Huntington Beach bans sex offenders from parks

Huntington Beach has voted to forbid registered sex offenders from entering city parks.

The City Council vote Monday makes the law even more stringent than Orange County’s ordinance that bans registered sex offenders in county parks, the Huntington Beach Independent reported.

Huntington Beach Mayor Joe Carchio and Councilman Matthew Harper asked the City Council in May to consider adopting an ordinance similar to the one approved by the county in April.

The county’s ordinance gives the Orange County Sheriff’s Department the discretion to issue permits for registered sex offenders to temporarily enter county parks on a case-by-case basis.

Huntington Beach’s ordinance, which takes effect in 30 days, does not have any room for flexibility.

It would bar parents who are registered sex offenders from entering city parks with their children, regardless of their type of violation or how long it had been since they committed the offense.It also would prohibit employees or contractors who work in city parks and are registered sex offenders from entering city parks, even for work purposes.

Offenders would be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and six months in jail.

The law could limit constitutional rights and opens the door for lawsuits, said City Atty. Jennifer McGrath.

McGrath and Police Chief Ken Small opposed the ordinance and suggested that exceptions be made for parents and park employees, or apply only to violent sex offenders.

The Orange County Register reported Laguna Hills will vote on its own version of a sex offender ban Tuesday.

Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas and county supervisors had asked cities to consider their own bans after the county passed its ordinance.

Man fatally shot in Paramount; suspect at large

L.A. County sheriff’s detectives Tuesday were investigating the fatal shooting of a man in Paramount.

The shooting occurred shortly before midnight Monday on the 8040 block of Howe Street.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

No suspect had been arrested as of Tuesday morning.

No further details were immediately available.

Monrovia boy ‘not truthful’ in kidnap probe; suspect released

A man arrested Sunday and charged with attempting to abduct a 6-year-old Monrovia boy has been released after authorities determined that the boy “was not truthful,” according to a statement from Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department detectives investigating the case.

Officials said the supposed attempted kidnapping was reported by the boy Friday when he told investigators that he was walking home when a man attempted to abduct him. The boy said he was able to break free.

His story sparked a two-day manhunt, complete with bloodhounds. Deputies went door to door in the neighborhood with a composite drawing of the supposed suspect, and the drawing was released to the media.

During the search, deputies were told of a man fitting the description presented in the composite drawing. They arrested the man, who lived at a home on Peck Road, Sunday night, according to a Sheriff’s Department report.

However, as detectives later spoke with the boy, they found “information did not corroborate the facts as related by the victim and it became evident the child was not truthful with the investigators about the kidnapping,” according to the Sheriff’s Department.

The man was not identified by authorities.

Medical marijuana advocates seek temporary restraining order to put a stop to a federal crackdown on California pot dispensaries

Attorneys for medical marijuana advocates on Monday sought a temporary restraining order to put a stop to a federal crackdown on California pot dispensaries, claiming the effort by the state’s four U.S. attorneys is unconstitutional.

Plaintiffs asked U.S. District Court Judge Donna Ryu in Oakland to issue an order barring the government from arresting or prosecuting patients, dispensary owners or landlords of properties housing dispensaries.

Pot advocates said dispensaries in the San Francisco Bay area would start closing this weekend if a restraining order was not issued.

The state’s four federal prosecutors last month announced a broad effort to close pot clubs, in particular by sending letters to landlords who rent space to pot dispensaries threatening to seize their property under federal drug trafficking laws.

Lawsuits filed starting Friday in all four of California’s federal court jurisdictions accuse the Department of Justice of entrapping pot providers by reversing its own policy.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys cited a Santa Cruz County medical marijuana cooperative’s agreement with federal prosecutors to dismiss its case against the government because the department issued a memo telling U.S. attorneys to defer to states on medical use of the drug.

The lawsuits claim that by introducing the Justice Department’s so-called Medical Marijuana Guidance memo as part of that case, prosecutors were essentially laying out



their policy on medical marijuana. “They locked themselves in,” said San Francisco attorney Matt Kumin, lead attorney on the suits.

 

Based on the memo issued in 2009, other medical marijuana providers in the state could reasonably assume they would no longer face federal prosecution, the suits argue.

“The conduct of the government officials and their statement led the nation to believe that the government had changed its policy in 2009, ensuring that those who comply with state medical cannabis laws would not be subject to federal prosecution,” according to the suits.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California had no comment, spokesman Jack Gillund said.

Pot advocates hailed the 2009 memo as the fulfillment of an Obama campaign promise to respect state law on medical marijuana. But after a short honeymoon the federal government has steadily moved toward more restrictive marijuana policies, even as more states began permitting legal use of the drug for medical purposes.

