SAN FRANCISCO -- Following last year’s launch of an unprecedented criminal justice open data initiative, OpenJustice, and the passage of Assembly Bill 71, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today launched a web-based tool that allows California law enforcement agencies to digitally report law enforcement or civilian uses of force. As part of the Attorney General’s commitment to promoting government adoption of technology, this tool was built as an open-source project and the software code will be made available free of charge to other law enforcement agencies around the country. A public demo of the tool is available at ursusdemo.doj.ca.gov.

Previously, law enforcement officers in California reported on any death in custody on paper forms. No state in the country, including California, collected data on any non-lethal use of force. Assembly Bill 71, authored by Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona), and supported by Attorney General Harris, created a new requirement for California law enforcement agencies to annually report to the California Department of Justice data on any incidents that occurred in the previous year involving use of force by a civilian or peace officer against the other that involves a firearm or results in serious bodily injury or death.

The online platform, nicknamed URSUS after the bear on the California flag, can be accessed by any law enforcement agency in the state to report use of force data in an all-digital format, rather than by using a lengthy paper form. Today’s launch is a beta release to the field in advance of the January 1, 2017 reporting deadline for data from 2016 so that law enforcement agencies may use the tool during the fall and provide feedback to our office, which may be incorporated to enhance the tool’s functionality.

“As a country, we must engage in an honest, transparent, and data-driven conversation about police use of force,” said Attorney General Harris. “I am proud that California continues to lead the nation in the adoption of technology and data to improve our criminal justice system and keep our streets safe.”

One of the objectives of the OpenJustice initiative is to modernize data infrastructure, and this reporting tool will dramatically improve the speed and quality of data submitted, allowing data from the most complex incidents to be entered by law enforcement in under five minutes. The application includes dynamic screening questions and intelligent error-checking to help agencies input more accurate data. In addition, the platform’s advanced security features and role-based review workflows improve data reliability and integrity. This tool also minimizes costs for law enforcement, as its web-based interface and cloud storage reduce the need for local investment in custom data collection systems.

“The California Police Chiefs Association was an early supporter of AB 71, relating to use of force data, and has been collaborating with the Department of Justice ever since the bill was signed by the Governor last year,” said CA Police Chiefs Association President Chief Ken Corney. “We believe it is a sound practice to gather and report use of force data and make this information available to the public.”

“I commend Attorney General Harris on her development and launch of URSUS,” said California Highway Patrol Commissioner Joe Farrow. “URSUS will assist law enforcement in gathering critical data involving use of force by a peace office, or by a civilian against a peace officer, that results in serious injury or death or involves the use of a firearm in order to meet the requirements of Assembly Bill 71. I am confident the introduction of URSUS and the collection of this data and information will improve the relationship between law enforcement and the communities that we serve.”

“We are proud to participate in this very important program. This technology is crucial to providing accurate public data on incidents involving the use of force,” said Walnut Creek Police Chief Thomas Chaplin. “We wholeheartedly support this approach to create additional transparency and ease of accessibility for use of force data.”

In addition to facilitating statewide collection, this tool also provides a suite of analytical tools for local agencies to better monitor incidents in their own jurisdictions, including features such as a dashboard, interactive charts, and pivot tables. Smaller agencies that may not currently have their own tracking systems will particularly benefit from these tools.

The reporting tool was built through a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the California Department of Justice and Bayes Impact, a technology-for-good non-profit organization. In her continuing efforts to bring civic technology to government, Attorney General Harris established this unique partnership combining the California Department of Justice’s knowledge and expertise in law enforcement with Bayes Impact’s expertise in agile software development. The application was developed in just over six months, in ongoing collaboration with 12 pilot law enforcement agencies.

As part of the Attorney General’s commitment to ensuring that government technology serves the public, this tool was built as an open-source project and the software code will be made available free of charge to other states and agencies. Its open-source nature will also reduce ongoing maintenance costs as compared to a proprietary solution.

Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the OpenJustice Data Act of 2016 (Assembly Bill 2524), which the California Legislature unanimously passed last month. This law, sponsored by Attorney General Harris and authored by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), will convert Crime in California and other annual reports published by the California Department of Justice into digital datasets, which will be published on the Attorney General’s OpenJustice Web portal. The data from AB 71 will be posted on OpenJustice in early 2017.

Attorney General Harris first launched the OpenJustice initiative in 2015 as a mechanism for improving trust between communities and law enforcement, enhancing government accountability, and informing public policy with data.

Earlier this year, the Attorney General announced the release of OpenJustice 1.1, which enriched the web portal’s initial data sets with city and county level data exploration tools and contextual information including population and demographic information, unemployment rates, poverty rates, and educational attainment levels. In addition to providing greater transparency, this information enables policymakers to craft more informed, data-driven public policy.

