Monday Morning Memo for October 24, 2016

Prosecution
Second man charged in Venice Veterans Memorial vandalism
Vandalism charges have been filed against a second man accused of defacing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Venice just before Memorial Day, prosecutors said Thursday. Luis Daniel Medina, also known as “Pheb,” is scheduled to be arraigned today on one felony count of vandalism with over $400 in damage and one misdemeanor count of possession of tools to commit vandalism or graffiti.
Massage therapist pleads not guilty to sexually assaulting client during private session 
A massage therapist from Burbank pleaded not guilty Wednesday to sexually assaulting a client he met while working out of a North Hollywood gym, officials said. Daniel Holbert, 48, was charged in July with one felony count of sexual penetration by a foreign object by fraudulent representation, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. He is due back in court next month.
West Covina councilman pleads not guilty to misdemeanor DUI charge
A West Covina councilman pleaded not guilty Thursday to drunk driving charges in connection with a crash in June, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Michael Herman Spence, 50, had an attorney enter his plea Thursday morning to a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of a drug.
Woman pleads no contest to manslaughter in stabbing of brother’s girlfriend in Rowland Heights
A woman pleaded no contest Wednesday to one count of voluntary manslaughter in the fatal stabbing of her brother’s girlfriend, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. Lisette Kimberly Moreno pleaded no contest to a felony count of voluntary manslaughter for killing Annette Martinez, 21, with scissors.
She killed abusive hubby mayor of Bell Gardens: Self-defense plea deal falls apart
Efforts to reach a plea deal with no jail time have fallen apart for the wife of slain Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo Sr., who claims she shot and killed him in self-defense after enduring years of abuse at his hands, her attorneys said Monday. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy asked whether a plea deal had been struck when the parties were discussing potential trial dates for Lyvette Crespo, 45.
The feds had an open-and-shut bribery case against 2 brothers. Then it unraveled
The case against the brothers seemed like a sure thing. Last October, FBI agents arrested Sukhbir Singh and his brother Jimmy Sandhu, the owners of a tow truck company. The men were charged with bribing a member of the Huntington Park City Council in an effort to buy his support for higher towing fees.
Conviction & Sentencing
Former Sen. Ron Calderon sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for bribery
Former state Sen. Ron Calderon was sentenced to three and a half years in federal prison Friday, four months after pleading guilty to one count of mail fraud. He also will be required to do 150 hours of community service after he is released from prison. The federal corruption case against Calderon, D-Montebello, also swept up his brother, former state Assemblyman Tom Calderon, D-Montebello, who on Sept. 12 was sentenced to 10 months in federal custody for money laundering after pleading guilty to hiding the tens of thousands of dollars in bribes paid to his brother.
Whittier Daily News
Moments after his child sexual assault conviction, an ex-teacher slit his own throat in court
The first indication that something was amiss came when Jeffrey Scott Jones slumped suddenly in the Southern California courtroom. His head struck the table in front of him, and shocked attorneys saw blood streaming from his neck. Jones, 56, had been on trial in Orange County Superior Court on Wednesday, accused of sexually assaulting and raping a girl when she was 13, according to court documents.
Killer teacher’s never getting out: Appeal rejected in wife’s slasher murder
The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to review the case against a former Los Angeles Unified School District elementary school teacher convicted of the slashing murder of his estranged wife who had taken refuge at a friend’s home in West Hills. Michael Rodney Kane was found guilty in March 2015 of first-degree murder for the June 15, 2013, stabbing death of his estranged wife, Michelle, 43.
Former Calif. college student sentenced to 30 years for trying to aid ISIS
A former California college student was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in prison for trying to aid the Islamic State group. Muhanad Badawi, 25, was also sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release during a hearing in federal court in Santa Ana. He was convicted earlier this year of conspiracy to aid a foreign terrorist organization and other crimes.
Jury finds Camarillo man guilty of murder in deputy death
A Camarillo man accused of killing a Ventura County sheriff’s deputy was found guilty of second-degree murder Friday, ending a years-long saga that began with the death of Yevhen “Eugene” Kostiuchenko in October 2014. After nearly two days of deliberations – jurors agreed that Kevin Hogrefe, 27, was guilty of the death of Kostiuchenko while driving drunk.
Law Enforcement
Long Beach officer shoots and wounds man armed with a knife, police say
A Long Beach police officer shot and wounded a man who authorities said was armed with a knife and came toward the officer. The shooting occurred about 9:30 p.m. Thursday in the 100 block of the Colonnade in Naples, a tony district on the east end of Long Beach. Police were called to a home there after a man who appeared to be intoxicated tried to enter the home’s front door, Long Beach police spokeswoman Marlene Arrona said.
Thousands mourn Sgt. Steven C. Owen, who ‘fed the hungry,’ at Lancaster memorial service
The penetrating sound of bagpipes wailed as the flag-draped casket of Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Steven C. Owen, who was fatally shot by a parolee on Oct. 5, was escorted into Lancaster Baptist Church on Thursday for a memorial that celebrated “a life well-lived.” Thousands of law enforcement personnel, family, friends and dignitaries from around the nation came to the Lancaster church to pay their respects to the slain 29-year Sheriff’s Department veteran, who was remembered as a tireless patrol deputy, a consummate sergeant, a devout Christian and true family man.
New use-of-force reforms are shift in focus, not disciplinary change
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said a sweeping set of reforms approved by the Police Commission earlier this month won’t have a huge impact on police training or policy, but will mean a new focus for both. “I don’t think there’s gonna be a huge change,” Beck told Airtalk host Larry Mantle, “because we already do role-playing. We already do scenario-based training. We already have our fire arms trainings simulators. Much of this is in place, and it’s a further refinementof things we already do.”
