April 2011 News: The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

April 2011 Archives

James Rainford Jailed After Attacking Paris Hilton's Boyfriend

The man who attacked Paris Hilton's boyfriend, Cy Waits, outside of a Los Angeles courthouse on Wednesday was sentenced to spend 227 days in jail the following day. It looks like nobody messes with Hilton or her man and gets away with it.

The Toronto Sun reports that the suspect, James Rainford, previously had been arrested last October after trespassing on Hilton's property and fighting with her security staff. On Thursday, Rainford pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor battery charge in connection with the most recent attack against Waits.

Graffiti at Calabasas High School Prompts Hate Crime Investigation

Calabasas High School maintenance workers found Nazi swastikas, words and symbols related to anti-Semitism, as well as teachers names scrawled on the campus grounds this past Saturday morning. This specific incident has sparked outrage and a great deal of sadness, but it also gives people in the Los Angeles community an opportunity to learn more about hate crimes and the violence of intolerance that all too often occurs.

The Los Angeles Times reported that sheriff’s deputies found that the graffiti in Calabasas was placed on doors, walls, sidewalks and a stop sign at the high school. Calabasas High School has since repaired the damage to the school grounds and is working with the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Department to investigate the incident as felony vandalism and a hate crime. So far, the department has not reported any arrests.

Lindsay Lohan Theft Charge Reduced to Misdemeanor

Actress Lindsay Lohan chose not to accept a plea deal last month in a felony grand theft case, but it looks like this decision will work out in her favor because Judge Stephanie Sautner has already reduced her felony charge down to a misdemeanor charge.

According to KTLA, the Los Angeles judge said that Lohan had "earned a felony" but that the charge would be reduced to a misdemeanor because she wanted "to give her an opportunity." Judge Sautner also commented that Lohan had also received a lot of punishment for her DUI conviction, which stemmed from a drunk driving incident four years ago.

Lenny Dykstra Facing Bankruptcy Fraud Charges

Los Angeles police arrested former major-league baseball star Lenny Dykstra earlier this week after he allegedly tried to buy a stolen car. However, it looks like the former outfielder for the New York Mets is now facing completely different criminal charges that involve fraud.

The Associated Press reports that Los Angeles prosecutors have so far declined to file charges in connection with the stolen vehicle incident, but Dykstra is instead facing a federal charge of bankruptcy fraud in an unrelated federal case.

Motive in George Rodriguez Homicide Remains Unknown

Detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) are still trying to figure out what the motive was in the slaying of 30-year-old George Rodriguez. According to a press release, police have determined that Rodriguez and his girlfriend were walking down a sidewalk in the 1000 block of East L Street in Wilmington on April 17 when two or three occupants in a vehicle left their car and began chasing Rodriguez.

During the chase, the suspects fired several rounds of bullets with handguns, hitting the victim in the upper torso. The suspects then reportedly fled the scene after the shooting while the victim was transported to a local hospital and later pronounced dead. LAPD has only vaguely described the suspects as three black males.

No Sex Offenders Allowed on Match.com

There is now just one more consequence associated with registering as a sex offender. KTLA News reports that soon after a Los Angeles woman filed a civil lawsuit against Match.com, the dating website announced that their company will be conducting criminal background checks on their users, which will include screening both current and future subscribers against the national sex offender registry.

It looks like sex offenders may now have to say good-bye to at least one online dating website. The lawsuit against Match.com was filed after the Los Angeles local claimed that she was sexually assaulted by a person that she had met through the website. After the alleged assault, the victim stated that she found out the suspect had been convicted of several counts of sexual battery.

Registered Sex Offender Enrolled at Yucca Valley High School

Sex offenders in California are typically not able to step foot on a school campus, but what happens if a registered sex offender wants to still finish high school and get a diploma?

KTLA News reports that 18-year-old Steven Holt was convicted of sex crimes in Wisconsin and ordered to register as a sex offender, but that the young man is also enrolled as a student at Yucca Valley High School in San Bernardino County.

Two People Arrested After Fight Outside of Whiskey A Go Go

A fight outside of a West Hollywood nightclub got out of hand on Monday and led to Los Angeles County deputies shooting at a suspect during a brief pursuit. The two suspects in this case are okay and unharmed, but it looks like they will be facing a great deal of legal trouble after allegedly causing injuries to multiple people.

KTLA News reported that the trouble all began after a person suffered from critical injuries from a brawl outside of Whiskey A Go Go, located on West Sunset Boulevard. County deputies responded to the fight, but the suspects —20-year-old Eduardo Gomez and 18-year-old Jesus Gomez — allegedly fled the scene and hit two pedestrians with their vehicle when exiting the club’s parking lot in a truck.

Newport Beach Considers Fines For Partying

Newport Beach may no longer be a good place to party. The town's city council is considering an ordinance that would impose fines for hosting rowdy gatherings. KTLA News reports that Newport Beach City Council is in the process of discussing a proposal that would let authorities put red tags on "party houses" and issue steep fines for "loud and unruly" gatherings of eight or more people.

People attending a party could get fined $1,000, $2,000 and $3,000 for the first, second and third offense, respectively. But it's the homeowners that will really be facing the consequences of the loud and unruly gatherings that occur in their home.

Jury Selection in Conrad Murray Involuntary Manslaughter Trial

Dr. Conrad Murray was accused of killing pop star Michael Jackson after administering a lethal dose of propofol to the King of Pop. Yet the doctor claims that he is innocent and has Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers to defend him in court against an involuntary manslaughter charge.

Jury selection will likely play a large role in the outcome of this case. According to KTLA News, the jury selection process for the trial is continuing today and the in-person jury selection has been scheduled for May 4. All the potential jurors were asked to complete an extended questionnaire about their knowledge in the case. Jurors in this case must also be available for a two-month time frame in this trial, which alone has excluded many potential people from sitting on the jury.

Should Orange County Pass a Sex Offender Park Ban?

The Orange County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance today that bans sex offenders from county parks. However, the proposed sex offender park ban was not passed without a fight, as the ban has already stirred up a great deal of controversy.

KTLA News reports that the new law was approved by the Board of Supervisors and a public hearing. The law now allows sex offenders to be charged with a misdemeanor if they enter a county park without written permission. Violators could face up to six months in jail and a fine up to $500.

As warmer weather approaches the Los Angeles area, it's especially important to not leave your children unattended inside of your vehicle for long periods of time. Not only is this dangerous, but it can lead to criminal charges. KTLA News reported that one 38-year-old father was arrested in Burbank last week for child endangerment after leaving his 14-month-old daughter unattended in a 115 degree car.

Burbank officers came to rescue the child after a good Samaritan saw the baby girl unattended in the car and called 911. Authorities were eventually able to get the baby out of the car, and paramedics who examined her found the baby to be okay. The child was reportedly released to the custody of the her mother.