Monday Morning Memo for April 3, 2017

Prosecution
Roman Polanski lashes out as judge ponders possible U.S. return
Roman Polanski might not find out for several weeks what the next step is in his efforts to return to the U.S. nearly 40 years after fleeing American justice for the rape of a 13-year-old girl. But his lawyer certainly wants to rev up the process and put the system on notice. “Court expressed disbelief of why Roman Polanski would hesitate to trust the Court to sentence him after what the Court called an ‘open plea,’ ” reads a second supplemental argument Polanski attorney Harland Braun intended to file today in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Irvine activists who made undercover videos of Planned Parenthood charged with felonies
California prosecutors on Tuesday charged two anti-abortion activists who made undercover videos of themselves trying to buy fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood with 15 felonies, saying they invaded the privacy of medical providers by filming without consent. State Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the charges against David Daleiden of Davis, California, and Sandra Merritt of San Jose. The two operate the Irvine-based Center for Medical Progress.
D.A.’s office assists in developing guide aimed at ‘breaking the cycle’ of domestic abuse
County prosecutors played a key role in developing a guide aimed at aggressively prosecuting domestic violence cases while also advocating for increased community services for victims both locally and nationwide. Working in conjunction with the Women Prosecutor’s Section of the National District Attorneys Association, San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office prosecutors assisted in developing a “Best Practices Guide” aimed at combating domestic violence, the office said in a statement Thursday.
Former L.A. Coliseum tech manager pleads no contest in corruption case, could avoid jail time
A former Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum technology manager charged in the stadium corruption scandal has pleaded no contest to a charge of conflict of interest, the L.A. County district attorney’s office said Thursday. Leopold Caudillo Jr., one of six men charged in the case, was accused of directing more than $20,000 in stadium business to a company he controlled.
Conviction & Sentencing
Couple sentenced in 2012 gang murder in Lake Los Angeles
A man and a woman were sentenced March 16 for their role in the gang-motivated killing of Christian Bojorquez, 21, in Lake Los Angeles in 2012, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. Rudolfo Alcantar, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole; Rosie Lisa Morales was sentenced to 48 years to life in prison.  On Aug. 5,  2016,  a jury found Alcantar guilty of first-degree murder.
Prison & Parole
California may free 9,500 inmates in 4 years under new rules
Corrections officials announced new criminal sentencing rules that are projected to trim California’s prison population by 9,500 inmates over four years. They include steps like reducing inmates’ sentences up to six months for earning a college degree and by up to a month each year for participating in self-help programs such as alcohol and substance abuse support groups and counseling, anger management, life skills, victim awareness, restorative justice and parenting classes.
New parole rules released as California prisons near court-ordered cap 
As the state prison population comes close to exceeding a court-mandated limit, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is pursuing new regulations that aim to get more inmates paroled more quickly over time. The proposed rules, originating from voter approval of Proposition 57 in November, would allow “nonviolent” felons to first seek parole at the conclusion of the base term for their primary offense, before serving additional time for other charges and enhancements that can add years to their sentence.
Officials unveil controversial guidelines for the release of more inmates to relieve prison overcrowding
California corrections officials unveiled new regulations that will increase the chances of early release for hundreds of state prison inmates, and expand the credits they earn for demonstrating good behavior and completing rehabilitation programs behind bars. The highly anticipated – and hotly contested – guidelines are the first major step toward overhauling the state’s prison parole system under Proposition 57, the ballot measure approved by voters last year that aims to reduce the statewide prison population by 9,500 inmates over the next four years.
Prop. 47 got thousands out of prison. Now, $103 million in savings will go towards keeping them out
Vonya Quarles grew up in South Los Angeles and describes herself as a third-generation convicted felon. But by the time she took the microphone at a Highland town hall meeting in January 2016, she was a lawyer and executive director of a Riverside County nonprofit that helps connect the homeless, formerly incarcerated and mentally ill to transitional housing.
8,000-mile ride in a prison van left this man bleeding, sleep-deprived and near death
The prisoner wore no underwear. Or socks. Or shoes. David Hastings said he was led away from the Orange County Jail medical wing just after midnight on April 5, 2014, wearing nothing more than a white paper jail-issue jumpsuit. His hands and feet were shackled to his waist. Hastings was wanted 2,600 miles away in Fort Myers, Fla., for violating a restraining order – issued in the midst of a bitter divorce – that prohibited him from contacting his ex-wife or children.
Parolee with ankle monitor arrested after girlfriend killed in San Bernardino: Police
A man on active parole has been arrested after allegedly killing his girlfriend in San Bernardino, who was found dead over the weekend, police said Monday. Early Sunday afternoon, the Los Angeles Police Department received a phone call that 42-year-old Julio Serrano had just shown up at the caller’s L.A. residence and indicated he had hurt his girlfriend in a trailer at the back of a home in the 1200 block of North Perris Street in San Bernardino, according to investigators.
Transgender inmates could have bras, cosmetics
Transgender California prison inmates could have bras, cosmetics and other personal items corresponding to their gender identities under newly proposed regulations. The state corrections department filed the rules Tuesday in response to a federal lawsuit. The lawsuit earlier led California to become the first state to provide taxpayer-funded sex reassignment surgery to an inmate.
San Bernardino parolee wearing ankle monitor suspected of killing girlfriend
A San Bernardino parolee who was wearing an ankle monitor taken into custody Sunday on suspicion of killing his girlfriend during a domestic dispute, police said. Julio Cesar Serrano, 42, showed up at a family member’s Los Angeles home about 1:40 p.m. and said that he had hurt his 45-year-old girlfriend, Martha Garcia, according to a news release from the San Bernardino Police Department.
Man who served 20 years for crime he didn’t commit set free
To screams of joy and applause, a 41-year-old man who spent 20 years behind bars for crimes he did not commit was set free Tuesday after a judge found he had been wrongfully convicted. Marco Contreras, 41, beamed and clasped his hands above his head in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom after Superior Court Judge William Ryan reversed his conviction on attempted murder and robbery charges from a case stemming back to 1996.
Law Enforcement
Police suffer carbon monoxide poisoning driving Ford Explorer
At least two police officers have suffered carbon monoxide poisoning while driving the Ford Explorer. Hundreds of motorists have complained and filed lawsuits. However, Ford denies the allegations. A police officer in Texas is recovering after falling ill from carbon monoxide poisoning while in his patrol vehicle. The Austin officer was in his Ford patrol vehicle early Saturday morning when he began feeling nauseous, reported KRISTV.com.
Sacramento City Council decisions creating crisis in the Police Department
The Sacramento City Council once again demonstrated it is blissfully unaware that it is causing a crisis in the Sacramento Police Department, one that will take years to undo. Rather than encourage strong, independent leadership in the department, the council continues to substitute its judgment for those who have dedicated their lives to the profession of public safety.
Hundreds of Sacramento police officers to receive $2,000+ bonus
The Sacramento City Council unanimously approved more than $1.3 million in bonuses for police department officers, sergeants and dispatchers in an effort to close the gap between their pay and the pay of officers in other departments. The bonus will be paid to 687 employees with officers receiving $2,150, sergeants receiving $2,000 and dispatchers receiving $1,000. The bonuses come as a number of officers leave for higher paying departments.
Thefts increased in Napa County last year
Napa County isn’t known for having a lot of major crimes, but it still has its problems, including an increase in theft reports. According to statistics from both Napa Police and the Napa County Sheriff’s Office, reports of theft increased between 2015 and 2016. Thefts increased by more than 10 percent in Napa and more than 8 percent in unincorporated Napa County. “We’ve been hammered with thefts,” said Sheriff’s Capt. Keith Behlmer on Friday.
Police playing politics with criminal justice measures
Within hours of the murder of Whittier police officer Keith Lane Boyer in February, the tragedy of his death was swiftly diverted toward the political agenda of a few law enforcement officials and politicians. “Enough is enough,” declared Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper during a news conference. “You’re passing these propositions, you’re creating these laws that [are] raising crime. It’s not good for our communities and it’s not good for our officers. What you have today is an example of that.”
Will allowing ICE agents into local jails make immigrants safer? L.A.’s Sheriff thinks so
L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell is leading the charge against California legislation that would prevent sheriff departments from sharing with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents information about undocumented immigrants. The bill, known as the California Values Act, or SB 54, would prohibit local law enforcement from informing ICE of the release dates of inmates and prohibit ICE from interviewing inmates inside jails.
Las Vegas Strip reopens after 1 shot dead, 1 injured
Las Vegas Metro police said an armed man surrendered after a three-hour standoff on a two-story bus that closed the Vegas Strip on Saturday. Police say the man shot and killed one person and wounded another. Police evacuated the nearby Cosmopolitan hotel and casino floor shortly before 11 a.m. local time Saturday as a result of the incident. They blocked off pedestrian walkways and several blocks of traffic on the Strip.
Don’t mess with New York’s gun laws
On the first day of the new Congress, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act was introduced in the House, and in February a similar bill was introduced in the Senate. The legislation requires New York state and New York City to honor concealed-carry firearms permits issued in other states. This would be a dangerous and unwarranted interference with state and city laws, undermining public safety in some of America’s most celebrated neighborhoods and tourist attractions.
A Woodland Hills neighborhood plagued by burglars is fighting back with tech
A gate across Jeni Bianco’s driveway didn’t stop someone from stealing her new Range Rover Sport earlier this month, just hours after Bianco put her beloved teacup Yorkie to sleep. A few nights later, surveillance cameras caught three people with flashlights exiting a car and walking toward the service gate of Bianco’s home. And last weekend, Bianco heard banging at the locked service gate in the middle of the night.
FOX 11 News In Depth: Policing in 2017
In our 7th show since starting FOX 11 News IN DEPTH, we spend the entire half hour exploring policing in 2017. We talk to community activists concerned about police-related issues, the president of the police union, we go to the LAPD Police Museum to look at the agencies history, and in Santa Monica, we visit a program aimed at helping kids learn to trust police officers.
Parker Center, former LAPD headquarters, to be demolished to make way for office tower
A plan to demolish Parker Center, the former Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, has moved forward after a unanimous vote by the city council. Twelve council members voted to adopt a 15-year civic center master plan that includes office space, retail locations and housing. The proposal was heavily pushed by Parker Center’s neighbor, Little Tokyo.
Amazon’s credibility problems grow
Amazon would like consumers to believe that Amazon is a safe place to buy name-brand goods, but that is just not true. Amazon, already under fire for allowing and enabling the sale of counterfeits, is now facing a Consumer Watchdog report of deceptive pricing practices. The problem is that anybody, anywhere, can sell just about anything on Amazon. “In Amazon’s quest to be the low-cost provider of everything on the planet, the website has morphed into the world’s largest flea market – a chaotic, somewhat lawless, bazaar with unlimited inventory” says a recent CNBC Report.
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. The Counterfeit Report, a popular consumer advocate and authorized agent for trademark holders and manufacturers, found counterfeit 64GB microSDHC computer flash memory cards listed on Walmart’s website.
Law enforcement: Cooperation key in response to terrorist, mass shooting incidents like San Bernardino
Part of the reason the San Bernardino terrorist attack didn’t lead to more loss of life started years before. “San Bernardino, we didn’t see that coming,” said Stephen Woolery, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division in Los Angeles. “You had a married couple that, Enrique Marquez aside, had kept it all fairly secret.” Marquez purchased the rifles that Redlands couple Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik used to kill 14 people and wound 22 others at San Bernardino’s Inland Regional Center on Dec. 2, 2015.
AT&T investing $40B to help build first-responder network
AT&T is investing $40 billion to help build and operate the nation’s first broadband network dedicated to police, firefighters, and emergency medical services. The network, the brainchild of the independent entity First Responder Network Authority (or FirstNet), is expected to streamline communications between first responders during public safety crises.
U.S. arrests Mexican prosecutor in San Diego, alleging massive drug conspiracy
The attorney general of the western Mexican state of Nayarit was in a federal jail in San Diego on Wednesday night on charges of conspiracy to smuggle cocaine, heroin, marijuana and meth, according to court documents. Edgar Veytia, 46, the chief law enforcement officer in Nayarit – the scene of numerous deadly drug gang showdowns in recent years – was arrested Monday at a border crossing in San Diego after he was flagged for an open federal warrant issued in New York.
Immigration
SF courts anything but safe for some immigrants in sanctuary city