Assassination attempt on Vallejo cops linked to boy’s shooting
A 41-year-old North Bay man with a felony criminal record attempted to assassinate two Vallejo police officers on a coffee break Sunday night, but his modified assault rifle jammed, police officials said Monday. Authorities said officers ultimately chased Adam Powell, who was wearing body armor, out of the Starbucks on Lincoln Road and shot him three times as he continued to fiddle with the weapon – shutting down what police said could have been a bloodbath.
Wait for facts before convicting Pasadena police: Guest commentary
Across the nation, a narrative has emerged that is most often false and feeds into race antagonism. It is the story of violent interactions between police and African Americans, ending with the death of an African-American man. Whatever the particulars, the resulting death is consistently used as a demonstration of “systemic racism.”
Registered sex offender accused of killing California deputy
A sheriff’s deputy shot dead in rural northern California was killed by a man listed in state records as a registered sex offender shortly after the deputy arrived at a home to investigate a domestic disturbance, authorities said Thursday. Deputy Jack Hopkins, 31, died instantly Wednesday morning and the suspect, Jack Lee Breiner, was arrested after a chase and shootout with another officer that left both wounded, the Modoc County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
Video of St. Paul cop’s arrest attempt grabbed views. Here’s what you don’t see.
“Don’t shoot me!” a young man told a St. Paul police officer over and over again. The officer had his gun out, pointing at the ground, as the man walked away from him. A woman videotaped the encounter last month and posted it on Facebook, where it’s received much attention. The video ends after about one minute and doesn’t show what happened next. Police say the man was not shot – he ran away and remains at large.
Judge: Ex-LAPD sergeant violated ethics rules after stop of ‘Django Unchained’ actress, but shouldn’t be fined
A former Los Angeles police sergeant violated city ethics rules when he leaked to the media a recording from his controversial stop of an actress from “Django Unchained” – but should not be fined for doing so, a judge has determined. In a proposed order signed Friday, administrative law Judge Samuel D. Reyes agreed with city ethics officials that now-retired Sgt. Jim Parker inappropriately shared confidential information – audio from his personal recorder – and created a private advantage for himself “as it protected his reputation against allegations of racism.”
Man dies after exploding pipe bomb inside Oakland health clinic
A man has died after exploding a pipe bomb inside an Oakland health clinic Tuesday evening. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office confirmed a report of an explosion at the San Antonio Neighborhood Health Center, located at 1030 International Blvd. just before 6:30 p.m. Witnesses told Oakland police that a man in a wheelchair entered the lobby of the clinic armed with what appeared to be a pipe bomb. He then detonated the bomb, taking his own life.
Law enforcement officers killed and assaulted report released
Today, the FBI released its annual Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) report-this one covering the 41 felonious deaths, the 45 accidental deaths, and the 50,212 line-of-duty assaults of officers during 2015. Among the report’s highlights: The number of officers killed as a result of criminal acts in 2015-41-decreased from the 2014 figure of 51. The average age of the officers killed feloniously in 2015 was 40, and the average length of service was 12 years.
Head of nation’s largest police chief group issues formal apology for ‘historical mistreatment’ of racial minorities
The president of the country’s largest police chief organization formally apologized Monday for the “historical mistreatment” of racial minorities – one of the strongest statements a national police figure has made to date on race. Law enforcement officers have been the “face of oppression for far too many of our fellow citizens,” Terrence Cunningham, president of the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police, told thousands of police chiefs from across the country at the group’s annual conference in San Diego.
Injured sheriff prevails in medical records privacy case
A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy (identified as John Doe) and the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS) filed a complaint against the County of Los Angeles and other parties alleging that the defendants unlawfully accessed Doe’s medical information, and later discriminated and retaliated against him for asserting his right to keep that information confidential.
Slain Modoc County deputy to be transported to Redding
The body of the Modoc County Sheriff’s deputy who was killed while responding to a disturbance call Wednesday will be transported to his family in Redding on Thursday morning, according to spokeswoman Kristen Wilburn, a California Highway Patrol officer. Jack Hopkins, 31, was killed while responding to a disturbance call on Wednesday, according to the Modoc County Sheriff’s Office. Hopkins had worked as a deputy with the department since 2015.
Game Changer: The FBI’s RISC Mobile ID Query
If criminals on the streets often have the best and latest technology to help them commit crimes and conceal identities, shouldn’t the officer on the street be equally well equipped to fight these crimes? While cost is often a factor for agencies when considering elite technology for investigation and protection, one of the most useful tools for detection and safety is readily available and free of charge.
Cybersecurity: A call to action for police executives
Police executives need to understand four things about cybersecurity. First, there has been a dramatic increase in both the frequency and sophistication of cyber attacks such as ransomware and ad malware attacks that systematically target police systems. Second, police executives in both large and small organizations are responsible for the well-being of their entire organization.
White House plan aims to do the (almost) impossible: Identify homegrown extremists
The White House announced a plan Wednesday to help prevent Americans from falling prey to violent ideologies of the sort that drove mass killings in New York, San Bernardino, Calif., Chattanooga, Tenn., and Orlando in the past year. The effort, which is being overseen by the Department of Homeland Security, is short on details and new funding.
