report, a consumer watchdog that focuses on knock-off products, has warned that many counterfeit microSDHC memory cards are showing up on eBay, posing a threat to unsuspecting consumers.
Feds launch investigation into Orange County D.A.’s Office, Sheriff’s Department over jailhouse informants
The U.S. Department of Justice launched a civil rights investigation of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff’s Department on Thursday over allegations that prosecutors and deputies withhold evidence and use jailhouse informants to illegally obtain confessions.
Redlands police Chief Garcia: Crime rate is up, could spike again
Redlands is feeling the impact of changes made to the state’s criminal justice system, according to Police Chief Mark Garcia. One of the ways the department can address increases in crime is through its partnership with the community, he said. “This is an issue that we need to always be aware of in our community and other communities across the country where we promote “See something, say something,” Garcia said.
Feds seek repeat of disastrous police hiring practices
ALADS has always been in support of hiring the best candidates possible to be deputy sheriffs and district attorney investigators. We are proud to represent more than 7,900 deputies and district attorney investigators who reflect the racial diversity of Los Angeles County. The Sheriff’s Department’s diversity has contributed to the department’s success of ensuring the safety of residents and building trust in the communities it serves.
Emanuel opens the door to relaxing police hiring standards
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday opened the door to allowing candidates with minor drug and criminal offenses to become Chicago Police officers to attract minorities at a time of high crime and deep distrust. Emanuel said he’s leaning toward relaxing the hiring rules at the behest of three powerful aldermen.
Encino doctor accused of sexual assault claims LAPD ‘humiliated’ him during arrest
A doctor arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting female patients in his Encino office during medical examinations insisted Wednesday he’s innocent, and that police went too far when they arrested him. “The thing is, it’s a character attack,” Dr. Michael Howard Popkin, an internist who lives in Granada Hills, said in a telephone interview. “I’m innocent of the charges. That’s the only way I’m going to be able to clear my name, clear my reputation.”
Mayor Garcetti discusses LA’s rise in hate crimes after election
On ABC7’s “Eyewitness Newsmakers: Ask the Mayor,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said reports of hate crimes in Los Angeles have doubled since the presidential election. While 30 reports is still a relatively low number, the mayor said incidents of troubling race-based comments are also on the rise. In the days since the fatal Oakland fire, Garcetti said Los Angeles police and fire are working together to head off a similar circumstance here.
FBI releases 2015 crime statistics from the national incident-based reporting system, encourages transition
Today, the FBI released details on more than 5.6 million criminal offenses reported via the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) in 2015. The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s latest report, NIBRS, 2015, provides a diverse range of information about victims, known offenders, and relationships for 23 offense categories comprised of 49 offenses.
Ballot Measures
Drug busts drop as cops question if they’re worth it
William Bennett, 31, was sleeping on a beachfront walkway when a cop woke him up. The longtime addict was on probation, so he had to let police search him. A speck of heroin was tucked in his wallet. Two years ago, Bennett would have faced handcuffs, a felony and possibly a few years behind bars. But on this November night in Ventura, a Southern California beach town, police wrote him a ticket and let him go.
Former felons find new jobs and new hope after Prop 47
Drill in hand, Tim Wilson kneels to open up a broken air conditioner in Redding, Calif. Repair work like this is steady, but Wilson dreams of more. He wants to be a nurse, and for the first time in a long time, it’s not just a fantasy. Wilson, 42, a former meth addict, had three felony convictions reduced to misdemeanors under Proposition 47, which allowed some felons to retroactively change their records.
Two years after Prop 47, addicts walk free with nowhere to go
Ruben Lopez Jr. wakes up on a rundown leather couch inside a dingy auto shop in the Los Angeles suburbs. He feels the familiar temptation of an old enemy. His body aches, his mind buzzes, his nose runs and his stomach twists. He craves meth just to steady himself and knows it is only two blocks away, at a small homeless camp under a bridge.
Want to see more pot shops in L.A.? You’ll get to vote on it
Last week a core group of quasi-legal marijuana dispensaries in L.A. threw its weight behind Proposition M, the City Council-sponsored measure that would fully legalize the city’s current medical pot collectives and likely would provide permitting for future recreational ones. The measure also would expand the number of legit shops and likely allow delivery services such as Speed Weed to operate in town.
Yes, smoking pot can keep you from being able to buy a gun, and other pot questions answered
Marijuana was legalized in California this past November, but the laws around legal weed are anything but straightforward. For weeks now, we’ve been fielding and answering listener questions about the new legal pot landscape. IS IT TRUE THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CAN DENY YOUR RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS IF YOU SMOKE POT? Yes. If you want to purchase a firearm and you’re a marijuana user, you can be turned away.
Marijuana factions join forces to fully legalize L.A. pot shops
A group representing a number of quasi-legal pot shops in the city of L.A. will throw its considerable weight behind a City Hall-sponsored effort to make those dispensaries fully legal. The organization, the United Cannabis Business Alliance, is scrapping its own measure, which already had qualified for the March ballot.
How police organizations think Trump can help them
National law enforcement advocacy groups are hopeful that President-elect Donald Trump may loosen restrictions on law enforcement’s access to military equipment. The Fraternal Order of Police, an organization made up of officers that often speaks out on issues related to police, endorsed Donald Trump during the election. The national president, Chuck Canterbury, told Politico at the time that Trump “understands and supports our priorities and our members believe he will make America safe again.”
Proposition 64: Legalizing pot a game-changer for many
When California residents voted nearly five weeks ago, one of their major decisions was whether to approve Proposition 64, a ballot measure touted by its supporters as the “Adult Use of Marijuana Act.” Most relevant for most Proposition 64 voters was the opportunity to approve or reject legalizing the use of marijuana for recreational purposes in California. The measure passed with more than 57 percent of the vote in the state and nearly 52 percent in San Joaquin County.
Legislation
Proposal to decriminalize street vending in Los Angeles advances
Los Angeles is the only major city in America that prohibits street vending, but that may be changing after a City Council committee advanced a proposal to decriminalize it on Monday. The proposal put forward by council members Joe Buscaino and Curren Price would replace criminal penalties with a permit system enforced through fines and property confiscation.
Court
Spokeo returns to Ninth Circuit: Was injury ‘concrete?’
How concrete a plaintiff’s injury must be to sue in federal court will be back before the Ninth Circuit Dec. 13 when it hears oral arguments in a consumer privacy case on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court held in May that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit wasn’t thorough enough on the first go-round in its analysis of whether the plaintiff’s injury was concrete as well as particular to him.
How a doctor’s note landed an ex-L.A. Trade Tech Foundation director in jail
The doctor’s letter filed with the court had a simple message: His patient should avoid manual labor for her community service. Jiah “Rhea” Chung, who had been ordered to pick up trash for Caltrans as punishment for embezzling from the Los Angeles Trade Technical College Foundation, was “undergoing a medical evaluation of her heart and lung condition and intolerance to physical labor,” the doctor’s note said.
Lawsuit seeks to decriminalize prostitution in California; anti-porn group warns of sex trafficking link
An anti-pornography organization has filed an amicus brief against a lawsuit aimed at decriminalizing prostitution in the state of California. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation filed the brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday in the case of Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education and Research Project v. George Gascon et al.
2024 Olympics
L.A. will fight Inglewood plans for 2024 Olympics opening/closing ceremonies
Los Angeles 2024 plans to shift the Olympics Opening or Closing ceremonies from the Coliseum to a new stadium in Inglewood would face intense scrutiny from the Los Angeles City Council, council members said Friday. LA 2024 chief executive Gene Sykes would not directly answer questions about moving the ceremonies to the $2.8billion Inglewood stadium being built by real estate developer and Rams owner Stan Kroenke on the former site of Hollywood Park.
Media
What’s the matter with the L.A. Times?
By the time Scott Glover set his sights on the nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic, he had already proved himself to be one of the most talented investigative journalists in the Los Angeles Times newsroom. His instinct for identifying betrayals of the public trust-and the resourcefulness with which he went after those responsible-had led to some of the paper’s biggest scoops.
Presidential Transition
CA lawmakers prep to safeguard databases with info on immigrants here illlegally
Ever since Maribel Solache began teaching her own version of driver’s ed in Spanish two years ago, the classes – held around San Diego County – have been jammed. She estimates she’s helped some 3,000 students earn their licenses. But lately, apprehension has smothered that enthusiasm. “More people come with fear. They say, ‘What is going to happen to my information?'” Solache said.
How police organizations think Trump can help them
National law enforcement advocacy groups are hopeful that President-elect Donald Trump may loosen restrictions on law enforcement’s access to military equipment. The Fraternal Order of Police, an organization made up of officers that often speaks out on issues related to police, endorsed Donald Trump during the election.
California vs. Trump bout shaping up — Any hope that California would soon settle into some sort of accommodation with a Trump Administration is fading rapidly. During the past two weeks, this happened: President-elect Donald Trump named Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as his choice to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the federal enforcer of rules governing clean air, clean water, toxics cleanup and other chores.
Send Trump California’s gang database: A holiday gift with a giant red bow
On January 20, 2017, when President-elect Donald Trump takes his oath of office, California officials should present him a delayed holiday present: The gift of our state database of 150,000 known gang members and their affiliates. Although the California State Auditor has found dozens of instances of inaccurate and questionable information in the Gang database, state officials can give Trump only the names of those that have been verified as undocumented gang members and who have committed deportable crimes.