Attorney General Harris has also taken several steps to strengthen the relationship of trust between law enforcement and California communities. She directed a 90-day Review of her Division of Law Enforcement’s policies on use of force and implicit bias, convened the state’s law enforcement leaders to share best practices through her 21st Century Policing Working Group, created the first POST-certified course on Procedural Justice and Implicit Bias in the U.S., and developed a pilot for body-worn cameras for DOJ Special Agents.

 


 

District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced today that Superior Court Judge Patricia Murphy sentenced Ismael Heredia (DOB 2/12/98), of Oxnard, to serve 21 years in state prison. Heredia pled guilty in July to one count of attempted robbery in violation of Penal Code section 664/211, one count of robbery in violation of Penal Code section 211, and one count of assault with a deadly weapon in violation of Penal Code section 245(a)(1). Heredia admitted that he personally used a firearm in the commission of the attempted robbery, and that he personally used a knife in the commission of the robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. He also admitted that the crimes were committed for the benefit and in association with a criminal street gang.

In February 2014, Heredia and another gang member attempted to rob a patron at a restaurant in Oxnard. When the victim refused to give his wallet, Heredia attempted to shoot the victim with a semiautomatic handgun that misfired.

Two days later, Heredia and three other gang members robbed two victims at knifepoint in the 100 block of North Hayes Avenue in Oxnard. Heredia and an accomplice also stole the victim’s vehicle to flee the scene. Heredia and his accomplice crashed the vehicle a few blocks away and were subsequently arrested by officers from the Oxnard Police Department.

 


 

LOS ANGELES -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris issued the following statement on today’s ruling by the Ninth Circuit upholding a key decision made by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regarding California’s energy crisis:
“I am gratified that the Court upheld FERC's determination that large energy companies, such as Shell, manipulated California's energy markets during the 2000-2001 energy crisis, leading to blackouts and exorbitant prices for the customers of California's investor owned utilities. The decision upholds the findings on which FERC has ordered the payment of more than $200 million in damages from sellers that have not settled. My office will continue to pursue compensation from those who gamed the market and profited from the skyrocketing prices that resulted.”

 


 

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today released a statement on the California State Legislature’s unanimous passage of Assembly Bill 2524, the OpenJustice Data Act of 2016. Assembly Bill 2524, introduced by Attorney General Harris and Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), will convert Crime in California and other annual reports published by the California Department of Justice into digital data sets which will be published on the Attorney General’s OpenJustice Web portal.

“Data and technology have the power to dramatically increase transparency and accountability in our criminal justice system,” said Attorney General Harris. “I applaud the California Legislature’s passage of this legislation, which will bring criminal justice data reporting into the 21st Century. I thank Assemblymember Irwin for standing with me to support the adoption of technology by law enforcement.”

The OpenJustice Data Act builds on Attorney General Harris’s historic open data initiative, OpenJustice, to improve accountability and transparency in California’s criminal justice system.

The reports published in the OpenJustice Web portal will enhance transparency and accountability by highlighting statistical summaries including numbers of arrests, complaints against peace officers, hate crime offenses, and law enforcement officers killed or assaulted. The OpenJustice Web portal will transform the way this information is presented to the public with interactive, accessible visualization tools, while making raw data available for public interest researchers.

"Right now we are sitting on mountains of valuable criminal justice data that local law enforcement work hard to provide in the public interest. We need to make sure that this information is available to the public and that we are using it effectively. AB 2524 is a common-sense measure that will help bring California into the 21st century,” said Assemblymember Irwin.

Attorney General Harris first launched the OpenJustice initiative in 2015 as a mechanism for improving community trust in law enforcement, enhancing government accountability, and informing public policy.

Earlier this year, the Attorney General announced the release of OpenJustice 1.1, which enriched the Web portal’s initial data sets with city, county, and state level context including population and demographic information, unemployment rates, poverty rates, and educational attainment levels. In addition to providing greater transparency, this information enables policymakers to craft informed, data-driven public policy.

Attorney General Harris has announced that the Department of Justice will augment the OpenJustice Web portal with new criminal justice datasets created through recent legislation, including reports on racial and identity profiling (AB 953, Weber) and officer and civilian-involved uses of force (AB 71, Rodriguez).

Attorney General Harris has also taken several steps to strengthen the trust between law enforcement and California communities. She directed a 90-day Review of her Division of Law Enforcement’s policies on use of force and implicit bias, convened the state’s law enforcement leaders to share best practices through her 21st Century Policing Working Group, created the first POST-certified course on Procedural Justice and Implicit Bias in the U.S., and developed a pilot for body-worn cameras for DOJ Special Agents.

 


 

District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced today that Jane Laut (DOB 5/28/57), of Oxnard, was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison for the August 27, 2009, murder of her husband, Dave Laut, at their Oxnard residence. On March 30, 2016, a jury found Jane Laut guilty of first degree premeditated murder and found true that she used a firearm during the commission of her crime.

The punishment for the crime of first degree murder is 25 years to life. Under Penal Code section 12022.53(d), the judge was required to impose an additional and consecutive sentence of 25 years for a total of 50 years to life.

