The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

June 2011 Archives

It looks like David Edward "Puck" Rainey from the third season of MTV's The Real World hasn't lost his aggressive personality. The Los Angeles Times reported that MTV's former star was arrested and charged with domestic violence this month, but Rainey is probably used to this routine by now.

Puck Rainey's June 19 arrest for domestic violence wasn't even the first time that he got into trouble with the law since he became a reality television star in the 1990s. In 2009, Rainey was sentenced to a year in Los Angeles County Jail after pleading no contest to charges of battery on his girlfriend. That same year, he also pleaded no contest to felony possession of ammunition in Los Angeles County and was placed on three years of probation.

Kimberly Nizato Pleads No Contest to Felony Animal Cruelty Charges

A 26-year-old woman who used to work at Southern California Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Irvine pleaded no contest to a charge of felony animal cruelty on Monday, reports KTLA News. Now, the defendant Kimberly Nizato can face up to three years in prison for the offense.

Dog lovers will probably be happy to see Nizato behind bars. The resident of Bellflower nearly starved her German Shepherd to death when she left the dog inside of an airport carrier inside her garage without food or water for five straight weeks. Veterinarians said that the dog only had had hair, dirt and rocks inside of his stomach and found that the dog had not eaten any food.

TSA Officer Paul Yashou Accused of Stealing Belongings at LAX

If you're worried that your luggage will be stolen at an airport when traveling, then perhaps you're not being completely irrational. Los Angeles Daily Breeze reports that a TSA officer was arrested this week after allegedly stealing numerous items belonging to passengers at LAX Airport.

The suspect Paul Yashou, who worked as a TSA officer in Terminal 1, has been accused of taking $30,000 worth of items from suitcases. Yashou's arrest comes just after 31-year-old Ryan Driscoll's arrest in May. Driscoll reportedly used to work as a TSA employee in Terminal 6 of LAX, but was arrested after allegedly stealing from a suitcase.

FBI Finds James "Whitey" Bulger in Santa Monica Home

This seems to be the year for catching the big-time wanted criminals. We were finally able to find Osama Bin Laden this year after a decade of searching and now, the FBI has finally captured one of the most wanted fugitives in America, who has been on their list since 1994.

The 81-year-old mobster who was the inspiration for the 2006 film "The Departed" was finally captured and arrested in Santa Monica this week after a 16-year search for the suspect. KTLA News reports that Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger will now have to answer to numerous federal charges that will likely include charges of murder.

Police Arrest Rapper Tone Loc For Felony Domestic Violence

Tone Loc, the rapper best known for his 1988 hit singles "Wild Thing" and "Funky Cold Medina," is now in a bit of legal trouble after an alleged physical altercation with the mother of his child. It looks like Tone Loc, whose real name is Anthony Smith, just couldn't keep his cool during Saturday's incident.

According to KTLA, police arrested the rapper in a Burbank apartment complex over the weekend on suspicion of felony domestic violence. He was booked in jail, but reportedly spent less than three hours behind bars before his release on $50,000 bail.

Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss Irvine 11 Case

A group of UC Irvine and UC Riverside students called the “Irvine 11” have been accused of disrupting a meeting and speech by the Israeli ambassador to the United States last year on their college campus. Now, there seems to be the question of whether these students should be facing criminal charges.

Should the students be charged for their harassment and heckling of public officials? According to the Orange County Register, the 11 UC students are each facing misdemeanor charges for conspiracy to disturb a meeting as well as disturbance of a meeting. Defense attorneys, however, argue that these misdemeanor charges are unconstitutional and that the actions by the Irvine 11 are a protected form of free speech.

Holly Polson Arrested For Having Sex With Shadow Hills Student

A woman who worked as a Special Educational Instructional Aide at Shadow Hills Intermediate School in Palmdale is in a bit of trouble with the law after allegedly having sex with a 13-year-old student in an empty classroom. The teacher's aide, Holly Polson is now being held on $100,000 bail and facing felony counts of lewd acts with a child, according to KTLA.

Police were notified of Polson's alleged sexual encounter with the young teen after a relative of the victim found text messages from the teacher's aide on the boy's cellphone. Authorities have stated that 35-year-old Polson confessed to the acts with the student in an interview with Sheriff's Special Victim's Bureau detectives.

