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