Monday Morning Memo for February 27, 2017

Accused Dodger Stadium attacker pleads to assault in 2015 beating
A Palos Verdes Estates man pleaded no contest to an assault charge Wednesday for punching a man in a parking lot at Dodger Stadium after a Dodgers-Mets game. Michael Rae Papayans, 28, entered his plea to a felony count of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and admitted an allegation that he caused great bodily injury, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
No contest plea from man who hammered Donald Trump’s Hollywood star
A man who admitted damaging Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to make a political statement shortly before last year’s presidential election pleaded no contest Tuesday to a felony vandalism charge. James Lambert Otis, 53, of Los Angeles, was immediately sentenced to 20 days of Caltrans work and three years probation.
Ex-LA City Attorney Carmen Trutanich charged with misconduct in death penalty case
The State Bar of California announced Thursday that it has filed disciplinary charges against former Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich for alleged misconduct in a death penalty case dating back more than 30 years. The State Bar alleges Trutanich suppressed evidence, withheld the identity of a witness and allowed false testimony to be entered in the case of Barry Williams, who was accused of a fatal 1982 shooting.
LA sheriff’s deputy pleads no contest to killing Sylmar man in 2012
A former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy has pleaded no contest to killing a man in Sylmar who had been involved in a fight with the deputy’s son in 2012, officials said. Francisco Gamez II, 45, entered a plea to one count of second-degree murder as well as one count of attempted murder for also shooting at a neighbor during the incident.
More drama in Robert Durst’s pre-trial murder hearing
Robert Durst’s defense attorney went on the attack Friday against testimony from a longtime friend who’d said the eccentric real estate heir had admitted murdering their mutual friend Susan Berman in 2000. In blockbuster testimony Thursday, New York advertising executive Nick Chavin said Durst effectively confessed to the killing after they had dinner in December 2014.
Hearing in Roman Polanski’s long-running case delayed
A hearing to unseal testimony in Roman Polanski’s long-running underage sex case has been delayed. The Los Angeles Superior Court sent out a notice Wednesday stating that a hearing scheduled for Friday has been delayed a new date has not yet formally been set. The delay comes days after Polanski’s attorney filed a formal motion to unseal the testimony of a former prosecutor who handled Polanski’s 1977 unlawful sex with a minor case.
Law Enforcement
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti accused of being silent on city’s rising crime
The violent crime rate rose for a third consecutive year in Los Angeles, but that’s not something Mayor Eric Garcetti is eager to highlight ahead of the March election, one mayoral challenger said this week. During a candidate forum hosted by the Northridge East Neighborhood Council, Mitchell Schwartz, a political strategist who is attempting to unseat Garcetti, accused the mayor “of hiding and suppressing the police reports from last year” by not holding his annual news conference to discuss the end-of-year crime statistics.
Whittier police officer killed in shootout, suspect may be involved in separate homicide
One officer was killed and another injured in a shootout Monday with a 26-year-old suspected gang member who may have been involved in a separate homicide in East Los Angeles, authorities said. Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper identified the deceased officer as 28-year-veteran Keith Boyer of Whittier and the wounded officer as Patrick Hazell, also of Whittier.
Gang member accused of killing Whittier cop had cycled in and out of jail, records show
The gang member accused of killing a Whittier police officer Monday has cycled in and out of jail for repeatedly violating the terms of his release, records show. L.A. County sheriff’s homicide Capt. Steve Katz on Tuesday identified the suspect as Michael C. Mejia, 26, a career criminal with a history of drugs and violence. Mejia has a “history of control problems,” Katz said.
Police chief says Whittier officer’s slaying shows danger of criminal justice reform, but details are unclear
Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper says the man suspected of shooting an officer to death on Monday is an example of how statewide efforts to reduce incarceration of certain criminals can have tragic consequences. “We need to wake up. Enough is enough,” Piper said at an emotional news conference on Monday, the day Officer Keith Boyer was killed. “This is a senseless, senseless tragedy that did not need to be.”
Accused hit and run killer had been deported
A man booked on suspicion of murder – after he allegedly killed a woman in North Hills while fleeing the scene of another car crash – had been removed from the United States to Mexico five times between 1998 and 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Estuardo Alvardo, 45, was arrested Sunday afternoon after the fatal crash at Sepulveda and Plummer Streets and was being held in lieu of $1,050,00 bail, according to jail records.
Accused cop killer could’ve been locked up longer
Prosecutors from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office confirmed Wednesday they’d asked a judge to sentence the gang member accused of murdering a Whittier Police Officer to four years in prison in 2014. An L.A. Superior Court judge sentenced Michael Mejia to half that. Mejia completed the prison term last April and was released on probation.
Props allowing early release of inmates under fire after Whittier office killed
Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper spoke out Monday night against propositions recently passed in California after one of his officers was killed in the line of duty by a parolee. “We need to wake up. Enough is enough. You’re passing these propositions, you’re creating these laws that is raising crime,” he said.
LAPD asked to step up patrols amid rising crime rate
Amid a rising crime rate and officer complaints that response times are slower, a City Council committee will begin examining today if the Los Angeles Police Department needs to increase its regular patrols. A motion submitted in January by council members Mike Bonin and Joe Buscaino and seconded by Councilman Mitchell Englander calls on the LAPD to look at increasing patrols, including dismantling some specialized units and hiring more civilians to move officers off desk duty.
Should eBay be doing more to stop sales of fakes?
Sales of counterfeit items on online marketplaces like eBay Inc., Inc. and Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. has been and continues to be a source of irritation (at least) to the companies, the manufacturers of the fake goods and to the consumers who buy them. According to The Counterfeit Report, a website that searches out fakes and reports the items to the e-commerce websites, “eBay is proving to be an ideal platform to distribute counterfeit goods – an activity that is profitable, difficult to track and widely unpunished.”
Retired deputy reached settlement in lawsuit against LASD
Lawyers for a retired deputy and for Los Angeles County told a judge Thursday that a tentative settlement was reached in the plaintiff’s lawsuit, in which he alleged that he endured an internal backlash for refusing a captain’s request that he campaign on behalf of former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka in his failed bid to be elected sheriff.
4 major US cities are seeing a surge in homicides
Four major US cities are experiencing a surge in homicide rates and have neared or exceeded the numbers from the 1990s, according to a study from The Wall Street Journal. The publication looked at homicide data stretching back to 1985 and found that murder rates in Chicago, Baltimore, Milwaukee, and Memphis now look like numbers from the 1990s: an era wrought with gang violence and drug-trafficking.
Drones, law enforcement and privacy
Law enforcement departments are already making use of drones to help them on different mission types, but laws revolving privacy and safety of a drone’s usage are still a concern of many, especially the public. In January 2017, The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced they will be using a drone to help search and rescue operations, bomb detection, hazardous material spills and hostage situations.
Eyes over Compton: How police spied on a whole city
This is the future if nothing is done to stop it. In a secret test of mass surveillance technology, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sent a civilian aircraft* over Compton, California, capturing high-resolution video of everything that happened inside that 10-square-mile municipality. Compton residents weren’t told about the spying, which happened in 2012.
Burbank sees a rise in property and violent crimes
Burbank saw a 12% increase in the number of reported property and violent crimes in 2016, according to the Burbank Police Department. In the department’s year-end crime statistics, 3,160 instances of crime were reported in 2016 as opposed to 2,815 in 2015. Property crime – which includes burglary, theft and auto theft – jumped from 2,656 cases to 2,948.
17 y/o girl abducted by sex traffickers rescued after she ‘prayed and prayed’ family would find her
Sarah Dunsey from Logan, Utah, was found in Venice, California, on Friday after she disappeared over a month earlier. At the time of her disappearance, the teen was on a trip with her friends in Las Vegas, where she was believed to have been kidnapped into sex slavery. Sarah’s mother Amie, who made an emotional plea for her return in a video campaign that went viral, took to Facebook to celebrate the news of her daughter’s safe return.
Challenges ahead for law enforcement
There is little question that Napa County is a relatively safe place to live. In many parts of the county, people think nothing of leaving their doors open and cars unlocked. People walking at night have more to fear from inattentive drivers than from muggers. Even in the more urbanized areas of Napa and American Canyon, murders, rapes and serious assaults are mercifully rare, especially when compared with other counties in the outer suburban ring around San Francisco.
It’s legal for an immigration agent to pretend to be a police officer outside someone’s door. But should it be?
During a nationwide operation this month by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a team of ICE agents in Los Angeles approached the house of a man targeted for deportation. “Good morning, police,” one agent announced in the pre-dawn darkness. A man opened the door moments later. “Good morning, how you doing? I’m a police officer. We’re doing an investigation,” the agent said.
LAPD Valley chief urges calm amid deportation fears
Los Angeles police Deputy Chief Robert Green said he and his team are working to “promote calm” amid concerns in the San Fernando Valley over the possibility of mass deportations of immigrants. Many don’t understand what the Los Angeles Police Department can and can’t do when it comes to dealing with undocumented immigrants – and are concerned with hypothetical future scenarios not grounded in fact, said Green, who is commanding officer of LAPD’s Operations-Valley Bureau.
Law enforcement creating new unit to fight DUIs
The county’s District Attorney’s Office opened a new investigative unit focused on training law enforcement personnel on the investigation and prosecution of drunken driving and driving under the influences of substances. The passage of Prop 64, which legalized recreational marijuana, created new challenges for law enforcement, said District Attorney Jackie Lacey “With the legalization of marijuana in California, we in law enforcement must be prepared to aggressively investigate and prosecute vehicular deaths and injuries caused by impaired drivers,” Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said.
Metro approves $646M annual multi-agency transit policing contract
At today’s meeting, the Metro board approved a new five-year multi-agency transit policing contract. For the past decade, transit policing had been done by the L.A. County Sheriff Department (LASD.) Under the new contract transit policing will be done by LAPD, LASD, and Long Beach Police Department. When the proposal first came to the board in November-December 2016, it was $547 million annually.
LA Sheriff’s Department sends cease and desist over Yes On S ‘eviction notice’ mailer
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department issued a cease and desist letter Friday over a Yes On S political campaign mailer designed to look like a Sheriff’s Department eviction notice, according to a statement from the department. “The political mailer depicted in the photos attached to this message is counterfeit and could mislead members of the public to believe they are subject to legal action by the Sheriff’s Department,” the department said in the statement.
Should eBay be doing more to stop sales of fakes?
Sales of counterfeit items on online marketplaces like eBay Inc., Inc. and Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. has been and continues to be a source of irritation (at least) to the companies, the manufacturers of the fake goods and to the consumers who buy them.
According to The Counterfeit Report, a website that searches out fakes and reports the items to the e-commerce websites, “eBay is proving to be an ideal platform to distribute counterfeit goods – an activity that is profitable, difficult to track and widely unpunished.”
A court is blocking L.A. County sheriff from handing over a list of 300 problem deputies
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has collected the names of about 300 deputies who have a history of past misconduct – such as domestic violence, theft, bribery and brutality – that could damage their credibility if they testify in court. Sheriff Jim McDonnell wants to send the names to prosecutors, who can decide whether to add them to an internal database that tracks problem officers in case the information needs to be disclosed to defendants in criminal trials.
Declaration of L.A. prosecutor in the legal fight over the L.A. sheriff’s Brady list
Jason Lust­ig, the deputy in charge of the Los Angeles County dis­trict at­tor­ney’s dis­cov­ery com­pli­ance unit, said in his de­clar­a­tion that there is no policy or prac­tice by which any loc­al law en­force­ment agency no­ti­fies his of­fice of po­ten­tial of­ficer mis­con­duct. In ad­di­tion, he said, the of­fice “act­ively de­clines to ac­cept in­form­a­tion from a peace of­ficer per­son­nel file if the in­form­a­tion is offered by a law en­force­ment agency without the ex­press per­mis­sion of the in­volved of­ficer.”
Court of appeal upholds LAPD recruits’ failure to accommodate claim
Seyfarth Synopsis: The Court of Appeal held that police officer recruits who were not “qualified individuals” under FEHA for purposes of their discrimination claim could nonetheless prevail on their claim for failure to provide a reasonable accommodation, where they were qualified to fill a reassigned position. The City was required to temporarily assign injured recruit officers to light-duty administrative assignments in light of the City’s past practice of doing so.
Prop. 57: High-profile Bay Area murder cases on hold so judges can consider teens for juvenile court
The much-anticipated trials of a 20-year-old Oakland man accused of killing a Santa Clara County paramedic and a Santa Cruz teen charged with the murder of an 8-year-old girl are among hundreds of prosecutions on hold so California judges can determine if the young defendants should be prosecuted in juvenile court.
How will Trump’s Supreme Court nominee rule on California union cases?
Two years ago, Placer County middle school teacher Michelle Raley launched a long-shot bid to change one of the state’s most powerful labor groups from the inside. She ran for president of the California Teachers Association, and rhymed her frustrations with the union in a campaign statement. “My local is a closed shop. We have to pay dues. I want to be a proud member. Not sing the CTA blues,” she wrote in her platform for the 2015 CTA election.
Assault weapons are not protected by the Second Amendment, appeals court rules
A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld Maryland’s ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, ruling that Second Amendment protections do not extend to what it called “weapons of war.” Writing for the 10-4 majority, Judge Robert King of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, said that the landmark Heller v. District of Columbia decision rendered in 2008 explicitly allows governments to regulate firearms similar in design and function to those issued to members of the military.
ACLU files lawsuit against SDPD over juvenile DNA policy
Under California’s Proposition 69, which was approved by voters in 2004, law enforcement agencies are allowed to collect DNA samples from all felons. Yet, the San Diego Police Department is reportedly collecting DNA samples from juveniles who haven’t been charged with a crime. The American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties filed a lawsuit this week against SDPD over a department policy that allows officers to collect DNA from juveniles, without a warrant, as long as they get signed consent from the minor.
Controversial painting depicting cops as pigs is now subject of lawsuit
The battle over a controversial painting that portrays police officers at pigs moved from Congress to the courts on Tuesday. The artwork, created by a Missouri high school student, was removed from a gallery in the U.S. Capitol last month, after House Republicans lodged a complaint with the Architect of the Capitol arguing that painting was offensive and violated Capitol rules.
Bill would limit early parole for crimes like rape, arson, abuse and murder for hire
State Sen. Patricia Bates Thursday revealed a list of crimes that would be covered under a bill that seeks to modify Prop. 57, which increased opportunities for parole of nonviolent felons and to allow judges, not prosecutors, to decide if some juveniles can be charged as adults. “Californians approved Prop. 57 last year with the intention of showing leniency to offenders who are truly non-violent,” Bates said.
Props allowing early release of inmates under fire after Whittier officer killed
Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper spoke out Monday night against propositions recently passed in California after one of his officers was killed in the line of duty by a parolee. “We need to wake up. Enough is enough. You’re passing these propositions, you’re creating these laws that is raising crime,” he said. In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that California’s prisons were so overcrowded it amounted to “cruel and unusual” punishment.
Bill would add hotels, motels to human trafficking fight
A new Senate bill looks to address human trafficking where the crimes often occur: hotels and motels. Senate Bill 225, introduced earlier this month by Sen. Henry Stern, D-Agoura Hills, would add hotels and motels to the list of businesses that are required to post signs with hotline numbers people can call or text if they suspect human trafficking or need assistance. Human trafficking involves not only forced prostitution but also forced labor.
Local Assemblyman introduces bill to target serial thieves
Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) on Feb. 21 introduced a measure that aims to toughen the state’s penalties on serial thieves. Current state law, which was shaped by Proposition 47, considers a theft to be a misdemeanor if the stolen item’s value is less than $950 in each case. Under Cooper’s Assembly Bill 1326, an offender can face felony theft charges if he or she steals more than $950 worth of items within one year.
Proposed state legislation could push back last calls for bars
State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, announced legislation Wednesday that would allow local governments to decide how late alcohol can be served. If approved, the Let Our Communities Adjust Late Night, or LOCAL, Act would allow the previously set 2 a.m. time for last calls at bars in California to be pushed back as late as 4 a.m. The legislature has been met with both positive and negative reactions.
McCarty introduces legislation to create independent review of fatal police shootings
In early February, Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, who represents West Sacramento and portions of Sacramento, introduced for the second time legislation that would require independent review of fatal police shootings. Right now AB 284 is a spot bill without a lot of detail, being used as a place holder to comply with deadlines, but Assemblymember McCarty said he’s hopeful that the bill will become law this time.
Assembly bill aims to make California a “shall-issue” State
A new bill introduced in California would amend the state law to allow citizens showing “just cause” for self defense to obtain a concealed carry permit. AB 757 states: Existing law authorizes the sheriff of a county, or the chief or other head of a municipal police department, if good cause exists for the issuance, and subject to certain other criteria, to issue a license to carry a concealed handgun or to carry a loaded and exposed handgun, as specified.
Politics & Local Government
The untold story of how Kevin Leon became Kevin de León
The name on his birth certificate isn’t Kevin de León. That’s how the Los Angeles Democrat identified himself more than two years ago when he was sworn in as the 47th president pro tem of the California Senate, the first Latino to hold the position in more than a century. On his birth certificate and voter rolls, however, the 50-year-old politician is Kevin Alexander Leon.
Missed payments to L.A. County foster parents prompt supervisors’ call for inquiry
Los Angeles County supervisors this week called for an inquiry into the “root cause” behind hundreds of missed payments from the county’s child protection agency to foster care parents, group home managers and others depending on public assistance. The missed payments, first reported by The Times last month, left many in dire straits. A group home manager said she had to borrow thousands of dollars from friends to make payroll.
LA’s moves to protect immigrant street-food vendors come with a catch
LA is the only major American city where it is against the law to sell food and merchandise on the sidewalk. Criminal charges are relatively rare – of the 50,000 street vendors in LA, just 22 were convicted of misdemeanors last year, according to the city attorney’s office. Even so, President Trump’s executive order to speed up the deportation of undocumented immigrants has pushed local elected officials to change the law.
California lawmakers can’t figure out what to do with Airbnb. Here’s why
In San Francisco, tumult at the ballot box, with the Board of Supervisors and in the courtroom has defined the city’s relationship with Airbnb and other short-term rental sites. In Los Angeles, regulating Airbnb is a top issue at City Hall. In New York last fall, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed one of the nation’s most restrictive laws penalizing Airbnb hosts who do not abide by limits on how frequently they can rent out their properties.
Other News
Arizona to death-row inmates: Bring your own execution drugs
The recent revelation that condemned prisoners in Arizona can now provide the lethal drugs to be used in their executions has received attention around the world and raised questions about the state’s rules for the death penalty. The novel policy has drawn sneers from defense attorneys who were puzzled as to why the state would think that they would assist in killing their clients.
Trump’s inroads in union ranks have labor leaders scrambling
Donald J. Trump redrew the electoral map with his rousing economic nationalism and evocation of a lost industrial age. It was a message that drew many union members to his cause. And now it is upending the alliances and tactics of the labor movement itself. In early November, workers at the Momentive chemical plant in upstate New York went on strike to beat back pension and health care concessions.
Elwood Lui: Following in the footsteps of David Yaffe
Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney David Berger was slammed last Aug. 31 in a Court of Appeal opinion in connection with his handling of a restoration-of-sanity proceeding. At the tail end of the opinion, authored by Elwood Lui-now an associate justice of this district’s Div. One, and in all probability the next presiding justice of Div. Two-the clerk is instructed, upon issuance of the remittitur, to ship a copy of the opinion to the State Bar, and to advise Berger that he’s been reported for possible disciplinary purposes.
Surprising no one, Los Angeles is the most gridlocked city in the world
In Los Angeles, every day brings a new carmageddon. The portmanteau was originally coined to describe a weekend in July 2012, when a section of 405 Freeway was closed for massive widening project. The traffic apocalypse turned out not to be as bad as predicted, but the additional lanes of freeway did nothing to alleviate LA’s legendary traffic woes. In fact, one could argue they’ve only gotten worse.
The flawed logic of the Calexiters
“Thursday night the streets were filled with excited crowds. No one talks of anything but the necessity for prompt action. … It is hardly prudent for any man to express his opinion adverse to immediate secession, so heated are the public passions, so intolerant of restraint is the popular will.” You would probably assume that this report came from California in the wake of the 2016 election, right?
Federal Government
Senator Harris (D) strongly supports resistance to federal immigration policy On Thursday, Feb. 16, U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris delivered her maiden speech on the Senate floor, addressing the contributions immigrants make to our society and how she will be a fierce advocate for them, especially the more than 250,000 DREAMers who reside in California. Harris, a former California Attorney General and career prosecutor, also discussed why President Trump’s Executive Orders that target immigrants and refugees run counter to our nation’s ideals, and threaten public safety, national security, and the economy. Senator Kamala D. Harris
US Border Patrol shooting of Mexican national goes to Supreme Court
The Supreme Court on Tuesday took up the case of a 15-year-old Mexican national who was shot to death in 2010 as he cowered behind a pillar in Mexico, by a US Border Patrol agent standing on American soil. The family of Sergio Hernandez is seeking to sue the border official for their son’s death. They say the agent violated Hernandez’s constitutional rights. The violent shooting was caught on cell phone video and sparked outrage because fact that Hernandez was unarmed.
The private prison industry is licking its chops over Trump’s deportation plans
Immigration agents sparked panic across the country last week, when a series of high-profile operations made it clear that a new era of crackdowns on undocumented immigrants had begun. Coming on the heels of a couple of major executive orders on immigration, the arrests and deportations were a very public reminder of President Donald Trump’s promise to deport upwards of 2 million immigrants upon taking office.