Failure to prosecute officers for bad shootings underscores need for discipline disclosure
The important difference between the decision by Los Angeles County prosecutors not to criminally charge Long Beach Police Officer Jeffrey Meyer for his deadly shooting of a man in 2015 and their many previous decisions not to charge police in shootings is that they pointedly took Meyer to task for substantial “tactical deficiencies” that needlessly turned an investigation deadly.
VIDEO: Should California abolish the death penalty or make it easier to execute?
Among the heap of statewide propositions California voters weigh in on next month, two are literally life and death decisions. Proposition 62 would abolish capital punishment in California, making life without the possibility of parole the maximum punishment for murder. The Yes on 62 campaign argues that the death penalty in California is a failed, immoral and incredibly expensive system, costing taxpayers upwards of $150 million a year.
LAPD officer fatally shot someone 12 days before killing another
An LAPD officer fatally shot someone 12 days before killing another, NBC4 has learned from our sister station Telemundo52. The mother of a 14-year-old Jesse Romero who was fatally shot by a Los Angeles police officer was shocked to learn the news. Teresa Dominguez, who is suing the department for the death of her son, wondered why did the department allowed the officer back to work after he had just killed someone else.
Our relationship with cops is not one of equals. Nor should it be.
Reading about the Chicago cop fearful of drawing her gun while being beaten by a convicted felon because she did not want to be judged on national news reminds me that it is time to talk straight about cops. Cops are not our friends. Nor should they be. To be sure, they are not our enemies either. Rather, they are here to do a job. A tough job. A job that is, frankly, boring some of the time, but then can turn on a dime into a life-or-death encounter.
VIDEO: San Francisco police officer suffering some paralysis after Friday’s shooting
A San Francisco police officer who was shot in the head Friday night in the city’s Lake Shore neighborhood is partially paralyzed on one side of his body, interim Police Chief Toney Chaplin said Saturday. Chaplin said police are not releasing the name of the officer, but he has been with the department for two years and is assigned to Taraval Station.
Officers to run in full uniform from LA to Sacramento to benefit fallen comrades
It’s gonna hurt. But it will go for a cause that benefits devastated law enforcement agencies and families like in the cases of a Los Angeles Sheriff’s department sergeant and two Palm Springs police officers this month. For the past six months, before he ever starts his job as a senior lead officer at LAPD’s Olympic Division, Joe Cirrito is already at work.
Prosecutors: Long Beach police officer turned a minor call into deadly shooting, but he won’t face charges
As he responded to a trespassing call last year, Long Beach Police Officer Jeffrey Meyer walked away from his partner and headed down an alleyway alongside an apartment complex tagged with gang graffiti. He stopped moving when he noticed a broken window in the rear of  the apartment he’d been trying to access. Meyer believed there were squatters inside.
VIDEO: Should California abolish the death penalty or make it easier to execute?
Among the heap of statewide propositions California voters weigh in on next month, two are literally life and death decisions. Proposition 62 would abolish capital punishment in California, making life without the possibility of parole the maximum punishment for murder. The Yes on 62 campaign argues that the death penalty in California is a failed, immoral and incredibly expensive system, costing taxpayers upwards of $150 million a year.
LAPD officer fatally shot someone 12 days before killing another
An LAPD officer fatally shot someone 12 days before killing another, NBC4 has learned from our sister station Telemundo52. The mother of a 14-year-old Jesse Romero who was fatally shot by a Los Angeles police officer was shocked to learn the news. Teresa Dominguez, who is suing the department for the death of her son, wondered why did the department allowed the officer back to work after he had just killed someone else.
Saluting a new kind of hero
It is standard practice of police departments across the country to honor officers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in doing their jobs. But a recent ceremony of the Los Angeles Police Department deserves special attention. For the first time, the department saluted officers who resolved dangerous situations without loss of life – even when their own lives were threatened and use of deadly force would have been justified.
Fundraising page created for children of LAPD detective who committed suicide
A GoFundMe page has been created to raise money for the education of the three children of a Los Angeles Police detective who took her own life Tuesday. Nadine Hernandez, 44, was found suffering from a gunshot wound after officers responded to a home in Whittier, according to Lt. Jay Tatman of the Whittier Police Department. She was later pronounced dead at a local hospital and the case is being handled as a suicide, officials said.
Tesla luxury electrics may have future in law enforcement
Just months after adding 100 electric cars for non-emergency duty, the Los Angeles Police Department plans to test a Tesla sedan as a patrol car, a department official said Friday. The large battery capacity of the Tesla sedan, affording it both high performance and longer range, sets it apart from the smaller electric cars on the market. However, the cost of the batteries puts the Tesla in the realm of luxury cars.
Justice Department will track police killings and use of force
Promising information that is more standardized and complete than has previously been available, Attorney General Loretta Lynch says the Department of Justice will collect data on the police use of deadly force in the line of duty. Lynch’s announcement amplifies a statement by FBI Director James Comey at the end of September, when he told a congressional panel that the bureau is in the process of setting up a database that can track police killings and other use of force during interactions with the public.
Ballot Measures
LA County Sheriff McDonnell, DA Lacey speak out against Prop 57
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell and District Attorney Jackie Lacey added their voices Thursday to the chorus of law enforcement opposing Proposition 57, the statewide ballot measure that would make non-violent felons eligible for early parole. McDonnell and Lacey echoed opponents’ arguments that under Prop. 57, some violent felons might come up for early parole consideration.
Law Enforcement: Prop. 57 will put ‘hard-core criminals’ back on streets
A group of law enforcement officials gathered in downtown Los Angeles Thursday to blast a measure on the November ballot billed as an effort to keep “non-violent” convicts out of prison, saying the proposition will put dangerous people back on the streets. “Do we really need more parolees and hard-core criminals on the streets? That’s what Proposition 57 does,” said Brian Moriguchi, president of the Professional Peace Officers Association of Los Angeles.