During trial, it was established that Jane Laut fired a total of six shots from a single action .22 caliber handgun into Dave’s head and body, then hid the gun in a grandfather clock before calling 911 to report a prowler.

After an eight-week trial, the six-man, six-woman jury unanimously rejected her claims of self-defense and intimate partner battering to find that Jane Laut’s actions were willful, deliberate and premeditated.

During the hour-long sentencing hearing, Dave Laut’s brother, Don Laut and Don’s children, Cody and Megan, provided dramatic testimony describing the devastating loss of their brother and uncle, best friend and “hero,” but each said to Jane that they forgave her. Don’s wife, Rebecca, read a statement from Dave’s mother, then spoke on her own behalf. The family stated that not only did they have to suffer the tragic loss of a brother in the prime of his life, but then were forced to endure hours of “lies” attacking his character after he was no longer around to defend himself.

 


 

LOS ANGELES - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, 8 other states and the city of Chicago today filed a motion to intervene in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) New Source Performance Standards to limit greenhouse gas emissions, specifically methane, from oil and natural gas operations. The new EPA standards mark the first time the EPA has directly limited greenhouse gases from the oil and natural gas sector and tightens existing limits on emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from oil and natural gas operations.

Since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the emissions standards, Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, as well as the American Petroleum Institute, oil and gas industry associations, and others have filed lawsuits challenging the rules. California and 8 other states are intervening to defend the greenhouse gas emissions standards.

“Climate change is a real and direct threat to the health and well being of our communities. We must do everything in our power to limit greenhouse gas emissions and preserve our planet for future generations,” said Attorney General Harris. “These new federal standards are based on scientific evidence, and will curb the emission of harmful greenhouse gas pollutants into our environment and help mitigate the devastating effects of climate change.”

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Attorney General are jointly filing the motion to intervene on behalf of the state of California and are joined by Connecticut, Illinois, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Chicago.

The EPA expects that the new standards will prevent the emission of 300,000 tons of methane by 2020 and 510,000 tons by 2025. The standards also serve to fulfill the commitments President Obama laid out with his June 2013 Climate Action Plan and the Paris Accord, as well as specific goals around reducing methane emissions that the White House announced in January 2015.

In November 2015, Attorney General Harris and 17 other state Attorneys General filed a motion to intervene in support of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, the EPA’s first-ever national standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Earlier this year, Attorney General Harris, the California Air Resources Board, and the EPA successfully reached a $14.7 billion settlement with Volkswagen over emissions “defeat devices” it had installed in its 2.0 liter diesel cars to manipulate emissions testing software to make its cars appear to be emitting significantly fewer pollutants than they were in actual driving conditions. As part of the $14.7 billion settlement, which is subject to approval by the court, VW must pay $2.7 billion into a trust fund for environmental mitigation projects and spend $2 billion over 10 years on zero-emission technology. $1.18 billion will come to California: $800 million in zero-emissions technology investments and $380 million for environmental mitigation projects in the state. Attorney General Harris also secured, subject to court approval, an additional $86 million in civil penalties and significant injunctive terms to deter future misconduct by the company.

Attorney General Harris has vigorously defended AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which has received global recognition as a leading example of legislation that promotes reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The Attorney General’s office has also defended challenges to California’s cap and trade auctions and its precedent-setting Low Carbon Fuels Standard.

A copy of the motion to intervene is attached to the online version of this news release at oag.ca.gov/news.

You may view the full account of this posting, including possible attachments, in the News & Alerts section of our website at: http://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-kamala-d-harris-8...

 


 

Alert: AMBER Alert Activation

Dear Fillmore Gazette,

THIS MESSAGE WAS CREATED BY CHP ENTAC AND IS IN EFFECT FOR THE FOLLOWING COUNTIES:

MONTEREY, SANTA CRUZ, SAN BENITO, SAN LUIS OBISPO, AND SANTA CLARA.

ON APRIL 14, 2016, AT 0645 HOURS, JASON VARGAS WAS ABDUCTED FROM SOLEDAD, CA.

JACOB VARGAS IS A 2-YEAR-OLD, HISPANIC MALE JUVENILE WITH BROWN HAIR AND BROWN EYES, WEARING A BEIGE BEANIE, A BLUE SWEATER, A WHITE SHIRT WITH A YELLOW STRIPE AND GREY SLEEVES, AND BLUE JEANS.

THE SUSPECT IS UNKOWN.

THE SUSPECT WAS LAST SEEN DRIVING A 2015 BLACK HONDA ACCORD, WITH A CA LICENSE PLATE OF 7LIE244. THE VEHICLE HAS TINTED WINDOWS AND DAMAGE TO THE LEFT REAR BUMPER.

IF SEEN CONTACT THE SOLEDAD POLICE DEPARTMENT AT (831) 755-5111 OR CALL 9-1-1.

Instructions:

IF SEEN CONTACT THE SOLEDAD POLICE DEPARTMENT AT (831) 755-5111 OR CALL 9-1-1.

