The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

February 2012 Archives

Looney Tunes 'Coyote' Places Booby Trap on Sam Dimas Street

It isn't known if there were Roadrunner sightings in Southern California, but apparently there was a Wile E. Coyote-style booby trap on a San Dimas Street the other day, reports The Daily Bulletin.

Booby traps (whose etymology derives from the Spanish for bobo which means fool or idiot) sound fun, but they can be very dangerous. In the case of the San Dimas booby trap, a four foot tall device painted black, was rigged with a rock also spray painted black. When a car hit the device the rock shot into windshield of the 2006 Audi.

Are Flashlights The Modern Pitchforks? Ask Prostitutes

Everyone that has watched cartoons or old movies knows that scene where the big bad monster is chased into a dark castle by villagers wielding pitchforks.

Well, now that the people of Anaheim are taking so called "flashlight walks" to locate and condemn prostitution, as the Los Angeles Times reports, do we have modern version of pitchforking happening?

The Anaheim flashlight walk was organized by about 50 citizens and supported by the Anaheim Police Department. Their aim was to get rid of the streetwalkers. The people in the neighborhood expressed that they were tired of finding condoms and "riffraff" in their streets.

Will Lynwood Cameras Deter Prostitution?

The City of Lynwood now has 26 cameras around the city which is meant to lower crime and prostitution, reports Lynwood Patch.

Most of the Lynwood cameras are located on Long Beach Boulevard and Atlanta Boulevard.

The cameras are being used to make a difference in what is considered a very high crime area. And to check prostitution in Lynwood.

Hollywood Mansion Owner Guilty of Manslaughter for Death Trap?

The owner of an $11 million Hollywood Hills mansion was charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of a firefighter who was battling a blaze in the home, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Gerhard Albert Becker was charged on Wednesday for knowingly ignoring safety recommendations and altering the home after inspections. In particular, Becker's addition of several fireplaces, one of which was described as a "fire trough," is under scrutiny.

Pigeon Case: Feed the Birds, Face Nuisance Charges?

The fictional, magical nanny Mary Poppins once told her young charges to “feed the birds.” However, if you follow her advice too well, you could face criminal charges.

A Burbank business owner who simply wanted to feed the birds is accused of creating a public safety nuisance at Bob Hope Airport by feeding a large flock of pigeons, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Whitney Houston Death: Cause Still Unknown; Possible Crime?

As the world mourned the death of iconic singer Whitney Houston over the weekend, investigators were working hard to uncover what killed her, reports the Associated Press.

Houston was reportedly found in the bathtub of her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Saturday afternoon, and an autopsy of her body was reportedly performed on Sunday. However, coroner's officials would not release any information about the autopsy, and police detectives have kept most of the information about their investigation under wraps.

Frisbee, Ball Ban on Los Angeles County Beaches Updated

During the winter months, it’s common to conjure up images of summer, sun, and fun on a sandy beach to get you through those dreary, cold days. If your beach image includes tossing a Frisbee or throwing a football around, you should educate yourself about the most recent changes to the Frisbee/ball ban on Los Angeles County’s beaches.

You may not have even known that there used to be an all-out ban on playing with footballs, other balls and Frisbees on the beach. If you were lucky enough to never get cited, you’ll be happy to know that the all-out ban has been lifted with a few minor restrictions, reports CBS Los Angeles.

Miramonte Sex Scandal: Allegations Fly against More Suspects

Although too horrible to imagine, could there be more people implicated in the Miramonte Elementary sex scandal?

An attorney for three of the alleged victims had claimed that a third, female teacher aided and abetted Mark Berndt in committing lewd acts with his students, reports ABC News. However, investigators recently concluded she was not a suspect. In addition, a fourth person - a teacher’s aide - is being accused of sending a student love letters in 2009.

Miramonte Sex Scandal: Second Teacher Arrested, School Closed

The Miramonte Elementary sex scandal took a turn for the worse on Friday after authorities arrested a second teacher on suspicion of committing lewd acts with students, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Forty-nine-year-old Martin Bernard Springer, a teacher at Miramonte since 1986, was arrested three days after fellow long-time teacher Mark Berndt was accused of committing horrific acts on his students. Police claim there are photographs depicting the 61-year-old spooning his semen to students and placing large cockroaches on their faces.

L.A. Teacher Accused of Lewd Acts, Spooning Semen to Students

The television crime show Law & Order often uses stories “ripped from the headlines,” but the accusations against 61-year-old third-grade teacher Mark Berndt may be too gruesome for even the boundary-pushing show.

Berndt is under arrest on suspicion of committing disgusting acts on his students, such as spooning them his semen and placing large cockroaches on their faces, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Tragic Details Revealed in Police Shooting of Santa Maria Officer

More details and allegations have been revealed in the police shooting of Santa Maria police officer Alberto Covarrubias Jr., painting a tragic and shocking picture of the officer’s final hours.

Covarrubias, a four-year police veteran, was shot and killed by police as they tried to arrest him while on duty at a DUI checkpoint. Initial reports stated that he was under suspicion for having a sexual relationship with a minor and that he was killed by a fellow police officer who was on duty with him. But further allegations and details reveal a more tragic picture of the fatal day.