Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | June 6, 2019

There were several individuals who were charged with corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant/etc, including a 26-year-old “tree trimmer” from Newhall, a 25-year-old student from Newhall and a 27-year old truck driver – also from Newhall.

Three people were arrested for battery, including a 23-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident, a 22-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident and a 27-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident.

An 18-year-old associate from Valencia was arrested for cruelty to a child likely to produce great bodily injury or death.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

47-year-old Los Angeles resident who listed “I Don’t Work” as his/her occupation
29-year-old unemployed Castaic resident
24-year-old window installer from Los Angeles
19-year-old Acton resident
19-year-old unemployed Valencia resident
26-year-old landscaper from Canyon Country
32-year-old painter from Newhall
22-year-old roofer from Alhambra
50-year-old manager from Castaic
41-year-old LAPD dispatcher from Canyon Country
28-year-old self-employed Canyon Country resident
23-year-old unemployed Castaic resident
33-year-old cook from Palmdale

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

29-year-old computer repairman from Joshua Tree
52-year-old unemployed Saugus resident
27-year-old unemployed Oceanside resident
30-year-old construction worker from Canyon Country
21-year-old unemployed Woodland Hills resident
29-year-old Telemarketer from Tarzana
39-year-old electrician from Lancaster
24-year-old construction worker from Saugus
25-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
21-year-old sales representative from Canyon Country

Illegal Gambling Spot Busted by LAPD

| Police Blotter | June 6, 2019

On Saturday, June 1, LAPD officers made a significant bust. At 4:30 p.m. Friday, officers served a search warrant at a building on the 200 block of North Vermont Ave., believing that the building was being used for illegal activity. Upon investigating the property, officers found a slew of gambling machines, narcotics and cash. When people in the building refused to leave, the LAPD called in a SWAT team, who used smoke grenades to get them out.

At least 35 people were detained the following Saturday morning after Friday’s raid.

California Penal Code 330 PC, California’s anti-gaming law, makes it illegal to engage in “banking” or “percentage” games. While other laws, including 337 PC (California’s anti-bookmaking law) and 332 PC (California’s gambling fraud law), target individuals who are taking part in gambling operations, under Penal Code 330 PC, it is also illegal to engage in the activity of gambling itself. Therefore, California Penal Code 330 PC is the one often used to charge players as opposed to operators.

California’s definition of “gaming” includes dealing, playing, carrying on, opening, or conducting, any “prohibited game,” whether being hired to do so or not. A “prohibited game” is any game that is either a “banking game,” a “percentage game,” or both. A “banking game” is any game that includes a “bank” or “house” that takes money from losers and pays money to winners. A “percentage game” is any game of chance in which a “house” takes a percentage of the total bets made or the winnings.

Games that fall under California’s prohibited games list include traditional gambling games, like twenty one and roulette, as well as lesser-known games of chance, including Faro, Monte, and Fan-tan. Interestingly, it’s up to a judge – and not a jury – to decide whether or not a game qualifies as a “banking” or “percentage” game. Also, 330 PC can apply to any game that isn’t known to be a traditional gambling game, as well as games that don’t typically include a “house” but are altered to do so.

There are a few notable exceptions to California Penal Code 330 PC. For the most part, bingo games conducted by charitable organizations for charitable purposes do not count under 330 PC. However, for a game to qualify as a charitable bingo game, it has to meet a certain set of specific criteria, including but not limited to: being held by a city or county that has passed an ordinance that allows for those types of games to be held, and the proceeds from the game are only used for charitable purposes.

Violations of California Penal Code 330 PC are considered misdemeanors in California, and the possible penalties include misdemeanor probation, up to six months in county jail, and/or a fine of at least $100 and no more than $1,000.

It’s unknown whether any of the over 35 people detained by police were charged with violations of 330 PC, or if the proprietors received any additional charges. However, due to the presence of narcotics, it’s highly likely that additional charges will be pressed.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | May 30, 2019

There were several arrests for battery against a former spouse, including a 33-year-old carpenter from Canyon Country, a 19-year-old student from Saugus, a 78-year-old retired Castaic resident and a 70-year-old retired Castaic resident.

A 29-year-old security officer from Newhall was arrested for rape of a victim who was incapable of consent.

Three individuals were charged with corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant/etc, including a 27-year-old landscaper from Canyon Country, a 38-year-old from Canyon Country who refused to provide an occupation, and a 32-year-old Canyon Country resident.

A 33-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident was arrested for DUI alcohol causing injury.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

32-year-old North Hills resident who refused to give his/her occupation
33-year-old graphic designer from Santa Clarita
41-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident
27-year-old electrician from Valencia
25-year-old sales manager from Valencia
37-year-old health care provider from Lancaster
52-year-old unemployed Porter ranch resident
31-year-old construction worker from Yorba Linda
39-year-old construction worker from Simi Valley
35-year-old laborer from Palmdale
29-year-old mechanic from St. Joseph
26-year-old auto body care provider from Littleton
27-year-old construction worker from canyon Country

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

32-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
42-year-old administrator from Newhall
39-year-old paralegal from Valencia
49-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
41-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident
29-year-old unemployed Valencia resident
30-year-old unemployed Lancaster resident
26-year-old gardener from Newhall
50-year-old self-employed Buttonwillow resident
30-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident

The Carjacking and Kidnapping that Never Happened … or Did it?

| Police Blotter | May 30, 2019

On Thursday, May 23, LAPD officers responded to an alleged carjacking and kidnapping reported to have occurred near Wilshire and Orange Grove in Mid-City Los Angeles. Officers were able to locate the missing vehicle from the report, however, the owner’s 7-year-old son, who was said to have been kidnapped during the carjacking, was not immediately located. After several odd twists and turns in the story, police now believe that there was no carjacking or kidnapping.

