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31Aug/12Off

LAPD Under Fire For Death Of An L.A. Woman

The Los Angeles Police Department has a bad PR problem. In fact, they’ve had a bad PR problem since before the Los Angeles Riots in 1992. It spans to the time of Chief Daryl Gates.

At least five Los Angeles police officers are under investigation in the death of a woman who stopped breathing during a struggle that included an officer stomping on her genital area and the use of additional force by others to take her into custody, police officials confirmed Thursday.

Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Bell 206 ...

Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Bell 206 Jetranger helicopter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The altercation in front of her South Los Angeles apartment was captured by a patrol car’s video camera.

When asked about the incident, LAPD Commander Bob Green confirmed that one officer, while trying to get Alesia Thomas into the back of a patrol car, threatened to kick Thomas in the genitals if she did not comply, and then followed through on her threat.

After officers forced Thomas into the back seat of the police car, she is seen on the video breathing shallowly; she eventually stopped breathing.

“I take all in-custody death investigations very seriously,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said in a statement late Thursday. “I am confident we will get to the truth no matter where that leads us.”

The incident came to light a day after Beck announced he was transferring a captain from his command after a separate videotaped incident in which officers were shown slamming a handcuffed woman to the ground. Beck said that video raised concerns and that the department was investigating the officers.

The Thomas case occurred in the early morning hours of July 22 after she left her 3-year-old and 12-year-old children at the LAPD’s Southeast Area station, according to a department account released the following day. Green, who oversees the Southeast Area station, confirmed that Thomas tried to surrender custody of the children to police because she was a drug addict and felt she could not care for them.

Officers went in search of Thomas, finding her at her home in the 9000 block of South Broadway. After questioning her briefly, the officers attempted to arrest her on suspicion of child endangerment, the department’s account said.

Thomas “began actively resisting arrest” and one of the officers took her to the ground by sweeping her legs from beneath her, the LAPD’s official account said. Two others handcuffed Thomas’ hands behind her back and attempted to lead her to a patrol car while a supervising sergeant observed, according to the department’s version.

Two more officers were summoned as Thomas continued to struggle. Green confirmed that Thomas was a large woman. A “hobble restraint device” — an adjustable strap — was tightened around Thomas’ ankles to give the officers more control and she was eventually placed in the back of the patrol car, the LAPD account said.

The official account, however, made no mention of what Green confirmed was a female officer’s questionable treatment of Thomas.

The department’s account said officers immediately notified paramedics. It is unclear whether the officers attempted to resuscitate her and how much time passed before paramedics arrived. Thomas died shortly after being transported to a hospital.

A neighbor who witnessed part of the incident said he did not see officers do anything wrong and described Thomas as the aggressor.

Gerald McCrary Sr., 55, said he was awakened by the commotion and saw police wrestling with Thomas, who managed to break free from plastic handcuffs. The officers secured her with metal handcuffs and tried to calm her down as she sat against a wall, McCrary said.

“They were talking to her, asking her to calm down, that everything will be all right,” he recalled. They brought Thomas some water to drink.

“My heart hurts. I can’t walk anymore,” he recalled Thomas telling police.

Two officers escorted her down the stairs in her apartment complex, one on each arm. McCrary eventually followed and said he saw Thomas in a patrol car “shaking her head against the back seat.” Some time later, he saw her sprawled out on the sidewalk without a blouse. Paramedics had just arrived.

McCrary said police interviewed him on two separate occasions about the incident but never mentioned that Thomas was dead.

Charmaine Hood, McCrary’s live-in caregiver, also witnessed Thomas’ encounter with police. She said officers were trying to help Thomas.

“I didn’t see them try to harm her in any shape or fashion,” Hood said. “I seen them protect her from hurting herself.”

If a loved one was the victim of wrongful death that was caused by negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

30Aug/12Off

Are You Too Old To Drive?

Driving is a privilege. The privilege of driving can easily be taken away. There are limits on when you’re legally able to start driving. Should there be limits on when to stop driving?

