Monday Morning Memo for January 16, 2017

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

Monday Morning Memo for January 9, 2017

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

Other News
It’s still a mad, mad California
One reason for the emergence of outsider Donald Trump is the old outrage that elites seldom experience the consequences of their own ideologically driven agendas. Hypocrisy, when coupled with sanctimoniousness, grates people like few other human transgressions: Barack Obama opposing charter schools for the inner city as he puts his own children in Washington’s toniest prep schools, or Bay Area greens suing to stop contracted irrigation water from Sierra reservoirs, even as they count on the Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy project to deliver crystal-clear mountain water to their San Francisco taps.
Would Gavin Newsom represent another Brown term?
When the 2018 gubernatorial race warms up, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and his camp are likely to hammer home their point that it’s his time, that he’s earned the office, much the same way Hillary Clinton’s supporters said she deserved to be president. Apparently, most Californians would agree with Democrat Newsom, who first won the lieutenant governor’s office in 2010, was re-elected in 2014, and was twice elected San Francisco’s mayor after spending seven years on the city’s board of supervisors.
Presidential Transition
As AG, Jeff Sessions will restore police, Dept. of Justice relationship
Every day members of the law enforcement community come to work prepared for anything. They understand that they are the thin blue line between a safe public and criminal activity – and each moment presents a new challenge. Law enforcement understands the dangers of protecting their communities and go to work each day knowing they might be shot for their communities’ safety.
California Dems tap Eric Holder to fight Trump in court
Democratic leaders of the California state legislature have hired Eric Holder, the former attorney general during the Obama administration, to serve as outside legal counsel as they prepare for a series of court battles with President-elect Donald Trump’s White House. In a statement released Wednesday, California Senate President Kevin de Leon and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon — both Democrats — announced they had “hired outside legal counsel to advise on potential legal challenges with the incoming Trump administration.”
Trump’s deportation vow spurs California farmers into action
Days after Donald Trump won the presidential election vowing to deport millions of people in the country illegally and fortify the Mexican border, California farmer Kevin Herman ordered nearly $600,000 in new equipment, cutting the number of workers he’ll need starting with the next harvest. Herman, who grows figs, persimmons and almonds in the nation’s most productive farming state, said Trump’s comments pushed him to make the purchase, larger than he’d planned to buy otherwise.  

