Dorothy Gambrell illustrates everything you wanted to know about California’s prison labor program, but were afraid to ask. They can only sell inmate-made goods to the state, and if the state cuts back, those prisoners lose their jobs. Jeez, in jail AND laid off? Can this prison sentence get any worse????
Prison labor, once best known for making license plates, has grown to 57 factories doing such work as modular building construction, toner cartridge recycling, shoemaking and juice packaging. Read more at Bloomberg Businessweek
test reblogged from pacificstand
Allegations of brutality, coverup by police in death of Kern County man
David Sal Silva, 33, a father of four, was declared dead last week after being beaten by Kern County sheriff’s deputies. The grisly event was caught on tape by two individuals present, but in a move that has riled the area ever since, police detained them until they seized the footage.
The scene, according to witnesses, was grisly. Ruben Ceballos, who was woken up by the sound of screaming only to find deputies pummeling Silva described it:
“I saw two sheriff’s deputies on top of this guy, just beating him. He was screaming in pain … asking for help. He was incapable of fighting back — he was outnumbered, on the ground. They just beat him up.”
From another witness’ call to 911:
“The guy was laying on the floor and eight sheriffs ran up and started beating him up with sticks. The man is dead laying right here, right now. I got it all on video camera and I’m sending it to the news. These cops have no reason to do this to this man.”
Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood told the Times that it was too early to reach any conclusions on the matter, and that the footage was taken to preserve the integrity of the evidence. But local station KERO-TV Channel 23 has broadcasted a security feed showing figures assaulting a figure on the ground.
Photos: Henry A. Barrios / The Californian
Justice Department secretly taps into AP reporters’ phone records
In a surprising declaration a short time ago, the Associated Press revealed that the Justice Department had obtained two months of phone records tied to numerous reporters and editors in various cities, in what the news organization is calling a “massive and unprecedented intrusion.”
The reason for the government’s actions, which the AP was alerted to in a letter Friday, are as of now unknown.
From the Associated Press’ story on the emerging scandal:
In all, the government seized those records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices whose phone records were targeted on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.
AP’s President and CEO, Gary Pruitt, issued a strongly-worded letter to Attorney General Eric Holder:
We regard this action by the Department of Justice as a serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news. While we evaluate our options we urgently request that you immediately return to the AP the telephone toll records that the Department subpoenaed and destroy all copies.
Photo: Molly Riley / Associated Press
The great billboard war of 1917
The Supreme Court ruled in 1917 that cities could prohibit billboards in residential areas, so long as the bans were made for the purposes of safety, health, decency and morality.
In a story titled “Immediate Passage of Ordinance to Rid the Residence Sections of the City of Dangerous Eyesores is Urged by Civil Organizations,” (which is a crazily long headline by modern standards) the Los Angeles Times advocated banning the “dangerous eyesores.”
From the article:
The public had grown so accustomed to being flaunted by the billboard interests and so resigned to the belief that the law somehow was against the home owner when it came to the question of curbing this disgraceful business, that the recent United States Supreme Court decision giving cities the right to absolutely to prohibit billboards in residence sections was the cause of genuine astonishment. This astonishment has given way to a spirit of determination, which is manifesting itself in a clamorous demand upon the city authorities for immediate and unceremonious action against the professional city defacers.
The Times’ efforts were eventually successful, with an ordinance passing the next year.
Photos: Los Angeles Times
California drivers - consider yourselves warned
A appellate court in the state has ruled that it’s illegal to do anything with your phone while driving. So that’s not just a ban on texting or talking - that’s a ban on looking at texts, reading emails, flinging just one more Angry Bird, etc.
From Judge W. Kent Hamlin:
“Our review of the statute’s plain language leads us to conclude that the primary evil sought to be avoided is the distraction the driver faces when using his or her hands to operate the phone. That distraction would be present whether the wireless telephone was being used as a telephone, a GPS navigator, a clock or a device for sending and receiving text messages and emails.”
Read more from columnist Robin Abcarian.
Photo: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times
Suing over employment let-downs
It’s hard out there for most people to find a job - but going so far as to sue your law school for making it appear like success was easy to find? That’s what Southwestern Law School alumni are up to, having filed against the school for working in hourly jobs when they dreamed of six-figure salaries.
Take a look at the story of one of the students taking their alma mater to court:
Michael D. Lieberman [pictured above] decided to enroll at Southwestern Law School after reading that 97% of its graduates were employed within nine months. He graduated in 2009, passed the bar on his first try but could not find a job as a lawyer. He worked for a while as a software tester, then a technical writer, and now serves as a field representative for an elected official.