The incident began when police arrived at the scene, where the father of the “missing” boy told them a man had punched him in the face, taken his vehicle and his child, and drove away. Things began to get strange when later police locate the said stolen vehicle on Elm Drive in Beverly Hills. Which happens to be where both the boy and his father live.
A local news reporter attempted to interview the father, but was sternly rebuffed. However, another man who said he is “friends” with the father was more willing to speak. According to the friend, there was really no kidnapping or carjacking at all. He went on to say that Angelo, who is the father of the “missing” boy, got into a minor altercation with Nicky. It was Nicky who punched Angelo in the face. The whole story about a kidnapping, according to the friend, was made up by Angelo to get back at Nicky whom he “couldn’t beat up because Nicky was bigger and stronger.”

Hours after the interview, the LAPD contacted Angelo and told him his son had been brought to the LAPD Wilshire Station by a man named Nicky Jace – who described himself as a longtime family friend. Mr. Jace was arrested by officers on suspicion of carjacking and kidnapping.

After questioning Jace, investigators believe they may finally have gotten to the bottom of what actually happened. According to them, the incident started when Angelo, Jace, and the boy were all in the vehicle together, and then Angelo decided to get out of the vehicle to get some food. Jace became angry because he had somewhere else to be. Therefore, Jace took the vehicle (with the boy still sitting in the back). Investigators at this point are uncertain as to whether or not there was actually a fight at all.

Regardless, the boy was unharmed and Angelo said he did not want to press charges against Nicky Jace, 25 who was still booked on carjacking and kidnapping charges. Which is likely why Angelo, the boy’s father and owner of the vehicle, is not being charged with making a false report of a crime. If he was, he’d be facing up to six months in county jail.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | May 23, 2019

This week, a 59-year-old unemployed Valencia resident was arrested for attempted murder. And a 49-year-old machinist was arrested for terrorizing/causing fear.

A 39-year-old “dunk tank clown” was arrested for hit and run causing property damage. A 25-year-old cashier was charged for giving false identification to a peace officer, and a 38-year-old unemployed Los Angeles resident was arrested for battery on a peace officer on duty.

A 26-year-old chef from Canyon Country was charged with corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant/etc. And a 22-year-old unemployed Canoga Park resident was arrested for kidnapping.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

28-year-old florist from Canyon Country
26-year-old rigger from Palmdale
53-year-old musician from Valencia
30-year-old stocker from Valencia
18-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
23-year-old self-employed Westminster resident
24-year-old salesman from Val Verde
33-year-old server from Palmdale
33-year-old Canyon Country resident
27-year-old construction worker from Canyon Country
37-year-old server from Santa Clarita

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

40-year-old computer technician from Canyon Country
43-year-old who refused to give his/her occupation or address
38-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
32-year-old maintenance worker from Castaic
28-year-old self-employed Canyon Country resident
48-year-old manufacturing plant worker from Sylmar
43-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
26-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
19-year-old landscaper from Val Verde
27-year-old Lemoore resident who refused to give his/her occupation
27-year-old self-employed Thousand Oaks resident
28-year-old stagehand from Saugus

Domestic Violence Call Leads to Hours-Long Standoff with LAPD

| Police Blotter | May 23, 2019

At around 7:00 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, May 20, LAPD officers responded to a call at a downtown Los Angeles high rise. Police were told a man was forced out of a room by a suspect with a gun during an overnight party at the residence. When the people in the room refused to leave after being told to do so, SWAT was called in and a female was taken into custody. What her connection was to the incident is unclear.

After a three to four hour standoff, during which nearby streets were blocked off, a man was taken into custody. He was later charged with domestic violence, though other charges are still pending.

Domestic violence is covered under several California laws, though the two most commonly charged are: 273.5 PC – corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant and 243(e)(1) PC, which covers domestic battery.

Under California Penal Code 273.5 PC, it is illegal to willfully inflict “corporal injury” on a spouse or cohabitant. “Corporal injury” refers to any injury, whether serious or minor. Some examples include:

Grabbing or squeezing a spouse’s arm hard enough to leave bruises
Pushing a spouse or significant other
Hitting and/or kicking a spouse or significant other

The crime is a “wobbler” under California law, which means that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history. If charged as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $6,000. Felony convictions are punishable by two, three, or four years in California state prison and/or a fine of up to $6,000. Additionally, when prosecuted as a felony, domestic violence is subject to other penalties, including the loss of gun-owning privileges, and the potential loss of a professional license.

California Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC, domestic battery, is described as the willful and unlawful touching that is harmful or offensive, and is committed against: the defendant’s current or former spouse, cohabitant, or fiancee, someone with whom the defendant had a past dating relationship with, or the defendant’s child. As with other forms of battery, it’s possible to be convicted of domestic battery even if the victim doesn’t suffer any injury at all. The requirement to be charged is simply to use force or violence against one of the people listed above.

Unlike 273.5 PC, domestic battery is not a “wobbler” – it’s a misdemeanor. The possible penalties include up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000. Also, when convicted, the defendant is required to attend 52 weekly domestic violence classes.

