Archive for the ‘ Legal ’ Category

Judge Thomas Goethals talks with Orange County Sheriff's attorney Elizabeth Pejean in his court in Santa Ana during a hearing in the Scott Dekraai case on Friday, October 28, 2016. (Photo by Ken Steinhardt, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals, shown in October, is hearing the challenge in the Cole Wilkins case. Goethals is also the judge in the Scott Dekraai mass murder case. (Ken Steinhardt/File Photo)

By Tony Saavedra / Staff Writer
Published: Dec. 3, 2016
Updated:   Dec. 4, 2016 – 8:49 p.m.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office, harshly criticized in a recent appellate court ruling for a systemic failure to protect defendants’ rights and under investigation by the state attorney general and the county grand jury, is facing a new legal challenge that could remove it from a second high-profile murder case in less than two years.

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Politico: California’s brewing battles with Trump get a new face

xavier-becerra

Rep. Xavier Becerra. | AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

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Politico

By Carla Marinucci
12/01/16 – 05:17 PM EST

SAN FRANCISCO — With his nomination to become California’s first Latino attorney general, Rep. Xavier Becerra is now primed to be the public face of the Democratic resistance to Donald Trump on issues like climate change, health care and, most visibly, immigration.

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xavier-becerra

Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Los Angeles, grew up in Sacramento, the son of Mexican immigrants.

Capitol Alert
By Jeremy B. White
jwhite@sacbee.com
December 1, 2016 – 9:00 AM

Gov. Jerry Brown has tabbed Rep. Xavier Becerra to serve as California’s interim attorney general, selecting the Los Angeles Democrat to fill a vacancy opened by the imminent departure of outgoing Attorney General Kamala Harris to the U.S. Senate.

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The Associated Press: California considers ban on sex between lawyers and clients

malefemale

By Sudhin Thanawala
November 28, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The nation’s largest state bar association is overhauling ethics rules for attorneys for the first time in 30 years, and some lawyers are unhappy about a proposal that would open them up to discipline for having sex with clients.

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Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Observations on California and its politics
dwalters@sacbee.com
November 28, 2016 – 12:01 AM

While other, more pejorative, terms could be used to describe California’s massive legal system these days, let’s just say it’s in disarray, and count the ways.

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California Supreme Court

By Ed Mendel
November 28, 2016

The state Supreme Court last week agreed to hear an appeal of a groundbreaking ruling that allows cuts in the pensions earned by current state and local government workers, including judges.

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U.S. Supreme Court

By Bob Egelko
Published: November 26, 2016
Updated:   November 26, 2016 – 6:00am

With his first Supreme Court appointment, President-elect Donald Trump will be in a position to deal a severe blow to unions representing government workers, the stronghold of organized labor in the United States.

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wells fargo logo

By Chris Dolmetsch and Laura J. Keller
November 25, 2016

Wells Fargo is calling for dozens of customers suing over bogus accounts opened by the bank’s employees to resolve the dispute through arbitration rather than federal court.

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Los Angeles Times: California’s top court will review major public pension ruling

California Supreme Court

The California Supreme Court will review a case that gave state and local government new authority to reduce public employee pensions.

Maura Dolan
November 22, 2016

The California Supreme Court decided Tuesday to review a ruling that would give state and local governments new authority to cut public employee pensions.

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question-mark

By Melody Gutierrez
Published: November 18, 2016
Updated:   November 19, 2016 – 6:33pm

SACRAMENTO — As Kamala Harris prepares to take the job held by U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, it’s anyone’s guess who will take Harris’ place as California’s attorney general.

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State Bar of California

Capitol Alert
By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
November 18, 2016 – 10:30 AM

Reacting to a legislative stalemate over the State Bar’s future, the California Supreme Court late Thursday authorized the legal profession’s regulatory agency to collect $297 in dues from each state-licensed attorney next year – enough to cover its basic functions but less than it wanted.

