Monday Morning Memo for October 30, 2017
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California’s chief justice wants bail system overhauled
California’s chief justice called for a sweeping overhaul of the state’s bail system Tuesday, saying that the long-standing practice of holding suspects in jail until they can post enough money to free themselves before trial is systemically unfair to poor people.
California’s bail system is ‘unsafe and unfair,’ study finds
The national effort to get states to move away from a bail system based on money – something detractors call unjust and antiquated – got a big boost this week: A yearlong study backed by California’s chief justice recommended money bail be abolished and replaced with a system that includes robust safety assessments and expanded pretrial services.
Chief Justice Workgroup: Money bail is “unsafe and unfair”
A workgroup established by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye to study California’s bail system issued a slate of recommendations on Tuesday, saying money bail should be replaced by a risk-based assessment and supervision program that determines whether to jail defendants before trial based on their threat to public safety and their likelihood of making a court appearance.
Costs of money bail to justice
More than 200,000 bail bonds are posted in California each year, generating $308 million in non-refundable premium fees from accused persons, their families, and friends who post bail for them. Being detained in custody pretrial, even for a short period of time, can threaten an individual’s employment, housing, financial stability, and family.
Democrats helping a public pension foe
California Democratic lawmakers, Bob Hertzberg (Van Nuys) and Rob Bonta (Oakland), are pushing plans to eliminate California’s bail system and replace it with an algorithm-based program created by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. The very same group that spent $50 million on political candidates, a ballot initiative, think tanks, and research focused on ending government employee pension programs and moving them to a 401(k) style plan.
Kings County sheriff exposes ‘political half-truths’ on California bail costs
To avoid measuring the true cost of eliminating California’s bail system, two officials amended their legislation, Senate Bill 10 and pushed the date when the legislation would go into effect until Jan. 1, 2020. Clearly, this is a misleading maneuver by State Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, and Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, to hide the fiscal impact to our county and local government agencies and to their fellow members of the Legislature, who are being asked to vote for this legislation.
California won’t make its attorney licensing exam easier
Becoming a lawyer in California isn’t going to get easier after the state Supreme Court decided not to lower the minimum passing score on one of nation’s toughest licensing exams for attorneys. The justices on Wednesday acknowledged a drop in the percentage of people passing the test but said further study was needed to determine what might be behind the trend.
California law deans react to lack of movement on passing bar exam score
The California Supreme Court announced Wednesday afternoon that it would not change the passing score on the state’s bar exam.
California high court won’t reconsider death penalty ruling
California’s Supreme Court won’t reconsider its decision upholding a voter-approved measure meant to speed up executions in the state. The court voted 5-2 in August to uphold Proposition 66, but ruled that the measure’s provision for a five-year deadline for condemned inmates’ appeals was advisory, not mandatory.
Appeals court in SF may allow challenge to state law banning prostitution
Advocates of legalized prostitution took their challenge to California’s 145-year-old ban on commercial sex before a federal appeals court Thursday and appeared to get a hint that they’ll have another chance to show why the law should be cast aside. The case was brought by three former prostitutes, a would-be client and the Erotic Service Providers Legal, Educational and Research Project.
Former elementary school principal faces death penalty unless her attorney wins motion in murder trial
Attorneys representing a former elementary school principal accused of shooting her husband to death in 2013 have filed a number of motions arguing the court should throw out the death penalty in her case. Leslie Chance, 50, is charged with first-degree murder and is alleged to have committed the crime for financial gain.
C.A. affirms discovery sanction based on rudeness at Confab
The Court of Appeal for this district has affirmed a $12,600 discovery sanction imposed on a defendant based on its attorneys at Norton Rose Fulbright resisting discovery in light of what they viewed as the current state of the law, with the decisive factor in the affirmance being what the appeals court viewed as nastiness of the firm’s attorney at a meet-and-confer session.
Ninth Circuit panel unsympathetic to con man’s contentions
The contention of a swindler that the trial judge erred by discharging a juror who wanted to acquit him based on the juror’s assertion that other members of the panel were poisoning his food appears to have failed to win favor of three-judge Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel that heard argument in the case in San Francisco.
