Archive for the ‘ Courts ’ Category

The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that interest rates on consumer loans can be “unconscionably” high and therefore illegal.

By James Rufus Koren
Aug 13, 2018 | 4:00 PM

California’s high court has ruled that interest rates on consumer loans can be so high that they become “unconscionable” and, therefore, illegal — a decision that could call into question the validity of millions of loans and upend the state’s subprime lending market.

Read the rest of this entry »

John Dino DeFazio waits in the hallway of San Bernardino County Courthouse on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012.

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: August 2, 2018 at 3:56 pm | Updated: August 3, 2018 at 7:19 am

High Desert real estate developer and former Colonies corruption case figure John Dino Defazio has filed claims against San Bernardino County and District Attorney Mike Ramos seeking $20 million in damages, alleging malicious prosecution for perjury charges that were dismissed by a judge in January.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mark Kirk, 36, director, governmental relations, county Office of Legislative Affairs; former chief of staff for Supervisor Gary Ovitt, listens to testimony during an arraignment hearing in a San Bernardino Superior Courtroom August 19, 2011. (File photo)

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: July 30, 2018 at 5:19 pm | Updated: July 31, 2018 at 7:17 am

Vindicated public corruption figure Mark Kirk on Monday sued San Bernardino County and District Attorney Mike Ramos in federal court for $40 million, alleging malicious prosecution in perhaps the biggest and most expensive prosecutorial fiasco in county history.

Read the rest of this entry »

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com and Scott Schwebke | sschwebke@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: July 27, 2018 at 10:22 am | Updated: July 27, 2018 at 11:00 am

Pornographic images of an underage Redlands High School student, seized from teacher Kevin Kirkland, were never examined by police before prosecutors negotiated a plea deal that allowed him to go free the day he was sentenced for sexually abusing four students, the Southern California News Group has learned.

Read the rest of this entry »

Capitol Alert
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics
By Taryn Luna
tluna@sacbee.com
Published: July 09, 2018 – 05:16 PM
Updated: July 18, 2018 – 01:26 PM

The California Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in favor of opponents of a plan to divide California into three, saying the measure should not appear on the November ballot.

Read the rest of this entry »

Highland Community News: Judge rules for and against Harmony plans

By James Folmer
Editor Highland Community News
July 11, 2018

Harmony Specific Plan

San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Donald Alvarez has issued two rulings on the proposed Harmony master-planned community in east Highland.

Read the rest of this entry »

InlandPolitics: Hardiman makes sense for Supreme Court pick

Hardiman

Monday, July 9, 2018 – 09:00 a.m.

Who’s President Donald Trump going to pick for the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court? Well only he knows thew answer to that question.

Read the rest of this entry »

In late June a judge in two cases ruled against the proposed 3,600-house Harmony Development saying the city improperly defined the project and failed to properly analyze or mitigate downstream flooding impacts, and more.

By Jennifer Iyer | jiyer@scng.com | Redlands Daily Facts
Published: July 6, 2018 at 6:34 pm | Updated: July 6, 2018 at 6:35 pm

A judge has ruled against Highland’s proposed 3,600-house Harmony development, partially siding with environmental and community groups that opposed the massive project in two related lawsuits.

Read the rest of this entry »

InlandPolitics: Central lawyer in Colonies litigation wins $10 million verdict

Tuesday, June 26, 2018 – 08:30 a.m.

It seems that well-know Los Angeles Attorney Stephen Larson, a former U.S. District Court Judge, who has made a name for himself in intellectual property and criminal white collar cases, has expanded his legal field of expertise.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Press-Enterprise (AP): Supreme Court allows Ohio, other state voter purges

In this Jan. 10, 2018, file photo, people rally outside of the Supreme Court in opposition to Ohio’s voter roll purges in Washington. The Supreme Court is allowing Ohio to clean up its voting rolls by targeting people who haven’t cast ballots in a while. The justices are rejecting, by a 5-4 vote on June 11, 2018, arguments that the practice violates a federal law that was intended to increase the ranks of registered voters.(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

By Mark Sherman
The Associated Press |
Published: June 11, 2018 at 10:24 am | Updated: June 11, 2018 at 10:24 am

WASHINGTON — States can target people who haven’t cast ballots in a while in efforts to purge their voting rolls, the Supreme Court ruled Monday in a case that has drawn wide attention amid stark partisan divisions and the approach of the 2018 elections.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jim Erwin smiling during a September court hearing he will not be re-tried on any charges regarding the Colonies corruption case, Friday, at San Bernardino Justice Center in San Bernardino, Ca., September 22, 2017. Judge Michael A. Smith dismissed all of the remaining counts against the former assistant county assessor and sheriff’s labor union president. (John Valenzuela/The Sun/SCNG)