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SBCO

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 11/16/16 – 2:32 PM PST |

San Bernardino County has settled for $1.5 million a lawsuit filed by the parents of a developmentally disabled Ontario man beaten to death by his cellmate last year at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

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bill-holland

Bill Holland

By Shea Johnson, Staff Writer
Posted:     Nov 12, 2016 at 12:08 AM
Updated:  Nov 12, 2016 at 3:55 PM

HESPERIA — As a school district police officer here, Mayor Bill Holland fell under his boss’ scrutiny for purportedly destroying evidence while leading the investigation into claims that an Oak Hills High School freshman football player had been subjected to sexual hazing, the Daily Press has learned.

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Bloomberg: Wells Fargo’s Stars Thrived While 5,000 Workers Got Fired

General Views Of Wells Fargo Locations Ahead Of Earns Figures

Laura J Keller, Dakin Campbell and
Kartikay Mehrotra
Published: November 3, 2016 — 2:00 AM PDT
Updated: November 3, 2016 — 6:38 AM PDT

After Wells Fargo & Co. executive John Sotoodeh handed off more than a hundred branches in Southern California to a colleague in 2009, problems surfaced quickly.

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Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas participates in a media roundtable to discuss the Informant Policies & Practices Evaluation Committee (IPPEC) report released today in regards to the OCDA. ///ADDITIONAL INFO: snitchreport.0105 - 1/4/16 - PHOTO BY JOSHUA SUDOCK, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER - The Orange County District Attorney's office hosts a media roundtable to discuss the Informant Policies & Practices Evaluation Committee (IPPEC) report released today in regards to the OCDA. A committee of legal experts hand-picked by Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas on Monday issued a report declaring his office a “rudderless ship” and calling for a deeper investigation into the use of jailhouse informants. The five-member panel called for the Orange County Grand Jury, the state Attorney General or the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate allegations that prosecutors and police misused a covert network of jailhouse informants and withheld evidence from defense attorneys. The state already is conducting an investigation. While Rackauckas admits that there were problems with management which lead to questions regarding the ethics/legality of using jailhouse informants without disclosing their findings to defense attorneys, he maintains that the office did nothing wrong and that any contrary belief is a byproduct of poor reporting by members of the press. Picture made at The Orange County District Attorney's Office law library in Santa Ana, California on Monday, January 4, 2015.

A committee of legal experts hand-picked by Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas in January issued a report declaring his office a “rudderless ship” and calling for a deeper investigation into the use of jailhouse informants. The five-member panel called for the Orange County Grand Jury, the state Attorney General or the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate allegations that prosecutors and police misused a covert network of jailhouse informants and withheld evidence from defense attorneys. (Photo by Joshua Sudock, Orange County Register/SCNG)

By Jordan Graham / Staff Writer
Oct. 25, 2016 – Updated 11:21 p.m.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas will not reinstate a top oversight position that his handpicked investigatory committee said last year could help steer the “rudderless” ship his office had become and that might have helped to prevent its ongoing jailhouse informant controversy.

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The Sacramento Bee: Legislative stalemate on State Bar dues morphs into a new battle

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
October 17, 2016 – 3:13 PM

The state Legislature adjourned on Aug. 31 without passing the annual bill authorizing the State Bar to collect “dues” from the state’s attorneys to finance its operations.

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InlandPolitics: Expanded coverage of San Bernardino County dead children cover-up

SBCO

Thursday, October 13, 2016 – 09:00 a.m.

San Bernardino County hiring am outside law firm to represent it in an unfolding scandal involving multiple child deaths has thrown gas on the fire.

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San Bernardino County Superior Court

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 10/12/16 – 2:36 AM PDT |

San Bernardino County Superior Court Executive Officer Christina Volkers has resigned, effective Dec. 31, the court announced Tuesday.

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Daily Press: County wins ticket quota suit

sbsd-deputy-grinch

By Shea Johnson, Staff Writer
Posted:    Oct 11, 2016 at 5:41 PM
Updated: Oct 11, 2016 at 6:30 PM

SAN BERNARDINO — A jury sided with the county Tuesday in the whistleblower lawsuit brought by three current or former deputies alleging retaliation for disclosing purported ticket quota and impound schemes within two High Desert sheriff’s stations, court records show.