No on Prop 57: The increasing burden of crime
Ninety nine police officers have lost their lives this year, 44 of them from gunfire. There has been a 78% increase in shooting deaths compared to last year and ambush style attacks have increased as well. In October alone, five officers have been killed, three here in California. The murderers of these police officers are exactly the types of criminals Proposition 57 seeks to release back into our communities.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck addresses false reports on his position on Prop 57
Amid several recently published false reports, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck reaffirmed that he does not support nor has he taken a position on Proposition 57. If passed, Prop 57 would modify California state law and the California Constitution to allow early release for certain felony offenders and require judges, instead of prosecutors, to determine whether a juvenile will be tried as an adult.
Prop. 57 not a good idea
Here we go again. To fix the state’s bloated, well over cost prison system, the governor simply just wants to put more criminals back on the streets. Voters should have learned the lessons from Proposition 47 and must say no to Prop. 57. Prop. 57 on the Nov. 8 ballot is titled Criminal Sentences Parole and what it would do is make more criminals eligible to be released back into the communities, would make it more difficult to try a juvenile as an adult and would switch millions of dollars in law enforcement costs from the state to the counties and cities.
It’s a question of conscience for Props 62, 66
Those who take another’s life in a way that merits California’s death penalty often lack remorse, guilt or anything approaching empathy. They have no conscience. But what about the rest of us? Do we put ourselves on the same plane? Is our thirst for revenge so overpowering that it blinds us to the injustices implicit in carrying out our state’s most severe and irreversible punishment?
California’s dying death penalty
Californians will abolish the death penalty sooner or later, it doesn’t really matter which argument ultimately convinces them, be it moral, financial or risk of executing innocent people. But the sooner Californians discontinue the death penalty, a primitive system that kills people, the better. On the ballot this Nov. 8 there will be two competing measures addressing the death penalty in California.
Commentary: Fix death penalty, don’t abandon it
Californians who want to abolish the death penalty and give heinous criminals life in prison without parole give various reasons. Some say taxpayers will save money. Others cite the chance of executing the wrong person. They say the system can’t be fixed. I disagree. It is far more expensive to house, feed, clothe, guard and provide healthcare for these depraved criminals for endless decades.
A proposition to legalize pot raises DUI concerns: ‘We are going to start losing folks in astronomical numbers’
The defendant told an LAPD officer he had smoked pot five hours before he was pulled over on Melrose Avenue for driving erratically. A blood test found a significant level of the chemical THC in his system, and a drug recognition expert ruled he was too impaired to drive safely. But a Los Angeles County Superior Court jury deadlocked on whether the young, off-duty valet had committed a crime by driving under the influence of marijuana, which he said he smokes for back pain and anxiety.
City Manager calls for an additional investigation into police custody death of Reginald “JR” Thomas
City Manager Steve Mermell announced Monday evening that the city will be hiring an independent investigator to conduct a review of the recent death of Reginald “JR” Thomas, a 35-year old African-American Pasadena resident who died in police custody after being tasered  and struggling with officers early on the morning of September 30.
Guns? Marijuana? Death penalty? Porn? Which California ballot proposition is most important? Question of the Week
Next month, California voters will be asked to make decisions about some hot-button issues: the death penalty, gun control, marijuana and pornography. And those propositions are only a few of the 17 measures on the Nov. 8 ballot, as you already know if you’ve begun to study the state’s 224-page Official Voter Information Guide that arrived in the mail recently.
No Prop. 63; these gun laws won’t make us safer: Endorsement
California has the strictest gun laws in the nation, but that hasn’t quelled our state politicians’ need to “do something.” In this election, Proposition 63 seeks to add yet another layer of rules, especially on the purchase of ammunition, on top of already stringent gun laws. On the surface, Prop. 63 is largely duplicative of a raft of gun bills passed by the state Legislature earlier this year – overriding some, while also imposing a few extra burdens on law-abiding gun owners.
Law enforcement, elected officials oppose governor’s Prop. 57
Officials from Merced, Mariposa and Stanislaus counties came together Thursday to voice opposition to Proposition 57, the governor’s public safety and rehabilitation act. Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse II led a news conference in front of the Merced County Courthouse Museum on Thursday morning as law enforcement and government officials formed a semicircle around him.
Reading ballot initiatives-fixing errors
Perhaps the worst of the many bad things about the California method of direct democracy is that inflexibility is the default. We’re the only place in the known universe where a law passed by the voters can’t be altered or fixed without another vote of the people. The good news is that some initiative sponsors don’t accept this default. They insert provisions into their measures allowing them to be amended.
District Attorney
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey walks out of heated town hall meeting
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey tried to hold a town hall meeting, but things got so heated, she ended up walking out. Lacey thought the meeting could offer a chance to explain how her office operates and also explain the law, especially as it pertains to officer-involved shootings. “I think that the district attorney’s office and the role is misunderstood,” Lacey said at the meeting, to which community members in the crowd yelled back, “No it’s not.”
Liberty Mutual settles false advertising claim for $925K
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced a $925,000 settlement Thursday with auto insurance provider Liberty Mutual Group Inc., for advertising an accident forgiveness program that was not available in California. The civil complaint was jointly filed yesterday in Riverside County Superior Court by district attorneys in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego counties and alleges unfair competition by Liberty Mutual.
