Monday Morning Memo for November 13, 2017
Share this post on social media or by email
Cooper proposes initiative to increase DNA collection, decrease early parole
Assembly Member Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) on Oct. 30 announced a state ballot measure to prevent the early release of child traffickers, rapists and other serious and violent offenders. The announcement was made at a press conference on the west steps of the State Capitol. Cooper said that he is not a fan of ballot initiatives, but finds the process necessary in this situation.
Proposed rollback of justice reforms sparks debate over cause of crime spikes
Justice reform advocates are fighting back against efforts to turn back the clock on California laws that reduce some drug and petty theft to offenses unworthy of jail time. In 2014, the state’s voters passed Proposition 47, which reduces certain drug, petty theft, stolen property and bad-check felonies to misdemeanors.
30,000 California prison inmates could be safely released, says report
At least 30,000 prison inmates could be safely released if California adopts a series of reforms, according to a new report issued Thursday by the advocacy group that spearheaded the passage of voter-approved Propositions 47 and 57. “California has emerged from a long history of being a laggard on criminal justice reform to becoming a national standout,” says the report by Californians for Safety and Justice.
Prop 47 and AB 109 had much to do with 2nd St. defendant walking out of county jail same day court sentenced him to 180 days, because…
…If you don’t think A.B. 109 and Prop 47 have something to do with this, you are completely mistaken. A.B. 109 resulted in less crowding of our prisons, but more crowding of our local jails with little to no state resources to augment our local facilities and support for the same. The combination of these two statewide measures, along with what appears to be a pendulum that is swinging very much towards rehabilitation, with no resources to support the same, is to blame.
Man who fired at deputies before being shot in Compton was released from prison weeks before: LASD
A 20-year-old man who was shot after allegedly firing on deputies while they conducted a traffic stop in Compton had been released from prison weeks earlier, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Friday. Ricardo Cendejes got out of prison on Sept. 26 under Post-Release Community Supervision, according to a sheriff’s news release.
Ventura County project to support reentry launched to reduce recidivism, improve public safety, and promote family stability cutting-edge pay for success partnership is part of a broader initiative…
Today, the Ventura County Executive Office, alongside the Ventura County Probation Agency, Interface Children & Family Services, and Social Finance, launched the Ventura County Project to Support Reentry, making it the 20th Pay for Success project launched in the United States.
Countywide bombshell (after Belmont Shore/2nd St. battery outcome)
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. today effectively acknowledged that under its current jail criteria, a person arrested for a misdemeanor in L.A. County, charged by a prosecutor, convicted (or pleads guilty) in court and is sentenced to the maximum term a judge can impose for most individual CA misdemeanors of 180 days in jail, is released the same day.
LA County moves forward with hepatitis A vaccines for police, other first responders
Los Angeles County leaders have approved an effort to look into providing law enforcement and other first responders with access to free hepatitis A vaccines, after the LAPD’s union reported an officer was sickened with the liver disease while working in downtown’s skid row.
Newly selected members of LA’s new Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Safety hold first meeting
More than two dozen commissioners appointed to Los Angeles County’s new Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Safety, including two appointees from each of the five Los Angeles County Supervisors, held their first meeting Monday. In August, the supervisors voted to form the blue ribbon commission to analyze strategies for-and the “unintended consequences” of-three major state-level criminal justice reform laws.
After nearly 30 years patrolling together, these two LAPD officers end an epic partnership
The cops have patrolled together for more than 28 years, one behind the wheel, the other riding shotgun, scanning the streets of northeast Los Angeles for signs of trouble. Both are bald with mustaches, as set in their ways as a married couple. Duarte, the smoother talker, is first to approach a suspect or defuse a tense situation.
The end of policing?
Policing in the United States is in the midst of transformative changes, partly spurred by the well-publicized officer-involved shootings around the country-but also as a consequence of generational change, as police ranks open up to a more diversified group of recruits and as departments modernize their training.
Details emerge on Pasadena Police, Metro Patrol agreement
Today’s likely Public Safety Committee recommendation of a contract between Pasadena Police and the Metropolitan Transit Authority would not replace Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department personnel with Pasadena officers at Gold Line train stations within the City of Pasadena but would increase security and safety for the system’s riders, city officials said.
Studies show ‘proactive policing’ works, but social cost less clear
Any American who pays attention to law enforcement has heard of the strategies: “Broken Windows,” “Stop and Frisk,” “Zero Tolerance.” These are all variations on what’s broadly known as “proactive policing”: efforts to seek out and prevent the causes of crime before it happens, as opposed to a more reactive policy of just sending police when called.
‘Proactive Policing’ credited with crime reductionsMadyson Middleton’s accused killer go on trial as a juvenile?