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com and Richard K. De Atley | rdeatley@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: June 7, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Updated: June 7, 2018 at 7:51 pm

A former county official who escaped conviction in the Colonies corruption case has filed a $25 million federal lawsuit accusing San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos and other prosecutors of malicious prosecution, fabricated evidence and retaliation.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Press-Enterprise: Riverside judge overturns California’s right-to-die law

Stephen G. Larson, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said the law should be overturned because it was improperly rushed through a special session of the legislature under “extraordinary circumstances.”

By Deepa Bharath | dbharath@scng.com | Orange County Register
Published: May 15, 2018 at 4:47 pm | UpdatedD: May 15, 2018 at 7:18 pm

RIVERSIDE — A judge in Riverside County granted a motion Tuesday to overturn the state’s End of Life Option Act, which allows terminally ill Californians to end their life, legally, with a lethal drug.

Read the rest of this entry »

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: April 27, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Updated: April 28, 2018 at 12:21 am

Sentencing for former San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus was delayed again Friday after his attorney filed a motion to withdraw Postmus’ 2011 guilty plea to corruption charges, claiming Postmus was addicted to drugs, under duress and coerced by investigators.

Read the rest of this entry »

For the fifth time in eight years, a Redlands Unified School District employee has been accused of sexually abusing students.

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: April 17, 2018 at 7:07 pm | Updated: April 18, 2018 at 8:56 am

The Redlands Unified School District on Tuesday was slapped with another sexual abuse lawsuit alleging a former Redlands High School theater technician had an intimate three-year relationship with a female student beginning when she was 15 years old.

Read the rest of this entry »

New Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez speaks after a ceremonial swearing-in at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.(Stan Lim, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

By Jeff Horseman | jhorseman@scng.com | The Press-Enterprise
April 10, 2018 at 7:49 pm

A Riverside County supervisor must tell voters he was appointed, not elected, to his job, a county judge ruled Monday in a decision that figures to tweak the June 5 ballot.

Read the rest of this entry »

California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who on Tuesday called for an immediate change to court rules that would allow records of sexual harassment and discrimination settlements in the state judiciary to become public. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File) (Rich Pedroncelli / AP)

Greg Moran
Tuesday, April 11, 2018 – 3:15 p.m.

The leader of the state judiciary said Tuesday she wants immediate changes to court rules that now shield information about sexual harassment payouts to judges that would make such information public for the first time.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum has sued San Bernardino County and the state in federal court alleging malicious prosecution in connection with the ill-fated Colonies bribery case. Burum, who along with two co-defendants were acquitted last August on all charges, is seeking no less than $50 million in damages.

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: April 3, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Updated: April 3, 2018 at 3:37 pm

Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum has filed a $50 million malicious prosecution lawsuit in federal court against San Bernardino County, District Attorney Mike Ramos and former state Attorneys General Kamala Harris and Jerry Brown.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tuesday, April 3, 2018 – 02:45 p.m.

The first of four anticipated federal civil rights lawsuits, a result of the Colonies Criminal case debacle, was filed against San Bernardino County.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sun: Critics of plan to bring 3,600 homes to Highland area head to court

By Jennifer Iyer | jiyer@scng.com | Redlands Daily Facts
March 31, 2018 at 10:00 am

Opponents of the large-scale Harmony housing development are expected to make their case against the project in court this week. A hearing is set for Friday, April 6.

Read the rest of this entry »

By Richard K. De Atley | rdeatley@scng.com | The Press-Enterprise
Published: March 27, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Updated: March 27, 2018 at 5:06 pm

San Bernardino County officials have been mostly subdued after the Colonies bribery case collapsed in acquittals last year — but now a private attorney for the county has attacked Colonies co-managing partner Jeff Burum, saying even a not-guilty verdict for him and his co-defendants “is not a vindication of their conduct.”

Read the rest of this entry »

By Sean Emery | semery@scng.com and Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | Orange County Register
Published: March 14, 2018 at 6:13 pm | Updated: March 14, 2018 at 7:07 pm

Jurors in a federal civil rights trial have awarded $33.5 million to the family of a man who was shot and killed by a San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy during a 2015 encounter at the El Rancho Motel in Barstow.