Monday Morning Memo for December 12, 2016

Prosecution
Man on trial for Hollywood murder of woman from Morro Bay
A marijuana dispensary security guard is standing trial for the murder of Carrie Jean Melvin, 30, who grew up in Morro Bay. Melvin was shot and killed in Hollywood by a gunman who walked up behind her, fired one round into her face and fled. Prosecutors said 31-year-old Ezeoma Obioha, who also owns a clothing line, was the gunman. Obioha allegedly owed a debt to Melvin and was romantically interested in her.
Woman accused of embezzling $500K from employer used it for gambling
A woman arrested for allegedly embezzling $500,000 from her employer in Escondido, pleaded not guilty in court on Friday. Prosecutors say Sheila Jo Jackson, 46, was stealing the money from Betz Concrete to fuel a gambling addiction. She faces several felony charges including embezzlement by employee, forgery, grand theft and identity theft.
Prosecutors: Ex-Sheriff Lee Baca was ‘heartbeat’ of jail conspiracy
Former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca was “the heartbeat of conspiracy” when it came to hiding abuses within Men’s Central Jail, and he did nothing to hold deputies who beat inmates accountable, prosecutors said in federal court Wednesday. The remarks were part of opening statements during the first day of Baca’s jail corruption trial, held at the downtown L.A. federal courthouse.
Orange County D.A.’s office could be removed from high-profile murder case
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office, harshly criticized in a recent appellate court ruling for a systemic failure to protect defendants’ rights and under investigation by the state attorney general and the county grand jury, is facing a new legal challenge that could remove it from a second high-profile murder case in less than two years.
USC graduate student charged with professor’s killing
A USC graduate student who allegedly fatally stabbed a psychology professor on campus pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a murder charge. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gustavo N. Sztraicher ordered David Jonathan Brown, 28, to remain jailed on just over $2 million bail while awaiting a Dec. 19 hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to require him to stand trial on a charge that he killed Siaufung “Bosco” Tjan inside the professor’s office.
Trial starts against alleged sex trafficker who told women he was Hollywood modeling agent
Taquarius Ford introduced himself to young women in shopping malls, showered them with compliments and asked if they’d be interested in a modeling career. He claimed he was a successful modeling executive from Hollywood and promised them future fame, paying for their flights to Los Angeles, where he wined and dined them and took them to red carpet events with celebrities.
Judge: Prosecutors can use Bill Cosby’s deposition at trial 
Damaging testimony that Bill Cosby gave in an accuser’s lawsuit, including admissions that he gave young women drugs and alcohol before sex, can be used at his criminal sex assault trial, a judge ruled Monday. The defense had insisted that Cosby only testified after being promised he wouldn’t be charged over his 2004 encounter with accuser Andrea Constand. But his lawyers at the time never had an immunity agreement or put anything in writing.
L.A. prosecutors are accusing four big retailers – JC Penney, Sears, Kohl’s and Macy’s – of tricking shoppers
The Los Angeles city attorney’s office has sued four big retailers, alleging  deceptive advertising that it says misled shoppers into believing that thousands of products were on sale at a hefty discount. The retailers – JC Penney, Sears, Kohl’s and Macy’s – falsely advertised high “list” or “regular” prices on merchandise that was never actually for sale at that price, according to the lawsuits filed Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Conviction & Sentencing
No death penalty in 1979 Glendale rape and murder
The prosecution announced it will no longer pursue the death penalty against a man convicted of murdering a young woman during a rape in Glendale 37 years ago. The decision by the District Attorney’s Office not to re-try the penalty phase of Darrel Mark Gurule’s trial comes less than two months after jurors deadlocked 10-2, with the majority favoring a life prison sentence without the possibility of parole rather than a death sentence for the convicted killer.
District Attorney
DA Jackie Lacey announces goals at oath of office ceremony
District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced she plans to focus more attention on protecting children from abuse and neglect and addressing the growing opioid abuse epidemic. She also said she plans to mandate elimination of bias training for all prosecutors. District Attorney Lacey made her remarks after being sworn in to her second four-year term as Los Angeles County’s 42nd District Attorney.
Courts
Are cops liable when they “provoke” violent encounters? SCOTUS may soon decide.
The US Supreme Court has decided to hear a case centering around liability for an officer-involved shooting in which the officers are accused of provoking the violence that occurred. On October 1, 2010, Members of the LA County Sheriff’s Department’s “COPS HIT” (Community-Oriented Policing Services High-Impact Team) reportedly entered a backyard shack where Angel Mendez, 30, and Jennifer Garcia, 27, were living.
Supreme Court grants review of 9th Circuit rule that endangers peace officers 
We welcome the decision of the United States Supreme Court to hear a 9th Circuit case involving two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies which poses important peace officer safety and civil liability issues. Using a “provocation” theory followed by no other federal courts, the 9th Circuit upheld the award of $4 million dollars to two persons wounded by deputies even though the court determined the use of force was reasonable under the Supreme Court standard in Graham v. Connor.
Comment about gang can’t be used as evidence, court rules
A San Francisco man, charged with taking part in the murder of the man who allegedly dragged a teenage relative into prostitution, won a federal appeals court ruling Monday barring evidence that he told a jailhouse deputy he was part of a gang. Antonio Gilton is one of four people charged with murdering Calvin Sneed, 22, of Compton (Los Angeles County) in June 2012.
Sex tape goes public if you don’t give me $2.5 million! Sports celeb’s lawsuit
A sports celebrity who anonymously sued a woman he claims is threatening to release a tape of them having sex unless he pays her $2.5 million won a round in court Tuesday when a judge issued a preliminary injunction and told the woman to surrender the tape to the court by Friday. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant’s order applies to the defendant, Elizabeth Ruiz, her former attorney and a sex tape broker.
Sex with girl, 13, by Roman Polanski: Poland nixes LA extradition
Efforts by Los Angeles prosecutors to bring back Roman Polanski to punish him for having had sex with a 13-year-old girl almost 40 years ago suffered a major setback when the Polish Supreme Court rejected a request by Poland’s government to extradite the Oscar-winning filmmaker. Polanski was arrested in 1977 on charges that included the rape of a 13- year-old girl at the home of actor Jack Nicholson.
Ballot Measures
Are criminal justice changes making California safer?
It has been a momentous decade for California crime-and-punishment. Once defined by tough sentencing laws and other strict policies that stuffed prisons to the point the feds intervened, the state has been moving steadily in the opposite direction. Many of those changes have emanated from the voters.
Prop. 57 sends minors on new path through court system
Weeks after voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 57, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office and prosecutors across the state have initiated their own policies concerning juvenile offenders who face criminal charges as adults. Under the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act, which took effect the day after the Nov. 8 election, prosecutors no longer have the ability to directly file complaints in adult court involving felony crimes allegedly committed by minors.
Study misses point of Prop. 13: Jon Coupal
A recent study published in Trulia, a website dedicated to housing issues, has raised eyebrows among those who follow Proposition 13. Indeed, the title of the study itself was marginally inflammatory: “The Taxpayer Revolt: Winners and Losers.” The study was written by Trulia’s chief economist, Ralph McLaughlin, a person who clearly has bona fides as a housing expert. Indeed, the study sets forth detailed data that those of us who are tax and housing wonks will surely appreciate.
Warriors coach Kerr says marijuana could ease pain
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr says marijuana didn’t help his chronic back pain, but he still thinks pro sports leagues must eventually reconsider their opposition to the drug. Kerr told CSN Bay Area that he experimented with marijuana a “few times” to help him cope with pain. Medicinal marijuana use has been legalized by the state of California, although it’s still illegal under US federal law and against the rules for players in the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball.
Retail marijuana for all? Not so fast …
We dare you to tell the difference between recreational pot and medical pot. The true distinction these days has to do with who’s allowed to sell it. Following reports that a few Los Angeles-area medical pot shops were opening their doors to anyone 21 or older, regardless of whether they have a doctor’s recommendation, the L.A. City Attorney’s office warned medical dispensaries that they face prosecution if they’re caught selling to the general public.
Legal California cannabis could deliver $1 billion in pot taxes. Here’s how they’ll spend it
It’s estimated that legalized recreational marijuana in California will deliver $1 billion in sales tax revenues annually to the state. Some of the target sources for the funds include research on the impacts on legalization, the development of roadside protocols to determine marijuana impairment, drug use prevention and treatment, programs for at-risk youth, law enforcement and waterways restoration.
Will legal pot shops be stymied by local politics?
wo efforts to fully legalize pot shops in L.A. are aiming for the March city ballot. Also on that ballot? A zoo of candidates, most of them long shots, running for City Council. Odd-numbered council districts 1 through 15 – a total of eight seats – are up for grabs. These dozens of hyperlocal candidates are largely concerned about down-the-block issues and will bring supporters – often older, more conservative Angelenos – to the polls.
Prosecutor, defender consider legal pot impact: Proposition 64 to affect San Mateo County courts by reducing or dismissing some criminal charges
Just one month into recreational marijuana becoming legalized in California, those most familiar with prosecuting and defending crime in San Mateo County are bracing for the effects of the new rules. Exactly how the laws sparked by Proposition 64 trickle down to the local courts has yet to be realized, but the district attorney and head of the private defender program are hopeful the impacts won’t be severe.
Prop. 64: Legalized marijuana may generate less tax than planned
Many medical marijuana patients were worried that a ballot measure legalizing cannabis for recreational use in California would make the price of their medicine go up. Instead, for some of them, pot just got cheaper, though maybe not for long. The Board of Equalization recently sent notice that anyone who has both a doctor’s recommendation for marijuana and a county-issued ID card identifying them as a patient no longer has to pay state sales tax thanks to Proposition 64.
Will the death penalty resume with Prop 66 passage, despite Jerry Brown’s opposition?
Although he has served as governor longer than anyone else in California history, Jerry Brown has never been forced to make one of the weightiest decisions governors face: whether to spare a convicted criminal from execution. California has executed more than 500 people, but the death penalty has been on hold pending legal challenges during both of Brown’s two-term stints as governor.