Monday Morning Memo for February 20, 2017

New trial date set for ex-Sheriff Lee Baca – but he can’t wear his ‘star’ pin
Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca will stand trial – again -and this time he can’t do it wearing the lapel pin that honored his former agency. Jury selection in Baca’s case will begin Feb. 21 in federal court in downtown Los Angeles, where he’s been charged on three counts: obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements, which stem from an investigation into inmate abuse inside the Men’s Central Jail in 2011.
Judge limits character witness testimony in upcoming Baca trial
As attorneys prepare to retry former L.A. Sheriff Lee Baca, federal prosecutors have successfully blocked Baca’s defense team from calling character witnesses to testify on his prior “good acts.” Baca is accused of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and lying in connection with a scheme to thwart an FBI investigation into the inmate abuse in the jails. A prior trial ended in a hopelessly deadlocked jury, forcing a new trial, which is expected to begin later this month.
3 Plead not guilty to gang-related revenge arson, 12 murder counts
The death penalty could be presented to two gang members and a woman charged with capital murder in an arson fire fueled by revenge at a Westlake apartment building. The historic, decades-old revenge arson killed seven children, a woman, and two pregnant women. According to prosecutors, the alleged defendants took action on May 3, 1993 when the apartment manager and others wanted to prevent drug deals in the complex on the 300 block of Burlington Avenue, west of downtown.
Secret witness testifies Robert Durst’s wife feared ‘The Jinx’ subject
The so-called secret witness in the Robert Durst case was revealed Wednesday to be an advertising executive who was introduced to him through a mutual friend – the woman Durst is accused of murdering. Nick Chavin, 72, took the witness stand at a pretrial hearing and testified that he had met “Bobby” more than three decades ago through his pal, writer Susan Berman, and became such good friends that Durst was the co-best man at his wedding.
Los Angeles driver accused in destructive chase may face 137 years behind bars
Criminal charges were filed Friday against a Los Angeles man who allegedly led police on a two-part, high-speed chase that ended when his car struck several vehicles, including one that overturned. Tyree Francis, 24, pleaded not guilty to two counts each of assault on a peace officer, assault with a deadly weapon and evading an officer, along with one count each of evading an officer causing injury, hit-and-run and being a felon in possession of a firearm – all felonies – and a misdemeanor count of hit-and-run.
15 years after a boy was kidnapped and sexually assaulted in Northridge, DNA leads LAPD to the suspect
Fifteen years after a man kidnapped a 14-year-old boy at gunpoint, blindfolded him and then sexually assaulted him, Los Angeles police arrested a suspect this week after a DNA match cracked the cold case open. Mirek Paul Voyt, a 54-year-old former grocery store manager, was arrested at his Hollywood home Tuesday and charged in connection with the Northridge assault, LAPD Capt. Billy Hayes said at a news conference Thursday.
Investor pleads guilty to withholding email during grand jury probe of Port of L.A. police chief
Santa Monica attorney pleaded guilty Thursday to disobeying a federal grand jury subpoena during the public-corruption investigation of the Port of Los Angeles’ former police chief. Gerard N. Casale Jr. admitted that he failed to turn over an email in response to the subpoena seeking information about his business dealings with the former port police chief, Ronald Boyd, according to court papers filed in the Central District of California.
Roman Polanski seeks to have prosecutor’s testimony unsealed
Roman Polanski’s attorney has asked a Los Angeles judge to unseal testimony given by a former prosecutor who handled the fugitive director’s long-running sexual assault case. Polanski’s attorney Harland Braun wrote a letter filed Feb. 10 seeking to unseal testimony given in 2010 by a former prosecutor handling Polanski’s case. Polanski pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl and fled the United States in 1978 on the eve of sentencing.
Roman Polanski might return to the U.S.
Even though his legal counsel successfully argued against an extradition order late last year, Roman Polanski is pondering doing the right thing and returning to the United States. The director will even go back to court, but not to discuss carrying out the remainder of his sentence for raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977. According to Deadline, these are the conditions Polanski would like met if and when he comes back to the U.S. Polanski’s attorney Harland Braun tells the publication that they’re looking to unseal a “secret transcript” of the 2010 testimony of former prosecutor Roger Gunson.
Conviction & Sentencing
Richmond woman’s sentence called unconstitutional, is reduced
A state appeals court has taken the rare step of reducing the mandatory life prison sentence of a Richmond woman who shot and gravely wounded a man who had just taken part in the beating of her father. Deyanira Cuiriz was sentenced to 27 years to life in prison for attempted voluntary manslaughter, mayhem and shooting at an occupied vehicle.
District Attorney
District Attorney warns against fake attorneys revolving immigration
Amid fears of deportation, as a result of President Donald Trump’s stance to increase enforcement of United States immigration law, the Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey has informed those seeking immigration assistance to beware of the use of Notorio Publicos, or other “fake attorneys,” a statement on the district attorney’s website noted. Similar to a Notary Public, Notarios are common in Mexico and Latin America, but handle a variety of other tasks such as filing government forms, or offering legal advice.
SF sues online gun suppliers, calls sale of ‘repair kits’ illegal
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera sued five gun suppliers Thursday, alleging they broke a state law banning the sale of high-capacity magazines by selling them in pieces and falsely marketing them as “repair kits.” The suit appears to be the opening of what could be a protracted legal fight over California gun-control measures, which are among the most restrictive in the country.
D.A. to review how this councilwoman-turned-consultant raised money from companies seeking business with Huntington Park
The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office is looking into a Huntington Park councilwoman’s role as a political consultant in which she raised money from companies that sought to do business with the city, a spokeswoman for the D.A. said this week. The inquiry by the district attorney’s public integrity division follows a Times article published Sunday detailing how Councilwoman Karina Macias raised money for a state Assembly campaign by parlaying her connections throughout the community.
Law Enforcement
L.A.’s newest data portal highlights where, when and why people get parking tickets
With an eye on improving parking and parking policies, Los Angeles launched a new website in January to track its more than 2.4 million parking fines issued each year. Controller Ron Galperin published the parking fine data taken from fiscal 2015 on a dedicated data showcase – dubbed Street Talk: Parking Tickets in LA – as a resource for residents and policy makers working to reform the city’s parking system.
Homeland Secretary defends immigration raids in L.A., elsewhere
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Monday defended recent “targeted enforcement operations” by federal authorities in areas including Los Angeles that triggered mass-deportation fears in some immigrant communities, saying the raids were aimed at criminals and people who violated immigration laws.
LASD deputy runs in remembrance of Sgt. Owen, other fallen first responders
Ten-year Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department veteran, Deputy Jenna Nunez, not only talks about honoring fellow first responders lost in the line-of-duty, she showed it in the best way she knew how: running a half-marathon race in the uniform she dons daily to make a physical declaration of esteem and appreciation for them.
eBay faces a credibility problem
Consumers should have confidence and expect authentic, safe products when they shop on eBay, but that’s not what happens. At issue is eBay’s illusory claim; “You can’t list replicas, fakes, counterfeits, or other illegal copies on eBay.” The fact is that counterfeit and replicas can be, and are, easily listed on eBay. The same sellers often repeatedly re-list counterfeits which may be dangerous or even deadly despite repeated notifications to eBay.
LAPD mediation program for residents and cops creates better understanding – when they show up
A mediation program designed to help LAPD officers and residents understand each other better is largely successful when both sides agree to meet, according to a department report to be delivered Tuesday to the Los Angeles Police Commission. But cops and residents often choose not to engage in face-to-face mediation.
Sheriff’s narcotics unit cracking down on illegal marijuana shops in LA County
By passing Proposition 64 in November, California voters made it legal to own or grow a small amount of marijuana for recreational use. The sale of recreational pot, however, is another matter, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Narcotics Bureau has been cracking down on illegal pot shops operating in its jurisdiction. From shootouts to robberies, problems have skyrocketed following the statewide legalization of marijuana under Prop. 64., according to authorities.
US Prosecutors: Arrested Seattle ‘Dreamer’ admits gang ties
A Seattle area man detained by immigration agents despite his participation in a federal program to protect those brought to the U.S. illegally as children admitted to having gang ties, the U.S. Justice Department said in court documents filed Thursday. Daniel Ramirez Medina “stated ‘no, not no more,’ when asked if he is or has been involved with any gang activity,” the government said in documents filed in U.S. District Court.
LA’s west San Fernando Valley is no ‘Shangri-La’ as gang crime stirs concern
The perception that life west of the 405 Freeway is relatively free of crime is one that hasn’t gotten past Los Angeles City Councilman Bob Blumenfield. He and other community leaders in the West Valley aren’t buying what he’s heard from some people. “They kind of think we live in Shangri-La of the West Valley, and we don’t have these kinds of problems,” Blumenfied said.
With Valley murders on the rise, LA leader pushes for LAPD report on gangs
With the San Fernando Valley experiencing a significant increase in homicides over the last two years, a City Council committee on Monday advanced a motion that would direct police to prepare a report on gang activity west of the 405 Freeway. The motion approved by the Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee states that in “the western San Fernando Valley, street gangs have been a continuing problem, with various criminal acts being committed by gang members.”
Ballot Measures
Orange County lagging in race for Prop. 47 grants
Across California, counties are jockeying for a share of $34.4 million in competitive state grants aimed at providing services for the more than 5,000 nonviolent drug offenders released from state prisons since the 2014 passage of Proposition 47. Agencies in a number of counties have formed advisory committees, held community forums, and developed proposals that target specific needs involving substance abuse, behavioral health, job training and housing.
Santa Barbara County pursuing grant to divert criminals with mental illness to alternative programs
Planning is underway for a Proposition 47-funded program in Santa Barbara County, and mental health officials are poised to finalize their grant proposal by the looming deadline. The county is going after a $3 million grant – distributed over 38 months – utilized by savings garnered by Prop. 47, a voter-approved 2014 law that reclassifies a wide range of felonies as misdemeanors.
Calexit supporters hold forum in LA aseffort to collect ballot signatures continues
The belief that California would be better off as an independent country is driving an organized effort whose supporters want the Golden State to secede from the United States. “We’re talking about full-blown independence and breaking off from America,” said Marcus Ruiz Evans, vice president of the Yes California Independence Campaign. “As I like to say, this isn’t pizza toppings.”
Newsom runs for governor, waging 140-character war against Trump Time was, Gavin Newsom dismissed the office of lieutenant governor by wondering what the job did and whether it should exist. The answers: not much and no. But six years into it and aspiring to move over to the governor’s suite, Newsom is using the position of lite guv to be everywhere. As a UC regent, he voted against a tuition hike. That heartens younger voters. Sacramento Bee
Homelessness now outranks traffic and crime as number one voter issue
“Traffic and crime have been overtaken by homelessness as the defining issue for voters right now, and that’s pretty amazing,” said Tommy Newman, spokesperson for the Yes on H campaign, citing internal polls. The homeless, seen everywhere and discussed constantly, continue to penetrate the consciousness of city leaders and citizens in the run up to the March 7 Primary Election when voters will be asked to support Measure H: The Los Angeles County Plan to Prevent and Combat Homelessness.
New criminal justice reform focus: Harsh bail laws
The same coalition of Democratic lawmakers and interest groups that worked with Gov. Jerry Brown on Propositions 47 and 57 – which lessen the amount of time convicts must spend behind bars for relatively minor crimes and make it easier for convicts to gain parole, respectively – have a new target: the state’s harsh bail laws. Brown has yet to sign on to the campaign led by state Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, and Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland.
Proposed legislation would block release of body camera footage showing victims of rape, domestic violence
A new bill in the California Legislature would prohibit the public release of police body camera footage depicting victims of rape, incest, child abuse or domestic violence. Assembly Bill 459 from Assemblyman Ed Chau (D-Arcadia) says the privacy of victims outweighs any public interest in body camera footage and should be protected. Under his proposal, video could be released if the victim allows it.
Local Government
County supervisor warns of $100 million budget cut
County Supervisor Dianne Jacob outlined an array of priorities over the next year, setting goals that she hopes county government will pursue long after current board members leave office.But the chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors issued a more immediate warning in her State of the County address Wednesday regarding major fiscal challenges, including possible budget cuts of $100 million.
Are LA County dams safe? In wake of Oroville spillway trouble, local leader wants to know
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said Monday she’ll ask for a comprehensive investigation of the county’s system of dams, spillways and other water collecting structures to determine if there are any potential threats to public safety. Her request, to be made Tuesday during the Board of Supervisors meeting, comes just one day after 185,000 people were ordered to evacuate near the Oroville Dam, east of the Sacramento Valley.
County floats homeless tax
Measure H, a Los Angeles County quarter-cent sales tax on the March 7 ballot, will raise an estimated $355 million annually for the next 10 years to combat homelessness. The money would fund services for thousands of homeless individuals, including children, foster youths, seniors, battered women, people with disabilities and veterans. It will also give the county one of the highest sales tax rates in the nation.
LA decriminalizes street vending, but those with convictions still on the hook
The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday adopted ordinances that remove criminal penalties from the city’s law banning street vending, but city attorneys say they have no way of granting amnesty to vendors already convicted of misdemeanors. The council voted 13-0 to adopt decriminalization ordinances that include an “urgency” clause to fast-track their enactment. Mayor Eric Garcetti said he plans to sign the legislation. Once he does, it would go into effect immediately.
LA to allow homeless to pay parking tickets with community service
Homeless people who receive parking tickets in Los Angeles will have an alternative way to pay fines after a resolution was passed by the city council on Tuesday. The most recent numbers from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority suggest that about 7,000 people in the city live in vehicles, with many of them accumulating parking citations.
Oroville evacuation: 500 inmates moved to Alameda County jails
Alameda County has accepted more than 500 inmates from Butte County who were evacuated because of the flooding danger from the Oroville Dam. The inmates began arriving Sunday night and are being housed at both Santa Rita jail in Dublin and the Glenn Dyer in Oakland, authorities said. It was not known how long the inmates would be housed in Alameda County.
Transgender inmate name changes would be faster under California bill
California could make it easier for inmates to legally change their names or gender identification. State Sen. Toni Atkins, a Democrat from San Diego, said Tuesday that her bill, SB310, would let state prison inmates apply for the legal changes without first getting approval from several state correctional officials. Her bill would also apply to inmates in county jails.
Go to jail. Die from drug withdrawal. Welcome to the criminal justice system.
When Tyler Tabor was booked in a jail outside Denver on a spring afternoon in 2015, he told a screening nurse that he was a daily heroin user and had a prescription for Xanax. A friendly, outdoorsy 25-year-old with a son in kindergarten, Tabor had started using opioids after he injured his back on the job as a welder.
Supreme Court nominee has defended free speech, religion
Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch has been a defender of free speech and a skeptic of libel claims, an Associated Press review of his rulings shows. His record puts him at odds with President Donald Trump’s disdain for journalists and tendency to lash out at critics. On other First Amendment cases involving freedom of religion, however, Gorsuch’s rulings in his decade on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver reflect views more in line with the president and conservatives.
Court: Questioning of Sandra Bullock’s accused stalker was unlawful
An appeals court ruled Tuesday that Los Angeles police detectives violated the rights of a man arrested inside Sandra Bullock’s home when they obtained his consent to search his home and recovered illegal automatic firearms. A three-justice panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal unanimously ruled Tuesday that police detectives violated Joshua James Corbett’s rights to remain silent during a police interrogation, and his right against an unlawful search of his home.
With pension reform looming, these California departments went on a hiring spree
On the eve of major pension changes that would crimp retirement benefits for new hires, a handful of California government agencies went on a holiday hiring spree. The Board of Equalization hired 25 new faces that week. Seventeen reported for their first day of work on New Year’s Eve. The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District brought on 23 new recruits between Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 of 2012.
Criticism of CalPERS is often misplaced
If you didn’t know any better, you’d think CalPERS is the source of all California’s ills: higher taxes, bankrupt cities, reduced public services, lavish pensions – the list goes on. We’ve even been blamed for failing to catch the fact that Wells Fargo employees were creating fake bank accounts. There’s undoubtedly a cost to pensions. And as a member of the CalPERS board and a committed fiscal conservative, I was just as eager as anyone to understand the costs and inner workings of the system.
Other News
Why you can’t get tickets
Cyber criminals are blocking your attempts to purchase good seats to concerts and games at a reasonable price, and California’s legal attempt to stop them appears to be failing, the I-Team has learned. A growing number of online scalpers are using “ticket bots,” automated computer applications that can hold, then purchase, hundreds of tickets the second they go on sale at primary sale sites.
Top California Dem: ‘Half of my family’ could be deported by Trump order
For California Sen. Kevin de León (D), the battle against President Trump’s immigration order isn’t business – it is personal. De León, the current Senate president pro tempore, told the state Senate Public Safety Committee that half of his family could be rounded up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and deported because they are living in the U.S. illegally, and criminally.
Victor Davis Hanson column: California goes Confederate
Over 60 percent of California voters went for Hillary Clinton – a margin of more than 4 million votes over Donald Trump. Since Clinton’s defeat, the state seems to have become unhinged over Trump’s unexpected election. “Calexit” supporters brag that they will have enough signatures to qualify for a ballot measure calling for California’s secession from the United States.
Lobbyist faces fine after inviting L.A. politicians to his $51,000 birthday party downtown
A longtime lobbyist faces a proposed fine of more than $11,000 for inviting dozens of Los Angeles city officials to a birthday party. A Los Angeles City Ethics Commission investigation found that John Ek violated city rules that restrict gifts from lobbyists to city officials when he hosted a 50th birthday party for himself at a downtown bistro two years ago.
Executive Branch
Trump signs orders to combat crime, with little new in them
At an Oval Office ceremony for the swearing in of Jeff Sessions as attorney general, President Trump announced that he was also going to sign three executive orders “designed to restore safety in America,” to “break the back” of cartels and “stop as of today” violence against the police. The praise began arriving immediately.
Can the President “destroy” criminal-justice reformers?
On Tuesday, President Trump hosted a group of county sheriffs at the White House, where he spurred a now-infamous exchange with a lawman from Texas. The back-and-forth went like this: Trump asked the sheriffs if they had any ideas on “how we can bring about law enforcement in a very good, civil, lovely way,” in order to “stop crime.” Sheriff Harold Eavenson, of Rockwall County, Texas, fired first. “Asset forfeiture!” he called out.
Police chiefs say Trump’s law enforcement priorities are out of step
Not surprisingly, President Trump’s approach to crime, which began to take shape in a series of moves last week, generated swift criticism from liberals and civil rights groups. But it also stirred dissent from another quarter: prominent police chiefs and prosecutors who fear that the new administration is out of step with evidence that public safety depends on building trust, increasing mental health and drug addiction treatment, and using alternatives to prosecution and incarceration.
In wake of confusion, ICE officials release details of arrests
Federal officials on Monday released details about an immigration sweep in Los Angeles and surrounding counties last week that resulted in the arrests of 161 people living in the country illegally. In response to the protests and panic in immigrant communities that erupted as word spread of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations in Los Angeles and several other cities, federal officials in a statement reiterated their claim that the arrests were not the result of President Trump’s aggressive stance on deportations.

