Monday Morning Memo – Association of  Deputy District Attorneys

Association of  Deputy District Attorneys




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Courts & Rulings
Fliers can sue over airport screener abuses: U.S. appeals court
A federal appeals court on Friday handed a victory to travelers who object to invasive screenings at U.S. airport security checkpoints, saying screeners are not absolutely immune from lawsuits accusing them of abusive conduct. In a 9-4 decision, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said Transportation Security Administration screeners were “investigative or law enforcement officers” for purposes of searching passengers, waiving the government’s usual immunity from lawsuits.


Feds: State court ruling has no impact on federal prosecution in Kate Steinle case
A state appeals court decision overturning the illegal gun possession conviction of Jose Ines Garcia-Zarate in the Kate Steinle case will have no impact on his federal prosecution, officials announced Tuesday. U.S. Attorney David Anderson was adamant that the federal court prosecution of Garcia-Zarate will continue unfettered. “The state-court ruling has no legal effect on the federal prosecution, which will continue,” Anderson said. 
Federal judge finds FBI’s terror watchlist unconstitutional
The government’s watchlist of more than 1 million people identified as “known or suspected terrorists” violates the constitutional rights of those placed on it, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. The ruling from U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga grants summary judgment to nearly two dozen Muslim U.S. citizens who challenged the watchlist with the help of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. 
Federal Appeals Court upholds ban on assault weapons, large-capacity magazines
A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld a county-wide ban on assault weapons and limits on magazine capacity. The three-judge panel rendered a unanimous opinion for the court, including the assent of Trump appointee Judge Amy Joan St. Eve. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit found that two Cook County, Illinois residents who sought to challenge these restrictions came “forward with no reason – much less a compelling one,” to revisit the court’s own precedent establishing such rules as constitutional.
I hope you burn in hell’: Palm Springs cop killer John Hernandez Felix gets death sentence
A judge on Friday sentenced Palm Springs cop killer John Hernandez Felix to die for taking the lives of two officers nearly three years ago. In addition, Felix was sentenced by Riverside Superior Court Judge Anthony Villalobos to 368 years to life for the gun battle in October 2016 that injured several others at his parents’ home.

Appeals court grants new trial to sexually violent predator because of prosecutorial misconduct

A convicted violent sexual predator will get a new chance for controlled release from a state hospital because of prosecutorial misconduct, a state appellate court ruled this week. Justices on the 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana on Thursday overturned a lower court decision denying the release of convicted pedophile Steven Force.
California Supreme Court hires law firm to conduct Bar Exam probe
The California Supreme Court has hired a retired appeals court justice and his law firm to probe the State Bar’s disclosure of bar exam topics prior to the July test. Arthur G. Scotland, a former administrative presiding justice of the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento, will lead the investigation. California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye served on the Third District bench with Scotland for several years.

After 33 years in prison, NorCal man’s murder conviction overturned based on DNA evidence