San Francisco’s public officials constantly say the city must remain a sanctuary for immigrants living in the country without documentation so they’ll come forward if they’re a victim of or witness to a crime. But some who have come forward have found the city’s courtrooms anything but a safe harbor.
Sheriff McDonnell is right again about immigrant policy
The Los Angeles County sheriff surprised many people this month when he took a stand against the California “sanctuary state” bill that seeks to push back against the Trump administration’s aggressive immigration-law enforcement plans. Jim McDonnell’s position may have seemed like a step back from his generally hands-off approach to immigration enforcement, expressed in his op-ed on this page Jan. 8. But in fact it’s not a step back and certainly not inconsistent.
White House keeps up sanctuary cities pressure with funding threat
Attorney General Jeff Sessions outlined Monday how the Trump administration will use federal funds to crack down on “sanctuary cities” and states that choose not to comply with federal immigration laws, as it has threatened to do since January. The comments came after the Trump administration has made a concerted effort to pressure the so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions as part of its aggressive push to enforce immigration laws.
Sanctuary city leaders vow to remain firm, despite threats from U.S. attorney general
Leaders from so-called sanctuary cities across Southern California struck a defiant tone Monday, stating that they would continue to protect people who are in the country illegally despite threats by U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions to cut off and even claw back grant funding from the Justice Department.
Statement by the International Association of Chiefs of Police on United States immigration enforcement policy and sanctions
Immigration enforcement is a complex and challenging issue for communities and their law enforcement agencies throughout the United States. State and local law enforcement agencies are steadfast in their commitment to removing from their communities dangerous criminals and others who pose a threat to public safety. Any suggestion to the contrary is simply inaccurate.
Supreme Court considers bad legal advice in immigrant’s plea
The Supreme Court tried to figure out Tuesday whether immigrants should get a second chance in court when bad legal advice leads to a guilty plea and certain deportation. The justices seemed divided during an argument about what to do in cases in which the evidence against criminal defendants is strong and the chances of acquittal by a jury are remote. The court is considering the case of Jae Lee, a South Korean immigrant who was facing drug charges.
De León: Sessions’ plan to defund sanctuary cities ‘nothing short of blackmail’
California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León on Monday called Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ plan to block Justice Department grant funding to sanctuary cities “nothing short of blackmail.” During a daily press briefing earlier in the day, Sessions said the Justice Department will require compliance with immigration laws in order for cities to receive grants through the Office of Justice Programs, according to The Associated Press.
State’s chief justice steps up criticism of immigration officials
California’s chief justice renewed her criticism of federal immigration officials Monday for conducting raids at courthouses and, in her annual State of the Judiciary address, appeared to escalate her critique of the Trump administration. “Our values, practices and laws are being called into question, and all three branches of government and the free press are in the crosshairs,” Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said in remarks prepared for a joint session of the Legislature.
Battling Trump is ‘team sport,’ California’s attorney general says
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has forcefully criticized President Donald Trump’s executive actions calling for a widespread crackdown on undocumented immigrants and barring travel to the United States from predominantly Muslim countries in Africa and the Middle East. Political tough talk, positioning the state as a leader in the resistance to the Trump administration, has dominated Becerra’s short tenure since the former Democratic congressman assumed the role in late January.
Legislation
California would virtually eliminate money bail under proposed legislation
California lawmakers have unveiled a sweeping plan to overhaul pretrial release in the state that could virtually eliminate the use of money bail. Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles, and Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, introduced legislation last December to change a system they argue unfairly punishes the poor by keeping them stuck in custody if they cannot afford expensive bail rates.
Here’s how state lawmakers plan to reform the bail system in California
State lawmakers have unveiled an ambitious plan to reform how counties in California set bail for defendants while they wait for their cases to be resolved or go to trial. New language added Friday to bills by Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) and Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) would prevent criminal defendants from having to post money as a condition of release from jail and would shift some power from judges to pretrial services agencies to assess the risks they would pose if allowed out in the community.
State law that would seal arrest records moves ahead
A proposed state law that would seal arrest records of people who were never charged with crimes so such records don’t follow them through life has moved one step closer to passage. On Tuesday, the California Arrest Record Equity Act was passed out of the Senate Public Safety Committee. The law was introduced by state Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and sponsored by District Attorney George Gascon.
Sanctuary cities aren’t as popular as you might think in California
Despite defunding threats from the Trump administration, California voters narrowly support communities declaring themselves “sanctuary cities,” according to a statewide survey Tuesday. But the Berkeley IGS Poll found that a slim majority oppose cities and counties being able to disregard federal requests to detain illegal immigrants who have been arrested and are pending release from custody.
California Democrats want a ‘sanctuary state’ for immigrants here illegally. But those who are felons should be sent packing
Democratic politicians want California to be a sanctuary for immigrants here illegally. OK. If they’re hard working and obeying the law, fine. But if they’re thugs? Call the feds and boot their butts back across the border. That’s my view. And it’s also the opinion of most sane people, I suspect. Even Democratic office holders must think this down deep. So why is it so hard for them to say it?
New amendments to ‘sanctuary state’ bill will allow police and sheriffs to contact ICE about violent felons
California Senate leader Kevin de León has amended his “sanctuary state” bill to provide greater flexibility for law enforcement to notify and work with federal immigration officials on cases involving serious and violent felons. The move, amid national debate over “sanctuary city” policies, comes days after a rowdy welcome in Sacramento for the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement at a forum meant to address the role of police officers and sheriff’s deputies in immigration enforcement.
Propositions
Trying to speed up executions could deal ‘mortal blow’ to California Supreme Court
If a November ballot measure to speed up executions goes into effect, the California Supreme Court will have to decide hundreds of death penalty appeals in rapid succession. That mandate would turn the state’s highest court into what analysts say would be “a death penalty court,” forced for years to devote about 90% of its time to capital appeals.
Is Proposition 57, approved by voters, delaying justice for victims?
The killing of Madyson Middleton struck at the core of California’s conscience because it was a hideous crime committed in a Santa Cruz arts center apartment complex. The slaying of the 8-year-old boy was made more shocking because the identity of the suspect was the victim’s then-15 year old neighbor.  “It was very emotional and really upsetting and hard to deal with,” said Jacob Seedman, who knew both victims.
Discussions take aim at criminal justice reform in Stockton
The city is ripe for a criminal justice reform, advocates say, but it’s going to take awareness, action and dismantling a history of mass incarceration that has resulted in an unyielding cycle of poverty and crime. Californians for Safety and Justice, which spearheaded last year’s free Proposition 47 Record Change and Health Fair, is starting a series of conversations with the Stockton community about what they say is a punitive criminal justice system that has resulted in collateral consequences of conviction.
County Government
LA supes to consider making it easier to fire sheriff’s deputies
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is looking to make it easier to fire sheriff’s deputies who have been found to be dishonest in the past. The move comes amid promises by Sheriff Jim McDonnell to clean house in his department. Since taking office three years ago, McDonnell has moved to fire significantly more deputies than his predecessors, according to department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida.
Courts
Small-time thieves catch a break in state high court ruling
The reduced punishment that California voters approved for shoplifting in November 2014 wasn’t limited to swiping goods from store shelves, but also covered other types of nonviolent commercial theft, like going to a bank to cash a stolen check, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The decision, a day after a similar ruling by a state appeals court in another case, took a broad view of a ballot measure that was intended to lower the population of California’s overcrowded prisons by easing penalties for less-serious crimes.
S.C. adopts broad interpretation of ‘shoplifting’
A man who entered a bank to cash stolen checks is eligible, under Proposition 47, to have his conviction for second degree burglary reduced to misdemeanor shoplifting, the California Supreme Court declared in a 5-2 opinion. The decision comes one day after a published Fifth District Court of Appeal opinion said that a defendant who stole coins from a machine was eligible for a reduction of his offense to shoplifting.
California Supreme Court to rule on gun law
The state Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to decide whether gun manufacturers have the right to challenge a California law requiring identifying microstamps on bullets fired from semiautomatic pistols, a requirement the manufacturers claim can’t be met with current technology. A state appeals court had ruled in December that gun groups could present evidence to support their suit seeking to overturn the law, an exception to the usual requirement that statutes can be struck down only if they are unconstitutional.
Supreme Court wrestles with L.A. sheriff’s deputies shooting case
The Supreme Court on Wednesday stepped in to the national conversation on police practices, wrestling with a California police shooting case where sheriff’s deputies shot an innocent couple during their search for a wanted man. The justices heard oral arguments in a 2010 case involving Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies. The deputies were searching for a wanted parolee when they entered a shack at the back of a home in the city of Lancaster, north of Los Angeles.
Steal checks from grandma & receive get out of jail card
Who said crime doesn’t pay? California voters – with the help of Proposition 47 authors more concerned about emptying state prisons than justice who created loopholes a jumbo jet could fly through and a state Supreme Court eager to play lawmakers – have done just that. Last week the state high court majority decided that shoplifting does not just refer to swiping merchandise from a store. The 5-2 decision involved a case of one Giovanni Gonzales convicted of felony burglary.
California’s top justice touts strength of state courts
State courts must be willing to go beyond the U.S. Supreme Court in protecting individual rights, California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu said Thursday. “A state court can provide protection for basic liberties that otherwise would go unprotected in that state,” Liu, an appointee of Gov. Jerry Brown, said in remarks prepared for a speech at New York University in honor of the late Supreme Court Justice William Brennan.
Judge dismisses challenge to ‘suspicious activities’ database
A San Francisco federal judge dismissed an American Civil Liberties Union challenge Monday to a federally assembled police database of “suspicious activities” allegedly linked to terrorism, saying the government has broad authority to keep track of potential threats. The lawsuit was filed in 2014 on behalf of five Californians who said they landed on the list for innocent conduct.
Federal judge tells NRA to put up or shut up in open carry lawsuit
Federal Judge John A. Kronstadt has set a deadline of 11:59 PM, May 1st, 2017, for the NRA to amend its lawsuit seeking concealed carry permits to challenge California’s bans on openly carrying firearms in public for self-defense. After the NRA’s loss last year before an en banc panel of the 9th circuit court of appeals in the case of Peruta v. San Diego which held that there is no right to concealed carry under the Second Amendment, the NRA filed another lawsuit in Federal court which argued that people have a right to carry firearms in public in some manner and since California has banned Open Carry, the Los Angeles County Sheriff must issue concealed carry permits.
Pensions
Pension crisis too big for markets to ignore
In late 2006, Aaron Krowne, a computer scientist and mathematician, started a website that documented the real-time destruction of the subprime mortgage lending industry. The Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter caught on like wildfire with financial market voyeurs, regularly reaching 100,000 visitors. West Coast lenders, some may recall, were the first to fall in what eventually totaled 388 casualties. A year earlier, to much less fanfare, Jack Dean launched another website in anticipation of the different kind of wave washing up on the California coastline.
Politics
Will it be Gavin Newsom vs. little-known Republican for California governor?
A Republican newcomer now leads the pack of candidates trailing frontrunner Gavin Newsom in next year’s race for California governor, according to a new statewide poll Wednesday. Among the five announced candidates, Newsom, who as lieutenant governor has been grooming himself for the top elected position, is out ahead with support from 28 percent of voters, the Berkeley IGS Poll found.
State Government
Got certain unpaid tickets? Amnesty may be available
A state program to reduce a whole slew of traffic and other types of fines that people have not been paying is coming to a stop on April 3. The Department of Motor Vehicles Traffic Amnesty Program allows those who have certain unpaid traffic or non-traffic tickets that were due on or before Jan. 1, 2013, to get their debt reduced or driver’s license (if it was suspended) reinstated. These tickets can range from speeding or running a red light to jaywalking or hunting without a license.