For full details, view this message on the web.

 


 
Projects Will Help Reduce Wildfire Threat

Sacramento – Monday, CAL FIRE announced it had awarded an additional $3 million in grants throughout the state for a variety of fire prevention projects aimed at reducing the elevated threat of wildfires due to the ongoing drought and significant tree mortality. The announcement comes just two months after CAL FIRE released nearly $2 million for fire prevention projects in the counties hit hardest by tree mortality and bark beetle.

“This grant funding will help communities prepare for what is likely to be another challenging fire season,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director and California’s state forester. “These grants will help complete vital fire prevention projects to help mitigate some of the impacts created by four years of drought and hazardous fuel build up.”

These grants are part of $5 million from the State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund allowing local fire departments and fire districts to create projects that help to reduce the threat of wildfires around homes within the State Responsibility Area. With today’s announcement for funding of 44 additional projects, it brings the total number of projects funded to 63. These projects will reinforce and augment CAL FIRE’s ongoing projects and efforts to address the risk and potential impacts of large, damaging wildfires. Grant selection criteria weighted projects that address fire risk and potential impact of wildfire to habitable structures in the State Responsibility Area, as well as community support and project feasibility.

A full list of the grant projects can be viewed at: http://www.fire.ca.gov/grants/downloads/2016_FuelReducionGrants.pdf
While firefighters are busy working on fire prevention projects including brush clearance, fire breaks and fuel reduction, officials stress the need for residents to do their part. This is the time of year when residents should be working to ensure they have 100 feet of Defensible Space around their homes. This includes removing all dead or dying grass, brush and trees, limbing up branches six feet from the ground, and cleaning leaves, needles or debris off roofs and gutters. Learn more at www.ReadyForWildfire.org.

 


 

SAN FRANCISCO - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced a preliminary approval of settlements resolving allegations that LG, Hitachi, Panasonic, Toshiba, and Samsung, companies all based in Japan or Korea, fixed prices on critical components of televisions and computer monitors from 1995 to 2007. Those critical components, known as Cathode Ray Tubes or CRTs, were used to display images on computer monitors and televisions screens before they were replaced by flat screens. The court has approved the settlement pending valid objections submitted within 60 days.

The companies’ price fixing scheme caused damage to California consumers and government entities that overpaid for their televisions and computers. The announced settlement has led to legally enforceable judgments against these foreign companies.

“LG, Hitachi, Panasonic, Toshiba, and Samsung deliberately targeted the U.S. market to raise prices for televisions and computers worldwide,” said Attorney General Harris. “These settlements bring justice and relief to California consumers and end the malicious practice of price-fixing by these companies.”

The settlements, which were filed in San Francisco Superior Court, require all five companies to pay a total of $4.95 million to settle claims of overcharges paid by California government entities, general damages suffered by the State’s economy, and civil penalties. The settlements require that the companies pay back the illegally obtained profits to those affected by their actions. In addition, the settlements include injunctive relief, which requires that each company engage in company-wide antitrust compliance training and reporting that involves products in addition to CRTs and extends to foreign companies and subsidiaries. Finally, the settlements include requirements, enforceable by the court via fines and imprisonment, to prevent future violations of antitrust law.

In 2011, after the Office of Attorney General Harris conducted a confidential investigation into price-fixing involving CRTs, Attorney General Harris filed complaints against these companies for having entered into a price-fixing conspiracy of critical components of television and computer screens. That conspiracy involved top-level meetings of key executive decision-makers in Asia and Europe to set prices and outputs of CRTs. It also involved worldwide meetings among lower-level executives to exchange confidential information. Californian subsidiaries of these companies were involved in this conspiracy and took on the role of monitoring the prices of televisions and computers in California stores.

This case, filed by Attorney General Harris, requested the court award damages to California consumers. A parallel case filed by private counsel in federal court, known as the Indirect Purchaser Plaintiffs, also requested damages on behalf of Californians, and Attorney General Harris and the Indirect Purchaser Plaintiffs coordinated their discovery and settlement efforts.

Due to these coordinated efforts, California consumers or sole proprietorships that purchased at least one television or computer between 1995 and 2007 can make a claim, with a guaranteed minimum check of $25.

All eligible California consumers and sole proprietorships can file claims for reimbursement at https://www.crtclaims.com/. The new deadline for filing those claims is June 30, 2016.

In December 2015, Attorney General Harris announced a settlement resolving allegations that Pratibha Syntex Ltd., a company based in India, gained an unfair competitive advantage over American-based companies by using pirated software in the production of clothing imported and sold in California. The settlement, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, required Pratibha Syntex to pay $100,000 in restitution, prohibited Pratibha Syntex from using unlicensed software or reproducing any part of a copyrighted software program without the permission of the legitimate copyright holder, and required the company to perform four complete audits of the software on their computers and fix any violations within 45 days. That case marked the first time a state has secured a legally enforceable judgment against an international company for these types of violations.