A 100-year-old man backed his car on to a sidewalk and hit 11 people, including nine children, across from an elementary school in South Los Angeles just after classes had ended Wednesday, authorities said.

English: Homeless man in Los Angeles, CA

English: Homeless man in Los Angeles, CA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Four of the children were in critical condition when firefighters arrived but they were stabilized and were in serious condition at a hospital. Everyone was expected to survive.

The powder blue Cadillac backed slowly into the group of parents and children buying snacks from a sidewalk vendor, and the crowd banged on his windows and screamed for him to stop, but not before some of the children were trapped under the car, witnesses said.

Children’s backpacks, shoes, candy and loose change were strewn about the scene behind a discount grocery store across from Main Street Elementary.

Police identified the driver as Preston Carter and said he was being very cooperative.

Carter talked to television reporters after the crash some five miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles. He said he has a driver’s license and will be 101 years old September.

“My brakes failed. It was out of control,” Carter told KCAL-TV.

Asked about hitting the children, Preston said: “You know I’m sorry about that. I wouldn’t do that for nothing on earth. My sympathies for them.”

Carter was pulling out of the grocery store parking lot, but instead of backing into the street, he backed onto the sidewalk.

“I think it was a miscalculation on his part. The gentleman is elderly,” Rodriguez said. “Obviously he is going to have some impairment on his decision making.”

Older drivers have been involved in other tragedies. In 2003, an 86-year-old man mistakenly stepped on the gas pedal of his car instead of the brake and then panicked, plowing into an open-air market in Santa Monica. Ten people were killed and 63 injured.

According to California’s Department of Motor Vehicles, people over age 70 must renew their driver’s license in person, rather than via the Internet or by mail. Older drivers can also be required to take a supplemental driving test if they fail a vision exam, or if a police officer, a physician, or a family member raises questions about their ability to drive.

Rodriguez said the collision was being investigated as an accident, and Carter was not under arrest. He has a valid driver’s license, Rodriguez said.

If a loved one was the victim of a car accident that was caused by negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

29Aug/12Off

Lindsay Lohan Is Also A Thief

Not only does Lindsay Lohan have a drug problem. Apparently, she also likes to steal from people’s homes. We sincerely hope that the troubled starlet doesn’t run into LL Cool J anytime soon.

Although Lohan is off the hook concerning a theft from a Hollywood Hills home, she seemed still upset about the situation four days after the alleged incident, according to her Twitter comments.

This mugshot is found from http://www.perezhil...

This mugshot is found from http://www.perezhilton.com, and the original is from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. All mugshots from there are released into in the public domain.http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Meegs&diff=prev&oldid=108863911 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The actress went to Twitter to decry “lies” being told about her regarding the theft.

“Whenever I’m doing great, people fabricate lies.” Lohan wrote. “It’s such a shame.”

Los Angeles Police Department detectives had presented evidence to prosecutors Tuesday after several days of investigation, identifying Lohan as well as Gavin Lawrence Doyle and Andrew Nicholas Payan as suspects in the case.

Lohan and one of the alleged victims, identified as millionaire Sam Magid, had a “long-standing relationship,” and he did not identify any of the suspects, prosecutors said.

Although one of the suspects made a “vague admission” that someone had taken something, none of the suspects was found with any property.

In addition, prosecutors noted in the filing that eyewitnesses in the case did not cooperate with authorities, and the victims did not wish to pursue a criminal prosecution of the case.

LAPD detectives had been seeking to talk with Lohan after several items, including cash, sunglasses and a credit card holder, were reported stolen from a home Aug. 18.

The incident is the latest in a series of brushes with the law for Lohan, who has been trying to put her much-chronicled legal troubles behind her and resume her acting career.

She was on probation for a 2007 conviction for driving under the influence. Since then, she has also been convicted of shoplifting and was on probation for that offense as well.

Lohan was sent to jail several times for violating the terms of her probation. But she hewed to a strict regimen of counseling and community service at the county morgue.

In March, a judge ended her probation in the DUI case and reduced the shoplifting probation to unsupervised status.

