California’s attorney general said Wednesday he has filed extortion and money laundering charges against owners of the website Mugshots.com, accusing them of posting mugshot photos and then charging those pictured money to remove the the photos from the internet.
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said the four people charged received more than $64,000 in removal fees from some 175 Californians over a three-year period. Nationally, the scheme took in $2 million in from 5,703 people over the same period.
The site posted mugshots taken from law enforcement websites even if the people who were arrested never had charges filed against them or later had them dropped. The mugshots can make it harder for them to get jobs and housing, Becerra said.
California state auditors will soon begin a detailed examination of city and county jails that have formal partnerships with federal immigration agents — including how much local agencies are paid and whether holding immigrants has forced the early release of other inmates.
The audit was approved Wednesday by a joint panel of the California Legislature. Supporters said it will be the first comprehensive look at the immigration enforcement activities playing out in as many as a dozen jails in the state.
“We simply do not have the details that can piece together the big picture of this practice,” said state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), the lawmaker who requested the audit. “The data is important to provide transparency and accountability.”
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Delaine Eastin released a television ad on Tuesday that features clips of most of her rivals in the race agreeing with her during a series of debates.
“We’ve got to, as Delaine says, play offense,” Democratic front-runner Gavin Newsom says.
Antonio Villaraigosa repeatedly says “I agree with Delaine” in the spot — on job creation and school funding. “Your point is well taken, Delaine, as usual,” the Democratic former mayor of Los Angeles also says.
Less than a month after police arrested a man suspected of being the Golden State Killer — one of California’s most prolific serial rapists — state lawmakers in Sacramento on Tuesday said they want to ensure all sexual assault kits are counted and swiftly tested.
Under a bill by Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino), law enforcement agencies would have to submit rape kits to crime labs within 20 days of their collection, and labs would have no more than 120 days to test them. Another bill by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) would require a statewide audit of all untested exams.
Funding has been a major hurdle for similar proposals in the past. At least half a dozen bills that have died or been vetoed over the last decade would have required law enforcement to tackle backlogs and speed up the examination process for survivors.
A coalition of 19 states led by California filed papers Tuesday in support of efforts to block the Trump administration from reducing access to some family planning programs, according to California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra.
The states filed an amicus brief in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia supporting a lawsuit filed by multiple Planned Parenthood branches asking for a preliminary injunction. The Planned Parenthood branches want to block a proposal by the federal government to change the requirements for Title X, which provides some 4 million uninsured and under-insured people, including a million Californians, with family planning services, Becerra said.
The Trump administration action threatens funding for birth control, sexually transmitted disease testing, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and infertility treatment, according to the legal challenge.
It was an iconic image: Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, longtime partners and lesbian activists, embracing after being wed in San Francisco City Hall. The first same-sex couple in the country to receive a marriage license was joined by city officials and advocates choked with emotion — but not the man who set their nuptials in motion, Gavin Newsom.
Weeks before the June 5 primary, the race for California attorney general has incumbent Xavier Becerra and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones trading jabs over campaign contributions as the Democrats prepare for a possible showdown in November.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who lost the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor to Gavin Newsom in 2010, on Monday endorsed her formal political rival for governor.
“I’ve watched Gavin’s leadership as San Francisco Mayor and as California's Lieutenant Governor,” Hahn said in a statement released by the Newsom campaign. “I know that he will apply these experiences and skill-sets to ensure that California continues to lead the nation and the world on issues ranging from workers' rights and women's rights, to immigrants' rights, environmental rights, healthcare rights and educational rights.”
Hahn, who previously served in Congress and on the Los Angeles City Council, was a front-runner in the 2010 race for lieutenant governor when Newsom jumped into the race. Newsom had been running for governor but bowed out after it became clear that current Gov. Jerry Brown was jumping into the race.