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Drug charges against Nadia Lockyer dismissed

An Orange County judge dismissed drug charges Friday against former Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer, wife of state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, according to reports from the Associated Press and Los Angeles Times.

OC weekly coverA court spokeswoman told the AP the charges were dropped at prosecutors request; the Times reports she agreed to attend a drug diversion program.

Lockyer early in 2012 had claimed Stephen Chikhani attacked her in a Newark hotel room, but the state Justice Department investigated and eventually declined to charge him with any crime. As details emerged about Lockyer’s lengthy affair with Chikhani and their drug use, she resigned her supervisorial seat in April 2012.

Bill Lockyer filed for divorce a few months later, citing “irreconcilable differences” and seeking joint physical and legal custody of their son. Then Nadia Lockyer was arrested in August 2012 in Orange County and charged with felony methamphetamine possession and three misdemeanors: being under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and child abuse and endangerment. She spent several months in a residential rehabilitation program and has been under court supervision ever since.

Nadia Lockyer also was the subject of a lengthy cover story in this week’s OC Weekly.

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Read the charges against Boston bombing suspect

The Justice Department has just released the criminal complaint and affidavit charging Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, a U.S. citizen and resident of Cambridge, Mass., with using a weapon of mass destruction against persons and property at the Boston Marathon on April 15, killing three and injuring more than 200.

Tsarnaev is specifically charged with one count of using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction (namely, an improvised explosive device or IED) against persons and property within the United States resulting in death, and one count of malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death. If convicted, he could face the federal death penalty. Tsarnaev had his initial court appearance today from his hospital room.

“Although our investigation is ongoing, today’s charges bring a successful end to a tragic week for the city of Boston, and for our country,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Our thoughts and prayers remain with each of the bombing victims and brave law enforcement professionals who lost their lives or suffered serious injuries as a result of this week’s senseless violence. Thanks to the valor of state and local police, the dedication of federal law enforcement and intelligence officials, and the vigilance of members of the public, we’ve once again shown that those who target innocent Americans and attempt to terrorize our cities will not escape from justice. We will hold those who are responsible for these heinous acts accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

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SF Mayor files brief, witness list in Mirkarimi case

San Francisco’s mayor and city attorney have fired their opening salvo of documents in the pending Ethics Commission hearing against embattled, suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi.

Mirkarimi greets a supporter at SF Ethics Commission hearing 4-23-12Mayor Ed Lee suspended Mirkarimi, 50, after he pleaded guilty to false imprisonment related to a New Year’s Eve altercation that left a bruise on the arm of his wife, Venezuelan former telenovela star Eliana Lopez. Lee and City Attorney Dennis Herrera will be trading briefs with Mirkarimi’s lawyers in the coming weeks to set the stage for testimony on whether the sheriff should lose his job permanently; if the commission upholds the charges, it would take a vote of nine of 11 city and county supervisors to toss him from office.

The city’s 34-page opening brief outlines the official misconduct charges against Mirkarimi, alleging that he committed domestic violence, threatened to use his power as a public official against his wife in family court, took part in efforts to dissuade witnesses and destroy evidence, and so on. It lays out the city’s views on what standard of proof should apply, what kind of evidence the commission should rely upon, whether Mirkarimi can be held responsible for official misconduct that occurred before he was sworn in, whether the commission must act unanimously, and so on.

“While Sheriff Mirkarimi has contended elsewhere that these proceedings somehow undermine the democratic process, nothing could be further from the truth,” Deputy City Attorney Sherri Sokeland Kaiser wrote in the brief.

“When San Francisco voters democratically elected Sheriff Mirkarimi, they did not know and could not know that he would later engage in the behavior that led to these official misconduct proceedings,” she wrote. “That very problem is the reason why San Francisco voters democratically enacted the Charter removal provisions. The Ethics Commission advances democratic rule and fulfills its Charter mandate by following the removal process democratically established by the People themselves.”

But this isn’t a criminal court proceeding, Kaiser cautioned.

“The Mayor is seeking to remove Sheriff Mirkarimi from his office, not punish him or impose any criminal sanction,” Kaiser wrote. “Neither the Charter nor any other law requires the Commission to adopt a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of proof or to make its recommendation by unanimous vote. The Charter simply requires the Commission to hold a hearing, compile a record, and vote to make a recommendation as to whether to sustain the charges against Sheriff Mirkarimi.”

A separate, eight-page letter re-asserts that Mirkarimi has a duty under the city’s Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code and other ethics laws to cooperate with the city attorney’s investigation of his conduct, and like anyone else, must also comply with mayoral subpoenas. It also clarifies that the commission doesn’t take part in the mayor’s and city attorney’s investigation, but rather lets them serve as prosecutor while it acts as judge.

