Escalating the state’s showdown with the Trump administration over illegal immigration, California Gov. Jerry Brown used a Christmas holiday tradition to grant pardons Saturday to two men who were on the verge of being deported for committing crimes while in the U.S.
Brown, pairing his state’s combative approach to federal immigration authorities with his belief in the power of redemption, characterized the pardons as acts of mercy.
With the pardons, the reason for applicants’ deportations may be eliminated, said attorney Kevin Lo of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, which represented some of the men in a recent class-action lawsuit.
The pardoned immigrants will still need to ask immigration courts to reopen their cases, he said.
The detentions of felons has focused on specific ethnic groups in past months, including Cambodians and Vietnamese, according to immigration lawyers handling the cases. Cambodia has been reluctant to repatriate former felons, but acquiesced to accepting more after the State Department stopped issuing visas in September to a small group of top Cambodian officials and their families.
Two of Brown’s pardons are Northern California Cambodian men picked up in October in those immigration sweeps, Mony Neth of Modesto and Rottanak Kong of Davis.
Kong and Neth were scheduled to be deported Monday, but a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order last week in the lawsuit filed by Lo’s team, delaying their departure.
Neth, 42, was unexpectedly released from Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center on Friday, said his wife, Cat Khamvongsa, and is back home with his family – albeit with an ankle monitor.
Lo said the pardon only covers the felony charge against Neth, but federal immigration law doesn’t allow the pardon to remove a possibility of being deported on the firearms count.
But California gave Neth another gift in 2014 with Proposition 47, the voter-approved ballot initiative that allowed some felony crimes to be reclassified as misdemeanors. Early this month, a court changed Neth’s firearm count to a lesser charge under those guidelines – another step toward restoring his legal status.
On Saturday, Brown extended a total of 132 pardons and 19 commutations. Since returning to office in 2011, he has handed down a modern-era record 1,059 pardons, along with 37 commutations, far more than the 404 pardons and one commutation he made over his first two terms as governor, from 1975 to 1983.
Brown also commuted the sentence of Candace Lee Fox, 57, of Los Angeles, to 15 years to life. Fox has served 33 years in prison for joining others in a killing and robbery when she was 24 and a single mother working as a manicurist.
Fox had reportedly received a a life sentence after she initially agreed to a plea deal from a prosecutor in open court promising possible parole after 71/2 years in exchange for testimony against a fellow assailant.
Inmates may apply to have their sentence reduced or eliminated and must demonstrate exemplary behavior since their conviction. In August, Brown commuted the sentences of nine prisoners convicted over the past three decades primarily of murder or attempted murder.
This is just part of governor Brown’s endless war against Trump, as he’d rather pander to illegal aliens and lose federal funding for such things as disaster aid and law enforcement money than do what is right for actual American citizens.”
Raids on California Marijuana grow houses often find Chinese ‘farmers’ inside
|| Sacramento Bee
“It’s hardly unusual for police in the Sacramento region to find an illegal marijuana grow house in an otherwise quiet suburb. But in several recent police raids, the occupants of these grow houses have turned out to be Chinese nationals, raising questions about about who is recruiting them and financing their operations.
Recent police raids in Yuba, Yolo, Placer and Sacramento counties have resulted in multiple arrests of people with Chinese passports, some of them speaking no English and apparently providing little help to investigators.
One recent indictment obtained by McClatchy asserts that money from a southern China bank account was transferred to California to pay for down payments on homes that later became grow houses, suggesting that at least some in China are investing the illicit U.S. marijuana market.
“These are sophisticated operations,” said Thomas Yu, a longtime Asian gang investigator with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “When we hear about Asian gangs, we think about young guys doing drive-by shootings. This isn’t like that. These are organized ad hoc enterprises, run by businessmen. They are in it for the profit.”
Colorado is another state where police have arrested Chinese nationals in pot house busts, including in far-flung locations, such as Garfield County in Colorado’s northwest corner.
Last year, Garfield Sheriff Lou Vallario and his deputies descended on an illegal marijuana farm, arresting 14 suspects. To Vallario’s surprise, all 14 were Chinese citizens.
Vallario and other law enforcement officials are quick to note that people from many backgrounds – U.S. citizens, Mexicans, Russians – are involved in the illegal marijuana trade.
“We’ve had nationals from all over coming to this part of Colorado,” he said. “There are grow houses popping up in every neighborhood.”
Chinese operators in particular seem to be expanding their reach.
In three separate raids in September, authorities in California’s Yolo County and the cities of Roseville and Elk Grove arrested 13 Chinese immigrants in raids on marijuana grow houses.