Monday Morning Memo for February 13, 2017

3 Suspects plead not guilty to 12 counts of murder in 1993 Westlake fire called deadliest arson in state history
Two men and a woman were charged Tuesday in a deadly 1993 Westlake apartment fire that police said was deliberately set as retribution against a building manager who wanted to stop gang drug dealing at the complex. The fire killed 10 people: seven children and three women, two of whom were pregnant.
Rapper “The Game” pleads to assaulting off-duty officer during basketball game
Rapper “The Game” pleaded no contest to assaulting an off-duty police officer during a basketball game at a high school in Hollywood, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced. Jayceon Terrell Taylor, 37, entered a no contest plea to one misdemeanor count each of criminal threats and battery. Taylor also pleaded no contest to one felony count of grand theft.
Ex-prosecutor tried to sell whistle-blower suit for Bitcoin: Feds
A former prosecutor who became a partner at a top law firm carried out a cloak-and-dagger operation – complete with a wig and a request to be paid in Bitcoin – to sell a sealed whistle-blower lawsuit for $310,000, according to the FBI. Jeffrey Wertkin of the firm Akin Gump was arrested Jan. 31, but the charges against him were not made public until this week.
Animal cruelty charges filed against Hohberg’s Poultry ranches in Ontario
A chicken farm in Ontario faces chilling allegations of animal cruelty as prosecutors announced dozens of charges were filed on Tuesday. Investigators said the chickens at Hohberg’s Poultry Ranches were kept in cages so tight that they couldn’t turn around. “I think it’s horrendous,” San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos said.
Conviction & Sentencing
Meth taco-truck stabbing gets attempted killer 13 years behind bars
A man pleaded guilty Wednesday to attempted murder and was immediately sentenced to 13 years behind bars for an unprovoked knife attack on a woman  waiting in line at a taco stand in East Los Angeles. Andres Contreras, 30, attacked the 23-year-old woman while high on meth in the 5100 block of Whittier Boulevard last Sept. 7.
Killer who gunned down 5-year-old Spider-Man boy in Los Angeles gets sentence reduction
An appeals court ruling published Monday reduced the sentence of a man convicted of the Halloween 2010 shooting death of a 5-year- old boy – who was gunned down in his South Los Angeles back yard while wearing a Spider-Man costume – from 128 years to life to 114 years to life.
Former head of L.A. Coliseum deserved a year in jail in corruption case, probation official says
A no-jail sentence recently handed down to the former head of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum after he was accused of taking weekly kickbacks for several years was much more lenient than the punishment recommended by probation officials: a year in jail.
Former San Diego deputy DA suspended for obstruction
The State Bar of California ruled on Nov. 20 to suspend Allison Christine Worden, a former San Diego County deputy district attorney, from the practice of law for 60 days, according to the State Bar website. Worden also will serve one year of probation.
Law Enforcement
No fluke: Incarceration rates fall, crime rates rise: Guest commentary
A Jan. 8 editorial in this newspaper asserted a lack of relationship between crime rates and imprisonment rates, and noted that crime remains at historic lows nationally, with property crime declining more than 50 percent percent since 1991. But that certainly hasn’t been our experience in Whittier, nor has it been the experience elsewhere in Southern California.
The stress of sitting in traffic can lead to more crime
Society pays a heavy price for traffic. It leads to lost time, more pollution and increased spending on gasoline. In metropolitan areas, road congestion in 2012 led consumers to waste 2.9 billion gallons of fuel and spend 5.5 billion hours sitting in traffic.
35 Years later, sister in Durst case is still looking for answers
Mary McCormack Hughes has a vivid recollection of the phone call she got 35 years ago this week from Robert Durst, her brother-in-law. “Have you seen Kathie?” he asked. Kathie was Kathleen Durst, Ms. Hughes’s younger sister, who at 29 was in the final months of medical school.
Fake FBI and Secret Service badges continue to be sold at Amazon
While the big e-commerce websites downplay both the numbers and significance of sales of fake products, there is one area where the sellers might want to put more attention. It remains possible to purchase fake badges and identification credentials on Inc. that purchasers could use to pass themselves off as FBI or Secret Service agents.
eBay won’t tell buyers – you bought a fake
Consumers flock the internet in hopes of finding bargains, but that good deal may not be what you think. You may have received a fake from online sellers peddling an estimated $1.7 trillion in counterfeit goods to unsuspecting consumers this year. How would you know if you received a fake?
Threats against judges in immigration ban cases leads to increased security
Threats against more than one judge involved in legal challenges to President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration have prompted federal and local law enforcement agencies to temporarily increase security protection for some of them, according to law enforcement officials.
Racist killer gangster targeted blacks? Mexican border arrest after 12 years
An alleged gang member from Highland Park who spent more than a dozen years on the run in connection with two racially motivated murders will finally face a federal court judge in Los Angeles Monday after being arrested at the Mexican border on hate crime charges.
Growing number of women leading U.S. police departments
When Anne Kirkpatrick took the helm at the scandal-ridden Oakland Police Department, she inherited an agency the city’s mayor likened to a frat house. The veteran police officer knew she inevitably would be asked what it’s like to combat the culture as one of a growing number of women heading police departments, many struggling to repair their public image.
Medical staff say Fontana woman was in serious condition when blood was drawn after deadly wrong-way crash
A Fontana woman accused of drunken driving in a February 2014 wrong-way crash that left six people dead was under sedation and wasn’t being prepared to go into surgery when an emergency room physician drew a blood sample, he testified in court Wednesday.
Shuttering, called an online brothel, could hurt law enforcement
There’s a law enforcement paradox to, labeled by officials as the largest U.S. internet prostitution ad provider. California prosecutors label the site an “online brothel” that rakes in millions of dollars from sex trafficking that often includes minors, want to shut it down and send its owners to jail.
Local police release immigration statement
Ventura County law enforcement agencies on Thursday issued a joint statement regarding their stance on immigration enforcement. The was sent by the Ventura County Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee in response to inquiries about local police involvement in immigration enforcement after President Donald Trump’s recent executive order on the matter.
Credit card thieves tricking innocent pawns into delivering stolen goods
Credit card thieves are taking a new approach to moving their stolen goods, authorities say. The thieves are hiring innocent, unsuspecting middlemen to send out the stolen items in order to shield themselves from police. Eriena Munsun of Alhambra sells products online through eBay and Amazon.
County’s inspector general ‘pleased’ with Sheriff’s jail reforms
The county’s inspector general praised the Sheriff’s Department for its efforts to improve conditions at jails in a report presented to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday. Inspector General Max Huntsman said he and his staff were “pleased with the department’s efforts to identify issues and reform its Custody Services and Patrol Division policies, practices, and operations.”
Westlake has gotten safer, but the gang behind its most terrifying crime is still active
Two of three suspects charged in a 1993 apartment complex arson that took the lives of 10 people are connected to a gang that’s still very much active in the Westlake community, police say. The Columbia Lil Cycos, known by its prolific tagging under the letters CLCS, is a clique of the mighty 18th Street Gang that still haunts the streets surrounding the complex on South Burlington Avenue, according to LAPD Det. F. Flores, with the Rampart Division gang enforcement detail.
Deputy who fired lethal shot acted in self defense
A local sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot a man in Canyon Country during a traffic stop a little more than a year ago fired the fatal shot in self defense,  Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced today. Deputy Nathan Gillespie of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station acted lawfully in self defense when he shot Miguel Hernandez on Jan. 13, 2016, according to a report prepared by the DA’s Justice System Integrity Division.
The LAPD’s biggest conundrum: How to suppress crime without alienating South L.A.’s black residents
On a chilly night in South Los Angeles, a young black man stood on the sidewalk watching police officers rummage through his car. Their reason for stopping him: the tinted front windows on his Nissan Maxima. Because he was on probation, the officers could legally conduct a search. It was the first of four times that Rio Cater would be stopped by police that night.
Torrance police chief suspended over alleged offensive remarks
Torrance Chief Mark Matsuda told the Daily Breeze Friday that he’s been off duty and won’t return until Feb. 13. He says he was relieved of duty after the Los Angeles suburb opened an independent investigation in October. The results have been forwarded to the city manager. Matsuda declined to discuss the allegations.
Prison & Parole
State predicts more than 1,000 new parolees post-Prop. 57
It could be another eight months before Shasta County feels the impact of Proposition 57, the voter-approved initiative to expand parole eligibility and time credits for prison inmates. But the best guesses by state officials on upcoming releases and paroles aren’t as dire as some of the measure’s opponents predicted.
1st inmate in U.S. to get sex reassignment moves to California female prison
Officials say the first U.S. inmate to receive state-funded sex-reassignment surgery has been moved to a women’s prison. California corrections department spokeswoman Terry Thornton said 57-year-old Shiloh Heavenly Quine was admitted to the Central California Women’s Facility on Wednesday. The prison northwest of Fresno holds about 2,900 women.
Deputies at LA Men’s Central Jail face ‘disgusting’ assaults by inmates
Inside the Los Angeles Men’s Central Jail, security video shows inmates about to attack unsuspecting deputies. The assault is called “gassing,” when inmates toss urine, feces or semen at the deputies. “If it gets in their face, their eyes, you don’t know what kind of diseases the inmates have. It’s very traumatic for the staff,” Kelly Harrington, the Assistant Sheriff of Custody Operations, said.
California corrections CIO says everyone inside prison walls should get a tablet
A penitentiary may seem like an unexpected venue for a modern IT strategy, but Russ Nichols, CIO of California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said his office is debunking that assumption with a vision that embraces connectivity as a key driver of public safety and rehabilitation.
Victorville prison guard to plead guilty to bribery
A federal correctional officer who worked at the United States Penitentiary in Victorville has agreed to plead guilty to a federal bribery charge for taking a $1,000 bribe to smuggle contraband to a prisoner inside the facility. Ignacio Adrian Sobers Jr., 31, of San Bernardino, entered into a plea agreement that was filed today in United States District Court.
Pension plans in peril
If you have a pension, you probably breathe a sigh of relief. Unlike a workplace retirement plan in which you invest and pray that you get decent returns, a pension guarantees you a stream of income. Even if the pension is small, it’s something. It’s there for as long as you live. Or it used to be. For an increasing number of retirees in the private and public sector that guarantee is in jeopardy.
Supreme Court schedules three significant cases for March
Mostly likely, an eight-person Supreme Court will hear three closely watched cases during March, including a dispute about transgender bathroom use, as the Court released its latest hearing calendar on Friday. It is not expected that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch would be available to join the Court for arguments in March if his nomination is approved by the Senate unless the Senate expedites the traditional nomination process.
Local Government
LA County leaders to begin talks on regulating legal marijuana sales
With legal marijuana sales set to begin in California in less than a year, Los Angeles County leaders will introduce a motion Tuesday to start the process of crafting a set of regulations to protect public safety and to encourage a sustainable and potentially multi-billion-dollar cannabis industry.
LA County’s economy depends on immigrant labor, study finds
Immigrants contribute significantly to the economies of the city and county of Los Angeles, according to a study released Wednesday. The report from the New American Economy, which is a bipartisan coalition of mayors who support immigration reform, says immigrants contributed $232 billion to the county’s gross domestic product in 2014, or 35.7 percent.
L.A. City Council approves $1.5-million settlement in police killing of Ezell Ford
The Los Angeles City Council agreed Wednesday to pay $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of Ezell Ford, whose 2014 killing by LAPD officers became a local touchstone in the national outcry over police shootings. The 10-2 vote approving the settlement comes two weeks after L.A. County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey announced she would not criminally charge the two officers who shot Ford during a scuffle in his South L.A. neighborhood.
L.A., Orange counties are home to 1 million immigrants who are in the country illegally, analysis shows
The chatter of Spanish serves as the backdrop of Pico-Union, where the aroma of pastries from the panaderia merge with the synthetic smells of an auto repair garage. A predominantly Latino neighborhood, it has for decades been a first stop for immigrants – both legal and illegal – coming from various corners of Latin America.
Bill to provide immigration law resources for public defenders across California is advanced by Assembly committee
Public defender’s offices across California are in need of immigration law training and resources, a demand that a state lawmaker says has been made more pressing under President Donald Trump and his threat of massive deportations. Speaking before members of the Assembly Public Safety Committee on Monday, Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) urged support for a bill that he said would provide critical immigration resources to criminal defense lawyers working on the front lines.
Presidential Administration
California unions playing defense as Trump presidency begins
Labor unions in California helped push successful efforts for increasing the minimum wage, mandatory paid sick leave and expanding overtime rules for farmworkers in the state. But the Trump administration has unions playing defense, even in labor-friendly California. The new administration worries Belinda Beeks-Malone. She’s a member of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
More than 150 former federal prosecutors have denounced Trump’s Muslim ban
Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel to the United States by the citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and by refugees worldwide has been broadly rejected by the judiciary, with over a dozen federal court orders restricting or staying the travel ban. Now, more than 150 former federal prosecutors have expressed their disapproval of Trump’s overreach as well.
Misleading ‘L.A. Times’ article quotes cops who don’t want to enforce Trump’s policies
Call it Sally Yates Syndrome. Ms. Yates, you’ll recall, was the Justice Department official who chose to grandstand in her refusal to defend President Trump’s clumsily executed but clearly legal executive order on refugee admissions to the country. In the absence of a sitting attorney general, it fell to Ms. Yates to defend the order against the legal challenges that would surely arise.
Sanctuary Cities: Police vs. Mayor
Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) President Ken Crane wrote a letter to Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton about his recent comments regarding President’s Trump executive orders. Mayor Stanton said he will fight the federal government’s attempt “to turn the Phoenix Police Department into a mass deportation force.” Crane responded in an interview with “The Mike Broomhead Show” that the mayor’s comments are nothing more than “fear mongering “and “pandering.”
Political Road Map: There’s a $368-billion reason why California depends on the federal government
During the depths of California’s budget crisis, talk in Sacramento about how many tax dollars were sent to Washington, compared with what the state received in services, generally sparked anger. But these days, it’s triggered fear. After all, President Trump has promised to rethink the kinds of federal policies whose fiscal importance to the state is writ large.