Kelvin McFarland of Family 1st Growth Camp Accused of Kidnapping

Kelvin "Sarge" McFarland appeared in court for a preliminary hearing this week, as he has been accused of kidnapping, false imprisonment and extortion in a case that involves the alleged abduction of a 14-year-old girl. McFarland runs Family 1st Growth Camp, reports ABC News, but his aggressive ways of trying to keep kids out of trouble may have gone too far this time around.

McFarland, who is also a Marine Corps veteran, was arrested on May 27 after he allegedly handcuffed a truant girl and took her to a relative's home. When at the home, McFarland reportedly tried to persuade the family that the 14-year-old girl should enroll in his boot camp.

Prison Release of Johannes Mehserle Sparks Outrage

It hasn't even been a year since ex-BART cop Johannes Mehserle was sentenced to two years in prison for involuntary manslaughter. Yet a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge has already ordered the former BART officer to be released from prison based on good conduct credits and time that he had already served in jail prior to conviction. This is a standard practice for inmates in California

KTLA News reports that Mehserle is set to be released from prison on Monday. Many people in the Bay Area were outraged last year after the defendant was only sentenced to two years in prison for the 2009 New Year's Day shooting of Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland. The Los Angeles jury in this case found that Mehserle didn't mean to kill Grant, which made him guilty of involuntary manslaughter rather than the more severe charges of second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter.

Miguel Fabian Arrested After Filming Co-Worker in Bathroom

It might be disturbing to find out that somebody could be watching you while you are using the bathroom. Not only could a person be watching you, but The San Bernardino Sun reports that one Cal Poly Pomona student allegedly videotaped people while they were in the bathroom. This is illegal, and to no surprise, led to an arrest.

The student, Miguel Fabian, who also works as a public works intern for the City of Santa Ana, was caught videotaping a co-worker in a Santa Ana City Hall bathroom last week. Police later found 64 videos on Fabian's phone, some of which dated back to December.

Lenny Dykstra Charged With Theft and Drug Possession Offenses

We reported in an earlier blog post that former major league baseball star Lenny Dykstra was facing felony charges after allegedly embezzling money from a bankruptcy estate. Yet according to new reports, the athlete's criminal charges don't stop with just bankruptcy fraud.

According to KTLA, Dykstra is now facing 23 felony counts, the latest of which are for attempted grand theft auto and drug possession. The three-time major league All-Star outfielder has been accused of leasing various high-end vehicles from several dealerships in the Los Angeles area by allegedly providing fraudulent information. Following his fraud arrest last April, authorities conducted a search of Dykstra's Encino home and reportedly found cocaine, ecstasy and a synthetic human-growth hormone.

Excessive Force? Police Shoot Anastacio Verduzco for Wielding Brick

A Rialto police officer fatally shot Anastacio Verduzco for allegedly charging at the officer, wielding a brick. The Los Angeles Times reports that officers have had several run-ins with Verduzco in the past, and that Verduzco claimed to have a gun and made threats before the officer fatally shot him.

According to the Times, the shooting happened while officers responded to a 911 disturbance call at Verduzco's home. When Rialto police arrived, Verduzco was standing in his front yard with a brick in hand. The officers ordered Verduzco to drop the brick, but after he failed to comply, the officers Tased him. Police officers reported that the Tasing was ineffective, and as Verduzco continued to charge at the officers, an officer took the fatal shots.

Canyon High School Teacher Arrested For Drug Possession

A 29-year-old teacher at Canyon High School in Santa Clarita was arrested for drug posession on Saturday after allegedly providing controlled substances to an undercover cop at a Motel 6. Not only will this math teacher likely face criminal charges, but he may also face disciplinary action with his job at the school.

Ventura County Sheriff's officials say that Ashraf Hindi promised a female seeking companionship on Craigslist that he would bring cocaine, marijuana and alcohol to the hotel in Camarillo, reports KTLA. Yet it turns out that the female was working with sheriff's investigators all along. Authorities took Hindi into custody after the sting operation and counducted a search of his home.