Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Alameda County DA Nancy O'Malley Announces New Policy to Reduce and Dismiss Potentially Thousands of Marijuana Convictions

According to the DA's office, there are possibly as many as 6,000 marijuana cases that could be cleared or reduced through the Prop 64 process.

by Darwin BondGraham
Tue, Feb 20, 2018 at 12:27 PM


Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Mally announced today a plan to reduce and dismiss thousands of prior marijuana convictions.

"We join our state officials and intend to reverse decades of cannabis convictions that can be a barrier for people to gain meaningful employment," O'Malley said in a press statement.

The sweeping ability to clear up people's criminal records was granted after voters passed Proposition 64 last year. Under the new law legalizing adult possession, use, and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana, many previous felony and misdemeanor marijuana crimes are no longer crimes. And many people now have the right to petition a court to reduce or dismiss old convictions and seal their records.

Nancy O'Malley.
  • Nancy O'Malley.
But so far, few have actually taken advantage of the petition process. This led San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon to announce last month that his office would proactively remove cannabis convictions from people's records and that individuals need not file petitions with the court.

O'Malley's announcement is similar to Gascon's policy, and it follows requests by several East Bay elected officials to take greater steps to automatically clear people's records.

"This clearly is a step forward from where we were a week ago," said Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan about the new policy.

Kaplan sent a letter to O'Malley last week asking that the DA follow other prosecutors by creating a more automatic process. She wrote that the petition process is burdensome and biased against those "who may not have the time, money, and knowledge to do the process on their own" and that an automatic process led by the DA would be more just.

Emeryville officials also support the DA's move. "I’ve spoken to her," said Emeryville Mayor John Bauters about streamlining the process to clear people's records. "She knows we’re interested."

According to the DA's office, there are possibly as many as 6,000 marijuana cases that could be cleared or reduced through the Prop 64 process.

According to Alameda Superior Court Executive Office Chad Finke, there have only been 501 petitions filed under Prop 64 through December 31, 2017.

O'Malley's policy will phase in toward an automated process of clearing records.

Her office will eventually gather information about all cannabis convictions going back to 1974 and identify which felonies can be reduced to misdemeanors and which misdemeanors are eligible under Prop 64 to be cleared entirely. In Phase Three, the DA's office will petition the court to have the convictions reduced or cleared. The person with the prior conviction need not take any action.

The DA's office is asking people with marijuana convictions who want to immediately seek a petition to contact them at CannabisDismissal@ACGov.org.

Tuesday's Briefing: Warriors Take Oakland to Arbitration Over Arena Debt; BART Says No to A's Jack London Station Plan

Plus, Oakland hills fire prevention fund runs out of cash.

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Feb 20, 2018 at 9:57 AM

Stories you shouldn't miss for Feb. 20, 2018:

1. The Golden State Warriors are taking the city of Oakland and Alameda County to arbitration in an attempt to avoid paying $40 million in debt on Oracle Arena after the team moves to San Francisco, reports David DeBolt of the East Bay Times$. The city and county maintain that the Warriors' lease at the Arena requires the team to pay off the bond debt on the facility, but the Warriors disagree. The bond debt was created in the 1990s when the Warriors demanded that the city and county refurbish the Arena.

2. BART General Manager Grace Crunican told the Oakland A's in a letter that the transit agency opposes a plan to build a new station in the city's Jack London district if the team were to construct a new ballpark at Howard Terminal, the San Francisco Chronicle$ reports. Crunican's letter was a blow to the Howard Terminal site because the A's have expressed concerns that the location is too far from the next closest BART station - 12th Street. Crunican said a new Jack London station would be too disruptive to the Transbay line.

3. The Oakland hills fire prevention fund is out of cash - until July 1 - raising concerns about the potential for devastating wildfires this summer following this year's extraordinarily dry winter, reports Kimberly Veklerov of the San Francisco Chronicle$. The funding problem is due to the fact that hills residents voted to kill a wildfire prevention tax a few years ago. The city council allocated $600,000 for vegetation management effective July 1.