Monday Morning Memo for February 6, 2017

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

Monday Morning Memo for January 30, 2017

Soulja Boy charged with felony firearm possession
Soulja Boy was charged Monday with illegal possession of firearms, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced. The rapper faces two felony weapons possession charges and one misdemeanor count of receiving stolen property. If convicted, he faces over four years in state prison.
Former Nevada prosecutor disbarred for accepting campaign donation bribe
David Wyser, a former deputy prosecutor in Reno, Nevada, was disbarred by the State Bar Court of California on Nov. 4. The attorney, who obtained his law degree from the San Fernando Valley College of Law, pleaded guilty to accepting a bribe on July 2, 2013, a felony conviction.
Former Dodgers security guards arraigned for stealing, selling team merchandise
Two former security guards with the Los Angeles Dodgers accused of stealing team merchandise and reselling it pleaded not guilty Thursday to the charges. The two former guards are accused of working with a third man to move the stolen goods. The third man also pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Lee Baca’s defense team claims double jeopardy as prosecutors move to nix the mini sheriff’s badge
Dueling motions make up the latest round of legal volleys in the ongoing matter of the trial-or more accurately trials-of former Los Angeles County sheriff Lee Baca. Specifically, the defense team has filed a motion stating that, in retrying their client for obstruction of justice, the U.S. Government is illegally exposing him to double jeopardy.
Prosecutor calls pimp’s Los Angeles killings ‘cold’ and ‘calculated’
The “cold” and “calculated” killings of two men, committed less than a week apart by the alleged head of a robbery-prostitution ring, amounted to first-degree murder, a prosecutor told jurors Monday, but a defense attorney said his client’s “rash, impulsive” acts were not premeditated.
Probation officer accused of inappropriately touching girls at youth camp due in court
A Los Angeles probation officer was due in court Thursday after he was charged with sexually assaulting girls at a youth camp, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Oscar David Calderon Jr., a 32-year-old deputy probation officer of about nine years, was accused of inappropriately touching four teen girls, ages 15 to 18 years old, while working at Camp Scudder in Santa Clarita.
Conviction & Sentencing
Sex-robbery ring honcho guilty of midnight double murder: Hooker lures victims to their deaths
The head of a robbery-prostitution ring was convicted Tuesday of murder and other counts stemming from an April 2014 crime spree in which two men were killed and another was wounded in South Los Angeles. Jurors deliberated about three hours before finding Michael Mosby, 25, guilty of first-degree murder for the April 18, 2014, shooting death of 36-year- old Pedro Rodriguez and the April 23, 2014, killing of 29-year-old William Quezada.
Man who vandalized Vietnam War Memorial in Venice sentenced to 4 years in prison
4-year-old man who vandalized a Vietnam War memorial last year in Los Angeles has been sentenced to four years in state prison. A court spokeswoman said Friday that Angel Castro was sentenced in Los Angeles Superior Court after pleading no contest Jan. 13 to vandalism and robbery. Taggers defaced the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Venice just before Memorial Day.
Ex-deputy sentenced to 3 years for molesting girl in Costa Mesa
A judge recently sentenced a former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy to three years in prison, 180 days in jail and five years probation for molesting a 12-year-old girl in Costa Mesa in 2015, officials confirmed Monday. The three-year prison sentence was suspended, according to Bobby Taghavi, deputy district attorney with the Sexual Assault Unit of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Law Enforcement
Long Beach murders decline in 2016, overall violent crime up
There were three fewer murders in 2016 than in 2015 in Long Beach, but total violent crime increased by 3.5% in the same period. Mayor Robert Garcia and Police Chief Robert Luna released the 2016 crime statistics Monday. Garcia used the press conference to announce that The Bloomberg Foundation-financed iTeam would be focused on public safety for the next 18 months.
Property crime rises in Santa Monica
As property crime goes up across major cities in California, Santa Monica has also seen an increase in serious crime. Part 1 crimes (including murder, arson, burglary, assault, and grand theft auto) are up 5.5 percent in the city, to a total of 4,515 incidents in 2016. Nearly 90 percent of those incidents are property related and the City’s downtown business area is seeing the most concentrated problem.
No charges against LAPD officers who shot and killed Ezell Ford, D.A. says
Los Angeles County prosecutors said Tuesday they will not criminally charge two Los Angeles police officers who shot and killed Ezell Ford during a clash near his South L.A. home in 2014, drawing the ire of activists who say LAPD officers are rarely held accountable when they use deadly force.
Immigrants in country illegally worry about sharing of personal information
Twelve states and the District of Columbia allow residents who are in the United States illegally to obtain driver’s licenses. California passed its law two years ago. Now more than 800,000 immigrants have taken advantage of that right. But with the arrival of President Trump to power, some of those license holders worry that their private information could be used against them.
Rise in crimes targeting Asian Americans leads to new website
According to the Los Angeles Human Relations Commission’s 2015 Hate Crimes Report, hate crimes in Los Angeles County jumped 24 percent in 2015. Specifically, the report showed that hate crimes targeting Asian-Americans, the majority of which were people of Chinese descent, jumped from six to 18 during this time.
San Gabriel investigating apparent election rally for mayor outside Mission Playhouse
A third-party firm hired by the city will begin an investigation into whether Mayor Chin Ho Liao violated city and state laws when he participated in a rally supporting his re-election campaign outside the city-owned Mission Playhouse, a member of the council confirmed Thursday. In an interview, Liao said the Dec. 29 campaign rally was organized by the Chinese American Artists Association.
Former LA County Sheriff Lee Baca named in eye-gouging lawsuit
A judge ruled today that Los Angeles County and former Sheriff Lee Baca will remain defendants for now in a lawsuit brought by a man who claims an anti-smoking medication was a factor in his psychotic breakdown that led him to gouge his eyes out while in jail. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Marc Marmaro also found, however, that the part of Michael Shabsis’ case against the University of California Board of Regents, a co-defendant in the lawsuit, will have to be shored up.
Accused cops judged only by civilians? LAPD chief objects
Despite opposition from the Los Angeles Police Department chief, the Los Angeles City Council is scheduled to take one final step Tuesday toward placing a measure on the May election ballot that would create an all-civilian review board for police disciplinary hearings. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck says he backs civilian involvement in disciplinary hearings, but rejects the idea of having only civilians – and no cops – making judgement decisions.
New SFPD chief brings his cool, and his friends, from LA
No fewer than 50 Los Angeles police officers, led by Chief Charlie Beck, showed up at San Francisco City Hall on Monday for the swearing-in of Police Chief William Scott. He had a lot of friends in L.A. from his time as deputy chief, and acquired a reputation for keeping his cool. That was never more on display than when he arrived for his San Francisco job interview with members of the Police Commission.
After scandals, a group of civilians ushers in a new era of oversight for the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department
Alicia Michel pleaded in front of the audience, asking for an inquiry into a sheriff’s deputy she said was corrupt. The Compton resident said she didn’t feel comfortable lodging a grievance at her local Los Angeles County sheriff’s station, so instead she spoke into a microphone at a public forum Thursday, hoping her complaint would be heard by those all the way at the top of the department.
District Attorney
L.A. County D.A. faces recall effort after not filing charges in Ezell Ford shooting
llowing L.A. County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey’s decision this week not to file charges against two officers in the fatal shooting of a mentally ill black man, a group of civil rights activists Wednesday announced an effort to recall her. “This is a last-ditch measure,” author and activist Earl Ofari Hutchinson, said at a Los Angeles news conference. “Ezell Ford was not the only one. That was the tipping point, but you have a pattern here.”
County Government
Keep the kids out of criminal justice system! Expansion of juvenile programs approved
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously backed a plan to expand juvenile diversion programs that seek to keep kids out of the criminal justice system. Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Janice Hahn proposed the more comprehensive approach. “While there are a number of promising programs, access to them and their accompanying services, like mentoring and restorative justice, depends in large part on where a young person lives and what law enforcement agency is patrolling that region,” their motion says.
LA County supervisor leads effort to deescalate controntations between deputies and homeless
Los Angeles County is taking steps to double-down on its successful program dedicated to helping mentally-ill homeless people when they get into confrontations involving law enforcement officers. Los Angeles County Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Mark Ridley-Thomas co-authored a motion to increase the number of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department/Department of Mental Evaluation Teams from ten to 23.
Sheriff’s drone may spy on you? Skeptical supervisors say ‘not so fast’
The Board of Supervisors asked Los Angeles County’s inspector general Tuesday to review the sheriff’s plan to operate a drone and evaluate those findings with the civilian oversight commission set up as a watchdog for the department. Supervisor Hilda Solis recommended the review, which was unanimously approved by the board. Solis said she supports the use of the drone in search-and-rescue, bomb detection, hostage situations and other critical incidents, but said she was sensitive to concerns about the unmanned aircraft system.
Prison & Parole
California inmate stole identities of 700 fellow prisoners to file fraudulent tax returns
A Marin County man was convicted of using his time in prison not to rehabilitate and learn the error of his ways, but to steal the identities of his fellow inmates and use them to file fake federal tax returns. Howard Webber, 52, was found guilty by a jury Tuesday of conspiring to use stolen identities to file fraudulent tax returns, a scheme that he operated for two years from behind bars that netted him and an accomplice more than $600,000.
Panel recommends parole for Spears, one of four convicted in gruesome killings, rape in Modesto
Marty Don Spears, the ringleader among four teens convicted of murder in the 1979 slayings of Phillip and Kathy Ranzo in Modesto, will be paroled unless Gov. Brown intervenes. State parole board commissioners, over the objections of Stanislaus County Deputy District Attorney Beth De Jong and a group of Ranzo family members and friends in attendance late Thursday afternoon at San Quentin State Prison, determined that Spears should be freed.
What is a ‘violent crime’? For California’s new parole law, the definition is murky- and it matters
Andrew Luster, the great grandson of cosmetics magnate Max Factor, drew global attention in the early 2000s when, after being accused of rape, he jumped his $1-million bail and was later captured in Mexico by a bounty hunter on TV. Ventura County prosecutors said he drugged three women and videotaped the assaults, and a jury convicted him of 86 counts of poisoning, sexual battery and rape of an unconscious or intoxicated person.
Court backs rules to protect fire victims from being underinsured
California’s insurance commissioner has the authority to adopt rules that protect homeowners whose policies fall far short of the amounts needed to rebuild or replace homes destroyed by wildfires or other disasters, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday. Insurance companies usually give homeowners estimates of the cost of replacing their property so they have an idea of how much coverage to buy.
Appellate court overturns conviction in Oakland double killing
A state appeals court has overturned an Oakland man’s double-murder conviction and life sentence for the fatal shootings of two men in 2010, saying jurors should have heard evidence pointing to another man as the shooter. Deshawn Reed “has suffered a miscarriage of justice,” the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco said Friday in a strongly worded ruling entitling Reed to a new trial.
Convictions in Fisherman’s Wharf killings set aside by court
The murder convictions of a Fisherman’s Wharf shopkeeper who fatally shot two neighboring merchants in 2011 must be reconsidered because of evidence that he was mentally incompetent to stand trial, a state appeals court has ruled. Hong Ri Wu, then 59, was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2014 for killing Qiong Han Chu and Fen Ping Ou, both 30, in the victims’ Jefferson Street shop because he was angry with them for selling the same cut-rate purses he was trying to sell.
Local governments grapple with increasing pension costs before higher tab comes in 2018
In South Lake Tahoe, roads are crumbling, and the city is struggling to find ways to repair years of damage caused by harsh weather and snowplows. Orangevale residents worry that fire crews won’t arrive quickly enough in an emergency after their local fire station was closed during the recession. Despite an economic recovery, local government leaders in California say rising pension costs have made it more difficult to restore some programs they cut during the recession.
California schools may face cuts amid skyrocketing pension costs
Public schools around California are bracing for a crisis driven by skyrocketing worker pension costs that are expected to force districts to divert billions of dollars from classrooms into retirement accounts, education officials said. The depth of the funding gap became clear to district leaders when they returned from the holiday break: What they contribute to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, known as CalPERS, will likely double within six years, according to state estimates.
Other News
What to expect in California data security and privacy in 2017
With 2017 underway and the entrance of a new Republican administration and Congress, whether robust regulatory oversight will remain a federal priority is more than uncertain and the area of data privacy and security is no different. The data privacy and security action, however, may continue at the state level where already-active state legislatures and regulators see these areas as a focus.
Meet the new guy running the L.A. County Fair
Miguel Santana recalls as a boy, visiting the Los Angeles County Fair where he had a chance to see farm animals up close and get a peek into farming, a world much different from his own. As a parent, the fair brought a different experience and a whole new set of memories shared with his children. “Looking at the fair through a child’s eye is magical,” Santana said. “You’re absorbing the tastes, the smells and the sounds. … You’re learning while you’re having fun.”
eBay user feedback, fact or fiction?
User Feedback should provide accurate and valuable insight to the Buyers and Sellers involved in eBay transactions, allowing each to build reputations that are based on performance, honesty and comments left by their trading partners – but it doesn’t. The Counterfeit Report®, a popular anti-counterfeiting advocate and website, identified over 2 million counterfeit items listed on eBay and submitted trademark complaints to eBay to remove 1.3 million of the counterfeit items.
Why does California have the nation’s highest poverty rate?
As averaged from 2013 to 2015, California had America’s 17th-highest poverty rate, 15 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But, by a newer, more comprehensive Census accounting, California’s true poverty rate is an eye-popping 20.6 percent-the highest in the nation. What poverty measure a politician or an organization uses can be very informative.
Newsom, Faulconer lead hypothetical 2018 field for California governor
Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Republican San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer lead a competitive but deeply unsettled field in the 2018 governor’s race, according to a privately-funded survey Wednesday conducted by Public Policy Polling. Newsom is out ahead with 25 percent, while Faulconer is in second at 20 percent. Before going any further, a caveat. A few, actually.
Xavier Becerra confirmed as California’s new attorney general
The state Senate Monday confirmed Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Los Angeles, as California’s new attorney general. Becerra will be sworn in Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown and will replace fellow Democrat Kamala Harris, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in November. “It is humbling and exciting to assume responsibility for vigorously advancing the forward-leaning values that make California unique among the many states,” Becerra said.
Presidential Transition
Amid Trump’s funding threats to ‘sanctuary’ cities, police, county sheriffs perform balancing act
Southern California law enforcement officials Wednesday weighed the Trump administration’s order to pull federal dollars from so-called “sanctuary cities” against their hands-off approach to the treatment of immigrants here illegally. Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck said his department will follow its decades-old policy of keeping officers focused on local crimes, leaving federal violations such as entering the country illegally in the hands of immigration officials.
Calif. police see dangers in Trump’s immigration plan
President Donald Trump’s plan to enlist local police and sheriff’s departments in immigration enforcement has set the stage for a pitched battle with California officials who have long prioritized building ties with immigrant communities. Trump’s plan, which was issued Wednesday as part of a pair of executive orders, seeks to broaden the reach of federal immigration authorities into county jails.
Trump’s first 100 days: 2 big changes to policing
There were clear signs on the campaign trail that if elected president, Donald Trump would move swiftly to reverse some of the anti-cop sentiment which has gripped the nation during the Obama administration. We didn’t know it would take Trump less than two hours to make moves in that direction. Almost immediately after taking the oath of office as the 45th President of the United States, the Trump administration posted a statement on the White House website entitled, “Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community.”
Voter Fraud: If it can happen in Beverly Hills …
In a city in which an election was won four years ago by seven votes, every vote should count. But only the votes that should count should count. And that’s a problem in Beverly Hills. Voter fraud is real. It’s alive. It’s happening. And we have to stop it. Whether or not it happens at the federal level, we know it happens at the local level. We have seen it ourselves and our own investigations have proven it happens.
L.A. City Council approves hiring an ‘immigrant advocate’ at City Hall
In a move with symbolic timing, the Los Angeles City Council chose the day of Donald Trump’s swearing-in as America’s 45th president to approve the hiring of an “immigrant advocate” at City Hall. Pointing to Trump’s forceful statements on immigration, council President Herb Wesson told his colleagues the city needs to be prepared for policy changes. “We have a responsibility to protect all the residents of the city,” Wesson said Friday.
Tom Dolgenos: Under Trump, death penalty likely to remain
The election of Donald Trump as president and the tumultuous transition of power have dominated headlines for the last few weeks. One issue, however, has not received much coverage: What is going to happen to the death penalty? Before the election, some observers predicted that the end was near for capital punishment in this country. A Pew Research Center poll released in September suggested that public support for the death penalty has declined in recent years.
Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nomination: Why it matters and how it could change the US
There’s been a vacancy since the death of staunch conservative Antonin Scalia almost a year ago. His passing left the court with a 4-4 split of progressive and conservative attitudes for some cases. This is the reason selecting a new Supreme Court justice is a fraught affair. Broadly speaking, Republicans would like to see a conservative fill the vacant seat – while Democrats would prefer to see a progressive justice in the position.
Trump holds White House reception for law enforcement and first responders
President Donald Trump held a White House reception Sunday to honor the law enforcement officers and other first responders who worked the inauguration.