Sex, all-girls Marlborough School: Former English teacher admits affairs
A former English teacher at a Hancock Park all-girls admits he had sex with two of his former students, one of whom became pregnant, but he has paid a high price for his conduct by going to jail and seeing the breakup of his marriage, according to court papers filed by his attorney.
Threatening messages from Suge Knight left ‘Straight Outta Compton’ director terrified
F. Gary Gray was standing on a South L.A. street, filming a scene for the N.W.A biopic “Straight Outta Compton,” when the acclaimed director received a phone call from one of the men depicted in the movie. Marion “Suge” Knight was on the other end of the line, and he was angry, according to testimony by detectives this year.
DA declines to file charges in another SF police shooting, activists react
After District Attorney George Gascón announced, once again, that he won’t file charges in the officer-involved shooting of 29-year-old Jessica Williams, activists in the Bayview renewed their promise to hold the San Francisco Police Department accountable. “With everything going on, with the fires, DACA and Trump, police brutality is on the back burner,” Phelicia Jones, who founded the Bayview group Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community – Justice 4 Mario Woods, said Thursday night.
64-year-old man found guilty in 1990 Cerritos murder
A 64-year-old man was found guilty Friday of stabbing his ex-girlfriend and killing her employer nearly 30 years ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced. The jury deliberated for less than a day before finding Santos Lopez Corado guilty of first-degree murder and attempted murder.
‘Unspeakable’ acts of abuse: Palmdale boy’s horrific death
Eight BBs were recovered from the body of an 8-year-old Palmdale boy who had numerous other injuries from his head to his feet, a senior deputy medical examiner has testified in the murder trial of the live-in boyfriend of the child’s mother.
District attorney declines to charge Long Beach councilwoman with drunk driving, domestic violence
Prosecutors have decided not to charge Long Beach Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce with domestic violence or driving under the influence in connection with a June clash with her former chief of staff. But a district attorney’s memo detailing the decision also raises questions about the Long Beach Police Department’s response to the June 3 incident involving the councilwoman and Devin Cotter.
NFL protests: 49ers, police unions unite behind ‘common sense’ gun control
After the San Francisco 49ers became the catalyst for league-wide protests during the national anthem over police violence, they sponsored a forum to bridge divides between police and communities and donated a million dollars toward local solutions.
Oversight committee loses credibility with vote on drone program
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell recently reaffirmed that it is his “responsibility to ensure the safety of more than 10 million residents, which includes using whatever tools necessary and available that can save the life of a human being.” These salient words were not made in the aftermath of a horrific tragedy.
Everything you know about police shootings is wrong
The woman with the advanced Harvard degree says, “Why did the cops shoot him so many times? Why not just wound him?” The sophisticated lawyer, describing a mentally ill man charging the police with a knife asks, “Why didn’t they just shoot the knife out of his hand like they used to?” The guy at the gym says, “But he had his hands up!” The “expert” tells an audience of police officers, “It was just a small screwdriver.”
Police officers’ lives are at risk because of a false media narrative
The 24-hour news cycle and social media are abuzz with controversy over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. We wonder if most Americans remember what the initial protest was about. Police officers haven’t forgotten. When Colin Kaepernick took a knee last year, he was protesting what he incorrectly viewed as an increase in police brutality.
Does placing a ‘no valuables inside’ sign in a car window deter break-ins?
In San Francisco, where no automobile parked on the street is immune from glass-smashing thieves, some people have taken to posting signs on car windows announcing that there are no valuables inside. The hope, of course, is that a thief will read the notice and decide: “Huh. No valuables in this one.I guess I’ll break into some other car.”
Police body cameras: Money for nothing?
Prompted in part by high-profile complaints about police use of force, the U.S. government in recent years has allocated tens of millions of taxpayer dollars for body cameras for state and local police departments – and those states and municipalities have invested millions of their own dollars as well. But a study released Friday reveals that body cameras have little to no effect on police behavior.
What’s the appropriate time to release police body camera videos? Right now
Like audio recordings of 911 emergency calls, video recordings from police body cameras are public records that can and should be disclosed to the public. That’s the easy part. It gets complicated because in mandating disclosure, California law also allows footage to be edited and release to be delayed to protect individual privacy and give police the leeway they need to conduct investigations and protect witnesses.