Monday Morning Memo for January 2, 2017

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

Monday Morning Memo for December 26, 2016

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

Los Angeles Daily News

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

NBC News

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

Washington Post

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

CALmatters

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

Washington Post

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

Los Angeles Times

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

Monday Morning Memo for December 19, 2016

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

Monday Morning Memo for December 12, 2016

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

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

Monday Morning Memo for December 5, 2016

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

City News Service

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

Monday Morning Memo for November 28, 2016

Law Enforcement
Cops battle cops in court: Wrongdoing by LAPD top staff?
Six members of the Los Angeles Police Internal Affairs Group are suing the city over “whistleblower retaliation,” alleging they were wrongfully reprimanded in a dispute about unlawful activities and nepotism within the department’s upper levels. The lawsuit says the six believe they were targeted because a deputy chief thought they would speak in support of another internal affairs cop who was vocal about the supposed wrongdoing.
Police encourage more hate crime reports
Law enforcement leaders in Los Angeles called on the public Wednesday to report any sort of hate-motivated incidents. “Should they become a victim of a hate crime, they should call the police and report it,” said L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey at an event that also included LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer.
Free after 16 years, innocent man sues LAPD
One year ago, a state judge exonerated Luis Lorenzo Vargas of three sexual assaults for which he’d spent 16 years in prison. On Monday, Vargas sued the Los Angeles Police and Sheriff’s departments and the District Attorney’s Office, for putting him there. Vargas claims police and prosecutors never disclosed that strikingly similar assaults continued even after he was in custody, all apparently committed by a man known as the Teardrop Rapist.
DA mulls case against Saugus High ‘hoaxer’ – School also takes stock of lockdown procedures
The case of the Saugus High School 11th-grader who allegedly perpetrated a hoax at the school last Friday – spreading the rumor of an armed student, and leading to a brief lockdown – is now in the hands of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. Meanwhile, school principal Bill Bolde told The Signal that while the lockdown went smoothly, he was busy Monday debriefing school staff, with an eye toward taking stock and improving areas that could have gone better still.
‘America’s Invisible Crime’: Cargo theft expected to surge during holidays
Truckers are being warned about the risk of cargo theft during the holiday weekend, especially in Southern California. Since the beginning of the year, nearly $30 million in cargo has been stolen off of highways and from distribution centers throughout California. That is a 40% increase over last year, according to CargoNet, a cargo theft prevention and recovery network.
eBay and Amazon risky for holiday shoppers
When e-commerce giants eBay and Amazon try to maximize profits, the collateral damage to manufacturers and consumers can be enormous, and devastating. Both eBay and Amazon have channeled their business model into online “Marketplace” retail outlets which allow un-vetted global sellers to peddle hugely profitable counterfeit goods to unsuspecting consumers.
Local law enforcement agencies stay hands-off on immigration
Local law enforcement officials said this week they will not actively enforce federal immigration laws, in keeping with their longstanding effort to maintain the public’s trust. In an interview with “60 Minutes,” President-elect Donald Trump said he plans to deport millions of undocumented immigrants with criminal records, but agencies in Ventura County said they will generally continue their hands-off policy on the issue.
Grand Jury latest to launch probe of jailhouse snitch scandal
Orange County’s jailhouse snitch scandal has taken a new turn, with revelations that the county grand jury has launched an investigation into alleged illegal conduct by prosecutors and sheriff’s deputies and is being assisted in the probe by a former United States attorney. At some point this summer, the grand jury asked state Attorney General Kamala Harris to hire attorneys to “investigate and present evidence” for its informants investigation, according to AG records released by the county Tuesday.
LA County Sheriff: Our relationship with ICE won’t change for Trump
Immigration has been a hot topic of discussion in Southern California following the election of Donald Trump as president, and many immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally are wondering what the future holds for them and their families. Here in Los Angeles County, Sheriff Jim McDonnell says his department’s relationship with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will remain status quo.
LA prepares to battle Trump over deportation
The battle lines have been drawn, and the City of Los Angeles is preparing for war with President-elect Donald Trump over potential deportation efforts to decrease the number of undocumented citizens in the United States. Trump campaigned with a vow to remove the estimated 11 million people who entered the country illegally, although since winning the election, he has lowered that number to roughly 2 or 3 million who have criminal records.
‘Sanctuary Cities’ vs. national security and public safety
The lunacy of the immigration executive orders and other actions of the Obama administration to block the enforcement of our immigration laws and immigration anarchy will be brought to a screeching halt on the day that Donald Trump replaces Mr. Obama in the Oval Office. However the “Immigration All-Clear” will not be sounded across the United States in cities and states that have been declared “Sanctuaries” by the mayors and governors who have created a false and very dangerous narrative that equates immigration law enforcement with racism and bigotry.
How a dispute over dog droppings put a celebrated homicide detective and a judge under scrutiny