Monday Morning Memo for January 23, 2017

Mexican drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman extradited to U.S.
Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been extradited to the United States, Mexico’s government said Thursday, a little more than a year he was caught following his brazen escape from a maximum-security prison. Several U.S. jurisdictions want to try the former Sinaloa cartel leader on federal drug trafficking charges, including prosecutors in San Diego, New York, El Paso, Texas, Miami and Chicago.
Ex-MMA fighter Jason “Mayhem” Miller beat up, stalks girlfriend?
Former mixed martial arts fighter Jason “Mayhem” Miller “beat up his girlfriend” on two occasions, a prosecutor alleged Thursday, while the defendant’s attorney told jurors that his client’s accuser is “lying, manipulative and jealous.” “The defendant beat his girlfriend up, to break it down as simply as possible,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Mark Geller said in his opening statement.
Ten journalists battle efforts to make them testify in a San Bernardino county corruption case
Ten Southern California journalists are fighting an effort by prosecutors to compel them to testify in the San Bernardino County corruption trials of a developer, a former supervisor and other former county officials. Prosecutors say they want the reporters to testify about 56 statements contained in numerous articles that were published starting in 2005, as the corruption scandal unfolded. 
Conviction & Sentencing
Former LA County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka begins prison term
Former Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka surrendered to federal authorities in Englewood, Colo., on Monday to begin serving a five-year prison term for his conviction on obstruction of justice charges. Tanaka’s attorney, H. Dean Steward, confirmed that Tanaka was at a “minimum security camp.” A federal appellate court in December denied Tanaka’s bid to remain free while his appeal is pending.
Deadly drunk driver’s fiery, wrong-way bridge crash kills motorist: Facing 15 years behind bars
A Hawthorne man with a prior DUI conviction was Wednesday found guilty of murder for driving drunk and causing a fiery, wrong-way crash on the Gerald Desmond Bridge in Long Beach that killed one motorist and seriously injured another. The Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated about a day before convicting Alvin Ray Shaw, 29, of charges stemming from the Aug. 1, 2015, crash that killed 30-year-old Miguel Gonzalez of San Pedro.
Murder conviction sticks for killer of retired Hollywood High teacher
A state appeals court panel Wednesday upheld a man’s conviction for strangling a retired Hollywood High School teacher with whom he had begun corresponding while behind bars for killing a man in New York. A three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that the prosecution should not have been allowed to present evidence about Scott Kratlian’s guilty plea to voluntary manslaughter for the 1992 New York killing to the Los Angeles Superior Court jury that convicted him of murdering Harry Major.
Former L.A. Coliseum executive at the center of corruption scandal sentenced to 3 years of probation
A former general manager of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was formally sentenced Wednesday to three years of probation for his role at the center of a corruption scandal. Patrick Lynch’s prison-free sentence – described by some as surprisingly lenient – marks the end of his long legal saga stemming from allegations that he accepted hundreds of thousands in bribes from a stadium contractor as part of the kickback scheme.
LAPD officer convicted of sending ‘harmful’ texts to teen, acquitted of child annoyance charges
A Los Angeles police officer who worked in an LAPD youth program was convicted Tuesday of distributing harmful matter to a teenage girl, authorities said. After a five-day trial, a downtown L.A. jury convicted Abel Montes De Oca of two misdemeanor counts: destroying evidence and distributing “harmful matter” to a juvenile, according to the L.A. city attorney’s office. Montes De Oca, 32, was acquitted of two counts of child annoyance.
Law Enforcement
5 accused of helping suspect evade capture after killing of L.A. sheriff’s sergeant
Sheriff’s detectives have arrested five people they say helped a man evade police after the fatal shooting of a Los Angeles County sheriff’s sergeant last year. The suspects are accused of helping 27-year-old Trenton Trevon Lovell duck a massive police dragnet after authorities say he shot and killed Sgt. Steve Owen in Lancaster while responding to a burglary call on Oct. 5, according to a news release issued by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Culbreath case: CHP officer explains why he didn’t get a warrant to collect blood from DUI suspect
A California Highway Patrol officer who accompanied the woman accused of killing six people in a deadly wrong-way crash in 2014 at the hospital explained in court Friday why he didn’t order a test to measure blood alcohol levels in her first hours at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.
Cyber sextortion suspect arrested in Massachusetts after targeting minor in LA County
A Massachusetts man is accused of duping a Los Angeles County girl into sending him nude selfies and videos, beginning when she was 9-years-old, by tricking her into believing he was Justin Bieber, a sheriff’s sergeant said Monday. Detectives from the LASD Human Trafficking Bureau, SAFE Team began investigating a report of an 11-year-old female being extorted for sexually explicit images over the internet.
State agency begins investigation of Harbor Gateway developer donations
The California Fair Political Practices Commission has joined the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office in launching an investigation into the Harbor Gateway political contribution scandal unveiled by the Los Angeles Times in October. The report showed that developer Samuel Leung may have violated state campaign finance laws when he and his associates – including former construction workers and their relatives – contributed more than $600,000 to the campaigns of numerous local politicians and their causes, including a committee that supported Mayor Eric Garcetti’s 2013 bid.
Sheriff launches first police drones in LA County
In the first such move by a police agency in Los Angeles County, the sheriff’s department Thursday announced it will begin using an unmanned drone to assist deputies on the ground. Many law enforcement leaders see drones as an important part of policing in the future – particularly in urban areas. In California, 30 police agencies use them. Across the nation, more than 300 departments deploy drones, according to sheriff’s Captain Jack Ewell.
Former LASD Deputy James Sexton freed from prison
Former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Deputy James Sexton was freed from prison Thursday after more than four months in federal custody. Sexton’s 18-month prison term was reduced to “time served” by Judge Percy Anderson. Prosecutors requested the reduction after Sexton cooperated in the federal prosecution of former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca. “I accept responsibility and apologize,” Sexton told Judge Anderson. “I won’t put myself in this position again.”
New gun cameras offer a ‘cops-eye’ view of policing
Police departments are testing new technology that’s taking aim at the estimated $1 billion annual U.S. market for law enforcement camera hardware and software – gun-mounted cameras. Body cameras became popular after police shot dead an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, MO in 2014 but the devices have received mixed reviews from civil rights leaders, who have questioned the body camera program policies of some police departments, and law enforcement leaders, who have complained that their line of sight is easily blocked.
West Covina, El Monte see increases in violent crime during first half of 2016
Violent crime in the cities of West Covina and El Monte appeared to be increasing for the second straight year, though some categories of violent offenses saw a decrease in the first half of 2016, according to statistics released by the FBI this week. Robberies rose by about 64 percent – from 39 to 64 – in West Covina and by 41.5 percent – from 65 to 92 – in El Monte between January and June of last year as compared to the same time period in 2015, according to the FBI’s Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report.
Peter Funt: As in Santa Barbara, women rising as top cops around the nation
As 2017 began, Anne Kirkpatrick, a 34-year police veteran, became the first female Oakland police chief after serving as chief in Spokane, Wash. A few days earlier, Chula Vista, a city of more than a quarter-million people near San Diego, swore in Roxana Kennedy as its first female police chief. San Diego has had a female chief, Shelley Zimmerman, since 2014. And a former San Diego police officer, Lori Luhnow, has been chief of the Santa Barbara Police Department since July 2016.
Report: Felony arrests down in San Diego County, Prop. 47 a factor
A study of arrest rates for adults in San Diego County in 2015 shows that felonies were down 28 percent from the previous year and misdemeanors were up 13 percent, according to a report by the San Diego Association of Governments. The annual report, released this week, looked at arrests among adults and juveniles and found that the number of adult felony arrests was down in most local jurisdictions, with decreases ranging from 6 percent in Chula Vista to 40 percent in Santee.
Civil rights complaint alleges LA Metro, police target black riders
The U.S. Department of Transportation confirmed Wednesday that it is investigating a civil rights complaint alleging Los Angeles Metro and the sheriff’s department have discriminated against black riders by disproportionately citing them for fare evasions. The Department of Transportation chose to investigate the complaint and alerted Metro late last week.
3,391 firearms discovered in carry-on bags in 2016, TSA says
A record number of firearms was discovered in carry-on bags in the U.S. in 2016, the Transportation Security Administration says. In total, 3,391 firearms were found in carry-on bags at TSA checkpoints across the country — averaging more than nine per day and amounting to a 28 increase in firearm discoveries from 2015, when 2,653 were discovered, the TSA said in a blog post on Thursday.
California Police Union pens letter to Speaker Ryan over use of force
On Monday, Speaker Paul Ryan met with a handful of Police Chiefs from across the nation to discuss growing tensions between officers and their communities. During the discussion, Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), brought up new police training tactics that the organization is trying to implement nationwide.
National police groups add ‘de-escalation’ to new model policy on use of force
A group of 11 national police organizations issued a new model policy Tuesday for police departments nationwide that for the first time incorporates the concept of “de-escalation” when an officer is facing the choice of using deadly force. The new policy also newly recommends that police departments declare that “It is the policy of this law enforcement agency to value and preserve human life.”
L.A. County Probation Dept. fails to spend money earmarked for at-risk youth
Los Angeles County’s Probation Department left more than $7.4 million of state funds earmarked for at-risk youth unspent during the 2015-2016 fiscal year, according to a Probation Department report filed with the state’s Board of State and Community Corrections. At a meeting last week of the county body that allocates state money to prevent delinquency among at-risk youth, discussion centered on the continuing difficulty to spend millions of dollars, as well as the cumbersome rules that circumscribe the participation of community-based organizations in using the funding.
LA County sheriff’s drone needs more restrictions
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced last week that it has acquired a drone and received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to use the camera-equipped device to gain views of dangerous situations. Notably, nowhere in an online announcement and a 20-minute news conference did department officials call it a “drone” – they preferred “unmanned aerial vehicle” and “unmanned aircraft system.”
“Statistical evidence not required”
The most important statement in the Justice Department’s damning report on the Chicago Police Department has nothing to do with police behavior. Released on Friday, the report found the Chicago police guilty of a “pattern or practice” of unconstitutional force. But it turns out that the Justice Department has no standard for what constitutes a “pattern or practice” (the phrase comes from a 1994 federal statute) of unconstitutional police conduct.
Understanding California legislative history and intent
Attorneys, lobbyists, legislative staff, and others examining California statutes should understand the basics of legislative history and intent research. Unfortunately for attorneys, the subject of legislative intent is not a particularly well covered aspect of the typical law school curriculum where heavy emphasis on the case method of studying law tends to restrict the discussion of legislative purpose to what the courts say on the subject.
Tensions mount at state Capitol
No one in and around the Capitol knows what will happen; almost everyone is worried. Republicans in Washington are moving at long last to follow through on their oft-repeated vow to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  On Friday the House, along mostly partisan lines, approved the first step of the ACA repeal. The Senate earlier acted similarly. The prospect of repeal has triggered a mixture of speculation, tensions, caution and dread among California policymakers.
Proposition 64 – The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act
On November 8, 2016, the majority of voters in California voted in favor of Proposition 64. According to Article II Section 10(a) of the California Constitution, “An initiative measure approved by a majority vote takes effect the day after the election, unless the initiative measure provides otherwise.” However, the licensing of retail markets will commence January 2018.
Local Government
New Central Basin director says he will keep his Bell Gardens council seat
Pedro Aceituno, the newly elected director for the Central Basin Municipal Water District, said he plans to remain on the Bell Gardens City Council despite criticism from some who say he has a conflict of interest. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has also sued other elected officials in similar situations. Aceituno, whose council seat will be up in November 2019, said that although his city water company purchases water from Central Basin, he doesn’t think there’s a conflict.
Consumer Protection
EBay launching authentication service to fight fakes
Dive Brief: Later this year, eBay will launch eBay Authenticate, an opt-in, fee-based service enabling sellers and buyers to have merchandise authenticated by human inspectors. EBay Vice President of Consumer Selling Laura Chambers, who is leading the new program, said in a blog post that Authenticate is limited to certain types of merchandise, like high-end handbags, and buyers can pay for the service whenever a seller declines to do so.
‘Death after death’: California prison under scrutiny following rash of suicides
At a hearing last month, a California parole board delayed its decision on whether to release the state’s longest-serving female prisoner after learning that she may have been a victim of abuse by Charles Manson or another person. Patricia Krenwinkel, the 69-year-old former Manson follower, was convicted of murder in 1971 and has been locked up behind bars ever since.
California’s bail system punishes the poor, and it’s time for the government to do something about it
It’s a recurring nightmare: You get busted, perhaps for drunk driving and causing an injury accident, or maybe on a bum rap. You’re jailed and can’t make bail. You’re shoved behind bars with a scummy cellmate. You can’t go to work. Bills go unpaid. And you don’t have any mobility to plan your defense. You’re locked up solely because you don’t have enough money to arrange bail.
California bail system a key focus of criminal justice reform
As more lawmakers touted tough-on-crime positions in the late 20th century, more laws and policies capable of hurting the public good crept into America’s criminal justice system. In California, Gov. Jerry Brown is trying to fix this. Two recent ballot measures he pushed to passage – Proposition 47 in 2014 and Proposition 57 in November – had flaws of their own, but they built off an understanding that our laws are too punitive – that they warehouse convicts for decades at huge cost to taxpayers despite evidence that crime is mostly a young man’s game and that mass incarceration isn’t keeping us safer.
A second strike for untouchable California pensions?
Herbert Stein, who chaired the Council of Economic Advisers under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, is admired by social scientists for his pithy observation that, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” This, fortunately, means that bad things don’t happen in perpetuity because people can only put up with bad things for so long. This is what seems to have dawned on California judges when it comes to government pensions – and it appears they have not just common sense but the law on their side.
John Chiang real favorite to succeed Gov. Brown
With the presidential race over and Donald Trump’s inauguration looming, attention in California turns to who will be the top Democratic dog in next year’s election to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown. According to the Chronicle, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom sports “a total of $11.5 million cash on hand,” raising $2.6 million in the second half of 2016. That’s “far more than his major announced rivals, who include state Treasurer John Chiang, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin.”
Presidential Transition
Trump meets with Supreme Court candidate
President-elect Donald Trump has met with one of the judges on his short list for potential Supreme Court nominees, less than two weeks before he is expected to announce his choice for the nation’s highest court. Judge William Pryor, an Alabama-based judge on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, met with Trump in New York on Saturday, said two people familiar with the meeting. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting had not been publicly announced.
L.A. County’s latest “Sanctuary City” stands its ground against Trump
La Puente, a city of 40,000 in the San Gabriel Valley whose population is 85 percent Latino, has declared itself a “sanctuary” for undocumented immigrants, in a resolution passed by the City Council on Jan. 10. City officials say the public turned out in droves to attend the vote, a tense and anxious crowd filling the 50 seats in council chambers, with nearly as many people standing outside.
President Trump issues statement of support for law enforcement
On his first day in office President Donald J. Trump has issued a statement of support for the nation’s law enforcement officers on the official White House Website. The statement titled “Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community” is below in its entirety. One of the fundamental rights of every American is to live in a safe community. 
What will Donald Trump do to help you?
One of the most important endorsements that Donald Trump received during the 2016 presidential campaign came from the nation’s largest law enforcement union, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). When announcing the endorsement, FOP President Chuck Canterbury said the union was backing Trump because “He understands and supports our priorities and our members believe he will make America safe again.”