In the latest case, according to prosecutors, the victims were asleep in the residence about 7:45 a.m. Aug. 18, when they became aware that someone was trying to get into the master bedroom of the home.

They searched for the suspects and saw a man later identified as Doyle standing outside the home. The man fled. While trying to call 911, an unidentified woman at the home saw a newer model BMW parked in front of the home and a second man enter the vehicle, which then drove away.

When LAPD officers arrived at the home, the victims reported that keys from cars at the home as well as cash, sunglasses and a credit card holder were missing.

Day laborers working across the street identified two men and a woman who arrived at the residence in a tan BMW around the time the crime reportedly occurred and then went inside.

But police were unable to find any evidence of forced entry into the cars or the home. A security guard interviewed by police said that at 2 a.m. that morning Lohan came to the home and wanted to enter it to speak with Magid.

She was told she could not come in and asked the guard if Magid was in the home with “some other girl.”

If a loved one was the victim of harassment that was caused by negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

28Aug/12Off

LAPD Allegedly Abuse Bank Executives

No one likes bank fees of any kind. No one wants to pay money to use an ATM, cash a check or transfer money. No one wants to pay a fee to maintain a minimum balance or a fee to have overdraft protection. Like it or not, fees are one of the ways that banks make money. Just because you don’t like fees, however, doesn’t mean that you should beat bankers up.

A bank executive has filed a claim with the city of Los Angeles, saying he suffered at least $50 million in damages after he was severely beaten up by two LAPD officers.

Thorne Hall at Occidental College in Los Angel...

Thorne Hall at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The beating allegedly occurred May 15 in Highland Park, where Brian C. Mulligan, a managing director and vice chairman at Deutsche Bank, says he was hurt so badly, he suffered 15 fractures to his nose and needed dozens of stitches.

But officers said they had to use force to subdue a snarling, thrashing man who arched his back, waved his arms, stiffened his fingers like claws and charged them on a residential street, according to a police report.

One of Mulligan’s attorneys, J. Michael Flanagan, offered a more bizarre version of events: that the officers dragged Mulligan to a down-market motel and threatened to kill him if he left. When they discovered that Mulligan had escaped, his attorney said, the officers beat him.

No charges have been filed against Mulligan, though a spokesman for the city attorney’s office, which handles misdemeanor crimes, said the incident was under review.

Mulligan is a longtime Hollywood money man and deal maker who has served as co-chairman of Universal Pictures, chief financial officer of Seagram, Universal’s former owner, and chairman of News Corp.’s Fox Television. Mulligan, 53, joined Deutsche Bank in 2009.

He lives in upscale La Cañada Flintridge, less than 10 miles from the grittier Los Angeles neighborhood of Highland Park.

On the night of May 15, his attorney Flanagan said in an interview, Mulligan drove to a dispensary on the border of Highland Park and Eagle Rock to buy medical marijuana products, which help him sleep.

He said law enforcement officers — he was uncertain from what agency — detained him, walked him to a run-down apartment complex and told him to go to the fourth floor, his attorney said. While making his way through the building, Mulligan panicked, his attorney said. He ran to the street, spotted some law enforcement officers and sprinted in the opposite direction.

Mulligan thought he’d be safe if he reached Occidental College, less than a mile away, Flanagan said.

“He was running for his life,” the attorney said.

About 10:20 p.m., LAPD Officers James Nichols and John Miller responded to a report of a white male trying to break into a car outside a Jack in the Box, the police report said. Soon a second call came in reporting a similar break-in attempt — and a similar-looking suspect — not far away.

The officers came across Mulligan near an entrance to Occidental. Dressed in a pink shirt and tan pants, he matched the description of the would-be burglar, according to the report. His attorney said Mulligan never tried to pry open car doors.

He was drenched in sweat and walked with an “unsteady gait,” the police report said.

Yet he passed several sobriety tests. According to the report, Mulligan told police that he’d ingested marijuana and, in recent days, “white lightning,” a nickname for powerful drugs known as bath salts.

He said he hadn’t slept in four days, was going through a divorce and felt depressed, the report said. Mulligan also said he was being chased, according to the report, which nonetheless described him as calm, lucid and cooperative.

