Tag Archives: James Otero

Who Is In Charge Of The Palos Verdes Estates Police Department? Jeff Kepley Is Definitely Out, But Other Than That No One At The City Is Talking, At Least They’re Not Talking To Judge James Otero

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit.ames Also see here to download all pleadings in this case.

A very peculiar pleading in this most peculiar of cases hit PACER last night, in . It seems that PVE police chief Jeff Kepley retired at some point recently. Since he’s being sued in his official capacity rather than his personal capacity, it appears that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 25(d) requires that Jeff Kepley be dropped from the suit and his successor named instead:

Public Officers; Death or Separation from Office. An action does not abate when a public officer who is a party in an official capacity dies, resigns, or otherwise ceases to hold office while the action is pending. The officer’s successor is automatically substituted as a party. Later proceedings should be in the substituted party’s name, but any misnomer not affecting the parties’ substantial rights must be disregarded. The court may order substitution at any time, but the absence of such an order does not affect the substitution.

So, very reasonably, it seems, plaintiffs’ attorney Kurt Franklin filed a Suggestion to the Court that the acting Chief, who seems to be Mark Velez at this point, be substituted in.1 This seems to be fairly inconsequential in that the rule seems to say that the substitution happens irrespective of whether anyone acknowledges it, but it also seems like the kind of thing one would want to tell the court about. If it comes up later and one knew about it and didn’t tell the court, how weird is that going to look?

Not that the City of PVE is worried about such niceties. As with everything to do with the City’s involvement in this case, the events leading up to this filing have an air of shady incompetence, evasion, and deception. It hasn’t yet been proven that this weirdo little City on a Hill has anything to hide, but they surely do act as if they do. So what’s one more little item like not telling the court that the freaking chief of police retired?

As always there’s a transcription after the break, as well as a timeline of key events.
Continue reading Who Is In Charge Of The Palos Verdes Estates Police Department? Jeff Kepley Is Definitely Out, But Other Than That No One At The City Is Talking, At Least They’re Not Talking To Judge James Otero

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Judge Otero Rules That No Hearing Is Necessary On City Of LA’s Motion To Clarify Preliminary Injunction In Mitchell Case, Cancels Hearing Scheduled For Monday September 11

See Gale Holland’s excellent story in the Times on Mitchell v. LA as well as our other stories on the subject for the background to this post. See here to download most of the papers filed in the case.

Recall that in May 2016 the City of Los Angeles filed a motion asking Judge James Otero to clarify his preliminary injunction against enforcement of the abhorrent LAMC §56.11; within the boundaries of Skid Row. Recently plaintiffs’ attorney Carol Sobel filed a scathing opposition to the City’s motion and a hearing was set for Monday, September 11.

Well, just yesterday Judge James Otero ruled that he didn’t need a hearing in order to decide on the motion and thereby cancelled it. This was published on PACER as one of those text-only notices, no PDF associated, and you can read what there is of it after the break.
Continue reading Judge Otero Rules That No Hearing Is Necessary On City Of LA’s Motion To Clarify Preliminary Injunction In Mitchell Case, Cancels Hearing Scheduled For Monday September 11

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Lunada Bay Boys Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver Schedules Telephonic Hearing To Determine How To Proceed On The Manifold Motions Regarding Discovery Disputes Sent Over By Judge Otero For September 5, Orders, To The Delight Of Everyone Who Has To Pay PACER Fees, That No Further Briefs Be Filed Unless Requested

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit.ames Also see here to download all pleadings in this case.

NOTE: Because I was asked, I thought I’d just announce that I’m sorry for the lack of cartoons. For the next week I’m forced to use a substandard computer. The cartoons will return on or about September 5 if all goes as planned.

Yesterday Judge James Otero bestowed sufficient authority upon Magistrate Judge Oliver to decide all the pending motions relating to discovery shenanigans on the parts of the various defendants, including the plaintiffs’ monumental motion for administrative relief. Well, Oliver is no slacker — today the Magistrate Judge issued an order scheduling a telephonic hearing on all the pending discovery matters for September 5. The purpose of this hearing, it seems, isn’t to decide the issues, but to agree on what further briefs and proceedings will be necessary to decide the issues. As always, there’s a transcript after the break.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver Schedules Telephonic Hearing To Determine How To Proceed On The Manifold Motions Regarding Discovery Disputes Sent Over By Judge Otero For September 5, Orders, To The Delight Of Everyone Who Has To Pay PACER Fees, That No Further Briefs Be Filed Unless Requested

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Lunada Bay Boys Judge Otero Kicks Plaintiffs’ Motions For Administrative Relief, Sanctions Against Charlie, Frank Ferrara, Sang Lee, Back To Magistrate Judge Oliver For Decision, Stays Decision On All Other Pending Motions, Continues Trial Date To December 12

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case.