Read the rest of this entry »

By Franco Ordonez, Anita Chabria And Stephen Magagnini
Published: March 06, 2018 11:28 AM
Updated: March 06, 2018 07:20 PM

The Trump administration on Tuesday sued California over its sanctuary policies for undocumented immigrants, setting off a chorus of near-unanimous defiance from California lawmakers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum.

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com and Richard K. De Atley | rdeatley@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: March 1, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Updated: March 1, 2018 at 6:08 pm

Rancho Cucamonga investor group Colonies Partners LP on Thursday, March 1, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos and former state Attorneys General Jerry Brown and Kamala Harris, seeking $80 million in damages following a bungled bribery case the developer claims sullied its reputation.

Read the rest of this entry »

InlandPolitics: Colonies Federal Lawsuit available online

.

Thursday, March 1, 2018 – 06:35 p.m.

The civil lawsuit filed by Colonies Partners L.P. against the County of San Bernardino and various county and State of California officials is now available online.

Read the rest of this entry »

InlandPolitics: San Bernardino County Judge passes away

Monday, February 19, 2018 – 10:30 a.m.

It is with great sadness that we report the passing San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Vic Stull.

Read the rest of this entry »

By Imran Ghori | ighori@scng.com | The Press-Enterprise
Published: February 9, 2018 at 6:41 pm | Updated: February 9, 2018 at 6:43 pm

A Riverside County judge has sided with critics of the planned World Logistics Center in ruling that an environmental study for the project was flawed.

Read the rest of this entry »

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
February 9, 2018 at 3:05 pm

Attorneys alleging the mishandling of reports of sexual abuse by former Redlands High School teacher and convicted sex offender Kevin Patrick Kirkland have sued another former teacher, alleging he sexually abused a student.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum, answers questions regarding the Colonies corruption case during an interview at his office in Rancho Cucamonga, Ca., Thursday, September 28, 2017. Burum is one of the three defendants in the San Bernardino County-Colonies corruption case that were recently found not guilty of all charges, after a prolonged trial that lasted nearly eight months. (Photo by John Valenzuela/The Sun/SCNG)

By Richard K. De Atley | rdeatley@scng.com | The Press-Enterprise
Published: January 30, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Updated: January 30, 2018 at 5:36 pm

Developer Jeffrey Burum, who was acquitted of all charges in the Colonies corruption case last year, filed on Tuesday a malicious prosecution and civil rights violation claim against San Bernardino County and the State of California, with his attorney saying the failed prosecution turned his client’s life “into a living hell.”

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sun: Judge dismisses all perjury charges against High Desert developer John Dino

John “Dino” Defazio stands charged with six felony counts of perjury in connection with his 2009 grand jury testimony in the Colonies public corruption case, which ended in acquittal in August for three of the defendants and dismissal of all charges in September against a fourth defendant.

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: January 26, 2018 at 11:14 am | Updated: January 26, 2018 at 4:03 pm

A San Bernardino Superior Court judge on Friday dismissed all six felony perjury charges against High Desert developer John Dino DeFazio, a figure in the Colonies corruption case who was accused of lying to the grand jury.

Read the rest of this entry »

By Patrick McGreevy
Jan. 19, 2018 – 3:32 p.m.

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra filed a friend-of-the-court brief Friday to support mandatory union fees for public employees.

Read the rest of this entry »

Former San Bernardino County Assessor and Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Postmus listen to the judge during his hearing at the San Bernardino Justice Center in San Bernardino, Ca., Friday, January 19, 2018. Postmus’ sentencing for crime he committed at the Assessor’s Office in 2007 and 2008 and in the Colonies public corruption case,was postponed because he retained new lawyer Jeffery Jeffrey Lawrence. (John Valenzuela/The Sun/SCNG)

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: January 19, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Updated: January 19, 2018 at 2:39 pm

Sentencing for former San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus was delayed on Friday after Postmus retained a new attorney, who told the judge he may file a motion to withdraw Postmus’s 2011 guilty plea.

Read the rest of this entry »

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: January 16, 2018 at 7:00 am | Updated: January 16, 2018 at 6:36 pm

Victims of former Redlands High School teacher and convicted sex offender Kevin Kirkland were “negligent” and partly to blame for what happened to them, the Redlands Unified School District said in a court document.

Read the rest of this entry »

By Adam Ashton
aashton@sacbee.com
January 12, 2018 12:25 PM

Gov. Jerry Brown this week predicted that his 2012 pension law will survive union challenges in court and blow a hole in the so-called “California rule” that has restricted changes to public employee retirement plans for half a century.