Porter Ranch residents try intervening in gas leak plea deal
Complaining that their rights as victims of a massive natural gas leak were ignored, Porter Ranch residents are asking to intervene in a $4 million plea deal that Southern California Gas Company reached with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Attorney R. Rex Parris said the deal shortchanged residents because prosecutors did not consult the residents about their rights to restitution under the state constitution.
Also:
Parts of money bail fight in California advance
A federal judge refused to toss a constitutional challenge to San Francisco’s cash bail system, saying a class of pretrial detainees can pursue a 14th Amendment claim against San Francisco County Sheriff Vicki Hennessy. U.S. District Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers dismissed only part of a putative class action claiming the city and county of San Francisco unconstitutionally criminalizes poverty by jailing poor arrestees because they can’t afford to post bail.
No more Porter Ranch gas leak disasters: Feds find 44 fixes
A federal task force created following the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak near Porter Ranch issued dozens of recommendations Tuesday aimed at bolstering safety at underground gas-storage field, including design changes to ensure that a single “point of failure” in a well cannot lead to an uncontrolled leak.
Backpage arrests change little in Humboldt County
California Attorney General’s efforts to crackdown on sex trafficking and the arrests of Backpage.com’s CEO and top shareholders looks like it will have little effect in Humboldt County. For those engaged in the world’s oldest profession and the law enforcement agencies that crack down on it, the status quo appears to remain. Backpage.com is one of the nation’s largest online classified advertising sites and serves more than 30 cities across the state.
These 12 races will determine the California Legislature’s balance of power
The question for California legislative races is no longer whether Democrats will secure a majority. It’s how large their margin will be. Once again, liberal leadership is contemplating a two-thirds majority that would allow them to pass taxes, amend political spending laws and move measures to the ballot without any Republican support.
Tramadol: The opioid crisis for the rest of the world
Noot long ago, a Dutch neurobiologist announced a surprising discovery: A root used by rural West African healers to treat pain contains an apparently natural version of a man-made opioid. The root from northern Cameroon had such high levels of a painkiller called tramadol that mice given an extract and placed on a hot plate didn’t feel their feet burning at first.
Judge: Huge Southern Calif. wiretap program was legal
A Riverside County judge Friday upheld the legality of a massive wiretapping operation that secretly intercepted phone calls and text messages by tens of thousands of people to make arrests throughout the United States. Superior Court Judge John Molloy ruled that the district attorney was allowed to delegate the responsibility of approving wiretap applications to his second-in-command.
Heroin crime immunity yields mixed results, AP review finds
Reeling from a surge in heroin overdoses, authorities in the Cincinnati area made an offer: Hand in potentially deadly drugs and you won’t be charged. But the blanket immunity granted by a judge there over a month ago hasn’t brought in any heroin so far. Results from similar efforts elsewhere have also yielded few drugs, according to a review by The Associated Press.
Manson follower denied parole for 1969 murder
California officials said Friday that they have again denied parole for a follower of cult leader Charles Manson who is serving a life sentence for a murder he committed 47 years ago. Parole officials decided that Robert Beausoleil, 68, should remain in prison for the 1969 death of musician Gary Hinman. He can seek parole again in three years, said board spokesman Luis Patino.

Monday Morning Memo for October 17, 2016

Law Enforcement
Lancaster mayor blames Gov. Jerry Brown in sheriff’s sergeant death
The mayor of Lancaster claimed Thursday that a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sergeant who served his area until being shot to death on duty last week would be alive if not for Gov. Jerry Brown’s “realignment” plan to reduce the state prison population. The governor’s spokesman said the mayor’s “wild claims” are baseless. 
GoFundMe account for Sgt. Steve Owen raises more than $40,000
A GoFundMe page created for deceased Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Steve Owen has raised more than $40,000 as of Monday morning. Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association president Brian Moriguchi created the fund on Oct. 6 for Owen, who was a member of the association.
Officer’s Kevlar helmet deflects gunman’s bullet, but mother and 9-month-old baby are wounded
A suspect who barricaded himself inside a home is dead after he gravely wounded his girlfriend and 9-month-old daughter Thursday, then fired numerous shots at police, striking an officer’s Kevlar helmet, authorities in Tulare said. Larry Zamora, 37, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound following an hours-long standoff and gun battle with law enforcement, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said at a news conference.
It’s time for our input on use-of-force policies
News headlines from around the nation make clear the concerted effort by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) to convince the public and legislators to enact its principles on the use of force. The national debate on police training regarding “de-escalation” have portrayed the PERF principles as the vetted solution to the issue of police use of force.
Deputies hailed as heroes after saving suicidal woman from 5-story fall
Three sheriff’s deputies were hailed as heroes Wednesday for preventing a suicidal woman from falling several stories at the Gov. George Deukmejian Courthouse in Long Beach. The incident occurred about 4 p.m. Tuesday at the facility at 275 Magnolia Ave., the sheriff’s department reported. The 44-year-old woman had just appeared in court “regarding a family law matter,” a sheriff’s statement said.
Killings of officers increases stress for SoCal law enforcement 
When Long Beach police Lt. Steve James first heard that three Palm Springs police officers had been gunned down Saturday afternoon, he immediately texted a friend at the desert town department. James, the president of the Long Beach Police Officers Association, endured some tense moments when he believed his friend could have been one of the officers shot.
Latest fad in policing: ‘de-escalation’
Among the challenges faced by today’s police officers is trying to stay abreast of the latest fashions in law enforcement training. The challenge is all the greater when those fashions are dictated by politics, and greater still when adhering to them can get you killed. Witness the latest fashion in police work: “de-escalation.”