Luckily nobody was hurt during the standoff. Unfortunately for the suspect, the standoff is likely to result in additional charges besides domestic violence.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | May 16, 2019

Two individuals had charges relating to peace officers, including a 26-year-old Valencia resident who was arrested for giving false identification to a peace officer and a 22-year-old mechanic from Newhall who was booked for evading a peace officer.

A 35-year-old who refused to provide an occupation was arrested for cruelty to a child likely to produce great bodily injury or death. A 47-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident was arrested for unlawful mail theft. And a 35-year-old unemployed Sunland resident was arrested for refusing to leave private property.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

64-year-old unemployed Los Angeles resident
35-year-old “teamster” from Saugus
30-year-old wood treater from Bakersfield
22-year-old unemployed Valencia resident
46-year-old administrator from Murrieta
42-year-old sales rep from Valencia
35-year-old crew worker from Saugus
28-year-old manager from Castaic
26-year-old Palmdale resident who listed his/her occupation as “emergency room”
35-year-old meat cutter from Lancaster
27-year-old loader and merchandiser from Palmdale
47-year-old server from Valencia
20-year-old maintenance worker from Panorama City

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

52-year-old teacher from New Zealand
38-year-old unemployed Saugus resident
28-year-old unemployed Westlake Village resident
31-year-old assistant from Canyon Country
46-year-old unemployed Gorman resident
42-year-old unemployed Neenach resident
44-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident

The Dangers of Dating Apps

| Police Blotter | May 16, 2019

A 40-year-old named A. Clark was recently arrested on suspicion of two sexual assaults that occurred on April 13 and 14. It’s believed that Clark used dating apps to meet women whom he lied to about having entertainment industry connections. He allegedly told the women he was a photographer in order to lure them into his home.

This isn’t the first time Clark has run afoul with the law. As a matter of fact, he’s already a convicted sex offender, though the victims in his previous crimes were minors. In 2003, Clark was found guilty of sexually assaulting two minors and was required to register as a sex offender. In 2014, 11 years later, Clark was again convicted of a sex crime – this time child molestation – and returned to prison. He was released on parole in March of 2017.

Currently, Clark is being held in lieu of $1.2 million bail, according to the LAPD.

There are Risks Associated with Online Dating

Dating apps can be a fantastic way to meet people you otherwise may never come into contact with in your day-to-day life. However, these sites are meant for adults, and minors should never use them. While most sites have age limits associated with their use, there’s no real way to enforce it, and minors can (and do) get on them from time-to-time, therefore, parents need to be mindful of that fact as more dating sites are popping up all of the time.

If you’re of age and have had an interest in using dating apps or websites in order to meet new people, here are a few important precautions you should take to help ensure your safety.

Plan Ahead and Maintain Control

No matter for how long you’ve chatted or spoken over the phone with someone, treat your first meet-up like a blind date. Pick a public, well-trafficked location, such as a restaurant or coffee shop, and meet there. Never go someplace private, secluded, or into their home, no matter how much they may ask you to. You don’t owe anyone anything; if you don’t feel comfortable, don’t go.

Avoid Giving Out Personal Information

This one is especially pertinent when you first begin speaking with a prospective date over the internet. Avoid giving them information they can use to track you down in the real world. If you talk about your job, don’t let them know where or when you work. Also, giving out your phone number is a huge no-no. Instead, use a Google Voice phone number. You can easily download the app no matter which brand of phone you use, and when they call that number, it will ring on your end as though they’d called your actual number. It is way easier to block someone who is creeping you out using a Google phone number than it is trying to do it with your actual number.

Never Give People Money

This one might seem obvious, but there’s a reason this warning was added to the list. Just like email phishing scams, Nigerian Princes love trolling dating sites looking for lovelorn souls to exploit. If someone you’re speaking to tries to get you to send them money, no matter how trivial the amount, it’s almost certainly a scammer. If it isn’t, well, is that really someone with whom you want to go on a date?

Give the Details to a Friend

Before you meet anyone for the first time, make sure one or more people know where you’ll be going, who you’ll be meeting, and what time you expect to be back. It can be tempting to change your plans and extend your evening if you find that you and your date are firing on all cylinders the first time you meet – but don’t. Last minute changes of venue, even if it seems like the reason is valid, can be a red flag. As mentioned in the first tip, make your plans and stick to them.

The realm of online dating can be fun and exciting, but the fact is, some people use online sites in negative ways. Don’t ever shy away from protecting yourself and your personal information first. Good people will understand if you ask a lot of questions to vet them out. And for those who don’t… Well, these sites have a blocking feature for good reason.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | May 10, 2019

Two individuals were charged with corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant/etc, including a 41-year-old tow truck driver from Canyon Country and a 30-year-old clerk from Porter Ranch.

A 35-year-old plumber from Frazier Park was arrested for burglary and a 29-year-old Newhall resident was arrested for appropriating lost property.