Legislation
Assemblyman introduces bill to provide $500 tax deduction to combat crime
Assemblyman Marc Steinorth introduced legislation to help Californians defray the rising cost of combating crime. Steinorth’s Protect Our Homes Act (AB 54) will allow Californians to claim up to $500 in state income tax deductions for the cost of installing security alarms, fences, and surveillance systems.
California lawmakers want to reform a bail system they say ‘punishes the poor for being poor’
California lawmakers next year will make it a top priority to reform the system through which judges award criminal offenders bail, saying courts across the state are punishing “the poor for being poor.” Assemblyman Rob Bonta and Sen. Bob Hertzberg said they plan to fire the first salvo Monday, when lawmakers descend upon the Capitol for the start of the 2017 legislative session.
LA County Deputy DA assails danger of “Affordable Bail Act” reform
California state lawmakers are looking at reforming the bail system to help low-risk, low income suspected criminals stay out of jail, where, because of the overburdened court system, they are apt to languish, possibly losing their job and housing. Assemblyman Rob Bonta and Senator Bob Hertzberg are behind the legislation.
Attacks on police officers would be classified as hate crimes under California bill
Alarmed by a wave of shootings targeting police officers, state Assemblyman Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear) has introduced a bill that would make an attack on law enforcement a hate crime in California, allowing stiffer penalties for those convicted. Obernolte’s bill comes after a series of shootings that have left 62 law enforcement officers dead so far this year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Law Enforcement
LAPD officer fined for leaking audio recording of ‘Django Unchained’ actress
The Los Angeles Ethics Commission ruled Tuesday that former Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jim Parker violated city rules by releasing an audio tape of his conversation with a “Django Unchained” actress during her arrest in 2014, and fined him $500. Staff had recommended a fine of $10,000, but all four present members of the commission agreed that a more nominal fine was appropriate. Commissioner Ana Dahan was absent.
L.A. deputy accidentally shoots arson suspect
A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy accidentally shot an arson suspect as the man fought with deputies in front of his burning home in Paramount, authorities said Friday. When county firefighters pulled up to Rodolfo Martinez’s home Thursday afternoon, the house was engulfed in flames and Martinez was refusing to leave the building, officials said. Armed with a fire extinguisher, Martinez, 32, used it to fight off the firefighters trying to put out the blaze, said sheriff’s homicide Lt. John Corina, who is investigating the incident because a deputy fired a weapon.
The LAPD’s watchdog group is being investigated over a claim that it broke city ethics rules
Los Angeles ethics officials are investigating an allegation that the Police Department’s watchdog broke city ethics rules by showing a reporter a confidential document outlining the movements of a high-profile inmate who was in special protection. A lawyer representing Inspector General Alex Bustamante said he met with ethics investigators in recent weeks and had tried to resolve the case, which he said is ongoing.
McDonnell appoints new undersheriff La Berge, first since Tanaka’s ouster
Los Angeles County has introduced its new undersheriff Monday, nearly four years after its former undersheriff resigned in scandal. At a press conference Monday at the Hall of Justice, Jacques “Anthony” La Berge, the assistant sheriff in charge of patrol operations, accepted the role, which has been vacant since his predecessor, Paul Tanaka, resigned in March 2013.
Ambush shootings of police officers reach highest total in decades
Police officers across the country say they are taking new precautions in response to a spike in what they call “ambush-style” attacks against them. Cops are teaming up to respond to emergency calls, suiting up more often in ballistic vests and helmets, even taking greater care to monitor their surroundings while dining out, police officials from half a dozen cities who spoke with The Trace said.
State Government
Will Legislature follow or evade California’s new sunshine law?
Last month, California voters approved, by a nearly 2-1 margin, Proposition 54, which if faithfully followed would shine some light on the Capitol’s dark corners. Specifically, it would require any bill to be in print and published on the internet for 72 hours before facing final votes. It’s aimed at the common practice, particularly in the closing hours of each year’s session, of writing bills in secret and then revealing their presence just hours, and sometimes just minutes, before legislators vote.
Media and the state Capitol: A lawyer’s view
Love ’em or hate ’em, reporters play an important role in the legislative process – as well as with legislative strategy and ethics – in California. Because of this influence, the media in many ways are commonly viewed as a fourth branch of government (or “fourth estate,” as the cliché goes). They don’t approve or reject legislation, but their coverage affects those who do and they often influence the fate of bills.
California regulates cow farts
California is taking its fight against global warming to the farm. The nation’s leading agricultural state is now targeting greenhouse gases produced by dairy cows and other livestock. Despite strong opposition from farmers, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation in September that for the first time regulates heat-trapping gases from livestock operations and landfills.
Editorial: Becerra needs to put attorney general job first, not career moves
Rep. Xavier Becerra, the governor’s pick for California attorney general, will be successful if he resists the temptation to view the post primarily as a political launch pad. Gov. Jerry Brown’s selection of Becerra to fill the state’s top law enforcement position was a surprise. He was on almost no one’s list of possible appointees. But he has solid credentials for the post: A graduate of Stanford Law School, he was a deputy attorney general before seeking elective office.
Californians approve $5.0 billion per year in new Taxes
For the last few years, using data provided by the watchdog organization CalTax, we have summarized the results of local bond and tax proposals appearing on the California ballot. Nearly all of them are approved by voters, and this past November was no exception. With only a couple of measures still too close to call (TCTC), as can be seen, 94% of the 193 proposed local bonds passed, and 71% of the proposed local taxes passed.
Local Government
Councilman: Don’t force LA businesses to hire felons
The City of Los Angeles has jumped into a huge mess as it tries to offer convicted felons a second chance in life by forcing businesses to initially overlook criminal histories on job applications. Mitch Englander was the only councilman to vote against the ordinance known as “Fair Chance” or “Ban the Box.” It affects city contractors and employers with ten or more workers by prohibiting them from asking an applicant’s criminal history until a conditional job offer has been made.
San Francisco city officials to ask Kate Steinle’s family to dismiss lawsuit
The U.S. government and the City of San Francisco are asking Kate Steinle’s family to dismiss the wrongful death lawsuit in a hearing on Friday. Kate Steinle was shot and killed in July of 2015 on Pier 14 along San Francisco’s waterfront. Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an undocumented immigrant, has been charged in the murder. Lopez-Sanchez was released from the San Francisco City Jail in Apil.
Brown Act complaint pending, City stands behind council’s airport vote
The City of Long Beach is maintaining that a complaint filed with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office alleging the city council violated an open meetings law will not affect the council’s vote to host a study session regarding the potential international terminal at Long Beach Airport (LGB) and to allow city staff to engage with tenants at LGB.
Will LA County voters tax themselves to fund homeless services?
L.A. County voters will decide in March whether to raise their sales taxes to fund hundreds of millions of dollars worth of services for the homeless. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors Tuesday voted unanimously to place a 1/4-cent tax on the March 7 ballot specifically aimed at homeless funding. It will need support from 2/3 of voters to pass and would raise an estimated $355 million annually.
In other news … 
Last words of California’s executed inmates
Thirteen inmates have been executed in California since 1978, and seven of those prisoners chose to make final statements. Robert Alton Harris – Harris was convicted of abducting and murdering two teenage boys in 1978. Last words: “You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everyone dances with the Grim Reaper.”
LA Magazine says editor Davan Maharaj is what’s wrong with the LA Times
When my colleague at LA Observed Mark Lacter died suddenly in November 2013, he was at work on a much-needed update for Los Angeles Magazine on the state of the Los Angeles Times. The magazine has now gotten around to going deep on the subject of the Times, and that piece, posted Wednesday, describes a newsroom with some serious internal issues beyond those market forces that are slamming all newspapers.
Presidential Transition
California plans to block Feds access to data on undocumented immigrants
Ever since Maribel Solache began teaching her own version of driver’s ed in Spanish two years ago, the classes-held around San Diego County -have been jammed. She estimates she’s helped some 3,000 students earn their licenses. But lately, apprehension has smothered that enthusiasm. “More people come with fear. They say ‘what is going to happen to my information?’ ” she said. “
Donald Trump’s election is the death of America’s labor unions
I’ve written before on how the decline of organized labor beginning in the late 1970s gave birth to the backlash that fueled Donald Trump’s election. Labor’s deterioration weakened worker protections, kept wages stagnant and caused income inequality to soar to the highest levels in over eight decades. It also made workers feel they needed a savior like Trump. In other words, his unlikely victory follows a straight line from the defeat of the Labor Reform Act of 1978 to the election of 2016.
Immigrant advocates fighting to keep state gang database away from Trump
With President-elect Donald J. Trump just weeks from taking office, legal experts and advocates in California are scrambling to convince state Attorney General Kamala Harris to block federal access to the state’s controversial gang database out of fears that the Trump administration will use it to deport unauthorized immigrants who’ve been erroneously labeled as gang members.
Trump and California secession
Not since 2010 has California felt itself politically so out of step with the times. That year the state resisted the nationwide wave of anti-incumbent, anti-regulation and anti-big government voting to elect Jerry Brown as governor, ease the passage of big-money state budgets and turn away a challenge to its pioneering greenhouse gas regulations.
Urgent appeal: California Democrats to invoke new anti-Trump weapon
As they suit up for battle against the Trump administration, Democrats who dominate California’s Legislature vow to unleash one of the superpowers of holding a supermajority: the ability to enact laws immediately. An underplayed consequence of the fact that they won two-thirds of the seats in both houses last month is that-if they stick together-California Democrats have the required margin to pass a bill with an “urgency” clause.

Monday Morning Memo for December 5, 2016

Prosecution
Jury selection to begin in former LA County Sheriff Lee Baca trial Monday
Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, whose trial on federal corruption charges is scheduled to begin Monday, will now face two separate juries after a federal judge decided Friday to split the trial into two parts. U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson ruled that an expert on dementia can testify about Baca’s mental state, but only as it relates to charges of making false statements to the federal government in 2013, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.
Judge rules ex-L.A. Times reporter must testify in corruption trial of former Sheriff Lee Baca
A federal judge ruled Thursday that a former Los Angeles Times reporter who interviewed then-Sheriff Lee Baca during an unfolding scandal over abuses in the county jails must testify in the former sheriff’s corruption trial. Prosecutors want the reporter, Robert Faturechi, to testify about a Sept. 29, 2011, article in which Baca described an FBI undercover sting and a visit that sheriff’s investigators made to an FBI agent’s home. They also want to ask Faturechi about statements he made on KCRW radio earlier this year.
A shotgun on the beach and a bounced check are key clues to a Hollywood murder, prosecutor says
Carrie Jean Melvin and her boyfriend were walking to a Thai restaurant in their bustling Hollywood neighborhood one July evening last year when they heard footsteps behind them. When they turned to look, a man in dark, baggy clothing raised a black pistol-grip shotgun. Without a word, he fired one round into her face from about 10 feet away and fled. On Wednesday, a prosecutor told a downtown Los Angeles jury that the mysterious gunman was Ezeoma Obioha, a security guard at a marijuana dispensary and the owner of a clothing line who owed Melvin money for marketing his business on social media and had developed a romantic interest in her.
Criminal charge against SoCalGas for Aliso Canyon gas leak OK: Judge rejects residents restitution demands
A judge Tuesday approved a settlement between Los Angeles County prosecutors and Southern California Gas Co. to resolve criminal charges against the company stemming from the gas leak at the Aliso Canyon storage facility in Porter Ranch. The judge rejected a request by Porter Ranch residents to have the deal tossed so they could seek restitution. Attorneys representing a group of residents suing the Gas Co. over the leak contended the residents weren’t notified of the settlement agreement, which they said does not include provisions giving residents a chance to submit restitution claims against the Gas Co.
Conviction & Sentencing
Darren Sharper sentenced in rape case
Former pro football player Darren Sharper was sentenced today to 20 years in state prison and ordered to register for life as a sex offender after earlier admitting to drugging and raping two women, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced. Sharper, 41, pleaded no contest almost two years ago to two counts of rape by use of drugs and four counts of furnishing a controlled substance in case BA421442. His sentence was delayed pending completion of federal and state cases in Louisiana where he was held until his return this month to Los Angeles. Deputy District Attorneys Alison Foster and Michele Hanisee prosecuted the case.
Wife of slain Bell Gardens mayor guilty of voluntary manslaughter
The wife of slain Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo pleaded guilty Wednesday to voluntary manslaughter for shooting him three times in their home just over two years ago. Lyvette Crespo, 45, is facing three months in county jail, 500 hours of community service, an anger management course and five years formal probation under a disposition reached with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, according to Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman.
Gangsters killed ‘slow’ teen wearing red shoes: 50 years to life
Two gang members were sentenced Wednesday to 50 years to life in state prison for the killing of a 19-year-old mentally disabled man who prosecutors said was gunned down near a South Los Angeles car wash over the red shoes he was wearing. “This was a tragic, callous and cowardly crime,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo said just before imposing the sentence on Kanasho Johns, 29, and Kevin Deon Johnson, 26.
Ex-Sierra High student gets 16 months for creepy clown threats against school
A Pomona Superior Court commissioner on Friday sentenced a former Sierra High School student to 16 months in prison for threatening to attack his alma mater. He posted the threats on Instagram and Facebook accounts dedicated to creepy clowns. William Salazar, 19, took a deal and pleaded no contest Friday to one felony count of making criminal threats, according to Sarah Ardalani, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Deputies who beat, pepper-sprayed mentally ill inmate sentenced
Two former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who beat and pepper-sprayed a mentally ill county jail inmate without provocation and then lied about it were sentenced Monday to federal prison. Bryan Brunsting was sentenced to a year and nine months in prison, while Jason “Johnson” Branum was given five months behind bars.
Law Enforcement
60 law enforcement officers fatally shot this year, 20 in ambushes, report says
A total of 60 law enforcement officers have died in firearms-related incidents in 2016, marking a 67 percent  increase since 2015, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reported. Citing a preliminary report from January 1 through November 23, the organization said that Texas has seen the most fatalities this year with 18. So far, 130 officers have died nationwide.
Metro Board delays vote on new policing contract
Grappling with an issue often raised by Metro riders – the presence of police on the system, or sometimes the lack thereof – the Metro Board of Directors voted 7 to 4 on Thursday to delay a vote on a new policing contract. The vote gives the Metro Board until February to mull a Metro staff proposal to split policing of the Metro system between three police departments – the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Long Beach Police Department – instead of the current deal which relies solely on the LASD.
Hate crimes are rising but don’t expect them to be prosecuted
Last week, the FBI announced there were 5,850 hate crimes in 2015-a 7 percent increase over the year before. But that total, which is based on voluntary reports of hate crimes from local and state police departments, is likely far lower than the real number. The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated about 260,000 hate crimes annually in a 2013 report looking at hate crimes between 2007 and 2011. The BJS’s estimate was based on anonymous responses to the National Crime Victimization Survey, which the bureau conducts every year.
Heroin tightens deadly grip on county
Overdoses involving heroin killed 33 people in Ventura County last year, the fatalities rising after two years of decline in a trend experts say shows the hammerlock the drug holds on communities as different as Oxnard and Simi Valley. “There are no racial boundaries. There are no financial boundaries. There are no geographic boundaries,” said Joseph May, deputy chief of police in Simi Valley. Two sets of data from the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office showed deaths involving heroin overdoses – in some cases paired with other drugs – descended from 43 in 2012 to 23 in 2014. But fatalities climbed in 2015 with 12 deaths in the city of Ventura alone.
LAPD could roll out ‘less-lethal’ weapon citywide to curb escalation
Los Angeles police have long used “less-lethal” launchers with sponge rounds for crowd control and by their elite SWAT team on individuals when less than deadly force may have been needed. But in July, the Los Angeles Police Department equipped patrol officers from several stations, including the Mission Community Police Station in Mission Hills, with these “guns” and their 40 mm sponge rounds, which are intended to incapacitate but not kill a subject, to use on their beats for the first time.
LAPD Skid Row homeless killing ruled OK
A Los Angeles Police Department sergeant and two officers were legally justified in the deadly shooting of a homeless man on Skid Row and will not face criminal charges, according to a document released Thursday by the District Attorney’s Office. According to a 22-page report prepared by the District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division, Sgt. Chand Syed and Officers Francisco Martinez and Daniel Torres “acted lawfully in self-defense and in defense of others” on March 1, 2015, when they opened fire on 39-year-old Charly Keunang, who was known on Skid Row as “Africa.”
Wage theft is common in garment manufacturing in Southern California
Beating drums and waving hand-lettered signs, 40 garment workers marched in front of a Los Angeles Ross Dress For Less outlet chanting “Ross Stores, you can’t hide! We can see your greedy side!” Among the protesters on a sunny Saturday before Thanksgiving, Maribelia Quiroz, 46, mother of three, said she stitches blouses for Ross at a downtown contractor, earning $300 a week for up to 60 hours of work, with no overtime. That’s less than half California’s legal minimum wage. “The bosses fire anyone who asks for more,” she said.
Carjackers’ big mistake: Armed victim is fed cop, shoots attacker
Two carjacking suspects picked the wrong victim as their target turned out to be an armed off-duty ICE agent in Wilmington who wounded one of his attackers, police said. The shooting occurred around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday near Figueroa and Anaheim streets, prompting the closure of the Anaheim Street off-ramp from the northbound Harbor (110) Freeway. The agent fired shots at the female driver and her male passenger as they took off in his white Mazda, according to reports from the scene.