Social media companies suspend Geofeedia’s access after reported police tracking
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have suspended Geofeedia, a platform that collects real-time social media information based on location, from having access to its data. The decision follows an investigation that law enforcement used the tool to track activists and protests, the American Civil Liberties Union of North California (ACLU) published in a blog post Tuesday.
Death of LAPD detective investigating Derrick Rose rape allegations called likely suicide
Los Angeles Police Department detective who was investigating rape allegations against NBA star Derrick Rose died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said Wednesday. Officers found LAPD Det. Nadine Hernandez, 44, suffering from a single gunshot wound to the chest Tuesday afternoon in a Whittier home, according to the Whittier Police Department.
Crime rose in California in 2015
In a new report, the California Police Chief Association calculates violent crime increased more than 2 percent from 2014. There were almost four incidents of violent crime for each thousand state residents, a similar increase to the country as a whole. But police chiefs blame Proposition 47 for an even larger uptick in property crimes. The measure, which voters approved in 2014, reduced some nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors, particularly those involving theft or drugs.
LA County Sheriff seeks dialogue after law enforcement deaths
LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell is calling for a community dialogue following the shooting deaths of three law enforcement officers recently in Southern California. “There’s an opportunity I think to use these tragedies as a springboard to hopefully get past some of the things we’ve seen over the past couple years … and be able to address grievances that people have with the police but also for us in the profession to be able to explain why we do what we do,” he said.
‘Ferguson effect’? Savagely beaten cop didn’t draw gun for fear of media uproar, says Chicago police chief
A Chicago police officer who was savagely beaten at a car accident scene this week did not draw her gun on her attacker – even though she feared for her life – because she was afraid of the media attention that would come if she shot him, the city’s police chief said Thursday. Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the officer, a 17-year veteran of the force, knew she should shoot the attacker but hesitated because “she didn’t want her family or the department to go through the scrutiny the next day on the national news,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
How an amateur genealogist solved a 48-year-old ‘Jane Doe’ case
The petite woman with bleached blonde hair was found slumped over a picnic table near Mount Hollywood Drive inside Los Angeles’ scenic Griffith Park. The brown-eyed beauty in her 20s was clad in a red-and-white polka dotted bikini, a white or light tan overcoat and dark sandals. On her manicured finger was a gold wedding ring with the inscription “C.B. to E.J. 9-4-20.” The date was June 8, 1968.
LA County to approve $1.5 million settlement for man killed by sheriff’s deputy
The family of a man killed by a sheriff’s deputy in 2012 is expected to receive a $1.5 million settlement from Los Angeles County. The county admits no wrongdoing in the settlement. On Tuesday, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors is expected to approve the settlement for the lawsuit brought by the two minor sons of Kenneth Rivera III and their biological mother.
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s bomb/arson truck stolen, recovered in Los Angeles County
A San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Bomb/Arson Detail utility truck was recovered Saturday, Oct. 8, after being stolen from a deputy’s home in Victor Valley. The deputy noticed the truck was missing from his driveway about 9:30 a.m. after waking up, according to a Sheriff’s Department news release. The truck was listed as stolen and investigators began canvassing the area in search of it.
Ballot Measures
Proposition 57 proposes earlier release for some non-violent prisoners
For the fourth time in five years, California voters are being asked to weigh in on the earlier release of certain prisoners, in this case, those convicted of “non-violent crimes.” Proposition 57, titled “The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016,” would consider certain state-prison inmates convicted of non-violent felony offenses for release earlier than through previous release guidelines.
Law enforcement speaks out against Proposition 57
SLO County’s law enforcement community is trying to warn voters against supporting a ballot measure that would shorten prison sentences for less-violent offenders. SLO County District Attorney Dan Dow led a press conference Oct. 12 with representatives from multiple SLO County law enforcement agencies and police officers associations to oppose the passage of Proposition 57, which they claim could put dangerous criminals back on the streets and endanger public safety.
Santa Clarita’s legislative panel says “no” to the release of more prisoners
The Santa Clarita City Council will stand up and be heard on the controversial issue of Proposition 57. Meeting on Tuesday, the council’s two-member Legislative Committee embraced a recommendation that the full council oppose Prop 57 – the state-wide ballot measure that would hasten the release of some non-violent offenders from prisons, as part of a federal-court-ordered means of addressing overcrowding.
Ventura County opponents of Proposition 57 speak out
Members of local law enforcement agencies and city officials say a ballot initiative that would amend sentencing credits for inmates convicted of “nonviolent” crimes would increase violent crimes and endanger the lives of peace officers. Flanked by top law enforcement officials from throughout the county, District Attorney Greg Totten spoke to members of the media Tuesday at the Ventura County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association headquarters about what they say are “false claims” made by supporters of Proposition 57.
Proposition 63 won’t keep Californians any safer from gun violence
This summer the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown did something remarkable: They approved $5 million of taxpayers’ funds over five years to create the University of California Firearm Violence Research Center. We applauded the start of such a center at UC Davis because we believed strong steps must be taken to end the gun violence epidemic that has a maddening and deadly grip on our country.
California’s bad example for criminal-justice reformers
The vagrancy endemic to San Francisco seems to be spreading to the Golden State’s suburbs. Blame it, at least in part, on Californians’ well-intentioned efforts to reform the criminal-justice system by releasing low-level offenders from jail. Encampments with an estimated 500 homeless have formed in the dry Santa Ana riverbed by Angel Stadium and the city’s civic center.