Copies of the complaint, memorandum in support of preliminary approval, and the order granting preliminary approval, are all attached to the online version of this release at www.oag.ca.gov/news. Further details can also be found at http://oag.ca.gov/consumers/crt_notice.

 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

On Monday, February 29th, 2016, Sheriff’s detectives arrested Vidal Morales, a youth coordinator at the Saint Francis of Assisi Church in the city of Fillmore, CA, for one felony count of Lewd and Lascivious Acts Upon a Child. Morales has worked at the Saint Francis of Assisi Church in the city of Fillmore for approximately 22 years and is currently employed as the church’s youth coordinator. Morales’ arrest stemmed from an investigation into the allegations made by a juvenile female, who interacted with Morales while he acted in his official capacity at the church.

The Sheriff’s Office first learned of this crime in October of 2015 when the victim reported Morales sexually assaulted her in 2013. During the course of the months long investigation, additional victims were identified. Morales was arrested in the city of Ventura on February 29th, 2016. Morales was booked into custody at the Ventura County Main Jail and his bail is set at $20,000. This investigation is still ongoing. Those with any information are encouraged to contact Detective Hector Macias at (805) 384-4740.

Sexual Assault Arrest - Fillmore
Nature of Incident: Sexual Assault Arrest
Report Number: 15-2059689
Location: City of Fillmore
Date & Time: February 29, 2016 3:30 PM
Unit(s) Responsible: Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent City of Residence Age
Vidal Morales Ventura, CA 55
Prepared by: Detective Hector Macias Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau/ Sexual Assault Unit
News Release Date: March 3rd, 2016
Media Follow-Up Contact: Detective Hector Macias 805-384-4740 hector.macias@ventura.org
Approved by: Captain Melissa Smith

 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

In January of 2015, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office began investigating a series of phone scams targeting Ventura County Residents. In each of the cases, a caller would identify himself as a Captain with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and inform the resident he/she had failed to report for Jury Duty. The suspect would inform the resident there was a warrant issued for their arrest and demanded $5,000 to recall the warrant. Investigators were able to identify the suspect’s phone number and found he was calling hundreds of potential victims a day.

Based on phone records, the targeted victims lived in various areas throughout the United States. The suspect showed a degree of sophistication in his attempted crimes by changing his phone number on almost a daily basis. Investigators found all of the phone calls originated from a cell phone located inside the Jimmy Autry Correctional Institute in Pelham, Georgia. Investigators learned the FBI was actively investigating charges of corruption in the institution. At the time of the investigation, there were no known completed transfers of money by Ventura County residents. The Sheriff’s Office deferred its investigation and provided the FBI with details of its case. The FBI recently announced its federal indictments as a result of their corruption investigation.

To date, the suspect in the Ventura County phone scam attempts has not been identified. For more information on the FBI’s corruption investigation, please refer to the below link. http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga/pr/further-corruption-involving-georgia...

Nature of Incident: National Phone Scam Investigation
Report Number: Location: Ventura County
Date & Time: January 2015 Unit(s) Responsible: Ventura County Sheriff’s Office,
Prepared by: Sgt. Bill Schierman
News Release Date: 2-12-2016
Media Follow-Up Contact: Sgt. Bill Schierman 805-383-8729
Approved by: Curt Rothschiller.

 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

The non-medical use of prescription drugs ranks second only to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in America. Prescription and over-the counter medications can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs. Additionally, the majority of teenagers abusing prescription drugs get them from family, friends and the home medicine cabinet. You can’t predict the effect a drug may have on you as everyone’s brain and body chemistry are different. If you would like more information on drugs and teenage drug abuse please click on the following link: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/prescription-drugs

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office is very pleased to announce that we have collected 5,900 pounds of unused / expired medication for the year 2015. This is approximately a 400 pound increase from the previous year’s total.

A breakdown of the 2015 collection totals is as follows: Ojai PD – 262.5 pounds, Fillmore PD –103.3 pounds, Camarillo PD – 1,949.70 pounds, Moorpark PD – 418.2 pounds, Headquarters – 893.3 pounds and East Valley, 2,273.5 pounds. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the citizens of Ventura County for their outstanding effort to make our communities safer.

If you want to drop off unused / expired medications at any Sheriff’s Substation, we have Pharmaceutical drop-off bins in all of our lobbies. The lobbies are open Monday-Friday from 8:00AM - 5:00PM.

Nature of Incident: Pharmaceutical Collections for the year 2015
Report Number:
Location: All Sheriff’s Sub-Stations
Date & Time: 02/02/2016 – 1500 hours
Unit(s) Responsible: Ventura County Sheriff’s Office
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent City of Residence Age
Prepared by: Sergeant John M. Franchi
News Release Date: 02/02/2016
Media Follow-Up Contact: Sergeant John M. Franchi / 805-388-5135
Approved by: Captain Cory Rubright

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

 

SAN FRANCISCO - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley today announced a settlement with Comcast Cable Communications LLC (“Comcast”) to resolve allegations that Comcast both unlawfully disposed of hazardous waste and discarded records without first omitting or redacting private customer information. As part of the settlement, Comcast will pay a total of $25.95 million.

