The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

September 2010 Archives

Alvard Davtyan Arrested After Alleged Vacation Scam

A Los Angeles travel agent has been accused of ripping off vacationers, where at least 16 people have claimed to be victims of the fraud scheme between April and September of this year. ABC News reports that 48-year-old Alvard Davtyan allegedly told travelers that she would purchase airline tickets for them when acting as a travel agent. However, the woman allegedly took the money and failed to purchase the tickets.

The "Bell Eight" Facing Criminal Charges in Salary Scandal

There are eight people working for the city of Bell that have been involved in some shady behavior. KTLA News reports that the former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo was earning the very high salary of $800,000 and that he allegedly gave unauthorized pay raises to several city officials. The case has gained a great deal of media attention, since Robert Rizzo was recently charged with 53 counts of misappropriation of public funds, falsification of documents and conflict of interest. He could face up to 58 years in prison if convicted of all the charges.

Police Expected to Crackdown on Crime During Critical Mass

Many L.A. bicyclists are looking forward to Critical Mass, a cycling demonstration that is expected to draw hundreds of cyclists to participate in a community bike ride. The event starts tonight at Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue in Koreatown at 7:30 p.m.

Yet the Los Angeles Police Department warns that police officers will be cracking down on cyclists that participate in illegal and dangerous activities during the bike ride. Authorities say that people caught participating in acts of vandalism, thefts, criminal threats, drinking in public, cycling under the influence, or using illicit substances can be arrested.

Russell Brand Arrested After Fight at LAX

It's not exactly uncommon for celebrities to get angry with the paparazzi, but most of the time the pop stars are able to control their temper. Yet it looks like British comedian Russell Brand just couldn't let an altercation go, as he allegedly hit a paparazzo at the Los Angeles International Airport last week.

KTLA News reports that authorities at the airport then arrested Russell Brand and took him into custody. The man was booked on a misdemeanor charge of simple battery and had his bail set to $20,000. However, the comedian was later released on his own recognizance.

Jury Finds Shelley Malil Guilty in Stabbing Case

The "40-Year-Old Virgin" supporting actor that admitted to stabbing his girlfriend more than 20 times was convicted of several criminal charges last week, including premeditated attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence. The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports that the San Diego County jury did however find Shelley Malil not guilty of residential burglary.

Man Found Dead in LAX Bathroom

Just when we thought crime was on the decline at Los Angeles International Airport, police found a dead man in Terminal 3 of an LAX bathroom yesterday. The Los Angeles Times reported that the airport police were called to the bathroom after a janitor found a man slumped in a stall with his head covered in a bag. The victim's hands were also tied together.

Michael Lallana Pleads Not Guilty to Releasing Semen in Public Place

It seems that a practical joke in an Orange County mortgage company office got way out of hand, where the alleged jokester is now facing multiple misdemeanor criminal charges.

KTLA News reports that 31-year-old Michael Kevin Lallana has been accused of ejaculating into his female co-worker's water bottle on two separate occasions when she wasn't looking. After the victim felt sick from taking a sip of the water, she decided to send the specimen to a private lab to be tested.

Jury Finds the Killing of Cheryl Green to be a Hate Crime

Two members of the 204th Street gang were convicted of first-degree murder in a hate crime trial surrounding the death of a 14-year-old black girl. The Los Angeles Times reported that 14-year-old Cheryl Green was killed in December 2006 while she was hanging out with her friends in the Harbor Gateway area of Los Angeles.

A Los Angeles jury recently found 22-year-old Johnathan Fajardo and 23-year-old Daniel Aguilar guilty of first-degree murder in the case of Cheryl Green's death. The jury also found that the two Latino men killed the girl because she was black. Thus, the two men were found guilty of committing a hate crime.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Approves Chelsea's Law

It looks like the penalties for sex crimes against minors just got a whole lot more severe in the Golden State. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 1844 yesterday, officially putting Chelsea's Law into effect. Associated Press reports the new law establishes tougher sentences and parole conditions for sex offenders.

The law was inspired by the rape and murder of 17-year-old Chelsea King in San Diego County. The girl was murdered by a man that was on parole after he had previously served just five years in prison for child molestation. According to the San Diego Union Tribune, Chelsea's Law is supposed to establish a new penalty of a life sentence without the possibility of parole for those convicted of a violent sex crime against a child under the age of 14. The law also requires habitual sex offenders to be tracked with a GPS for life and imposes a sentence of 25-years-to-life for other forcible sex crimes.

L.A. Activists Charged With Misdemeanors After Immigration Law Protests

Many Californians expressed outrage when Arizona passed SB 1070, the state's controversial immigration law that makes it illegal to be an undocumented immigrant in the state of Arizona. Last May, people in Los Angeles protested the law by blocking an intersection near the federal courthouse on Alameda Street. The group banded together with their hands locked together inside tube devices.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the immigration law protests continued in the area and on July 29, when the law took effect, protesters blocked the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Highland Avenue by putting their hands together in a locking device and refusing to move.

Teenager Dominique Peatry Killed at Lancaster House Party

It appears that a house party over Labor Day Weekend in Lancaster got a bit out of hand, since a 14-year-old girl was reportedly shot dead at the home in the 44600 block of 6th Street East. The Los Angeles Times reports that six other people at the house party in Lancaster were also injured in the shooting.

Los Angeles County sheriff's officials are still investigating the homicide of 14-year-old Dominique Peatry, but officials say that they believe the incident stems from a gang dispute. The shooting took place early Sunday morning around 1:00 a.m., where the victims of the shooting were all reportedly from Antelope Valley and were between the ages of 13 and 26. The six injured victims are all expected to survive.

T.I. and his Wife Arrested For Drug Possession

Rapper T.I., famous for pop hits "Whatever You Like" and "Dead and Gone", will soon need help from a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, since the rapper and his wife were both arrested on drug possession charges earlier this week in West Hollywood. The Los Angeles Times reports that T.I, whose real name is Clifford Harris, was pulled over in West Hollywood for a traffic violation. However, when sheriff's deputies smelled marijuana coming from his vehicle during the traffic stop, an investigation ignited.

T.I and his wife Tameka "Tiny" Cottle were found to be in possession of a controlled substance during the investigation. They were both taken to the West Hollywood sheriff's station and booked on felony drug possession charges.

Leonardo DiCaprio's Alleged Attacker Ordered to Stand Trial

The 40-year-old woman that allegedly hit actor Leonardo DiCaprio with a broken beer bottle at a party back in 2005 is facing criminal charges over the incident five years later. BBC News reports that a Los Angeles judge ordered last week that the suspect Aretha Wilson must stand trial.