Monday Morning Memo for October 16, 2017
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No California bail reform this year, governor announces
Gov. Jerry Brown announced Friday that a California Senate bill to overhaul the bail system will be held this year as negotiations continue with lawmakers and court officials. Brown, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, state Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles, and Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, intend to continue to work on Senate Bill 10 through the fall and revisit it early next year, the Governor’s Office said in a statement.
Porac is disappointed over signature of SB 620
In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, there is a bi-partisan effort in Congress to place more restrictions on the use of assault weapons and tools used to convert legal semi-automatic firearms into rapid fire or automatic weapons. Yesterday, Governor Brown signed SB 620 by Senator Steven Bradford (D-Compton) and it will become law January 1, 2018. PORAC cannot understand why the Governor and democratic leaders would pass a law that allows criminals using a firearm in the commission of a crime to not be charged with the use of that firearm.
Judicial elections reform bill signed into law
There will be no judicial candidate on the ballot in next year’s election with a designation such as “Child Molestation Prosecutor,” Supervising Criminal Prosecutor” or “Criminal Gang Prosecutor,” under a bill signed into law yesterday by Gov. Jerry Brown. The bill, SB 235, calling for use of actual government job titles or neutral references to the candidate’s status as a lawyer, was carried by Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, and was sponsored by the Conference of California Bar Associations (“CCBA”).
Jerry Brown signs criminal justice reforms, eases prison terms
Gov. Jerry Brown bucked prosecutors and some other law enforcement groups Wednesday, signing a package of bills, including some that will shorten many prison and jail sentences for both juveniles and adults. Brown has made rolling back some of California’s harsh sentencing laws one of his signature issues, and several of the bills he signed Wednesday build upon laws and policies he’s pushed over the past seven years.
El Monte city councilman, police chief blame AB 109 for rise in crime
Local elected officials and law enforcement leaders spoke Friday against three pieces of legislation they blame for the increases in both property and violent crime in El Monte and cities around the state for the past three years. The city hosted a forum on a trio of recent prison reform laws – AB 109, Prop. 47 and Prop. 57 – at the Grace T. Black Auditorium Friday morning.
Impacts of AB 109, Propositions 47 & 57
Michele Hanisee, President of the Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys, explores the impacts of AB 109 and Propositions 47 and 57 in this presentation.
Our View: League of California Cities’ resolution is step in right direction
The League of California Cities, spurred by the request of the city of Whittier, recently voted unanimously to approve a resolution asking Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Legislature to consider amending or working to amend AB 109, Proposition 47 and Proposition 57. All three laws deal with prison overcrowding by allowing for early release of prisoners.
Bellflower launches teen court program for juvenile offenders
More than 100 Bellflower High School students, District administrators, city officials and law professionals on Oct. 5 launched Bellflower Unified’s inaugural Teen Court, with students engaging in a mock trial using facts from a real juvenile court case. Teen Court members, acting as jurors, cross-examined a student acting as a youth accused of tricking 13 classmates into having a fake candy sprayed into their mouths that was dashed with toilet water.
VIDEO: Burglaries at Shops in San Clemente appear to be planned, according to Police Chief
A series of recent break-ins around downtown and the Outlets at San Clemente show a concerted effort by organizations coming through the city and scoping out vulnerable businesses. “We do have some crews out of Los Angeles and Long Beach that are very well organized and planned,” San Clemente Police Services Chief Lt. Mike Peters said.
California rejects new execution method
California state regulators for the second time Monday rejected a proposed new method of carrying out the death penalty, another move that slows the process for California to resume executing death row inmates. A voter-backed initiative aimed at speeding up executions, though, may render regulators’ decision moot. California has nearly 750 inmates on death row, but only 13 have been executed since 1978, the last being in 2006.