“Comcast’s careless and unlawful hazardous waste disposal practices jeopardized the health and environmental well-being of California communities and exposed their customers to the threat of identity theft,” said Attorney General Harris. “This agreement holds Comcast accountable for breaking the law and puts strict measures in place to prevent them from putting Californians and our environment at risk in the future.”

“Today’s settlement represents a victory in California’s ongoing efforts to ensure that hazardous waste is disposed of in a safe, legal and environmentally sustainable manner,” states Alameda County DA Nancy E. O’Malley. “Not only will my office pursue all necessary legal action against entities that pollute our environment, but we will also use all legal means to ensure California’s consumers’ private information is protected. My office will continue to work together with state and local agencies to investigate and prosecute violations against our environment.”

The civil enforcement action and proposed settlement against Comcast were filed today in Alameda County Superior Court by Attorney General Harris and District Attorney O’Malley. The settlement requires court approval before it becomes final.

Today’s announcement stems from a robust investigation by the offices of Attorney General Harris and District Attorney O’Malley, assisted by the Department of Toxic Substances Control and the California Highway Patrol. According to the investigation, since 2005, Comcast warehouse and dispatch facilities and customer service centers throughout the state unlawfully handled and disposed of various hazardous waste products, routinely and systematically sending these materials to local landfills that were not permitted to receive these items. The majority of the hazardous waste was electronic equipment such as remote controls, splitters, routers, modems, amplifiers, and power adapters. The investigation also uncovered that Comcast discarded documents containing sensitive customer information, including names, addresses and phone numbers, into the trash without shredding them or making them unreadable, potentially exposing the information to identity thieves.

If approved by the court, under the final judgment, Comcast must pay $19.85 million in civil penalties and costs. An additional $3 million will fund projects furthering environmental and consumer protection and enforcement in California. Comcast will also be providing CalRecycle with $2.25 million in airtime over a four-year period and $150,000 to develop and produce public service announcements that educate the public on the proper handling and disposal of hazardous waste they might generate, including electronics. Finally, Comcast will spend a minimum of $700,000 to enhance its environmental compliance and will be prohibited from violating these laws in the future, under the terms of a permanent injunction.

Upon notice of the investigation, Comcast agreed to cooperate and, at the request of the Attorney General and the Alameda County DA, took interim steps to improve its hazardous and universal waste management compliance programs. As part of the settlement, Comcast has committed to fund multiple measures over the next five years to enhance its environmental compliance. Comcast will also be required to hire an independent auditor to conduct three audits of its environmental and customer privacy compliance over the next five years. There are ten Comcast facilities in Alameda County and all ten facilities are subject to the terms of the settlement.

Last year, Attorney General Harris and District Attorney O’Malley reached a $23.8 million settlement with AT&T over similar hazardous waste disposal violations.

Copies of the civil enforcement action and proposed settlement are attached to the online version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.

You may view the full account of this posting, including possible attachments, in the News & Alerts section of our website at: http://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-kamala-d-harris-a...

 
Over 29 Million Trees Dead Due to Drought and Bark Beetle

Sacramento – As California’s severe drought and bark beetle epidemic has left millions of trees dead, the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection last week voted to extend a drought mortality exemption to the state’s tree removal permitting process.

“With massive tree mortality across California, this exemption streamlines the process for landowners who are working to reduce their wildfire risk and safety hazards from falling trees by removing their dead trees,” said Helge Eng, CAL FIRE’s deputy director of resource management.

On June 17, 2015, the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection initially adopted emergency regulations allowing specified forest management activities, including the cutting or removal of trees that are dead or dying as a result of the drought conditions across California. The original action was set to expire on January 12, 2016; however, the extension provides an additional 90 days for property owners to utilize the exemption when removing dead trees due to the drought.

The latest aerial survey estimated that over 29 million trees have died as a result of the drought and the effects of bark beetle infestation, up from 3.3 million in 2014. These dead and dying trees create an environment more readily susceptible to dangerous and destructive wildfires.

“Even with recent rains it will likely take years to slow down the massive tree mortality and bark beetle infestation, said Eng. “Dead trees near homes, roads and public infrastructure create a fire hazard and public safety concern, so it’s critical that residents remove their dead trees and reduce their wildfire risk.”
The winter months typically provide a good time for landowners to remove dead trees as bark beetle activity generally stops when temperatures drop below 50º F and the beetles go dormant. During other times of the year, when the beetles are active, trees with fresh cuts will actually attract beetles allowing them to spread to other trees. Once a tree is infested with bark beetles, there is little that can be done to save the tree and it can be dead in three to four weeks.