Read the full story from reporter Maura Dolan.
Photo: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times
Supreme Court hears arguments on Prop. 8 ban on gay marriage
The debate between both sides of the argument and the Supreme Court has come to an end, with a final decision on the fate of California’s contentious Prop. 8 expected to be announced at some point in June.
Though any prognostications made based on Supreme Court arguments must be taken with a grain on salt, liberal justices were particularly intent on critiquing the defense of the gay marriage ban.
From Supreme Court reporter David G. Savage:
Justice Anthony Kennedy, while acknowledging that the long-term effects of legalized gay marriage are unknown, suggested that the tens of thousands of children of gay and lesbian couples in California have a voice in the case as well. “They want their parents to have full recognition,” he said.
Photos: Nicholas Kamm, Karen Blier, Jewel Samad, Win McNamee / AFP/Getty Images, Molly Riley / MCT, Dana Verkouteren / Associated Press
It’s been four years since the efforts to overrule California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, began. Then, it seemed like an impossible challenge, but now, with public opinion vastly shifting in favor of gay marriage, the possibility of the court ruling against Prop. 8 seems likely.
From David G. Savage and Maura Dolan’s preview of the arguments scheduled to begin tomorrow:
The conventional wisdom among legal experts is that the court will stop short of declaring that gays and lesbians have a right to marry nationwide. A narrow ruling voiding Proposition 8 would bring gay marriage to California, but it would not force a change in states where strong opposition to the idea remains.
Photos: Emmanuel Dunand / AFP/Getty Images,
The Supreme Court has announced that it will rule for the first time on same-sex marriage by deciding the constitutionality of California’s Prop. 8, the voter initiative that limited marriage to a man and a woman.
In legal battle against drone strikes, she’s on the front lines: A law professor at Notre Dame leads a lonely campaign to stop the targeted killings in Pakistan and elsewhere, insisting they violate international law.
Photo: Notre Dame law professor Mary Ellen O’Connell is a leading critic of the U.S. targeted-killing program against Al Qaeda militants. Credit: Ken Dilanian / Los Angeles Times
Bill protects religious garb, grooming in the workplace: Under AB 1964 signed by Gov. Brown, California employers face new restrictions against shunting Sikh and Muslim workers out of public view for wearing turbans, beards and hijabs.
Photo: Kirpajot Singh, 6, of Westlake Village gets help last month with his turban from Taranjot Singh, 16, before the start of services at the Khalsa Care Foundation, a Sikh temple in Pacoima. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times
Pet ownership disputes can be as messy as child custody cases: The pet ownership dispute involving Stitch the French bulldog has dragged on for years, with neither side willing to give in.
Long story short: a guy loves his dog, his girlfriend’s mom disapproves of the guy and gives his dog away to another family while he’s out of town, the family gets the dog microchipped but eventually returns him to the guy, then the dog wanders off the guy’s property and is returned to the family thanks to the microchip.
Photo: Hollye and Troy Dexter watch their son Evan, 6, play with Stitch, a French bulldog at the center of a legal battle that has stretched on for nearly three years. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times
So says Paul Zuckerman, the man who hired disgraced journalist Stephen Glass. Read our article on Glass, and tell us what you think: Stephen Glass, disgraced journalist, seeks California law license
A Pennsylvania woman has filed a civil suit over the antics of the Phillie Phanatic, alleging that the furry green Philadelphia Phillies mascot “approached plaintiff, picked up her chair and threw plaintiff and her chair into the pool” at a hotel.
The suit contends that the woman suffered “severe and permanent injuries” to multiple body parts, “mental anxiety and anguish” and “humiliation and loss of life’s pleasures.”
The Phanatic was negligent, the lawsuit says, for “failing to consider the risks inherent in throwing a patron into a pool.’’ Worse, it says, he failed “to give the plaintiff the option of not engaging in such an activity.’’
Still worse: He led “plaintiff to believe that he would not throw her into the pool … thereby causing her to lower her guard.’’
The Phanatic has been the subject of at least three previous civil suits — “once for hugging someone too hard and once for plopping on a woman’s lap, aggravating her arthritis,” The Times’ David Zucchino reports.
Photo: The Phanatic entertaining students at a school event on May 22. Credit: Ellen F. O’Connell / Associated Press
A federal judge has put a temporary block on new graphic warning labels for cigarette packages as a case concerning the constitutionality of requiring the labels proceeds.
Photo: Two of the nine graphic warning labels that cigarette makers would be required to use by the fall of 2012. Credit: Associated Press