Read the rest of this entry »

Slate: The Innocence Deniers

When convictions are clearly wrong, these prosecutors don’t just hinder justice—they actively work against it.

By Lara Bazelon
January 10, 2018

Davontae Sanford was 14 years old when he confessed to murdering four people in a drug house on Detroit’s East Side. Left alone with detectives in a late-night interrogation, Sanford says he broke down after being told he could go home if he gave them “something.” On the advice of a lawyer whose license was later suspended for misconduct, Sanford pleaded guilty in the middle of his March 2008 trial and received a sentence of 39 to 92 years in prison.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sun: Beaumont corruption probe prosecutors argue against dropping charges

By Richard K. De Atley | rdeatley@scng.com | The Press-Enterprise
January 10, 2018 at 4:02 pm

The final defendant in the Beaumont corruption case “expressly and unmistakably” surrendered his right to a speedy preliminary hearing, and a claim that he was denied a chance to see the evidence against him is “clearly contrived,” prosecutors said Wednesday as they asked a judge to deny his motion for dismissal.

Read the rest of this entry »

By Richard K. De Atley |
Published: January 9, 2018 at 10:32 am | Updated: January 10, 2018 at 6:12 am

The last defendant in the Beaumont corruption case wants a judge to throw his charges out, saying he was wrongly denied a speedy preliminary hearing and that prosecutors have dragged their feet in producing evidence.

Read the rest of this entry »

Monday, January 8, 2018 – 12:00 a.m.

A San Diego appellate court has affirm a $6.5 million jury award to the target of  murder-for-hire scheme involving two member of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Grapevine: Op-Ed: The Colonies Trial and the forgotten man

Rex Gutierrez
Monday, January 1, 05:00 p.m.

The seven-year Colonies “Trial of the Century” is over. San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos, with then-Attorney General Jerry Brown at his side, proclaimed that this was the biggest public corruption scandal in the history of the county and the state of California. Surely this was the impetus that would propel Ramos to statewide, and possibly national office!

Read the rest of this entry »

The Associated Press: Cases Could Open Door To Pension Cuts For California Workers

California Gov. Jerry Brown gestures to a chart showing the increase spending…

Credit: Associated Press
By Associated Press
Thursday, December 28, 2017

For decades in California, a sacrosanct rule has governed public employees’ pensions: Benefits promised can never be taken away.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sun: Colonies trial witness Adam Aleman sentenced to 6 months in jail

San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman (left), who pleaded guilty in 2009 to multiple felonies in connection with corruption at the Assessor’s Office, was sentenced to 180 days in jail Friday December 1, 2017 during a sentencing hearing at the San Bernardino Justice Center as his attorney Grover Porter (right) stand beside him. Aleman became a key witness the Colonies public corruption case in which all four defendants were either acquitted or had their charges dismissed. Aleman will turn himself into authorities to begin his sentence no later than January 24. (Will Lester-Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: December 1, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Updated: December 2, 2017 at 1:07 am

Former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman, a key figure in corruption scandals involving the Assessor’s Office and a controversial legal settlement between the county and a land developer, was sentenced Friday to six months in jail.

Read the rest of this entry »

The State Worker
Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers
By Adam Ashton
aashton@sacbee.com
November 22, 2017 – 09:48 AM

Gov. Jerry Brown got most of what he wanted when he carried a proposal to shore up the state’s underfunded public employee pension plans by trimming benefits for new workers.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sentinel: Erwin Cites Malicious Evidence Fabrication In $25M Claim Vs. DA & AG

.

By Mark Gutglueck
Posted on November 4, 2017

The accusers this week became the accused, seven weeks after a jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on any of the charges against Jim Erwin in the Colonies Partners Lawsuit Settlement Public Corruption Prosecution.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jim Erwin smiling during a September court hearing where it was announced he will not be retried in the Colonies bribery case. He filed a $25 million claim against the county on Tuesday alleging, among other things, malicious prosecution.