Several strategies used by police to prevent crimes have proved successful at crime reduction, at least in the short term, and most of them do not harm communities’ attitudes toward police, concluded a report issued Thursday by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The committee that produced the study said there is insufficient evidence to draw strong conclusions on the role of racial bias in the use of proactive policing strategies.
The black market for cosmetics
Samantha Serrano was recently on the Sephora cosmetic webpage shopping for lipsticks, but she quickly realized she couldn’t afford the $20 Anastasia Beverly Hills liquid lipstick in the color Catnip – soft plum – that she wanted. She then came across a different web page, that popped up based on her recent searches, that promised to deliver the lipstick she wanted at half the price. Serrano, 21, decided to go for it.
State Bar will implement new ethics rule
The California Supreme Court today issued an order that puts into place an important new ethical rule regarding the special responsibilities of prosecutors to disclose exculpatory evidence. The order gave a green light to the State Bar of California to implement rule changes the agency submitted to the Court, which gives clear guidelines for prosecutors in criminal cases around discovery and exculpatory evidence.
Rancho Santa Margarita attorney’s suspension imposed following alleged probation violations
Rancho Santa Margarita attorney Frank Edward Goseco is under a previously stayed two-year suspension following an order by the California State Bar after he allegedly violated the conditions of his probation following alcohol-related convictions.
Supreme Court backs California for reneging on plea deal
No precedent required a lighter sentence for a man whose charges were compounded after he had already negotiated a plea deal, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday. California brought its complaint against Michael Cuero in October 2005, about two weeks after Cuero drove his car into a man standing outside of his parked pickup truck.
Enhancement based on ‘risk’ factor inapplicable in seeking ‘fees on fees’ award-C.A.
An attorney fee award in connection with work done in securing fees in a private attorney general action would logically not be enhanced based on “risk,” the Court of Appeal for this district held on Friday. The decision came in a case in which trial court ordered the state to pay $836,211.25 in attorney fees to lawyers for work they did in defending previous attorney fee awards in the case, a case which stretches back to the filing of a complaint on June 20, 1978, and includes a decision by the California Supreme Court.
Ninth Circuit reinstates action based on police shooting
The Ninth U.S. Court of Appeals yesterday reinstated a civil rights action against Orange County based on the fatal shooting of a man by a sheriff’s deputy who was declared justified in his actions by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and given his department’s Medal of Valor for saving another deputy’s life, but who, the court said, might be found by a jury to have been blameworthy.
Lyft, Uber drivers won’t need fingerprint checks, California rules
State utility regulators voted Thursday to require annual background checks for drivers at Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing companies, but decided not to subject them to the fingerprinting required of taxi drivers. In a 5-0 vote, the California Public Utilities Commission passed rules that mirror the annual checks already required by Lyft and the airport-ride company Wingz, and that drew no objection from industry leader Uber.
Ninth Circuit: Website must reveal identities of anonymous comment posters
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday upheld a district court order denying a motion by Glassdoor Inc., which operates a website on which employees can post comments on their employers, to quash a federal subpoena requiring that it reveal identifying information relating to eight anonymous reviewers, with the appeals court rejecting the contention that compliance would breach the reviewers’ First Amendment rights.
Court of Appeal: Judge can’t craft exception to sealing of juvenile’s records
A minor who drove under the influence, and acknowledged in writing his awareness of the dangerousness of the activity, will not face the prospect that his acknowledgement will be used to establish implied malice, necessary for a second degree murder finding, should he drive in such a state in the future and cause a death, under a decision of the Fourth District Court of Appeal.
Man pleases guilty to murdering wife in San Diego
A 77-year-old man pleaded guilty on Nov. 1 to killing his wife two years ago in the couple’s San Pedro home, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced. George Matsumoto entered his plea to one count of second-degree murder and admitted the special allegation that he personally used a firearm. Sentencing is set for Dec. 12, when he is expected to receive 19 years to life in state prison.
Palos Verdes High senior charged in South LA gang killing
A Palos Verdes High School senior from an affluent family that enjoyed trips to Mexican resorts and played board games together has been charged with murder for allegedly driving the getaway car in a fatal gang-related shooting in South Los Angeles, police said Thursday.
Homeless explosion on West Coast pushing cities to brink
Housing prices are soaring here thanks to the tech industry, but the boom comes with a consequence: A surge in homelessness marked by 400 unauthorized tent camps in parks, under bridges, on freeway medians and along busy sidewalks. The liberal city is trying to figure out what to do.
L.A. County taking a new approach to help homeless who are severely mentally ill
The homeless man was naked when Santiago Reyes found him lying on a Pasadena street. He had fallen off his wheelchair in the rain as Reyes, an outreach worker who knew the man’s mental-health history, called everyone he could for help. 9-1-1. The county. The city. Cop friends. “The paramedics wouldn’t consider him gravely disabled,” Reyes said, recalling how difficult it was that day to find help, to connect the man to services.