In a case filed in U.S. District Court in July, prosecutors allege that 10 Chinese suspects with out-of-state driver’s licenses were growing marijuana inside nine Sacramento-area homes.
North of Sacramento, in Yuba County, sheriffs deputies arrested 14 Chinese — some U.S. citizens and some with Chinese passports — in three marijuana busts between March and May. Those raids hauled in 8,000 plants, six firearms and thousands of dollars in U.S. currency, according to the county, which says it has turned the case over to the U.S. Attorney’s office.”
Video surfaces of off-duty LAPD officer firing gun during altercation with juveniles
– OC Register
“YouTube videos surfaced Wednesday that purport to show a Tuesday altercation in Anaheim with several juveniles and an off-duty Los Angeles police officer who discharged a firearm during the scuffle.
The Anaheim Police Department in a Facebook post said that it is aware of numerous videos concerning the officer-involved shooting that occurred around 2:45 p.m. in the vicinity of Euclid Street and West Palais Road.
Sgt. Daron Wyatt, a spokesman for Anaheim police, declined to confirm the authenticity of the videos. However, the sergeant did say “they appear to depict portions of the incident.”
The confrontation began over ongoing issues with juveniles walking across the officer’s property, Wyatt said.
In the Tuesday confrontation, a 13-year-old boy is accused of threatening to shoot the off-duty officer, at which time the officer attempted to detain the boy until Anaheim police arrived, Wyatt said.
That led to a physical confrontation between the officer and several other juveniles, Wyatt said. At that time, the officer, who hasn’t been identified, discharged his gun once.
The 13-year-old was booked at Orange County Juvenile Hall for criminal threats and battery. A 15-year-old boy was arrested for assault and battery and released to his parents.
The altercation may have started because of a misunderstanding between the 13-year-old boy and the officer, said Gregory Perez, 16, who witnessed the incident.
“The little kid said, ‘I’m going to sue you,’ and then the guy thought he said, ‘I’m going to shoot you.’ That’s when he started grabbing the little kid.”
In a nearly 9-minute video, the officer then grabs hold of the 13-year-old boy’s hoodie and pulls him across the yard as at least a dozen teenagers crowd around. Then, several boys rush the officer and push him over a hedge.
It was unclear if the officer identified himself as a policeman, but at least one of the teenagers in a video seems to indicate that he had.
The officer, in plain clothes, reaches into his waistband, pulls out a handgun and fires a shot while continuing to hold onto the boy; it appears he shot toward the ground. No one was hit.
As the crowd scatters, the boy yells out, “He put a gun to my face!”
Anaheim police officers arrive. They put the boy in handcuffs, take the LAPD officer away from the others and interview the officer.
Those living in the neighborhood said a confrontation with teenagers who often gather along West Palais Road wasn’t unexpected, because there are often loitering teens, some disrespectful. However, they were surprised that an off-duty officer resorted to firing a gun to settle a dispute.
“He may have felt threatened,” said Richard Bjorklund, who has lived in the neighborhood for 25 years.
The neighborhood has had problems with teenagers crossing streets outside of crosswalks, blocking traffic, cutting through lawns and applying graffiti to homes, Bjorklund said.
On Wednesday afternoon, a marked Anaheim police cruiser patrolled the neighborhood and detectives went door-to-door.
The off-duty officer had not been arrested and a criminal investigation into the incident was under way.”
Woman, 3 Teens Arrested on Suspicion of Gang-Related Shooting Near High School in Anaheim
“A woman and three teens have been arrested in connection with a gang-related shooting near a high school in Anaheim that injured two people, police announced Thursday.
The incident occurred about 2:15 p.m. Tuesday in front of Gilbert High School, 1800 West Ball Rd. Responding officers found two teens with non-life threatening injuries. Witnesses said they saw a teen get out of a vehicle and fired a rifle several times at the victims as they walked in front of the school. The suspect then left the scene.
Neither of the victims were students at the school, officials said.
A 15-year-old boy was identified and arrested as the shooter and a 17-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl were arrested as accomplices Wednesday, Anaheim police said. Cassandra Rivera, 18, of Perris, was also arrested as an accomplice.
The rifle suspected of being used in the crime was recovered during the investigation, police said.
Authorities are trying to determine how the teen got ahold of the gun.
Officials did not elaborate on why the shooting was deemed gang-related.
All suspects were booked on suspicion of attempted murder, possessing a firearm within a school zone and gang charges.”