The bark beetle epidemic has hit California’s wildland forests in the coastal ranges, mountains and foothill communities, posing particular threat where dead trees are near homes and private property. In these areas, CAL FIRE has launched a public outreach campaign to educate and motivate residents to take steps now to protect their home and property from wildfire. The campaign began in the summer with the message “Remove Your Dead Trees. Reduce Your Wildfire Risk.” Property owners are encouraged to remove dead trees on their property to help protect from wildfire.

For more information from CAL FIRE about how to protect trees and property and to learn more about the bark beetle threat, visit www.PrepareForBarkBeetle.org. Watch this short video on California’s Bark Beetle Epidemic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xts0efS_XB4

 

VENTURA, California – District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced today the filing of a felony complaint charging Santa Clara Waste Water Company, Green Compass Environmental Solutions LLC, William James Mitzel of LaVerne (DOB 03/15/1957) and Marlene Joan Faltemier of Ventura (DOB 01/13/1965) for crimes related to the operations of Santa Clara Waste Water Company (SCWWC) in Santa Paula, California. The complaint alleges three felony offenses including conspiracy, reckless disregard in handling of hazardous waste causing unreasonable risk, unlawful disposal of hazardous waste, and allegations these crimes were committed while the defendants were out on bail. The complaint also charges seven misdemeanor charges for failing to report hazardous materials to regulatory officials.

On November 5, 2015, district attorney investigators executed a search warrant at the SCWWC facility in Santa Paula. Investigators found in excess of 5,000 gallons of hazardous waste, some of which has been identified as Saxon 10-81/Psc3, a corrosive chemical industrial cleaning agent, that SCWWC had not previously reported to Ventura County Environmental Health, as required by law. These hazardous chemicals were stored in numerous totes and drums within a shipping container that are alleged to have been hidden on SCWWC’s site prior to the November 18, 2014 explosion, without making proper notification to regulatory authorities.

Mitzel and Faltemier were arrested today by the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation. Ventura Superior Court Judge Mark Borrell set bail at $500,000 for each defendant.

Arraignment for Mitzel and Faltemier is expected to be set on or after December 14, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in courtroom 12 of the Ventura Superior Court. SCWWC and Green Compass Environmental Solutions

LLC are scheduled for an arraignment on December 18, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in courtroom 12 of the Ventura Superior Court.

Each individual defendant face a maximum sentence of four years, eight months in local custody, in addition to the previous charges alleged in the 71-count Indictment issued by the Ventura County Grand Jury on August 7, 2015.

The new charges, in addition to those subject to the previous indictment will be jointly prosecuted by the California Attorney General.

 

VENTURA, California - District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced today that a jury found Dean Kellum Louer (DOB 2/10/61), of Anaheim, guilty of felony driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol content above 0.08 percent, causing injury. The jury also found true a special allegation that Louer personally inflicted great bodily injury during the commission of the offense.

On August 18, 2015, Louer reversed a pickup truck on the shoulder of the US-101 freeway and drove into the victim who was standing behind the truck. The collision knocked the victim into a nearby culvert causing significant bodily injuries. Louer’s blood alcohol content was determined to be 0.18 percent. The jury also found that Louer was driving without a valid California driver’s license.

Sentencing for Louer is scheduled on January 5, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. in courtroom 40 of the Ventura Superior Court, County of Ventura. Louer faces a maximum sentence of six years in the California Department of Corrections.

 

VENTURA, California – District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced today that the Ventura County District Attorney’s Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit and the California Attorney General's Office have jointly filed a civil law enforcement action against Cars 4 Causes, a Ventura-based vehicle donation organization. Cars 4 Causes attracts prospective donors by promising to donate the majority of a donated vehicle’s sales proceeds to the donor’s specified charity.

The complaint alleges that Cars 4 Causes violated California’s false advertising and unfair competition laws by overstating the proportion of proceeds to be forwarded to donors’ specified charities, and that Cars 4 Causes often failed to forward any proceeds to charity at all, instead spending the proceeds on its own advertising campaigns, operating expenses and salaries. Cars 4 Causes’ last tax return reported that, despite raising over $5 million in donated vehicles, less than 10 percent of the proceeds were paid to any charity. In addition, Cars 4 Causes failed to pay $2 million of sale proceeds to thousands of charitable organizations around the country, including over $600,000 that should have been given to charities serving the sick and providing medical research; $250,000 to children’s and education charities; and $200,000 to charities serving the poor.

The Attorney General and the District Attorney are requesting that the court order Cars 4 Causes to cease making misrepresentations, and to pay all moneys owed to the donors’ specified charities.

 
Rosalba Moran (DOB 8/10/92)
Rosalba Moran (DOB 8/10/92)

VENTURA, CA - District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced today that a jury found Rosalba Moran (DOB 8/10/92), of Oxnard, guilty of first-degree murder for leaving her newborn baby to die in a ditch at a Camarillo strawberry field in May 2012. Moran was a former employee of the farm where the baby was found and was identified as the mother through DNA testing.