Monday Morning Memo for March 27, 2017

Prosecution
L.A. D.A. shoots down Roman Polanski’s desire to “dictate” return to U.S.A.
“He forfeited his right to make requests of the court when he fled,” said the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office yesterday of Roman Polanski’s latest attempt to ensure no jail time for the rape of a 13-year old girl in 1977. “The People oppose the defendant’s request for this court to represent what the defendant would be sentenced to if he returned,” D.A. Jackie Lacey’s office added.
Roman Polanski’s lawyer asks judge to give clue on sentence if fugitive director returned to Los Angeles
Roman Polanski’s attorney implored a judge Monday to signal how the fugitive director would be sentenced if he returned to Los Angeles to resolve his long-running underage sex abuse case. Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon heard arguments in the four-decade-old case but gave no immediate indication of how he would rule, saying he would issue a written order.
LA County social workers ordered to stand trial in death of 8-year-old boy
Two former social workers and their supervisors were ordered Monday to stand trial on falsifying records and child abuse charges involving the death of an 8-year-old Palmdale boy whose mother and then-boyfriend are charged with his murder. The social workers and two of their supervisors — Stefanie Rodriguez, 31, Patricia Clement, 66, Kevin Bom, 37, and Gregory Merritt, 61 — were fired from their jobs following an internal investigation into the May 24, 2013, death of Gabriel Fernandez.
Third LA County probation officer charged in beating of youth inside Sylmar Juvenile Hall
A video of a youth being beaten inside the Sylmar Juvenile Hall last year has resulted in charges filed against three probation officers, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday. Deputy Probation Officer Carlos Portillo, 39, was charged Monday with two counts of assault on an inmate. Last week, the district attorney’s office charged deputy probation officer Sergio Cano, 45, with one count of assault.
Feds were near defeat in Lee Baca’s corruption case. But a ‘risky move’ in the ex-sheriff’s retrial turned the tide
Before his retrial even began, Lee Baca was already losing. In January, shortly after a jury had nearly acquitted the former Los Angeles County sheriff of charges that he helped obstruct an FBI investigation into abuses in his jails, Assistant U.S. Atty. Brandon Fox tipped his hand in a court filing.
Los Angeles man pleads no contest to 1985 murder
A Los Angeles man facing criminal charges connected to the rape and murder of an Oxnard woman 30 years ago pleaded no contest. Vincent Mackey, 54, appeared Wednesday before Ventura County Superior Court Judge Matthew Guasco for an early disposition conference, but decided to plead no contest to the first-degree murder of 19-year-old Isabel Hernandez on Sept. 28, 1985. Mackey also faced a special allegation that he used a deadly weapon, a knife, to kill Hernandez.
Conviction & Sentencing
Disbarred lawyer to face sentencing for kidnapping California cops once called hoax
A disbarred Harvard University-trained attorney faces decades in prison during his sentencing Thursday for a kidnapping so elaborate and bizarre that police in California initially dismissed it as a hoax. Federal prosecutors are seeking a 40-year sentence for Matthew Muller, who pleaded guilty in September to holding a San Francisco Bay Area woman for ransom.
Ex-cop sentenced in DUI frameup of California councilman
A private detective who tried to frame a Costa Mesa city councilman for driving under the influence has been sentenced to a year in jail. The Riverside Press-Enterprise says Christopher Lanzillo of Lake Arrowhead was sentenced on Friday. He pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and conspiracy to file a false police report.
Couple sentenced in 2012 gang murder in Lake Los Angeles
A man and a woman were sentenced March 16 for their role in the gang-motivated killing of Christian Bojorquez, 21, in Lake Los Angeles in 2012, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.  Rudolfo Alcantar, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole; Rosie Lisa Morales was sentenced to 48 years to life in prison.
Accused wife killer faces 18 years in prison after pleading to manslaughter
A Castaic man accused of having murdered his wife faces 18 years in prison after pleading no contest recently to the reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter. Robert Danielson, 31, was arrested in 2015 on suspicion of murder for allegedly killing his wife, Nicole Danielson, whose body was found in the Paradise Ranch Mobile Home Park in Castaic, Lt. Steve Jauch of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Homicide Bureau, said at the time.
District Attorney
L.A. district attorney reviewing complaint over councilman’s two marriages
The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office is reviewing a complaint filed over City Councilman Curren Price’s two marriages, a spokesman said Tuesday. Greg Risling, a spokesman for Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey, said investigators are reviewing the filing. He would not say who lodged the complaint or when it was filed.
California DAs should consider Florida state attorney’s approach to death penalty
A new Florida State Attorney, Aramis Ayala, made a bold move when she recently announced that capital punishment is “not in the best interest of the community or the best interest of justice,” and vowed not to seek the death penalty in future cases. In taking this courageous stand, Ayala recognizes that the death penalty is a false promise to victims’ families and the community.
California Attorney General
Lawyer’s Association asks new California Attorney General to drop its abusive prosecution of Backpage
The First Amendment Lawyer’s Association (FALA) is hoping to end the California Attorney General’s crusade against Backpage. The website has already ceded ground in the face of constant criticism, investigations, and legal threats. Earlier this year, it shuttered its adult ads rather than continue to bleed money and time defending itself against bogus prosecutions and investigations.
Law Enforcement
Upland homicide suspect was on local supervision with county probation
The man accused of fatally shooting a Rancho Cucamonga man in Upland was being supervised by San Bernardino County Probation when the deadly attack took place, officials said. After serving time for assault, Anthony Christopher Musselman, 25, was placed under supervision in December 2016, according to probation officials.
Police superintendent meets with Sessions, gets no promise of federal aid
Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson went to Washington on Thursday seeking increased federal financial help at a time of runaway violence, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions was noncommittal, saying he didn’t want to make promises he couldn’t keep at a time of proposed cuts to the Justice Department budget, according to one participant.
Police are using new mouth-swab tests to nab drivers under the influence of marijuana and other drugs
San Diego police have a new way to confirm the presence of marijuana and other drugs in impaired drivers – a mouth-swab device that is already being used by police departments in more than a dozen states and is expected to become more popular with the legalization of marijuana.
Korean-on-Korean hammer attack was a hate crime, authorities say
Twenty-two-year-old Jae Won Yang was behind bars and facing a charge of attempted murder with a hate crime enhancement, said Los Angeles County District Attorney’s spokesman Ricardo Santiago. Other enhancement allegations include using a hammer as a deadly weapon and inflicting great bodily injury, he said. Yang has already pleaded not guilty.
SLO PD Chief: Violent crime down, car burglaries up
San Luis Obispo’s police chief released new crime statistics Friday. Chief Deanna Cantrell says general crime increased 11 percent in 2016 over 2015. She says the increase is reflective of a statewide trend and “can be partially attributed to Proposition 47, which reduced certain drug possession felonies and some thefts under $950 from felonies to misdemeanors.”
Hearing to explore misconduct allegations against ex-O.C. prosecutors
A Superior Court judge wants to dig deeper into allegations of misconduct by two former county prosecutors in a murder case against a construction worker charged in the traffic death of an off-duty sheriff’s deputy. The attorney for Cole Wilkins, arrested after a stove he stole fell from his truck and contributed to the 2006 death of the off-duty Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy, wants the case dismissed because of misconduct by prosecutors.
Carlsbad to photograph cars entering city
Carlsbad is expanding its use of automated license plate readers into a system that aims to capture the plates of every vehicle that enters the city. The $1 million Police Department project – which will add stationary cameras at 14 key Carlsbad intersections, creating a virtual gateway at the city’s borders – was approved by the City Council last week, sparking outrage over privacy rights and government control from several residents and one council member.
Gunman dead after shooting at deputies outside Temple City sheriff’s station
A shootout between deputies and a man outside the Temple City sheriff’s station Monday morning ended with the gunman dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted wound, authorities said. The shooting was reported at 7:25 a.m. outside the facility at 8838 Las Tunas Drive, according to the sheriff’s department. No deputies were injured.
Craigslist robbers
For the high-end jewelry sellers on the popular online classifieds site Craigslist, it must have seemed like their ship had come in: A prospective buyer in California offered not only their asking price but would fly them into town and have a limo waiting. “The individual would think they were going to the jewelry store to meet with the actual buyer,” said Special Agent Darin Heideman, who works out of the Oakland Resident Agency of the FBI’s San Francisco Division, “when in fact, a co-conspirator would take them to a predetermined location, assault them, and then basically rob them of all their items.”
Sacramento considers bonuses for police employees to discourage them from leaving
The Sacramento City Council on Tuesday will consider authorizing more than $1.37 million in one-time, lump-sum payments to Sacramento police officers, sergeants and dispatchers in a step toward stanching the loss of personnel to other agencies. A week before talks open on a new contract, the payments send an important message to employees that “the city has decided, for once, to start negotiating in good faith,” said Timothy Davis, president of the Sacramento Police Officers Association.
Crackdown required for eBay and Amazon counterfeits
Consumers have confidence and expect authentic and safe products when they shop at their local grocery, drugstore or retailer. But that confidence is misplaced when they shop online at e-commerce giants eBay and Amazon. The problem is that anybody, anywhere, can sell just about anything on the websites. Both sites allow unvetted worldwide sellers to inundate their websites with counterfeit products.
Sheriff McDonnell says he can’t reveal details on WeHo deputy-involved shootings
In his response to WeHo City Manager Paul Arevalo’s request for information on the status of investigations into two deputy-involved deaths of innocent men in West Hollywood, L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell essentially says no information can be released. The first incident was the shooting of two young men fleeing a knife attack on April 7, 2014, at 939 Palm Ave.
If sheriff’s deputies are involved in misconduct, prosecutors have to know
There are about 300 Los Angeles County deputy sheriffs and higher-ranking officials whose personnel files include evidence that they lied, took bribes, used excessive force or committed some other type of misconduct that is sufficiently serious to undermine their credibility as prosecution witnesses in criminal cases.
Debate over silencers: Hearing protection or public safety threat?
There’s a wall-long mural in the manufacturing area of SilencerCo, in West Valley City, Utah, that shows a crowd of people with muzzled mouths. One’s holding a sign that says, “Fight the Noise.” Another says: “Guns don’t have to be loud.” As a leading manufacturer and seller of gun silencers – or suppressors, as they’re more accurately called – SilencerCo wants to quiet guns. Congress may soon help in the effort.
LAPD: Fear keeping some immigrants from reporting crime
Reported crime has dropped among the Latino population in Los Angeles this year and police say it may reflect a fear by undocumented immigrants of reporting when they have been victimized. In particular, the number of rapes and spousal abuse cases in the Latino population has dropped this year by larger numbers than in other racial groups, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Crime is down 4% in Orange County, but burglaries are on the rise
Orange County thieves have taken to strolling residential streets at night, tugging on car doors. When one opens, they rummage inside for valuables. Sometimes, if they spot something worth the trouble, they’ll smash a window to snatch it. Car burglary is an old routine, but police say it spiked in 2015 in Orange County and, according to new data compiled by The Orange County Register, held near those levels in 2016.
To halt rise in crime, hire more officers: Letters
Our Question of the Week asked readers, What is causing the upticks in crime? To stop crime, hire more law-enforcement officers. It is no coincidence that the increase in crime occurred after the passage of Proposition 47, which made multiple property crimes inconsequential misdemeanors. One has to look no farther than FBI statistics showing that after Prop. 47 property crime rose two years in a row across California, while falling in all other large states.
Sex offender found dead after gun battle with Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies faced child porn charges
A sex offender who died Monday in a shootout with Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies outside the department’s Temple City station was facing child pornography charges, officials said. Andrew Jared Lane was being investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department in connection with child pornography allegations, said Shiara Davila-Morales, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell skewered in ‘Irish roast’ – for a good cause
The $300,000 in golden deputy uniform tidbits proposed by Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell might be found anywhere along Rodeo Drive. A sheriff’s star with diamonds by Tiffany. A tank watch tie clip by Cartier. A sheriff’s earring by Chanel. Bling by Dior and Bulgari. And a suspect-stopping gold dangler by Gucci.
Prison & Parole
California prisons to free 9,500 inmates in 4 years
Corrections officials adopted new criminal sentencing rules on Friday that aim to trim California’s prison population by 9,500 inmates after four years. They include steps like reducing inmates’ sentences up to six months for earning a college degree and by up to a month each year for participating in self-help programs such as alcohol and substance abuse support groups and counseling, anger management, life skills, victim awareness, restorative justice, and parenting classes.
California: Transsexual inmate says women’s prison is ‘torture’
The first U.S. inmate to have taxpayer-funded sex reassignment surgery says she’s been mistreated since being transferred to a California women’s prison, where she now has a beard and mustache because officials have denied her a razor. In a hand-written federal court filing, convicted killer Shiloh Heavenly Quine called her new housing at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla a “torture unit.”
State & Local Government
LA County sales tax hike for homeless services officially passes vote
Ten days after the vote, a Los Angeles County measure asking for a quarter-cent sales tax increase to pay for homeless services has passed. A late surge from mail-in votes pushed Measure H past the two-thirds threshold it needed on Friday. The measure finished with 69 percent of about 840,000 votes cast.
Los Angeles only has eyes for 2024 Olympics amid deal speculation
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has insisted that the city remains solely focused on staging the Olympics in 2024 amid speculation of a deal which could see rival bid Paris handed the games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed last week it will study the possibility of awarding both the 2024 and 2028 Olympics at the same time when the body meets for a crunch vote in Lima in September.
Southern California Coalition has big plans for L.A.’s pot industry
On the evening of this month’s local elections, members of the Southern California Coalition gathered on a restaurant patio downtown. It was a clean-cut, mostly male crowd and they had come to celebrate a milestone more than 20 years in the making: a regulated marijuana industry in Los Angeles. Virgil Grant, the organization’s president, held a tablet showing the results. It wasn’t even close.
Long Beach’s Rex Richardson, Bonnie Lowenthal appointed to Probation Commission to act as oversight amidst departmental change
This Thursday, Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson and former Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal will begin serving as the newest members of the Los Angeles County Probation Commission, a role for which they were nominated last month by Supervisor Janice Hahn and subsequently approved by the County Board of Supervisors.
Legislation
Assemblyman Ian Calderon’s bill would require jailing of offenders who violate probation three times
Standing in front of City Hall adjacent to the Whittier Police Memorial Thursday, Assemblyman Ian Calderon introduced a bill that would require jailing probationers who violate the terms of their supervision at least three times. The bill would be the first state legislation to address issues local police forces have with prison reform bills like AB 109 following the death of Whittier Police Officer Keith Boyer in February.
California Assembly votes to put parks bond on 2018 ballot
The California Assembly narrowly voted Monday to put a measure seeking $3 billion in bonds for parks on the 2018 ballot. The bill, AB18, required a two-thirds majority and passed with no votes to spare. It now moves to the Senate, where it will also require two-thirds approval. It would aim to improve access to parks and open spaces in disadvantaged communities, said Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, the bill’s author.
Here’s an idea for legislators: Figure out how to pay for a spending bill before proposing it
You’d think from reading some promoted legislation that the Capitol was a candy store handing out free goodies. A lot of appealing items are on display. The cost? Oh, that. We’ll worry about it later. Here’s my suggestion for a new law – an old but scoffed-at idea: No spending bill can advance through the Legislature that doesn’t pinpoint precisely its source of money.
If elected, Raymond Meza would be the first openly gay Latino congressman
One way or another, the special election for California’s 34th congressional district – vacated when Rep. became the state’s new attorney general – is likely to add a Democrat to Congress. The district, which includes much of diverse downtown Los Angeles, has nearly always gone blue. But that doesn’t mean each of the 23 candidates vying in the April 4 primary are one in the same.
Lawmakers seek changes to California juvenile justice system
California should start treating juvenile offenders more like children, state lawmakers said Monday as they promoted bills that they said reflect research showing that children’s brains are different from adults. Democratic state senators Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles and Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens are proposing four bills intended to keep more youthful offenders out of the criminal justice system.
LA’s ‘sanctuary city’ debate broadens as statewide bill takes shape
A proposal by state lawmakers that would declare California a “sanctuary state” has magnified an identity crisis playing out in Los Angeles over what it means to be a sanctuary for immigrants who are in the United States illegally. Los Angeles has never officially been declared a “sanctuary” by city leaders, who often say they are unable to pin down a definition for the term.
Sanctuary State Bill will increase crime: Orange County Sheriff
Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchins says she believes crime will increase if a “sanctuary state” bill now being considered in the legislature becomes law. “It is my belief that we will have more violent crimes occurring that could have been prevented without this bill,” Hutchins said of Senate Bill 54, which would prohibit cooperation between state law enforcement agencies and federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, other sheriffs oppose ‘sanctuary state’ bill
In a letter to state Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell voiced opposition to a bill that would declare all of California a “sanctuary state,” echoing sentiments from sheriffs in Southern California’s other counties. De Leon, D-Los Angeles, introduced Senate Bill 54 in December, which would limit involvement by law enforcement agencies in any federal immigration enforcement action in the state.
2 jailhouse snitches, who were paid $335,000 over 4 years, spark new legislation
“Puppet” and “Bouncer,” a pair of jailhouse snitches who were paid $335,000 over a four-year window for working dozens of cases in Southern California, have inspired a state bill to limit the rewards given to criminal informants. Assembly Bill 359 on Tuesday sailed unanimously through the state Assembly Public Safety Committee, passing its first hurdle.
California moves forward on new jailhouse snitch rules
“Puppet” and “Bouncer,” a pair of jailhouse snitches who were paid $335,000 over a four-year window for working dozens of cases in Southern California, have inspired a state bill to limit the rewards given to criminal informants. Assembly Bill 359 on Tuesday sailed unanimously through the state Assembly Public Safety Committee, passing its first hurdle. The bill next goes to the Assembly floor for a full vote at a yet-to-be determined date.
California state senators to unveil major criminal justice legislation
Two state senators are proposing a package of bills aimed at undertaking major criminal justice changes for adults and minors. Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, are expected to announce legislation – eight bills in total – that seek to keep kids out of the juvenile justice system and address what the lawmakers characterized as “inequity” for juveniles and adults.
California Uber drivers would need only one business license under new legislation
California Uber and Lyft drivers would have to register for only one business license no matter where they drive in the state under a bill unveiled this week by a Los Angeles lawmaker. Senate Bill 182 from state Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Los Angeles) attempts to make it easier for drivers to comply with local rules governing taxation and registration for independent contractors – an employee classification the companies have long argued fits their drivers.
Courts
Post-prison ruies for sex offenders upheld by California Supreme Court
Sex offenders in California who have completed their prison sentences must comply with strict monitoring conditions while on probation, including undergoing lie-detector tests about their conduct and receiving treatment from therapists who can reveal their secrets to a probation officer, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday. Although offenders must take part in the lie-detector interrogation and therapy, none of their answers can be used to file or prove new criminal charges against them, the court said.
Judge rejects new trial for 2 men convicted in ‘text message’ murder case
A judge has denied a request for a new trial for two men convicted of murdering a teenager over a text message, finding that the recantations of two key eyewitnesses were not credible. Vahagn Jurian and Zareh Manjikian are serving life sentences for the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Mike Yepremyan, who prosecutors say was attacked after sending a text message to his girlfriend that insulted her friend.
Pensions
Retirees from LA Works could see pensions slashed more than half
Thirty years ago, Herb Standridge left his own business to work as a contractor for LA Works for the benefit of a good pension. The firm was a partnership among four San Gabriel Valley cities to provide job training that folded in 2014. That pension is now in jeopardy of being reduced by about 60 percent, leaving his widow Christell, who was a homemaker, with a fraction of her income. “I don’t know what I will do.  I don’t know what it will mean to me,” Christell Standridge said. “We just never dreamed this would happen.”