Throughout his more than three-decade career, Det. Mark Lillienfeld built a reputation as one of the finest homicide detectives in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The murder case of racing legend Mickey Thompson languished for years until Lillienfeld took over the investigation and saw it through to a conviction. In 2009, he helped send music producer Phil Spector to prison for the fatal shooting of actress Lana Clarkson.
Prosecution
Worst mass killer in OC gets DA ousted
Orange County’s worst mass killer apparently won’t see the local district attorney in court any longer after an appeals panel agreed with a judge that prosecutors would not ensure a fair penalty phase trial due to loyalty to law enforcement. A state appellate panel upheld a Superior Court judge’s recusal of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office from prosecuting the penalty trial of Scott Evans Dekraai, the worst mass killer in the county’s history.
Judge withholds ruling during ex-LA Sheriff Lee Baca’s hearing
A federal judge withheld his ruling Tuesday on whether testimony would be allowed from a defense expert who is expected to say former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease while being investigated in a jail corruption scandal. After hearing both sides, U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson said he would take the motion under consideration and submit a written response.
Conviction & Sentencing
Appellate panel upholds West Hollywood man’s 12-year prison sentence for live-in boyfriend’s killing
A state appeals court panel last week upheld a man’s 12- year prison sentence for fatally stabbing and mutilating his live-in boyfriend at the West Hollywood apartment they briefly shared. The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark Windham should have sentenced Andre Davids to six years in prison for the March 29, 2014, death of Kurtland Ma.
Marijuana
California marijuana industry is a ‘$25 billion opportunity’
MedMen likens itself, as many cannabis companies do, to an early tech startup. Its West Hollywood dispensary looks a bit like an Apple store, with samples of product in polished glass cases and information about each on iPads. In a grow facility in Sun Valley, north of Los Angeles, marijuana plants grow in coconut fiber, sustained by drip irrigation and marked by thin plastic labels stuck in soil.
Pensions
Jerry Brown’s pension reforms have done little to rein in costs
A year after his 2010 election, Gov. Jerry Brown made a rare appearance at a legislative committee hearing to confront lawmakers about the steep cost of public employee pensions – and to demand that they pass his 12-point pension overhaul. Brown challenged fellow Democrats to drink political “castor oil” so public retirement costs would not overburden future generations.
Paying for public retirees has never cost L.A. taxpayers more. And that’s after pension reform
Los Angeles officials often boast about how they stemmed the rising cost of employee pensions, an expense that has hobbled cash-strapped cities throughout California. Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said changes he oversaw in 2011 and 2012, which included lower pensions for new employees and higher retirement contributions from city workers, were “the most far-reaching effort in the nation.”
Ballot Measures
California Democratic Party leaders may be asked to fess up when paid to back ballot measures
The California Democratic Party is considering a new policy that would require party leaders to fully disclose any compensation they receive to advocate for a statewide ballot initiative or candidate for state office. The push for transparency comes after Eric Bauman, chairman of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party and a candidate for state party chairman, faced criticism after his political consulting firm was paid by opponents of Proposition 61, which voters rejected on Nov. 8.
Law enforcement’s hands tied by Prop. 57: Laren Leichliter
This election season has shocked many and made history in ways nobody had anticipated. And as the reality of the results are starting to slowly sink in, we are reminded to trust in our democratic process, even when the outcome is not in our favor. It is certainly easier said than done.
California secessionists unveil independence measure
It still doesn’t have much of a ring – or chance of ever happening – but Calexit isn’t going away just yet. As President-elect Donald Trump continued interviewing prospective appointees on Monday, the left-leaning leaders of a movement to make California a sovereign nation filed paperwork to take their case to voters in two years.
Clearing the smoke for employers on California Proposition 64
On November 8, Californians passed Proposition 64, legalizing recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 years or older in California. Proposition 64 took effect November 9, 2016. California previously legalized the use of medical marijuana with the passage of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.
Politics
Jerry Brown’s election successes preserve streak, set him up for 2018
Four days before the election, Gov. Jerry Brown briefly ducked into a union hall in San Francisco to denounce an initiative that threatened to imperil his high-speed rail and Delta water tunnel projects. “I just want to cut to the chase here,” Brown said of Proposition 53, paid for by wealthy Stockton-area food processor Dean Cortopassi.
Democrats still rule the roost in Sacramento
While Democrats question their diminishing national footprint, the party remains strong in California, with Democrats earning a second supermajority in four years in the Assembly. Democrats took two seats from Republicans in this month’s election to regain a supermajority in the lower house. The Senate is awaiting the results of a race separated by less than two percentage points to find out whether it too will have a two-thirds voting bloc of Democrats.
Democrats close to supermajority in Legislature, Newman takes lead
Democrat Josh Newman now has a lead of nearly 1,400 votes in the Southern California state Senate seat upon which rests Democrats’ chance of a supermajority in the Legislature. Newman, a political neophyte, had been running behind Republican Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang since Election Day. But Chang’s lead began slipping away in recent days.
Demographics in the California Legislature
Highlights: November 2016 California Legislative Election Results
Criminal-justice experts hunt for clues on Trump
One plank of the platform that won the election for President-elect Donald Trump was a tough-on-crime promise to “Make America Safe Again.” “When I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order to our country,” Trump proclaimed during his speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland four months ago.
In California, a bastion of red waits for Trump to nudge this blue state