Mulligan denies saying any of this or being under the influence of any drug that night, his attorney said. The officers drove Mulligan to his Toyota Prius, which they searched; Mulligan’s attorney said he had not given them permission. They found his Irish passport and enough cash that they called in a supervisor, said the report, which did not specify an amount.

Mulligan’s claim pegged the cash at about $5,000, a sum he said he normally carried for business travel. Then police took Mulligan — whose cellphone and passport remained in his car, his attorneys said — to the nearby Highland Park Motel, a low-rent building across from homes with barred windows.

From here, the two sides’ accounts diverge wildly.

If a loved one was the victim of a wrongful death that was caused by negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

27Aug/12Off

Never Drive Drunk In Costa Mesa

Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is wrong. Period. No one should ever drink and drive because it could lead to fatal car accidents.

A man who made a 911 call accusing Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer of driving drunk is believed to be a former Riverside police officer.

English: California State Route 55, close to t...

English: California State Route 55, close to the interchange with the Interstate 405 in Costa Mesa, California. Deutsch: Die California State Route 55 nahe der Kreuzung mit der Interstate 405 in Costa Mesa, Kalifornien. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The caller identified himself to a police dispatcher as Chris Lanzillo, according to a tape of the call obtained Friday by the Daily Pilot using a state public records request.

Sources with knowledge of the investigation confirmed that Lanzillo is a former police officer who’s now a private investigator.

Righeimer — who was given a brief sobriety test outside his Mesa Verde home Wednesday night and was found to be sober — tied the incident to comments he made during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. At the meeting, Righeimer criticized police unions for using an Upland law firm, Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir. On the firm’s website is a playbook-style outline of election-year tactics that officers can use against politicians.

Lanzillo’s name appeared on the firm’s website as “staff,” but his name was recently removed, according to cached Internet records.

“Are you kidding me? The playbook guys?” Righeimer said of the firm. “I knew I wasn’t crazy. I knew it! I knew it! I knew it!”

Dieter Dammeier sent the Daily Pilot an email Friday night confirming Lanzillo worked as an investigator with his firm but that the firm had no ties to the phone call about Righeimer.

“As to your question on Lanzillo, he is one of many PIs we have used,” he wrote. “He runs his own PI firm and works for various firms and entities. I assure you, he was not employed or authorized to surveil (or do anything else to) Mr. Righeimer by this firm.”

Costa Mesa Police Association President Jason Chamness said in an email before Lanzillo was identified that his association cut ties with Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir later last week because the association was working toward a less-aggressive approach to its negotiations with the city.

“Public trust must be first and foremost between the police and the community we serve,” Chamness said. “We have no intentions of allowing the police association’s relationship with the public to erode.”

Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir represents several police associations, including the Newport Beach Police Management Association.

Righeimer said he placed blame for the phone call with organized labor as an institution, not with Costa Mesa’s rank-and-file police officers.

“The officer was very professional here,” he said. “He’d just got the call. He went. If it was guys in our department trying to set me up out there, they would’ve done it differently, I think.”

If a loved one was the victim of a wrongful death that was caused by negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

24Aug/12Off

A Shocking Tragedy

Heroes think of others before they ever think of themselves. That was certainly the case for the firefighters who first responded to the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Irma Zamora’s husband urged her not to get out of the car as they approached the scene of a spectacular traffic crash in Los Angeles’ Valley Village neighborhood. But as he pulled over to call 911, she rushed out anyway, eager to help.

Villaraigosa speaks at a meeting on infrastruc...

Villaraigosa speaks at a meeting on infrastructure investment in the White House as President Barack Obama and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood look on. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A sport utility vehicle had just careened through the intersection of Magnolia Boulevard and Ben Avenue, shearing off a concrete light standard and knocking over a fire hydrant before coming to rest on a front lawn. Water spewed skyward from the broken hydrant and quickly pooled in the intersection.

Zamora ran toward the wrecked SUV and stepped into an electrified pool of water. She was immediately –- and fatally — electrocuted, struck by what firefighters estimate was 48,000 volts of electricity.

