Man pleads guilty to stalking a judge
A 23-year-old Laguna Beach man pleaded guilty Wednesday to allegations that he stalked an Orange County Superior Court Judge, including making harassing phone calls and showing up at the judge’s home on Christmas Eve, according to the district attorney’s office.
Daniel Joseph Gidanian faces a sentence ranging from probation up to three years in state prison at his sentencing Nov. 9. The case was prosecuted in Los Angeles County, because all Orange County Superior Court Judges recused themselves to prevent the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Gidanian had appeared before Derek Johnson in the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach Sept. 15, 2008, to request that an arrest record related to a restraining order violation be expunged. When the matter was continued into the afternoon, the defendant became argumentative with the judge and was directed to return the following day. The defendant returned as instructed and asked his case be transferred to another court. Johnson complied.
Between Sept. 27 and Dec. 24, 2008, Gidanian repeatedly showed up and called Johnson’s courtroom, despite no longer having a case assigned there. On one occasion, he called the courtroom inquiring about the judge’s home address and also obtained the home telephone number of a court clerk and calling her numerous times, the district attorney’s office stated.
Sheriff’s department employees then contacted him and instructed him to leave the victims alone.
On Dec. 22, Gidanian allegedly called Johnson’s courtroom and his wife at work, leaving messages stating that there would be “serious consequences" and “hell to pay" if Johnson did not leave him alone. On Dec. 24, Gidanian drove to Johnson’s house and parked for several hours; when the judge arrived, he confronted Gidanian, who fled the scene.
A subsequent search of the defendant’s home allegedly revealed a hand-written note detailing the time Johnson returned home on Christmas Eve and the license plate numbers from the judges’ personal vehicles.
Man accused of unprovoked assault
A 34-year-old Laguna Beach man was arrested on suspicion of felony battery after allegedly hurling a cup of coffee at a man and repeatedly punching him, causing head lacerations, at 7:57 p.m. Oct. 7 at a coffee shop in the 1000 block of Glenneyre Street, Lt. Jason Kravetz said.
The victim knew the suspect from the shop, but had no previous relationship or falling out, Kravetz said. The victim was taken to the hospital where he received numerous staples in the head.
The following day, officers identified the suspect from surveillance video, and arrested Jed Alan Morouse. Morouse was held on $25,000 bail, according to police records.
Bar window shattered by bottle; man held
A Laguna Niguel man was arrested after allegedly throwing a beer bottle through the front window of the Sandpiper bar at 12:50 a.m. Oct. 8, causing $900 worth of damage to the window, Kravetz said.
Juan Flores, 43, was taken into custody on a vandalism charge and his two friends were also arrested on suspicion of obstructing the officers and public intoxication.
Dual Laguna drivers accused of DUI
Two Laguna Beach residents were arrested on suspicion of DUI of the same vehicle at 9:44 p.m. Oct. 9, Kravetz said.
Officers were working with Alcohol Beverage Control outside a store in the 1300 block of North Coast Highway, using an underage person in a shoulder tap program where the underage person asks an adult to purchase alcohol for them, Kravetz said.
The 18-year-old decoy approached the woman driver of a Porsche Cayenne, who had pulled into the parking lot, if she would purchase alcohol for her.
The woman allegedly agreed, and went into the store, whereupon the passenger, a man, began honking the horn at her. He then walked around to the driver’s seat and got in, and repositioned the car in the lot.
The woman came out and allegedly gave the 18-year-old a six pack of beer before getting into passenger seat. The man drove away, and officers pulled him over a short distance later.
He was arrested on suspicion of DUI. The woman, was also arrested on suspicion of DUI because the officers had seen her originally driving the vehicle, and had an additional accusation of furnishing alcohol to a minor.
The arrestees are identified as Maria Regina Viscomi, 41, and Frank Michael Calta, 60.
Girls sought in shoplifting
Two girls are suspected of shoplifting more than $400 worth of merchandise from a store in the 550 block of South Coast Highway at 2:59 p.m. Saturday, Kravetz said.
The store clerk thought they were acting suspicious, and when the suspects left, a $208 pair of earrings and two tops worth $230 were missing.
Man accused of store rampage, vandalism
An El Monte man was arrested on suspicion of vandalism and trespassing after an incident at a 24-hour market in the 100 block of North Coast Highway at 3:35 a.m. Monday, Kravetz said.
Michael White, 44, entered and allegedly began breaking items and yelling at the clerk, and knocked over one entire rack of items.
ABC decoy program nets four citations
An undercover decoy program Oct. 9 conducted by detectives in conjunction with Alcoholic Beverage Control investigators resulted in four citations issued to adults for furnishing alcohol to minors, Kravetz said.
During the operation, two 18-year-old decoys asked 93 adult patrons at seven establishments to purchase alcohol for them, after stating they were underage and unable to make the purchase themselves.
In 96% of the encounters, the decoys were turned down. Four adults agreed to purchase alcohol for the underage decoys and were issued misdemeanor citations.