Monday Morning Memo for March 20, 2017

Prosecution
Prosecutors seek 40-year prison term for Vallejo kidnapper, until he is ‘old and weak’
Federal prosecutors say Matthew Muller is a dangerous predator, a man who has posed a threat to society for years and carried out “serial acts of evil” that include his most infamous crime: the March 2015 kidnapping of Denise Huskins from a Vallejo home in the middle of the night. For that incident and others that he has yet to be charged with – including the videotaped sexual assault of Huskins while she was his captive – Muller should be sent to prison for 40 years, kept behind bars in a federal facility until he is too frail to cause further harm, the government says.
State Bar runs out of attorneys to prosecute, so it prosecutes 30 year old case against prosecutor
Last week’s decision by the California State Bar to file disciplinary charges against former Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich based on conduct that occurred 31 years ago, should cause unease to every attorney in the state. This action of the State Bar, which acts as the administrative arm of the California Supreme Court, cannot be squared with that court’s long-held beliefs on timely filing of actions in both criminal and civil cases.
Roman Polanski offers to return to LA courtroom under 1 condition
Roman Polanski’s attorney says in court papers filed Friday that the filmmaker will return to the United States for sentencing if a judge determines that he’s already served more than enough time behind bars for his 1977 guilty plea to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl. “Mr. Polanski asks this court to acknowledge that he was promised a specific custody portion of his sentence by Judge (Laurence) Rittenband and he has more than fulfilled the custody portion of his sentence …,” defense attorney Harland Braun wrote.
Conviction & Sentencing
Former LA County Sheriff Lee Baca found guilty in corruption trial
Once the head of the largest law enforcement agency of its kind in the nation, former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was found guilty by a federal jury Wednesday of obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice and giving false statements in connection with an investigation into corruption and excessive use of force inside the Men’s Central Jail.
Ex-Sheriff Lee Baca’s conviction sends a message but there’s still ‘need for reform’
Each trial, conviction and sentence handed down to members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department since 2014 exposed deep flaws within the nation’s largest law enforcement agency of its kind, observers and civil rights activists said this week. The years-long legal saga, they said, sent a message to the department that no one was above the law, not even former Sheriff Lee Baca, who was found guilty Wednesday of obstruction and other charges in connection with an FBI probe into corruption and excessive use of force inside the Men’s Central Jail.
How a jury heard a ‘fundamentally different case’ in the re-trial of ex-Sheriff Lee Baca
The deacon’s voice broke as he described a beating he witnessed through a narrow slit of Plexiglas in 2009. An inmate, handcuffed and pushed against a wall, was punched and kicked as he begged the three Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who were hitting him to stop. The deputies continued, even though the inmate never fought back, even after he fell to the floor and blood pooled around his head.
Law Enforcement
Crime expert: ‘L.A.’s Most Wanted List’ exposes dangers of AB 109, Props 47 and 57
Controversy continues to surround AB 109, especially with the recent murder of Whittier Officer Keith Boyer by a parolee whose multiple parole violations resulted in nothing more than ten-day “flash incarcerations.”  It’s just the most recent example of the legislation’s failures, according to Michele Hanisee, President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys.
More than 100 crime survivors gather in Los Angeles, call for new safety priorities
More than 100 crime survivors joined elected officials and community leaders at Crenshaw Methodist Church in Los Angeles on March 11 to call for new safety priorities and a criminal justice system that better reflects the needs of crime survivors. The event was hosted by the Los Angeles chapter of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, a project of Californians for Safety and Justice, which brings together thousands of crime survivors from across California and elevates the voices of crime survivors in justice policy debates.
How the justice system failed Whittier Officer Keith Boyer: Guest commentary
A Whittier police officer is dead and a second officer is recovering from a gunshot wound inflicted by a known gang member and two-time convicted felon. Why was this violent gang member on the street, with a gun? Why did the criminal “justice” system so miserably fail our officers? Why did it also fail law enforcement officers in Palm Springs and Lancaster?
Citing police officer’s death, Whittier council members seek reform of crime laws
Following the death of Whittier police Officer Keith Boyer in a Feb. 20 shootout with a gang member who was on probation, council members Tuesday vowed to lead a drive to reform state laws they said have allowed violent criminals to remain on the street. Council members blame AB 109, which is now law, and Proposition 47 for an increase in property and violent crimes in cities across the state.
Scott Wilk: Officer slain due to lax public safety policy
It’s becoming an epidemic. It seems almost each week another police officer is killed. The sound of bagpipes seems omnipresent as, one by one, the brave men and women who wake up each morning, don their blue uniforms and hit the streets as the last line of defense for our communities are laid to their early rests. Whittier police officer Keith Boyer spent 26 years serving others.
LA Times Editorial Board owes Whittier Police Chief an apology
The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board lashed out at Whittier Chief Jeff Piper when he linked the murder of his officer, Keith Boyer, to the “criminal justice reforms” enacted in California in recent years. In strident language, the Editorial Board called on the Chief to be to “held accountable for false or misleading statements that are calculated to sway opinion on important policy matters.”
The crime issue rises
The murder of Whittier Police Officer Keith Boyer and the big increase of property crimes have highlighted growing concern over the consequences of recent legislation and ballot measures that have opened prison doors. The crime issue, so powerful in the final decades of the last century, is rising again in the public consciousness.
Sheriff’s Association says government’s budget plan would put public safety in jeopardy
The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs said Monday that a budget proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown regarding in-home care for low-income seniors and the disabled would jeopardize public safety in Los Angeles and other counties in the state. “A budget proposal by Governor Brown that would severely impact public safety in Los Angeles County is currently being considered in the state legislature,” an ALADS statement said.
$300K on belt buckles? LA sheriff’s union says ‘there are more important priorities’
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies may soon get a glint of gold across their beige and green uniforms. The department is shelling out $300,000 to change the color of the belt buckles and other hardware of their more than 9,000 deputies’ uniform from silver to gold, according to a story first broken by the Los Angeles Times.
LA Sheriff: Feds likely to step up cannabis enforcement in CA
The leader of the nation’s largest sheriff’s department expects federal drug agents will attempt to step up marijuana enforcement as California moves forward with legalization. But he believes there isn’t the manpower to conduct widespread raids on growers and businesses selling marijuana.
20 years later, Notorious B.I.G.’s killing remains one of L.A.’s biggest unsolved homicides
Notorious B.I.G. was leaving a music industry party at the Petersen Automotive Museum, sitting in the front passenger seat of a Chevrolet Suburban, when his killer pulled up alongside in a dark Chevy Impala. As the SUV idled at a stoplight, the gunman opened fire, hitting the 24-year-old rap star, who was also known as Biggie Smalls, four times.
Riverside County D.A. Michael Hestrin sees early release of prisoners as serious crime issue
Riverside County District Attorney Michael Hestrin calls the county’s crime increase “troublesome,” putting the blame squarely on the 2012 prison realignment plan and the 2014 Proposition 47 releasing “non-violent” prisoners early and making any thefts valued under $900 misdemeanors.
Alibaba’s Jack Ma calls on Chinese law enforcement to wage war on counterfeits
In an open letter published on his Sina (SINA) Weibo account, China’s Twitter (TWTR) -like service, Alibaba (BABA) founder and Chinese billionaire Jack Ma on Tuesday asked Chinese legislators to penalize counterfeiters with serious jail time and steep fines, the kind of measure that China adopted to crack down on drunk driving.
Amazon counterfeit destroys $1 million home, injures children
Amazon has a counterfeit problem, and it has proven dangerous and potentially deadly for consumers. The problem is that anybody, anywhere, can open a shop on Amazon and sell just about anything on the website. Amazon lends its brand and marketing which aid the sale of counterfeit products from unvetted global sellers.
Sheriff’s drone helps in Malibu search for missing Glendale woman Elaine Park
Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials used a newly acquired unmanned aircraft, or drone, Sunday to help search for a missing Glendale woman above the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu where her car was found last month, authorities said. Elaine Park, 20, was reported missing on Jan. 30 by her family.
Body cams are becoming routine for police; but who gets to see footage is still up in the air
Guns drawn, police officers cautiously approached an SUV, the cameras on their uniforms recording as they searched for a firearm a suspect had supposedly pointed at a motorist. As one officer guarded the middle-aged driver now in handcuffs, two other officers flanked the vehicle, with one finding a rifle inside.
After a rash of burglaries at celebrity homes, LAPD looking for possible connections
Celebrity homes have long been easy targets for burglars looking for lucrative scores. Nearly a decade ago, it was the “Bling Ring,” a group of young people who used gossip magazine, online star maps and celebrities’ own social media accounts to target the riches of socialite Paris Hilton, actors Orlando Bloom and Lindsay Lohan and others to the tune of more than $3 million.
Law enforcement divided over California’s sanctuary frenzy
Law enforcement groups are divided over legislation that would turn California into a “sanctuary state.” Some law enforcement officials don’t want to enforce the Trump administration’s new immigration protocols, but they’re worried the state legislation could harm public safety and deprive them of much-needed federal funding.
Facebook says police can’t use its data for ‘surveillance’
Facebook is cutting police departments off from a vast trove of data that has been increasingly used to monitor protesters and activists. The move, which the social network announced Monday, comes in the wake of concerns over law enforcement’s tracking of protesters’ social media accounts in places such as Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore.
Should police agencies have their own DNA collections?
DNA databases are being collected across dozens of police departments in the U.S., a strategy some consider to be against state and national regulations restricting who can provide genetic samples and how long that information is held. Some of the rules local agencies employ for the gathering of their databases include allowing samples to be taken from children or people who were never arrested of a crime.
Robbers are targeting DTLA revelers
Club and bar patrons are being targeted by robbers on downtown L.A. streets, police say. Robberies are up nearly 10 percent compared with this time in February, and they’ve increased 18.5 percent since 2015, according to Los Angeles Police Department data. LAPD officials are warning revelers and downtown residents to be on guard. The advice comes after Hollywood experienced its own increase in nightlife crime late last year.
Trump effect? Smugglers raise price for sneaking people across U.S. border
The price for making illegal entry into the U.S. across the Mexican border has gotten a whole lot steeper in a hurry, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration document obtained by NBC News. As recently as last November, undocumented immigrants were being charged $3,500 to be smuggled into the U.S. through the rugged terrain that links Mexico to Arizona.
District Attorney
Women’s History Month: District Attorney Jackie Lacey tells the truth and nothing but the truth
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey is in a powerful and controversial position to say the least. As the first woman and the first African American person to hold the position, Lacey is faced with daily challenges and tough decision making that can be polarizing to the masses she serves. A constitutionally created office, the district attorney is responsible for prosecuting cases involving violations of state law.
State and Local Government
State grant would help Santa Barbara County keep mentally ill out of jail