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InlandPolitics: State Bar adopts new rules of conduct for prosecutors

State Bar of California

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 – 10:15 a.m.

New State Bar rules of conduct have been adopted to address rampant prosecutorial misconduct in California.

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Calpensions: Ruling challenges prevailing view of pension law

Pensions

By Ed Mendel
October 10, 2016

Three appeals court justices, citing the alarming view of critics that unaffordable public pensions are headed for the financial cliff, looked for a new way to allow a change in direction and found one.

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Gavel

By Tony Saavedra / Staff Writer
Oct. 8, 2016 – Updated 10:56 a.m.

Local public defenders, frustrated by the District Attorney’s practice of barring certain judges from key homicide cases, have taken their argument to the California Supreme Court.

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InlandPolitics: No accountability on San Bernardino County child deaths

Murder Body Outline

Friday, October 7, 2016 – 10:30 p.m.

The unfolding scandal involving the deaths of multiple children, including some as small as infants and toddlers, under the care and custody of San Bernardino County Children and Family Services has become an all out disgrace and miscarriage of justice.

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InlandPolitics: Sheriff ticket quota whistle-blower lawsuit goes to jury

jury_box

Friday, October 7, 2016 – 09:15 a.m.

A nearly month-long trial involving alleged workplace retaliation against three current and former San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies has been finally handed to a jury.

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SBCO

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 10/04/16 – 10:51 PM PDT |

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a contract with Enron prosecutor John C. Hueston to assess the county’s child welfare services system amid an investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office.

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The Sun: San Bernardino County brings back Enron prosecutor for CFS investigation

SBCO

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 10/03/16 – 9:01 PM PDT |

San Bernardino County has brought back Enron prosecutor John C. Hueston to help defend it against an investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office into alleged illegal practices at the Department of Children and Family Services.

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InlandPolitics: Governor Brown signs bill making prosecutorial misconduct a felony

Prosecutorial-Misconduct1

Saturday, October 1, 2016 – 12:00 p.m.

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed bipartisan legislation making prosecutorial misconduct a felony.

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California Charter Academy

By Beau Yarbrough, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 09/30/16, 3:11 PM PDT |

RANCHO CUCAMONGA >> September 2007 was a long time ago.

That month, Rihanna, Fergie and Jay-Z won big at the 24th MTV Video Music Awards. “The Sopranos,” “30 Rock,” James Spader and Sally Field won at the 59th Emmy Awards. Roger Federer beat Novak Djokovic at the 127th Men’s US Open.

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Courts

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 09/30/16 – 3:20 PM PDT |

Prosecutors in San Bernardino County’s Colonies public corruption case were ordered Friday by a Superior Court judge to return some documents and personal items seized by the FBI during a 2011 raid at one of the defendants’ home and business.

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U.S.-District-Court

Joel Rubin
September 28, 2016

A federal judge Wednesday ruled that former Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka should not remain out of prison while he appeals his conviction on obstruction of justice charges.

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wells-fargo-bank

Wells Fargo is already facing four potential class-action suits and could soon face more from customers, former employees and investors over the bank’s fake-accounts scandal. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

James Rufus Koren
September 26, 2016

As beleaguered banking giant Wells Fargo & Co. deals with inquiries from federal prosecutors and scrutiny from lawmakers, it’s facing a growing number of civil lawsuits brought by customers and former employees.

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jerry-brown

The Fair Political Practice Commission won’t be investigating Gov. Jerry Brown, despite an advocacy group’s report about his “Dirty Hands.” (Christophe Petit Tesson / EPA)

Jeff McDonald
September 24, 2016 – 05:00 p.m.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission will investigate donations made to the California Democratic Party by privately owned utilities and other energy interests.

