The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

November 2011 Archives

LAPD Arrest 200 Occupy L.A. Protestors During Early Morning Raid

Two hundred Occupy L.A. protestors were arrested during the early hours of Wednesday morning on misdemeanor charges during an LAPD raid consisting of approximately 1,400 officers, reports CBS Los Angeles.

LAPD stated they allowed people to leave the encampment before executing the eviction. Both the authorities and the protestors stated they were determined to arrest and resist with as little violence as possible, according to CBS.

The protestors who stayed behind were arrested on misdemeanor charges of failing to disperse at the scene of an unlawful assembly after they had been lawfully warned to leave.

Conrad Murray Gets Four Years in Prison for Michael Jackson's Death

Dr. Conrad Murray was given the maximum sentence for involuntary manslaughter in the death of patient Michael Jackson on Tuesday, reports The Hollywood Reporter. Murray was sentenced to four years in prison despite the defense’s request that he receive probation.

In addition to paying almost $1,000 in fines and fees for his conviction, Murray was also ordered by Judge Michael Pastor to pay restitution to the Jackson family. However, it will not likely be the prosecution’s requested amount of $100 million, given the state of Murray’s financial affairs.

TSA: Beware Carry-on Gifts Containing Illegal Items

The Transportation Security Administration doesn't care if you have been naughty or nice this holiday season. If your brightly-wrapped package potentially contains an illegal item, it will get confiscated and you may get arrested, reports CBS Los Angeles.

TSA issued the warning to passengers after a traveler was caught allegedly trying to smuggle marijuana in a wrapped gift earlier this month, according to CBS. The ganja-giver was subsequently arrested.

Black Friday Safety Tips: What to Do to Prevent Theft and Injury

We love the holiday season: the cheer, the smiling faces, the brightly wrapped packages tied up with string. But we know it's not always merry and bright, especially when it comes to Black Friday.

From grumpy shoppers to would-be thieves, there are Grinches out there ready to make your holiday a not-so-jolly one. Lucky for you, we have some Black Friday safety tips to help you get through the busiest shopping day of the year with you and your packages intact.

Brandon McInerney Plea Deal: 21 Years in Prison

The fate of Brandon McInerney and closure for Lawrence King's family has finally been reached with McInerney's acceptance of a 21-year sentence plea deal on Monday, reports the Los Angeles Times.

McInerney, who at the age of 14, pulled a gun out of his backpack and shot his classmate Lawrence King in the head in 2008, will serve time until his late-30s. The now-17-year-old has already spent four years in jail, waiting for his fate to be decided during his criminal trial.

UCD Police Pepper Stray Protestors; More Police Misconduct?

UC Davis campus police and administrative leaders are under fire after video was released depicting UCD officers pepper spraying Occupy Davis protestors "like a gardener using pesticide." Once again, allegations of police misconduct and use of unreasonable force during the off-shoots protests by the Occupy Wall Street movement have arisen.

The galvanizing incident occurred Friday when a group of UC Davis students sat hand-in-hand in front of tents placed in the main quad, according to the Los Angeles Times. Police officers attempted to disband the group by pepper spraying them in the face.

Actress Jodie Foster's Father Charged with Grand Theft

Actress Jodie Foster may have one of the most successful film careers in Hollywood, but it hasn’t stopped her kin from turning to a life of crime. Prosecutors charged the A-list actress’ estranged father, Lucius Fisher Foster III, with grand theft on Thursday for allegedly scamming San Fernando Valley investors out of more than $100,000, reports CBS Los Angeles.

The elder Foster, a building contractor, is accused of taking a $50,000 deposit from each of the victims under the guise that he would custom-build an $85,000 three-bedroom home for each of them. He reportedly also dropped his famous daughter’s name to build trust with at least half of them, according to Deputy City Attorney Don Cocek.

Olympic Gymnastics Coach Banned, No Criminal Charges for Sex Abuse

One of the most iconic coaches in gymnastics has been banned for life from the sport he helped build because of sex abuse allegations, reports The Orange County Register. However, he will not be criminally charged for the sex crimes because it took too long to press charges.

Don Peters was the coach of the record-setting 1984 U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team. Since then, he has worked with Olympians and national champions at a gymnastics gym. He has also allegedly been sexually abusing young gymnasts at the same time.

San Bernardino Man Dies after Tasering, Controversy Continues

Less than a week after news media program “60 Minutes” investigated police overuse of Tasers, a mentally ill man from San Bernardino reportedly died while in police custody after officers used pepper spray and a Taser to subdue him, reports KTLA News.

Authorities were called in to subdue 29-year-old Jonathan White who was allegedly frightening residents at his mother’s board and care facility, according to San Bernardino police. His mother, Janice White, told KTLA that Jonathan suffered from schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder.

Occupy Protests: Are Police Required to Show Identification?

With tensions between police and participants in the Occupy Protests heating up, clashes are occurring more often and criticism of police conduct has intensified. Nowhere is this more palpable than in Oakland, a common battleground for hostility between the community and the police.

No matter which side of the protest line you are on, however, both sides must follow the law. Today, we tackle one question of alleged police misconduct at Occupy sites - lack of police identification.