Police Chief Blames California Early Release Program for Cop’s Murder
“Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper has blamed Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial early prison release program for the murder of one of his officers on Monday.
Officer Keith Boyer, 53, was shot dead when he and his partner, Patrick Hazell, responded to a traffic accident in a tony suburb of Los Angeles known as Whittier’s Friendly Hills on Monday morning.
At an emotional news conference later that day, Piper laid the blame squarely on AB 109, which Gov. Brown signed into law in 2011.
“We need to wake up. Enough is enough,” Piper said. “This is a senseless, senseless tragedy that did not need to be.”
The Orange County Register reports that the suspect, known gang member Michael Christopher Mejia, 26, of Los Angeles — who had been serving time for grand theft auto—was released early from Pelican Bay State Prison in April 2016.
Mejia is believed to have murdered his 46-year-old cousin, Ray Torres, in his East Los Angeles apartment, just before stealing his car and fleeing the scene at a high rate of speed, resulting in the traffic accident, where he opened fire on the responding officers.
ABC 7 Los Angeles’ Carlos Grande reports that Mejia’s previous offenses include: “…Robbery, vandalism, grand theft auto, resisting arrest and attempted robbery.”
Rather than transfer prisoners to other states or allow private prison contractors to keep dangerous offenders behind bars, AB109 reclassified dozens of serious — and, in some cases, violent — criminal offenses as “non, non, non”—“non-violent”, “non-serious” and “non-sexual” offenses. That enabled the transfer of tens of thousands of criminals from state prison to county custody.
This prison reform plan, known as “realignment,” was met with considerable resistance by law enforcement officials across the state who worried that overcrowded county jails would be forced to dump dangerous criminals back on the streets.
That appears, in this case, to be exactly what happened.”
So, exactly where was the part time governor? Nowhere near the shooting in Whittier, he managed to make it to the Oroville Dam problem he’s managed to avoid for two weeks. /CJ
Jerry Brown makes surprise visit to Oroville Dam
“Nine days ago, with the Oroville Dam under stress and battered by more harsh weather, Gov. Jerry Brown said he had no immediate plans to visit the site, suggesting “I don’t think they need politicians fluttering around.”
“This is not law. It’s not politics. It’s not what I am used to,” Brown said.
On Wednesday afternoon, however, as management of the situation stabilized amid a break in the rain, Brown made a surprise visit to the incident command post at Oroville.
Brown was briefed, thanked officials, including Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea, and took the opportunity to get a first-hand look at the work around the dam, spokeswoman Deborah Hoffman said.
By air, the Democratic governor surveyed the regional flood control system, flying over Maxwell, and down the Sacramento River. Hoffman said Brown did not advise the unexpected trip because it was not intended as a media event.
The Governor’s Office documented the visit on its Twitter account.
Sen. Kamala Harris is set to take an aerial tour of Oroville on Thursday. The trip is closed to media, but Harris plans to post photos.”
Accept Syrian refugees but screen carefully Gov. Jerry Brown says
– What?– How do you do that Jerry? No details
– SacBee Nov 16 2015
“Breaking with other governors who have warned that admitting Syrian refugees would undermine American security, Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday advocated preserving “America’s traditional role as a place of asylum” but stressed the need for thorough vetting.”
– Except how do you vet people who possess the most insecure identity currently in the world. See the article below for how simple it is to acquire fake passports that are virtually undectable.
– How do you run a background check on a Syrian ‘refugee’ if we don’t cooperate with the Syrian government on a level that would permit any identification, criminal, terrorist or otherwise?
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, took a similar stance to Brown on Monday, saying during a television interview that “California will not be one of those states” that turns away refugees.” Great.
– After the Kate Steinle murder in San Fran, Brown can’t seem to ensure the safety of Californians against people in the country illegally, how will he ensure safety by letting in more people we know absolutely nothing about their background, criminal, terrorist or otherwise?
Will they go to California’s Sanctuary Cities to evade the Feds?
Does Jerry Brown let people into his home without verifying identity. If not, why is that good enough for the state of California? Remember once in the country it becomes a huge and expensive undertaking to track down any radical jihadi terrorists among the refugees.
If any crazed jihadi can buy a fake Syrian passport, how in the world will Jerry Brown ensure he is not importing people capable of a attack on the scale of this weekend’s massacre in Paris? And will Jerry Brown take responsibility?
And remember that Gov Moonbeam has made it simple and easy for people in the country illegally to obtain a state driver’s license, that will allow the bearer to board an airplane or buy a gun or anything else.
It doesn’t take a seer to see this could end disastrously.