A California appeals court cited new DNA testing while overturning the murder conviction of a man who has spent 33 years in prison. California’s Sixth District Court of Appeal struck down the conviction of Jack Sagin after lawyers showed his DNA was absent from a victim’s nails and other crime scene evidence, the Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP) said Wednesday.
Abortion foes play down privacy concerns in criminal hearing
It seemed like a typical business lunch at a bustling restaurant in Century City. A woman dressed appropriately for 90-degree heat approaches a table and greets a man and another woman who are already seated. They’re from BioMax Procurement Services, a company that provides medical researchers with organs. They’re new to the fetal tissue selling game and looking to expand their reach.
Judge: Man involved in scuffle with stadium guards can seek punitive damages
A man who sued the Los Angeles Dodgers, alleging he was attacked by security guards while on his way to a Dodger Stadium restroom during a game in 2018, can seek punitive damages against the team, a judge ruled Wednesday. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Christopher Lui denied a motion by the National League franchise to strike plaintiff Daniel Antunez’s punitive damages claim from his complaint.
Marin judge denies Max Wade’s bid for juvenile do-over
A Marin judge dealt a major blow Thursday to Max Wade, the former teenage crime dynamo, in his efforts to salvage part of his adulthood. Judge Beverly Wood rejected Wade’s petition to send his case back to juvenile court for prosecution, a move that could have eased his sentence considerably. Wade, who was prosecuted as an adult for attempted murder and other crimes, is serving 21 years to life in prison.
Students find success with First Amendment battles over college fees
College students in San Diego County saw two court victories this summer in First Amendment cases challenging how mandatory student fees are allocated by schools. It’s a trend legal experts say will continue as alternative student groups challenge who gets access to funds raised by students, with lack of funding amounting to censorship.
Prosecutors/ Prosecutions
Becoming a genetic witness
Investigative Genetic Genealogy is used by millions in America and around the globe. It has helped make life changing contacts by connecting adoptees with their birth families and is used by individuals, family historians and genealogists everywhere. Databases like GedMatch and FamilyTreeDNA are free, open-data personal genomics databases for everyone to use and anyone who has taken a DNA test at Ancestry, 23andMe and/or MyHeritage contributes to them if they choose to by uploading their DNA results. 
Monrovia man charged in the killing of missing girlfriend
Prosecutors on Wednesday charged Robert Anthony Camou in the killing of girlfriend Amanda Custer, a 31-year-old Monrovia resident who has been missing since July 29. Camou’s motive in the killing, prosecutors say, was to silence Custer, covering up an accusation that on April 22 in Pasadena Camou strangled her, threatened her with a Taser, then beat up a neighbor, an elderly man who tried to come to her aid.
Hearing set for man charged in deadly gunbattle outside Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake
A hearing is set to begin Wednesday to determine if a 29-year-old man will have to stand trial on murder and other charges stemming from a chase and gunbattle last year that resulted in the fatal shooting of a Trader Joe’s assistant manager by pursuing police officers in Silver Lake and a subsequent standoff inside the store. 
Suspect charged in CSUF stabbing death placed on mental hold in prison
Chris Chuyen Vo, the suspect charged in the campus stabbing death of former Cal State Fullerton administrator Steven Shek Keung Chan, is being held in mental health housing at the Orange County jail in Santa Ana. The Orange County Health Care Agency, the department in charge of Vo’s healthcare, could not be reached for comment. Sheriff’s deputies did not disclose the reason for separating Vo from the main jail population.
Man charged in deaths of 3 Chinese migrants found in car trunk after crossing into California
A U.S. citizen has been charged in the smuggling deaths of three Chinese migrants who were found in the trunk of his BMW two days after he crossed the border, including a mother and her 15-year-old son, authorities said Tuesday. Neil Edwin Valera, 50, pleaded not guilty to encouraging aliens to enter the U.S. resulting in death, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Policy & Legal Issues
LA approves a plan making it easier to clear homeless encampments in fire zones
An ordinance that gives law enforcement the authority to order homeless people out of encampments located in brush areas on high-risk fire days was approved Wednesday by the Los Angeles City Council. The zones that will be marked off limits would be “Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones,” which are mapped by Cal Fire, the state firefighting agency. 
This is how the LAPD writes its tweets
The Los Angeles Police Department’s official Twitter account, @LAPDHQ, has 146,000 followers. Depending on the day, they post anywhere from one to over 10 times. But as with any company, organization or governing body, it’s not always clear who is responsible for writing or vetting the tweets. With that in mind, LAist reader Natali Hopkins wrote in and asked us, “Who at the LAPD decides what/when is shared on their Twitter? What about when it’s related to police-involved shootings?”
The case for high-speed police car chases
Gentle readers, in our previous visit we discussed a police chase in Baltimore, one that was, in my view, imprudently and prematurely called off by a police commander who was worried about the potential for a traffic collision. The suspect being pursued had committed two acts of attempted murder on police officers, the first by trying to run an officer over with a car, the second by shooting at another officer, yet this supervisor chose to allow the suspect to escape.
California bill could allow rehab instead of jail for parents who commit certain crimes
California lawmakers are set to vote next week on a bill that would allow parents who commit misdemeanors and some felonies to go to rehab instead of prison. Senate Bill 394, introduced by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, would give local judges and prosecutors the option of creating a diversion program for parents who are primary caregivers for a child 18 years old or younger and commit a “nonserious, nonviolent” felony or lesser crime, as described in state law.