Such selfless action was typical of Zamora, her sister Ana Aviles said Thursday. “She always helped people. She didn’t measure the consequences. She was trying to save a life.”

Zamora, 40, of Burbank, was one of two women who died Wednesday night in what police and witnesses described as a bizarre and tragic series of events. The name of the second woman, who touched Zamora after she had been stricken and was also electrocuted, has not been released.

At least half a dozen others, including the driver of the SUV and a Los Angeles police officer, were hospitalized after they too received electrical shocks while trying to aid the victims.

“It’s horrific, very sad for the families of these women and everyone involved,” said Los Angeles Police Detective Bill Bustos of the Valley Traffic Division. “They were just trying to help.”

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who visited the site of the accident Thursday with other city officials, called the two women heroes and praised their instinct to render aid. But he also urged people to take time to assess such situations and wait for professionals to arrive. “We don’t want anyone hurt,” he said.

Police said the driver of the vehicle, a 19-year-old from Glendale who has not been identified, was heading west on Magnolia Boulevard when he tried to negotiate a right turn onto Ben from the left lane. He was traveling at speeds believed to be well above the 35-mile-per-hour limit, police said.

Alcohol was not a factor, Bustos said.

Residents of the densely populated neighborhood described a chaotic scene, as gushing water spread rapidly through the darkened intersection. Would-be rescuers raced up from all directions.

“It was horrible, chaotic, just horrible,” said Liz Casmier, who lives nearby. Casmier said at least 50 people gathered within minutes of the crash.

Jacqueline Montgomery, who manages a nearby apartment complex, was walking a friend to his car when she saw the speeding SUV sliding into the turn.

“He was flying,” she said.

As people began to pour out of the many apartment buildings in the area, Zamora and her husband pulled up, several eyewitnesses said. Zamora raced toward the SUV, apparently intent on helping the driver, but stepped into the water and was instantly shocked.

“We saw her standing there and shaking” from the electrical current, said a resident named Jeanette, who declined to give her last name. “I can still see it vivid in my mind.”

Zamora’s distraught husband ran toward his wife, yelling to her, the woman said. Several neighbors restrained him, fearing he too might be injured.

Twin brothers Skyler and Beau Maxon, 23, who moved to Los Angeles from Salt Lake City two years ago to pursue acting careers, also rushed to the scene from their apartment.

Skyler Maxon said his brother approached Zamora, touching either the injured woman or the electrified water near her and immediately suffered a shock. He was in intensive care Thursday but is expected to live, his brother said.

Maxon said as he and another man tried to help his brother, another woman, not aware of the danger, ran toward Zamora. “We were yelling at her to stay back, but I don’t think she understood,” he said.

The woman touched Zamora, then collapsed.

Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Jaime Moore said rescue crews used a specialized glass pole to retrieve the women’s bodies safely. Efforts to resuscitate them were unsuccessful, he said.

Late in the day, Zamora’s family members and friends set up a collage of pictures of her at the accident site and several young relatives released balloons in her memory.

Since 1993, she had worked at Lawyers Title Co. in Burbank, where she had moved up from the switchboard to an assistant title officer. She was friendly and well-liked, said the firm’s David Cronenbold.

“She will be remembered as a person who passed away doing what she always did, which was helping other people and putting others before her own needs,” he said.

If a loved one was the victim of a wrongful death that was caused by negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

23Aug/12Off

Mama Said Knock You Out

Who would have guessed that LL Cool J was really a superhero disguised as a rapper! It’s true! LL Cool J finally lived up to the hype of one of his hit singles. Apparently, when the hip hop veteran isn’t rapping or acting, he’s fighting crime – without the need for a gun.

LL Cool J put his “NCIS: Los Angeles” training to good use against a burglar in his L.A. home early Wednesday morning.

Ll-cool-j

Ll-cool-j (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A burglar who broke into the Studio City home of actor-rapper LL Cool J  suffered a broken nose and jaw in what police sources described as a “knock-down, drag-out” fight.