City News Service

Strangled with a shoelace: Slaying of inmate in Lancaster prison came after ‘extremely vicious’ fight
When Leron Morris summoned guards to his cell at a state prison in Lancaster, he showed them a gruesome, bloody scene and a lifeless body. Morris and his cellmate, Rashell Clarke Jr., had a furious fight that ended only after Morris bit off part of the other man’s ear and wrapped a shoelace around his neck, strangling him, according to investigative reports. By the time guards began performing CPR on Clarke, his body was already showing signs of rigor mortis, suggesting he may have been dead for a while.
Tear gas terminates tense squatter SWAT standoff
A homeless man taking shelter in a residence under construction was forced out with a volley of tear gas and arrested Wednesday after a tense, hours-long standoff with a SWAT team. The incident began about 9:30 a.m. near Beverly and Plymouth boulevards, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The unidentified suspect was taken into custody shortly before 2 p.m. KNX Newsradio reported that the man was squatting in a home under construction and had threatened workers, but he was not believed to be armed.
Understanding police use of force: Right vs. reasonable
In a front page article from the New York Times titled “Training Officers to Shoot First and He Will Answer Questions Later”, the author attacks Dr. Bill Lewinski. Dr. Lewinski is a use-of-force expert, police trainer and researcher. Through Force Science Institute, he has examined controversial use-of-force scenarios and explained why police react within the constitutionally reasonable realm in most instances. The comments in articles, the letters to the editor and national media commentary on police use-of-force incidents don’t reflect the reality of what would really happen if those critics were faced with any of those use-of-force situations.
Gridiron gangster: How a vigilante gambler took down an alleged crime boss
Inside the story of Owen Hanson, former USC athlete suspected of heading an international gambling and drug syndicate.
Sheriff McDonnell looking to improve LASD’s community relations
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell was this week’s guest on a special Eyewitness Newsmakers. He wanted to open a community dialogue following last month’s shooting death of veteran deputy Sgt. Steve Owen. McDonnell acknowledged his deputies might not get policing right 100 percent of the time, but it’s time to talk about making relations better between law enforcement and the community. McDonnell heads the nation’s second-largest police agency and the largest jail system.
A project honoring fallen LAPD officers also says a lot about the city
Along the First Street entrance to the Police Administration Building, there is a memorial that stands cold and apart from the living challenges and social media-fueled tensions faced by the Los Angeles Police Department. Here, 207 badges are mounted on a wall to honor the LAPD officers who have died in the line of duty since 1907. Forty-two of those bronzed shields recall men who died in Downtown. That is not the only place where the department’s fallen are remembered.
Police Chief: Understaffing and AB109 contribute to rising violent crime rates in Redding
Redding Police Chief Robert Paoletti says violent crime rates are higher in 2016 than they were in 2015. He gave residents an in-depth look at this year’s crime statistics at the fourth quarterly Redding Town Hall, held in the Redding City Council chambers. According to the report, violent crime has increased 24%, from 409 cases reported at this point in 2015, to 540 cases this year. Paoletti says the increased cases of rape victims and cases of aggravated assault are the most alarming. Cases of rape increased nearly 33% in the last year, while cases of aggravated assault went up nearly 29%.
Ballot Measures
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. The proposition allows parole consideration for nonviolent felons, authorizes sentence credits for rehabilitation, good behavior and education and allows juvenile court judges to decide whether a juvenile will be prosecuted as an adult.
Young man convicted in 2014 murder wants new trial after Prop. 57 passes
Kurese Bell was 17 when he was charged with murder. Despite his age, his case was handled in adult criminal court based on a determination that both he and the crime he was accused of committing were not suited for the juvenile system.  Until recently, state law allowed prosecuting agencies in California – including the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office – to make those determinations in certain cases without taking the issue to a judge first. It’s a process known as “direct filing.” But that changed when voters on Nov. 8 approved Proposition 57.
Prop. 57’s passage worries local officials
Local officials say the passage of the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act, aka Proposition 57, on the November ballot could potentially cause an upswing in criminal activity. Speaking on behalf of El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini, Sgt. Tasha Thompson called Prop. 57 “deceptive.” “With the passing of Prop. 57 California is going to witness the overturn of 40 years of criminal reform. In addition, it is going to allow the early release of 16,000 violent felons,” Thompson explained. “California will now reclassify violent crimes as nonviolent and add more fear to the victims of crimes already committed.
In legalizing marijuana, California clears small-time criminals
Chris Phillips, a marijuana entrepreneur and Livermore father of four, faced five felony counts and possible prison time after he was accused of illegally growing pot at his home, which police raided in June. But when California voters legalized cannabis for recreational use Nov. 8, they retroactively erased several small-time pot crimes and reduced the penalties for bigger ones like growing, selling and transporting.
State Government
Kamala Harris will step in to defend SF cash bail system after City Attorney, Sheriff Refuse
City Attorney Dennis Herrera has refused to fight a class-action lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of San Francisco’s bail system because he agrees it unfairly punishes the poor, but whether she agrees with Herrera or not, California Attorney General and Senator-Elect Kamala Harris will step in to defend San Francisco against the legal challenge. To do so, Harris will seek approval from a federal judge in Oakland, her spokesperson Kristin Ford said, according to the Chronicle.
Becerra’s attorney general selection sets off scurry for House replacement
It didn’t take long after Xavier Becerra was selected as California’s next attorney general for the race to succeed him to begin. Less than an hour after Gov. Jerry Brown announced Thursday morning that the Democratic congressman from Los Angeles would take over for Attorney General Kamala Harris when she heads to the U.S. Senate next year, the first candidate emerged for this rare open House seat: former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez.
County Government
Term limit tears: Supervisors Antonovich, Knabe end decades as ‘little kings’
It was a tearful farewell Tuesday for the two long-time “legends” of the Los Angeles County Supervisors, as Michael Antonovich and Don Knabe ended decades of service by attending one last meeting. In an era of national harsh political turmoil, supervisors praised the pair as cooperating with other supervisors regardless of their philosophical views. With term limits, it’s unlikely any supervisor will come close to the lengthy records of Antonovich and Knabe in an era when powerful, long-term supervisors were called “little kings.”
Courts
Court rules against driver who lost AC job over health disclosure
A doctor’s concern for public safety entitled her to disclose a patient’s medical information to the Department of Motor Vehicles, a disclosure that cost the man his job as an AC Transit bus driver, a state appeals court has ruled. The driver, a San Francisco resident, obtained a commercial license in 2000 and was hired by AC Transit in April 2006. When he applied for a permit to drive a school bus six months later, his primary care physician, Dr. Ann Kim of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, wrote a letter to the DMV over her patient’s objections, saying he had been diagnosed with a cognitive disorder.