Monday Morning Memo for January 16, 2017

Parolee pleads not guilty to killing Lancaster sheriff’s sergeant
A parolee accused of shooting a Lancaster sheriff’s sergeant responding to a burglary call, then pumping four additional shots into the veteran lawman once he was down, pleaded not guilty to a murder charge Monday. Trenton Trevon Lovell, 27, of Lancaster, is charged in the Oct. 5 killing of Sgt. Steve Owen. 
1st big case for DA’s special wrongful conviction unit
In 2005, Raymond Lee Jennings was arrested and charged with the 2000 murder of an 18-year-old Palmdale high school student. In 2009, he was convicted and sentenced to serve 40 years to life in prison. This week, prosecutors from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office – the same prosecutors that got him convicted – submitted a request to a judge to overturn the ruling based on newly discovered evidence of Jennings’ innocence.
Decision to retry former Sheriff Baca is questioned
A decision by federal prosecutors to retry former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca on obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges drew negative comments Tuesday in light of the 11-1 jury verdict on Dec. 22 in Baca’s favor. Former Court of Appeal Justice Elizabeth Baron, who was a deputy attorney general from 1977-82, commented that “retrying Sheriff Baca on charges in which there was an 11-1 vote for acquittal smacks of vindictive prosecution.”
Lawyer says Orange County DA uses two-pronged cheating strategy: Deny & attack
Wearing a sharp suit, perfectly coiffed hair and an indomitable expression befitting a feared senior deputy district attorney, Michael F. Murray walked through Orange County’s Central Courthouse in mid-December, entered a courtroom, swore an oath to tell the truth, then sat in the witness chair. Nobody doubted Murray’s contempt for the role reversal.
Conviction & Sentencing
‘Pillowcase Rapist’ ordered back to state hospital
A judge has ordered a notorious serial rapist who muffled victim’s screams with a pillowcase back to a California state mental hospital because he violated terms of his release. Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said Friday that a judge in Northern California revoked the conditional release of Christopher Hubbart.
Proposition 47
Prop. 47 has led to rise in property crime: Letters
It is interesting the editorial board (Jan. 8) chose to lead with a discussion of the national crime picture, and only later trotted out the claim that “California’s experience is in line with that of the rest of the country.” Disingenuous wordplay and deliberate conflating of time periods lie behind that claim.
Community Voices: Let not this teachable moment pass unseized
From the Dec. 16 USA Today: “Lopez, 57, a longtime addict, was serving a life sentence in prison for a third-strike methamphetamine conviction until last year, when he was released by Proposition 47, which downgraded drug possession and most small thefts to misdemeanors. “Prop 47 felt like emancipation at first, Lopez said, but freedom has not gone as planned.”
Prison & Parole
Governor’s budget gives a glimpse into challenges ahead for prison parole overhaul in California
Gov. Jerry Brown is asking lawmakers to set aside $10.6 million to begin the sweeping overhaul of prison parole he convinced California voters to approve last fall, a proposal that corrections officials say reflects his continued commitment to public safety and reforms.
California murder convict becomes first U.S. inmate to have state-funded sex reassignment surgery
A 57-year-old convicted killer serving a life sentence has become the first U.S. inmate to receive state-funded sex-reassignment surgery, the prisoner’s attorneys confirmed Friday. California prison officials agreed in August 2015 to pay for the surgery for Shiloh Heavenly Quine, who was convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery for ransom and has no possibility of parole.
How corrections officers control supply and demand for contraband phones in prisons
High fees and communication restrictions have produced a booming black market for cell phones in prisons. In response, corrections departments conduct mass searches and introduce policies intended to diminish their supply. But such efforts arguably play a crucial role in preserving and perpetuating this lucrative market.
Drug maker remains defendant in suit brought by inmate claiming psychotic breakdown
A judge ruled Thursday that Pfizer Inc. will remain a defendant for now in a lawsuit brought by a man who claims its anti-smoking medication was a factor in his psychotic breakdown that led him to gouge his eyes out while in jail. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Marc Marmaro added, however, that if Pfizer’s attorneys want to bring another dismissal motion focusing on whether plaintiff Michael Shabsis’ claims are precluded by federal law, he will hold a hearing.
Supreme Court to consider liability for “provoking” use of force
The outcome of Supreme Court Case 16-369 (Los Angeles County, Ca v. Mendez) could pose significant challenges for law enforcement-and police training. Provoking Use of Force – Basically, the main issue involves whether law enforcement officers are entitled to qualified immunity or liable for “provoking” the need for use of force-according to the “provocation rule” created within the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Freddie Gray case: Judge allows malicious prosecution lawsuit against Mosby to proceed
A federal judge is allowing key parts of a lawsuit against Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, brought by five of the six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, to move forward. U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis ruled that claims including malicious prosecution, defamation, and invasion of privacy can move forward against Mosby and Assistant Sheriff Samuel Cogen, who wrote the statement of probable cause.
Kathryn Steinle’s parents get OK to sue feds, but SF cleared
The parents of Kathryn Steinle, who was shot to death on a San Francisco pier in July 2015 by an immigrant with a record of deportations, can sue the federal government for negligence because a ranger allegedly left the gun used in the shooting in his unlocked car, a federal magistrate ruled Friday.
Court tosses California law that barred grand juries from investigating police shootings
A California appeals court tossed out a law that banned grand juries from determining whether police officers involved in fatal shootings should face criminal charges. The 2015 law sought more transparency in shooting investigations by shifting charging decisions from closed-door grand juries to prosecutors.
U.S. judge supervising Oakland police, California prisons to retire
The federal judge overseeing California’s prison healthcare system and the city of Oakland’s police department plans to retire in August, raising questions about how reform of both troubled institutions will unfold. Thelton Henderson, an icon of the U.S. civil rights movement, has presided over numerous high profile cases in more than 35 years on the San Francisco federal bench.
California’s top court to decide whether planned speed-up in executions is legal
California voters in November legalized marijuana, approved a plan to reduce the prison population and enacted gun controls. But on one key issue – the death penalty – the liberal tide shifted. Voters rejected a measure to ban capital punishment and instead approved an initiative intended to hasten executions. That measure is now before the California Supreme Court.
No right to child porn – none, appeals Court says
A California law requiring psychotherapists to report patients who look at child pornography on the internet does not violate patients’ privacy – even if the patients are teenagers sexting nude selfies to each other, an appellate court ruled Monday. “The privacy interest of patients who communicate that they watch child pornography is outweighed by the state’s interest in identifying and protecting sexually abused children,” Division Two of the Second Appellate District ruled, affirming a judgment from Los Angeles Superior Court.
Judge Persky critic rips state panel report in Brock Turner case
The Stanford law professor campaigning to remove a judge who gave a former athlete at the university six months in jail for sexual assault says the state commission that cleared the judge of unethical conduct ignored some facts and distorted others. The Commission on Judicial Performance’s examination of Judge Aaron Persky was “a one-sided, closed-door proceeding that resulted in an error-ridden report … by an agency with a long history of protecting judges,” Professor Michele Dauber said in an analysis posted Sunday on a website devoted to recalling the judge.
Another ruling says pension set at hire can be cut
A second appeals court panel has unanimously ruled that the public pension offered at hire can be cut without an offsetting new benefit, broadening support for what pension reformers call a “game changer” if the state Supreme Court agrees. The new ruling on Dec. 30 in a state firefighters suit on pension-boosting “airtime” purchases made several references to a groundbreaking ruling last summer in a Marin County pension “spiking” suit.
Law Enforcement
Inside LAX’s new anti-terrorism intelligence unit
In the summer of 2014, Anthony McGinty and Michelle Sosa were hired by Los Angeles World Airports to lead a unique, new classified intelligence unit on the West Coast. After only two years, their global scope and analytic capabilities promise to rival the agencies of a small nation-state. Their roles suggest an intriguing new direction for infrastructure protection in an era when threats are as internationally networked as they are hard to predict.
Rep. Duncan Hunter: Colleague’s ‘art’ disrespected cops
The U.S. Capitol represents many things to different people, but one thing it’s not is a modern art museum. Every year, Members of Congress host an art competition in their congressional districts and the winners-selected through a variety of ways-are given the honor of having their artwork displayed in the U.S. Capitol for the world to see.  With the artwork, creativity is not in short supply.
Political ‘pig’-skin: Lawmakers scuffle over controversial Capitol Hill painting
A controversial painting on Capitol Hill depicting a police officer as a pig was becoming the very definition of a political football Tuesday as Democratic and Republican lawmakers repeatedly passed it back and forth in a growing tit-for-tat. Democratic lawmakers tried – twice – to put the painting back on display after a GOP colleague took it down Friday amid outrage from law enforcement groups.
Some worry that flawed gang database will be used for immigration enforcement
California legislators are feeling heightened urgency and pressure to make changes to law enforcement’s “CalGang” database because of fears that President-elect Donald Trump might use flawed information for immigration enforcement. Democrats and Republicans alike have voiced concern about use of the database, meant as a tool for local law enforcement agencies to fight organized crime.
Crime declines despite drop in imprisonment
As national imprisonment rates continue to fall, so too does crime, according to data collected by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Between 2010 and 2015, the national imprisonment rate declined 8.4 percent while property and violent crime rates fell a combined 14.6 percent. During this time period, 31 states saw reductions in both crime and imprisonment.
How the DOJ will conduct civil-rights investigation of Orange County district attorney, sheriff
Community forums. Face-to-face meetings with leaders of the local deputies union and with local defense attorneys. Twitter. Is this any way to conduct a civil-rights investigation? Actually it is. All of those forms of public outreach – many of them as likely to get people talking to each other as they are to ferret out misconduct – could be part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s new probe into the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Ferguson effect real, survey finds
Police work has always been hard. Today police say it is even harder. In a new Pew Research Center survey conducted by the National Police Research Platform, majorities of police officers say that recent high-profile fatal encounters between black citizens and police have made their jobs riskier, aggravated tensions between police and blacks, and left many officers reluctant to fully carry out some of their duties.
Sheriff has a promise for L.A.’s immigrants: Jim McDonnell
As sheriff of the largest and one of the most diverse counties in the nation, I want to assure our residents, and especially our immigrant communities, that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is deeply committed to helping all people in their time of need regardless of their immigration status.
Survey: Two-thirds of cops say marijuana laws should be relaxed
A Pew Research Center survey of nearly 8,000 police officers finds that more than two-thirds of them say that marijuana use should be legal for either personal or medical use. The nationally representative survey of law enforcement, one of the largest of its kind, found that 32 percent of police officers said marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use, while 37 percent said it should be legal for medical use only.
DEA must end its informant program now
For years, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has engaged in a questionable use of thousands of informants. The DEA has used airline employees, parcel services workers and even staff at other government agencies, such as the Transportation Safety Administration and Amtrak, as its informants, in violation of Justice Department policies.
LA County to expand Sheriff’s mental evaluation teams
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to more than double the number of mental evaluation teams at the sheriff’s department. The so-called MET teams include a specially trained deputy and clinician from the Department of Mental Health. They respond to deputies who need help dealing with a mentally ill person.
California police would have to disclose the use of more surveillance devices under this proposed law
In what will likely become another battle over the balance between privacy and public safety, new legislation at the state Capitol would expand the list of electronic surveillance devices that California law enforcement agencies must disclose to the public. The bill, introduced last month by state Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), would require any local law enforcement agency in California that uses surveillance technology to submit a plan to local officials on how it uses the equipment and the information collected.
The Black Dahlia: Los Angeles’ most famous unsolved murder
Few people noticed the dark-haired woman when she was dropped off at the swanky Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, but when her torso was found nearly a week later, Elizabeth Short became a household name. On the morning of 15 January 1947, Betty Bersinger was walking with her young daughter along a barely developed street in the planned neighbourhood of Leimert Park when she saw what she thought was two halves of a tailor’s mannequin.
LAPD deepens training, psychological support for officers after shootings
The Los Angeles Police Department will now require officers who fire their guns on the job to complete training before they return to the field and meet with department psychologists more often. The changes, approved by the Los Angeles Police Commission on Tuesday, represent a subtle but significant shift in how the LAPD treats officers after shootings.
White and black police officers are sharply divided about race, pew finds
A new national survey of law enforcement officers found that the vast majority feel their jobs are harder than ever before, after the police-involved shootings of black Americans over the past several years. The nationally representative survey of close to 8,000 police officers, released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center, provided some data to back up assertions made by leading law enforcement figures, including the F.B.I. director James Comey, that the publicity surrounding such episodes has discouraged the police from confronting suspects.
Crime is back as a Los Angeles city election issue
Crime rates have ticked up in Los Angeles, dramatically so in the San Fernando Valley, removing whatever complacency may have set in during years of improving public safety. If there’s any consolation about the end-of-2016 crime reports, it’s that they come at just the right time to put the issue on the table in the campaigns for the March 7 elections for citywide and City Council offices.
Amazon and eBay ideal outlets for counterfeits
When e-commerce giants eBay and Amazon try to monopolize profits, the collateral damage for manufacturers and consumers can be enormous, and devastating. Both eBay and Amazon have channeled their efforts into online “Marketplace” retail outlets which allow un-vetted global sellers to peddle hugely profitable counterfeit goods to unsuspecting consumers.
Preliminary crime stats for 2016 released
Monday, the FBI released its Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, which covers January through June 2016 and which shows an increase in the number of violent crimes and a decrease in the number of property crimes when compared to figures from the same time period in 2015. The data came from 13,366 law enforcement agencies across the nation.
Backers of police discipline change should be careful what they wish for
Both the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Police Department may soon make changes to their disciplinary processes – but the proposals for the two agencies are moving in decidedly opposite directions. The sheriff is seeking something more like what the LAPD has while the police union and some self-styled police reformers want something more like the seriously flawed system used to discipline sheriff’s deputies.
Local Government
Questions, conflict of interest surround Norwalk trash contract bid process
Hews Media Group-Community News has obtained a Nov 15, 2016 letter sent to Norwalk City Attorney Roxanne Diaz from the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) that definitively stated Norwalk Mayor Mike Mendez was in a conflict of interest position with respect to the trash contract being negotiated with the City and could not, at the time, participate in any decisions related to the agreement.
LA County to consider support of county mental health squads
County supervisors are going to discuss more support for the county’s Mental Evaluation Teams, or MET, to assist in preventing physical confrontations between local law enforcement and mentally ill individuals. “Instead of sending a squad car full of officers, a MET team would be mobilized and an MET clinician would ride along with officers in the squad car to help avoid confrontation and get them the treatment they need,” said Tony Bell communications deputy for LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger.
L.A. needs to borrow millions to cover legal payouts, city report says
The Los Angeles City Council in recent years has repeatedly settled costly, high-profile lawsuits, agreeing to spend millions of dollars to end litigation brought by grieving families, disability-rights groups and people wrongfully convicted of crimes. City Hall leaders championed some of the settlements as having a silver lining for taxpayers, such as one in 2015 that created a program to fix L.A.’s buckling sidewalks.
LA County votes to set up its own immigrant affairs office
Los Angeles County supervisors approved creation of an Office of Immigrant Affairs that would coordinate and streamline access to countywide services for immigrants. The motion to approve the office passed on a 4 to 1 vote and was sponsored by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl. Last month, the two supervisors co-authored a related motion seeking protection for immigrants under an incoming Donald Trump administration.
Uber-inspired bill would crack down on illegal self-driving cars in California
Inspired by Uber’s self-driving car fiasco in San Francisco last month, a local lawmaker wants to add teeth to California’s autonomous vehicle rules. Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, on Thursday introduced a bill that would allow the state to fine companies up to $25,000 per vehicle per day for operating unauthorized self-driving vehicles. If passed, the law also would prevent those companies from applying for an autonomous vehicle testing permit for two years.
Persons of the Year 2016: Alan Skobin
Alan Skobin likes to go fishing. Sometimes. After decades raising a family in the San Fernando Valley, serving as vice president and general counsel of one of the world’s largest automobile sales and service businesses, and serving the public as a reserve deputy sheriff and member of city, county, and state boards and commissions, he is willing to acknowledge that he needs to relax. But he hasn’t exactly sailed off into the sunset.
Presidential Transition
Trump’s war on sanctuary cities threatens to gut police funding
Cops who viewed Donald Trump as their law-and-order ally could now lose essential funding if the new president carries out his threat to crack down on cities that protect undocumented immigrants. “Terrifying,” said New Haven police officer David Hartman. “This is something that’s terrifying.”
No, Justice Ginsburg hasn’t said she’s resigning because Trump won
It’s been making the rounds on Facebook, but it’s not true: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has not said she’s stepping down now because Donald Trump won the election. The story appeared on a website called “Success Street” on Dec. 22 — trumpeting the headline “Breaking News: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is RESIGNING From The Post of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court!!!!”
California attorney general nominee Xavier Becerra jabs Trump for proposing mass deportations, Muslim registry
Ahead of his first confirmation hearing Tuesday, state attorney general nominee Rep. Xavier Becerra has assured legislators that he will be a strong force to counter the policies of President-elect Donald Trump , including opposing proposals for mass deportations and a registry of Muslim immigrants.