Park Service cancels funding for project ‘honoring legacy’ of Black Panther Party
The National Park Service told the Washington Free Beacon it is no longer providing funding for a controversial project “honoring the legacy” of the Black Panther Party after outrage that the agency would spend taxpayer dollars to memorialize a group that murdered a park ranger in the 1970s.
Good intentions can leave law enforcement and their communities less safe
For the past couple of years, efforts to change the criminal justice system have become more and more popular while leaving law enforcement officers and the communities they serve less and less safe. We see it again last week at the National Law Enforcement Summit where former Obama administration officials and their allies are trying to get President Trump to go back on his commitment to our brave men and women in law enforcement.
VEGAS MASS SHOOTING
Southern California police injured in Las Vegas mass shooting heroism denied workers’ comp due to state law
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti – a longtime critic of big money in local politics – has set a surprising city record requesting large contributions, using a little-known and largely unregulated process called “behested payments,” KPCC has found. Since his election as mayor, records show Garcetti has used the mechanism to raise $31.9 million in large donations to his favored causes from individuals, businesses and foundations, some of which have won sizable contracts and crucial approvals from the city in recent years.
More than 200 California cops were at the Las Vegas shooting. Should they get workers’ comp?
Four Orange County, Calif., sheriff’s deputies injured in the Las Vegas county music festival massacre have been denied workers’ compensation and court battles may be looming for dozens of other California law enforcement personnel who tried to help even though they were off-duty.
Supervisor Janice Hahn calls for communities to do more to solve homeless crisis
In her first State of the County speech since winning election 11 months ago, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn called on cities to reject “NIMBYism” when it comes to one of the region’s biggest problems, rising homelessness. “What we really need to do is to build more homes people can afford,” Hahn said, addressing a crowd that included some 60 public officials from nearly 40 cities and unincorporated areas that make up her sprawling Fourth District.
2 years after a gas leak filled the air over Porter Ranch, what’s next for Aliso Canyon?
Perhaps some day, every well up in Aliso Canyon will sit empty and dry, with no trace- not one molecule- of natural gas left in the hills above Porter Ranch. But a shadow of doubt and worry would likely still linger among the residents who live below. Two years ago, the well known as SS-25 ruptured, sending more than 100,000 metric tons of natural gas spewing into the air.
Newly public videos show 2008 L.A. jail beatings
After a court battle, the public can now see videos showing Los Angeles County jail inmates being stomped, beaten and punished with stun guns. The videos show jailers dragging screaming and moaning inmates from their cells in August 2008. Five inmates sued, and a jury awarded a total of nearly $1 million in damages and more than $5 million in attorney fees. The jury found Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies used “sadistic and malicious force.”
Supes move forward with probation oversight and reform efforts
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to consider establishing an independent entity to create a “roadmap” for implementing long-awaited reforms within the LA County Probation Department. The motion, introduced by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Janice Hahn, calls for an analysis on expanding the purpose and increasing the power of the existing Probation Commission to get the job done, otherwise the board will look into creating a new, independent “taskforce” composed of a diverse group that would include individuals with a “deep knowledge” of the “probation department, juvenile justice policy, and criminal justice reform efforts targeting adult populations.
L.A. County Supervisors unanimously back Sen. Feinstein for reelection
The five members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors have all endorsed Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the senator’s campaign announced Thursday. The announcement comes as factions of California Democrats begin weighing in on the Senate race between Feinstein and state Senate leader Kevin de León next year. It’s a snub for De León, a native Angeleno who has represented part of the city for more than a decade in the Assembly and state Senate.
New bill triggers safety concerns
California officially became a “sanctuary state” in September when state lawmakers passed SB 54, a new bill that aims to protect undocumented immigrants. However, it has been met with mixed reactions in communities throughout the state, with some residents and local law enforcement complaining that such measures will lead to concerns over public safety.
California turns to Vermont for solution to opioid problem
Taking a page from Vermont, California is using a new health approach to stem the opioid problem, which has hit small communities and rural counties especially hard. The state is putting a federal grant of $89.5 million from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) toward opening medication-assisted treatment to more Medicaid recipients, who struggle with the addiction.
Council tackles homelessness, ongoing projects in third quarter
Picking up where they left off, the city council completed some unfinished business from before their six-week summer break in the third quarter of the year. The timeline of the council’s decisions happens organically and are not typically divided by quarter but by the calendar year in its entirety, according to Mayor Cameron Smyth.