It’s no longer a crime to refuse to help a cop after Gavin Newsom signed this law

A legal vestige from California’s Wild West days is no more. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill striking down a law that makes it a crime to refuse a police officer’s request for help. The California Posse Comitatus Act of 1872 made it a misdemeanor for any “able-bodied person 18 years of age or older” to refuse a police officer’s call for assistance in making an arrest.
The rise of municipal ransomware
Last month’s coordinated ransomware attacks against 23 cities in Texas reflect a troubling trend for America’s cities: bad actors are addicted to the payoff. In the 30 years since the first ransomware attack, the digital environment has changed beyond recognition, and it will only continue to mutate – by next year, approximately 30 billion devices will be connected to the Internet, and by 2025, almost 5 billion people will have access to the web.
Training cops that they’re acting on “implicit biases” that need to be exposed and overcome can lead to severe mental strain.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has made “implicit-bias training” a key initiative of his administration. Based on the principle that, as he says, “we as human beings all come with biases that we have to overcome,” implicit-bias training – which has already been rolled out for tens of thousands of municipal employees across the NYPD and Department of Education – is meant to counterprogram the racist responses that supposedly are wired into our brains.
Prosecutors charge man in connection with death of rapper Mac Miller
Federal prosecutors have charged a Hollywood Hills man in connection with the death of hip-hop artist Mac Miller, who was found dead of a drug overdose nearly a year ago, according to a federal criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday. The 42-page criminal complaint filed in the Central District of California alleges that Cameron James Pettit, 28, supplied Miller with counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl.
Los Angeles County
Lancaster resident claims harassment from deputies during sniper hoax
A disabled Lancaster resident says he is taking steps to sue Los Angeles County after he was allegedly harassed by sheriff’s deputies during a manhunt triggered by a reported shooting of a deputy that turned out to be false. Jaime Flores, a formerly homeless double amputee, says that deputies upended his apartment, tossed food from his refrigerator, disabled his electric wheelchair and disrespected him in their search for a sniper that did not exist.
The false claim of LA County Sheriff’s Deputy being shot by sniper leads to classic fail in crisis communication
Slightly over two weeks ago, a deputy-trainee at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lancaster station radioed that he had been shot twice by a sniper from an apartment building across the street from the station building. A massive search was initiated immediately following the alarming report that someone had targeted a deputy in the middle of the day in the station’s parking lot. 
LA County coroner to track data on LGBTQ suicides, hate crimes
The Board of Supervisors Tuesday directed the Los Angeles County coroner to begin collecting data on sexual orientation and gender identity in an effort to track suicide rates and hate crimes against LGBTQ individuals. Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Sheila Kuehl co-authored the motion, saying data can drive policy designed to protect at-risk communities. The board voted to approve the motion without comment.
Deputy testifies that trainer told him to falsify report
A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy testified Thursday that his first trainer at the Industry station told him to falsely state in a report that a methamphetamine pipe found after a suspect’s SUV was stopped was recovered from the motorist’s clothing when it was actually found in the vehicle’s console. Deputy Andrew Rodriguez testified that he told the training officer, “I don’t want my name on it (the report).”
The horrific death of Anthony Avalos and the many missed chances to save him
Anthony Avalos was the fastest runner in his fourth-grade class at El Dorado Elementary School in Lancaster. He earned a place on the honor roll, and his teacher, Harmony Bell, noticed an uncommon emotional maturity for a boy his age. He often collected his thoughts before speaking, asking Bell if he could step out of the room and take a few deep breaths.
Committee reviews new courthouse priority draft list, including for SCV
The Santa Clarita Valley is set to receive a new courthouse, but when that’ll happen was part of the discussion for the Court Facilities Advisory Committee of the Judicial Council of California on Thursday. At its meeting in San Francisco, the committee unanimously approved for public comment a council draft statewide list, known as the Revision of Prioritization Methodology for Trial Court Capital-Outlay Projects – a list of capital projects prioritized based on needs and costs – a list that included a new Santa Clarita courthouse. 
What should we do about L.A. sheriff’s deputies with histories of misconduct?
The California Supreme Court last week rejected former Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell’s attempt to send the district attorney a list of 300 deputies with histories of dishonesty or other misconduct that prosecutors, once they know about it, may have to disclose to criminal defendants to protect their constitutional right to a fair trial.
Sheriff’s department plans to deploy body cameras on WeHo deputies
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department plans to fully deploy body-worn cameras for its patrol deputies two to three years from now at a cost of $34.6 million, according to county documents available Tuesday. The Century, Lakewood, Industry, West Hollywood and Lancaster stations are slated to be the first batch of patrol stations where deputies will be outfitted with cameras.
L.A. voters are clueless about how to elect a great sheriff. Here’s why
Over the course of nearly 16 years, Los Angeles County voters elected and kept reelecting Sheriff Lee Baca, who was ultimately sentenced to three years in federal prison for his role in obstructing an FBI investigation into abuse of county jail inmates. Still free pending appeal, Baca was recently implicated in a bribery scheme.
“Mexicans are not Muslims” – new lawsuit alleges that Muslim inmates in LA jails not given the basic elements of worship
Last week, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)  filed a lawsuit alleging mistreatment of Muslim jail inmates by members of the LA County Sheriff’s Department, which CAIR said has made a “multi-pronged and systematic effort” to prevent Muslim inmates “from being given the most basic religious accommodations” in LA County’s jails – and in Men’s Central Jail, in particular.
Public Safety
Former Rialto chief comes out of retirement to clean up dysfunction at Police Department
Rialto Police Chief Mark Kling came out of retirement and returned to his former department to make sure of one thing: that it never goes back to the way it was. “This is an all-end game,” Kling said in a interview at the Rialto Police Department. “We’re not going back where we were. We’re not. What we’re doing is moving forward.”
VIDEO: Suspect fights Victorville Deputy, steals her gun and shoots towards her before being shot by police
A man was shot by police after he assaulted an officer, stole her gun and then shot towards the deputy. It all happened just before 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, September 4, 2019, when a Victorville Deputy responded to the 13000 block of Cabazon Court and made contact with a male suspect. 
54 people were killed in hit-and-run crashes last year
Keisha Saravia, 38, was crossing Main Street in front of her house last month in Broadway-Manchester when she was struck by a white sedan. The driver did not stop to see if Saravia – then nine months pregnant with her sixth child – was all right, or even to call 911. The car sped off, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, and Saravia and her unborn baby later died at a hospital.