Inmates suffering from mental health issues are crowding California’s prisons and jails, and Santa Barbara County is no exception. Undersheriff Bernard Melekian said he often fields the question: How many inmates in the county’s jail system suffer from some type of mental illness?
L.A.’s new pot era begins with debate over the number of shops
Los Angeles voters this week finally said yes to fully legalizing marijuana dispensaries in town. Measure M passed with a whopping 79 percent in favor. The law, spearheaded by City Council president Herb Wesson, empowers the council to issue licenses to collectives, with priority given to the 135 or so medical marijuana dispensaries that are compliant under current law.
California’s property tax burden 10th worst in nation
Warning: Property taxes are due April 10. Before you search for the bill and the checkbook – and perhaps express a few choice nasty words aloud about the financial pinch – let me make you extra grumpy. While Prop. 13 may keep California property taxes low for many folks, the overall financial burden remains relatively high. My trusty spreadsheet tells me we’re 10th worst among the states.
Talk of Calexit is a loser
News reports have revealed that the Yes California campaign (a.k.a. Calexit independence referendum) is run by Louis Marinelli of Yekaterinburg, Russia. Marinelli denies that Calexit is a Russian plot. But if it is, it’s a classic use of maskirovka, the Russian military strategy that contemplates clandestine measures such as infiltrating the political process of a country to split off part of its territory.
Schwarzenegger dispels rumors about Senate run 
Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Sunday said thanks, but no thanks, to rumors that he will run for the United States Senate from his adopted homeland. Writing on Facebook, the movie-star-turned-politician said he would instead concentrate on bringing political reform in the form of an end to gerrymandering.
John Van de Kamp, former California attorney general and L.A. County district attorney, dies at 81
John and Andrea Van de Kamp had been married almost a decade when they went to the Kentucky Derby in 1986. By that point, Van de Kamp was already a career politician and had garnered a reputation for being cautious – friends and colleagues saw a measured but thoughtful leader who would routinely defend laws he personally opposed, because it was his job to do so.
US Visas help in new Los Angeles office to aid immigrants
Following a public hearing marred by angry clashes between supporters of Donald Trump who is now President and pro-immigration campaigners, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the opening of a new office that will offer US Visa county assistance to immigrants. Probably this new office will mainly deal with issues relating to illegal immigrants also known as undocumented immigrants.
Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens asks Trump administration to help her hold undocumented immigrants
With most California governments and police agencies resisting President Donald Trump’s push to increase immigration enforcement and deportations, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens is bucking the trend, telling the Trump administration she wants her department to cooperate more closely with federal immigration agents.
Federal Government
ICE agents make arrests at courthouses, sparking backlash from attorneys and state supreme court
Octavio Chaidez was walking out of a Pasadena courtroom with a client last month when four men jumped up from a hallway bench and rushed toward them. The men asked his client’s name. Then they pulled out badges. “They say, ‘You’re Mr. So and So?’ and he says, ‘Yes,’ ” Chaidez said. “They show him a badge, and they say, ‘We’re from Immigration and Customs,’ and they took him in.”
Sessions encourages cities to revive ’90s crime strategies
The Justice Department will encourage cities to revive decades-old strategies to fight violent crime, focusing on sending certain gun crimes to federal court, where they carry longer sentences in far-away prisons, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday. Sessions continued to push his tough-on-crime agenda to law enforcement officials in Richmond, where one such effort had its origins.
Career prosecutor named acting US attorney in Los Angeles
A career federal prosecutor was named acting head of the regional U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles after dozens of top prosecutors nationwide were asked to resign, a spokesman said Tuesday. Sandra R. Brown took over Saturday as acting U.S. attorney for the Central District of California the day after Eileen Decker resigned. Attorney General Jeff Sessions abruptly asked Decker and 45 other U.S. attorneys to resign Friday.
County DA being considered for U.S. attorney post
Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten has been included in the list of possible candidates vying for the top federal prosecutorial position in the state’s Central District. In an interview with The Star, Totten, 62, confirmed he is “under consideration” among “a number of highly qualified” candidates for the most populous federal judicial district in the nation.
Legislation
State lawmaker re-introduces Prop. 47 DNA fix for criminal investigations
An Elk Grove lawmaker is reviving a 2015 effort to give law enforcement back powers to collect DNA evidence for crimes reclassified as misdemeanors under Proposition 47, approved by voters in 2014. Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, today is expected to announce the re-introduction of a bill to allow police to collect DNA from people convicted of crimes previously classified as felonies, including low-level drug offenses, theft and forgery.
Citing police officer’s death, Whittier council members seek reform of crime laws
Following the death of Whittier police Officer Keith Boyer in a Feb. 20 shootout with a gang member who was on probation, council members Tuesday vowed to lead a drive to reform state laws they said have allowed violent criminals to remain on the street. Council members blame AB 109, which is now law, and Proposition 47 for an increase in property and violent crimes in cities across the state.
California Bill would extend taking DNA samples to some misdemeanor suspects
It’s been four decades since Shirley Derryberry’s 13-year-old sister Doris was killed in cold blood. But the cold case is now over, thanks to new DNA evidence linking two cousins to the crime. “I wanted to climb across the wall and choke ’em but that puts me in the same category they’re in,” said Derryberry. Derryberry says the killers responsible for her sister’s vicious rape and murder would not be caught today, because of new laws.
‘Sanctuary’ bill clears first hurdle in California Assembly
A bill to restrict California’s law enforcement agencies’ cooperation with federal immigration agents cleared its second major hurdle Monday and will head to the Senate for a full vote after a packed and at times testy hearing. Senate Bill 54 – advanced as the Trump administration seeks to increase cooperation with local police in immigration enforcement – passed despite opposition from the California State Sheriffs’ Association and other groups.
New California Assembly Bill would seek to improve the rape kit testing system
A new California Assembly Bill would seek to improve the rape kit testing system eventually impacting local law enforcement and forensics. Under Assembly Bill 41, local law enforcement agencies would be required to report information collected from rape kit evidence yearly to the State Department of Justice. If approved, the information would be made public record but could also cost taxpayers in the long run.
Here’s why law enforcement groups are divided on legislation to turn California into a ‘sanctuary state’
cramento County Sheriff Scott Jones says he does not want his deputies to enforce immigration laws. But he is worried about a bill that seeks to turn California into a so-called sanctuary state. At a news conference last week at the state Capitol, led by Republican lawmakers, he slammed the state Senate legislation, which would ban law enforcement agencies like his from using resources to enforce federal immigration laws.
L.A. County sheriff opposes ‘sanctuary state’ bill, saying it would hinder law enforcement
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell has come out in opposition to a so-called “sanctuary state” bill that would bar state and local policing agencies from using resources for immigration enforcement, according to a letter obtained by The Times. In the letter addressed to Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), who introduced the legislation, McDonnell said the measure would block sheriff’s officials from safely transferring inmates with immigration violations housed in county jails into the custody of federal immigration agents, forcing those agents “into our communities in order to search out and find the person they seek.”
Officials: Bail reform may cause headaches
As California lawmakers move toward overhauling California’s money-based bail system, local officials say the existing system holds suspects accountable for making all of their court appearances. Late last year, state Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, and Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, introduced two bills known as the California Money Bail Reform Act of 2017. The bill claims the state’s pretrial system unfairly jails low-income defendants who can’t afford to pay bail.
Commentary: Critique of Brown’s pension reforms is off base
The attack on pension changes passed by a bipartisan vote of the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown (Dan Borenstein, Feb. 2)  was exactly like each of the few Lotto tickets I’ve ever purchased: Wrong across the board. The reforms, enacted in 2012, were designed to bolster the long-term health of California’s public pension systems, and they are doing exactly that.
Courts
Whistle-blower can sue despite not contacting government, court says
A sales executive who said he was fired by a San Francisco company after reporting financial improprieties to a manager can sue the company as a whistle-blower even though he never contacted the government, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday. Federal securities law “bars retaliation against an employee of a public company who reports violations to the boss,” the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said in a 2-1 ruling.
Court: Ballot measure on juvenile crimes applies to earlier cases
In a ruling that could affect hundreds of cases, a state appeals court said Monday that a ballot proposition requiring juvenile court judges, rather than prosecutors, to decide whether a youth should be tried as an adult applies to charges filed before the measure passed in November.
The measure, Proposition 57, sponsored by Gov. Jerry Brown, was approved by 64 percent of the state’s voters.
In federal court – over a traffic ticket
Traffic tickets aren’t so out of the ordinary – until you get to Howard Herships’ case. After being caught by a red light camera on a right turn in suburban Sacramento, Herships, 73, contested the $200 ticket. His fight has proven costly to Herships, who lost his driver’s license: The 2014 ticket penalty ballooned more than eight-fold to a whopping $1,665 in addition to a $55 driver’s license reinstatement fee, costs Herships said he couldn’t afford.
Supreme Court considers three key cases during Gorsuch hearing week
While Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is under the glare of Senate questioning next week, the eight Justices at the Court will be hearing three days of case arguments. The Court returns from a respite on March 20, the same day that the Senate Judiciary Committee begins considering testimony about Gorsuch’s nomination to the bench.
Ninth Circuit hears critique of cy pres in Google privacy settlement
A federal appeals panel grilled lawyers in a case against Google over a claim of conflict of interest in steering funds from an $8.5 million class action settlement to the alma maters of two of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, including Harvard and Stanford universities. The case focuses on class action settlements that provide no money to class members but fund charitable organizations under the cy pres doctrine, a controversial practice normally used to distribute unclaimed funds.

Law.com

Man imprisoned for 32 years in 1980s murder is freed by L.A. judge
A man who spent more than 32 years behind bars after being found guilty of murder in what prosecutors agree was not a “fundamentally fair trial” is due to be set free today. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Laura F. Priver on Wednesday granted a request to vacate Andrew Leander Wilson’s November 1986 conviction for the robbery and murder of Christopher Hanson, and dismissed the case against the 62- year-old man.
Prison & Jail
Watchdogs concerned about 4 LA County jail deaths in 10 days
Four Los Angeles County jail inmates have died since March 1, according to documents obtained by KPCC, which jail watchdogs call concerning in light of past documentation of inmate neglect in the jails. There are no overt signs of foul play, according to documents, and the latest appears to have been a suicide. The deaths occurred at three different facilities.
State Bar
California State Bar bans sex between attorneys and clients
The State Bar of California approved an ethics rule that would subject lawyers to discipline for having sex with their clients. California currently bars attorneys from coercing a client into sex or demanding sex in exchange for legal representation. But voluntary sex between attorneys and clients is not prohibited as long as it does not cause the lawyers to “perform legal services incompetently.”