Monday Morning Memo for November 28, 2016

Law Enforcement
Cops battle cops in court: Wrongdoing by LAPD top staff?
Six members of the Los Angeles Police Internal Affairs Group are suing the city over “whistleblower retaliation,” alleging they were wrongfully reprimanded in a dispute about unlawful activities and nepotism within the department’s upper levels. The lawsuit says the six believe they were targeted because a deputy chief thought they would speak in support of another internal affairs cop who was vocal about the supposed wrongdoing.
Police encourage more hate crime reports
Law enforcement leaders in Los Angeles called on the public Wednesday to report any sort of hate-motivated incidents. “Should they become a victim of a hate crime, they should call the police and report it,” said L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey at an event that also included LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer.
Free after 16 years, innocent man sues LAPD
One year ago, a state judge exonerated Luis Lorenzo Vargas of three sexual assaults for which he’d spent 16 years in prison. On Monday, Vargas sued the Los Angeles Police and Sheriff’s departments and the District Attorney’s Office, for putting him there. Vargas claims police and prosecutors never disclosed that strikingly similar assaults continued even after he was in custody, all apparently committed by a man known as the Teardrop Rapist.
DA mulls case against Saugus High ‘hoaxer’ – School also takes stock of lockdown procedures
The case of the Saugus High School 11th-grader who allegedly perpetrated a hoax at the school last Friday – spreading the rumor of an armed student, and leading to a brief lockdown – is now in the hands of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. Meanwhile, school principal Bill Bolde told The Signal that while the lockdown went smoothly, he was busy Monday debriefing school staff, with an eye toward taking stock and improving areas that could have gone better still.
‘America’s Invisible Crime’: Cargo theft expected to surge during holidays
Truckers are being warned about the risk of cargo theft during the holiday weekend, especially in Southern California. Since the beginning of the year, nearly $30 million in cargo has been stolen off of highways and from distribution centers throughout California. That is a 40% increase over last year, according to CargoNet, a cargo theft prevention and recovery network.
eBay and Amazon risky for holiday shoppers
When e-commerce giants eBay and Amazon try to maximize profits, the collateral damage to manufacturers and consumers can be enormous, and devastating. Both eBay and Amazon have channeled their business model into online “Marketplace” retail outlets which allow un-vetted global sellers to peddle hugely profitable counterfeit goods to unsuspecting consumers.
Local law enforcement agencies stay hands-off on immigration
Local law enforcement officials said this week they will not actively enforce federal immigration laws, in keeping with their longstanding effort to maintain the public’s trust. In an interview with “60 Minutes,” President-elect Donald Trump said he plans to deport millions of undocumented immigrants with criminal records, but agencies in Ventura County said they will generally continue their hands-off policy on the issue.
Grand Jury latest to launch probe of jailhouse snitch scandal
Orange County’s jailhouse snitch scandal has taken a new turn, with revelations that the county grand jury has launched an investigation into alleged illegal conduct by prosecutors and sheriff’s deputies and is being assisted in the probe by a former United States attorney. At some point this summer, the grand jury asked state Attorney General Kamala Harris to hire attorneys to “investigate and present evidence” for its informants investigation, according to AG records released by the county Tuesday.
LA County Sheriff: Our relationship with ICE won’t change for Trump
Immigration has been a hot topic of discussion in Southern California following the election of Donald Trump as president, and many immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally are wondering what the future holds for them and their families. Here in Los Angeles County, Sheriff Jim McDonnell says his department’s relationship with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will remain status quo.
LA prepares to battle Trump over deportation
The battle lines have been drawn, and the City of Los Angeles is preparing for war with President-elect Donald Trump over potential deportation efforts to decrease the number of undocumented citizens in the United States. Trump campaigned with a vow to remove the estimated 11 million people who entered the country illegally, although since winning the election, he has lowered that number to roughly 2 or 3 million who have criminal records.
‘Sanctuary Cities’ vs. national security and public safety
The lunacy of the immigration executive orders and other actions of the Obama administration to block the enforcement of our immigration laws and immigration anarchy will be brought to a screeching halt on the day that Donald Trump replaces Mr. Obama in the Oval Office. However the “Immigration All-Clear” will not be sounded across the United States in cities and states that have been declared “Sanctuaries” by the mayors and governors who have created a false and very dangerous narrative that equates immigration law enforcement with racism and bigotry.
How a dispute over dog droppings put a celebrated homicide detective and a judge under scrutiny
Throughout his more than three-decade career, Det. Mark Lillienfeld built a reputation as one of the finest homicide detectives in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The murder case of racing legend Mickey Thompson languished for years until Lillienfeld took over the investigation and saw it through to a conviction. In 2009, he helped send music producer Phil Spector to prison for the fatal shooting of actress Lana Clarkson.
Prosecution
Worst mass killer in OC gets DA ousted
Orange County’s worst mass killer apparently won’t see the local district attorney in court any longer after an appeals panel agreed with a judge that prosecutors would not ensure a fair penalty phase trial due to loyalty to law enforcement. A state appellate panel upheld a Superior Court judge’s recusal of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office from prosecuting the penalty trial of Scott Evans Dekraai, the worst mass killer in the county’s history.
Judge withholds ruling during ex-LA Sheriff Lee Baca’s hearing
A federal judge withheld his ruling Tuesday on whether testimony would be allowed from a defense expert who is expected to say former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease while being investigated in a jail corruption scandal. After hearing both sides, U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson said he would take the motion under consideration and submit a written response.
Conviction & Sentencing
Appellate panel upholds West Hollywood man’s 12-year prison sentence for live-in boyfriend’s killing
A state appeals court panel last week 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.
Marijuana
California marijuana industry is a ‘$25 billion opportunity’
MedMen likens itself, as many cannabis companies do, to an early tech startup. Its West Hollywood dispensary looks a bit like an Apple store, with samples of product in polished glass cases and information about each on iPads. In a grow facility in Sun Valley, north of Los Angeles, marijuana plants grow in coconut fiber, sustained by drip irrigation and marked by thin plastic labels stuck in soil.
Pensions
Jerry Brown’s pension reforms have done little to rein in costs
A year after his 2010 election, Gov. Jerry Brown made a rare appearance at a legislative committee hearing to confront lawmakers about the steep cost of public employee pensions – and to demand that they pass his 12-point pension overhaul. Brown challenged fellow Democrats to drink political “castor oil” so public retirement costs would not overburden future generations.
Paying for public retirees has never cost L.A. taxpayers more. And that’s after pension reform
Los Angeles officials often boast about how they stemmed the rising cost of employee pensions, an expense that has hobbled cash-strapped cities throughout California. Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said changes he oversaw in 2011 and 2012, which included lower pensions for new employees and higher retirement contributions from city workers, were “the most far-reaching effort in the nation.”
Ballot Measures
California Democratic Party leaders may be asked to fess up when paid to back ballot measures
The California Democratic Party is considering a new policy that would require party leaders to fully disclose any compensation they receive to advocate for a statewide ballot initiative or candidate for state office. The push for transparency comes after Eric Bauman, chairman of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party and a candidate for state party chairman, faced criticism after his political consulting firm was paid by opponents of Proposition 61, which voters rejected on Nov. 8.
Law enforcement’s hands tied by Prop. 57: Laren Leichliter
This election season has shocked many and made history in ways nobody had anticipated. And as the reality of the results are starting to slowly sink in, we are reminded to trust in our democratic process, even when the outcome is not in our favor. It is certainly easier said than done.
California secessionists unveil independence measure
It still doesn’t have much of a ring – or chance of ever happening – but Calexit isn’t going away just yet. As President-elect Donald Trump continued interviewing prospective appointees on Monday, the left-leaning leaders of a movement to make California a sovereign nation filed paperwork to take their case to voters in two years.
Clearing the smoke for employers on California Proposition 64
On November 8, Californians passed Proposition 64, legalizing recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 years or older in California. Proposition 64 took effect November 9, 2016. California previously legalized the use of medical marijuana with the passage of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.
Politics
Jerry Brown’s election successes preserve streak, set him up for 2018
Four days before the election, Gov. Jerry Brown briefly ducked into a union hall in San Francisco to denounce an initiative that threatened to imperil his high-speed rail and Delta water tunnel projects. “I just want to cut to the chase here,” Brown said of Proposition 53, paid for by wealthy Stockton-area food processor Dean Cortopassi.
Democrats still rule the roost in Sacramento
While Democrats question their diminishing national footprint, the party remains strong in California, with Democrats earning a second supermajority in four years in the Assembly. Democrats took two seats from Republicans in this month’s election to regain a supermajority in the lower house. The Senate is awaiting the results of a race separated by less than two percentage points to find out whether it too will have a two-thirds voting bloc of Democrats.
Democrats close to supermajority in Legislature, Newman takes lead
Democrat Josh Newman now has a lead of nearly 1,400 votes in the Southern California state Senate seat upon which rests Democrats’ chance of a supermajority in the Legislature. Newman, a political neophyte, had been running behind Republican Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang since Election Day. But Chang’s lead began slipping away in recent days.
Demographics in the California Legislature
Highlights: November 2016 California Legislative Election Results
Criminal-justice experts hunt for clues on Trump
One plank of the platform that won the election for President-elect Donald Trump was a tough-on-crime promise to “Make America Safe Again.” “When I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order to our country,” Trump proclaimed during his speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland four months ago.
In California, a bastion of red waits for Trump to nudge this blue state

Sandra Eudy has considered leaving for Texas. Tina Larson finds it hard to envision retiring here, with the state’s high taxes eating into her savings. And Greg Surgener would leave, if not for family obligations. Republicans are something of an endangered species in California, where Democrats control both houses of the Legislature and all statewide elected offices.
Trump’s pick for Justice Department could influence immigration
As a senator, Jeff Sessions became Congress’ leading advocate not only for a cracking down on illegal immigration, but also for slowing all immigration, increasing mass deportations and scrutinizing more strictly those entering the U.S. As attorney general, he’d be well positioned to turn those ideas into reality. Immigration laws are enforced by other agencies, but the Justice Department plays a crucial role in setting the policies and legal underpinnings that shape the system.
Local Government
LA City Council to discuss plan to legalize sidewalk vending next month
A long-stalled plan to legalize sidewalk vending in Los Angeles will be taken up at a public hearing next month, amid concerns that misdemeanor penalties now on the books could put vendors, many of whom are undocumented immigrants, at risk for deportation under Donald Trump’s presidency.
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, President-elect Trump talk immigration, Olympics
Amid growing concerns among Los Angeles leaders about what the future may hold when President-elect Donald Trump takes office, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke with Trump on Wednesday by telephone in what was described as a “productive conversation.” The two discussed “ways to expand infrastructure investments and opportunities in communities across America,” the mayor’s spokeswoman Connie Llanos said in a statement.
Supervisors relax regulations on winemakers
The L.A. County health department no longer has the local wine industry over a barrel. The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday freed L.A. County winemakers from rules under which they had been regulated like any other food-processing plant – creating what the winemakers said were unnecessary and burdensome costs that strangled the industry in the county while it booms elsewhere in the state.
County selects developer for mixed-use project at site of San Pedro’s old courthouse
Los Angeles County officials Tuesday unanimously approved granting exclusive negotiation rights to Holland Partner Group of Vancouver to bring a residential-retail complex to the 1.8-acre property where San Pedro’s shuttered courthouse sits. “The supervisor was extremely humbled and thrilled to be part of this downtown San Pedro renaissance,” said Andrew Veis, assistant press deputy to outgoing county Supervisor Don Knabe.
Forget living in your car in LA: Homeless ban OK’d
The Los Angeles City Council gave final approval Tuesday to an ordinance barring people from living in cars near homes, parks, schools and daycare facilities. Under the ordinance, which must be signed by the mayor before taking effect, parking for habitation purposes will be prohibited from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. along residential streets with both single- and multi-family homes.
Legislation
Here are 5 of California’s dumbest laws for motorists
In California, a $25 fix-it ticket can snowball into $1,000 worth of fees and fines and a loss of driving privileges if the alleged violator doesn’t show up in court. State Sen. Bob Hertzberg of Van Nuys has been fighting this injustice, which disproportionately affects the poor, with legislation that allows people to see a judge “before paying fines, restores driver’s licenses to those with a payment plan and reduces exorbitant fee debts by taking a person’s income into account,” according to Hertzberg’s office.
People
Marcia Clark leaves her trials behind: The onetime O.J. Simpson prosecutor, now-bestselling novelist has become a role model for career women
Two decades before presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton became the target of nonstop, unsolicited advice on how to win the White House – smile more, change that hairstyle, lose the pantsuit – the media were focused on Marcia Clark and all her missteps toward winning the trial of the century.

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.
Prosecution
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.
Pensions
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.
Elections
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.