100 rainbow ‘halos’ on Los Angeles street corners will honor people killed in car crashes

On a fall afternoon in 2010, 16-year-old Conor Lynch was struck and killed by a driver as he ran across a street in Sherman Oaks to catch up with his high school cross-country team. Nearly a decade later, the intersection where he died has a new feature: a vivid, multicolored disc, about the size of a dinner plate, that casts a rainbow shadow across the pavement and a green bus bench that bears his photo.
Olympic & Bundy: LAPD talks recruitment and ‘Bigs in Blue’ program
We learn why four LAPD officers love their job! Three are from LAPD’s recruitment unit and a fourth represents a mentoring program called Bigs in Blue.  All four share stories of life on and off the job and why they are proud to be LAPD.  Olympic & Bundy podcast host Christine Devine first met Captain Aaron McCraney at the Taste of Soul on Crenshaw and then again at the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Executives, ABLE. 
FBI launches sextortion awareness campaign in schools
Students in many high schools and middle schools will soon be walking by FBI posters warning them of a crime that begins on their smartphones, computers, and game consoles. “The goal of our Stop Sextortion campaign is to alert young people to one of the risks that they can encounter online,” said Supervisory Special Agent Brian Herrick, assistant chief of the FBI’s Violent Crime Section.
Police use-of-force data ‘a huge mess’ across the US
The federal government recently released what some hoped would be the most accurate data on how police departments resolve civilian complaints of police brutality. Collected from nearly 4,000 law enforcement agencies across the country – including three in Volusia County – the data shows fewer than 1 in 15 excessive force allegations in 2015 met the threshold for disciplinary action against the accused officer.
AB 109, Prop 47 & 57
Stabbing rampage in Orange County sparks questions about Democrat legislators’ early release law – Assembly Bill 109
When Zachary Castaneda went on a stabbing rampage earlier this month in Orange County, it led many people to review Assembly Bill 109 from back in 2011. That measure was the early release from prison law that the Democrats in the Legislature and former-Gov. Jerry Brown rammed through. AB 109 was passed with only Democrats’ support. No Republican voted for it.

