June 5, 2008
Even when the evidence put a Compton man at the scene of the murder and witnesses testified he did it during the trial, the victim’s family had their doubts he’d be convicted. “They don’t know much about the laws here in the United States, but I kept telling them, ‘No, no, look at the evidence. He will pay,’” Bernice Contreras remembered assuring her cousin Israel Maciel’s parents during the trial. Maciel, 23, was killed in a drive-by shooting Aug. 2, 2006.
December 14, 1999
Rowland Hodgkinson, chief of police in Newport Beach from 1928 until sometime during the 1950s, was an amazing man. Part of the so-called "Balboa Bunch," he came to office during the Claire-Rinehart regime and lasted long after that political group left office. At the time of his departure, he had held office as police chief longer than anyone in the state. His secret was in the selection and training of his officers. In those days, there were no police training facilities of any kind in the state.
March 27, 2001
Occasionally there are stories in the paper about runaway juries -- juries that seem to disregard whatever facts have been presented. They make decisions based on some rationale outside the courtroom. Every time this happens, there is all sorts of hand wringing about the jury system. After all my years in a courtroom, I am a big believer in it. Time and again I would see twelve ordinary people come into a courtroom where they were presented with various facts and opinions.
November 19, 2009
The Orange County Superior Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld the conviction of Janene Johns, who fatally struck local teacher Candace Tift with her car in 2006. In a unanimous decision, associate justices Raymond J. Ikola, Richard D. Fybel and William F. Rylaarsdam affirmed Johns’ conviction and Orange County Superior Court Judge Daniel McNerny’s sentence. Attorneys argued the case in front of the appeals panel in mid-August. Decisions can take up to 90 days to be issued.
January 15, 2002
I noticed a headline in the Pilot on Wednesday, "Solution found for cheerleader controversy." And with that, I breathed a big sigh of relief for some nameless judge who might have been faced with trying to solve the matter were it to reach the court. I know. I have the scars -- plus a noticeable tremor of the hands -- to remind me. There is an old expression that there is no anger comparable to that of a woman scorned. The heck there isn't. Real, white, hot anger is to be found in the mother of a cheerleader who has lost her place on the squad.