Sexual extortion will be considered a criminal act in California
Sexual extortion will be considered a criminal act in California under legislation signed Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown. SB 500, by Sen. Connie Levya (D-Chino), will add coercion involving sexual acts and sexually explicit images – known as “sextortion” – to the state’s extortion laws. “The Governor’s signature of SB 500 tells sextortion victims that they matter and that they absolutely deserve to be able to receive justice in a court of law,” Leyva said in a statement.
Teacher ‘sexually groomed’ female student in Calabasas, lawsuit says
A confidential settlement was reached in a lawsuit filed by a woman who alleged her former English teacher at a Hancock Park all-girls school sexually abused and impregnated her. But, her case will move forward against another Los Angeles County school where the teacher previously worked, court papers obtained Wednesday show.
Orrick Team builds on success fighting rise of ‘sextortion’
New California law allows sex offenders to be removed from registry
Ninety percent of California sex offenders will no longer be required to register with law enforcement for life under a bill that Gov. Jerry Brown signed Friday. The change is one of several sweeping alterations to the state’s 70-year-old registry contained in SB384 by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco.
California prosecutors will soon be able to combine child sexual assault and trafficking cases from different counties
Gov. Jerry Brown this week signed a new law that will allow California prosecutors to consolidate more child sexual assault cases from different counties into a single trial, as long as all district attorneys involved agree. Law enforcement officials say some child sexual assault prosecutions, such as those involving sex trafficking, are time-consuming and difficult to coordinate.
Janitors who vouched for Ref Rodriguez in school board race are named in his money-laundering case
When Ref Rodriguez ran for his seat on the Los Angeles school board, opponents accused him of underpaying the lowest-wage workers at the charter-school group he helped found. His supporters quickly countered with testimonials on mailers – from three of the charter schools’ janitors. “Don’t believe the lies you’ve heard about Ref Rodriguez,” one of them, Maria Hernandez, said in the mailer.
Man who ended police pursuit in front of tourists at Hollywood Walk of Fame sentenced to prison
A Rancho Cucamonga man whom police chased into the heart of the tourist district on Hollywood Boulevard as bystanders looked on has been sentenced to three years in prison, Los Angeles County prosecutors said. Tony Calloway Jr., 24, pleaded no contest to fleeing police while driving recklessly in connection with the slow-speed chase on March 9.
California police sex misconduct case fizzling in court
Charges have been dropped against a police officer and a former sheriff’s deputy in a California sex abuse case involving the teenage daughter of an Oakland police dispatcher. The dismissals this week marked the latest setback for prosecutors in the high-profile case involving the troubled Oakland Police Department and other agencies.
Swiss prosecutors will examine new Polanski rape accusation
Swiss prosecutors said Monday that they will examine allegations made by a German woman that filmmaker Roman Polanski raped her in 1972 in the town of Gstaad, when she was 15. The procedural move means that Switzerland has not ruled out prosecuting the filmmaker, despite questions as to whether the statute of limitations for the alleged crime has lapsed.
Teen helped track brother’s killer
A 17-year-old South El Monte boy who helped police determine who killed his brother was among three people honored by Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey with Courageous Citizen Awards. Timoteo Salomon Evora Vigil was lauded for providing information to law enforcement after logging on to his brother’s social media account following his brother’s killing in Lynwood in September 2015, and finding messages from the killer, Ernesto Ornelas, who had posed online as a female friend of Vigil’s brother, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors throw out rape case for lack of evidence
The case against a Lancaster man accused of raping a young woman on campus at College of the Canyons this past summer has been tossed out for lack of evidence by county prosecutors. Azhon Davis, 18, was arrested Aug. 21 when he turned himself over to authorities at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, Sgt. Brian Hudson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Special Victims Bureau told The Signal at the time.