Take back our public spaces

Enough is enough. The images of major California cities that have been overrun with homeless drug addicts littering and defecating on public sidewalks is a national disgrace. The social engineering experiment, supported by the so called educated elite, has failed. Some people simply cannot take care of themselves, and others need to be locked up to protect society from them.

Senators want answers about listings for unsafe merchandise on

Three U.S. senators wrote a letter to CEO Jeff Bezos asking him to take action to stop the sale of unsafe items and to ensure accurate warning labels on his company’s giant sales platform. The letter, signed by Senate commerce committee members Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) and Ed Markey (D., Mass.), along with Bob Menendez (D., N.J.), detailed on Thursday the findings from an article The Wall Street Journal published last week and asked for a response from Mr. Bezos.
Amazon ‘turning a blind eye to knock-offs’ as customers are told to look out for fake and ‘potentially dangerous’ goods
A growing number of items on the site are sold by third party sellers under the Amazon Prime label. The company’s infrastructure allows these vendors, to store products in its warehouses and sell directly to consumers, with Amazon taking a cut of the revenue. But shoppers will have no idea they are buying from separate companies with many at risk of buying fakes and “potentially dangerous” goods from rogue vendors, according to an investigation.
Clearing the Air: Where you can and can’t smoke pot in LA
Months after Fifun Amini put up signs at his Quiznos sandwich shop in Sun Valley, notifying people that smoking or vaping marijuana in all public places in California is not allowed, he says they are working to get the word out. “They come in here they are looking at the sign, they hesitate to smoke,” Amini said, who says he is not against people smoking marijuana legally, but wants his customers to have a smoke-free experience. 
Jussie Smollett fights Chicago suit on investigation costs
Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett Tuesday continued his battle with the city of Chicago, claiming that even if he did fake a hate crime against himself, he could not have predicted how much money the city would spend to solve it. Maintaining his innocence in a reply to the city filed in federal court Tuesday evening, Smollett said that even if he was lying about being attacked on a Chicago street early this year he should not have to repay the police department for its work.
We’re entering California’s most active ballot initiative filing period
September is the start of meteorological autumn and, in California, the most active period for ballot initiative filings. Based on Ballotpedia’s analysis of the last three election cycles, you’ll get your first look at initiatives likely to be on California’s 2020 ballot over the next four months. As of August 29, 27 citizen-initiated measures have been filed in California targeting the election on November 3, 2020. What can we expect in the months ahead?

Unions win in politics, lose members

One of the more curious anomalies about California is that while labor unions’ political power has increased to virtual hegemony, especially in the last decade, union membership has declined just as sharply. On Labor Day 2019, one can only wonder whether both trends will continue and if so, what the eventual outcome will be. Labor’s ever-increasing political influence, from the smallest school district to the Legislature and statewide offices, including the governorship, is an uncontested fact.
Next arena for criminal justice reform: A roof over their heads
When Thad Tatum was released from a Louisiana prison after serving 28 years for armed robbery and the attempted murder of a police officer, he found his trials were far from over. Mr. Tatum, who has used a wheelchair since he was stabbed at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, has had to prove he could make it on the outside.