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

Monday Morning Memo for November 21, 2016

Law Enforcement
LAPD report on biased policing finds problem is more perception than reality
The Los Angeles Police Department has made “significant strides” in diversifying its ranks, training officers to avoid bias policing, rigorously investigating complaints and expanding community outreach programs, according to a new report on biased policing from Chief Charlie Beck. The five-member civilian police commission that oversees the department requested the report in September after a series of controversial shootings over the summer that sparked angry protests.
Documents show CalGang uses error-prone facial recognition
California’s secretive gang database, with information on hundreds of thousands of predominantly black and Latino men, uses a controversial overlay of sophisticated data analysis and surveillance technologies. The tools long have been dogged by allegations of racial profiling, inaccuracy and unconstitutional monitoring of free speech.
Jones: Undocumented license law in California may have led to UM drop
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced that Assembly Bill 60, a law which provided driver’s licenses to those who could not submit proof of legal presence in the U.S., may have led to a modest decrease in the number of uninsured motorists in the state. A preliminary analysis by the California Department of Insurance shows that in 2015, the first year since the passage of AB 60, the number of insured vehicles rose by 200,000 more vehicles than would have been expected.
LA regional human trafficking task force celebrates first year efforts
When Sheriff Jim McDonnell cut the ribbon launching the LA Sheriff’s Human Trafficking Bureau, he knew the impact would be felt throughout Southern California. Now, as the host to the LA Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, it celebrates its first year of efforts, and includes 18 governmental partners and 10 community based organizations who aid in the fight to end human trafficking.
A possible shift in L.A. transit patrols
Transportation officials are seeking to shift Metro policing duties from the Sheriff’s Department to the Los Angeles and Long Beach police departments, a significant change in approach to public safety on the county’s sprawling bus and rail system.  A report written by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and reviewed by The Times recommends transferring public safety responsibilities for more than half the subway and light rail system and 60% of the region’s bus service away from the Sheriff’s Department.
The heroin epidemic: A look inside an intervention in Simi Valley
Heroin use has grown at an exponential rate across the nation and experts say the addiction is a difficult one to break. ABC7 met with Action Family Counseling, a drug rehab facility headquartered in Santa Clarita, as it helped to facilitate an intervention for a family in Simi Valley. Robert Murphy has struggled to accept what’s become of his son. Once a happy and healthy child, Ryan Murphy became an addict on a dark and dangerous path.
LA Police Protective League will request audit to determine cause of low staff numbers
The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union representing the LAPD rank-and-file,  said Monday it will request a city audit to determine the cause of “dangerously low” police staffing levels during the post-election protests last week and provide recommendations to ensure the safety of residents and officers.
Sheriff: Wanted man killed California deputy in ‘execution’
A man shot and killed a deputy in what police termed “an execution,” then stole a car and drove 150 miles to a small central California town where he was arrested after trying to steal a purse from a woman, who fought back and called authorities. Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Wallace was shot twice in the head as he checked on a report of a suspicious van parked near a fishing access spot outside the city of Hughson, about 10 miles southeast of Modesto.
Smoked pot? No college? The police still might hire you
Police departments are relaxing age-old standards for accepting recruits, from lowering educational requirements to forgiving some prior drug use, to try to attract more people to their ranks. The changes are designed to deal with decreased interest in a job that offers low pay, rigorous physical demands and the possibility of getting killed on duty all while under intense public scrutiny.
Ex-LA Sheriff Lee Baca mentally competent: Defense won’t oppose expert’s opinion
Attorneys for Los Angeles County’s former sheriff will not oppose a court-appointed medical expert’s conclusion that the retired lawman, now in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, is competent to stand trial on obstruction of justice charges, according to court papers.
LA County counted on Prop 47 to save money. It hasn’t yet
A California law that turned some felony offenses into misdemeanors to save costs has had no monetary benefits so far for Los Angeles County, according to a report presented on Tuesday. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors heard updates from eight department leaders – including Sheriff Jim McDonnell – on whether or not Proposition 47 has had any cost saving effects.
Investigation: How effective in curbing violent crime is Prop 47?
Dubbed the “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act” before its passage in 2014, Proposition 47 divides law enforcement officials over its impact to the state criminal justice system. The proposition reduced the following felony crimes to misdemeanors: Shoplifting, where the value of property stolen does not exceed $950. Grand theft, where the value of the stolen property does not exceed $950.
A pot shop on every L.A. corner?