Monday Morning Memo for January 9, 2017

Judge allows early testimony in Durst murder case from secret witnesses who prosecutors say fear for their safety
A judge in the murder trial of real estate heir Robert Durst agreed Friday to allow early testimony from at least two witnesses in the multimillionaire’s upcoming murder trial. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mark Windham ruled that the witnesses can give their testimony on Feb. 14, before the trial even begins. 
Judge weighs removing Orange County D.A.’s Office from another high-profile murder case
The decision over whether to remove the Orange County District Attorney’s Office from another high-profile murder case is in the hands of an Orange County Superior Court judge after a public defender charged that local prosecutors can’t help provide her client a fair trial.
‘HOLLYWeeD’ prankster case could be presented to prosecutors
Days after a prankster scaled a fence and altered the Hollywood sign to read “HOLLYWeeD,” Los Angeles police detectives say they plan to submit their case to prosecutors for possible prosecution. Officer Aareon Jefferson said Wednesday that investigators are talking to a possible suspect in connection with the trespassing case, but declined to name the person.
Jerry Brown has pardoned more felons than any governor in recent state history
“I made the worst mistake of my life.” “I had a drug and alcohol problem.” “I was just a kid with low self-esteem and felt hopeless.” Those are the words people convicted of felonies in California wrote to Gov. Jerry Brown in recent years, asking him to pardon their crimes. Their clemency applications describe bad decisions and reckless adolescences, lives of poverty and addiction.
Death Penalty
California rejects proposed new death penalty rules
Efforts to revive the death penalty in California were dealt another blow late last month when a state agency tasked with reviewing regulatory changes rejected a proposed new lethal injection protocol. The decision by the Office of Administrative Law came one day after the California Supreme Court blocked implementation of Proposition 66, an initiative passed by voters in November to expedite capital punishment, pending the outcome of a lawsuit.
California gun owners brace for shortages, price hikes under new ammo regs
Matt Ball isn’t the type of gun enthusiast who hoards ammunition – at least not normally. Ball, a 39-year-old banker from Roseville, is a casual shooter who spends a few days a year at the target range. Typically, when he’s running low on ammo, he swings by a local sporting-goods store and buys what he needs, or he orders online.
Law Enforcement
GOP congressman takes down colleague’s sponsored ‘art’ depicting police as pigs
A Republican congressman took matters into his own hands Friday and personally removed a painting depicting police officers as pigs that a colleague had allowed to be displayed at the U.S. Capitol complex. “I was angry,” Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., told “I’ve seen the press [reporting] on this for about a week or so. … I’m in the Marine Corps. If you want it done, just call us.”
Sleeping man in car with gun-shaped cell phone case prompts police standoff, lockdown at Alhambra Shopping Center
Police swarmed an Alhambra parking lot Friday and put a shopping center on lockdown for several hours after receiving calls about an armed man in a car possibly having a medical issue, but authorities later determined the man was asleep and had a cellphone case shaped like a gun on his lap.
Video of Simi Valley crash that killed LAPD officer under review
Simi Valley police continued to study video and conduct interviews Tuesday and were waiting for toxicology results in their probe of a collision that claimed the life of an off-duty Los Angeles police officer early New Year’s Day.
Local artists claim they created ‘Hollyweed’ sign
So who’s the prankster who altered the famed Hollywood sign on New Year’s morning to make it read “Hollyweed?” Indications Tuesday were pointing toward a local artist who goes by the moniker “Jesus Hands,” a name that was scrawled on one of the black tarps used to alter the sign.
Fatal shootings by police remain relatively unchanged after two years
Despite ongoing national scrutiny of police tactics, the number of fatal shootings by officers in 2016 remained virtually unchanged from last year when nearly 1,000 people were killed by police. Through Thursday, law enforcement officers fatally shot 957 people in 2016 – close to three each day – down slightly from 2015 when 991 people were shot to death by officers, according to an ongoing project by The Washington Post to track the number of fatal shootings by police.
Oakland hires its first female police chief, Anne Kirkpatrick
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has hired the city’s first female chief of police, as multiple news sources are reporting this morning, and that is Anne Kirkpatrick, a former chief of Spokane’s police department who most recently had been the head of the Chicago PD’s Bureau of Professional Standards after failing to land the top cop job there.
Family tells KCAL9 arrest has been made in Hyde Park hit-and-run that left father of 9 critical
The family of the victim of a hit-and-run accident in Hyde Park told KCAL9 Friday that an arrest has been made in the case. The family of 35-year-old Mikail Hasan told KCAL9’s Tom Wait the driver was taken into custody without incident. They also provided a photo of Hasan in his hospital bed via social media. Hasan, a father of nine, was critically injured in the accident.
How to predict gentrification: Look for falling crime
Everyone has theories for why well-educated, higher-income professionals are moving back into parts of cities shunned by their parents’ generation. Perhaps their living preferences have shifted. Or the demands of the labor market have, and young adults with less leisure time are loath to waste it commuting.
2016 ended with 89 police shootings in LA County – 1 every 4 days
Police officers and sheriff’s deputies in Los Angeles County were involved in 89 shootings last year, according to the L.A. District Attorney’s office. The number includes people who were wounded and those killed by a police officer’s bullet. Eight-nine incidents in one year breaks down to approximately one shooting every four days in L.A. County. That tally is identical to 2015’s total, and it’s in line with totals from recent years.
Sheriff’s Department no longer providing fare enforcement on Metro trains, buses
More than 100 roving security inspectors supplied by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are no longer working on Metro rail systems as of Jan. 1, said a sheriff’s department official on Thursday. The ubiquitous security assistants in green pants and white shirts who stood on light-rail platforms and boarded train cars in order to weed out fare-evaders throughout Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s rail system were cut out of a contract for Metro rail and bus policing services.
The biggest security threats coming in 2017
Whether it was a billion compromised Yahoo accounts or state-sponsored Russian hackers muscling in on the US election, this past year saw hacks of unprecedented scale and temerity. And if history is any guide, next year should yield more of the same. It’s hard to know for certain what lies ahead, but some themes began to present themselves toward the end of 2016 that will almost certainly continue well into next year. And the more we can anticipate them, the better we can prepare.
My son was killed by an illegal alien. I’m suing the Justice Department with one goal in mind.
The phone rings late at night; it’s San Francisco General Hospital delivering devastating news. Your son is dead, killed in a traffic collision. The driver of the car who struck and killed your son was a Honduran national, who had entered the country illegally in 1999. This is my story – and it’s just one of many.
Violent crime up for second straight year in Los Angeles
New data from the LAPD shows violent crime in the city of Los Angeles rose 10 percent in 2016. Violent crime, defined as homicides, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults, jumped 38 percent over the past two years after a more than a decade-long decline. It’s important to note the numbers remain at historic lows, say police officials. There were 294 murders in the city last year – 11 more than the year before.
So many new laws with more to come
As the new year begins, 900 statutes were added to California law books. If history is our guide-807 new laws last year, 950 the year before that-there will be hundreds of more laws added at the end of this year. Certainly, citizens can’t keep up with all these new laws, not to mention that lawmakers themselves often aren’t aware of all the details in the laws.
California law makes ransomware use illegal
It was nice to see the calendar turn over to 2017, for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that on Jan. 1 a new law went into effect in California that outlaws the use of ransomware. The idea of needing a new law to make a form of hacking illegal may seem counterintuitive, but ransomware is a case of criminals outflanking the existing laws.
New state laws could help some workers catch a few breaks
If you are among the Californians who make less than $15 an hour – more than a third of the state’s workforce – you can look forward to a raise. If you are a farmworker toiling long hours in the fields, you finally will become eligible for overtime. If you are a Latino or an African American earning less than a white colleague for doing the same job, you may be entitled to redress.
California Today: Should unaccompanied adults be barred from playgrounds?
There is no shortage of wonderful outdoor things to do in Los Angeles. But one thing is in decidedly short supply, particularly in the denser part of the cities: public parks. So a recent proposal by a Los Angeles City Council member to bar unaccompanied adults from children’s playgrounds has struck a nerve.
DMV reminds motorists of many new 2017 laws
With the New Year just around the corner, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) wants to inform the public of several new laws or changes to existing law that, unless otherwise noted, take effect on January 1, 2017. The following are summaries of some transportation-related laws taking effect.
State court upholds 2013 law that cut buying pension credits
A state appeals court has upheld a 2013 California law that eliminated a pension benefit for hundreds of thousands of state and local government employees in an effort to reduce the pension system’s mounting deficits. The lawmakers’ action in eliminating the right of public employees to buy additional retirement credits was “wholly reasonable” and did not violate any binding promises made to the employees, the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco said Friday.
Reality penetrates public pension system
It’s very rare, but always welcome, when reality intrudes on political decision making. Thus, it’s noteworthy that overseers of the nation’s largest pension trust fund, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), last month reduced – albeit reluctantly – its projection of future earnings by a half-percentage point.
Just because marijuana is legal doesn’t mean it’s safe
Asked whether marijuana should be legal for adults in California, voters answered with a resounding “yes” in November. But that doesn’t mean the matter is completely settled. And it definitely doesn’t mean voters support marijuana use by minors. Many questions remain about the drug – its effect on children and on drivers, to name just two – and the answers are only just starting to trickle in as researchers dig deeper into the public policy ramifications of making weed widely available.
10 Supreme Court cases to watch in 2017
The Supreme Court will return to the bench on January 9, 2017 as it starts a new calendar year. Here are cases to watch that the Justices will hear, or likely hear, before the end of April. Normally, the Justices wrap up arguments in cases in April, with the final decisions for a term announced in late June. However, with a vacancy on the bench to be filled in early 2017, it remains to be seen when some cases will be scheduled and heard in Washington.
Colonies judge should quash subpoenas of journalists
It’s almost surprising that the Colonies corruption case is actually going to trial this week, after nearly 15 years of legal wrangling. It is surprising that the prosecution has subpoenaed eight of this news group’s journalists and former journalists to testify. We would think San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos and his staff would know better than to drag journalists into court to testify.
Eleven wrong years in prison: DA demands judge toss murder conviction
Prosecutors will ask a judge Thursday to set aside a former security guard’s conviction for the shooting death of an 18-year-old woman in a Palmdale park-and-ride lot nearly 17 years ago. In a court filing this week, Los Angeles County Chief Deputy District Attorney John K. Spillane wrote that the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office agrees that Raymond Lee Jennings is entitled to relief “based on newly discovered evidence pointing to his factual innocence.”
Freddie Gray case: Judge allows malicious prosecution lawsuit against Mosby to proceed
A federal judge is allowing key parts of a lawsuit against Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, brought by five of the six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, to move forward. U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis ruled that claims including malicious prosecution, defamation, and invasion of privacy can move forward against Mosby and Assistant Sheriff Samuel Cogen, who wrote the statement of probable cause.
California Attorney General
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris names Kathleen “Kate” Kenealy Chief Deputy Attorney General
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today stepped down as California Attorney General and was sworn in to the United States Senate in Washington, D.C. Before resigning, Attorney General Harris named Kathleen “Kate” Alice Kenealy Chief Deputy Attorney General. Kenealy will lead the California Department of Justice as Acting Attorney General until such time as Governor Brown’s selected candidate, Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-LA), is confirmed by the state legislature as California’s next Attorney General.
California AG will not appeal ejection of Orange County DA in notorious mass-murder case
The California attorney general’s office will not appeal a decision that tossed Orange County’s entire district attorney’s office off a high-profile mass murder case over its involvement in a jailhouse informant scandal. “Our office has decided not to seek review,” said Kristin Ford, press secretary for the state’s AG office, in an email late Tuesday to The Huffington Post.
Other News
It’s still a mad, mad California
One reason for the emergence of outsider Donald Trump is the old outrage that elites seldom experience the consequences of their own ideologically driven agendas. Hypocrisy, when coupled with sanctimoniousness, grates people like few other human transgressions: Barack Obama opposing charter schools for the inner city as he puts his own children in Washington’s toniest prep schools, or Bay Area greens suing to stop contracted irrigation water from Sierra reservoirs, even as they count on the Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy project to deliver crystal-clear mountain water to their San Francisco taps.
Would Gavin Newsom represent another Brown term?
When the 2018 gubernatorial race warms up, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and his camp are likely to hammer home their point that it’s his time, that he’s earned the office, much the same way Hillary Clinton’s supporters said she deserved to be president. Apparently, most Californians would agree with Democrat Newsom, who first won the lieutenant governor’s office in 2010, was re-elected in 2014, and was twice elected San Francisco’s mayor after spending seven years on the city’s board of supervisors.
Presidential Transition
As AG, Jeff Sessions will restore police, Dept. of Justice relationship
Every day members of the law enforcement community come to work prepared for anything. They understand that they are the thin blue line between a safe public and criminal activity – and each moment presents a new challenge. Law enforcement understands the dangers of protecting their communities and go to work each day knowing they might be shot for their communities’ safety.
California Dems tap Eric Holder to fight Trump in court
Democratic leaders of the California state legislature have hired Eric Holder, the former attorney general during the Obama administration, to serve as outside legal counsel as they prepare for a series of court battles with President-elect Donald Trump’s White House. In a statement released Wednesday, California Senate President Kevin de Leon and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon — both Democrats — announced they had “hired outside legal counsel to advise on potential legal challenges with the incoming Trump administration.”
Trump’s deportation vow spurs California farmers into action
Days after Donald Trump won the presidential election vowing to deport millions of people in the country illegally and fortify the Mexican border, California farmer Kevin Herman ordered nearly $600,000 in new equipment, cutting the number of workers he’ll need starting with the next harvest. Herman, who grows figs, persimmons and almonds in the nation’s most productive farming state, said Trump’s comments pushed him to make the purchase, larger than he’d planned to buy otherwise.  