Charges of theft of personal property went to an unemployed Castaic resident. And a 22-year-old painter from Palmdale was arrested for destroying property.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

44-year-old Canyon Lake resident
35-year-old assembly line worker from Lancaster
28-year-old student from Castaic
40-year-old inspector from Sylmar
41-year-old unemployed Sylmar resident
29-year-old Canyon Country resident
24-year-old cashier from Canyon Country
36-year-old construction worker from Lancaster
30-year-old who works at Woodward
26-year-old Calabasas resident who listed his/her occupation as “Margot”
42-year-old electrician from Valencia
45-year-old tile worker from Valencia
21-year-old property manager from Stevenson Ranch

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

22-year-old laborer from Canyon Country
36-year-old restoration specialist from Santa Clarita
31-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
22-year-old construction worker from Frazier Park
32-year-old engineer from Palmdale
32-year-old forklift operator from Canyon Country
55-year-old unemployed Palmdale resident
22-year-old unemployed Saugus resident

Jake Paul in the News Again After Birthday Bash Goes Awry

| Police Blotter | May 8, 2019

Infamous YouTuber Jake Paul has made the news once again after throwing a party where multiple people may have been drugged. According to reports, a phone call was made on Sunday, May 5, to the Malibu Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station alerting authorities to a possible occurrence of unwilling impairment related to Paul’s party on Saturday evening. Authorities have stated that detectives are only in the beginning stages of their investigation, and are as yet unable to speak on what may or may not have happened.

However, media sources claim that the alleged victim had attended a birthday party for a clothing designer held by Paul and located at his residence, where she unknowingly ingested some substance that caused significant impairment.

The young woman who filed the police report may not have been the only one who unwillingly ingested a toxic substance at the party. Multiple calls were made to paramedics throughout the night, two of which resulted in transporting partiers to the hospital, while one was to treat a person who fell and hurt themselves. Medical personnel were stationed at the party as part of the initial planning, though the 911 calls made during the celebration received responses from county firefighters.

As mentioned above, the investigation into the alleged incidents is only in its initial stages, and law enforcement have not yet mentioned any clear evidence of wrongdoing. However, spiking someone’s drink is illegal in California, and if the investigation turns anything up, it could result in criminal charges.

California Penal Code 347 PC makes it illegal to “poison” any food, drink, water, or medicine in California. The term “poison” as described by PC 347 does not limit the definition only to actual poisons. Instead, it describes the act of “poisoning” as “mixing any poison or harmful substance with any food, drink, medicine, or public water supply.” Under this definition, narcotics and other substances can be included as “poisons,” and spiking someone’s drink may therefore lead to charges.

Poisoning someone under PC 347 is a felony, and the possible penalties include 2 to 5 years in California state prison. However, if the poisoning results in great bodily injury or death, the defendant will likely receive an additional three years in prison. It should be noted that these penalties apply ONLY if a person is charged with violating California Penal Code 347 PC. Should information come to light over the course of a police investigation that the would-be poisoner intended for their victim(s) to suffer great bodily injury, the defendant may also face assault charges. If they intended for their victim to die, it’s likely they would face murder or manslaughter charges instead.

Local Crime

| Police Blotter | May 5, 2019

Four individuals from Patterson were arrested for burglary from a vehicle, including an unemployed 21-year-old, an unemployed 20-year-old, an unemployed 19-year-old and a 21-year-old material handler.

Both a 41-year-old real estate agent from Castaic and a 26-year-old hair stylist from Canyon Country were arrested for corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant. And a 25-year-old student from Canyon Country was arrested for battery.

A 20-year-old Van Nuys resident was arrested for obstructing/resisting an executive officer.

An unemployed 21-year-old Lancaster resident was booked for theft of personal property.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

26-year-old contractor from Canyon Country
28-year-old body shop worker from Chatsworth
26-year-old stage hand from Thousand Oaks
34-year-old painter from North Hills
55-year-old self-employed Saugus resident
20-year-old construction worker from Temecula
27-year-old barista from Saugus
25-year-old plumber from Santa Clarita
26-year-old DJ from Lancaster
27-year-old staffing agent from Palmdale
26-year-old electrician from Saugus

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

40-year-old laborer from Van Nuys
39-year-old unemployed Chatsworth resident
41-year-old Los Angeles resident
37-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
25-year-old unemployed Valencia resident
25-year-old unemployed Chatsworth resident
24-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
30-year-old self-employed Newhall resident
27-year-old unemployed Saugus resident
28-year-old from Saugus who listed his/her occupation as “homeless”
32-year-old assembler from Lynwood

Sale of Narcotics Still Illegal in California – Health and Safety Code 11351 HS

| Police Blotter | May 2, 2019

Not long ago, LASD deputies arrested a man they found in possession of several baggies of cocaine and a “large amount” of U.S. currency. The deputies were in the area as part of a program that deploys deputies to patrol specific areas where there have been concerns about large amounts of illegal drug activity. While patrolling, the deputies made contact with the suspect, T. Dixon, and found the illegal narcotics during a search. He was then arrested on suspicion of possession of narcotics for sale and transported to the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station to undergo booking and processing.

California Health and Safety Code 11351 HS makes it a felony-level offense to possess certain controlled substances with the intention of selling them. Some of the substances are run-of-the-mill narcotics, such as cocaine and heroine, while others are prescription pain medications including Oxycodone, Vicodin, and codeine.

Of course, simply possessing one or more of these substances does not in and of itself mean that the person was intending to sell them. For a charge of violating 11351 HS, a prosecutor must be able to prove that the person had the controlled substances in their possession with the specific intent of selling them. To do so, the prosecutor looks to certain indicating criteria, including:

The possession of large amounts of one or more controlled substances
Packaging the substance in separate baggies, bundles, or other ways
Large amounts of cash (particularly in small denominations of $20 or less)
Possession of a scale
Frequent visitors to your home or location who only remain there for a few minutes

When you take the presence of one of the criteria listed, it isn’t too terribly hard to explain it away in court. Proving intent isn’t always a simple thing to do, but when several of the listed criteria are present in a given situation, it becomes much simpler.