Allegations have been spreading among Occupy sites that police officers have been hiding identifying marks so that they can't be reported for police misconduct. If true, are police violating California law?

Misbehaving Sheriff's Deputies Punished With Jail Duty?

If the average citizen is convicted of a crime, the typical punishment is time in jail. If a Los Angeles Sheriff's Deputy is convicted of a crime, the punishment is still allegedly time in jail - but as a jailor and not an inmate, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Sheriff's Department is accused of sending deputies with criminal allegations and convictions to work in the Los Angeles County Jail as part of its sanctioned punishment process. If the courts placed the deputies on probation for their crimes, the Sheriff's Department, who allege they had their hands tied in terms of firing them, would often send them off to work in the jails.

LA Fire Captain Busted in LAPD Heroin Sting

The Los Angeles City Fire Department is going to have to put out some major public relations fires after one of its captains was caught in a Los Angeles Police Department heroin sting, reports CBS Los Angeles.

Capt. Matthew Phillipsen was one of several people arrested on Wednesday afternoon for allegedly attempting to purchase heroin. The arrests went down as part of a sting operation conducted by LAPD narcotics officers and reportedly occurred one block from the fire station.

"They were posing as sellers of heroin, heroin dealers, and apparently an L.A. City Fire Dept. captain purchased this bogus heroin from one of the undercover officers," said Det. Gus Villanueva.

CA Women Arrested in Chicago-Based Prostitution Ring

Two women - residents of Los Angeles and Orange counties - were arrested during an interstate prostitution ring bust based in Chicago, Illinois, reports Chicago's Daily Herald.

Thirty-six-year-old Jenny Huynh of Los Angeles and 36-year-old Bamila Ibrahim of Fountain Valley were each charged with misdemeanor prostitution last Thursday. A Chicago couple is accused of running the interstate prostitution ring that brought in women from California and Pennsylvania into DuPage County, Illinois.

Jackson Wrongful Death Suit: Criminal and Civil Liability for Homicides?

With the recent guilty verdict in the Conrad Murray trial, you may have thought the saga over Michael Jackson's death was over. But in addition to criminal actions against defendants, the victim's families and significant others also have the option to pursue civil remedies against those they believe caused their loved one's death.

Soon after Murray's verdict was read, Jackson's family announced their intention to file lawsuits against entertainment giant Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and Murray, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Conrad Murray: Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter of Michael Jackson

After months of pre-trial posturing by attorneys, competing witness testimony, and rabid public speculation, the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray ended with a guilty verdict, reports

Murray, the personal physician for mega-pop-star Michael Jackson, was formally charged with involuntary manslaughter after a seven-month investigation. Murray was accused of administering a lethal dose of propofol, a powerful anesthetic, to Jackson, which led to the singer’s death.

Lindsay Lohan Spends Five Hours in Jail for Probation Violation

Fed up with Lindsay Lohan's cavalier attitude towards the terms of her probation, a Los Angeles judge sentenced her to 30 days in jail, reports CBS Los Angeles. Don't feel too bad for the diminutive star - she only spent five hours in the slammer.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner revoked Lohan's probation at a hearing two weeks ago after she continuously failed to show up for community service. You have to give it to LiLo though - she didn't try to deny that she violated the terms of her sentence.

Fountain Valley Mom Accused of Underage Sex with Son's Friend, 12

A 43-year-old Fountain Valley mom is accused of having underage sex with her son’s 12-year-old friend, reports The Orange County Register.

Patricia Ann Serrano is facing three felony counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 with a sentencing enhancement for substantial sexual conduct with a child, according to officials from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and the Fountain Valley Police Department. Authorities believe she had sex with the boy twice - once in a car and once in her home. She faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted of all charges, according to The Register.

Should Justin Bieber Paternity Accuser Worry About Statutory Rape?

A 20-year-old woman is breaking the hearts of tweens across the country with her accusation that mega-pop-star Justin Bieber fathered her three-month-old son. But should she have considered the fact that Bieber was reportedly 16 and she was 18 at the time of their alleged consummation before filing the paternity suit?

Mariah Yeater reportedly claims that she and Bieber did the horizontal mambo without protection in a Staples Center bathroom after a concert, according to Reuters. The sexual encounter allegedly resulted in Yeater’s three-month-old son, which Bieber should be financially supporting, according to the paternity suit.

Bieber, of course, is denying everything and unsurprisingly defended himself on Twitter: “all the rumors … the gossip … I’m gonna focus on the positives … the music.”

Social Host Liability if Ex-NFL Player's Son Died from Alcohol?

Griffin Kramer, a football player for Thousand Oaks High School and son of former NFL quarterback Erik Kramer, was found dead at a friend's home Sunday morning, reports CBS Los Angeles. Authorities believe that alcohol poisoning may have caused the 18-year-old's death. If so, could the parents of the friend Kramer was staying with face criminal charges or social host liability for the teenager's tragic death?

Early reports of Kramer's death have been tentative. His school released a statement on Monday stating that "initial indications suggest his passing was due to alcohol poisoning," according to CBS. Sheriff's officials have also stated that Kramer may have had a pre-existing medical condition at the time.