Monday Morning Memo for January 2, 2017

Future trials for ex-Sheriff Lee Baca still up in the air
A jail corruption scandal that has dogged the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department since 2011 failed to go away completely by the end of 2016, as federal prosecutors still must decide if they’ll retry former Sheriff Lee Baca on obstruction and conspiracy charges as well as move forward with another charge against him. 
Accused killer Robert Durst poses ‘ever-present danger’ to witnesses, prosecutors allege
New York real estate scion Robert Durst, who is accused of killing a friend in Benedict Canyon in 2000, still presents a threat to witnesses in the pending murder case, prosecutors contended in court papers filed Thursday, despite defense arguments that Durst is jailed and too old and frail to be a danger to anyone.
Alexa a witness to murder? Prosecutors seek Amazon Echo data
Authorities investigating the death of an Arkansas man whose body was found in a hot tub want to expand the probe to include a new kind of evidence: any comments overheard by the suspect’s Amazon Echo smart speaker. Amazon said it objects to “overbroad” requests as a matter of practice, but prosecutors insist their idea is rooted in a legal precedent that’s “as old as Methuselah.”
Law Enforcement
Violent crime in L.A. jumps for third straight year as police deal with gang, homeless issues
Violent crime increased in Los Angeles for the third straight year as police tried to stem a rash of homicides and gang-related shootings while dealing with a growing homeless population. With more than 290 people killed in the city this year, homicides also rose for the third year in a row.
LAPD criminalist alleges department squashed evidence against officer in love-triangle murder
An LAPD criminalist who alleges the department deliberately overlooked evidence that linked a detective to the 1986 killing of a nurse says in new court papers that she did not come forward immediately because she feared the consequences.
Court rejects city of Burbank’s appeal in racial discrimination case against police detective
A state appellate court rejected the city of Burbank’s challenge to a 2012 jury verdict that awarded $150,000 to an Armenian-American police detective who said he’d suffered racial discrimination and harassment while on the job.
Why some problem cops don’t lose their badges
Gary Allen Steele fired a gun near his former girlfriend during an argument. Donald Snider harassed a minor. Claudia Wright faced forgery charges. Frank Garcia was accused of shooting out his window while driving drunk. All pleaded guilty to crimes or left jobs to avoid prosecution. All were police officers at the time of their alleged misconduct. All still are.
Sheriff’s watchdog calls for review after fatal Christmas Eve shooting of mentally ill man
The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department’s approach to policing mentally ill people should be examined by the county’s newly-formed Civilian Oversight Commission, a member of that commission said Wednesday. “It very much will be on the agenda,” said attorney Hernan Vera, was appointed to the new watchdog panel by L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis.
Weird threats against City Council members? LAPD probing
The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed Friday it is investigating a potential threat against several City Council members and a security breach at City Hall. The investigation began after a serrated, metal cutting tool was found in the council chamber sitting on top of an agenda form with some of the council members’ names underlined, and with dates written next to them.
Black Lives Matter activist hit with restraining order from L.A. Police Commissioner
The president of the Los Angeles Police Commission has filed a request for a temporary restraining order against a prominent member of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, alleging a pattern of stalking and violent threats. According to the order, the commission president feared for his life and the safety of his family.
New SFPD chief may already have fight on his hands with police union
The unveiling of San Francisco’s next police chief, veteran Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief William Scott, was a occasion of celebration at City Hall on Tuesday. A beaming Mayor Ed Lee announced to reporters who will lead the troubled department, and flanking the mayor were The City’s law enforcement leaders, from the department’s command staff to the district attorney and sheriff.
eBay fake police badges and ID endanger the public
It is shocking that eBay would engage in a particularly serious threat to national security, consumer safety and public confidence by making fake FBI, ATF, and a variety of other replica federal and police badges and counterfeit identification available to terrorists, child predators and other criminals.
Body camera video shows Phoenix police shootout
The Phoenix Police Department released video Thursday of a shootout with a murder suspect near 37th Avenue and McDowell Road in May. Francis Clark was shot and killed after opening fire on two Phoenix Police officers who were investigating a report of shots fired. Those shots, police later said, were from Clark shooting and killing his girlfriend, Mercy Cordova.
64 officers shot and killed in 2016, 21 ambushed
Law enforcement fatalities nationwide rose to their highest level in five years in 2016, with 135 officers killed in the line of duty, according to preliminary data compiled and released today by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) in their 2016 Law Enforcement Fatalities Report.
Local law enforcement has used social media monitoring software
Last year, a teenager threatened on Twitter to “shoot up” Camarillo High School, authorities say. Using Geofeedia, a social media monitoring platform, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said this month it was able to determine the identity of the 17-year-old girl and arrest her before the start of the school day.
What to do if you are arrested with marijuana in California
When it comes to what is legal (and what is illegal) in California concerning the possession, growth, and usage of marijuana, many people are confused. The fact is you can be arrested in California for possession of marijuana. Thousands of people are arrested every year for having, selling, sharing, and using marijuana.
The politics of shooting at moving cars
It seems to be the “go to” use of force policy change for 2016.  Agency Policy across the country has been modified this year to prohibit police from shooting at moving vehicles. On the surface it seems to be a smart move but nothing is as simple as that and in law enforcement, rarely is anything black or white. The idea did not come out of nowhere.
Prop 47
Proposition 47 is failing, and the reason why is clear
In their laudable effort to reverse mass incarceration, California policymakers have been too slow to provide felons with necessary care and treatment upon their release. That’s among the conclusions to be gleaned from an important reporting project by newspapers in Palm Springs, Ventura, Salinas and Redding analyzing Proposition 47, the 2014 initiative that cut penalties for drug possession and property theft, and reduced many crimes to misdemeanors.
Editorial: California comes up short on Prop 47 promise
Proposition 47 perfectly illustrates the promise and danger of direct democracy in California. It has lifted the burden of a felony record from tens of thousands of the state’s residents, freeing them to pursue jobs and lives that had been unattainable. It has helped relieve overcrowded conditions in prisons, and it has – though only in theory so far – set aside millions of dollars for rehabilitation.
County Government
State owes counties millions in sex offender legal costs
California must reimburse its counties for the legal costs involved in determining whether sex offenders who have completed their prison terms should be sent to mental hospitals, a state appeals court ruled Wednesday. A lawyer for local governments said the statewide cost would be about $25 million a year for the reimbursements, which the state stopped paying in July 2013.
L.A. County’s district attorney faces a big decision
Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey has drawn fierce criticism from some black activists for not prosecuting police officers in controversial shootings. Now Lacey, the county’s first black district attorney, faces intense pressure as she decides whether to file charges in two high-profile killings of black men by police, including one in which LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has publicly urged her to prosecute the officer who shot an unarmed man in the back near the Venice boardwalk last year.
CA cop killers no longer eligible for early release
California offenders will no longer be eligible for early release if they have been convicted of murder in the death of a police officer. Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed legislation that exempts offenders from consideration for compassionate or medical release, the Los Angeles Times reports.
New laws go into effect in new year
While the election of Donald Trump to the presidency has coincided with a national drift to conservative lawmaking and policy, California continued to be a bastion of progressive legislation, passing laws this year including gun control, environmental protection and increases in the minimum wage.
AM Alert: A roundup of California laws that won’t take effect Jan. 1
While Californians ring in the New Year and toast the end of 2016, a handful of new laws touching everything from mascot names to minimum wage to assault weapons will begin to kick in. But today, we bring you laws the Legislature passed last year that won’t take effect for at least a couple more months.
(More) New Calif. laws for 2017: Booze at the barber shop, tougher punishment for sex crimes, restroom changes, bullet button
California lawmakers are continually proposing and amending legislation in the Golden State. It’s no wonder it’s hard to keep track of what’s on the books now and what’s to come. To help make your life easier as we head into 2017, here are several new laws that take effect in the New Year, coming in the form of new laws or changes to current law.
Teens’ view of pot changed in one state after legalization
After marijuana was legalized for adults in the U.S. state of Washington, younger teens there perceived it to be less harmful and reported using it more, a new study found. States should consider developing evidence-based prevention programs aimed at adolescents before they legalize the recreational use of marijuana, the researchers say.
California gun sales surge to beat new gun control limits
With a little extra money on hand after holiday shopping, Steven Serna came into Pacific Outfitters sporting goods store in Ukiah on Dec. 21 to buy a semiautomatic rifle before new gun control legislation limits the gun’s features in California. He was out of luck. Rifles with bullet buttons for the quick swap of ammunition magazines and other soon-to-be banned features have been flying off the shelves, driving statewide sales up 40 percent by early December.
Why California’s new gun laws deserve contempt
The arrival in 2017 of a raft of new gun control laws in California won’t amount to much, except more hassles for gun dealers and the law-abiding few. Yes, “few.” When buying a handgun, rifle or shotgun, the vast majority of people naturally will follow the law. The cost of noncompliance is too high, and the inconvenience is too great.
DMV licensed 800,000 undocumented immigrants under 2-year-old law
On the day that California officials implemented a controversial law that allows undocumented residents to obtain driver’s licenses, DMV offices throughout the state were packed with immigrants looking to take advantage of the opportunity. Two years after the implementation of AB 60 on Jan. 1, 2015, an estimated 806,000 undocumented residents have received driver’s licenses, according to Department of Motor Vehicles statistics this month.
Court says two crimes, but only one punishment in carjacking case
Someone who forcefully steals a car can be punished for either carjacking or robbery but not for both, the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday. The ruling in a San Diego case gave a broad interpretation to a California law that allows criminal defendants to be convicted of multiple crimes for a single act but to be punished for only one of them, the one that carries the longest sentence.
Decision on attorney-client privilege spooks defense bar
A closely divided California Supreme Court on Thursday limited the protection afforded to legal bills under the attorney-client privilege when those bills are sent to government entities and sought under the state’s Public Records Act. The court ruled 4-3 that a law firm’s invoices to a government agency are exempt from disclosure only when they pertain to active matters.
Governor Brown appoints six to Los Angeles County Superior Court
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the appointment of Firdaus F. Dordi, Mark H. Epstein, Ruben N. Garcia, Gary I. Micon, Kevin S. Rosenberg and P. Tamu Usher to judgeships in the Los Angeles County Superior Court.The compensation for each of these positions is $191,612.
When city retirement pays better than the job
James Mussenden doesn’t bring up his pension in casual conversation. No point getting his golf partners’ blood boiling. The retired city manager of El Monte collects more than $216,000 a year, plus cost-of-living increases and fully paid health insurance. “It’s giving me an opportunity to do a number of things I didn’t get to do when I was younger, like travel to Europe, take some things off my bucket list,” Mussenden, 66, said recently.
Fitzgerald: Will pensions bankrupt Stockton again?
I apologize if this sounds apocalyptic, but the city of Stockton may go bankrupt again. How likely is a “Chapter 18?” What’s on the horizon is cause for very serious concern. And the culprit, to the surprise of no one, is pensions. Pensions for Stockton’s 1,455 city employees remain a huge problem. So does the giant that (mis)manages pensions, the California Public Employee Retirement System. Which I sometimes call Hogzilla.
Other News
More worries for Porter Ranch residents
As he jogged by the Aliso Canyon gas facility, Dave Anton took the latest report of methane in the air in stride. The Porter Ranch resident says he “was kinda surprised that there was still gas leaking but it didn’t seem like that a major of a deal.” What Dave Anton is the incident filed with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. It says that at 7:45AM the morning of Christmas Eve infrared cameras detected what they call a “slight and intermittent observation of methane” released.
Specter of death penalty delay troubles Inland survivors
When California voters approved Prop. 66 in November, limiting the amount of time to complete automatic death penalty appeals to five years, Becky Evans had hope that her family would not suffer the decades-long waits for sentences to be carried out that some other families have endured. Evans’ uncle, Good Hope resident Lupe Delgadillo, 85, was carjacked, stuffed in his trunk, shot and his body dumped in 2008.
Misleading pricing and false advertising: A new trend in retail
Retailers that advertise sale prices in comparison with regular prices in California should ensure that the products were actually offered for purchase at those regular prices within the preceding three months, in order to avoid potential litigation. Los Angeles prosecutors have initiated lawsuits against J.C. Penney, Sears, Kohl’s and Macy’s for allegedly failing to do so, accusing them of misleading shoppers into believing they were buying items at more significant mark downs than they actually did.
Expose snitch truth to fix justice system
Governments are fundamentally entrusted with the responsibility to protect the rights of individuals, developing and upholding the rule of law for the betterment of the public at large. When rights are infringed upon, and the rule of law is twisted, justice goes unserved. Orange County’s criminal justice system has had its share of unfortunate transgressions in recent years, calling into question, yet again, its veracity.
U.S. Customs now asking foreign visitors for their social-media info upon entering country
Customs officials have begun asking foreign visitors for their social media usernames before entering the country, quietly implementing a security measure that was hotly contested by privacy advocates and the tech sector alike when proposed earlier this year. 
Presidential Transition
Executions may restart under Donald Trump
The Obama administration’s halt on federal executions – a move spurred by concerns over botched lethal injections – could swiftly end in the incoming Trump administration, leading to the first federal executions in more than a decade. The current effective moratorium affects the 62 inmates now on federal death row, including convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Gary Lee Sampson, the confessed serial killer from Abington whose sentencing retrial is underway in Boston after his initial death sentence was thrown out due to jury misconduct.
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 January 20. Before Donald Trump.” Her students are undocumented immigrants.
Trump presidency may dampen immigrants’ driver’s license requests
More than 800,000 people have received California driver’s licenses in the past two years under a 2-year-old law that allows people living in the country without documentation to legally drive in the state. But some state lawmakers are worried that immigrants will become leery of revealing their legal status to a government agency once President-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of office.