Not her mother’s daughter: The lessons of Lisa Bloom
She knew how to use the media to gain notoriety for her brand and most of all sympathy for her clients. And build a brand she did. Allred is synonymous with the hard-charging, fearless attorney who on behalf of a client will use the power of publicity to isolate a high-profile target and negatively affect the public’s view of the target.
Harvey Weinstein is done. But what about Lisa Bloom?
“Let’s talk about how I can do better,” Lisa Bloom said. It was a Friday morning – the first day the attorney was back in her Woodland Hills law firm following her resignation as Harvey Weinstein’s adviser – and she’d called her staff into a meeting. She wanted to apologize. She told her colleagues she’d made a “colossal mistake” in deciding to represent the Hollywood producer against numerous claims of sexual harassment.
Roman Polanski molested another naked little girl? Oscar ouster possible?
The Oscar folks may eventually be debating the membership status of famed director Roman Polanski in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal as a woman claims she was molested by Polanski when she was 10 years old and posed naked during a deserted beach photo shoot. A petition to remove Polanski from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was fewer than 1,000 short of its 18,000-signature goal Monday.
Do gun laws reduce the gun homicide rates in states?
After nearly 60 people were killed and more than 500 were wounded at a shooting at a concert outside of a County concert in Las Vegas, debate immediately emerged about whether gun control legislation might have stopped the shooter, who amassed 23 weapons (more than half had “bump stocks) and 1,600 rounds of ammunition. So my students and I tested a gun control law to see if it might have preventing gun-based killings, and here is what we found.
Poll shows Americans still divided on gun laws after Las Vegas massacre
The slaying of nearly five dozen people in Las Vegas did little to change Americans’ opinions about gun laws. The nation is closely divided on whether restricting firearms would reduce such mass shootings or homicides, though a majority favor tighter laws as they have for several years, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Attorneys general unite in support of California magazine ban
A group of 12 states and the District of Columbia signed on to support a California prohibition on magazines capable of holding 10 or more cartridges. In response to a federal lawsuit by several California residents in conjunction with the state’s National Rifle Association affiliate who argue the state’s prohibition against “high-capacity magazines” violates their Second Amendment rights, Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine and attorneys general from a dozen other states are siding with California.
Police pull over marijuana worker paid with pot, confiscate ‘paycheck’
Payment for services in the form of 17 large plastic garbage bags of marijuana weighing 156 pounds were seized from a driver working for an undisclosed Murphys grow as he pulled an enclosed trailer down the road. According to Angels Camp Police Chief Todd Fordahl, the incident occurred during a recent traffic stop just before midnight after an enforcement stop on the truck, which was pulling a trailer that had a non-functioning license plate.
California fires: Cannabis farm fundraisers shut down
Crowdfunding efforts to help legal cannabis farms damaged in California’s wildfires have been closed down because of fear of contradictory national laws. More than $13,000 (£10,000) was raised for the dozens of businesses. Medical cannabis is already legal in California and it is set to be sold recreationally from January next year. However under US federal law it is illegal to manufacture, distribute or sell the drug – making it difficult for legal growers to get help.
Even Republicans are down for legalizing marijuana
We’re not sure what’s going on with the Grand Old Party. It has the presidency. It has Congress. Yet its cornerstone legislative proposals – repealing and replacing Obamacare and cutting taxes for the rich – are going nowhere fast. And within the last week three Republican senators have rebuked President Trump, including Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who gave an impassioned speech on the Senate floor Tuesday in which he called Trump’s behavior “outrageous and undignified.”
Reforming solitary confinement at infamous California prison
California’s Pelican Bay Prison is the most notorious state penitentiary in America. Designed and built as a “supermax” facility, it’s been used for nearly 30 years to lock away inmates considered the most dangerous. Pelican Bay’s Security Housing Unit — known as “the SHU” — is solitary confinement by another name, and inmates and their advocates have long denounced it as state-sanctioned torture.
For $1 an hour, inmates fight California fires. ‘Slave labor’ or self-improvement?