Monday Morning Memo for November 14, 2016

Law Enforcement
Jump in assaults on California police officers alarms police, communities
Nine police officers have died in the line of duty so far this year in California, five of them since October. The total is not unusual – California loses 10 officers per year on average, according to the Attorney General – but the concentration of killings jammed into just a few weeks is unnerving to many on all sides of the thin blue line. More disturbing, perhaps, is the jump in assaults on police officers. Such attacks can include anything from armed ambush, similar to the one that killed two officers in Iowa on Wednesday, to a push or punch from a recalcitrant suspect.
Murdered LA deputy honored
A sign designating the interchange of the San Bernardino (10) and Long Beach (710) freeways in memory of slain Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Thomas H. Pohlman was unveiled Tuesday. Sheriff Jim McDonnell, Pohlman’s widow, Jenny Liepitz, and children Bryan Pohlman and Kelly Padilla-Pohlman attended the ceremony at Biscailuz Center Training Academy in East Los Angeles, said Eric W. Rose of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs.
LAPD fires two officers following death of UCLA student
The Los Angeles Police Department fired two officers who visited the apartment of UCLA student Andrea “Andy” DelVesco shortly after she was killed in September 2015. Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck fired Rhoadell Sudduth in May and Alisha Williams in September, according to documents obtained by CNN. An internal LAPD investigation found both officers guilty of misconduct because they responded to an emergency call from DelVesco’s neighbor but did not enter DelVesco’s apartment.
Women who alleged sexual assault by 2 LAPD officers testify: ‘I didn’t really feel like I had a choice’
She first met the two narcotics officers in July 2009 when they drove her to jail after she was caught buying methamphetamine in Hollywood. If she gave them names of drug dealers, they said, they could get her out of jail. The woman didn’t make any promises, she recounted, but took one cop’s phone number before she was booked.
Are Los Angeles police chases worth the risk to bystanders? Last year saw record injuries
Los Angeles police chases injured more bystanders in 2015 than in any other year in at least a decade, a surge that has renewed calls for the LAPD to reform a pursuit policy considered one of the most permissive in California. Seventy-eight people were hurt during LAPD chases they had nothing to do with last year, eclipsing the previous highest tally of 61 in 2005, according to a Times review of pursuit data reported to the California Highway Patrol.
California movie producer arrested in $26 million fraud
A California movie producer has been arrested on charges in a $26 million investment fraud. Prosecutors said David Bergstein was arrested Wednesday in Hidden Hills, California, and faces an initial court hearing in Los Angeles. The government said the 54-year-old Bergstein and a co-defendant – Keith Wellner – carried out the fraud by cheating investors at Weston Capital Asset Management, an investor adviser firm.
AP
Prosecution
Robert Durst appears in LA court, enters plea in Susan Berman’s 2000 slaying
Real estate heir and documentary figure Robert Durst made a long-awaited appearance Monday in a Los Angeles courtroom on a charge of killing his friend 16 years ago. Durst pleaded not guilty during an afternoon arraignment at the Airport Branch courthouse in Los Angeles for the killing of his one-time spokeswoman Susan Berman in 2000.
Ex-Sheriff Lee Baca mentally incompetent? Trial awaits
Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is seeking to introduce testimony at his forthcoming trial linking actions charged in a felony indictment to a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment he received years later. Baca’s attorneys want a jury to hear opinions from a psychiatrist, Dr. James Spar, regarding the retired lawman’s mental state in 2011 and 2013, according to court papers obtained Wednesday by City News Service.
Prosecutors reject criminal case against Manhattan Beach teacher
The District Attorney’s Office has rejected filing criminal charges against a Manhattan Beach Middle School teacher placed on leave last month in an alleged child annoyance case, police said Monday. The unidentified teacher, however, will remain on administrative leave from school while Manhattan Beach Unified School District officials conduct their own inquiry into the matter, authorities said.
Conviction
Jury finds reporter, Rolling Stone responsible for defaming U-Va. dean with gang rape story
A federal court jury decided Friday that a Rolling Stone journalist defamed a former University of Virginia associate dean in a 2014 magazine article about sexual assault on campus that included a debunked account of a fraternity gang rape. The 10-member jury concluded that the Rolling Stone reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, was responsible for defamation, with actual malice, in the case brought by Nicole Eramo, a U-Va. administrator who oversaw sexual violence cases at the time of the article’s publication.
Dallas Raines’ wife sentenced to probation, drug rehab for trying to strangle daughter
e wife of KABC-TV’s longtime weatherman Dallas Raines was sentenced to three years’ probation and drug rehabilitation for beating and trying to strangle their adult daughter as they drove home from a La Cañada country club, prosecutors said. As part of a plea deal, Danielle Raines pleaded no contest Friday to one felony count of assault by means likely to produce great bodily harm on her 25-year-old daughter, according to Ricardo Santiago, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Driver gets 10 years for hit-run death of junior high teacher-cyclist
A Canyon Country man was sentenced to 10 years in state prison Monday for hitting a 53-year-old bicyclist with his car and then fleeing the scene of the crash, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced. Deputy District Attorney SuSu Scott said Lucas Guidroz, 28, pleaded no contest on Oct. 4 to one count each of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run driving resulting in death.
Killer gets life term for rampage at Los Angeles Airport
A gunman who killed a federal transportation security officer and wounded three other people during a rampage at Los Angeles International Airport was sentenced to life plus 60 years in prison Monday for the attack that crippled the nation’s second-busiest airport and disrupted travel nationwide. Paul Ciancia, 26, had faced the mandatory life sentence for murdering a federal officer, but prosecutors also sought the additional 60-year term because he showed no remorse and still clings to the beliefs that led to the violence in 2013.
Prison & Jail
Onetime jails chief returns to head troubled probation
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Wednesday formally appointed Terri McDonald, the onetime jails chief, to head the troubled Probation Department. Supervisor Hilda Solis called McDonald a proven leader and said she “will provide the seasoned command, leadership and management skills that the county needs right now.” Solis said the board had been looking for a candidate with a commitment to both public safety and the rehabilitation of offenders.
LA County jail problems linger with big lawsuits
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agreed Wednesday to pay more than $3 million to the families of two people who died while in county jail. One case is from 2009, the other from 2013 – before reforms were underway in the jails, sheriff’s officials say. Helen Jones alleged her son John Horton, 22, was never properly placed in a mental health unit, despite a court order instructing jailers to do so.
Washington state prison department to stop calling prisoners ‘offenders’
The Washington state Department of Corrections is phasing out the word “offender” in an attempt to shake a negative social stigma connected with the term. For prisoners in classes, staff should now use “students.” And for those in the infirmary, they should say “patients.” “Individuals” is a better term, too, the department says.
Ballot Measures
Prop. 64: What to know now that marijuana is legal in California
California has joined a growing trend across the country by legalizing the recreational use of marijuana and hemp. By passing Proposition 64, Californians over 21 years of age can now legally smoke marijuana privately, and can have up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and up to 8 grams of concentrated marijuana, such as hash, in their possession, according to the Official Voter Information Guide for the proposition.
Calif. voters decide to uphold death penalty, streamline the process
California voters rejected a ballot measure that would have abolished the death penalty, and narrowly approved a competing measure designed to streamline the execution process. Proposition 62, which was opposed by about 56 percent of voters, would have repealed the death penalty for murder and replaced it with life in prison without parole.
Suit filed to block death-penalty measure Prop. 66
Opponents of a newly passed initiative aimed at speeding up executions have asked the state Supreme Court to block it from taking effect. Proposition 66, approved by voters Tuesday, will cause “confusion and upheaval” in the courts, interfere with their authority, and force both courts and lawyers into hurried and less-reliable decisions in capital cases, said the suit filed Wednesday by former state Attorney General John Van de Kamp and Ron Briggs, a former El Dorado County supervisor.
Proposition 57 passed
Law enforcement thinks they’ll be a lot busier now that one of the more controversial measures, Proposition 57, passed yesterday. “Law enforcement and the citizens are going to have to live with the effects of Proposition 57.” George Hofstetter with the Association For Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs is afraid that crime will go up… now that many violent felons will be reclassified as non-violent.
After Prop. 57, DA says we can’t forget about victims
At least 30,000 of California’s 130,000 state inmates could soon be considered for early release, the latest step in an unprecedented five-year effort to reduce California’s prison population, after voters approved a sentencing reform measure championed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Voters approve California gun control law
A gun- and ammunition-control initiative, the provisions of which include prohibiting the possession of large-capacity magazines, will become the law of the land in California thanks to voters’ approval. In addition to requiring the destruction or removal from the state of large-capacity ammunition magazines, Proposition 63 will also require most individuals to pass background checks and obtain Department of Justice authorization to purchase ammunition.
County Government
With Hahn and Barger elected as L.A. County supervisors, board will see its first female majority
Even in a state known for its diversity and progressive culture, women remain seriously underrepresented in California’s state and local government. The 15-member Los Angeles City Council has only one woman on it, and a report released two years ago found that women occupied fewer than 30% of elective city, county and state posts. But with Tuesday’s election, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has become a major exception.
Legislature
California Democrats’ supermajority quest hinges on close races
Democrats were within striking distance of a supermajority in the California Assembly Wednesday, and liberal groups were successful in their bid to throw out a moderate Democratic Assemblywoman who has opposed labor and environmental regulations. But elsewhere, moderates reigned, and voters did little to upend the fractious balance of power between moderate and liberal lawmakers in the Democratic Party, giving Democrats only tepid gains on a night when they had hoped to sweep in more liberal candidates and score supermajorities in both houses.
Democratic supermajority won’t stop intraparty fighting, but may grow center
Democrats on Election Day have a very real chance at winning a two-thirds “supermajority” in the California Legislature. While that would be a major disaster for Republicans politically – if it were to happen – it would likely have little effect on the legislative process if recent history is any guide.  In fact, most of the larger defeats over the last year or so have been due to intraparty fighting.
Election 2018
Candidate filing period opens for LA mayor, city attorney, council seats
The exhausting, never-ending 2016 presidential election isn’t even over yet, but local Los Angeles candidates are already gearing up for the March election. The candidate-filing period for the Los Angeles mayoral, city attorney, controller and council seats opened Monday. Aspiring candidates will have until Friday to submit their declarations of intent to run, and about a month – from Nov. 12 to Dec. 7 – to submit nominating petitions.
See how they run: Candidates lining up for 2018 governor’s race
Up and down the state, candidates are gearing up for the next election. The 2018 gubernatorial election, that is. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is in and is quickly assembling a war chest. Ditto state Treasurer John Chiang. Former California schools superintendent and East Bay Assemblywoman Delaine Eastin says she’s gearing up to run, and Bay Area billionaire Tom Steyer is said to be considering it, too. And former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says he’ll be jumping in as soon as next week.
Antonio Villaraigosa, former L.A. mayor, jumps into the California governor’s race
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Thursday began his 2018 bid for governor after a three-year hiatus from the political limelight, joining a heady field of candidates that is expected to grow larger in the months ahead. The former mayor, who was raised by a single mother in Boyle Heights, said his campaign will focus on rebuilding the middle class and assisting Californians who have been “left behind” in the new economy, along with improving public schools and repairing the state’s deteriorating roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
State Bar
State Bar does not have to disclose racial data, judge rules
The State Bar does not have to disclose the race or ethnicity of the many thousands of Californians who took the bar exam because it would invade their privacy, a judge ruled Monday in a setback for a researcher who hoped the data would support his opposition to affirmative action. Richard Sander, a UCLA law professor, sued in 2008, seeking information on everyone who had taken the exam since 1972 – their race or ethnicity, what law school they attended and their scores on the exam.
Post-Election
Here is what Donald Trump wants to do in his first 100 days

At the end of October, Donald Trump spoke in Gettysburg, Pa., and released a plan for his first 100 days in office. The plan outlines three main areas of focus: cleaning up Washington, including by imposing term limits on Congress; protecting American workers; and restoring rule of law. He also laid out his plan for working with Congress to introduce 10 pieces of legislation that would repeal Obamacare, fund the construction of a wall at the Southern border, encourage infrastructure investment, rebuild military bases, promote school choice and more.
What does Donald Trump have in store for California?
Californians gave Donald Trump a stern rebuke Tuesday, handing Hillary Clinton a victory so lopsided that she ended up winning the nationwide popular vote. Now the multibillion-dollar question is: What does the president-elect have in store for California? As some disheartened California Democrats launched an online movement to secede from the United States, policy experts tried to gauge what to expect from a president-elect who thinks global warming is a hoax, free trade is a job killer and the Affordable Care Act must be repealed.
Liberal California braces for a Donald Trump presidency: ‘We are on high alert’
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was avoiding questions about his interest in joining a possible Hillary Clinton administration last week, instead stressing the urgent need for more affordable housing to help lessen the scourge of homelessness in his city. “I need a good partner in the White House,” Lee, a Democrat, said at a campaign stop, where he touted his party’s presidential hopeful and sharply criticized her Republican rival, Donald Trump.
President Trump’s Justice Dept. could see less scrutiny of police, more surveillance of Muslims
The Justice Department is set to significantly shift its priorities under Donald Trump, reflecting the themes of a presidential candidate who consistently described the country as riven by chaos and in need of more powerful law enforcement. The department, which under President Obama built an aggressive civil rights division, is likely to take a more hands-off approach toward police departments alleged to have overused force and to loosen restrictions on surveillance in Muslim communities, according to legal analysts and Trump’s public statements.
California today: With Trump’s rise, a return to the ‘rebel state’
As the nation delivered Donald J. Trump a stunning victory, California went the other direction, embracing a progressive agenda. The state resoundingly backed Hillary Clinton, delivering her its 55 electoral votes, but it wasn’t enough to stem the wave of battleground states that lined up for Mr. Trump. “Probably no state is going to be more shocked by tomorrow morning’s headlines than California,” Bruce E. Cain, a professor of political science at Stanford University, said late Tuesday.
Trump plan calls for nationwide concealed carry and an end to gun bans
Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump — who said he has a concealed carry permit — called for the expansion of gun rights Friday, including making those permits applicable nationwide. In a position paper published on his website Friday afternoon, Trump called for the elimination of gun and magazine bans, labeling them a “total failure.”
What now for true-blue California?
This was supposed to be, in the minds of many, the election that moved the rest of the nation closer to pluralistic, pro-tax, anti-gun, “progressive” California. Never mind. California voters reinforced the state’s image in a big way, favoring Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a nearly 2-to-1 margin and passing ballot measures to tax the rich, regulate ammunition sales, soften criminal punishment, ban plastic bags, lift the ban on bilingual education and legalize marijuana.
What a difference a year makes!
One year ago the Dow was 5000 points higher than it opened today. Did I hear that right? Can this be? One year ago the Dow was at 14165! Now it is down 35%. Even Cramer, the thoroughly entertaining (to me, anyway) and highly energized TV financial markets commentator, now says get out of stocks. Get out of stocks? Who’da thunk? And, most of the rest of the world’s organized economies are in the same, sinking boat.
What we’ve learned about the media industry during this election
When the 2016 campaign began, legacy news organizations already faced dim industry projections. Slides in print revenue at newspapers and magazines were accelerating; online advertising, the escape plan for these businesses, teetered. Television executives, lamenting smaller audiences and less enthusiastic advertisers, had finally realized that the huge changes elsewhere in the media industry were coming for them, too.
Why the Latino vote didn’t save America
As someone who had, just 24 hours earlier, asserted that Latino voters would turn out in droves for Hillary Clinton and help save the republic from Donald Trump, I spent Election Night with huevos rancheros on my face. I was wrong. Actually, I was right but I was wrong.  I was right that Latinos did turn out big, at least in early voting. According to The Washington Post, Latinos accounted for a larger percentage of early voters than they did four years ago.
Who will Jerry Brown pick to fill very powerful office?
Tuesday’s election may be history, but another contest for one of California most influential offices looms – with just one voter who counts. With Attorney General Kamala Harris easily claiming a U.S. Senate seat Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown must appoint her successor, subject to confirmation by both legislative houses. Brown could name a caretaker to oversee the Department of Justice for the next two years or launch someone on a political career that could lead to the governorship, a U.S. Senate seat or even the presidency.
Also…
LA leaders to state: Don’t let SoCalGas resume at Aliso Canyon – yet
County supervisors voted Wednesday to press regulators to deny Southern California Gas Co.’s request to resume injecting natural gas into wells at the Aliso Canyon storage facility, where a four-month leak emitted 109,000 metric tons of methane and displaced thousands of residents. Supervisor Michael Antonovich recommended sending a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission and the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources asking that no new injections be allowed until regulators complete an analysis of the root cause of the leak.
Say goodbye to government by the people
When San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced that he would not defend the city in a federal lawsuit challenging state bail laws, he said, “Keeping people locked up for no reason other than they can’t afford to post bail can have far-reaching consequences. People lose their jobs and their homes. Families fall apart. Taxpayers shoulder the cost of jailing people who don’t need to be there. In other words, the current bail system is not just unconstitutional, it’s bad public policy.”