Suge Knight’s fiancée takes plea deal for violating court order by selling video to TMZ
The fiancee of former rap impresario Marion “Suge” Knight took a plea deal Thursday for her role in orchestrating the sale of sealed video evidence from Knight’s murder case. Toi-Lin Kelly, 36, pleaded no contest to violating a court order for helping to arrange the sale of the video to the celebrity news website TMZ. She was placed on probation for five years, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
State Bar recommends a 1-year suspension for O.C. prosecutor for withholding evidence
The State Bar of California has recommended that an Orange County prosecutor be suspended for at least a year, finding that she failed to turn over to defense counsel copies of an inmate’s mail that she secretly collected before trial. Deputy Dist. Atty. Sandra Lee Nassar’s withholding of evidence amounted to “extremely serious misconduct,” wrote Yvette D. Roland, a judge of the State Bar Court of California, in a ruling filed Tuesday.
State Bar of California seeks to discipline L.A. County deputy public defender
The State Bar of California has recommended a 30-day suspension for an L.A. County deputy public defender, concluding that she abandoned her client just before he faced trial on a molestation charge in Compton court. Delia Metoyer’s abandonment “casts a pall of doubt” over whether her former client – a man accused of sexually molesting a child – “was fairly served by the system,” wrote Donald F. Miles, a judge of the State Bar Court of California.
Candidates for judge no longer allowed to hype their job titles on ballots
The next judicial election on your local ballot will no longer have candidates with hyped-up labels like “hard-core gang prosecutor” and “government corruption prosecutor.” Under a new state law effective in January, judicial candidates will be limited to formal ballot titles, of three words or less, that describe only their official positions, such as “deputy district attorney,” or “attorney at law.”
Counties may regulate the location of gun shops, 9th Circuit Court rules
Counties may restrict the location of gun stores as long as residents have the ability to purchase firearms, a federal appeals court decided Tuesday. An 11-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging an Alameda County zoning ordinance that barred firearm sales near residential neighborhoods, schools, day-care centers, other firearm retailers and liquor stores.
Traffic violator ejected from Federal Court over claim of state court irregularities
A man who received a ticket for running a red light and contested it, then brought a civil rights action in U.S. District Court over purported irregularities in the state court proceedings which was dismissed, has lost his bid in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to gain a reinstatement of his action.
State Supreme Court to decide if L.A. County sheriff can give names of problem deputies to prosecutors
The debate over a secret list of 300 Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies with histories of dishonesty or similar misconduct is now before the California Supreme Court. In an order filed Wednesday, the court said it would consider an appeal made by Sheriff Jim McDonnell in his attempt to reveal to prosecutors the names of deputies whose past wrongdoing could call into question their credibility as witnesses in criminal proceedings.
False convictions unite South Bay women in Torrance court
Three years after a judge freed her from prison for serving 17 behind bars for a murder she did not commit, Susan Mellen returned to a Torrance court Wednesday to watch another injustice be righted. Watching an offshoot of her own case, Mellen’s eyes welled with tears as a judge apologized to Michelle Poulos of Torrance, declaring her “factually innocent” of charges that sent her to jail twice since 2001.
Despite assurances to nervous immigrants, Sheriff’s Department gave ICE assistance in jails
Since President Trump laid out his plan for mass deportations, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has gone out of its way to reassure the public it had strict limits on cooperating with immigration officials. As the president and others demanded, among other things, that local police work closely with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to hand over jail inmates suspected of being in the country illegally, the Sheriff’s Department took a defiant stand, saying ICE officers had to collect inmate information from a public website.
ICE chief threatens ‘at-large arrests’ after Calif. creates state sanctuary
President Trump’s immigration chief ripped into Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday for signing legislation that creates a statewide sanctuary policy, saying the federal government will be forced to “conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at work sites” of undocumented immigrants. In a highly critical statement, Tom Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said California’s new law undermines public safety and makes it harder for federal immigration officials to do their jobs.
California’s new ‘sanctuary state’ status: 4 key things to know
California’s latest move to both fight for immigrants in the state and against the Trumpadministration is making waves across the country and has garnered more than one harsh response from the administration. Gov. Jerry Brown signed so-called “sanctuary state” legislation – referred to as the California Values Act – on Thursday, which limits coordination between local and state law enforcement and federal immigration officials.