The California lawsuits argue that the federal government is also violating the 14th Amendment of the Constitution requiring equal protection under the law because medical marijuana operations in Colorado are not facing a similar crackdown.

The suits claim patients’ rights to make their own health decisions are protected by the 9th Amendment, which retains rights for citizens not explicitly spelled out in the Constitution, and that the so-called Commerce Clause of the Constitution prevented the federal government from getting involved in an issue purely related to the in-state marijuana trade.

National medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access filed its own suit last month challenging the federal crackdown. That suit claims that recent raids of licensed dispensaries and letters warning city officials they could be prosecuted for trying to regulate medical marijuana cultivation and sales constitute an illegal power grab under the 10th Amendment. The amendment awards to states legislative authority not explicitly reserved for the federal government.

By

Daily News Staff Writer

Posted: 11/08/2011 04:38:38 AM PST
Updated: 11/08/2011 04:48:33 AM PST

Man guilty of marrying girl to polygamist sect leader

  • U.S. polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs reacts as he listens to the jury being polled …

SAN ANGELO, Texas (Reuters) – Ex-bishop Fredrick Merril Jessop was found guilty on Monday of marrying a 12-year-old girl to polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, who is serving a life term for sexually assaulting two child brides.

Jeffs, 55, leader of a breakaway Mormon sect, was convicted in August of sexually assaulting that girl and a 15-year-old he had taken as so-called “spiritual” wives. Prosecutors said the girls were among two dozen underage brides Jeffs had acquired over the last decade.

A rural West Texas jury found Jessop, 75, guilty of performing an illegal marriage ceremony, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

Jessop, a former bishop with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was excommunicated by Jeffs in January.

Jeffs’ polygamist sect, which experts estimate has 10,000 followers in North America, has been condemned by the mainstream Mormon Church and is accused of promoting marriages between older men and girls.

FLDS men enter into so-called “celestial marriages” with multiple wives in a process known as “sealing.” The FLDS, which broke off from the mainstream Mormon church in the early 20th Century, believes polygamy is necessary to advance to the highest level of heaven.

The jury, which handed down its guilty verdict against Jessop after deliberating for an hour and 20 minutes, entered the sentencing phase on Monday afternoon but had not finished deliberations by the end of the day.

State prosecutors and the defense spent much of the six-day trial arguing over the legal definition of marriage under Texas law. Jessop’s attorney, Rae Leifeste, argued that the ceremony Jessop performed could not be considered a marriage ceremony under Texas law.

In closing statements before the jury went to deliberation, lead prosecutor Angela Goodwin told the jury that the ceremony was covered under Texas law and not to let the defense “confuse you.”

Jessop is one of 11 FLDS men the state of Texas has sought to prosecute after Texas Rangers unearthed a trove of documents from a vault during an April 2008 raid on the sect’s West Texas ranch near Eldorado.

Ten of the men have been prosecuted and convicted of crimes including bigamy and sexual assault of a child.

Jessop, then a bishop in the church, was in charge of running the ranch at the time of the raid. State prosecutors said the marriage ceremony that was the crux of his conviction had taken place on the ranch in 2006.

(Additional reporting by Matthew Waller; Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and Cynthia Johnston)

(This story corrects the name of Jessop’s lawyer in paragraph 8)

Prosecutor: Woman killed husband for greed

Defense attorney in the murder trial of Sandra Jessee, accused of having her ailing husband killed for profit, tells jurors the couple had a loving relationship and planned on growing old together.
A family photo of Jack Jessee and his wife, Sandra, in 1990.

By VIK JOLLY / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

 

SANTA ANA – A piece of paper found in the purse of a woman accused of hiring a hit man to kill her ailing husband was the trail detectives followed that led them to her and two co-conspirators, a prosecutor told an Orange County jury Monday.Years after the Aug. 13, 1998 Placentia stabbing death of Jack Jessee – Sandra Jessee’s third husband – an Orange County Sheriff’s Department detective seized on the one word scribbled on the paper found by Placentia police at the time of the killing: “Schrauben.”

Article Tab: Thomas Aehlert's booking photo.
Thomas Aehlert’s booking photo.

With that break, the cold case ended in the arrests of Sandra Jessee and her son, Thomas Dayton Aehlert, in 2007 in Arizona, following their Orange County indictment in connection with the murder-for-profit killing of Jack Jessee, prosecutors said.

Aehlert’s friend, Brett Schrauben, 39, also was arrested and was the man whom the mother and son solicited and paid $50,000 to kill Jack Jessee, 56, who was battling colon cancer, prosecutors said.