Monday Morning Memo for March 13, 2017

Prosecution
FBI agent: Conspiracy trail leads to former LA County Sheriff Lee Baca
FBI special agent Leah Tanner took the witness stand Monday to walk a federal court jury through her investigation into the Los Angeles County jails – and how it ultimately took her to the door of then-Sheriff Lee Baca. Tanner, who then went by her maiden name Marx, was assigned to investigate the jails in June 2010 after an inmate wrote a letter saying deputies were using excessive force for “no reason.” 
Prosecution and defense rest cases in re-trial of ex-LA County Sheriff Lee Baca
After almost two weeks of testimony by more than a dozen witnesses, the prosecution and defense rested their cases Thursday in the federal jail corruption re-trial of former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca. Baca didn’t take the stand in his defense. In fact, his attorney, Nathan Hochman, presented only one witness.
Los Angeles Daily News
Grim Sleeper prosecutor to speak
The Conejo Valley chapter of Brandeis National Committee will present “Truth is Stranger than Fiction,” with Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman discussing the case of the Grim Sleeper at 1 p.m. Sun., March 19 at Temple Etz Chaim, 1080 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks. Silverman has been a deputy D.A. in L.A. County since 1994 and is assigned to the major crimes division, where she has prosecuted six serial killers.
Two gang members in U.S. illegally are accused of kidnapping 3 girls, killing 1 in a satanic ritual
Two MS-13 gang members from El Salvador, both in the United States illegally, held three teenage girls against their will and killed one of them in what was described as a satanic ritual, authorities in Houston said Friday. Miguel Alvarez-Flores, 22, and Diego Hernandez-Rivera, 18, have been arrested and charged with aggravated kidnapping and murder – both first-degree felonies punishable by up to life in prison.
Immigrant charged in crash was deported 5 times, family says victim’s death ‘could have been prevented’
It was a day that began like so many others. But in the end, it was a day that would forever change the lives of the Duran family of Arleta. On the afternoon of Feb. 19, Sandra Duran, 42 – a mother, daughter and sister – was killed in a violent car crash on a rain-slicked road in North Hills.
Law Enforcement
AB 109 and LA’s most wanted
Controversy swirls around AB 109, with the recent murder of Whittier Officer Keith Boyer by a parolee whose multiple parole violations resulted in nothing more than 10-day “flash incarcerations” being the most recent and tragic example of AB 109’s failures.  No definitive study has been done on the fallout from AB 109, but anecdotal evidence abounds to rebut the defenders of AB 109 who vehemently insist that its provisions have not made our communities more dangerous.
From the Chief: Senseless acts
On Feb. 20, Officer Keith Boyer of the Whittier Police Department in Southern California was tragically shot and killed, allegedly by convicted felon Michael Mejia. According to news reports, Mejia murdered his cousin and then stole the dead man’s car to flee the murder scene. This is the car Mejia was driving when he crashed; which led to a response by Officer Boyer and his partner, Patrick Hazel.
San Diego a model for crime prevention programs
In my five decades of experience in law enforcement – from beat cop to police chief of San Diego, Richmond and San Jose – the biggest lesson I learned is there are smarter ways to improve public safety than simply locking people up for long periods of time. While prison is the proper punishment for people convicted of the most serious and violent crimes, it does more harm than good for individuals convicted of nonviolent crimes.
Post-Prop. 47, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department sees success in shift in focus
After California voters passed Proposition 47, which reduces certain drug possession felonies to misdemeanors, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon saw an opportunity to refocus efforts from street-level narcotics to targeting criminal gang activity – and he says the switch is paying off.
Sheriff Sniff: Criminals finding new safe harbor
Prop. 47, the “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act,” has indeed produced a safe harbor – but not for schools and neighborhoods. Instead, a swath of repeat criminals have found refuge in the measure’s broad, inflexible provisions. The statewide proposition was approved by California voters Nov. 4, and took effect Nov. 5.
D.A. Jackie Lacey revises Brady Policy
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey today announced revisions to her office policy regarding the disclosure of exculpatory and impeachment information about peace officers and other recurring witnesses in criminal cases under the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1963 decision in Brady v. Maryland and California law.
Alibaba’s Jack Ma calls on Chinese law enforcement to wage war on counterfeits
In an open letter published on his Sina Weibo account, China’s Twitter -like service, Alibaba founder and Chinese billionaire Jack Ma on Tuesday asked Chinese legislators to penalize counterfeiters with serious jail time and steep fines, the kind of measure that China adopted to crack down on drunk driving.
Alibaba’s U.S. notorious market public condemnation well deserved
The Office of the United States Trade Representative publicly condemned Alibaba, adding the e-commerce giant (again) to the U.S. Notorious Markets List – reserved for the world’s most notorious markets for counterfeit goods. The action is well deserved. Alibaba, appropriately named after the fable “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves,” dismissed the embarrassing disapproval and setback for CEO Jack Ma as influenced by the current political climate.
Garcetti, LAPD announce expansion of Community Safety Partnership program
Harvard Park is equipped with a swimming pool, a playground, an obstacle course, a baseball field and tennis courts. It is also located in one of the most violent parts of South Los Angeles. In the past year, there have been four shooting deaths on the park’s perimeter. The latest victim was Brandon Tatum, 23, who was fatally shot Jan. 11 while walking home from the market.
US Police forces developing controversial DNA databases
Dozens of police departments around the U.S. are amassing their own DNA databases to track criminals, a move critics say is a way around regulations governing state and national databases that restrict who can provide genetic samples and how long that information is held. The local agencies create the rules for their databases, in some cases allowing samples to be taken from children or from people never arrested for a crime.
DA declines charges against LAPD officer in fatal shooting
Prosecutors will not file criminal charges against a Los Angeles police officer who shot and killed a man driving a stolen car in 2015. Los Angeles prosecutors say Officer Brian Van Gorden acted reasonably when he shot and killed Sergio Navas on March 5, 2015. The determination released Tuesday comes more than a year after the city’s Police Commission found the officer violated LAPD policy.
Lindsey Horvath presses for info on status of death by deputies investigations
City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath is pressing the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department for information on the status of two incidents in West Hollywood that resulted in the deaths of a local resident and the employee of a local business at the hands of Sheriff’s deputies. One is the shooting death of John Winkler, then 30, who was shot and killed by Deputy Gerardo Valdivia on April 7, 2014, as he fled a knife attack at an apartment at 939 Palm Ave.
Battle over controversial student art in U.S. Capitol lands in court-First Amendment in focus again 
For several weeks earlier this year, an odd battle was waged in the halls of the U.S. Capitol over a controversial work of art by a high school student placed there after an art competition in St. Louis. At issue is whether the Architect of the Capitol had the right to direct the permanent removal of the painting, or whether doing so violated the student’s (or his Congressman’s) First Amendment Rights.
L.A. sheriff gains support in legal fight over secret list of 300 problem deputies
The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and three other advocacy groups have gone to court to back Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell’s attempt to send prosecutors the names of deputies found to have committed serious misconduct on the job. The move is the latest turn in the fight over a secret list of 300 problematic deputies whose history of misconduct could damage their credibility if they are ever called to testify in criminal cases.
Poll: Most San Franciscans want police to carry stun guns
A new poll commissioned by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce has found that most San Franciscans want to give stun guns to SFPD officers. According to the San Francisco Examiner, the poll, which asked a series of questions regarding the police and other major issues in the city, posed the stun gun question as follows: “Many large cities give their police officers Taser devices as a non-lethal alternative to hand guns when confronted with a violent or mentally ill suspect.”
New fingerprint searches in unsolved cases can solve violent crimes
Police agencies across the country would likely solve cold cases – murders and rapes – if they entered finger and palm prints from older crimes into an upgraded national database, a move the FBI encourages. In Cleveland, re-submitting prints has resulted in charges in at least two unsolved rape cases, so far. Investigators linked Rafiq Jones to a rape and robbery case last year after a fingerprint lifted from a beer bottle in 1996 was matched the to the 40-year-old.
Study: There is no evidence that immigration increases crime
A William & Mary professor says there’s no compelling evidence to show that immigration leads to more crime. Sociology department chair Graham Ousey says in a university press release that some studies show immigrants are less likely to be criminals. Ousey is the co-author of a recent analysis of 50 studies on the subject. He co-authored the paper with Charis Kubrin of the University of California-Irvine.
106 arrests sought after Northern California white nationalist rally
California authorities urged prosecutors to charge 106 people over violence that erupted during a rally by self-described white nationalists outside the state Capitol building last year, officials said Wednesday. The California Highway Patrol turned over its eight-month investigation to the Sacramento County district attorney’s office, which was reviewing the 2,000-page report and hours of video, spokeswoman Shelly Orio said.
Sheriff Jim McDonnell discusses bill that could limit contact between law enforcement, ICE
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell discussed the possible repercussions of a proposed bill that would stifle interactions between local law enforcement and federal agencies regarding criminals who may not be citizens. Critics of Senate Bill 54, or the Values Act, believe it would help protect criminals rather than families and communities.
Courts
California opens access to public business conducted on private devices
Communications by government officials in California who use personal devices or email accounts to conduct official business may be subject to disclosure under the California Public Record Acts. In a unanimous decision welcomed by transparency advocates, the California Supreme Court overturned an appellate court ruling.
Swiss banking giant can’t be sued in California
The Ninth Circuit on Friday rejected a request by a Bahamian trust belonging to a deceased Indonesian politician to sue Swiss banking giant UBS AG in California just because it does business there. In a written decision issued Friday, the court affirmed the dismissal of AM Trust’s federal class action against UBS for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Porter Ranch: SoCal Gas-AQMD gas leak settlement finalized despite health study complaints
The answer: $1 million. The question: How much should Southern California Gas Company, responsible for the nation’s largest-ever uncontrolled natural gas leak, pay to fund a study of how the blowout affected the health of residents who live in nearby Porter Ranch? To county health officials and some Porter Ranch residents, the million-dollar agreement appeared insufficient.
Jurors award $1.5 million to LAPD detective who claimed he was victim of retaliation
Jamie McBride, an outspoken leader of the union that represents Los Angeles Police Department officers, won $1.5 million Monday in a lawsuit alleging that his supervisors retaliated against him. McBride alleged that he was unfairly punished for refusing to sign a declaration prepared by a federal prosecutor in a case involving 38th Street gang members.
LA County sues California regulators, citing earthquake risk at SoCalGas natural gas field
Saying there is a “very real” threat of earthquakes rattling Southern California Gas Co.’s Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field, Los Angeles County sued state regulators Wednesday to keep the facility closed until the cause of a massive leak is known. The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, argues that a well at Aliso Canyon, adjacent to Porter Ranch, failed during the devastating 1994 Northridge earthquake.
How the new travel order may still face legal obstacles, analysts say
President Trump’s new version Monday of a 90-day ban on U.S. entry from selected Muslim-majority countries has been stripped of some of its most legally vulnerable provisions, such as its application to legal U.S. residents and visa-holders. The new executive order also includes 10 days’ notice before it takes effect, allowing travelers to enter the United States if they’re already on the way.
S.C. to decide whether ex-producer’s suit against CNN was a SLAPP
The California Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether a former Los Angeles-based CNN producer’s action against the network, in connection with his discharge, should have been stricken under the anti-SLAPP statute. The justices, at their weekly conference in San Francisco Wednesday, unanimously granted review in Wilson v. Cable News Network, Inc. (2016) 6 Cal. App. 5th 822.
Election 2017
LA voters pass Measure M to regulate marijuana sales
A city-sponsored measure giving Los Angeles tools to regulate the recreational and medical marijuana industry was overwhelmingly approved by voters Tuesday evening. Measure M easily bested a competing ballot issue, the initiative Measure N, which was crafted and pushed onto the ballot by a marijuana trade group that later opted to throw its support behind the City Council’s measure.
LA election results: the establishment wins
In an era when populist uprisings have brought surprising election results nationally and internationally, the opposite was true in the Los Angeles elections yesterday. The establishment held its ground as most incumbents, led by Mayor Eric Garcetti’s overwhelming victory, retained their seats and the powers-that-be held sway on high profile city and county ballot measures.
Governor Garcetti? Massive mayor reelection win, but what’s next?
Mayor Eric Garcetti was preparing for another term Wednesday after a massive win that allowed him to avoid a May runoff, but whether he will serve his full term as mayor or seek higher office remained a mystery. City Hall speculation about Garcetti’s political future started almost immediately after Tuesday night’s victory. Will Garcetti make a try for governor in 2018 to replace Jerry Brown who is termed out of office?
Prison
California eases conditions at death row disciplinary unit
California will no longer keep death row inmates in solitary confinement for years only because of their purported gang affiliations, according to a lawsuit settlement announced Monday. Six San Quentin State Prison inmates sued in 2015, saying they were being held indefinitely under inhumane and degrading conditions in what prison officials call the “adjustment center.” One inmate had been there for 26 years and two others for more than a decade when the lawsuit was filed.
‘This is like paradise’: Seal Beach’s pay-to-stay program actively markets its jail, attracting deep-pocketed offenders
Sitting at a picnic table under azure skies last fall, a 37-year-old onetime CEO of a financial services company contemplated his good fortune. Sure, he was surrounded by a barbed wire fence, and lunch was frozen hot dogs and string beans being thawed in a bare-bones kitchen. But the alternative was Orange County jail, where he would be warehoused in barracks with hundreds of others, where alliances ran along racial lines and fights broke out daily.
California eases conditions at death row disciplinary unit
California will no longer keep death row inmates in solitary confinement for years only because of their purported gang affiliations, according to a lawsuit settlement announced Monday. Six San Quentin State Prison inmates sued in 2015, saying they were being held indefinitely under inhumane and degrading conditions in what prison officials call the “adjustment center.” One inmate had been there for 26 years and two others for more than a decade when the lawsuit was filed.
State & Local Government
Why America’s second largest city needs to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games
March 1, 2017 marked a turning point in the competition to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. Budapest, Hungary officially announced its withdrawal from contention, leaving only Los Angeles and Paris in the race to host the world’s most momentous sporting event. As both cities now vie for the honor, Los Angeles Olympics officials are making a heavy push to be part of history and the citizens of LA are onboard.
California’s next governor: Who’s running, who’s on the fence?
Welcome to your guide to the 2018 California governor’s race. The election may be a little less than two years away, but listening tours are underway, political consultants are doling out advice and pundits are handicapping favorites and wild cards. Here are the players to keep an eye on: Top jobs: California’s lieutenant governor since 2011. Mayor of San Francisco for two terms, from 2004 to 2011.
Calif. Attorney General Becerra talks Trump, Constitution
President Trump’s positions on issues such as immigration, the environment and legalization of marijuana have put him at odds with Golden State legislators. In an interview with Bill O’Reilly on Fox News Channel in February, Trump said he’s willing to do what it takes to make California fall in line. But even the threat of lost funding hasn’t stopped California legislators from signaling their resistance to policies that conflict with state laws.
California’s next governor: Who’s running, who’s on the fence?
Welcome to your guide to the 2018 California governor’s race. The election may be a little less than two years away, but listening tours are underway, political consultants are doling out advice and pundits are handicapping favorites and wild cards. Here are the players to keep an eye on: Top jobs: California’s lieutenant governor since 2011. Mayor of San Francisco for two terms, from 2004 to 2011.
Chiang, others speak in support of Secure Choice retirement program
State Treasurer John Chiang, AARP California Director Nancy McPherson and others are urging the U.S. Senate to defeat legislation that would undermine California’s Secure Choice employee savings program. Established in 2016, the Secure Choice Retirement Savings Act is intended to provide retirement savings accounts to more than 7 million private sector California workers who don’t have access to a savings program through their workplace.
Munger’s well-intentioned but stupid plan that handed over California to the Democrats
Back in the early part of the last decade, people often asked me about running for public office. Other than I could not afford it because I was putting two kids through private school, I told them I could not run for any office except a statewide position because as a Republican it would be a hopeless cause and I don’t do hopeless political causes. Now because of the genius and money of Charles Munger, Jr., I cannot even run statewide in California with any hope of winning.
Legislation
Sheriff Jim McDonnell discusses bill that could limit contact between law enforcement, ICE
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell discussed the possible repercussions of a proposed bill that would stifle interactions between local law enforcement and federal agencies regarding criminals who may not be citizens. Critics of Senate Bill 54, or the Values Act, believe it would help protect criminals rather than families and communities.
California assemblyman wants to criminalize recording violent crime
A California assemblyman believes those who film violent crimes should face charges along with the attacker. He is introducing a bill to crack down on conspirators. In December, a teen sucker-punched high school student Jordan Peisner, who he didn’t even know. Jordan suffered multiple injuries, including permanent hearing loss. The incident, which was recorded and shared on social media, sparked outrage among community members, who demanded an end to such bullying.
Federal Government
LA’s top federal prosecutor among 46 Obama appointees asked to step own
The U.S. Justice Department Friday announced that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked dozens of remaining Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys — including Los Angeles’ top federal prosecutor Eileen Decker — to step aside to make way for appointees of President Donald Trump. Sessions wants “to ensure a uniform transition” to the Trump administration, spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement.
C.I.A. scrambles to contain damage from WikiLeaks documents
The C.I.A. scrambled on Wednesday to assess and contain the damage from the release by WikiLeaks of thousands of documents that cataloged the agency’s cyberspying capabilities, temporarily halting work on some projects while the F.B.I. turned to finding who was responsible for the leak. Investigators say that the leak was the work not of a hostile foreign power like Russia but of a disaffected insider, as WikiLeaks suggested when it released the documents Tuesday.
Trump effect? Smugglers raise price for sneaking people across U.S. border
The price for making illegal entry into the U.S. across the Mexican border has gotten a whole lot steeper in a hurry, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration document obtained by NBC News. As recently as last November, undocumented immigrants were being charged $3,500 to be smuggled into the U.S. through the rugged terrain that links Mexico to Arizona.
Calif. lawmakers file FOIA demanding info on ICE activities
Lawmakers in California have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to look into the activities of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the state, the Huffington Post reported Friday. According to the report, the request was filed in order to retrieve “information about recent Department of Homeland Security policies and Immigration and Customs Enforcement activities.”
Victims of immigrant crime now have advocate in White House
Two years ago, Steve Ronnebeck’s son was gunned down at work in a Phoenix-area convenience store over a pack of cigarettes. The man accused of pulling the trigger was an immigrant who was in the country illegally and had been released by federal authorities.
The suspected killer, captured on camera calmly stepping over the body of 21-year-old Grant Ronnebeck to grab a few more packs, faced deportation but was free on bond.
Don Rosenberg: Democrats reaction to Trump on immigration “despicable”
One California man was disgusted by the reaction of Democratic members of Congress last night as President Trump addressed the issue of illegal immigration. Don Rosenberg’s son Drew was run over and killed by an unlicensed, and illegal immigrant driver, in San Francisco in November 2010.  He says one part of the speech he found “despicable.”
The incentive to leak is right in the Constitution
The ongoing saga of contacts between Russian officials and the Donald Trump campaign assures that the subject of government leaks isn’t going away anytime soon. Although some critics have compared the career bureaucrats suspected of doing the leaking to the “deep state” that has bedeviled reformers in Egypt and Turkey, the First Amendment hasn’t been brought into the conversation. It should be.

