9/29/23Chicago D.A. Kim Foxx
says that her prosecution of police officers has been meant to remedy a “lack of
accountability.” But yet another of her cases has fallen apart as a judge acquitted two
suspended officers, Ruben Reynoso and Christopher Liakopoulosa, in the wounding of suspected gang
member Miguel Medina. His gesture, the officers claimed, led them to believe he was armed. And while
Medina didn’t shoot, his companion responded with gunfire, and his gun was later connected to
Trial took two months, but in
the end jurors convicted Deonte Lee Murray of ten felonies, including attempted murder and felon
with a gun, in the 2020 ambush shooting of L.A. County sheriff’s deputies Claudia Apolinar
and Emmanuel Perez-Perez as they sat in their patrol car at a transit station. Murray was also
convicted of another shooting, ten days earlier, in which he mistakenly thought that his victim was
a detective. Murray used an unserialized “ghost pistol.” He faces life without parole.
Unable to physically house and care for the waves of immigrants seeking
asylum, DHS has released 7,800 into San Diego in two weeks, to await eligibility hearings that
might not be scheduled for years. But local shelters and volunteers can’t accommodate all of
the arrivals, and many without contacts are in turn flown to major cities such as Detroit and New
York, where the process repeats.
9/28/23At the conclusion of a September 26
preliminary hearing, a Philadelphia municipal court judge dismissed all charges against ex-officer
Mark Dial in the killing of Eddie Irizarry. Her finding of “a lack of evidence” was
bitterly criticized by the D.A. and, as well, by Irizarry’s family. Each charge, from 1st.
degree murder on, was promptly refiled and a “motions
hearing” (to be handled by a different judge) was set for October 25. Dial, who was being held
without bail, was released.
A review of LAPD shootings by the L.A. Times
revealed 38 instances during the past five years when officers mistakenly opened fire on an unarmed
person. One was Dexter White, who was struck by multiple rounds in 2018 and still bears serious
physical after-effects. Encountered by officers responding to a (it turns out, misleading) domestic
abuse call, all White had was a cellphone, but one cop instantly fired, and contagion led his
colleagues to shoot as well. A civil jury just awarded White $2.75 million.
“mastermind” Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was captured in 2003. By 2007, when the FBI
questioned him at Guantanamo, the CIA had waterboarded him 183 times. FBI agents, though, treated
Mohammed respectfully. He did ask about a lawyer, but the practice was no lawyer until charges were
filed by a military commission. So he chatted away. And now his lawyer says that his richly-detailed,
multi-hour confession can’t be used in the forthcoming trial. Where a conviction would mean
In 2018 Long Beach, Calif. police officers Dedier Reyes and David Salcedo filed erroneous
accounts about a gun recovery, leading to the arrest and brief jailing of an innocent person. While
their superiors and the D.A. initially chalked it up as an innocent mistake, in 2021 a reformist D.A.
charged both with perjury and filing a false report, and they were fired. That case just came to
trial. Agreeing with the defense that their clients had made an “honest, reasonable”
error, jurors acquitted both ex-cops. Related posts
Governor signed two new gun control measures into effect. Senate Bill 2 (SB 2), a response to last
decision, in which the Supreme Court invalidated New York’s gun-carry licensing law, makes
issuing a CCW non-discretionary. But gun carry remains prohibited in a host of places, including
schools and public transit. Assembly Bill 28 (SB 28) imposes an 11% tax on gun sales. Proceeds are
earmarked for violence prevention, school safety measures and gun violence victims.
Retail thefts, including large-scale assaults by organized bands of shoplifters (“flash
mobs”), have made life difficult for chain stores. Target, which reported a major
increase in thefts involving threats or violence this year, is shuttering nine locations across
the U.S. Walmart is following suit. Many retailers are trying to deal with the situation by
removing desirable items from the shelves and placing them behind the counter. Self-checkout is also
being limited. But according to an asset protection executive, “the situation is only becoming
With two more murders occurring later that day, Washington, D.C.’s homicide count, which
was 199 as of 12:00 am, September
26, has surpassed 200. That’s a 25-year high, and 28 percent worse than at this time last
year, when there were 203 total murders. Officials are concerned that this year’s death count
may approach 1997’s, when 303 were slain. Ans as usual, the burden has fallen most acutely
“on Black residents in the District’s most underserved neighborhoods.” Police are
reportedly taking a “tougher approach,” but with 3,328 officers, its force is the
smallest in fifty years.