Fearing deportation, many domestic violence victims are steering clear of police and courts
The woman on the other end of the line said her husband had been beating her for years, even while she was pregnant. She was in danger and wanted help, but was in the country illegally – and was convinced she would be deported if she called authorities. Fearful her husband would gain custody of her children, she wanted nothing to do with the legal system.
Amazon has a luxury problem
Swatch Group executives earlier this year were planning to sell some of the Swiss conglomerate’s higher-end watches through Amazon.com Inc. But after months of talks, the two companies hit a wall. Swatch, whose brands include Longines, Omega and Blancpain, demanded a commitment that Amazon proactively police its site for counterfeits and unauthorized retailers. Amazon refused, according to Swatch Chief Executive Nick Hayek, putting a deal between the two on ice.
29 states have legal pot. Jeff Sessions wants to stamp it out, and he’s closer than you think
The 85 words almost seemed an afterthought when Congress hurriedly crammed them into a massive budget bill late in the Obama administration, as if lawmakers wanted to acknowledge America’s outlook on marijuana had changed, but not make a big deal of it. Almost three years later, a multibillion-dollar industry and the freedom of millions to openly partake in its products without fear of federal prosecution hinge on that obscure budget clause.
California’s gun-related homicide rate up, reversing years of decline
Seven teenagers were shot to death in Sacramento County last year, including a young man found dead in a relative’s garage and a popular Sacramento High School football player allegedly shot by a family friend. In Los Angeles, police tackled a wave of gang-related shootings and the number of homicides rose for the third straight year in 2016. Murders went up significantly in San Diego, San Jose and San Bernardino.
Feinstein: no gun laws could have prevented Las Vegas massacre
California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said no laws could have prevented the Las Vegas massacre last week that took the lives of 58 people and injured more than 500. Feinstein, a long-standing anti-Second Amendment senator, appeared on multiple TV shows pushing legislation to ban “bump stocks” in response to the Las Vegas shooting. Stephen Paddock used the device in a shooting spree to kill 58 and injure more than 500.
ATF official who evaluated the bump stock’s legality pushes back against critics
When the first bump stock came across Rick Vasquez’s desk in 2010, he knew that his evaluation would take longer than usual. As the senior technical expert for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, it was Vasquez’s job to help give opinions about whether new guns and gun products would be legal under federal law.
De León tangles with Feinstein over her signature issue – gun control
Tangling with Sen. Dianne Feinstein over one of her signature issues, California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León said Sunday that the United States can prevent mass killings like the one last week in Las Vegas by “getting weapons designed for the battlefield out of our neighborhoods.”
Here’s why the federal government can’t study gun violence
On the heels of the deadliest gun massacre in modern U.S. history, Republicans and Democrats alike have decried the killings and offered supportive words to the hundreds of victims in Las Vegas. With every major mass shooting, from Sandy Hook in sleepy Newtown, Connecticut, to Pulse nightclub in Orlando, come pleas from the public for officials to do something, anything, to address the scourge of gun violence in this country.
Las Vegas shooting highlights wide gaps in gun laws
Apparently, it was all legal. Though an investigation continues, it appears that everything Stephen Paddock did last Sunday night, before breaking the windows in his 32nd-floor hotel room and pouring gunfire onto a crowd at a Las Vegas country music festival, complied with state and federal gun laws. No law prohibited Paddock from buying the 23 firearms, including semiautomatic rifles, that were found in his room after the slaughter.
Las Vegas mass shooting revives debate on high-capacity magazines
How many bullets are enough? In California, both legislators and voters answered: 10. They pointed to mass shootings – Sandy Hook, Orlando, San Bernardino – saying it should be illegal to be able to inflict so much firepower without having to frequently pause to reload. The law they passed makes it a crime to possess gun magazines with more than 10 bullets.