As a felony, 11351 HS is punishable by probation AND up to 1 year in county jail, or 2 to 4 years in county jail, and/or a fine of up to $20,000. If, during the course of the trial, the prosecutor is able to prove that the defendant intended for multiple sales, it’s possible that the defendant faces the penalties above for each intended sale, as opposed to the overall crime.

If a person is convicted of violating 11351 HS and the substance they were selling is heroine, cocaine, or cocaine base, the individual faces an additional 3 to 25 years in jail, and additional fines that could reach as high as $8 million – depending on the amount of the controlled substance they were convicted of selling.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | April 25, 2019

A 46-year-old driver from Canyon Country was arrested for willful cruelty to a child/child endangerment. And a 35-year-old underwriter from Canyon Country was arrested for cruelty to a child likely to cause great bodily injury (GBI) or death.

An unemployed 23-year-old from Newhall was issued a bench warrant.
A 28-year-old unemployed Newhall resident was charged with battery, and a 28-year-old transient was arrested for attempting/aiding in an attempt to burn a structure.

A 33-year-old oil worker from San Francisco was arrested for damaging property. And a 19-year-old musician from Newhall was charged with theft of personal property.

A 46-year-old Canyon Country resident who refused to give his/her occupation was arrested for corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

55-year-old quality engineer from Saugus
26-year-old cosmetics manager from Acton
28-year-old sales manager from Bakersfield
26-year-old student from Rancho Cucamonga
48-year-old self-employed Lancaster resident
33-year-old carpet cleaner from Newhall
27-year-old EMT from Santa Clarita

Charges of a controlled substance went to:

19-year-old retail worker from Castaic
31-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
29-year-old mechanic from Canyon County
24-year-old construction worker from Auburn, Wash.
22-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
35-year-old unemployed San Francisco resident
30-year-old unemployed Lancaster resident
35-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
30-year-old unemployed Valencia resident
38-year-old waitress from Castaic

Alcohol is not Required to be Charged with a DUI

| Police Blotter | April 25, 2019

Recently, a statement from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department was released warning Santa Clarita residents not to drive under the influence of marijuana, and that it would be treated the same as any other DUI if caught. Anyone found to be driving erratically after having ingested marijuana, or prescription medications, including barbiturates, opiates, and even anti-depressants or over-the-counter cold medicine can be considered “driving under the influence” and will be held to the same standards as a drunk driver.

How Does Marijuana Impair Your Ability to Drive?

While the effects of marijuana may feel different than the effects of alcohol, there are some key similarities in the ways they affect your ability to drive. A large enough dose of THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana, has been shown to affect your psycho-motor performance, and therefore your ability to drive. It can also affect your attention span, concentration, and slow your reflexes.

What Happens When You’re Caught Driving Under the Influence?

In California, DUI penalties will vary pretty dramatically, depending on a couple different things: how many DUI’s you have on your record, and whether or not anyone was injured or killed as a result of your driving under the influence.

Generally, a first-offense in which nobody was injured will result in a misdemeanor charges. However, if a person has four or more previous DUI charges, or if someone was injured or killed as a result of a first DUI, the charge could be upgraded to a felony.

DUI Punishments

As previously mentioned, a first-offense DUI charge for an incident in which nobody was injured will be charged as a misdemeanor. The possible penalties include up to six months in county jail, a fine of $390 to $1000, three or nine months of DUI school, and a possible six-month period in which the defendant must have an ignition interlock device attached to their vehicle.

A second DUI in which nobody was injured will net you 96 hours to one year in county jail, the same amount of fines as a first offense, up to one year mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, and anywhere from 18 to 30 months worth of DUI school.

A third offense is punished by 120 days to one year in county jail, two years of using an ingnition interlock device on their car OR three years of a suspended license, and 30 months of DUI school.

If a DUI is charged as a felony, the potential penalties include 16 months to three years in California state prison, the same fines, up to five years license suspension, and 18 or 30 months of DUI school.

It should be kept in mind that the initial fine of $390 to $1,000 can be a bit misleading. While the fine itself will fall within that range, there are many additional court fees, DUI school costs, and other charges that cause DUI penalties (even those imposed for first-time offenders) to cost significantly more. It isn’t unheard of for a DUI to cost a defendant upwards of $10,000 to $14,000 dollars.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | April 18, 2019

A 28-year-old Canyon Country resident was arrested for forgery.

Both a 52-year-old self-employed Newhall resident and a 32-year-old secretary from Castaic were arrested for corporal injury on a former spouse/cohabitant/etc.

There were several charges of battery against a former spouse, including a 25-year-old caregiver from Valencia and a 36-year-old vet tech from Valencia.

A 57-year-old roofer from Canyon Country was booked for displaying a false disabled person placard. And a 35-year-old construction worker from Palmdale was brought up on felony charges for a fourth DUI.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

34-year-old unemployed Henderson, Nev. resident
49-year-old supervisor from Vacaville
40-year-old electrician from Tulare
25-year-old sales associate from Saugus
23-year-old unemployed Sylmar resident
23-year-old ride operator from Lancaster
27-year-old electrical contractor from Saugus
32-year-old customer accounts worker from Palmdale
34-year-old in-home services provider from Los Angeles
33-year-old pool man from Canyon Country
40-year-old Newhall resident who listed his/her occupation as “stunt mant”

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

34-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
52-year-old Door Dash driver from Saugus
27-year-old unemployed Valencia resident
31-year-old unemployed La Puente resident
45-year-old unemployed Val Verde resident
49-year-old unemployed Van Nuys resident
53-year-old recycler from Newhall
38-year-old priest from Alta Dena

LAPD Ends Controversial LASER Program

| Police Blotter | April 18, 2019

Recently, the top brass at the LAPD decided to do away with a predictive policing program that residents say is rife with racial bias. The program used specific crime data to identify what law enforcement referred to as Los Angeles Strategic Extraction and Restoration (LASER) zones. The program was one of several data-driven predictive policing programs that the LAPD used to identify places where violent crimes were most likely to occur, as well as persons most likely to commit these crimes. Once a LASER zone was identified, a surge of LAPD officers would be sent to the area in an effort to deter the crimes that their data indicates would be happening there, as well as to keep tabs on individuals.