In the city of Los Angeles, no more than 135 pot shops are considered to be somewhat legit. They enjoy limited legal immunity under 2013’s voter-approved Proposition D. But state tax officials say there are more than 900 dispensaries in the city, and some experts estimate the number could be as high as 1,500 – the vast majority of them illegal. It isn’t exactly amnesty, but there’s a movement afoot to legalize at least some of them.
Conviction & Sentencing
Appellate panel upholds man’s 12-year prison sentence for live-in boyfriend’s killing
A state appeals court panel Thursday upheld a man’s 12-year prison sentence for fatally stabbing and mutilating his live-in boyfriend at the West Hollywood apartment they briefly shared. The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark Windham should have sentenced Andre Davids to six years in prison for the March 29, 2014, death of Kurtland Ma.
Court: California sentencing measure applies to plea deals
A voter-approved ballot measure that reduced penalties for certain drug and property crimes applies to prisoners convicted under plea deals, the California Supreme Court said Thursday. A unanimous court overruled a lower court decision that could have limited the number of inmates eligible for Proposition 47’s benefits.
Canyon Country man sentenced to 27 years, eight months, for attack on deputies
A Canyon Country man who fought four sheriff’s deputies who responded to a domestic violence call was sentenced Wednesday to 27 years and eight months in prison. Calvin Charles Lynch, 29, appeared Wednesday in San Fernando Superior Court where he was sentenced. “Lynch was sentenced to 27 years, 8 months which is the maximum he faced,” Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, said Wednesday.
California prosecutor faces one-year suspension for falsifying confession
A county prosecutor in California who falsified a defendant’s confession and then said it was just a “joke” he was playing on a public defender now faces a year’s suspension of his law license. The California State Bar announced the action Thursday against Kern County Deputy District Attorney Robert Alan Murray.
Prosecution
He was supposed to drive an intoxicated teenager home. Prosecutors say this Uber driver raped her instead.
An Uber driver was charged with raping an unconscious teenager after she passed out in the back of his car while she was intoxicated, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors charged Samer Alaaeldin Mahran, 23, a resident of Huntington Beach, Calif., with multiple felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, forcible oral copulation upon a minor over 14 years of age, sexual penetration of a child over age 14 by a foreign object and force and unlawful sexual intercourse.
Ex-rehab owner accused of sexually assaulting patients, $175M billing fraud
The ex-operator of more than a dozen Southland drug treatment and rehabilitation facilities pleaded not guilty today to nearly 100 felony counts accusing him of sexually assaulting nine patients and masterminding a $175 million billing scheme. Christopher Bathum, 55, formerly owned and operated 13 Community Recovery treatment centers in Los Angeles County and Orange County, as well as six in the state of Colorado, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Lancaster man charged with murder of LASD officer has arraignment pushed back
The man charged with killing Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Steve Owen in Lancaster last month had his scheduled arraignment on Monday pushed back to Dec. 15 so his public defender could gather more information about the case. Deputy District Attorney Michael Blake told the judge in the courtroom he had spoken with Trenton Trevon Lovell’s public defender Monica Thelen about trying to provide a preliminary list of witnesses sometime this week.
County Government
Antonovich calls for more support for crime victims owed restitution
The county is trying to preserve restitution for crime victims, after voters once again approved a ballot measure – this time, Prop 57 – which has made it more difficult for the courts to collect from criminals. The increasing rate of recidivism since voters passed Proposition 47 in 2014, combined with the fact voters have once again lessened the penalties for many crimes – Prop 47 reduced nearly all drug and theft charges to misdemeanors – have hampered efforts by county officials to help victims.
Janice Hahn taps Supervisor Don Knabe’s aide as her chief of staff
An aide to Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe has been tapped as the new chief of staff for Rep. Janice Hahn when she succeeds the veteran Fourth District supervisor in December. Hahn’s office announced Wednesday that Nick Ippolito will serve as her top staffer. Ippolito has worked for the county for 25 years and currently serves as Knabe’s assistant chief of staff.
Pensions
Pension battle pushes precedent in distressed California town
Letters sent by certified mail usually aren’t how state and local governments signal they’re about to breach the promise that public workers consider ironclad when it comes to retirement benefits. But that’s how Patsy Jardin, 71, of Loyalton, California, found out that she may lose much of her $48,000 annual pension because the town government failed to fund its long-term liabilities. Reading the letter delivered to her rural home made the former clerk “sick,” she said in an interview. “It’s my livelihood.”
State Government
Here’s why Mike Ramos wants to be appointed California attorney general
San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos said Monday, Nov. 14, that he’s interested in being appointed to serve the remainder of Kamala Harris’ term as California attorney general now that she’s been elected to the U.S. Senate. Ramos announced his intention two years ago to run for attorney general in 2018, when Harris’ term expires. But now that she’s a senator-elect Gov. Jerry Brown will have to appoint a replacement with approval from a majority of the Assembly and state Senate.