Monday Morning Memo for November 7, 2016

Ballot Initiatives
California’s 17 Propositions explained
Along with national and local races, Californians will be asked to vote on 17 state propositions November 8th. Marianne Kast with the Fresno League of Women Voters stopped by Eyewitness News This Morning, to explain some of them. Kast says the League is frequently asked about the propositions that receive the most advertisement. Those include: Proposition 53, a statewide approval for use of revenue bonds above $2 billion. 
California voters poised to pass new gun and ammo restrictions
California voters will decide Tuesday whether to approve an ammunition and gun-control initiative, that would prohibit the possession of large-capacity magazines and require background checks for the purchase of ammunition. According to a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released Thursday, the measure has strong voter support with 58 percent in favor of it versus 35 percent opposed.
Gun control measure divides California’s politicians, law enforcement
A gun control measure on California’s ballot Nov. 8 is pitting sheriffs, police chiefs, and prosecutors against most of the state’s political establishment. A state that already has some of the strictest limits on gun ownership in the nation is asking voters to impose regulations on ammunition sales and make it a crime not to report a stolen gun.
Propositions 62 and 66: Two death penalty initiatives to appear on upcoming ballot
California voters will decide on two opposing ballot initiatives — Propositions 62 and 66 — that have to do with the death penalty — including one that seeks to repeal it — when they head to the polls on Nov. 8. Chris Wolfe reports for the KTLA 5 News.
Props 62 and 66: Death penalty debate behind enemy lines

I just saw the first ad from the supporters of Prop 62. Mike Ferrell, the head of that movement, claimed that a “yes” vote on Prop 62 saves innocent lives on Death Row, by giving them all Life-Without-the-Possibility-of-Parole death sentences. What a myth and twist in thinking. Would Mr. Ferrell be willing to debate any LWOP prisoners he has demonized? Or is he afraid of the truth?
If Prop 64 passes, what happens to prisoners convicted of marijuana charges?
Though his fate will hang in the balance on Election Day, Corvain Cooper won’t get to cast a ballot. The 37-year-old will be in a cell in central California’s Atwater federal prison, where he’s serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for convictions involving marijuana. “I was placed in a federal prison at its highest level, with felons who all committed acts of violence,” the Los Angeles native said in a series of monitored emails sent from prison.
Got bank? Election could create flood of marijuana cash with no place to go
Although the sale of marijuana is a federal crime, the number of U.S. banks working with pot businesses, now sanctioned in many states, is growing, up 45 percent in the last year alone. Still, marijuana merchants say there are not nearly enough banks willing to take their cash. So many dispensaries resort to stashing cash in storage units, back offices and armored vans.
Public safety united in opposition to Prop 57
Top law enforcement officials, peace officer and district attorneys’ associations, victims’ rights organizations and civic leaders from across the state have joined forces to speak out against Proposition 57,  which will be voted on in California’s general election on November 8. More than 50 county district attorneys, 30 county sheriffs, 20 police chiefs, 30 congressional members and thousands of peace officers, crime victims and criminal justice advocates represented by over 45 associations unequivocally urge voters to vote No on Prop 57.
Prop 57: Not just a ‘juvenile’ initiative
When touting the merits of The Public Safety & Rehabilitation Act of 2016 (also known as Proposition 57,) the 2016 California voters guide addresses the question surrounding juvenile arrests for violent or serious criminal offenses to be charged as adults. Those convicted could spend years incarcerated in California State prisons.
Inmates supporting Prop 57 Public safety ballot initiative
NBC4 was given exclusive access into law enforcement’s four-year-long investigation, which led to the burglary ring raid. It led them to uncover another enterprise, in which they discovered inmates urging friends and associates to approve Proposition 57. Proposition 57 would make approximately 7,000 prisoners eligible for parole after they complete their primary sentence.
Yolo County’s top prosecutor opposes Prop. 57
In what has been a statewide effort by prosecutors and county supervisors, Yolo County officials are opposing Prop. 57 on next Tuesday’s ballot. In a letter to local newspapers, District Attorney Jeff Reisig, and supervisor Jim Provenza and Matt Rexroad are asking people to think about Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Owen, who was murdered while responding to a burglary call at an apartment building four weeks ago.
Ballot measure could shorten prison time for inmates
Few politicians debate the notion that prison incarceration is an issue demanding attention. The question for California voters is if Prop. 57 addresses the problem adequately. Prop. 57 is called the “California Parole for Non-Violent Criminals and Juvenile Court Trial Requirements Initiative” and will be on the Nov. 8 ballot as a constitutional amendment and state statute.
District Attorney
DA’s office will review campaign contributions from donors with ties to Sea Breeze developer
The Los Angeles district attorney’s office said Monday that it would review a series of campaign contributions made by donors with ties to a developer who secured approval for a controversial $72-million apartment complex. On Sunday, a Times investigation showed that more than 100 donors who were directly or indirectly connected to developer Samuel Leung had made donations totaling more than $600,000 to L.A.-area politicians while his 352-unit Sea Breeze project was being reviewed.
Prosecution
Playboy Playmate Dani Mathers charged in fitness center body shaming case
A Playboy playmate was charged Friday after allegedly secretly photographing a nude woman in a fitness club locker room and posting the image to social media. Dani Mathers was charged with one count of invasion of privacy, the city attorney’s office announced Friday. If convicted, the 29-year-old faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Justice Department sues AT&T-DirecTV, alleges collusion in blocking Dodgers channel
For three seasons, thousands of frustrated Los Angeles Dodgers fans have missed Clayton Kershaw’s brilliant pitches. They also never got to watch Vin Scully’s emotional final season and a dominant march to the playoffs. Now, the U.S. Department of Justice says that baseball fans were shut out because of unfair play by DirecTV, which allegedly colluded with rival pay-TV companies in an effort to make sure that Dodgers games were not widely available in Los Angeles.
Attorney embezzles $150,000 to pay own debt
A disbarred attorney pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of taking nearly $150,000 from three people and using their money to pay personal debts. Fred Raymond Hunter Jr., 50, of Riverside, who was disbarred Oct. 16, 2014, was charged Friday with three felony counts of embezzlement by a fiduciary of trust, with sentencing enhancement allegations for theft exceeding $100,000 and aggravated white collar crime exceeding $100,000.
Why ex-Sheriff Lee Baca’s jail corruption trial will stay in LA County
Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca will be tried in Los Angeles County in December in connection with a jail corruption case after a federal judge denied his request Monday to hold the trial outside the area. U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson denied the motion to change the venue by Baca’s attorneys, who argued that thousands of news stories about the high-profile case this year have saturated the public to the point Baca could not get a fair trial in Los Angeles County.
Conviction & Sentencing
Gun battle with LAPD gets high-speed chase driver 32 years behind bars
A young man who led Los Angeles police on a high-speed chase during which his passenger fired shots at officers was sentenced Wednesday to 32 years in state prison. Avel Jowan Turks, now 20, was sentenced by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon immediately after pleading no contest to two counts of assault on a peace officer.
Eleven years for man who killed fellow transient outside fast-food restaurant
One of two homeless men convicted in the beating and stomping death of a fellow transient outside a fast-food restaurant in downtown Los Angeles was sentenced Monday to 11 years in prison. Derek Miller, 31, pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in the Feb. 7, 2015, death of Derrick Hamilton. Co-defendant Charles Allender, 42, was charged along with Miller and convicted of second-degree murder following a trial.
Woman gets 21 years in prison for Hollywood fight
A woman shot by police after pointing a gun during a fight in a Hollywood parking structure was sentenced Monday to 21 years in prison. Diamond Shirley Vargas, 49, of Los Angeles was convicted of one felony count of assault with a firearm. Jurors deadlocked on five identical counts. Vargas was shot in the leg following a confrontation on Dec. 26, 2014, in the parking structure of the Hollywood & Highland center.
Rapist pulls victim into car, drives to vacant home, 150 years to life prison!
A rapist convicted of sexually assaulting three women in Los Angeles and two women in Lancaster was sentenced Wednesday to 150 years to life in state prison. James Smith was convicted of nine felony charges stemming from attacks on a 21-year-old woman in Los Angeles on Dec. 24, 2009; a 43-year-old woman in Los Angeles on Sept. 24, 2011; a 33-year-old woman in Los Angeles on March 22, 2012; a 28-year-old woman in Lancaster on Dec. 6, 2013; and a 19-year-old college student in Lancaster on June 16, 2014.
Law Enforcement
Many secret service agents’ overtime pay maxing out in raucous year (Video)
Many of the U.S. Secret Service agents on the campaign trail are not getting paid for all the overtime they’re putting in.
L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell discusses Hatzolah, Israel and Black Lives Matter
While appearing as a guest of attorney Andrew Friedman at the Nov. 1 American Friends of Magen David Adom Red Star Ball, which was held at the Beverly Hilton, drew more than 1,000 attendees and raised more than $14 million to support Israel’s ambulance, blood-services, and disaster relief organization, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell discussed what local emergency medical response services could learn from similar organizations in Israel, the state of police and African-American relations in Los Angeles in the age of Black Lives Matter and more with the Journal.
Former Long Beach officer arrested after alleged domestic assault and death threat
A former Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) officer was arrested today by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) and charged with felony counts by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division, including burglary, assault with a firearm and false imprisonment charges, the LBPD announced.
New law aims for police accountability in use of force cases
A new law aimed at holding police accountable for use of force incidents has raised concerns among both police departments and civil rights groups. California Assembly Bill 71 requires police departments to submit annual data of their use of force, from shootings to altercations resulting in great bodily harm, and makes the records accessible to the public.
Parents of Ezell Ford, who was fatally shot by LAPD officers, settle lawsuit with city
The parents of Ezell Ford, a mentally ill man who was fatally shot by Los Angeles police officers in 2014, have settled their wrongful death and state civil rights lawsuit with the city of L.A., according to court papers. Attorneys for Ford’s parents and the city reached the tentative settlement Oct. 21, according to an order filed by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rita Miller.
Trans women want cops to stop prostitution crackdowns
A coalition of activist groups is asking the Los Angeles Police Department to back off of its operations against transgender women suspected of prostitution. Those crackdowns usually happen in Hollywood, along Santa Monica Boulevard.
FBI in internal feud over Hillary Clinton probe
The surprise disclosure that agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation are taking a new look at Hillary Clinton’s email use lays bare, just days before the election, tensions inside the bureau and the Justice Department over how to investigate the Democratic presidential nominee.
Body cameras end guesswork in controversial cop stops? 1,000 deputies get them
The Los Angeles Police Department isn’t the only massive Southern California law enforcement agency grappling with the use of body-worn cameras in the wake of controversial shootings and confrontations around the nation. The Riverside county Board of Supervisors next week is expected to authorize Sheriff Stan Sniff to move ahead with plans to outfit all patrol deputies with body-worn cameras to “improve employee and citizen accountability.”
Fairbanks officer who predicted his own shooting has died
Fairbanks Police Sgt. Allen Brandt has died. The officer, who was shot earlier this month, suffered complications during surgery on his eye on Thursday. His condition deteriorated, and he was not able to recover, according to Acting Police Chief Brad Johnson. “Fairbanks lost a hero today,” Johnson said. “Our community, our department, our families and our friends are hurting.”
As threat evolves, Riverside County Sheriff’s gear up
Sheriff Stan Sniff, concerned that law enforcement officers in Riverside County and nationwide are increasingly encountering shooters firing high-powered weapons and refusing to surrender, has authorized his patrol deputies to wear special ceramic vests that are more likely to stop a bullet from a rifle than the vests they currently wear under their uniform shirts.
Prison & Parole
These puppies have a ‘magical’ effect on a state prison. Can they help inmates change?
When a pair of puppies stepped into a state prison’s highest security yard on a scorching summer day, dozens of felons fretted that the Labradors would singe their feet on hot pavement. “Pick them up! You’ve got to carry them. Watch out for their paws!” inmate Andre Ramnanan remembers his worried peers shouting at him.
Woman fights against early release of her brother’s killer
A Bakersfield woman is carrying on a lone fight against the early release of her brother’s killer, who was killed in a fiery car crash in August 2007 in Carson. William, better known as Bill, Cunha was 62 years old. According to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s reports, Cunha died when his vehicle was broadsided by another driver in a Chevy Avalanche.
Help stop parole of cop killer Voltaire Williams
We need your help to prevent a cop killer from walking free. Twice in two years, Voltaire Williams CDC# E17796, the convicted murderer of LAPD Detective Thomas Williams, has been up for parole. Both times, after organized efforts by the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) to send letters to Governor Brown and the Board of Parole Hearings, Williams was denied parole.
County Government
LA supervisors to vote on civilian oversight of sheriff
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is expected Tuesday to take the long awaited step of creating a civilian commission to act as a watchdog for the sheriff’s department. The idea of a citizen’s panel arose three years ago amid a federal investigation into inmate abuse inside LA County jails. That investigation led to the indictment of more than 20 deputies and the abrupt resignation of former Sheriff Lee Baca.
Courts
When CA voters cleaned house at the State Supreme Court 
Thirty years ago, on November 4, 1986, California voters ousted Rose Bird, chief justice of the California Supreme Court, by a margin of 67 to 33 percent. This landslide vote confirmed that, contrary to current rhetoric, a bipartisan ruling class out of touch with the people is not a new development. Bird had been the first female public defender in Santa Clara County before serving as campaign chauffeur for Jerry Brown during his run for governor in 1974.
Court: The crime is what you did, not what you could have done
California’s Proposition 47 reduces felony convictions to misdemeanors for property crimes of less than $950. But when Jullian Rendon tried to reclassify her forgery conviction as a misdemeanor because she was caught with $260 in counterfeit bills, prosecutors objected because Rendon also possessed materials – blank pre-cut paper money, Benjamin Franklin faces and other items – that she could have used to fabricate tens of thousands of dollars in additional fake bills.
SF city attorney Dennis Herrera condemns state’s bail system
A decades-old California law that keeps people in jail if they can’t afford bail after their arrest came under renewed attack Tuesday from San Francisco’s city attorney, who said the city wouldn’t defend the law in court, and a Bay Area legislator, who promised a bill to repeal it.
The law “creates a two-tiered system: one for those with money and another for those without.
Judge excoriates Orange County sheriff for alleged concealment of jailhouse informant evidence
Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals blasted county Sheriff Sandra Hutchens in court Friday over a seeming refusal to turn over all evidence related to a tainted jailhouse informant program that has allegedly violated the rights of numerous defendants and threatens to upend multiple murder cases in the county.
Changing face of Los Angeles reflected in judicial candidates
The extraordinary diversity within the population of Los Angeles is reflected in a judicial race that pits a British born prosecutor against a Vietnamese American civil litigator in a race that has brought background, experience and temperament to the fore. One candidate was educated in London and steeped in the culture that produced the “Rumpole of the Bailey” television series.
Pensions
Jerry Brown touted his pension reforms as a game-changer. But they’ve done little to rein in costs
year after his 2010 election, Gov. Jerry Brown made a rare appearance at a legislative committee hearing to confront lawmakers about the steep cost of public employee pensions – and to demand that they pass his 12-point pension overhaul. Brown challenged fellow Democrats to drink political “castor oil” so public retirement costs would not overburden future generations.
Also…
As California turns left, conservatives’ culture war victories are being erased
Culture wars dominated California politics during the 1980s and 1990s, and for the most part those on the conservative side of the ideological scale prevailed. But then is then and now is now, and the tide appears to have turned.
Villaraigosa looks to former Newsom confidant to guide campaign
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa plans to turn to a San Francisco-based consultant and former confidant of rival Gavin Newsom to help guide his 2018 gubernatorial campaign, as he seeks to make inroads outside of Southern California. Villaraigosa’s plan to use Eric Jaye as a strategist, confirmed by multiple sources Monday, comes as Villaraigosa prepares to announce his candidacy shortly after the presidential election on Nov. 8.
L.A. City Council President wants to legalize pot shops, because they’re actually not legal
Pot shops in the city of Los Angeles technically are illegal. In 2013 voters approved a look-the-other-way law, Proposition D, which grants “limited legal immunity” to 135 or fewer dispensaries in L.A. that have kept up with certain regulations since 2007. Those collectives, however, could be outlawed on Jan. 1, 2018, when a package of state cannabis bills takes effect.
Anne Gust Brown for attorney general? She’s got a job, Jerry says
Perhaps no political parlor game has stirred as much curiosity among California politicos as Gov. Jerry Brown’s possible selection for state attorney general. Brown will have the opportunity to elevate the state’s next top law enforcement official if frontrunner Kamala Harris wins the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer in the Nov. 8 election.
Politicians and activists demand answers on mystery donations tied to ‘Sea Breeze’ developer
Two Los Angeles-area elected officials and several neighborhood activists called Sunday for an investigation into campaign donations made by people with ties to a developer who secured City Hall approval for a controversial 352-unit apartment complex last year. The Times reported that dozens of donors with direct or indirect connections to real estate developer Samuel Leung gave more than $600,000 to L.A.-area politicians as his $72-million project was being reviewed.