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: November 1, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Updated: November 2, 2017 at 10:16 am

Jim Erwin, a former defendant in the ill-fated Colonies corruption case that ended with Erwin’s case being dismissed and three other defendants acquitted, filed a $25 million claim against San Bernardino County and the state on Wednesday.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sun: Postmus case referred to Riverside County Probation Department for review

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: October 27, 2017 at 9:25 am |
Updated:   October 27, 2017 at 6:57 pm

A San Bernardino Superior Court judge on Friday referred the case of former San Bernardino County Assessor and Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Postmus to the Riverside County Probation Department for review and sentencing recommendations.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sun: Colonies corruption case more than a boondoggle

Developer Jeff Burum, center, and his attorneys Jennifer Keller and Stephen Larson react as Burum is found not guilty of all charges in the Colonies corruption case verdict hearing at San Bernardino Superior Court in San Bernardino Aug. 28, 2017. (Photo by Rachel Luna, Southern California News Group)

Opinion

By Neil Derry |
Published: October 23, 2017 at 6:00 pm |
Updated:    October 23, 2017 at 7:46 pm

The Colonies “corruption” case is over. Well, at least the eight year criminal case is finally over. There is plenty of time and even more justification for more civil litigation against the State of California and the County of San Bernardino, but that is for another day.

Read the rest of this entry »

InlandPolitics: A headline that was a long time in coming!

.
Sunday, October 01, 2017 – 11:30 p.m.

The headline in Sunday’s edition of The Sun was a long time in coming for former Colonies Criminal Case defendants Paul Biane, Jeff Burum, Jim Erwin and Mark Kirk.

Pictured L-R: Jeff Burum, Mark Kirk, Jim Erwin, and Paul Biane. (File photo)

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: September 30, 2017 at 11:51 am |
Updated:   September 30, 2017 at 9:45 pm

Eight years, six months, and seven days. That’s how long Jim Erwin said he endured allegations by state and local prosecutors of taking part in a bribery scheme that bilked San Bernardino County taxpayers out of $102 million.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sun: Opinion: How did Colonies case go so wrong?

From left, attorney Jennifer Keller, former Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin and developer Jeff Burum applaud the jury for their service after Burum, Supervisor Paul Biane and Mark Kirk were found not guilty of all charges in the Colonies corruption case verdict hearing at San Bernardino Superior Court on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. (Photo by Rachel Luna, The Sun/SCNG)

By The Editorial Board | opinion@langnews.com |
September 29, 2017 at 11:00 am

Now that the long-running Colonies case has finally ended with all defendants acquitted, county taxpayers wouldn’t be wrong to wonder just what the heck actually happened.

Read the rest of this entry »

Attorneys Stephen Larson, (L), and Rajan Maline congratulate Jim Erwin, after hearing he will not be re-tried on any charges regarding the Colonies corruption case, Friday, at San Bernardino Justice Center in San Bernardino, Ca., September 22, 2017. Judge Michael A. Smith dismissed all of the remaining counts against the former assistant county assessor and sheriff’s labor union president. (John Valenzuela/The Sun/SCNG)

By Ryan Hagen | rhagen@scng.com and Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: September 22, 2017 at 9:19 am |
Updated:   September 24, 2017 at 9:30 am

SAN BERNARDINO >> The judge in the San Bernardino County Colonies corruption case on Friday dismissed all charges against the only remaining defendant, Jim Erwin, after prosecutors announced they did not want to retry the case.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sun: Unwarranted charges, allegations in Colonies case: Christopher J. Warner

Developer Jeff Burum waits for his verdict to be read in the Colonies corruption case at San Bernardino Superior Court in San Bernardino, Calif. on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. Defendants Burum and two former county officials — Supervisor Paul Biane and Mark Kirk — were found not guilty of all charges after a marathon trial that has lasted nearly eight months. (Photo by Rachel Luna, The Sun/SCNG)

Opinion

By Christopher J. Warner |
Published: September 6, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Updated: September 6, 2017 at 5:27 pm

“The largest public corruption case in the state of California” has ended in San Bernardino County. That’s what then-Attorney General Jerry Brown, standing next to District Attorney Michael Ramos, called it way back when they filed it.

Read the rest of this entry »

KCBS-TV: Colonies Corruption Trial: Jury hands down acquittals

.
Here’s the coverage by KCBS-TV Los Angeles of the “not guilty” verdicts in the Colonies Corruption Trial.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and his office is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and the California Attorney General’s Office for allegations that prosecutors and police developed a network of jailhouse informants to illegally garner confessions from inmates. (File photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

By Tony Saavedra, Orange County Register
Posted: 07/29/17 – 12:52 PM PDT |

The gavels had fallen, the cases appeared closed:

Read the rest of this entry »

The defense rested on Monday in a seven-month corruption trial after only half a day, opting to call no witnesses and close their case before lunch on the same day they opened it after reading a few stipulated facts from earlier testimony.