9/26/23A “Research Letter” just published in JAMA Pediatrics reports that
marijuana’s widespread legalization and a failure by many online vendors to confirm buyer age
has vastly increased its access to children. Most accept payment via “nontraceable”
methods and many ship to other States, even those with different laws. According to a 2022 NIDA survey, almost one
-third of 12th. graders had used marijuana in the past year, and 6.3 percent used it daily.
Drug legalization updatesRelated post
In 1987, after a psychiatrist tipped police about Shawn
Melton’s depraved fantasies, Solano County, CA police arrested Melton for the assault and
murder of a six-year old boy. Melton denied involvement, and he spent nineteen months locked up as
juries twice acquitted him. Melton was free but remained a suspect, He died in 2000. Advanced DNA
techniques recently absolved Melton and identified Fred Cain, 69, as the real killer. He was
arrested by police in Oregon.
9/25/23Accused 9/11 conspirator Ramzi bin al-Shibh was arrested in Pakistan
in 2002, then tortured at CIA “black sites” for four years before arriving in
Guantanamo. His recent diagnosis by U.S. medical experts of “post-traumatic stress disorder
with secondary psychosis” just led a military judge to declare him “unfit for
trial.” No trial is imminent, but if it happens, his four accused accomplices, who are also at
Guantanamo, will be tried without him. As for al-Shibh, he’ll be held until he regains
Acting by Executive Order, President Biden established the White House
Office of Gun Violence Prevention. It will seek to reduce gun violence through four initiatives: to
“fully implement” the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act; help support the survivors of
gun violence and their communities; find new ways to apply executive action; and “expand our
coalition of partners in states and cities across America.”
In June 2017 U.S. District Judge
Roger Benitez overthrew California’s ban on high-capacity magazines. Four years later he did the same to the
assault-weapons ban, which he called it “a failed experiment.” Neither of his moves
survived appellate review. But a few days ago he issued another thumbs-down on the magazine ban.
This time, though, he’s got implicit support from the Supreme Court’s 2022 Bruen decision, which
required that gun laws have historical justification.
police are accused of taking freshly detained or arrested persons to a warehouse operated by the
Street Crimes unit. Nicknamed the Brave Cave and “torture warehouse”, it’s a place
where cops allegedly conducted rough interrogations and subjected persons to brutal treatment,
including kicking and punching, away from public view. So far it’s generated two Federal
lawsuits. One of the defendants, an officer who has resigned, faces charges of misusing a stun gun
in a separate incident.
Complaints that facial recognition technology is less accurate for
Black persons continue to generate lawsuits. Most recently, a Black resident of Georgia is suing
after his arrest on a Louisiana warrant for using a stolen credit card to make a purchase in the New
Orleans area. An image captured by a surveillance camera was matched to his Georgia driver license.
Randal Quran Reid was held in a Georgia jail for several days until his lawyer convinced Louisiana
authorities they had the wrong man. Related posts
9/22/23Philadelphia police officer Mark Dial, who shot and killed
Eddie Irizarry on August 14, was charged with murder and released on $500,000 bail on September 8.
But prosecutors have argued that Dial’s liability to a 1st. degree murder conviction made him
ineligible for pretrial release. On September 19 a judge agreed and remanded the suspended cop to
jail at least until September 28, the date for his preliminary hearing, when a court will
decide what charges Dial will actually face.
A study published in
Criminology & Public Policy examined wrongful convictions to discern the relationship
between false confessions, prosecutorial misconduct, withholding evidence, and false guilty pleas.
According to its authors, false confessions made it more likely that prosecutors would engage in
misconduct and withhold evidence. But when prosecutorial misconduct and withholding evidence
happened, false confessions became less a factor in convictions obtained through pleas than at trial.