Arrests made in Eagle Rock brush fire near homeless camp

Prosecutors have asked for further investigation into one of two suspects arrested on suspicion of attempted murder for allegedly starting a brush fire last week in Eagle Rock next to a homeless encampment that threatened dozens of homes. The fire was ignited by an incendiary device after a someone inside a blue pickup truck exchanged words with the occupants of a homeless encampment, leading authorities to conclude the fire was set with the intention of killing the campers, the sources said. 
Gang crimes jump in San Diego
After a year of declines, gang-related crime in San Diego has jumped in recent months, with the city logging twice as many homicides as the same time last year and 20% more gang-related crimes overall. A spate of shootings, retaliation attacks and other crimes has put the raw number of gang-related crimes this year far ahead of the number through July 2018.
JaVale McGee’s championship ring stolen during burglary at his L.A. home
JaVale McGee, a member of the Golden State Warriors 2017 and 2018 championship-winning teams, was targeted by burglars over Labor Day weekend. He was cleaned out of cash, one of his championship rings and the goggles he wore during the 2018 NBA Finals, according to NBC Sports. McGee wasn’t at his Los Angeles-area home at the time the robbers struck. 
Vandals tag nearly a dozen San Pedro homes with swastikas

Nearly a dozen properties were hit by vandals overnight, and now local leaders want to send a message. “We’re all working class, and you know the last thing you want to do is come home from a ten-hour shift to find your place all messed up,” Lion Lyons, a community activist said. Los Angeles police are investigating after at least nine area homes were tagged with swastikas. 
Good Samaritans help in arrest of accused predator after seeing Facebook post
A man accused of sexually harassing women was behind bars Tuesday after some good Samaritans took action after seeing a Facebook post. Ashley Rodriguez said she was sitting in a car with her parents at a Menifee shopping Center Saturday when a man began asking her strange questions, like what time the stores opened. “Obviously the parking lot is full around noon, so I told him, ‘you know it’s open right now.’

NPU arrests parolee with loaded handgun

On August 28th, 2019, at approximately 7 PM, Officers’ O’hern and Siipola of the Redding Police Departments Neighborhood Police Unit were
patrolling the 2800 block of Churn Creek Road in connection with an ongoing problem property. As officers entered the driveway, they immediately noticed a suspicious vehicle occupied by two individuals. The driver, Bradley Steven Wible (38 years of Shasta Lake City), exited the car attempting to walk away but was quickly detained.
Burglary crew arrests linked to nearly 20 crimes throughout Bay Area
Police arrested six men they suspect of running a burglary crew responsible for nearly 20 thefts from Bay Area construction sites, bike shops and even a school district office over the last year, authorities said. San Jose police served several arrest and search warrants in San Jose and Sunnyvale on Thursday morning to cap an eight-month investigation into a string of commercial burglaries. 
East L.A. vandalism suspects arrested after leading pursuit, crashing on 710 freeway
Deputies arrested two vandalism suspects who struck one of them with a car before leading them on a pursuit on the 710 Freeway in the East Los Angeles area, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department said Monday. Officers responded to the 1400 block of Sydney Drive, near Whittier Boulevard,  around 2 a.m. after receiving several calls reporting suspects smashing multiple car windows in the area, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
BPD assistant police chief Demestihas arrested on suspicion of domestic violence
The third most senior member of the Bakersfield Police Department was arrested Wednesday, and placed on paid administrative leave, after a woman was found with visible injuries in the parking lot of the VIP Lounge around midnight earlier that same day, according to the department. Assistant Police Chief Evan Demestihas, who is also a part-time lecturer of criminal justice at Cal State Bakersfield, surrendered himself to authorities at the Taft City Jail after being ordered to do so by the BPD.

