March 27, 2017

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