Californians to decide fate of State’s death row
Stunted by federal challenges and a litany of habeas corpus petitions that have overwhelmed the courts, California’s seldom-used death penalty has come to a standstill. Despite having the most inmates awaiting execution – 700 currently housed on death row – the Golden State has not executed an inmate since 2006.
How could a sergeant’s alleged killer be in a program that worked with parolees?
On Friday, prosecutors filed a capital murder charge against 27-year-old Trenton Lovell for the shooting death of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steven Owen. Authorities say Owen was shot multiple times in Lancaster Wednesday as he confronted Lovell at a burglary call. Sheriff Jim McDonnell called it a “calculated execution.” Michelle Egberts is the founder of AV East Kern Second Chance, a group that helps former offenders integrate back into society.
Prop. 57: Voters asked to allow earlier parole
For the third time in four years, California voters are being asked to approve an initiative that would soften the state’s tough-on-crime laws – this time by allowing prison inmates to seek parole earlier. Gov. Jerry Brown and other proponents, including the Democratic Party, say Proposition 57 is necessary to keep the prison population permanently below a cap imposed in 2011 after a panel of federal judges found that appalling health care services in the crowded lockups constituted cruel and unusual punishment.
California voters once again eye legalizing recreational pot
For the second time in six years, California voters will consider legalizing recreational use of marijuana. This time, supporters of the move have much more financial backing and professional campaign help than they did in 2010. And polls show Proposition 64 with more than the 50 percent of voter support needed to pass. Silicon Valley billionaires and wealthy backers from the already legal medicinal marijuana industry are among the top financial supporters, contributing a combined $21 million.
Garcetti eyes LAPD video policy change, advocates 2 tax measures on ballot
On ABC7’s “Eyewitness Newsmakers: Ask the Mayor,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said the Police Commission will begin hearings on the release of Los Angeles Police Department video, and in a few months, there is likely to be a change in policy. He cautioned that while video may be released sooner, it will not be released immediately after an incident. Garcetti pointed to the recent police shooting of a suicidal 16-year-old.
Legislation
Assemblyman Steinorth proposes tax deduction to combat the costs of increased crime
Assemblyman Marc Steinorth has outlined a plan for new legislation to provide relief for citizens forced to purchase additional security measures to ensure their families’ safety. The cost of crime prevention in California is growing and previously safe neighborhoods are seeing a rise in crime. Under the proposal, all taxpayers would be allowed to claim a tax deduction against the cost of specified security equipment, including alarms, security cameras, and fencing.
Prosecution
Rapper Coolio charged with felony firearm possession in Los Angeles
Grammy-winning rapper Coolio was charged on Thursday with unlawful firearm possession stemming from a handgun that prosecutors said was found in his backpack during baggage screening at Los Angeles International Airport last month. The recording star, whose legal name is Artis Leon Ivey, 53, could be sentenced to as much as three years in state prison if convicted, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
Pressure builds on Los Angeles DA Jackie Lacey – Prosecute killer cops
Eight months after the LAPD killing of Jose “Peruzzi” Mendez – the 16-year-old killed by LAPD, and four other police killings of young Chicanos in Boyle Heights, an Oct. 6 call-in day action was organized by Centro CSO. “It felt good to call DA Jackie Lacey’s office today,” says Juan Mendez father of Jose “Peruzzi” Mendez.
Lawyer: Backpage.com CEO will fight sex trafficking charges
Handcuffed and dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, the chief executive of an internet site authorities accuse of being “a hub for the illegal sex trade” waived extradition to California on Friday, and his attorney vowed to fight the “trumped up” sex trafficking and money laundering charges he faces. Backpage.com CEO Carl Ferrer was arrested Thursday and his Dallas headquarters was raided after officials in California accused him of felony pimping a minor, pimping, and conspiracy to commit pimping.
District attorney mulling charges after Sikh man was beaten and his hair was cut off
Sikh community leaders are urging that hate crime charges be filed against two men who were arrested on suspicion of severely beating a Sikh man in Richmond, Ca., last month and cutting off some of his hair. Maan Singh Khalsa, 41, was attacked in what Sikh leaders say was a hate-motivated assaulted directed at Khalsa’s religious beliefs and ethnicity.
Man pleads no contest to manslaughter in West Covina stabbing death of father
A man pleaded no contest Wednesday in the fatal stabbing of his father at their West Covina home in 2015, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. Maverick Jacob Jimenez pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter in the killing of Joey Alfred Jimenez, 49.   Prosecutors said that on Aug. 16, 2015, Maverick Jimenez stabbed his father during a fight in their home.
Man charged in death of 70-year-old mother, who was pushed from a window and stomped on, police say
A 40-year-old man was charged Wednesday in the death of his 70-year-old mother, who police say was pushed out of a second-story window in Van Nuys and then stomped on. Fernando Vargas faces one count of murder in the attack, which occurred Tuesday at 2:52 a.m. at an apartment complex in the 7400 block of Hazeltine Avenue, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Man charged with trying to kill 2 L.A. sheriff’s deputies at Santa Monica Metro station
A 31-year-old man was charged Wednesday with trying to kill two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who were patrolling a Metro station in Santa Monica, authorities said. Thomas Napack, 31, faces two counts of attempted murder of a peace officer. If convicted, he faces up to life in state prison, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Conviction & Sentencing
On way to prison, defendant tells prosecutor: ‘Better hope I don’t get out’
A Fresno man was sentenced Tuesday in Fresno County Superior Court to 44 years to life in prison for shooting his unarmed friend in the back in a domestic violence case. Before George Xeng Fang was sentenced he took a verbal shot at prosecutor Andrew Janz: “Better hope I don’t get out.” In July, a jury found Fang, 33, guilty of assault with a firearm, being a felon in possession of a gun and shooting at an inhabited dwelling in the shooting of Dao Vang in February.