At a police commission meeting on Tuesday, April 9, LAPD Chief Michel Moore stated that the program had led to the lowest crime rates in years. Residents and skeptics of the program, however, have questioned whether or not data-driven strategies that rely on computer algorithms and other computer data to identify areas where violent crime is most likely to happen is effective at all. A recent audit found that the program itself lacked oversight, and that the data used by officers to label individuals as likely to commit violent crimes was inconsistent.

Predictive policing has been a source of contention between the police and the public since its inception. The public is highly suspicious of data-driven policing, especially residents of neighborhoods targeted by programs like LASER. Law enforcement believes that the practice has given them useful information that allows supervisors to allocate resources more efficiently. Detractors of predictive policing have been saying for a long time that the practice is focused on poor neighborhoods and areas populated primarily by people of color. According to those in the know, the data used by the predictive policing algorithm doesn’t include race or gender.

Interestingly, while LASER was the most recent predictive policing program to be shut down, it wasn’t the only one. A much more controversial segment of the program, which involved the identification and monitoring of so-called chronic offenders who are most likely to commit violent crimes, was scrapped last summer. The segment of the program involved identifying the chronic offenders, adding them to a list, and then distributing that list to officers in the area. Though the lists and database were discontinued in August, the public was only informed last month.

Ultimately, the end of the LASER program does not spell the end of predictive policing entirely – it was just one of several programs already in action. Increased oversight as well as more consistency in how the data is used may very well help quell the public outcry and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of predictive policing.

Bad Girls and Boys

| Police Blotter | April 11, 2019

Two individuals were charged with battery against a former spouse, including a 29-year-old construction worker from Los Angeles and a 29-year-old student from Canyon Country. And a 23-year-old cashier from Simi Valley was arrested for corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant/etc.

A 42-year-old caregiver from Canyon Country was arrested for assaulting an elder adult. And a 25-year-old cleaner from Tennessee was arrested for torturing/killing a living animal.

Three Los Angeles residents were arrested for discharging a firearm in public, including a 24-year-old and a 23-year-old mover, and an unemployed 23-year-old.

A 34-year-old contractor from Newhall was arrested for embezzling less than $400.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

22-year-old teacher’s aid from Saugus
47-year-old unemployed Mojave resident
37-year-old Bakersfield resident
52-year-old unemployed Highland resident
55-year-old construction worker from Newhall
21-year-old caregiver from Granada Hills
46-year-old pool construction worker from Newhall
19-year-old Santa Clarita resident who works in production
49-year-old construction worker from San Fernando
42-year-old professor from Pine Mountain Club
21-year-old Pasadena resident who works in entertainment

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

37-year-old electrician from Saugus
51-year-old mechanic from Pacoima
22-year-old cashier from Castaic
31-year-old gardener from Newhall
43-year-old mechanic from Burbank

Management May be Forced to Live in Crime-Ridden SFV Motel and Other Unusual Sentences

| Police Blotter | April 11, 2019

The Studio 6 Motel in the San Fernando Valley has long been a hotbed of criminal activity including prostitution, narcotic sales, and gang activity.

Law enforcement and community members have long tried to curb the issues stemming from the motel to no avail. For management, the gangs, prostitutes, and drug dealers were also customers, so there was little incentive to do anything about it since it affects their bottom-line.

However, in a recent twist, management may have no other choice. The Los Angeles City Attorney’s office wants a judge to force three members of the motel’s management to live on-site until they’re able to clean things up.

Not only has law enforcement’s previous efforts to clean up the property been stymied, but the criminal activity has actually gotten worse. Now, city attorneys are hoping that if management is forced to face the problem with crime every day, they’ll finally do something about it.

This isn’t the only incident where unusual sentences, court orders, or other obligations are mandated that fit squarely outside the box. Most crimes have minimum and maximum sentences mandated by the state that provide judges with guidelines along which a convicted person’s punishment may fall. However, judges are also given a great deal of leeway and freedom when it comes to sentencing and court orders. While some judges stick to the books, others prefer to get creative.

A Texas metal-plating business owner was ordered to get rid of toxic chemicals from his property but failed to comply. He was later convicted of illegally dumping chromium, after which the presiding judge chose to sentence the man to drink a glass of nasty, toxic sludge. The intent was to make the man think twice before dumping toxic chemicals in places where they can taint wildlife or the water supply.

Judge Michael Cicconetti of Ohio has garnered quite a reputation for unusual sentencing. He’s previously ordered a woman to walk 30 miles after she stiffed a cabby out of his fair for a trip of the same distance. The judge also told a man convicted of drunk driving he could avoid jail time if he instead spent time looking at car crash corpses.