Local cities cracking down on homeless people living in vehicles
Business owners and tenants in an industrial area in Chatsworth are demanding city officials address what they said was a growing problem with homeless and RV encampments in the district. The RVs near Plummer Street and De Soto Avenue got arrived earlier this year after the city enacted a law banning people from living out of vehicles throughout neighborhoods or near schools.
California’s bail system is about money, not justice, report finds
California has a bail problem. A new report from the nonprofit Pretrial Justice Institute took a look at how the Golden State deals with presumed-innocents thrown in jail and gives the state a grade of D. The state has a high rate of putting folks behind bars before they’re tried, and it rarely uses “pretrial assessment” to determine of suspects could go free without bail.
Meet the retired Santa Barbara judge working on bail reform
California could be the next state to get rid of bail. Last week, the state’s Pretrial Detention Reform Workgroup released a report recommending that a risk-based assessment tool replace the current bail system. Santa Barbara retired judge George Eskin, who served on the 12-member committee, said the effort is an important part of criminal justice reform in the state.
CA lawmaker threatens to audit LA County probation’s use of State $$ for at-risk kids
California Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra wants answers about the way the Los Angeles County Probation Department is spending millions in state dollars designated to help the county’s most vulnerable at risk-kids, a matter about which he has “growing concerns.” On Monday, October 23, Bocanegra expressed those concerns in a detailed letter to LA County Probation Chief Terri McDonald, which WitnessLA has obtained.
Former LASD Undersheriff Paul Tanaka appeals to Scotus hoping to reverse criminal conviction
Paul Tanaka, the once feared and powerful former second in command of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, has filed an appeal with the United States Supreme Court in the hope of getting the court to reverse his April 5, 2016 conviction for obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
L.A. County Supervisors to provide permanent staff and funding to address domestic violence.
The L.A. County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved relocating its Domestic Violence Council to the Public Health Department, saying the scale of the problem — which has generated 8,859 reports so far this year — requires a home in an agency which can provide permanent staff and funding.
Two gas tax repeal efforts compete to make California’s 2018 ballot
alifornians frustrated over the state’s recent gas tax hike could have two options to eliminate it next year. Separate campaigns are working to qualify repeal initiatives for the November 2018 ballot. One is backed by Orange County state Asm. Travis Allen, a Republican candidate for governor. It would simply get rid of the increase. The other is supported by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association and John Cox, also a Republican candidate for governor.
Commentary: Sexual harassment cases put heat on legislative leaders
Some may have believed – or hoped – that the furor over sexual harassment in and around the state Capitol would soon fade away. Nope. The initial letter complaining about harassment, signed by 140 women, has exploded with many more names and a spate of personal accounts. The Los Angeles Times, which broke the initial story, and the Sacramento Bee have pursued the story aggressively, driving home the ingrained nature of the syndrome case-by-case.
Sex trafficking bill gets tech firms’ backing
The Internet Association, which counts Facebook, Google and Amazon among its members, had at first said the proposed US law could hurt innovation. But in a statement released on Friday the group said it was satisfied with “important changes” made to the bill. US senators are expected to hold an initial vote on the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (Sesta) next week.
Latino elites are paying the California dream forward
American Latino economic elites have incomes and wealth in the top five percent of earners. Some own multi-million-dollar companies or work as corporate executives. Latino politicians – like Kevin De León, who is serving as California Senate president while running for U.S. Senate, and California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra – are especially visible in the state.
Jerry Kern: My plan for a safer North San Diego County
Last week, I released “A Safer North County: My Public Safety Plan to Protect Our Communities” – a four-part plan geared toward solutions that will lead to safer neighborhoods throughout the 5th Supervisorial District. As an Oceanside councilmember, I have long been a believer that my first responsibility is to ensure our city’s residents are safe. I believe county government is no different.
L.A. prosecutors form special Hollywood sexual assault task force
Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey announced Thursday the creation of a special task force to examine allegations of sexual assault roiling Hollywood as the number of accusations reported to police this week climbed. Lacey made the announcement Thursday as local law enforcement agencies investigate allegations made against such Hollywood heavyweights as producer Harvey Weinstein, director James Toback and actor Ed Westwick, among others.
Harvey Weinstein’s army of spies
In the fall of 2016, Harvey Weinstein set out to suppress allegations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women. He began to hire private security agencies to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose the allegations. According to dozens of pages of documents, and seven people directly involved in the effort, the firms that Weinstein hired included Kroll, which is one of the world’s largest corporate-intelligence companies, and Black Cube, an enterprise run largely by former officers of Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies.