Governor Brown’s Statement in Support of Prop 57 Provide More Reasons to Vote “No!”

By Eric Siddall

Governor Brown is quoted in today’s Los Angeles Times, providing his reasons why voters should support Prop 57, the early release of felons initiative.  Every one of his statements lacks both merit and a basic understanding of the criminal justice system.

First, the governor claims that his act would restore “deliberative thought” to a process driven by district attorneys chasing headlines and seeking re-election with a “quiet parole board” making reasoned parole decisions.

The reality is that very few crimes make it into the newspaper or are featured on TV or radio.  The vast majority of prosecutions result in prison sentences known only to judges, prosecutors, victims, police, and defendants. The cases that capture media attention are ones that involve murder-which carries a mandatory sentence. This “quiet” parole board the governor champions will become an unaccountable Kafkaesque prison release machine so “quiet” that victims won’t even be aware that the felon who victimized them is back in the neighborhood.

Next, the governor claims that if prosecutors are upset that with his listing of crimes eligible for release, that’s their own fault because prosecutors “created the damn violent list.”  False. The problem is not the list. The problem is your “damn amendment.”  The “damn violent list,” as you call it, singles out certain violent crimes for harsher punishment; it didn’t absolve other crimes of their violent nature or lessen their punishments. It was you, Governor Brown, who wrote Prop 57 and decided what crimes should be eligible for early release under its provisions.  We are simply pointing out that your amendment is poorly drafted.

Further, Prop 57 gives state prison officials constitutional authority to invent early release credits for all inmates not serving life without parole or a death sentence.  Governor Brown assured the Times that credits will be limited. How? Not by the state legislature, because it takes that power away from them. Not by judges, because it takes that power away from them. Instead, all credit making power goes to the Department of Corrections. In other words, it goes to the governor. Small comfort since Governor Brown will only be in office for two more years. The truth is the governor’s deliberate failure to include in Prop 57 any restrictions on invention of new sentence credits means there can be no confidence this new power will be used wisely.

The real reason Governor Brown is pushing Prop 57 is because he wants to try something new. He wants to experiment with public safety and see what happens. He wants to turn back the clock to a time where sentences were short, victims had no rights, and the felon was king. We simply cannot afford this radical experiment.

We will continue to fight against Prop 57. Please like and share our video: https://www.laadda.com/no-on-prop-57

Eric Siddall is Vice President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, the collective bargaining agent representing nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles. To contact a Board member, click here.

Rapists, Human Traffickers & Other Violent Criminals to Be Set Free If Prop 57 Passes

By Eric Siddall

As the Sacramento Bee pointed out, “The term ‘nonviolent felony offense’ comes from the language of the governor’s sentencing measure itself. If the measure is approved by voters, it remains to be seen how ‘nonviolent felony’ will be defined.

Governor Brown is spending millions of dollars on false radio adspromoting Prop 57, repeating that it only applies to “non-violent felons.” This claim is an attempt to fool the public into believing inmates who have committed crimes involving violence will not be eligible for the measures’ early parole.

In prior blogs, we have highlighted the multiple crimes of violenceeligible for early parole under Prop 57: including rape of an unconscious person, rape with a foreign object, assault on a peace officer causing injury, assault with a  deadly weapon, and many others.  The Governor has pushed back, citing the Attorney General’s ballot description that it only applies to “non-violent” inmates amongst other defenses.

Turns out, as the italicized quote above highlights, there was absolutelyno analysis by the Attorney General of the type of offenses and inmates eligible for release.  Instead, the Attorney General has acknowledged they only parroted Brown’s description of crimes eligible for early parole under Prop 57.   In short, instead of doing their sworn job the Attorney General’s office played politics.

To set the facts straight, this past opposition law enforcement leaders from throughout Southern California, including District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Sheriff Jim McDonnell held a news conference to speak out againstProp 57.
The simple and undeniable fact is that Prop 57 makes numerous inmates who have  committed violent crimes eligible to be released years early from their prison sentence.  Any ballot argument or statement by the Governor that says to the contrary is completely false.
Eric Siddall is Vice President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, the collective bargaining agent representing nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles. To contact a Board member, click here.
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