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The Sun: McStay family murder trial conflicts with Colonies corruption trial

charles-merritt

Charles “Chase’ Merritt (File photo)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 09/23/16 – 4:08 PM PDT |

The attorney for McStay family murder suspect Charles “Chase” Merritt told a San Bernardino Superior Court judge Friday he cannot begin trial until he finishes defending another client in a public corruption case, scheduled to begin Oct. 17 and last seven months.

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KNBC-TV: The Grinch Ran a Red Light

Thursday, September 22, 2016 – 08:45 a.m.

Yes. It was bound to happen.

Los Angeles-Based KNBC-TV has picked up coverage of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department ticket quota whistle-blower lawsuit.

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California Supreme Court

Paresh Dave
September 21, 2016

The California Supreme Court agreed to review Yelp’s objection to a decision ordering it to strip the Internet of comments posted about a San Francisco law firm.

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Question Mark

Capitol Alert
By David Siders
dsiders@sacbee.com
September 21, 2016 – 10:31 AM

With more than 600 bills to sign or veto before a Sept. 30 deadline, Gov. Jerry Brown has yet to weigh in on significant public safety legislation, including bills affecting prostitution, rape and the ability of felons to vote.

Here are five bills worth watching:

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KTTV-LA: The Children Are Dying: Foster Family Failure

KTTV

We continue our FOX 11 investigation into the San Bernardino County Department of Children and Family Services.

By: Ramona Schindelheim
Posted:     Sep 09 2015 – 09:16PM PDT
Updated: Sep 09 2015 – 10:43PM PDT

(SAN BERNARDINO, CA) – A family of five young siblings is suing the San Bernardino County Department of Children and Family Services and a foster care agency contracted by the CFS, alleging the two youngest members of the family were sexually abused in a foster care home in Victorville over three years.

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sbsd-deputy-grinch

By Brian Rokos, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 09/20/16 – 6:55 PM PDT |

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is not commenting on a photo shown in court as part of an ongoing civil trial that a plaintiff says shows a deputy dressed in a Grinch costume intentionally and illegally driving a patrol car through a stoplight in Victorville to prompt a red-light camera to snap a souvenir picture.

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Scales of Justice

By Beatriz Valenzuela, San Bernardino Sun
Posted: 09/19/16 – 6:35 PM PDT | U

SAN BERNARDINO >> A San Bernardino County sheriff’s lieutenant testified during a civil whistleblower-retaliation trial Monday he tried to quash a “petty citations war” between two High Desert sheriff’s stations.

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Wells Fargo

A Wells Fargo office in Oakland. The bank’s CEO says that aggressive sales tactics were not part of an “orchestrated effort.” (Ben Margot / Associated Press)

James F. Peltz
September 19, 2016

When the Senate Banking Committee grills Wells Fargo & Co.’s chairman Tuesday about the banking giant’s sales scandal, look for the word “clawback” to come up more than once.

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InlandPolitics: San Bernardino County still sets its own rules, regardless of law

banana-republic

Saturday, September 17, 2016 – 11:00 a.m.

A new article published Saturday in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin is a clear-cut example of just much San Bernardino County officials believe they dance to the beat of their own drum.

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City-of-Highland

By Kristina Hernandez, Redlands Daily Facts
Posted: 09/16/16 – 7:34 PM PDT |

HIGHLAND >> Three public interest groups on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the city of Highland over its approval of the controversial Harmony housing project.

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San Bernardino County Sheriff

By Brian Rokos, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 09/14/16 – 10:15 PM PDT |

A San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy testified Wednesday that he was removed from a prestigious motorcycle traffic-enforcement assignment after he criticized what he characterized as a supervisor’s illegal traffic-ticket quota and continued to cite Victorville elected officials, city officials and off-duty deputies over that same supervisor’s objections.

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InlandPolitics: Trial in San Bernardino County Sheriff ticket quota case commences

Scales of Justice

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 – 09:00 a.m.

The long-awaited trial involving a traffic ticket quota system employed by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is now underway.