With cannabis legalization around the corner, Los Angeles contemplates another dumb move
Like countless Californians in the last few years, Roberta Koz Wilson and her brother Jeff saw the coming revolution in cannabis and decided they wanted a piece of it. Or in their case, a bite. Using a recipe perfected by their mother, they created Dr. Norm’s Cookie Co., a Los Angeles-based edible cannabis company named after their father. Its tasty psychoactive products are available in at least 70 Southern California dispensaries.
California awaits direction on transporting legal marijuana
California’s recreational cannabis market is set to open in January 2018, but regulators have yet to release details for how distribution licensing will work for what looks to be a $500-million logistics industry regionally. The California Bureau of Cannabis Control is responsible for setting the licensing requirements for distributors. In June, the Medicinal and Adult-use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, or MAUCRSA, created one regulatory system for both medicinal and adult-use cannabis.
California aiming to open marijuana dispensaries open to all residents 21 and over by Jan. 1
Recreational marijuana is already for sale in five states, but the addition of a legal retail marijuana market in California, with its massive economy and population, will dramatically change the landscape. Voters in California, Massachusetts and Maine approved legalization of recreational marijuana in referendum votes in November 2016, on the same day that Donald Trump was elected president.
New cannabis law attracting real estate investors to Golden State
The state of California will begin issuingtemporary licenses for “cannabis commercial activity” on Jan. 1, 2018, with permanent licensing to follow within 120 days. This highly anticipated event is attracting private real estate investors from across the U.S. who want to take advantage of the opportunity opened with the legalization of cannabis use in the sixth largest market in the world.
Returning inmates need ‘a place to call home:’ Study
Safe and affordable housing for formerly incarcerated individuals is essential to breaking the “cycle” of homelessness and recidivism that prevents them from rebuilding their lives as productive citizens, according to a report issued Tuesday. “People who have paid their debt to society should have the chance to reunify with their families and have a home where children can visit or live,” said the report, released by the Prisoner Reentry Institute of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
Six decades of felonies in America
A new quantitative study of felony populations between 1948 and 2010 represents the first attempt to gain a comprehensive view of states-level criminal punishment in the United States, across both demographic and geographic lines. The authors of this study, issued by the Population Association of America,stipulate that exact data is hard to come by.
Several kids reportedly kept In solitary conditions for days at La County’s largest juvenile hall
Did days of solitary confinement replace “Hope” for a group of kids at LA’s largest juvenile hall? It appears so, according to three Los Angeles County probation commissioners. On Wednesday, September 27, a trio of commissioners charged with oversight of LA County’s complex probation department visited Central Juvenile Hall, the largest of the county’s three temporary lock-ups for kids. Shortly after they arrived, the threesome encountered a situation that alarmed them.
New L.A. County pilot program targets foster youth who cycle through shelters
This month, Los Angeles County is rolling out a new approach to the longstanding issue of how to find homes for its most difficult to place foster youth. These are youth with a high level of mental health needs and behavioral issues who often cycle through multiple foster care placements and sometimes end up on the street. As a result, they often end up spending months living at transitional shelters such as two cottages run by David and Margaret Youth and Family Services in La Verne.
Los Angeles moves to tighten rules on alcohol sales at gas stations
A Los Angeles City Council committee voted Tuesday in favor of adopting stricter enforcement of the sale of alcoholic beverages at gas stations in an effort to reduce drunk driving and the availability of alcohol to minors. “Vendors such as gas stations that sell alcohol may be overlooked in city regulations governing alcohol sales,” said Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who wrote the motion.
Will politics pass by Sen. Dianne Feinstein as both parties veer to extremes? Let’s hope not
Every ambitious politician yearning to replace Democrat Dianne Feinstein in the U.S. Senate missed their best shot. They should have started running hard before she committed to the race. While Feinstein was still mulling over whether to run a sixth time at age 85 next year, Senate wannabes could have been flexing muscle and charming voters all over the state.