Judges who recommend unusual sentences are rare, and typically reserve the practice for first-time offenders and impressionable young people. Career criminals and those convicted of serious and/or violent crimes typically face traditional sentences. Also, not every sentence handed down by a judge stands up to scrutiny, either. It’s highly unlikely the previously mentioned Texas business owner was forced to drink a cup of toxic chemicals, for example. The judge was likely attempting to make a point with the sentence rather than make the man sick.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | April 4, 2019

Two individuals were brought up on charges of battery against a former spouse, including a 49-year-old veteran from Valencia and a 48-year-old Valencia resident who did not list his/her occupation.

A 29-year-old “employee” from Canyon Country was arrested for obstructing/resisting an executive officer.

A 55-year-old seamstress from Palmdale was arrested for conspiracy to defraud/cheat.

A 25-year-old Newhall resident was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle. And a 27-year-old unemployed San Pedro resident was arrested for Manufacturing/ distributing/ transferring/etc. an assault weapon.

A 25-year-old independent contractor was charged with being a fugitive from justice.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

34-year-old security officer from Palmdale
38-year-old software developer from Santa Clarita
60-year-old electrician from Lake Hughes
47-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
26-year-old unemployed Castaic resident
23-year-old Newhall resident who works in food service

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

35-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident
27-year-old cook from Newhall
31-year-old childcare worker from Valencia
41-year-old construction worker from Newhall
28-year-old recording engineer from Castaic
23-year-old retail worker from Canyon Country
24-year-old self-employed North Hollywood resident
49-year-old sorter from Castaic
23-year-old carpenter from Littlerock

Felony Reckless Evading – Vehicle Code 2800.2 VC

| Police Blotter | April 4, 2019

As residents of Los Angeles County, we’re no stranger to high-speed pursuits. Oddly enough, several of those pursuits find their way through or near the Santa Clarita Valley. Thanks to the SCV’s location near the 5, 14, and 210 freeways, it’s really easy to get here if you’re fleeing the police. Of course, fleeing the police isn’t the best way to see the sights of the Santa Clarita Valley.

California Vehicle Code 2800.2 VC covers the crime of felony reckless evading. It can be charged (along with 2800.1 VC – the lesser misdemeanor charge) when you evade the police in a vehicle and drive with a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of persons or property. Basically, if you flee the police in a motor vehicle and drive relatively safely while doing so, you’re likely to be charged with 2800.1 VC, if you drive like a maniac, you’re likely to be charged with 2800.2 VC.

For example, a person steals a vehicle and a police officer attempts to pull him over. Instead of complying or just continuing on as he was doing, the suspect speeds away and runs stop signs and red lights while doing so. When caught, the suspect would likely face two felony charges: grand theft auto and felony reckless evading.

One doesn’t necessarily have to be fleeing a crime to be charged with felony reckless evading. Suppose a person is driving and a police officer attempts to pull them over for not using their turn signal. Not wanting to have to talk to police, the suspect speeds off, causing surrounding cars to veer into each other to avoid hitting the suspect. The suspect in this case, if caught, would likely face charges of violating 2800.2 VC.

In order to be charged with fleeing a police officer, that officer actually has to be pursuing you. A good example of this would be someone driving on a suspended license and has a police car behind them. The officer gets a call and turns on the lights and siren so they can respond, but the driver thinks that the officer is trying to pull him over so he speeds off and runs several stop signs. If the driver is eventually caught, he will, at the very least, receive a ticket for running a stop sign and possibly for speeding, as well as being charged with driving on a suspended license. However, since the police officer wasn’t actually after the driver, they would not face charges of 2800.2 VC.

The term “felony” reckless evading is a bit misleading because the crime is actually a “wobbler” that can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The defendant’s prior criminal history as well as the circumstances of the case will be taken under consideration by prosecutors, though more often than not, violations of 2800.2 VC result in felony charges. If charged as a misdemeanor, the penalties include misdemeanor probation, 6 months to 1 year in county jail, and/or a $1,000 fine. Felony penalties include formal probation, 16 months to 3 years in California state prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | March 28, 2019

There were several individuals arrested for corporal injury on spouse/cohabitant/etc, including a 27-year-old self-employed Santa Clarita resident, a 32-year-old licensed vocational nurse from Canyon Country, a 23-year-old In-N-Out employee from Canyon Country, a 31-year-old “employee” from Valencia, a 26-year-old insurance agent from Bakersfield, a 31-year-old Newhall resident and a 25-year-old unemployed Winnipeg resident.

A 27-year-old maintenance tech was charged with transporting a controlled substance. And a 34-year-old security guard from Canyon Country was arrested for battery on person.

A 23-year-old unemployed Newhall resident was arrested for shoplifting after a specified prior conviction. And a 27-year-old student from Canyon Country was brought up on charges of DUI causing injury.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

49-year-old insurance agent from Stevenson Ranch
28-year-old waiter from Canyon Country
33-year-old subcontractor from Saugus
29-year-old prop maker from Palmdale
62-year-old retired Alabama resident
26-year-old teamster from Northridge
29-year-old assembly worker from Pacoima
55-year-old dental assistant from Valencia
21-year-old landscaper who did not list his/her address
45-year-old construction worker from Arleta
63-year-old handyman from Tujunga

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

31-year-old roofer from Lancaster
25-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
60-year-old professional organizer from Newhall
37-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
28-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
32-year-old artist from Castaic
49-year-old administrator from Woodland Hills
30-year-old transient from Tehachapi
45-year-old laundry clerk from Canyon Country
54-year-old self-employed Newhall resident

Keep Your Children Safe from Becoming Victims of Sexual Assault

| Police Blotter | March 28, 2019

On Tuesday, March 12, a 17-year-old girl went to authorities to report that she had been the alleged victim of sexual assault by her driving instructor. According to her report, the suspect had been hired last June to give her six driving lessons. The first four proceeded without incident, though during the final two lessons, the girl claimed to have been sexually assaulted by her instructor.