SF, LA police unions target SF DA Gascón in letter to Gov. Brown
Police union officials took another shot Wednesday at their longtime nemesis, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, this time in a letter sent to Gov. Jerry Brown asking that he not appoint a “failed prosecutor” to replace U.S. Sen.-elect Kamala Harris as state attorney general. Gascón, whose push to reform the police force has been met with stiff resistance, has been mentioned as a possible candidate for attorney general, but could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday. In the past, he has said he had no plans to run for the job.
Lots of strong prospects for California attorney general
Gov. Jerry Brown won’t have a hard time finding a well-qualified candidate to succeed U.S. Sen.-elect Kamala Harris as state attorney general. If there is one thing California has in abundance, it is lawyers with skill, steel spines and ambition. The difficulty will be in coming up with just one nominee.
Is Sacramento really boys’ town? Women lose ground in California’s Legislature
On a night many believed would be a milestone for women in politics, Cristina Garcia donned a Hillary Clinton T-shirt and a gray pantsuit and left her house in southeast Los Angeles. “Buenas noches,” the Democratic assemblywoman from Bell Gardens greeted her neighbors as she walked to an election-night party. Garcia was hopeful not only that voters would send a woman to the White House, but also that they would propel a bumper crop of women to the California Capitol.
Elections
A dozen hopefuls step up to the starting line for Los Angeles mayoral race
Y.J. Draiman would take Mayor Eric Garcetti’s job by boosting business. David Hernandez would supplant the mayor by building infrastructure. And Garcetti would be re-elected mayor by having already led Los Angeles. They were among the dozen candidates to formally declare they would run for mayor before the deadline ends at noon today. Candidates have until Dec. 7 to collect enough signatures to get onto the March 7 city election ballot.
L.A.’s March ballot has more than a mayor race
The election is over. Get ready for the election. In only a little more than 100 days, Los Angeles residents will go back to the polls to vote for mayor, city attorney, city controller, eight of the 15 L.A. City Council members and three of the seven L.A. Unified School Board members. Dozens of candidates have declared their intention to run. Quietly, serious campaigns are well under way. Where should the focus be?
Post-Election 2016
California parole changes may speed end to federal oversight
Voters’ approval of Gov. Jerry Brown’s sentencing reform initiative may finally give California the long-term solution it needs to end a decade-long legal battle over prison conditions that twice reached the U.S. Supreme Court and has cost taxpayers billions of dollars. Proposition 57 was pitched as a safety valve to reduce an inmate population that is steadily increasing despite state efforts to shift felons from overcrowded state prisons into equally burdened county jails over the past five years.
Passage of Prop. 57 poses questions
Law enforcement officials say they are concerned the passage of a new law that provides early parole consideration will place more felons “back on the streets” without addressing crucial program gaps. California voters on Tuesday passed Proposition 57 by a wide margin, with about 64 percent voting yes. The proposition, backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, was touted as a cost-saving measure to address the ballooning prison population.
Why Brown must actively guide Prop. 57’s criminal justice reform
Proposition 47, the 2014 state ballot measure that reclassified many felonies as misdemeanors, has proven divisive. Some strongly defend it, but many in law enforcement say it has led to more crime. Now Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest criminal justice reform measure, Proposition 57, has passed. It will make it easier for many felons – mostly those convicted of nonviolent crimes – to win parole from the state Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections by earning sentence credits for good behavior, rehabilitation or educational achievements.
Law enforcement leaders brace for Prop. 57 impacts
Law enforcement leaders are bracing for the impacts of Proposition 57, the voter-approved initiative that will make thousands of prison inmates eligible for earlier parole, allow state prison officials to expand credit for rehabilitation and give judges authority as to whether juveniles should be tried as adults. “There is less offender accountably and to a degree it also revictimizes the victims of crimes,” Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said.
Local authorities still determining impact of Prop 57 passage
San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said he will continue working with the Secretary of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to determine what impact the passage of Proposition 57 will have in the county. California voters approved the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act, better known as Prop 57, last week. It is supposed to help reduce the state’s prison population by providing more parole opportunities for some convicted felons.
Criminal justice reform rolls on in California, much to the chagrin of police leaders
Another defeat at the ballot box this week for California law enforcement leaders. For months, many police chiefs, sheriffs and prosecutors urged voters to reject Proposition 57, which will give thousands of state prisoners an early opportunity to be released. Voters overwhelmingly approved the measure 63.59 percent to 36.41 percent. The passage of Proposition 57 is only the latest measure to roll back the policies of the 1980s and 90s when crime rates were much higher than they are today.