Feds probe deal Harvey Weinstein made with AIDS charity amfAR, theater
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating a controversial deal that producer Harvey Weinstein made to funnel some proceeds from an auction for AIDS charity amfAR to a nonprofit theater where he had staged a show. The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan has subpoenaed financial records and emails from amfAR related to the 2015 benefit, two sources with knowledge of the subpoena told NBC News.
Danny Masterson is the latest Hollywood star to face rape allegations
Allegations are stacking up against Danny Masterson, the former star of That ’70s Showand longtime member of the Church of Scientology. The actor has been accused of rape by four women, according to HuffPost, three of whom were also Scientologists. The Los Angeles Police Department began investigating the claims in 2016, but the case against Masterson has curiously stalled, despite the existence of “compelling evidence,” per HuffPost.
She wanted a job and said California senator invited her home. He fired aides who knew.
California Sen. Tony Mendoza repeatedly invited home a young woman who wanted a job and employs a district director with a felony record, according to several sources who confirmed reports to the Senate Rules Committee. Mendoza fired three aides as allegations were reported to the committee. Senate officials late Thursday vehemently denied any connection.
Sticker shock coming with California’s new pot market
California’s legal marijuana marketplace is coming with a kaleidoscope of new taxes and fees that could influence where it’s grown, how pot cookies and other munchies are produced and the price tag on just about everything. Be ready for sticker shock. On a retail level, it costs about $35 to buy a small bag of good quality medical marijuana in Los Angeles, enough to roll five or six joints.
California proposes armored cars to transport pot tax money
California should use armored cars to transport hundreds of millions of dollars in cash tax payments expected next year with the state’s legal marijuana market, the state treasurer said Tuesday. The state on Jan. 1 will enter a new era with cannabis when recreational sales become legal and join the long-standing medical industry in what will become the largest U.S. legal pot economy.
California backs first insurer to cover marijuana businesses
California licensed cannabis companies are now able to buy commercial insurance from a state-guaranteed insurer for the first time, California Insurance Commissioner announced on Thursday. According to a statement from Commissioner Dave Jones, his department approved the first admitted commercial insurance company, Golden Bear Insurance, to cover state-legal marijuana businesses.
Jeff Sessions once again hints that a marijuana crackdown may be imminent
A decade ago, marijuana would have been considered something of a taboo topic. Today, it’s perhaps the fastest-growing industry in the country. According to Marijuana Business Daily’s newest report, “Marijuana Business Factbook 2017,” legal U.S. weed sales are expected to jump 30% in 2017, another 45% in 2018, and reach $17 billion by 2021. The five-year growth between 2016 and 2021 is projected at approximately 300%!
Should terminally ill Woodland killer be released early?
A compassionate release hearing will be held Monday morning in a Yolo County court to determine whether a convicted killer who has a terminal illness should be released early from prison. Jeffrey Lemus has served one year of his 7-year prison sentence after he was found guilty of killing Kelly Choate in December 2015 at Kenny’s Bar and Grill in Woodland. However, Lemus was recently diagnosed with a terminal illness and was given less than six months to live.
California governor rejects parole for ex-Mexican Mafia head
Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday blocked parole for a former Mexican Mafia prison gang leader, saying he remains a danger to society despite efforts to turn his life around and years of cooperating with law enforcement. For the third time in as many years, Brown reversed a state parole panel decision that Rene “Boxer” Enriquez should be freed from jail.
2 inmates escape from Calif. courthouse in ‘orchestrated’ getaway
Two inmates escaped from the Palo Alto courthouse Monday in what investigators described as an “orchestrated” scheme that involved multiple getaway vehicles, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. The whereabouts of John Penn Bivins, 47, and 46-year-old Tramel Leon McClough, both of East Palo Alto, were unknown as of Monday afternoon.
Prison officials capture inmate who escaped Acton facility
A minimum-security inmate who walked away from the Acton Conservation Camp was caught Friday, Nov. 3 in Lancaster. Edgar Gonzalez, a cook at the facility, had walked away on Thursday. Gonzalez was arrested shortly before noon at an apartment in Lancaster. He was transported to California State Prison-Los Angeles County. Gonzalez was discovered missing during a routine head count at 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2.
A sin issue or a gun issue? Why evangelicals are deeply skeptical of gun-control laws
The shooting at a Southern Baptist church in Texas is believed to be the worst such shooting at a church in modern U.S. history. Several prominent Southern Baptist pastors have President Trump’s ear as members of his unofficial evangelical advisory council. Even so, it would be very surprising if Southern Baptists pushed for changes in gun policy, because it hasn’t been a priority for the denomination in decades.
CalPERS retirees targeted in telephone scam
The California Public Employees Retirement system has issued a warning that a telephone scam is targeting its retirees. As part of the scam, a fraudulent caller demands to be given a prepaid credit card number before further pension payments can be made. The calls may appear realistic, with caller ID appearing to indicate that someone from CalPERS is the source, according to the warning.