As law enforcement investigated the claim, they learned that the instructor, T.M. Lam, was a registered sex offender who, while acting as a driving instructor, had been previously arrested for annoying or molesting a minor in 2014. The suspect was arrested and booked at the LASD Walnut Station on suspicion of sexually assaulting a minor. After his arrest, he was released after posting $140,000 bail.

The suspect’s original crime, which occurred in 2014, is covered under California Penal Code 647.6 PC and is described as annoying or molesting a child under the age of 18. For the purposes of PC 647.6, the terms “annoying” and “molesting” mean the same thing, and refer to conduct which is motivated by sexual interest in a child, or children in general, and which is likely to irritate, disturb, or be observed by a child or children.
Under 647.6 PC, a suspect does not actually have to make any physical contact with a child or minor in order to be charged with a crime, and words alone may constitute annoying or molesting a child.

Minors can be victims of sexual assault no matter what their age. Knowing who should and should not be trusted around your children can be difficult, as many would-be child predators like to place themselves in positions of trust, such as clergy, school teachers, and even law enforcement.

One of the best ways to help keep your child safe from harm is to be involved in their lives. Ask your kids what they did during the day and with whom. If your child participates in sports or other activities, get to know the adults who will be around – particularly the parents of your child’s friends. When choosing caregivers, always screen them carefully. Be sure to educate your children on the grounds of what is and is not permissible behavior, and teach them to come to you if they feel something is wrong.

Finally, for parents, know the warning signs of child sexual abuse, and be aware of any changes in your child’s behavior or demeanor – no matter how small.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | March 21, 2019

Two individuals were charged with terrorizing/causing fear, including a 56-year-old director of photography from Valencia and 34-year-old construction worker from Newhall.

Charges of corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant included a 21-year-old student from Canyon Country, a 35-year-old Palmdale resident, a 24-year-old HVAC specialist from Valencia and a 26-year-old paralegal from Valencia.

Both a 42-year-old self-employed Saugus resident and an unemployed 49-year-old Saugus resident were arrested for battery against a former spouse.

A 23-year-old unemployed Palmdale resident was arrested for resisting an officer.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

24-year-old Pasadena resident who listed his/her occupation as “massage”
27-year-old heat-treater from San Pablo
20-year-old student from Newhall
25-year-old student from Richmond
40-year-old unemployed Palmdale resident
26-year-old tint installer from Stevenson Ranch
23-year-old self-employed Palmdale resident
22-year-old construction worker from Littlerock
31-year-old diesel mechanic from Canyon Country

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

25-year-old unemployed Van Nuys resident
45-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
42-year-old maintenance worker from Lancaster
49-year-old construction worker from Canyon Country
30-year-old self-employed La Puente resident
30-year-old “appetizer cook” from Newhall
48-year-old operations manager from Palmdale
31-year-old unemployed Santa Barbara resident
26-year-old unemployed Newbury park resident
39-year-old Canyon Country resident
23-year-old bagger from Castaic
49-year-old unemployed Sacramento resident
53-year-old mechanic from Sylmar
42-year-old construction worker from Northridge

Penal Code 667.61: California’s ‘One Strike’ Law

| Police Blotter | March 21, 2019

You’ve probably heard about California’s “Three-Strikes Law.” If not, then pay attention – it’s one of the harshest sentencing proposals in the country. When it was first enacted, the law stated that if a person is convicted of three felonies, they will be sent to prison for 25 years to life.

In 2012, reformers and members of the public who had long fought to change California’s “Three Strikes Law” were able to get Proposition 36 onto the ballot. Under Prop 36, “California’s Three Strikes Law” was changed so that offenders convicted of a third felony would not automatically receive a sentence of 25 years to life unless their third conviction was for a violent felony. Additionally, inmates who were sentenced under the old “Three Strikes Law” were given the opportunity to petition to have their sentences reduced, provided they were not convicted of a sex crime, a drug crime that involved a large amount of drugs, a firearm, great bodily injury, or certain other violent offenses.

California’s “One Strike Law,” covered under Penal Code 667.61, is a lot like the “Three-Strikes Law” in that it is a sentence enhancement for certain crimes. When a defendant is convicted of committing a crime under certain aggravating circumstances, PC 667.61 says that their sentence can be enhanced to include 15 years, 25 years, or life in prison.

For example, a person convicted of rape who already has a previous rape conviction on their record could face 25 years to life under PC 667.61 as opposed to 3, 6, or 8 years under Penal Code 261 – California’s rape law.

PC 667.61 does not apply to every felony. It covers a very specific set of crimes, including: rape (PC 261), spousal rape (PC 262), lewd or lascivious acts (PC 288), continuous sexual abuse of a child (PC 288.5), and a few other similar crimes. The aggravating factors that qualify one of the previously listed crimes for a sentence enhancement under California’s “One Strike Law” include: a previous conviction of one of the above listed offenses, kidnapping the victim, inflicting bodily harm on the victim, using a dangerous weapon during the commission of the crime, tying the victim up, and/or administering a controlled substance to the victim.

California imposes serious sentences for the most serious crimes. PC 667.61 applies generally to repeat, violent sex-offenders, and it is often up to a judge to determine what, if any, sentence enhancement is warranted.

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