Monday Morning Memo for March 6, 2017

Prosecution
D.A. opposes Roman Polanski’s bid to unseal transcripts
The L.A. County D.A.’s office Wednesday filed its objections to Roman Polanski’s latest legal maneuver, holding to its position that the director’s decades-old rape case cannot be resolved while he remains a fugitive. Polanski is seeking to unseal a 2010 transcript of Deputy District Attorney Roger Gunson, who prosecuted the 1977 case. Polanski’s attorney, Harland Braun, wrote a letter Feb. 6 to Judge Scott Gordon urging him to make the document public.
Los Angeles district attorney refuses to put up with Roman Polanski’s B.S.
In February, we reported that famed director and admitted rapist Roman Polanski was trying to return to the U.S. after several decades on the run, but only if the Los Angeles courts would unseal a “secret transcript” that supposedly proves Polanski was just supposed to get sentenced to 90 days of psychiatric evaluation after confessing to raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
Sex with girl, 13, by Roman Polanski: Poland nixes LA extradition
Efforts by Los Angeles prosecutors to bring back Roman Polanski to punish him for having had sex with a 13-year-old girl almost 40 years ago suffered a major setback when the Polish Supreme Court rejected a request by Poland’s government to extradite the Oscar-winning filmmaker. Polanski was arrested in 1977 on charges that included the rape of a 13- year-old girl at the home of actor Jack Nicholson.
USC graduate student charged with professor’s killing
A USC graduate student who allegedly fatally stabbed a psychology professor on campus last week pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a murder charge. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gustavo N. Sztraicher ordered David Jonathan Brown, 28, to remain jailed on just over $2 million bail while awaiting a Dec. 19 hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to require him to stand trial on a charge that he killed Siaufung “Bosco” Tjan inside the professor’s office.
Trial starts against alleged sex trafficker who told women he was Hollywood modeling agent
Taquarius Ford introduced himself to young women in shopping malls, showered them with compliments and asked if they’d be interested in a modeling career. He claimed he was a successful modeling executive from Hollywood and promised them future fame, paying for their flights to Los Angeles, where he wined and dined them and took them to red carpet events with celebrities.
Judge: Prosecutors can use Bill Cosby’s deposition at trial
Damaging testimony that Bill Cosby gave in an accuser’s lawsuit, including admissions that he gave young women drugs and alcohol before sex, can be used at his criminal sex assault trial, a judge ruled Monday. The defense had insisted that Cosby only testified after being promised he wouldn’t be charged over his 2004 encounter with accuser Andrea Constand.
Prosecutors: Ex-Sheriff Lee Baca was ‘heartbeat’ of jail conspiracy
Former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca was “the heartbeat of conspiracy” when it came to hiding abuses within Men’s Central Jail, and he did nothing to hold deputies who beat inmates accountable, prosecutors said in federal court Wednesday. The remarks were part of opening statements during the first day of Baca’s jail corruption trial, held at the downtown L.A. federal courthouse.
Baca Retrial: Ex-Lieutenant Greg Thompson takes stand for 1st time
It took a subpoena from federal prosecutors and a court-ordered grant of immunity to haul former LASD Lieutenant Greg Thompson into court Tuesday at the corruption retrial of former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca. Prosecutors aimed to tie the ex-Sheriff to acts they say prove Baca illegally stonewalled an undercover FBI probe into inmate abuse and deputy corruption inside L.A. County jails.
Allred wishes more Cosby accusers could testify
Lawyer Gloria Allred says she appreciates a court ruling Friday that lets one of her clients testify against Bill Cosby at his sex assault trial, though she wishes more of the accusers could join her. The Allred client says Cosby drugged and molested her at a Los Angeles hotel in 1996 when she a 29-year-old assistant to the comedian’s late agent.
The Southern Illinoisan
‘Butt dial’ message records murder victim’s final moments, prosecutors say
The voicemail came just after midnight – only hours before a woman’s mangled corpse was found abandoned near the seventh hole of an Indio golf course. It sounded like a barely audible conversation between a man and a woman, and Ian Thompson figured the call was an accidental “butt dial” from his friend Michael John Franco.
Man pleads not guilty to murdering two men in Chinatown social club
A man accused in the stabbing deaths of two men, who were attacked last month while playing mah-jongg in a private social club in Chinatown, pleaded not guilty Friday to capital murder charges. Vinh Dao – who prosecutors allege has a 2002 conviction for manslaughter – is charged in the Jan. 26 deaths of Tony Young and Kim Kong Yon at the Hop Sing Tong Benevolent Association at 428 Gin Ling Way, near the 900 block of North Broadway.
After 118 court appearances, California man’s murder trial hearing postponed again
The recently-appointed attorney for a man who has spent more than a dozen years awaiting trial for a pair of decades-old murders was given more time on Tuesday to go over the extensive evidence collected in the long-running case. John Laurence Whitaker’s 118th court appearance ended on a familiar note, as Orange County Superior Court Judge Patrick Donahue agreed to continue the 69-year-old defendant’s pretrial hearing until September.
Murder victim gunned down because letter ‘P’ was on his hat, prosecutor argues
Closing arguments are scheduled Thursday in the trial of a reputed gang member accused of gunning down a young man in Indio after mistaking the victim as a member of a rival gang. Shawn Anthony Wynn, 24, of Palm Desert, faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of the June 16, 2014, slaying of 20-year- old Juan Carlos Hernandez.
Former DWP employee pleads no contest to embezzling $4M in public funds
A former audio-visual technician for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power pleaded no contest Thursday to charges that he embezzled more than $4 million in public funds. Thatcus Richard, 65, entered his plea to nine felony counts each of embezzlement by a public officer, public officer crime and conflict of interest, according to Deputy District Attorney Susan Ser.
Conviction & Sentencing
Appeals court upholds 3 life sentences in Pasadena murder
A state appeals court panel Friday upheld the convictions of three men serving life prison sentences without the possibility of parole for a drug deal that went bad in Pasadena and left a 21-year-old man dead. The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s finding of a special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of an attempted robbery against Peter Parra, Kevin Cabrera and Raymond Conchas.
Disabled man stomped to death: ‘Heinous crime’ killer sentenced
A 21-year-old man was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years to life behind bars for the beating and stomping death of a disabled man at Rancho Cienega Park in the Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw area. “You made my brother really suffer in his last moments in life,” the victim’s sister told the defendant in court. “You’ve created a wound in our hearts that will never heal. I hope that my brother’s face will haunt you for the rest of your life.”
Law Enforcement
New law could lead to rise in crime throughout California
Concern continues to grow among local law enforcement officials and politicians about the anticipated impact a bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2015 will have on policing, if not the crime rate. Between AB 109 and Proposition 47, many communities already have seen crime rise in recent years. It may only worsen when Assembly Bill 953 takes effect in 2018, according to San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon.
McDonnell appoints new undersheriff La Berge, first since Tanaka’s ouster
Los Angeles County has introduced its new undersheriff Monday, nearly four years after its former undersheriff resigned in scandal. At a press conference Monday at the Hall of Justice, Jacques “Anthony” La Berge, the assistant sheriff in charge of patrol operations, accepted the role, which has been vacant since his predecessor, Paul Tanaka, resigned in March 2013.
California has some of the toughest laws keeping police discipline private. That seems unlikely to change
In the nearly three years since nationwide protests erupted after a Ferguson, Mo., police officer shot and killed teenager Michael Brown, state lawmakers introduced multiple bills designed to overhaul how much Californians are allowed to know about officer-involved shootings and internal investigations, and increase access to body camera videos.
Ambush shootings of police officers reach highest total in decades
Police officers across the country say they are taking new precautions in response to a spike in what they call “ambush-style” attacks against them. Cops are teaming up to respond to emergency calls, suiting up more often in ballistic vests and helmets, even taking greater care to monitor their surroundings while dining out, police officials from half a dozen cities who spoke with The Trace said.
Attacks on police officers would be classified as hate crimes under California bill
Alarmed by a wave of shootings targeting police officers, state Assemblyman Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear) has introduced a bill that would make an attack on law enforcement a hate crime in California, allowing stiffer penalties for those convicted. Obernolte’s bill comes after a series of shootings that have left 62 law enforcement officers dead so far this year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
The new, more powerful wave of civilian oversight of police
In Oakland, Calif., police will soon answer to civilians newly entrusted with the power to discipline officers and fire the chief. Last November, the city’s residents voted to create a civilian-run commission with a level of authority over law enforcement that is rare in this country.”This was a no-brainer given Oakland’s history,” says Rashidah Grinage, coordinator of the Coalition for Police Accountability, a group that helped write the ballot measure, which faced no formal opposition and passed with 83 percent of the vote.
Democratic congressman fights hard for painting of cops as pigs to go back on display on Capitol Hill

They say every picture tells a story. That’s certainly true of the painting at the centre of a recently announced lawsuit by Missouri Democrat, Rep. Lacy Clay and his ongoing legal battle to have the picture,  depicting police officers as pigs,  go back on display in a Capitol Hill hallway. And if it’s true that one look is worth a thousand words, then the uproar around this picture would currently generate enough words to fill a whole novel.