Los Angeles police were called to the star’s home in the 12000 block of Blairwood Drive around 1 a.m. Wednesday, officials said. LL Cool J was holding the suspect when officers arrived, officials said.

LL Cool J, born James Todd Smith, rose to fame with musical hits such as “Mama Said Knock You Out” and “I’m Bad” and several other hits. He currently stars in “NCIS: Los Angeles.”

Detectives were waiting to interview the suspect, who was not immediately identified, at a hospital where he was being treated. The suspect is described as a transient, and police could not immediately say whether he had a criminal record.

LL Cool J was upstairs in his home when he heard noises coming from the kitchen area. When he went down to see what was happening, the unidentified suspect came at him, leading to the fight.

One could only imagine what would happen if Snoop Dogg’s (aka Snoop Lion) house were robbed.

If a loved one was the victim of wrongful death that was caused by negligence, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you determine if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

22Aug/12Off

Dodger Stadium’s Traffic Nightmare

The San Francisco Giants got a lucky break on Tuesday night when they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers on their own turf. Thankfully, no one got hurt.

It’s a night of wondrous Dodger Stadium sights, with Fernando Valenzuela on a bobblehead, Don Newcombe taking a bow, and fans booing the San Francisco Giants.

Think Blue sign in the mountains north of Dodg...

Think Blue sign in the mountains north of Dodger Stadium, a homage to the nearby Hollywood Sign. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But I’m blinded by another Dodgers tradition.

Headlights. They are glowing from beyond the right-field pavilion, in a long line of cars entering the stadium, in clear sight from my press-box chair. They are no different from the headlights that snake into any major league stadium on any summer night, with one blue twist.

It is the top of the fourth inning. Yes, it is the top of the fourth inning and there is still a line of cars trying to park, folks attempting to go to a baseball game that will be halfway finished by the time they find their seats.

That’s crazy. That’s unacceptable. That’s been happening forever here, and it’s still wrong.

You can blame Tuesday night’s jam on fans who were foolish enough to leave late for a legend’s bobblehead night that was a certain sellout, but how does that explain the mess once they arrived in the parking lot? Are Dodgers entrances and parking so bad that even if you blow off three innings, you are still stuck in traffic?

The lights finally disappeared in the bottom of the fourth inning. By the time those fans saw the scoreboard, the game had essentially already been decided, the Giants leading 4-0 en route to a 4-1 victory. Those fans were so late, in fact, their headlights had already been replaced by some taillights from people leaving.

Once again, the worst sporting experience in this town is driving into — and out of — a Dodgers game that fills a 56,000-seat stadium that is baseball’s biggest and most unmanageable. Tuesday was the Dodgers’ 10th sellout this season, which is 10 traffic nightmares too many.

Even when you put on your big-game face, you get burned.

Just ask Michael Roberts, a Dodgers fan from Orange who knew Tuesday’s game would be a sellout and arrived at the Dodger Stadium freeway offramp more than an hour before the first pitch.

“And traffic was at a complete standstill,” he said.

“For a half-hour, we didn’t move.”

Roberts sat outside the stadium for 1 hour 15 minutes — he counted — before finding his seat. It took him longer to travel from the 110 Freeway into Chavez Ravine than it did from Orange to downtown.

“If it’s going to take you two hours to get in and out of the stadium, sure, it might just be easier to stay home,” said Roberts.

The Dodgers have won a surprising number of games while spending a stunning amount of money this summer, but none of that will fix their still-smarting public perception if they don’t fix the gridlock, and they know it.

“We deeply regret any inconvenience that fans may have experienced, and we are working closely with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, the MTA and the LAPD to try to mitigate the traffic ingress to stadium, and egress as well,” said a Dodgers spokesman Tuesday night. “It’s a difficult situation because of where the stadium is located, when you have large crowds and that many cars. We’re working on it diligently and hopefully we can come up with a solution.”

It’s easy to blame the parking on the Dodgers’ owners, but we’ve been doing that for years and the parking still stinks. Don’t you think if there was a way to fix the unruly lots, they would have been fixed by now?