Earlier this month the Lunada Bay Boys plaintiffs filed a motion for administrative sanctions asking Judge Otero to deny all the various and sundry motions for summary judgment filed by the defendants. The argument was that the astonishing level of discovery-related obstructionism displayed by the defendants, which has already resulted in some sanctions and will probably result in many more, makes it impossible for the plaintiffs reply effectively to the flurry of motions. Additionally, the plaintiffs filed other motions for discovery-related sanctions against alleged Bay Boys Charlie and Frank Ferrara and Sang Lee with Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver, who subsequently ruled that the authority to rule rested solely with Otero.

On Friday Judge Otero ruled that the motion for administrative relief could be handled without a hearing, and yesterday he issued an order granting Magistrate Judge Oliver the authority to rule on that motion and also on the motion for sanctions against Charlie and Frank Ferrara and Sang Lee. He also postponed decisions on all other pending motions until Oliver decides on these two. Finally, he also moved the trial date to December 12 at 9 a.m. You can read a transcription of the whole order after the break.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Judge Otero Kicks Plaintiffs’ Motions For Administrative Relief, Sanctions Against Charlie, Frank Ferrara, Sang Lee, Back To Magistrate Judge Oliver For Decision, Stays Decision On All Other Pending Motions, Continues Trial Date To December 12

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Lunada Bay Boys Judge Otero Announces That He Can Decide All Eleventy-Jillion Motions For Summary Judgment, Administrative Relief, Et Damn Cetera, Without Oral Arguments, Cancels September 5 Hearing

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case.

Remember all those eleventy-jillion motions everyone in this “over-pled”1 behemoth of a case has filed over the last weeks? Like first every single defendant filed motions for summary judgment:

Then the plaintiffs filed a motion to dismiss all those motions because, they plausibly claimed, they were prevented from making an adequate response by the manifold discovery shenanigans perpetrated by the defense. Then all the defendants opposed that motion and of course the plaintiffs subsequently replied to that opposition. And arguments over every last jot and tittle of this stack of claims, counter-claims, cross-counter-claims, and so on and on and on, were scheduled to be heard on September 5.

Well, just this afternoon, Judge Otero announced that he will be deciding all of these motions, oppositions to these motions, replies to oppositions, etc., without oral argument. He therefore cancelled the hearing, and that, I suppose, is that. There’s no PDF associated with this kind of announcement, but you can read the whole thing after the break anyway.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Judge Otero Announces That He Can Decide All Eleventy-Jillion Motions For Summary Judgment, Administrative Relief, Et Damn Cetera, Without Oral Arguments, Cancels September 5 Hearing

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Lunada Bay Boys Plaintiffs Reply To Opposition To Their Motion For Administrative Relief, Include Fascinating Transcript Of Yet Another Telephonic Hearing About Discovery Transgressions By Defendants

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case.

A couple weeks ago the plaintiffs asked Judge Otero to deny all the various and sundry motions for summary judgment filed by all the various and sundry defendants in this tangled web of a lawsuit. The basis of this plaintiffs’ motion is their pretty darn plausible assertion that approximately none of the defendants are cooperating with their discovery obligations, making it impossible for the plaintiffs to reply effectively to the defense motions.

Of course, both the City defendants and the individual defendants filed the usual eleventy-jillion briefs in opposition. And yesterday the plaintiffs filed their reply to the opposition. This was written by Kurt Franklin, and is very much worth reading.1 There is a transcription after the break. The hearing on this motion is scheduled for September 5, 2017 in James Otero’s courtroom 10C in the First Street Federal Courthouse.

The reply came with the usual batch of exhibits, among which is this gem of a transcript of the July 25 hearing before the Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver about Sang Lee’s discovery failures. If you’ve been following along, this was the hearing after which Oliver issued an order requiring Lee to hand everything over that very day. Another good read is this excerpt from the Steve Barber deposition in which he admits to being a Bay Boy buddy and also discusses at length the phone-carrying habits of the PVEPD.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Plaintiffs Reply To Opposition To Their Motion For Administrative Relief, Include Fascinating Transcript Of Yet Another Telephonic Hearing About Discovery Transgressions By Defendants

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Discussions On City Of LA’s Motion For Clarification Of Otero’s Preliminary Injunction Forbidding Confiscation Of Homeless Property In Skid Row Finally Break Down, Leading Plaintiffs’ Attorneys To File Scathing Opposition — Hearing Set For September 11 At 10 a.m.

See Gale Holland’s excellent story in the Times on Mitchell v. LA as well as our other stories on the subject for the background to this post. See here to download most of the papers filed in the case.

It’s been over a year since anything tangible happened in Mitchell v. City of LA, which is the most recent lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles challenging the City’s abhorrent enforcement of the abhorrent LAMC 56.11 as an abhorrent justification for the illegal and immoral confiscation of the personal property of homeless people in Los Angeles. Here’s a brief timeline of what’s been going on:

  • April 2016 — Judge Otero issues a preliminary injunction severely limiting the City’s enforcement of LAMC 56.11 in Skid Row.
  • May 2016 — The City of Los Angeles asks Otero to clarify his injunction. In particular, the City wanted to know the boundaries within which the injunction applies and also how the community caretaking exception to the Fourth Amendment is to be exercised in relation to homeless people’s property.
  • Subsequently the City and the plaintiffs spent over a year trying to come to an agreement on the motion for clarification.