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State Bar of California

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
September 12, 2016 – 9:54 PM

Political and legal wrangling over the fate of the State Bar took another turn Monday.

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Daily Bulletin: Colonies corruption case headed to trial, here’s what you need to know

Scales of Justice

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 09/09/16 – 12:25 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> Prosecutors and defense attorneys in San Bernardino County’s biggest public corruption case announced Friday that after years of legal wrangling, they are ready to begin trial.

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Wells Fargo

James Rufus Koren
September 8, 2016

Calling it “outrageous” and “a major breach of trust,” local and federal regulators hammered Wells Fargo & Co. for a pervasive culture of aggressive sales goals that pushed thousands of workers to open as many as 2 million accounts that bank customers never wanted.

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The Sacramento Bee: As Legislature stalemates on State Bar bill, the fallout begins

State Bar of California

Capitol Alert
By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
September 2, 2016 – 10:49 AM

Wednesday night’s legislative stalemate on giving the State Bar permission to continue collecting dues from the state’s lawyers and, more controversially, overhauling its organization and operations, is already creating fallout.

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The Sacramento Bee: Legislature did much, but full impacts of big items remain unknown

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
September 1, 2016 – 5:16 PM

The biennial legislative session that ended very early Thursday morning amassed a very substantial record of action – some positive, some negative and much whose real effects won’t be known for years.

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Jackie Lacey

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey at a press conference at the Hall of Justice in Los Angeles on June 29, 2015. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Adam Elmahrek
August 29, 2016

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey has accepted more than $10,000 worth of gifts over the last four years from criminal defense attorneys, police unions, business owners, prosecutors in her office and others who could have an interest in influencing her decisions as one of the most powerful law enforcement officials in the county, according to state records.

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Prosecutorial-Misconduct1

Saturday, August 27, 2016 – 10:00 a.m.

A bill imposing criminal penalties on prosecutors who withhold or hide evidence in criminal cases cleared the California Senate this week and is already headed to Governor Jerry Brown for his consideration.

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Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
August 25, 2016 – 4:27 PM

As the Legislature begins the last few days of its biennial session, hundreds of measures are pending – not counting, of course, “mushroom bills” that will sprout in the dead of night and pass before anyone outside the Capitol can react.

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Warrant

By Brian Rokos / Staff Writer
Published: Aug. 24, 2016
Updated: Aug. 25, 2016 6:24 a.m.

  • He failed to appear in court when subpoenaed by an attorney challenging a wiretap he approved. He says he believed the court date would be changed.

A warrant was issued for the arrest of former Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach after he did not show up in court Tuesday, Aug. 23, to testify about the approval of a wiretap that prompted authorities to charge a man with possessing illegal drugs.

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The Press-Enterprise: Federal probe into Beaumont finances continues

Beaumont

At least one former city official will testify next week before SEC officials

By David Danelski / Staff Reporter
Published: Aug. 23, 2016
Updated: Aug. 24, 2016 – 6:17 a.m.

As the state criminal case against seven former Beaumont officials moves through Riverside County Superior Court, a more secretive federal probe of the city’s troubled finances also is advancing.

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California Supreme Court

Howard Blume and Joy Resmovits
August 23, 2016

Monday was the end of the line for a landmark California case challenging tenure and other traditional job protections for teachers — and the teachers won.

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The Sun: All seven former Beaumont officials plead not guilty in corruption case

Beaumont Corruption Case

The seven defendants in the Beaumont political corruption case, in the front row are Francis Dennis Coe Jr., Joseph Sandy Aklufi, William Kevin Aylward, Ernest Alois Egger, Deepak Moorjani, David Willliam Dillon, and Alan Charles Kapanicas, left to right, in the back row are attorneys Melissa Meister, James Taylor and Virginia Blumenthal, left to right, prior court proceedings in Dept. 52 of Riverside Superior Court on Friday. (Kurt Miller – Staff Photographer)

By David Danelski and and Gail Wesson, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 08/19/16 – 11:20 PM PDT |

The seven former Beaumont city officials charged in May with 94 felony corruption counts, including embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds, each pleaded not guilty to all charges against them Friday.