ACLU fights California’s new death-penalty law
Following Californians’ Election Day approval of a proposition to keep the death penalty and speed executions, the ACLU sued the state, claiming Proposition 66 gives unelected officials “unbridled discretion” over executions. The ACLU of Northern California and two death-row inmates, Mitchell Sims and Michael Morales, claim California’s death-penalty law violates the state constitution’s separation of powers clause by allowing the defendant Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation instead of legislators to develop execution procedures.
Trump election won’t change immigration enforcement at some Southern California police agencies
Several major Southern California police agencies have no plans to alter immigration policies despite a pledge from President-elect Donald Trump to impose tougher immigration laws and deport some 2 million to 3 million immigrants with criminal records. The Los Angeles Police Department will not change its immigration policies, Chief Charlie Beck said in remarks reported Monday. “I don’t intend on doing anything different,” Beck said in a Los Angeles Times story.
In CA, some winners and losers
It’s all over and, with a few exceptions, it will stay that way for two more years. But like any other public event, ranging from bridge tournaments to the Super Bowl, there were winners and losers.  Here’s our take on who came out winners and who lost in the 2016 general election. WINNERS: Jerry Brown – California voters approved his Proposition 57, a move to loosen parole restrictions and reduce the prison population. The governor must be thinking “If only I were a few years younger, I could have clobbered Trump!”
Poll: Republican gubernatorial candidates would perform well behind Democrat Newsom
Good news for California Republicans: In a field of nine candidates for the 2018 gubernatorial race, they have two of the top three names, according to a poll released Tuesday. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Ashley Swearengin, the termed-out mayor of Fresno, placed just behind Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom in a poll of registered voters taken prior to last week’s presidential election, conducted by The Field Poll and the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley.
The Riggs Report: Death and taxes on the ballot
Benjamin Franklin is famously quoted as saying, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes.” California voters underscored that saying in last week’s election, turning down another effort to repeal the death penalty while also approving a higher tobacco tax and an extension of higher income taxes for the state’s wealthiest residents. But with the dust settling on the outcome of a ballot crammed with the most propositions in 16 years, the overall results defy an easy explanation or road map of where the state may be heading.
GOP assemblyman defeated, giving California Democrats supermajority
Republican Assemblyman Eric Linder has been defeated by Democratic challenger Sabrina Cervantes, giving the Democrats an expected supermajority in the California Assembly. Linder was one of at least two GOP incumbents who lost after last week’s election. Assemblyman David Hadley of Torrance also was defeated. Results from Riverside County showed Wednesday that Cervantes won 53 percent to 47 percent.
His party’s refusal to keep illegals out let Trump stomp his way in
America’s Republican elites are as stunned by Donald Trump’s conquest of the White House as the Democrats and the press. They shouldn’t be, since they created the conditions that led to Trump’s improbable victory. For decades the Republican establishment suppressed debate about the costs of mass low-skilled immigration. Anyone who questioned the wisdom of America’s de facto open borders policy was silenced with charges of xenophobia or simply ignored.
L.A. leaders just vowed to fight deportations under Trump. Here’s what they’ve proposed
s Angeles city officials on Thursday began outlining a wide-ranging battle plan for dealing with the Donald Trump presidency, vowing to push back against efforts to deport people in this country illegally while also working to protect – and perhaps even increase – federal funding for projects ranging from transportation to homelessness.
Texas was Obama’s chief antagonist. In Trump’s America, California is eager for the part
In the early morning hours after Donald Trump became president-elect of the United States, California Senate leader Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon were on the phone grappling with what comes next. Trump’s upset victory left the two Democrats reeling.  They saw the incoming administration as an existential threat to the progressive work they accomplished in the nation’s most populous state.
California voters embrace anti-gun ammunition control
Cementing California’s status as the most anti-gun state, voters overwhelmingly voted on Election Day for stronger gun control regulations, including new ammunition controls. The proposition features a provision that requires a person or business to get a single year license from the state Department of Justice to sell ammunition and requires sellers to conduct background checks for ammunition purchases.
The marijuana-initiative blunder that could cost California millions of dollars
Benjamin Franklin said that taxes, like death, are one of life’s few certainties. But due to a glitch in the technical language of California’s successful marijuana legalization initiative, the state’s pot smokers may prove him wrong. California’s marijuana legalization initiative is designed to raise significant tax revenue for the state.

Monday Morning Memo for November 14, 2016

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

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