Sandra Jessee wanted her husband of 15 years dead, because his cancer treatment was eating up their nest egg, Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray told jurors in the opening statements of Jessee’s retrial on Monday.

Jurors deadlocked 11-to-1 in favor of conviction in 2009.

Sandra Jessee, 60, formerly of Placentia, had her husband murdered so she could save money by not paying for his cancer treatments and to profit from his insurance and 401k death benefits, prosecutors said.

“This woman right here, because of her greed, decided that Jack Jessee’s life should end,” Murray said, pointing to Sandra Jessee at the defense table.

She is charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder for financial gain and one felony count of conspiracy. If convicted, she faces a sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

Jessee’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Derek Bercher, told jurors she and her husband had a loving relationship.

“Mrs. Jessee loved Mr. Jessee until the moment he died,” said Bercher, putting his hand on Sandra Jessee’s shoulder. “She cared for him. … They had planned on growing old together. Those scoundrels robbed her of that.”

Aehlert, 41, pleaded guilty in October to second-degree murder and faces a sentence of 15 years to life at his March sentencing.

Schrauben pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in 2008 and is scheduled to be sentenced in December, prosecutors said.

Contact the writer: 714-834-3773 or vjolly@ocregister.com

Grandson of Chicago cop charged in her death

CHICAGO (AP) — Prosecutors say a Chicago police officer was fatally stabbed by her 15-year-old grandson after she caught him skipping school.

Keshawn Perkins is charged as an adult with first-degree murder and armed robbery in the death of 55-year-old Hester Scott. Scott, an officer for 25 years, had adopted Perkins.

The teen was denied bond Sunday and didn’t comment in court. He has a public defender, but the Cook County public defender’s office was closed Sunday and not accepting calls.

Prosecutors say Perkins had skipped school and was sleeping when his grandmother caught him. Investigators allege that the teen stabbed Scott with a kitchen knife, took her purse, wrapped her body in a blanket and dumped it in the backyard.

Scott’s body was found Friday in a sewer trap behind her home.

Detectives are investigating fatal stabbing near Watts

November  6, 2011
Homicide detectives are investigating a fatal stabbing that occurred in the 2400 block of East 115th Street in unincorporated L.A. County, between Watts and Lynwood, shortly after 7 p.m. Sunday.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, where a suspect was taken into custody, according to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.

The names and ages of the suspect and victim have not been released.

Man stole more than 100 packages from homes, police say

November  6, 2011
Irvine police spent hours last weekend sorting through more than 100  packages found in a suspected thief’s home and car, police said.

Tien Kim Vu, 27 of Santa Ana was arrested Oct. 27, according to a news release from Irvine police.

Police assert that Vu burglarized more than 20 North Irvine area homes.

On Oct. 27, an officer  assigned to the area discovered a vehicle matching the description of  the suspect’s car. It had stolen plates and was filled with packages  believed to be stolen from homes in the area, according to police.

About 150 suspected stolen items were found in Vu’s car and at his home, police told the Daily Pilot.

Residents  in the area have reported package thefts since 2010, but police have  seen an increase in the reports in the last three months.

Pair face new kidnap trial in immigrant-smuggling case

By VIK JOLLY
11/07/2011 8:28 AM

SANTA ANA – Two men accused of immigrant smuggling – whose conviction in the kidnapping of a Brazilian woman and her 5-year-old son for ransom was overturned on appeal – face a retrial Monday.

Reynaldo Junior Eid, 52, of New York and Alaor Docarmo Oliveira Jr., 57, of Danbury, Conn., are charged with felony counts of kidnapping for ransom and face possible life in state prison if convicted, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

A state appeals court in 2010 granted a new trial after an Orange County jury in 2008 found them guilty of kidnapping.

The 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana ruled that Eid and Oliveira should be given a new trial because a Superior Court judge failed to adequately instruct jurors and answer a question posed by jurors during deliberations.

The husband of the Brazilian woman paid a smuggler $14,000 to bring his family to Florida through Mexico, the District Attorney’s Office said. The victims were passed from one smuggler to another as they made their way through Mexico and across the border into San Diego from Tijuana, prosecutors said.

The mother and son were eventually picked up at a gas station in Costa Mesa by Eid and Oliveira, who contacted the woman’s husband and demanded more money, according to the D.A.’s office. They also threatened to take the man’s wife and child to New York to work off their debt if they didn’t get paid, prosecutors said.

The victim’s husband called a woman in Orange County and asked that she go to the hotel to try to help the victims escape. That woman called police after Eid told her he wouldn’t let the mother and child go until he received more money, prosecutors said.

Officers arrived as the defendants were attempting to flee with the victims.

Contact the writer: 714-834-3773 or vjolly@ocregister.com