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Redlands Unified School District

Richard Winton
August 19, 2016

A former student who fathered a child with a onetime Redlands schoolteacher convicted of having sex with him and two other students will receive a $6-million settlement from the school district, officials said Friday.

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InlandPolitics: California Senate set to pass prosecutorial misconduct legislation

Prosecutorial-Misconduct1

Friday, August 19, 2016 – 08:45 a.m.

The California legislature is set to forward legislation targeting prosecutor misconduct to Governor Jerry Brown.

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Courts

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 08/18/16 – 7:56 PM PDT |

The California Supreme Court has rejected a petition by a defense attorney in a San Bernardino County public corruption case to consider dismissing the indictment on grounds of alleged prosecutorial misconduct, paving the way for trial in October.

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Judge Thomas M. Goethals speaks and agrees to continue Steven Bruno's sentencing on Thursday to January 23 in Santa Ana. Bruno was found guilty for the murder of his father to Ernest Bruno by an Orange County Superior Court jury. ////ADDITIONAL INFO: - 05.IRVfathermurdersentence.1218.ks - Day: Thursday - Date: 12/18/14 - Time: 9:34:45 AM - Original file name: _KSB3279.NEF - KEN STEINHARDT, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER -- Bruno’s attorney Leonard Matsuk - Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Herrera

Judge Thomas M. Goethals during a 2014 case. (Ken Steinhardt / Staff Photographer)

By Sean Emery / Staff Writer
Aug. 17, 2016 – Updated 10:08 p.m.

SANTA ANA – An Orange County judge offered to remove himself from a murder trial Wednesday, only to learn that attorneys on both sides want him to stay on a case that involves allegations of prosecutors falsifying evidence.

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Former San Bernardino Deputy District Attorney Mary Izadi has joined the Orange County Sheriff's Department as a constitutional policing adviser. ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: sheriffadviser.0817 Ð 8/16/16 Ð LEONARD ORTIZ, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER - _DSC5600.NEF - In the wake of a recent jail escape and an ongoing jailhouse snitch scandal, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens has hired a new adviser to look at "high-risk issues" and determine how the department can address them. Former San Bernardino Deputy District Attorney Mary Izadi came on as the sheriff's department's "constitutional policing adviser."

Former San Bernardino County Deputy District Attorney Mary Izadi has been hired by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department as an adviser on constitutional issues. (Leonard Ortiz / Staff Photographer)

Published: Aug. 16, 2016
Updated:   Aug. 17, 2016 – 7:50 a.m.

Amid an ongoing jailhouse informants scandal that suggests Orange County sheriff’s deputies may have violated defendants’ civil liberties, Sheriff Sandra Hutchens has hired a full-time adviser to review her department’s practices to ensure they are constitutionally sound.

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Medical Marijuana

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the federal government can’t prosecute medical marijuana groups if they are following state law.

Maura Dolan
August 17, 2016

A U.S. appeals court decided unanimously Tuesday that the federal government may not prosecute people who grow and distribute medical marijuana if they are complying with state laws.

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Judge Thomas Goethals discusses the admissibility of previously sealed court documents related to an alleged jailhouse informant who may have assisted in the conviction of Henry Rodriguez, who has spent 15 years in prison for his role in the 1998 murder of a pregnant woman and her unborn child. ///ADDITIONAL INFO: RODRIGUEZ.0626 - 6/25/15 - PHOTO BY JOSHUA SUDOCK, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER - Henry Rodriguez, who has spent 15 years in prison for his role in the 1998 murder of a pregnant woman and her unborn child, appeared in a Santa Ana courtroom with his attorney, James Crawford, and deputy district attorneys Howard Gundy and Eric Scarbrough on Thursday to discuss alleged misuse of jailhouse informants by Orange County prosecutors in his case. Judge Thomas Goethals' decision could lead to a new trial or the outright prisoner release. Picture made at The Orange County Central Justice Center, department C45, in Santa Ana, California, on Thursday, June 25, 2015

Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals has cracked down on misuse of jailhouse informants. He threw a curve Monday to lawyers seeking removal of the District Attorney’s Office from a murder case following allegations of falsifying and withholding evidence. As he postponed the hearing until Wednesday, Goethals urged attorneys on both sides to consider an argument as to why he should or shouldn’t be removed from the case. (Joshua Sudock / File)

By Tony Saavedra / Staff Writer
Aug. 15, 2016
Updated Aug. 16, 2016 – 7:25 a.m.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals threw a curve Monday to lawyers seeking removal of the District Attorney’s Office from a murder case following allegations of falsifying and withholding evidence.

Read the rest of this entry »

Courts

By Cassie MacDuff, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 08/14/16 – 2:11 PM PDT |

Baffling. That’s all that can be said about the state Senate Appropriations Committee killing a bill last week that would have addressed a critical shortage of judges in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

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Lee Baca

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca leaves federal court in Los Angeles. (Los Angeles Times)

Joel Rubin
August 12, 2016

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca pleaded not guilty Friday afternoon to felony charges arising from an FBI probe into county jails.

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The San Diego Union Tribune: DA is called to testify in Azano campaign money trial

Scales of Justice

By Greg Moran |
Aug. 10, 2016 – 12:47 p.m. |

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has been subpoenaed to testify at the trial of a Mexican tycoon facing federal charges he illegally contributed $600,000 in cash and services into campaigns for San Diego mayor in 2012 — including Dumanis’ unsuccessful bid.

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Goodwin Liu

California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu, shown in 2011, argued in a dissent that California officials’ public votes are not protected under state and federal free speech laws. (Paul Sakuma/Associated Press)

Maura Dolan
August 8, 2016

The California Supreme Court decided Monday that the votes of elected officials are protected free speech.

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USC Trojans Football

The USC Trojans take the field for a 2014 game against Notre Dame at the Coliseum. (Mark J. Terrill / AP Photo)

Paul Pringle and Rong-Gong Lin II
August 6, 2016

The alleged bribes and kickbacks that prosecutors said flowed like honey between government officials at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and people who did business at the venerable stadium exceeded $2 million — cash that belonged to the taxpayers.

Read the rest of this entry »

fppc logo

By Jordan Graham / Staff Writer
Updated Aug. 6, 2016 – 8:25 a.m.

The state’s political watchdog has launched an investigation into whether Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas violated the Political Reform Act by failing to report charitable donations he used his influence to solicit, and by approving public funds to be spent promoting his chief of staff’s business partner.

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Appellate Courts

By Alma Fausto / Staff Writer
Updated Aug. 6, 2016 8:25 a.m.

The 4th District Court of Appeal rejected a request Friday by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office for a rehearing on a ruling that was mainly in the office’s favor.

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Lee Baca

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca arrives at the downtown federal courthouse for a sentencing hearing. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Cindy Chang
August 5, 2016

Days after withdrawing a guilty plea for lying during an FBI investigation into widespread abuses at the county jails, former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was indicted Friday on more serious charges that could bring up to 20 years in prison.

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Courts

Rong-Gong Lin II, Paul Pringle and Marisa Gerber
August 4, 2016

Two concert promoters accused in a bribery-and-embezzlement scheme involving raves at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will avoid serving any jail time under a plea bargain with prosecutors who acknowledged, for the second time, that they mishandled evidence in the high-profile corruption case.

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9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals - 2

Joel Rubin
August 4, 2016

A federal appeals court Thursday upheld the convictions of seven former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies on charges they tried to thwart an FBI investigation into county jails.

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Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
August 2, 2016 – 4:28 PM

It’s been painfully evident for years, if not decades, that the State Bar – the quasi-public organization that licenses lawyers and is supposed regulate their conduct – is an institutional disaster zone.