On the front lines of some of the deadliest fires raging in California, professional firefighters are working alongside prison inmates with one key difference: pay. Cal Fire firefighters make at least $10.50 an hour, according to the agency, and inmates make only $2 a day plus $1 an hour. All the attention on the wildfires over the past two weeks has begun to draw attention to a prison program in California that, according to state corrections spokesman Bill Sessa, can reduce state firefighting costs up to $100 million a year.
Charles Manson sex with 14-year-old girl was ‘impish’ fun
Before he was a Los Angeles mass murderer, Charles Manson was a serial statutory rapist. And his youngest victim, Dianne Lake, is making the media rounds to promote her book, “Member of the Family.” On ABC’s “Good Morning America,” however, the story isn’t told in Harvey Weinstein fashion. Dianne depicts herself as a consenting 14-year-old.”He made you feel like you were his one and only love, you know?” Lake, 64, told Amy Robach.
Terminally ill prison inmate from Woodland may be released
A reportedly terminally ill Woodland man serving prison time for a fatal barroom stabbing may gain his freedom several years early if a Yolo Superior Court judge grants a petition for his compassionate release. Jeffrey Lemus, who is about a year into his seven-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter, has fewer than six months to live after being diagnosed with liver cancer and advanced cirrhosis, according to a compassionate release report prepared by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
UCLA professor to partner with Soros-funded groups to mold black studies
A history professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) recently announced plans to partner with anti-incarceration groups to shape Black Studies on campus, including one organization that has received at least $800,000 from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations and others with deep ties to Black Lives Matter.
California, Texas ‘united by America’s pastime’ but that doesn’t stop World Series bets
When the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers meet today to open the World Series, they’ll have some major backers betting on them. Wagers have been placed between the governors, California Democrat Jerry Brown and Texas Republican Greg Abbott; and the city police chiefs, Charlie Beck in Los Angeles and Art Acevedo in Houston.
Why CEOs should care about being political actors
For the past seven years, I have taught a class at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, which is called “The Business of Politics.” As a guest speaker, Chris Micheli has presented a lecture for several years on lobbying at the State Capitol. The premise of the course is straightforward: Businesses are affected by government at the local, state and federal levels and, as a business leader, it would be in your best interest to clearly understand that relationship.
‘Everything is at stake:’ California unions brace for a Supreme Court loss
California labor leaders sound almost apocalyptic when they describe a looming Supreme Court case that many of them concede likely will cost them members and money. “Everything is at stake,” says Yvonne Walker, president of Service Employees International Local 1000, state government’s largest union. “It’s a blatant political attack,” says Eric Heins, the leader of the massive California Teachers Association.
California’s six-figure pension club has 62,000 members
Two retired Los Angeles city employees-Earl Paysinger, a former deputy police chief, and Emile Mack, a former assistant fire chief-pulled down more than $1.4 million apiece in pension benefits last year, giving them the largest nest eggs across all California’s public retirement systems. Last week Transparent California released data showing that more than 62,000 retired California public workers earn at least six figures in annual retirement benefits.
Top House tax writer won’t rule out changes to 401(k) plans
The head of the House tax-writing panel isn’t ruling out changes to the 401(k) retirement program to raise revenue for tax cuts, despite President Donald Trump’s promise that the savings plan used by tens of millions of Americans will be untouched. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady said Wednesday he’s discussing the 401(k) issue with Trump, who has shot down the possibility of changes to the popular program.
LA’s homeless crisis needs FEMA-like ‘field general,’ city attorney says
To combat the city’s persistent and lingering homelessness crisis, Los Angeles needs to appoint a senior-level official who will lead the charge in getting facilities for the homeless built at a much faster pace, City Attorney Mike Feuer said Monday. During a talk at City Hall, Feuer suggested that homelessness should be treated like an emergency by hiring someone who can operate like a top-level, federal official responding to disaster situations such as hurricanes.
‘Nowhere to sleep’: Los Angeles sees increase in young homeless
Dressed in jeans and carrying a backpack, 21-year-old Santa Monica College freshman Japheth Craig Dyer looks like a typical college kid who might’ve just pulled an all-nighter. But he wasn’t up late studying. “I didn’t have nowhere to sleep last night,” he says. “So … kind of tired, but I’m not too worried about it. I’ll just make sure I get some rest whenever I can.” He’s sitting on a bench in the shade – just inside, the cafeteria teems with students eating, chatting and studying.