High-risk, high-expense security for celebrities plagued by stalkers
In recent celebrity stalking cases, Los Angeles courtroom events have shined a spotlight on the personal dangers some Hollywood stars face and the surprising extent and expense of protection measures these celebrities are forced to take. “I hate to say that if you’re a celebrity and you’re famous it comes with the territory, but it does. The more people that are following you, the more fans you have, the greater the likelihood that there’s going to be an unstable person in that midst,” explained Kris Mohandie, a police and forensic psychologist who previously ran the Los Angeles Police Department’s Behavioral Sciences Unit.
State has highest paid law enforcement officers in the nation
A recent study shows California law enforcement officials are the highest paid in the nation. The study published by career website Zippia.com shows that deputy sheriffs and police officers in California earn more than their peers in the other 49 states. The figures cited in the study come directly from Bureau of Labor Statistics data and were adjusted to reflect living wages throughout the nation.
AG sessions says DOJ to ‘pull back’ on police department civil rights suits
Donald Trump’s attorney general said Tuesday the Justice Department will limit its use of a tactic employed aggressively under President Obama – suing police departments for violating the civil rights of minorities. “We need, so far as we can, to help police departments get better, not diminish their effectiveness. And I’m afraid we’ve done some of that,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
California law enforcement union sues to block police accountability
Because there’s just not enough opacity shrouding police misconduct and not enough slanting of the criminal justice system against defendants, California police unions have decided to get involved in a judicial dispute over lists of law enforcement officers whose half of “our word against yours” isn’t quite as bulletproof as is normally assumed. A Los Angeles sheriff is trying to do the right thing, but he’s running into opposition from his own supposed “representatives.”
Amazon turns a blind eye to counterfeits
Amazon’s Marketplace proving to be an ideal counterfeit outlet.
Counterfeit problems are growing for Amazon as sellers overwhelm the web platform. Complaints are mounting, and legitimate manufacturers are suffering. Counterfeit sales can be a lucrative revenue source for the e-commerce giant, as transaction fees are charged for each sale of fake goods.
LA officials urge ICE agents to stop identifying themselves as ‘police’
Los Angeles officials have requested that agents of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement immediately cease the practice of identifying themselves as “police.” In a letter, Mayor Eric Garcetti, city attorney Mike Feuer and Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson urged ICE agents to no longer refer to themselves as “police” while carrying out their duties in L.A.
Courts
Public officials can’t shield government business by using personal email, state Supreme Court rules
Texts and emails sent by public employees on their personal devices or accounts are a matter of public record if they deal with official business, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a unanimous decision hailed by open-government advocates. But the court provided only general guidance on where the line would be drawn, posing a challenge for cities and counties forced to balance employees’ privacy against the public’s right to know.
Supreme Court poised to strike down N.C. law barring sex offenders from Facebook
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday appeared poised to strike down a North Carolina law barring convicted sex offenders from Facebook and other social media services, with justices noting the expansive role such online tools play in today’s society. Lester Packingham, a registered sex offender due to a statutory rape conviction, challenged the North Carolina law as a violation of his free speech rights under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.
ACLU sues Milwaukee Police Department, community-police relations: A simple discussion?
Do Black rights matter in Milwaukee? Do Black lives matter in Milwaukee? What if one asked Dontre Hamilton’s family? What about the 70 men subject to forced strip searches over a matter of two years? The Milwaukee Police Department’s vision is “A Milwaukee where all can live safely and without fear, protected by a police department with the highest ethical and professional standards.”
Is posting on Facebook a fundamental right?
Lester Packingham Jr. registered as a sex offender in 2002 after pleading guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl when he was 21. But that offense isn’t what brought Packingham to the Supreme Court of the United States on Monday. The crime this time around? A Facebook post. The post itself was benign enough. In 2010, Packingham took to Facebook to celebrate a recently dismissed parking ticket.
Los Angeles County sues state over political boundaries law
Los Angeles County is suing over a new state law it says discriminates against more than 1 million voters while taking away the power of the Board of Supervisors to draw its own political boundaries. The lawsuit aims to block the 2016 law that creates a 14-member commission to draw boundaries for county supervisor districts after the 2020 census.
Judge grants restraining order against Black Lives Matter activist accused of threatening L.A. police commissioner
A judge has granted a restraining order against a Black Lives Matter activist who took his racially charged rhetoric to the law office and home of Los Angeles Police Commission President Matt Johnson. The intrusion of the activist, Trevor Ferguson, into the commissioner’s private life marked an escalation of a conflict that had previously been confined to public meetings.
Los Angeles mayor flirts with sanctuary movement while collaborating with ICE
On February 2, the American Civil Liberties Union held a press conference at the Terminal 2 arrivals gate of Los Angeles International Airport. The occasion for the press conference was the return of Ali Vayeghan, an Iranian lawful permanent resident of the United States who had been deported a few days before as a result of President Trump’s Muslim ban, to American soil.
SF tells high court there’s nothing to fear from trans restrooms
Decades of allowing transgender students, park visitors and government workers to use restrooms that fit their gender identity show that fears of sexual predators and invasion of privacy are unfounded, San Francisco and 30 other local governments said Thursday in a filing with the U.S. Supreme Court. “Wrapping discrimination in a cloak of fear doesn’t protect anyone,” San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement announcing the court brief.
Immigration courts clogged with 2-year backlog
Among the dozens of foreigners facing possible deportation who appeared before San Francisco immigration judges last week was Arturo Rojas, a former military officer from El Salvador who said he had fled his homeland in fear of his life. In his native country, Rojas had worked with local law enforcement to combat criminal gangs. But when his name showed up on a powerful gang’s hit list, his lawyer said, he left his wife and their infant son behind and headed north.
Ballot Measures
Prop. 64: Legalized marijuana may generate less tax than planned
Many medical marijuana patients were worried that a ballot measure legalizing cannabis for recreational use in California would make the price of their medicine go up. Instead, for some of them, pot just got cheaper, though maybe not for long. The Board of Equalization recently sent notice that anyone who has both a doctor’s recommendation for marijuana and a county-issued ID card identifying them as a patient no longer has to pay state sales tax thanks to Proposition 64.
Measure S campaign bucks Sheriff’s Dept. demands on ‘eviction’ mailers
Backers of Measure S refused Monday to comply with county demands tied to a campaign mailer that mimics an eviction notice, arguing that concerns about misleading tenants are “quite overblown.” The mailers are emblazoned with the phrase “EVICTION NOTICE” under the words “County of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.” Below, in much smaller print, the mailer mentions the Measure S campaign committee and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, its chief financial backer.
Prison
Last words of California’s executed inmates
Thirteen inmates have been executed in California since 1978, and seven of those prisoners chose to make final statements. Robert Alton Harris, KCRA-TV: Harris was convicted of abducting and murdering two teenage boys in 1978. Last words: “You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everyone dances with the Grim Reaper.” William George Bonin, KCRA-TV:  Bonin, also known as the “Freeway Killer,” kidnapped, robbed, raped and killed a total of 14 teenage boys between 1979 and 1980.
‘Gary from Chicago’ released from jail 3 days before Oscars
The tourist who became a breakout star of the 89th Annual Academy Awards said he was released from prison, where he served more than 20 years, just three days before the appearing at the Oscars. “Gary from Chicago,” whose real name is Gary Alan Coe, was part of a sightseeing tour group who unexpectedly ended up at the Oscars as part of a skit organized by host Jimmy Kimmel.
California inmate dies awaiting execution for rapes, murder
Authorities say a California condemned inmate has died while awaiting execution for a series of rapes and one murder nearly four decades ago. Corrections officials say 60-year-old Stevie Lamar Fields was found unresponsive early Tuesday in his single cell at San Quentin State Prison. He later died, but the cause of death is awaiting an autopsy. He was sentenced to death in 1979 by a Los Angeles County jury for kidnapping, robbing, raping and murdering 26-year-old Rosemary Janet Cobb.
Pensions
Public pensions are in better shape than you think
The beleaguered condition of state and local pension plans is one of those ongoing disaster stories that crops up about once a week somewhere. The explanation usually goes something like this: Irresponsible politicians and greedy public employee unions created over-generous benefit schemes, leading to pension plans which aren’t “fully-funded” and eventual fiscal crisis. That in turn necessitates benefit cuts, contribution hikes, or perhaps even abolishment of the pension scheme.
Californians hit as bad debts lead to government pension cuts
Maureen Lynch, 66, retired when the California government job-training agency where she worked was shuttered in 2014, assuming she could count on a $1,705 monthly pension for the rest of her life. But her former employer, East San Gabriel Valley Human Services Consortium, left a $406,027 unpaid bill to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which manages benefits for 3,000 local governments and districts.
Politics & Government
Rancor over development, crime shadow LA mayor’s race
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s toughest competitor in his campaign for a second term might not be another candidate. Anxiety over taller, denser development, a jump in violent crime and the city’s notoriously fickle voters together inject a faint hue of uncertainty into what otherwise looks like a lopsided contest. Slim and polished, the 46-year-old Democrat is nearing the end of a relatively steady first term blessed by an improved national economy.
IHSS cost shift: More costly to counties
Some new analysis of the Governor’s plan to shift costs for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) back to Counties shows the impact is larger and grows faster than originally thought. Counties stand to lose $625 million in the first fiscal year, and the total cumulative cost is more than $7 billion by the 2022-23 fiscal year. Tables showing the increased costs are available at this link.
As state attorney general, Xavier Becerra gets to battle Trump – and discourage rivals in 2018
The race for California attorney general in 2018 has been shaken up by the so-called “Trump factor,” with the state’s newly appointed top lawyer, Xavier Becerra, seeing his profile boosted to the national stage by legal challenges to the Republican president. What was shaping up to be a free-for-all with several strong candidates before Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Becerra last month is now looking to be a much narrower race, with some candidates signaling they may drop out.
GOP California congressman calls for special prosecutor in probe of Russia-Trump ties
A Republican congressman has called for a special prosecutor to investigate whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and was in touch with President Donald Trump’s team during the campaign. Rep. Darrell Issa of California says it would be improper for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to lead the investigation. Issa made the comments Friday on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”
LA County Deputy DA assails danger of “Affordable Bail Act” reform
California state lawmakers are looking at reforming the bail system to help low-risk, low income suspected criminals stay out of jail, where, because of the overburdened court system, they are apt to languish, possibly losing their job and housing. Assemblyman Rob Bonta and Senator Bob Hertzberg are behind the legislation. Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney David Berger says changing the bail system will jeopardize public safety.
Other News
Poll shows surprising Bay Area support for key Trump immigration policies
An exclusive new Survey USA poll offered a stunning snapshot of where the Bay Area stands on immigration Monday, with the new numbers revealing that more local residents are backing President Trump’s policies than you might think. The KPIX 5 Survey USA Poll showed more than half of people support a key element of the President’s immigration policy. 53 percent said local law enforcement should always contact federal authorities about illegal immigrants who commit violent crimes.
Urgent appeal: California Democrats to invoke new anti-Trump weapon
As they suit up for battle against the Trump administration, Democrats who dominate California’s Legislature vow to unleash one of the superpowers of holding a supermajority: the ability to enact laws immediately. An underplayed consequence of the fact that they won two-thirds of the seats in both houses last month is that-if they stick together-California Democrats have the required margin to pass a bill with an “urgency” clause.
In L.A.’s historic African American core, a growing Latino wave represents a possible ‘turning point’
Few places hold as much importance in Los Angeles’ black history as Central Avenue, the birthplace of the West Coast jazz scene and a magnet for those leaving the South seeking a better life. It runs through City Council District 9 in South Los Angeles and ends blocks from City Hall – a pathway that is both symbolic and literal. Voters in the district have elected an African American to the City Council since the early 1960s.

Monday Morning Memo for February 27, 2017

Prosecution
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., Amazon.com 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., Amazon.com 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.”
Courts
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.
Legislation
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

Prosecution
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.”
Elections
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.
Legislation
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.
Prison
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.
Courts
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.
Pensions
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

Prosecution
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 Amazon.com 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 Backpage.com, called an online brothel, could hurt law enforcement
There’s a law enforcement paradox to Backpage.com, 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.
Pensions
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.
Courts
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.
Legislation
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

Bail
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.
Prosecution
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.
Courts
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.
Legislation
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.

Bakersfield.com

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

Prosecution
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.
Courts
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.
Pensions
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.