It’s also easy to blame the parking on the lack of roads leading into and out of Chavez Ravine, but now you’re talking about messing with the surrounding neighborhoods, and that’s already happened once up here.

There’s really only one answer, and it works not only for parking, but on a variety of levels.

The Dodgers need to shrink the stadium. Fewer fans, fewer cars. Shrink it by replacing a bunch of seats with patios and railings and the kinds of restaurants that are landmarks in other stadiums. Transform the mammoth into a more intimate creature that has been so popular in other cities.

Shrink it to also increase comfort, ambience and buzz.

Stan Kasten, the Dodgers president who recently visited the Miami Marlins’ new stadium as part of his research in remodeling his own park, agreed earlier Tuesday night that the building could stand to get smaller.

He didn’t mention parking as the reason, but that could end up being its best byproduct.

“We don’t think the stadium is too small,” he said. “We could lose seats and that would be fine. We haven’t talked about chopping off a deck, but move some rows out to put something else in there.”

He’s talking about perhaps blowing out some upper field-level seats and replacing them with an expanded concourse with railings. He’s talking about maybe trying the same thing in the outfield pavilion.

“I like all the things that new stadiums have … really wide concourses, a variety of concessions, the entertainment things that can appeal to fans when they get up and do their third-inning cruise,” Kasten said.

“The brilliance of Dodger Stadium is sightlines and spectacular backdrops, but modern fans expect more things.”

Like the ability to go from the stadium entrance to their seat in less time than it once took to play an entire game.

If a loved one was the victim of a car accident that was caused by negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

21Aug/12Off

Princeton Review Releases 2013 List of Top College Party Schools

Bell Tower on the campus of the University of ...

Bell Tower on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Princeton Review recently released a list documenting the top party colleges for the year of 2013. At the top of the list—to the students’ pride and to the school officials’ chagrin—is West Virginia University. The Princeton Review has been ranking colleges for 21 years and West Virginia University has been in the top 20 list 12 times.

The second university on the list is University of Iowa and the third is Ohio University who was the champion the previous year. Other titles which West Virginia University has won included first place in the “Lots of Beer” category and third place in the “Students Study the Least” category. This may explain how the college managed to seize the title from Ohio University and reign king in the top party school listing.

When students moved into WVU, many police officers cited students for underage drinking and incidents where public displays of intoxication were found. Clearly, the school is trying to lose its party reputation. Spokesperson Becky Lofstead stated that the list had no real credibility and most schools on the party list were large, public universities that excelled in other areas of academia and sports.

The other schools in the 2013 party list, in order, include: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Georgia, University of Florida, UC Santa Barbara, Florida State University, Miami University, and Syracuse University.

The rankings of the party colleges are part of Princeton Review’s 2013 “The Best 377 Colleges” book. The new book edition contains 62 lists that will help future college students best assess the aspects of college life on a campus they are looking into. The lists range from academia, administration, and the social life of a campus. The lists were done through 80 question surveys the company gave out to 122,000 students. Those interested in buying the book can see the new edition out on Tuesday.

Other lists that the Princeton Review compiled included the “Least Beautiful Campus” list, “Students Pack the Stadiums” list, and the “Stone-Cold Sober Schools” list. On the “Stone-Cold Sober” list were: Wheaton College, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Grove City College, West Point, CUNY-Brooklyn College, Wesleyan College, Wellesley College, and Calvin College.

While the lists that Princeton Review let out were fun and games, the careless acts that may be caused by drinking can lead to serious cases of personal injury. If a college student were to drink then drive, a possible car accident may occur. When a person chooses to drive a vehicle, he or she has the responsibility to make sure they are okay to drive. However, there have been some misfortunate cases were DUIs have lead to car accidents.

If you have been hurt in a car accident, call a Los Angeles personal injury attorney today.

21Aug/12Off

Innocent Man Still Behind Bars Two Years After Judge Ordered Release

Imagine a judge declaring that you’re not guilty of a crime, but you’re still in prison because a deadline was missed? Would this be considered a travesty of justice?