Andy Serbe, Staff Writer
Daily Journal
andy_serbe@dailyjournal.com

PDF Format: 2017 0718 Daily Journal

July 18, 2017

The defense called no witnesses as it rested its case Monday in a seven-month San Bernardino County corruption trial, opting to read to the jury a few stipulated facts from earlier testimony and close before lunch.

Read the rest of this entry »

From left, developer Jeff Burum, Mark Kirk, former chief of staff to Supervisor Gary Ovitt. former assistant assessor Jim Erwin and former supervisor Paul Biane appear in San Bernardino County Superior Court in Colonies bribery case. File photo. (David Bauman/The Press-Enterprise)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 07/17/17 – 12:02 PM PDT |

Defense attorneys in the San Bernardino County Colonies bribery case rested Monday after about one hour of presentation, setting the stage for final arguments in mid-August.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sun: Marathon Colonies corruption trial nearing end after 7 months

From left, developer Jeff Burum, Mark Kirk, former chief of staff to Supervisor Gary Ovitt, former assistant assessor Jim Erwin and former supervisor Paul Biane appear in San Bernardino County Superior Court in this file photo during the Colonies corruption trial.

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 07/15/17 – 4:29 PM PDT |

Called “the biggest public corruption case in San Bernardino County history” when it was filed in 2010, the marathon Colonies case nears an end after seven months of trial, with defense attorneys saying bribery wasn’t proven while prosecutors say nothing can erase years of dirty dealing.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sun: Forgery charge dropped for Jim Erwin in Colonies corruption trial

James Erwin, is the former chief of staff for county Supervisor Neil Derry and a former assistant assessor for San Bernardino county. (Courtesy photo to The Sun/SCNG)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 07/06/17 – 4:07 PM PDT |

The judge in San Bernardino County’s Colonies corruption case on Thursday dismissed a felony charge of forgery against former assistant assessor Jim Erwin, one of four defendants fighting to have their charges tossed on grounds of insufficient evidence.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sun: Bribery charge dismissed against Mark Kirk in Colonies corruption case

Mark Kirk, the former chief of staff for San Bernardino County Supervisor Gary Ovitt (Staff file photo by Rick Sforza, The Sun/SCNG)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 07/05/17 – 7:46 PM PDT |

A bribery charge in the San Bernardino County Colonies public corruption case was dismissed Wednesday against Mark Kirk, the one-time chief of staff for former county Supervisor Gary Ovitt in 2006 when supervisors approved a $102 million settlement favorable to the land developer.

Read the rest of this entry »

Colonies bribery trial defendants and their attorneys gather outside a courtroom in San Bernardino Superior Court during a recess. File photo. (Photo by Rick Sforza/The Sun)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 06/29/17 – 12:13 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> After nearly seven months of sometimes confounding testimony, the prosecution rested this week in San Bernardino County’s Colonies bribery case.

Read the rest of this entry »

“Ted Viera’s” LinkedIn profile. “Viera” is the maiden name of former Hesperia mayor Tad Honeycutt’s mother. In September 2007, Honeycutt and C. Steven Cox, the founder of California Charter Academies, were indicted on 117 felony charges related to $5.5 million in taxpayer funds the pair allegedly mishandled. Five years later, Honeycutt went back into the education business, using the name “Ted Viera.” The Viera LinkedIn page was shut down Friday afternoon. (Screenshot)

By Beau Yarbrough, The Sun
Posted: 06/09/17 – 5:48 PM PDT |

RANCHO CUCAMONGA >> Five years after he was indicted on 34 charges related to the failure of the largest chain of charter schools in California and facing up to 20 years in prison, former Hesperia mayor Tad Honeycutt went back into the education business.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sun: Colonies prosecutor attempts salvaging credibility of key witness

Colonies defendants and their attorneys gather outside of a courtroom in San Bernardino Superior Court during a recess in the Colonies corruption trial. File photo. (Photo by Rick Sforza/The Sun)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 06/08/17 – 5:05 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> A prosecutor in the San Bernardino County Colonies bribery case on Thursday attempted to recoup the credibility of key witness Adam Aleman after days of defense attorney battering of the former assistant assessor’s accounts of alleged corruption a decade ago.

Read the rest of this entry »

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 06/07/17 – 3:08 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> The dismissal of an alternate juror in the Colonies bribery trial on Wednesday did not hinder testimony, in which defense attorneys continued drilling key witness Adam Aleman on his honesty and credibility.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sun: Colonies key witness begins fifth day of testimony in San Bernardino

Attorneys Stephen Larson, middle, and Jennifer Keller, left, discuss their case with defendant Jeff Burum, one of four defendants currently on trial in the Colonies corruption case in San Bernardino. File photo.(Stan Lim, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 06/01/17 – 3:45 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> Defense attorneys in the Colonies bribery trial on Thursday attacked the credibility and character of key witness and former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman, claiming he was shaping his statements to conform to the prosecution narrative of the case and “making things up as he went along.”