Over 100 artifacts stolen in 1990’s recovered, LAPD searching for rightful owners

Detectives have recovered several expensive artworks that were stolen from Los Angeles area homes in the early 1990’s. Officials are now urging people to come forward if they believe the stolen items might belong to them. The investigation, dubbed “Operation Demetra,” began in June after an art dealer in Los Angeles contacted the Los Angeles Police Department to report that someone had provided the business with possible stolen items, including two Picasso paintings, the LAPD reported.
DEA agent convicted of perjury, obstruction of justice and falsification of government records
A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) special agent was convicted earlier this week by a federal jury in New Orleans, Louisiana of perjury, obstruction of justice and falsifying government records. After a seven-day trial, Chad A. Scott, 51, of Covington, Louisiana, was found guilty of two counts of perjury, three counts of obstruction of justice and two counts of falsifying government records.
Felon who killed 2 RivCo police officers sentenced to death
A convicted felon who killed two Palm Springs police officers responding to a domestic disturbance at his mother’s home was sentenced to death Friday. A jury in May deliberated less than two hours before recommending capital punishment for 29-year-old John Hernandez Felix, who gunned down veteran Officer Jose Gilbert “Gil” Vega, 63, and his partner, rookie Officer Lesley Zerebny, 27.
1 acquitted in deadly Oakland Ghost Ship fire, no verdict for 2nd defendant
Jurors acquitted one of two men standing trial on 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the deadly Ghost Ship fire in an Oakland, California, warehouse. The jury acquitted Max Harris, 29, for the deaths of over three dozen people during the Dec. 2, 2016, blaze. The jury is hung in the verdict of Derick Almena, 49. “I’m totally not satisfied,” Alberto Vega, whose brother, Alex, died in the fire, told East Bay Times reporter Angela Ruggiero.
Paroled sex offender sentenced to 88 years in prison for pursuit with kids in RV
A paroled sex offender who led authorities on an hours-long pursuit in a motorhome from Los Angeles to Bakersfield, with his 3-year-old son and 10-month-old daughter in tow, was sentenced Wednesday to 88 years in state prison. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark S. Arnold said Stephen Merle Houk endangered the lives of many people during the May 1, 2018, pursuit and then abandoned his two young children in the motorhome.
Bonnie and Clyde’ Alabama couple sentenced to prison for producing child porn
An Alabama couple has been sentenced to prison on charges related to producing child porn. A Justice Department statement says 36-year-old Kenneth Earl Hooks got two life sentences and 120 years, to run consecutively. Twenty-eight-year-old Sarah Pauline Morris was sentenced to about 16 years. “This sentence very clearly reflects the seriousness of these child predator’s disgusting crimes,” attorney Jay E. Town said.
Death row inmate sentenced for 1998 Compton murders dies in San Quentin state prison; investigated as suicide
A man sentenced to death in 2000 for taking part in the murder of four people, including a Corona man, at a Compton car wash died Thursday at San Quentin State Prison, officials said. The death of 48-year-old Aswad Pops is being investigated as a suicide, though the cause of death will not be determined until an autopsy is conducted, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials said in a statement.
2 more inmates injured in second brawl at Central California prison
California officials say two inmates were hurt in the second major brawl in two days at a state prison 200 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Officials say about 35 medium-security inmates rushed a group of approximately 15 inmates Thursday afternoon in a yard at the California Men’s Colony State Prison in San Luis Obispo. Guards used non-lethal projectiles to stop the fighting. No employees were hurt.
Officials say 72-year-old California inmate fatally beaten
Authorities say a 72-year-old California inmate has died after he was beaten by another prisoner at a Central Valley facility. Guards responded to a fight Tuesday evening at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in Corcoran. They found William New with serious head injuries. Paramedics were called but he was pronounced dead about a half-hour later.
When solitary confinement is a death sentence
Their friendship began on July 17, 2014, with whispered secrets shared through the vent in the wall that separated their cells. Jessica Burlew remembers the exact date because she’d turned 17 the day before, the same day that Mariam Abdullah, then 16 and about to be charged as an adult with armed robbery, had been brought to Estrella Jail in Phoenix, Arizona. 
California to pay $1.9 million to settle lawsuit tied to prison ice-pick slaying
On Oct. 23, 2017, Rodrick Roman Castro, an inmate at Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, was questioned about allegations a former cellmate of his had been involved in drug dealing. The next day, the 34-year-old Castro was found dead in his cell, stabbed 92 times in the neck and torso with an ice pick. Now, the state of California has agreed to pay $1.9 million to settle a federal wrongful death lawsuit that alleges prison officials left Castro unguarded in an unlocked cell despite knowing that he was surrounded by associates of his former cellmate.