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San Bernardino County Sheriff

In narrative rejected by county, whistleblower complaint alleges corruption, retaliation

By Shea Johnson, Staff Writer
Posted Aug. 1, 2016 at 3:15 PM
Updated Aug 1, 2016 at 5:44 PM

Three current or former deputies who say they were rebuked for disclosing an alleged impound and ticket quota scheme entrenched within two High Desert sheriff’s stations will have their days in court.

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Lee Baca

By Susan Abram, Los Angeles Daily News
Posted: 08/01/16 – 6:59 AM PDT |

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca told a federal judge Monday he wants to withdraw his guilty plea and stand trial in connection with a jail corruption scandal that has already taken down almost a dozen of his former deputies and his second in command.

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The Sun: San Bernardino reaches fourth bankruptcy anniversary, but end in sight

San Bernardino Seal

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 07/31/16 – 6:57 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> One of the nation’s longest municipal bankruptcies begins its fifth year on Monday And it’s probably its last, officials say.

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FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2014, file photo, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca announces his retirement at a news conference at Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau in Monterey Park, Calif. Baca signed a plea agreement that said he ordered deputies to intimidate an FBI agent and "do everything but put handcuffs on her." Baca, who pleaded guilty to trying to thwart an FBI investigation into abuses at the jails he ran, is in the early stages of Alzheimer's and must decide whether he spends the best remaining days of his life fighting to stay out of jail or behind bars. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

File – In this Jan. 7, 2014, file photo, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca announces his retirement at a news conference at Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau in Monterey Park, Calif. Baca signed a plea agreement that said he ordered deputies to intimidate an FBI agent and “do everything but put handcuffs on her.” Baca, who pleaded guilty to trying to thwart an FBI investigation into abuses at the jails he ran, is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and must decide whether he spends the best remaining days of his life fighting to stay out of jail or behind bars. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

By Brian Melley, Associated Press
Jul. 31, 2016 – 2:24 PM ET

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former Sheriff Lee Baca, who pleaded guilty to trying to thwart an FBI investigation into abuses at the jails he ran, faces a difficult choice that will influence how he spends the healthiest days of his retirement.

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InlandPolitics: San Bernardino County advises managers not to use email

SBCO

Friday, July 29, 2016 – 10:00 a.m.

When it comes to San Bernardino County government business the duplicity just never ends.

Especially when trying to deceive and cover-up.

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Mike Hestrin

Hestrin says he needs additional funds to avoid layoffs. But supervisors say he’s being unreasonable

By Jeff Horseman / Staff Writer
Published: July 28, 2016 – Updated: 9:44 p.m.

  • Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin has warned he would need $12.25 million in additional funding to avoid layoffs.

Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin’s budget battle with the Board of Supervisors already has led to some public-safety service cuts, he acknowledged Thursday, July 28.

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Courts

Wednesday, July 27, 2016 – 10:00 a.m.

A civil lawsuit filed by current and former deputies from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department will advance to trial.

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SBCO

Monday, July 25, 2016 – 09:00 a.m.

Here’s a few observations on the unfolding abuse scandal in the San Bernardino County Department of Children and Family Services.

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ACLU

By Tony Saavedras, Staff Writer
July 22, 2016

The American Civil Liberties Union sent volunteer watchers into local courtrooms Friday, a move aimed at bringing attention to what the civil rights group describes as routine cheating by prosecutors in Orange County.

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California Supreme Court

By Liset Márquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 07/20/16 – 5:40 PM PDT |

UPLAND >> Was Upland correct in deciding to delay a citizen-backed initiative until the general election because officials believed it was a tax?

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The Sentinel: Evidence DA, Grand Jury Adviser obstructed investigation growing

SBCO

By Mark Gutglueck
Posted on July 16, 2016

A backlog of evidence and witnesses being accumulated by investigators with the California Attorney General’s Office looking into criminal acts and negligence in San Berardino County’s Children and Family Services Department implicates San Bernardino District Attorney Mike Ramos and one of his employees, deputy district attorney Michael Dauber in an effort to obstruct justice, information provided by some of those witnesses shows.

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