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sun: Credibility of key witness in Colonies trial challenged

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/31/17 – 9:10 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> A defense attorney on Wednesday continued challenging the credibility of former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman on claims he heard and saw details that pointed to bribery in settling a $102 million lawsuit between the county and developer Colonies Partners in 2006.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sun: Defense attorney grills key Colonies trial witness on his dishonesty

Colonies trial defendants and their attorneys gather outside of a courtroom in San Bernardino Superior Court. File photo. (Photo by Rick Sforza/The Sun)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/30/17 – 7:17 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> A defense attorney in the Colonies corruption trial on Tuesday grilled former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman on his repeated lies to district attorney investigators and a civil grand jury investigating allegations of malfeasance at the Assessor’s Office in 2008.

Read the rest of this entry »

Capitol Weekly: Overhaul urged for California court fines

By John Howard
Posted 05.26.2017

California’s courts impose hundreds of millions of dollars of “excessive and disproportionate” fines each year for common infractions, then use much of the money to support their own operations. A blue-ribbon panel examining the system said the fines should be collected by the executive branch — not the courts themselves — to avoid conflicts.

Read the rest of this entry »

Maya Lau
May 24, 2017 – 12:45 p.m.

Two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies say they were framed for lying about a drug bust and that prosecutors knowingly withheld evidence that would have spared them a trial, lost wages and public humiliation, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

Read the rest of this entry »

By Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/22/17 – 5:41 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> Former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman told jurors Monday in the Colonies bribery trial that, like his former boss Bill Postmus, he was testifying under a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Read the rest of this entry »

A federal judge has raised issues with a proposed $142-million settlement between Wells Fargo and customers over the creation of unauthorized bank accounts.

James Rufus Koren
May 17, 2017

A San Francisco federal judge is leaning toward rejecting some of the terms of a $142-million settlement aimed at ending a bevvy of class-action lawsuits against Wells Fargo & Co. over its sham accounts scandal.

Read the rest of this entry »

Attorneys Stephen Larson, middle, and Jennifer Keller, left, discuss their case with defendant Jeff Burum, one of four defendants currently on trial in the San Bernardino County’s Colonies corruption case. (File)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/16/17 – 1:55 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> Former San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Postmus testified Tuesday in the Colonies corruption trial that he never thought a $102 million settlement favorable to a Rancho Cucamonga developer 11 years ago would result in kickback money to him — a statement that goes to the heart of the six-year-old case.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sun: Former county Supervisor Postmus’ memory at issue at Colonies trial

Colonies defendants and their attorneys gather outside of a courtroom during a recess in San Bernardino Superior Court. File photo. (Photo by Rick Sforza/The Sun)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/11/17 – 9:02 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> A prosecutor in the Colonies corruption case on Thursday walked former county Supervisor Bill Postmus through his 2011 statements that helped bring charges in the bribery trial, but Postmus appeared to be putting distance between himself and what he told authorities six years ago.

Read the rest of this entry »

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/11/17 – 10:27 AM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> The judge in the Colonies corruption trial on Thursday dismissed two felony charges against former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin after an appellate court determined that the offenses could only be charged as misdemeanors.

Read the rest of this entry »

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has been sentenced to three years in prison, marking an end to a corruption scandal that has roiled the Sheriff’s Department for several years.

Joel Rubin
May 12, 2017

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, once a towering, respected figure in policing, was sentenced Friday to three years in federal prison for his role in a scheme to obstruct an FBI investigation of abuses in county jails, marking an end to a corruption scandal that has roiled the Sheriff’s Department for several years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rancho Cucamonga-based developer Jeff Burum, left, speaks with his attorney Stephen Larson in the hallway at the San Bernardino Superior Court during a recess of the Colonies corruption case. File photo. (Micah Escamilla/San Bernardino Sun)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/10/17 – 7:43 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> Colonies trial defendant Jim Erwin, depicted by prosecutors as scheming against former San Bernardino County Supervisor and Assessor Bill Postmus more than a decade ago, actually stood beside the beleaguered politician with “tough love” as Postmus struggled with his drug addiction, Postmus agreed in testimony Wednesday.