String of fatal overdoses at Lancaster prison points to urgent need for treatment on the inside

David Weed was two months shy of his 38th birthday when he died from an overdose of fentanyl and morphine at the California State Prison, Los Angeles County, in Lancaster, on May 29, 2019. Weed was serving life without parole, but he hadn’t given in to despair. He had just completed a rehabilitative program that focused on victim awareness and creating accountability for one’s crimes.
Bail & Probation
San Francisco reaches settlement on money bail system
The city of San Francisco ended its stalemate Friday with pretrial detainees fighting the money bail system in the city. The eleventh-hour agreement announced late in the day comes after the parties met with Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero for mediation talks earlier this week. According to the settlement, the city’s Own Recognizance Project will perform a public safety assessment on each arrestee within eight hours of booking.
Bernie Sanders’ half true claim on number of people in jail who can’t afford bail
Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders recently claimed “some 200,000 people are in jail for the crime of being poor and not being able to afford bail.” He made that claim during a campaign speech in Sacramento last week, just blocks from the California State Capitol, where former Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law last year to abolish cash bail and adopt a risk-assessment system.
California hunters hit by state’s new ammunition laws
The biggest hunting day of the year in California will take place on Sunday. That’s when dove hunting season begins. But, good luck finding ammunition for it. And even if you could, the state’s brand new ammunition laws are rejecting up to a third of would-be buyers. Inside the Guns, Fishing, and other Stuff store in Dublin, we’ve been watching Christopher – he doesn’t want to use his last name – trying to buy pistol ammunition under the state’s new law, but brought in the wrong identification.
Walmart to end certain ammo sales after mass shootings
A month after the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, that killed 22 people, the retailer announced it will stop selling certain kinds of ammunition and ask customers to not openly carry firearms into its stores nationwide. The announcement Tuesday from the company’s president and CEO Doug McMillon comes just days after a shooting rampage in the West Texas cities of Midland and Odessa that left eight people dead, including the suspected shooter, and more than 20 injured.
Sandy Hook gun fight draws GOP to high court
The National Rifle Association, 10 states and nearly two dozen members of Congress have joined a U.S. Supreme Court battle over how Remington Arms marketed the Bushmaster assault rifle used in the Sandy Hook shooting. Remington petitioned the justices for a reversal after the Connecticut Supreme Court advanced the underlying suit in March. 
California Senate approves expansion of ‘red flag’ gun law
Employers, co-workers and teachers could ask judges to take away guns from people who are deemed a danger to themselves or others under a bill that has cleared the California Senate. California enacted a so-called “red flag law” that took effect in 2016. But it only allows law enforcement and immediate family members to ask judges for gun restraining orders. Assembly Bill 61 by Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco would expand that law.
Tourists, growing homeless encampment share sands Of Santa Cruz’s main beach
Tens of thousands of visitors this Labor Day weekend coming to enjoy Santa Cruz’s signature, marquee beach will share the the coastline with a growing number of homeless campers. As many as two dozen tents have cropped up on the sand, congregating mostly on the far western end of Main Beach near the wharf and on the eastern end near the banks of the San Lorenzo River.
CBS SF BayArea
Starving seniors: How America fails to feed its aging

Millions of seniors across the country quietly go hungry as the safety net designed to catch them frays. Nearly 8% of Americans 60 and older were “food insecure” in 2017, according to a recent study released by the anti-hunger group Feeding America. That’s 5.5 million seniors who don’t have consistent access to enough food for a healthy life, a number that has more than doubled since 2001 and is only expected to grow as America grays. While the plight of hungry children elicits support and can be tackled in schools, the plight of hungry older Americans is shrouded by isolation and a generation’s pride. 

Kaiser Health News

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