Asylum-seekers are arriving in overwhelming numbers, with nearly 6,000 crossing into
a small Texas town in two days. To help oversee the border, 800 regular military troops are being
sent to supplant the 2,500 National Guard members already there. And to ease pressures on local
governments overwhelmed by the costs of housing and caring for immigrants, DHS is granting temporary
protected status to 472,000 Venezuelans who arrived before July 31. That will authorize them to
become lawfully employed. Nearly a quarter-million who already have the status are getting an
18-month extension because of their country’s “increased instability and lack of
Immigration updatesRelated post
A newly-published study in Criminology and Public Policy examines whether loosening state
restrictions on gun carry and CCW licensing affected gun crimes, injuries and deaths between
1981-2019. Findings suggest that gun assaults increased significantly in states that did away
with “live firearm training” requirements for a license, and by a smaller but still
substantial amount in states that abolished a prohibition against issuing CCW permits to violent
9/20/23As Illinois began its first day without cash bail,
judges across the State were required to release accused persons unless prosecutors presented
convincing evidence that they posed a substantial risk to others or were a serious flight risk.
Faced with making decisions about two defendants who committed crimes while armed, a judge
released one on home monitoring but remanded the other, as to whom there was substantial proof that
they pointed a gun. “I do find that he does (pose a threat)”.
Billy Chemirmir, who was serving two life sentences in a Texas prison for murdering
two elderly women he met while pretending to do maintenance work at senior living homes, was
murdered by his cellmate, also a convicted murderer. Chemirmir, who may have have killed as many as
two-dozen women during his years-long spree, was caught after a 91-year old woman survived an attack
in 2018 and informed police.
Court-ordered mental health
commitments disqualify persons from possessing or buying guns under California and Federal laws.
Kevin Salazar, who is under arrest for the recent murder of an L.A. deputy sheriff, had attempted
suicide and was hospitalized for mental health issues. But he nonetheless “legally”
bought a gun (presumably, the one used in the killing). How that was possible reveals the
complexities of the law. And, as well, its limitations.
9/19/23After deploying chemical agents, a SWAT team arrested a 29-year old schizophrenic
at his parent’s Palmdale home for the ambush slaying of L.A. County Deputy Sheriff Ryan
Clinkunbroomer. According to his mother, Kevin Salazar, 29, had long suffered from severe mental
problems. Deputies had previously visited the home, but said they could not force him to take his
meds. “Numerous” firearms were recovered. Salazar was identified with help from the
victim of a road-rage incident.
Taser’s new Model 10 has a range of 45 feet,
double the old device, and offers the ability to expel up to ten prongs - user’s choice -
instead of two. To help control unruly persons and avoid using lethal force, LAPD will be furnishing
100 of the devices to each of four geographical divisions for a year-long test run. These Tasers
don’t feature the “stun” mode, in which the device can be activated through direct
contact, and LAPD no longer authorizes that form of use.
Fiercely opposed by police and many prosecutors, a California bill that would have essentially
outlawed pretextual traffic stops died in the Legislature. Its backers contended that prohibiting
officers from stopping vehicles for minor transgressions such as a single broken taillight would
greatly reduce the disparate treatment of minorities. “Police departments acting in a
racially biased manner and wasting their time is not a good way to solve crime,” said the
chair of a Penal Code revision committee.
9/18/23Authorities have detained “a person of interest” in the murder of Los
Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Bryan Clinkunbroomer two evenings ago. Shot and killed while
sitting in his patrol car outside the Palmdale Sheriff’s station, the eight-year LASD veteran
was a third-generation deputy with an excellent reputation. Surveillance video depicts a dark gray
car stopping behind the parked cruiser, and a passerby found him in his vehicle. No reason
for the apparent ambush has been revealed.
Despite opposition from
psychiatrists, who fear that persons “struggling with mental illness” are being
misled, Oregon’s first legal dispensary of psilocybin-based “magic mushrooms” is
open for business. Clients with “depression, PTSD or end-of-life dread” must take their
“trips” during six-hour in-house sessions, and three-thousand are on a wait list to
experience their “oneness with the universe.” Legalization measures have also passed in
California and Colorado.
Drug legalization updatesRelated post
“BTK” killer Dennis Rader is now 78, doing ten consecutive terms of life-without-
parole in a Kansas prison. His daughter Kerri Rawson, whom he helped raise during his decades-long
murderous spree, has been visiting him in prison to help police identify more of her father’s
victims. After all, she had (unwittingly) helped in his capture. Nearly two decades ago, when Rader
was only a suspect, her DNA, obtained through a hospital, was used to match him to the killings.