Moran went into an empty field that was surrounded by a locked fence to give birth undetected. She left the baby concealed in the ditch which was two feet below street level, surrounded by heavy brush, and 150 feet from the locked entrance. Before leaving the scene at sundown, Moran recorded a video of the baby on her cell phone, which showed the baby alive and struggling. During the video, Moran separated the baby’s legs to get a close-up view of his genitals. She tried to send the video to the baby’s father in Mexico, whom she said was not willing to help raise the child. Moran used her cell phone to call a family member to pick her up and told no one that the baby was left alive in the field. She returned to her home in Oxnard and never attempted to seek any help for the baby. The baby died from exposure and his body was discovered by a worker three days later.

Sentencing for Moran is scheduled January 7, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in courtroom 27 of the Ventura Superior Court. Based upon the gravity of the offense, the District Attorney will seek a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

On September 22, 2015, at approximately 7:00 PM, the Camarillo Police Department was dispatched to a bomb threat made over social media against the campus of Monte Vista Middle School in Camarillo. Deputies responded to the scene and were assisted in the investigation by the Camarillo Police Department’s Community Resource Unit and Detective Bureau. After a thorough investigation and extensive search of the campus by deputies and personnel from the Pleasant Valley School District, it was determined the bomb threat was a hoax.

The Camarillo Police Department and the Pleasant Valley School District take bomb threats very seriously. These crimes are investigated using resources from federal, state, and local agencies. Information was obtained which led to the identity of the juvenile suspect. The juvenile ultimately admitted to the crime and confessed they were upset with school staff. The case was submitted to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office for review.

On November 17, 2015, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office filed a felony charge of false report of a bomb, a violation of 148.1(a) PC, against the juvenile suspect. The juvenile no longer attends school in the Ventura County area.

The Camarillo Police Department would like to encourage parents to monitor their children’s use of both the internet and cellular phones.

Nature of Incident: Bomb Threat Suspect Identified and Charged
Report Number: 15-2040264
Location: Monte Vista Middle School, 888 Lantana Street, Camarillo
Date & Time: 09/21/2015 6:00 PM
Unit(s) Responsible: Camarillo Police Department’s Community Resource Unit and Camarillo Detective Bureau
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent City of Residence Age
(S) Juvenile
Prepared by: Senior Deputy Shawn Holzberger
News Release Date: November 18, 2015
Media Follow-Up Contact: Senior Deputy Shawn Holzberger
(805) 388-5131
shawn.holzberger@ventura.org
Approved by: Captain Cory Rubright

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

 
Victor Marquez
Victor Marquez

On Nov. 12, 2015 at approximately 8:36pm a Santa Paula police officer attempted to stop a subject driving a vehicle known to him as Victor Marquez, age 19 of Santa Paula, in the area of Harvard Blvd. and Olive St. Marquez was known to not have a valid driver's license. Once Marquez was observed the officer made a u-turn to conduct a traffic stop. When the officer did this Marquez fled the area driving northbound on 4th Street and making a left onto westbound Ventura Street. Marquez failed to stop at the stop sign at a high rate of speed. As Marquez approached the intersection of Olive St. a truck was driving eastbound on Ventura St. Due to the narrow street the truck unintentionally blocked his path. Marquez was driving too fast to stop in time and collided with the truck. Marquez then placed his vehicle in revserse and at a high rate of speed struck the police officer who was attempting to make a traffic stop. Marquez then attempted to drive forward however he collided with 2 other parked vehicles and the same truck for a second time stopping his vehicle. Marquez then fled from his vehicle and ran to his residence in the 100 block of S. Olive Street where he was taken into custody by officers without incident. When Marquez was arrested at his residence he was found in possession of a methamphetamine pipe. It should be noted Marquez collided with a total of 4 vehicles in this incident.

Once Marquez was taken into custody the officer involved in the traffic collision was transported to SPER for lower back pain and difficulty breathing. The officer is now at home and is expected to return back to duty. The driver of the truck also complained on back pain however denied medical assistance.

Marquez was charged with the following crimes: 69 PC - felony resisting arrest, 245(a)(1) PC - assault with a deadly weapon, 20001(a) VC - felony hit and run with injuries, 2800.2 VC - felony evading a police officer, 11364 HS - possession of a smoking device, and 12500(a) VC - driving without a license. Marquez was transported to Ventura County Main Jail where his bail was set at $55,000.

Nature of Incident: Officer Injured / Felony Hit and Run, Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Report Number(s): SG1501889
Location(s): Intersection of Ventura St. and Olive St.
Dates & Times: Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015 at 8:36pm
Unit Responsible: Patrol
(S)uspects, (V)ictims City of Residence Age
(S) Victor Marquez, Santa Paula, 19
Officer Preparing Press Release: Sgt. Cody Madison #1018
Press Release Date: 11/12/2015
Follow-Up Contact:
Approved by: Commander Ismael Cordero #1038