The city’s initial witness list includes Mayor Ed Lee; the two police inspectors who investigating Mirkarimi’s domestic violence case; retired Undersheriff Jan Dempsey and former Sheriff Michael Hennessey, to talk about the transition period from Mirkarimi’s November election through his Jan. 8 swearing-in; Christina Flores, Mirkarimi’s former girlfriend, who gave sworn court testimony about a previous domestic-violence incident; Eliana Lopez, Mirkarimi’s wife; Ivory Madison, the neighbor who photographed Lopez’ bruised arm and informed police; Linnette Peralta Haynes, Mirkarimi’s campaign manager, who allegedly asked Madison and Lopez not to tell police; Callie Williams, another of the Mirkarimis’ neighbors, who overheard other arguments; and others.

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More initiatives approved for November ballot

November’s ballot got a lot more crowded today as Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced three more weighty ballot measures have qualified to be put to voters:

    An initiative to repeal recent legislation that would let businesses carry back losses, share tax credits and use a sales-based income calculation to lower taxable income – what the measure’s proponents say are corporate tax loopholes costing the state $2.5 billion per year. Opponents call it a “jobs tax” that will cripple the state’s already-damaged economy.
    An initiative to increase the legislative vote requirement to two-thirds for state levies and charges, and impose an additional requirement for voters to approve local levies and charges. The measure, put forth by California Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Allen Zaremberg and supported by anti-tax groups, would mean a “potentially major decrease in state and local revenues and spending, depending upon future actions of the Legislature, local governing bodies, and local voters,” according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office and state Finance Department as summarized by the state Attorney General’s office.
    An initiative to change the legislative vote requirement for passing a budget from two-thirds to a simple majority – in general, beloved by Democrats and reviled by Republicans.

Add these to the Water Supply Act placed on the ballot by the Legislature, as well as the marijuana legalization initiative; the congressional redistricting initiative; the vehicle license surcharge for state parks initiative; the local revenue protection initiative; and the AB 32 rollback initiative, and we’ve now got nine propositions on November’s ballot – almost all of them with big implications for California’s future.

UPDATE @ 10:02 P.M.: Make it an even 10; the folks at the Secretary of State’s office, burning the after-hours oil, tonight announced that yet another initiative has qualified for November’s ballot. This one would eliminate the state commission on redistricting (created by Proposition 11 of 2008) and put authority for redistricting back in the hands of the Legislature.

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What Don Perata said about the FBI probe

With all the hubbub about the FBI taking evidence against former state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata to federal prosecutors in Sacramento now that federal prosecutors in San Francisco have decided after four years not to file any charges, I figured I’d ask the Don himself when I saw him in court yesterday on an unrelated matter.

Perata said the FBI’s action, and Acting U.S. Attorney Lawrence Brown‘s agreement to review the case after his peers in San Francisco tracked it for years and then took a pass on it, “seems to be unprecedented,” something he chalks up to there being “nobody in charge” as the Justice Department and U.S. Attorneys shift between administrations.

“It has to play itself out,” he said, noting he’s at least glad that federal prosecutors in San Francisco broke with tradition and actually told him there would be no indictment here; usually these things just die in silence. So far, Perata said, nobody at Justice or in Congress has responded to his attorneys’ letters asking for an investigation of this attempted change of venue.

What letters, you ask? These letters:

  • a Feb. 26 letter from Elliot Peters (the attorney representing Don Perata’s son, Nick Perata) to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder;
  • a March 4 letter from George O’Connell (Don Perata’s attorney) to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., and committee members Zoe Lofrgen, D-San Jose, and Linda Sanchez, D-Lakewood;
  • a March 11 letter from O’Connell to U.S. Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine; and
  • a March 11 letter from O’Connell to Brown and to U.S. Justice Department Public Integrity Section chief Eric Olshan.
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    The Blackwater indictment documents

    A 35-count indictment was unsealed today in the District of Columbia charging five Blackwater security guards with voluntary manslaughter, attempt to commit manslaughter, and weapons violations for their alleged roles in the Sept. 16, 2007, shooting at Nisur Square in Baghdad, Iraq. The defendants are charged with killing 14 unarmed civilians and wounding 20 other individuals.

    Here’s the indictment; here’s the proffer of testimony given by a sixth Blackwater employee about what happened that day; and here’s the criminal information to which that sixth employee has pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors.

    Read ’em and weep. Literally.