After a Federal judge, siding with gun groups, temporarily
blocked her temporary ban on gun carry in Albuquerque, New Mexico Governor Lujan Grisham amended her
order to only prohibit “open or concealed carry in public parks or playgrounds, where we know
we’ve got high risk of kids and families.” But the judge’s final decision, which
is yet to be announced, may torpedo the Governor’s gun control actions altogether.
Jury selection began in the trial of Jason Rosenblatt and Randy Roedema, two of the three Aurora,
Colorado police officers charged with manslaughter and negligent homicide in the death of Elijah
McClain, a Black man whom they detained during an August 2019 encounter. McClain, who had been
reportedly behaving oddly, was allegedly affected by the use of a neck restraint and
paramedics’ application of a large dose of calming agent. A third officer and the paramedics
will be tried separately. Related posts
9/15/23A judge’s refusal to go along with Hunter Biden’s
plea agreement led the special counsel investigating him (primarily, for tax shenanigans) to indict
the President’s son on Federal firearms charges. In 2018 Biden, a self-admitted cocaine addict,
bought a revolver. Biden faces three counts: two for asserting on the purchase form that he did not
use illegal drugs, and one for possessing the gun. Such charges, though, are seldom filed on their
own, and the underlying law is under judicial attack.
Drug legalization updates
“Crime-free housing” laws and rules
prohibit renting homes or apartments to persons with a criminal history. Some require evictions
should a tenant or member of the household be convicted of a serious crime. Their disproportionate
effect on Blacks and Latinos has led California legislators to pass a bill to prohibit local
governments or agencies from imposing such laws or regulations. But landlords would remain free to
impose conditions on their own. AB 1418 textRelated post
In the wake of the January 21 massacre at
a Monterey Park, California dance studio that took eleven lives, word that L.A. County’s
probation department had enlisted an online auction house to sell off “hundreds” of
unneeded S&W and Beretta 9mm. pistols startled local legislators. So much so, that they passed
a policy mandating that surplus firearms - most would presumably be with the probation and
Sheriff’s departments - be destroyed.
9/14/23A proposed Federal initiative to affix GPS tracking devices to
the ankles of asylum seekers to insure that immigrants who arrive in Texas remain in Texas is
drawing heat from...Texas. While DHS feels that it could speed up deportations, the
“Reds” who run the show in Texas, such as Rep. August Pfluger, are determined to make
“Blue” sanctuary cities suffer for making border states “bear the brunt”
of their progressivism. Meanwhile the 13th. busload of migrants from Texas
has arrived in L.A.
Immigration updatesRelated post
In June 2022 California enacted a law that
provides civil penalties and allows victims to sue for damages should gun makers or sellers advertise
or market their wares “in a manner that is designed, intended, or reasonably appears to be
attractive to minors.” But a Ninth Circuit judicial panel just ruled that the measure is
inconsistent with other state laws that authorize minors to have and use firearms, and also violates
the First Amendment. AB 2571 text Related post
9/13/23A Federal grand jury returned an
indictment accusing the five Memphis police officers who killed Tyre Nichols of conspiracy,
obstruction of justice and civil rights violations. Officers Emmitt Martin III, Tadarrius Bean,
Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith already face State murder charges for allegedly
beating Mr. Nichols to death during a January 7 traffic stop.
Drafted in response to
the Supreme Court’s
Bruen decision, which invalidated New York’s “good cause” requirement
for issuing gun carry licenses, a bill pending the California governor’s signature rules out
applicants who “are reasonably likely to be a danger to self, others, or the community at
large.” Among other things, it also sets the minimum age as 21, same as for buying a handgun,
mandates that the licensee be the gun’s owner of record, and requires 16 hours of training.
SB 2 textRelated post
Small-town police forces are being dismantled. But Lancaster, an inland
community (pop. 180,000) 60 miles NE of Los Angeles, never had its own cops. And 9-1-1 calls will
continue to be handled by the Sheriff, which has a station in the city. But to help fight crime and
supplement the busy, short-staffed deputies, the city is creating a small, initially eight-officer
police force comprised of experienced cops and retirees. They will handle less-urgent calls, back
up the deputies, and strive to be “visible.” Related posts