No death penalty for convict found guilty in 1979 rape, murder of Glendale woman
A man convicted of raping and murdering a Glendale woman in 1979 was spared the death penalty after a jury deadlocked Thursday on the third day of deliberations. Ten jurors voted for Darrell Gurule to spend the rest of his life in prison, while two felt he should be executed. The same jury convicted Gurule last month of killing Barbara Ballman, whose naked body, lying across the front seat of her Volkswagen Beetle, was found by fourth-graders on their way to Thomas Edison Elementary School one September morning in 1979.
Torrance wrestling coach found guilty of lewd acts with 25 students
A South Bay high school’s former head wrestling coach was found guilty Thursday of molesting 25 students – a conviction that could put him in state prison for life. The conviction of Thomas Joseph Snider, 48, came after a dramatic trial in Torrance’s courthouse, where victims testified that the longtime educator touched their genitals under the pretense of nude “skin inspections,” according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
18-year-old is convicted of murder in 2014 beating death of USC graduate student from China
A jury convicted an 18-year-old woman of murder on Thursday for her role in the 2014 bludgeoning death of a USC graduate student from China that led to heightened campus security and shock across the Pacific in the victim’s homeland. Alejandra Guerrero – who was 16 at the time of the attack near the university campus –  fidgeted with her hair as a clerk read the verdict in a downtown courtroom.
Man sentenced for fatal Monterey Park pizza parlor stabbing
A Bakersfield man received a sentence of more than 16 years in state prison Thursday for stabbing another man 15 times, killing him, at a Monterey Park pizza parlor four years ago, officials said. A Los Angeles Superior Court jury in Burbank convicted Jose De Jesus Ruiz, also known as Jose De Jesus Salas, 26, in July of second-degree murder for the Oct. 6, 2012, stabbing death of 25-year-old Patrick Raymond Ortega at Shakey’s, 1955 S. Atlantic Blvd.
Man to get 10 years in hit and run of Arroyo Seco teacher
Lucas Guidroz, 26, of Canyon Country, is expected to receive 10 years in state prison as a result of his plea to one count each of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run driving resulting in death. Deputy District Attorney SuSu Scott prosecuted the case.
Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 7 in Department I of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, San Fernando Branch.
Courts
New $350M federal courthouse unveiled; first case ex-LA Sheriff Baca
Almost four years in the making, downtown Los Angeles’ new $350 million federal courthouse was unveiled Thursday for the first time. While the U.S. Marshals Service has begun operations at the mirror-and- glass building, judges will begin moving to the sleek structure at Broadway and First Street in the next few weeks.
Justices appear inclined to preserve plea bargains affected by Proposition 47
The California Supreme Court appeared unwilling Wednesday to allow prosecutors to withdraw plea bargains affected by Proposition 47, which reduced some felonies to misdemeanors. During a hearing, several justices cited a precedent that said plea bargains can’t be revoked even if a subsequent change in the law results in a different penalty.
How a judge’s ‘horrible experiences’ with plumbers led to a murder conviction getting tossed out
If Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Eleanor J. Hunter’s experiences with plumbers had been better, the murder case of Vincent Tatum might have gone differently. Addressing a panel of potential jurors in her Compton courtroom, Hunter explained the importance of not prejudging witnesses and used her unfortunate run-ins with the tradesmen to illustrate her point.
Ruling challenges prevailing view of pension law
Three appeals court justices, citing the alarming view of critics that unaffordable public pensions are headed for the financial cliff, looked for a new way to allow a change in direction and found one. In a ruling in a Marin County case last August that reformers called a “game changer,” the panel weakened the “California rule” protecting the pensions of current workers. Most cost-cutting reforms have been limited to new hires, which can take decades to yield savings.
Guns
Sacramento County annual gun sales increase 406 percent in last 15 years
Sacramento County residents continue to buy firearms at an unprecedented rate, according to data released Wednesday by the California Department of Justice. Annual gun sales increased 406 percent in Sacramento County during the last 15 years, a larger jump than in any other urban California county. Each year since 2001, on average, about three guns were sold for every 100 county residents.
California Attorney General
Attorney General releases Reentry, Recidivism Reduction Programs report
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today released a report outlining best practices for developing reentry and recidivism reduction programs, based on the Attorney General’s “Back on Track – Los Angeles” pilot program. Back on Track – Los Angeles, an evidence-based pilot program, is an initiative of the Attorney General’s Division of Recidivism Reduction and Reentry.
Prison & Parole
Manson follower denied parole for 1969 murder
California officials said Friday that they have again denied parole for a follower of cult leader Charles Manson who is serving a life sentence for a murder he committed 47 years ago. Parole officials decided that Robert Beausoleil, 68, should remain in prison for the 1969 death of musician Gary Hinman. He can seek parole again in three years, said board spokesman Luis Patino.
State gains control of Los Angeles-area prison’s health care
California is regaining responsibility for providing medical care at an eighth state prison after 10 years of oversight. The federal court-appointed receiver who runs the inmate health care system on Friday gave the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation control over care at the California Institution for Men. The prison houses nearly 3,800 minimum- and medium-security inmates in Chino, about 35 miles east of Los Angeles.