Read the rest of this entry »

Attorneys Stephen Larson, middle, and Jennifer Keller, left, discuss their case with defendant Jeff Burum, one of four defendants currently on trial in San Bernardino County’s Colonies corruption trial. (File Photo)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/09/17 – 3:48 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> While Bill Postmus was being interviewed and turned into a prosecution witness in the Colonies corruption case in 2011, San Bernardino County District Attorney investigators never tested or monitored him for drugs, despite his well-documented use of methamphetamine, Postmus testified Tuesday.

Read the rest of this entry »

By Bob Egelko
May 2, 2017 Updated: May 2, 2017 2:43pm

Prosecutors who withhold evidence that might have helped a criminal defendant will soon face the prospect of punishment by the State Bar of California, under rules already in place in every other state.

Read the rest of this entry »

Calpensions: Another court setback for protectors of pensions

Ed Mendel
April 17, 2016

In another ruling allowing pension cuts, an appeals court last week overturned a state labor board ruling that a voter-approved San Diego pension reform was invalid because the city declined to bargain the issue with labor unions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Developer Jeff Burum, left, speaks with his attorney Stephen Larson in a hallway at the San Bernardino Superior Court. File photo. (Micah Escamilla/San Bernardino Sun)

By Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 04/06/17 – 2:06 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> A veteran San Bernardino County attorney who had opposed the $102 million settlement with Colonies Partners LP in 2006 told a defense attorney Thursday in court that he had changed his mind by 2009 and thought it was “objectively reasonable.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Chris Megerian
April 6, 2017, – 2:03 p.m.

Reporting from Sacramento—

California’s controversial cap-and-trade program, a cornerstone of the state’s battle against climate change, has been upheld by a state appeals court.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sun: Two deputies take plea deal in Apple Valley beating caught on video

Three San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies, from the left, Nicholas Downey, Charles Foster and Michael Phelps, were charged in the April 9, 2015 beating of Apple Valley resident Francis Jared Pusok following a nearly three-hour pursuit in the High Desert. (File Photos by Micah Escamilla – Staff Photographer)

By Doug Saunders, The Sun
and Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 04/03/17 – 3:38 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> Two former San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies accused in the beating of an Apple Valley man that was captured on live television each pleaded no contest Monday to a misdemeanor count of disturbing the peace as part of a plea deal.

Read the rest of this entry »

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 03/30/17 – 4:32 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> One of three former San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies accused of assaulting an Apple Valley man following a chase through the High Desert two years ago was found guilty Thursday in Superior Court, while a mistrial was declared for the other two defendants.

Read the rest of this entry »

Three San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies, from the left, Nicholas Downey, Charles Foster and Michael Phelps, have been charged in the April 9, 2015 beating of Apple Valley resident Francis Jared Pusok following a nearly three-hour pursuit in the High Desert. (Micah Escamilla – Staff Photographer)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 03/28/17 – 6:05 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> Closing arguments concluded and the jury began deliberating Tuesday in the trial of three San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies charged with assaulting an Apple Valley man after a lengthy pursuit in the High Desert nearly two years ago.

Read the rest of this entry »

By Louis Casiano Jr. / Staff Writer
March 17, 2017

SANTA ANA – A private detective who admitted he tried to set up a Costa Mesa councilman for a false DUI and tailed the city’s former mayor using a tracking device was sentenced by an Orange County Superior Court judge Friday to one year in jail.

Read the rest of this entry »

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and attorney Nathan Hochman are seen outside the U.S. Courthouse in Los Angeles on Feb. 13, 2017. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

By Susan Abram, Los Angeles Daily News
Posted: 03/09/17 – 12:22 PM PST |

After almost two weeks of testimony by more than a dozen witnesses, the prosecution and defense rested their cases Thursday in the federal jail corruption re-trial of former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.

Read the rest of this entry »

Capitol Alert
By Christopher Cadelago
ccadelago@sacbee.com
March 8, 2017 – 5:37 PM

Gov. Jerry Brown will have another opportunity to shape the state’s highest court after Justice Kathryn M. Werdegar announced Tuesday her plans to retire later this year.

Read the rest of this entry »

Associated Press: Court: Officials’ emails on private accounts are public

By Sudhin Thanawala
March 03, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Government employees in California cannot keep the public from seeing their work-related emails and texts sent on personal devices and through private accounts, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday, closing a loophole that justices said could have allowed the “most sensitive and potentially damning” communications to be shielded.

Read the rest of this entry »