Well, yesterday Carol Sobel filed this opposition announcing that, while the parties were able to agree on the boundaries within which the injunction applies and some other matters, they most certainly were not able to agree on the community caretaking matter and neither were they able to agree on the City’s proposal for what constitutes a removable “bulky item.” The agreed-upon boundaries, by the way, are:

Second Street to the north, Eighth Street to the South, Alameda Street to the east and Spring Street to the west.

According to the American Bar Association Journal,

The idea behind community caretaking is that police do not always function as law enforcement officials investigating and ferreting out wrongdoing, but sometimes may act as community caretakers designed to prevent harm in emergency situations.

When they’re functioning in that role, the theory goes, they can seize cars without due process, or search houses without a warrant, and so on, as long as they’re “caring for the community” rather than investigating. Thus the community caretaking function justifies some specific exceptions to the Fourth Amendment prohibition on warrantless searches and seizures of property.

And I’m sure you can imagine just what kinds of mischief the City of Los Angeles is capable of getting up to with a tool like that. In particular they’re arguing that they ought to be able to confiscate people’s property when they’re arrested even if the arrestee has someone at the scene who can take custody of the property. The City says yes, sane people say no.

This matter is scheduled for a hearing at 10 a.m. on Monday, September 11, in Otero’s Courtroom 10C in the First Street Federal Courthouse. Anyway, turn the page for some excerpts from the filing which explain things better than I’m capable of doing.
Continue reading Discussions On City Of LA’s Motion For Clarification Of Otero’s Preliminary Injunction Forbidding Confiscation Of Homeless Property In Skid Row Finally Break Down, Leading Plaintiffs’ Attorneys To File Scathing Opposition — Hearing Set For September 11 At 10 a.m.

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Lunada Bay Boys Judge James Otero Orders Post-Deadline Deposition Of Plaintiff Organization Coastal Protection Rangers To Take Place By August 24 Or, At The Latest, September 15

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case.

The other day the Lunada Bay Boys defendants asked Judge James Otero if they could depose the Coastal Protection Rangers, who is one of the plaintiffs in the case, despite the fact that the deadline for depositions has passed. Yesterday Otero issued an order allowing them to do so. There’s a transcription of the order after the break.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Judge James Otero Orders Post-Deadline Deposition Of Plaintiff Organization Coastal Protection Rangers To Take Place By August 24 Or, At The Latest, September 15

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City of PVE And Jeff Kepley And The PVE Police Officers’ Association File Opposition To Motion Because They Don’t Want To Hand Over Text Messages From Cops’ Personal Phones — No One Seems To Be Discussing The Fact That The California Supreme Court Decided In March That Work Information On Personal Phones Is Public Record

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case.

Last week the plaintiffs in the Lunada Bay Boys case asked magistrate judge Rozella Oliver to sanction the City of PVE because they refused to hand over work-related text messages. Oliver subsequently denied this motion on technical grounds. At roughly the same time the plaintiffs filed a motion for administrative relief, essentially asking Judge Otero to deny the zillions of defense motions for summary judgment because of various discovery failures on the part of the defense.

And tonight the City of PVE and Jeff Kepley filed their opposition to that motion. The most important item is this memorandum of points and authorities which has, as these all seem to, a good discussion of the facts of the dispute.

The main issue seems to be, though, that the plaintiffs’ asked for material from the personal phones of PVE cops and the cop union intervened and said via their lawyer, Howard A. Liberman, that they weren’t going to hand it over because it would violate the officers’ privacy and also it would violate their contract with the City of PVE. The City also argues that they can’t hand it over since they don’t have control over it.

There are links to all the other goodies after the break, by the way, along with more of the usual uninformed speculation.
Continue reading City of PVE And Jeff Kepley And The PVE Police Officers’ Association File Opposition To Motion Because They Don’t Want To Hand Over Text Messages From Cops’ Personal Phones — No One Seems To Be Discussing The Fact That The California Supreme Court Decided In March That Work Information On Personal Phones Is Public Record

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Lunada Bay Boys Plaintiffs Motion To Compel Sang Lee And Jeff Kepley To Get Busy And Cough Up The Damn Discovery Is Denied On Highly Technical Grounds By Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case.

On Tuesday of this week, the Lunada Bay Boys Plaintiffs filed a motion asking magistrate judge Rozella Oliver to compel defendants Sang “Friend N A Pirate” Lee and Jeff “On Admin Leave” Kepley to get busy and comply with their discovery obligations. The very next day, Wednesday, August 9, Oliver issued an order denying the plaintiffs’ motions.1 As always, there’s a transcription of the order after the break. The reasons for denying the motions are pretty technical2 but seem to hinge on the principle that a decision on them is beyond the authority of the magistrate judge and the plaintiffs have to bring their motions to Judge Otero instead. Not much of a loss, then, it seems.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Plaintiffs Motion To Compel Sang Lee And Jeff Kepley To Get Busy And Cough Up The Damn Discovery Is Denied On Highly Technical Grounds By Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver

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