Fires and climate change + Eric Garcetti contemplates next moves + Trump’s crazy war talk
Burning from Disneyland to the Wine Country, California must rethink its policies from firefighting to flood protection. Global warming is worsening storms and lengthening fire seasons, and the future isn’t going to disaster-proof itself. Jack Ohman takes a roll call vote of the U.S. senators Donald Trump has insulted. See the tally here.
Will Garcetti run for governor? It’s not an easy question
If running for governor of California were as obvious a next step for a popular mayor of Los Angeles as some might think, Eric Garcetti could have made an announcement this week. Instead, when asked in an appearance Tuesday at the Sacramento Press Club if he’s running for governor in 2018, Garcetti said: “I’m going to take a little bit more time to think about it.”
Why didn’t the New York D.A. pursue charges against Weinstein?
Nearly 30 women have come forward to accuse movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexually harassment or assault. Weinstein was fired from his studio and politicians and Hollywood actors have denounced him, and now a New York district attorney was forced to answer questions about a decision not to prosecute him. For the first time since the explosive allegations, Harvey Weinstein was seen in front of a Los Angeles home in a video obtained by TMZ.
From aggressive overtures to sexual assault: Harvey Weinstein’s accusers tell their stories
Since the establishment of the first studios, a century ago, there have been few movie executives as dominant, or as domineering, as Harvey Weinstein. He co-founded the production-and-distribution companies Miramax and the Weinstein Company, helping to reinvent the model for independent films with movies including “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “The Crying Game,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The English Patient,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and “The King’s Speech.”
Harvey Weinstein reportedly involved in family dispute, leading to LAPD response
Los Angeles police acknowledged they responded to a family dispute on Wednesday but declined to give details, despite TMZ reporting film producer Harvey Weinstein and his daughter were involved. Los Angeles Police Department Officer Tony Im confirmed his department was called at 10:47 a.m. to the 500 block of N. Kilkea Drive in Los Angeles for a family dispute.
Walmart counterfeit sales continue despite complaints
Walmart would like consumers to believe that Walmart is a safe place to buy name-brand goods, but that’s just not true. Many consumers aren’t aware that Walmart is both a direct seller of counterfeit products, and allows third-party sellers to list and sell products, including counterfeits, on Walmart’s website – Walmart.com. Alarmingly, counterfeit products can appear right next to authentic items conveying Walmart’s endorsement and the illusion they are from Walmart.
Amazon Swatch deal goes bust over counterfeit concerns
A deal between Amazon and Swatch – one that would have seen the watch company offering its brands like Omega and Blancpain on Amazon’s site – has fizzled out, according to The Wall Street Journal. And, reports indicate it has fizzled in such a way as to highlight Amazons’ growing difficulty attracting high-end and luxury partners to sell on its site. Amazon, like its Southeast Asian counterpart Alibaba, has a counterfeit problem, the WSJ reports, and luxury goods thriving on exclusivity in their offerings are a magnet for widespread fakery.
IN OTHER NEWS
Suge Knight says Dr. Dre wrote $20,000 check to hitman for his murder
Marion ‘Suge’ Knight, former Death Row Records mogul, has claimed in a court filing that Dr. Dre paid $20,000 to have him killed. Knight is currently in jail standing trial on murder and attempted murder charges after running over two men at a Compton burger stand in January 2015. Recent court filings include a declaration from Knight in which he claims to have been shown a $20,000 check with Dr. Dre’s name on it; Knight believes the check was payment for his murder, and says it demonstrates he was acting out of self-defense during the 2015 incident.
U.S. District Judge dies after collapsing while giving speech at Women’s Bar Program
U.S. District Court Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell has died at the age of 52, it was announced Tuesday. O’Connell died Sunday, Central District of California Chief Judge Virginia A. Phillips announced. O’Connell collapsed on Friday while giving a speech at a California State Bar Women’s program, according to news reports that also indicated she had previously suffered a brain hemorrhage that temporarily left her in a coma.