Daniel Larsen was in a California prison serving a life sentence when he received the news he had awaited more than a decade. A federal court in Los Angeles had thrown out his conviction for carrying a concealed knife.

English: This office building in Sacramento, C...

English: This office building in Sacramento, California is home to the main office of the California Attorney General. The building, located at 1300 I Street, was constructed in the mid-1990s. {1} Photographed by user Coolcaesar on June 13, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two judges concluded that jurors who convicted Larsen would never have found him guilty had they heard from additional witnesses who saw a different man with the knife. Larsen’s attorney, who has since been disbarred, failed to adequately investigate the case and identify the witnesses before the trial, the judges found.

But two years after he was supposed to be released, Larsen remains behind bars while the California attorney general appeals the decision. The state’s main argument: He did not file his legal paperwork seeking release on time.

California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, whose office maintains that evidence still points to Larsen’s guilt, accuses him and his attorneys of filing a petition seeking his release more than six years after he was legally required to do so. Prosecutors question whether the judges had the authority to hear Larsen’s petition for release.

The standoff offers a window into what is often a defendant’s last chance to have a criminal conviction overturned.

Larsen turned to the federal court to file a habeas corpus claim after exhausting his appeals in California state courts. In overturning Larsen’s conviction, the federal court found he was “actually innocent” under the law because it had no confidence in the outcome of the original trial.

Prosecutors have long been frustrated by the seemingly endless appeals from inmates claiming innocence, many of whom were convicted on solid evidence. Robert Weisberg, a professor at Stanford Law School, said the attorney general appears to be trying to prevent an onslaught of legal claims by prisoners who have tenuous arguments. States want to make it nearly impossible for inmates to reopen their cases in federal court, which force prosecutors to retry cases in which they have already won convictions, he said.

“What they’re saying is, this guy had his chances. At a certain point the music has to stop, and a case just has to be closed,” Weisberg said. “We’re afraid that lots of people who were not unjustly convicted are going to be encouraged to frame their case as the injustice of the century.”

Larsen’s attorneys say prosecutors are interested only in a win for win’s sake. They contend that evidence that Larsen is innocent is strong enough to overcome any need to meet legal deadlines.

The wrangling over byzantine legal rules governing federal habeas corpus laws could take several more years to resolve.

On Monday, Larsen’s supporters delivered copies of online petitions to the attorney general’s office in downtown Los Angeles demanding the man’s release.

“He’s living in legal limbo just waiting to be released,” said his fiancee, Christina Combs.

The attorney general’s office declined to comment.

Larsen’s legal saga began in June 1998 at a parking lot outside a Northridge bar.

Two police officers responded to a report of a bar fight and testified that they saw Larsen take a shiny metal object out of his waistband and throw it under a car. They said they searched the area and found a double-edged knife about 6 inches long.

Larsen’s attorney, Michael Edward Consiglio, did not call any witnesses on Larsen’s behalf, despite his client’s claims of innocence. Jurors found him guilty and, because Larsen had two prior convictions for burglary, he qualified for a lengthy prison term under the state’s three-strikes law and was sentenced to 28 years to life.

From prison, Larsen contacted nine different attorneys for help until the California Innocence Project picked up his case in 2002.

After the group’s legal claims were repeatedly rejected in state courts, the organization filed a last-ditch habeas corpus case in federal court in 2008. A year later, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Suzanne H. Segal heard what jurors at Larsen’s initial trial never did — testimony from three witnesses who said they saw a different man, not Larsen, with the knife.

Among the new witnesses was a correctional officer visiting from Tennessee who formerly served as a police chief in North Carolina, and his wife. After listening to the witnesses, the judge described Larsen’s claims as one of the “extraordinary cases where the [prisoner] asserts his innocence and establishes that the court cannot have confidence in the contrary finding of guilt.” She found that Larsen’s attorney failed to provide a competent defense.

U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder agreed and ruled that Larsen could be released even though his legal claim missed the federal court’s deadlines.

If a loved one was the victim of wrongful incarceration that was caused by negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.