4. About one-third of apartment dwellers and one-quarter of people in their 20s and 30s say they're struggling to afford housing in the Bay Area, reports Katy Murphy of the Bay Area News Group$, citing a new poll commissioned by the news media organization and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. "Bay Area residents under 40 were more than three times as likely to report they slashed other expenses 'a great deal' to cover their housing costs than those over 60, the survey found."

5. An oversight committee for the $600 million 2016 Oakland bond initiative, Measure KK, has yet to meet, reports Kimberly Veklerov of the San Francisco Chronicle$. The committee is supposed to keep track of how the city spends the bond money.

6. Fewer than 1 percent of the cannabis growers in California have received licenses under the state's new regulatory system, reports Lisa Krieger of the Mercury News$, citing a new report by the California Grower's Association. "Growers can't meet the cost of complying with regulations or are prohibited from growing due to local land-use policies, according to the report, 'An Emerging Crisis: Barriers To Entry In California Cannabis.'"

7. And the Trump administration is proposing to eliminate federal funding for the development of California's early earthquake warning system, reports Rong-Gong Lin II of the LA Times$. The warning system is designed to help Californians get out of harm's way before a big quake strikes, but the Trump administration said the system is not a priority.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Opinion: You Didn't Protect Us From Gun Violence

Now, It's Our Turn.

by Joseph Harmon
Mon, Feb 19, 2018 at 11:22 AM

A few weeks ago, I saw a man collapse on BART. He hit the floor hard, a woman screamed, and everyone in the car turned to look. People gathered around him. They called the operator to stop the train. They were able to get him upright, off at the next stop, and stay with him until paramedics arrived.

When he collapsed, I rose from my seat. I just watched everyone help him, frozen. Why didn't I do something? I told myself that he was already being helped. There was nothing else I could have done.
Imagine how the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School felt on Wednesday as bullets tore through their classrooms. Terrified, helpless, frozen.

Now, this country enters the same cycle that it goes through after every mass shooting. The media covers the tragedy nonstop, sharing extensive details of the attack, background on the shooter, and heartbreaking pictures of the victims. Conservative politicians offer "thoughts and prayers," claiming that legislative action on gun safety would only "politicize a tragedy." Any attempts at compromise stall in Congress, like the proposal to regulate bump stocks after the Las Vegas massacre in November. When the next mass shooting happens, the cycle begins again. We are all frozen in place.

The students currently in high school grew up after Columbine. From Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook, they witnessed some of the deadliest mass shootings in American history. They know that those nightmares could become their reality - a reality that politicians in Washington were not forced to grow up with.

I graduated from Oakland Tech High School last June. We entered lockdown once when a man with a gun was reported miles away from the school. As we sat in the dark, I thought: If a shooter walked down the hallway right now, would I be visible from the door? Would I have time to duck and hide? My younger sister will start high school this fall. Months earlier, she said that one of her biggest worries - not homework, not making friends - was a school shooting.

The students who survived the Parkland shooting refuse to stand down. David Hogg looked straight into the camera and demanded action on gun safety from legislators. Carly Novell shut down a Fox News pundit's dismissive comment on Twitter. Emma Gonzalez gave a powerful speech that called out Trump and other politicians complicit with the NRA.

These students are not calling for a partisan battle. They are not calling for the government to confiscate the weapons of law-abiding citizens. They are calling for the government to protect them from senseless, preventable violence.

We are the generation under threat and we can break the cycle. Otherwise, we are all on that train, watching that man hit the ground without lifting a finger. We are watching people hit the ground in schools and theaters and concerts. We are observing tragedy from a distance, filtered through screens and headlines, until that tragedy crashes into our own lives and forces us to act.

My generation can take action where others failed. We can participate in protests like the walkouts planned for March 14 an April 20, or the march on Washington planned for March 24. We can donate to and volunteer for gun safety organizations like Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, and the Brady Campaign. We can contact our local representatives. With each passing year, as we turn 18, we can vote to elect state and local representatives who will ensure that our own children will never have to fear they will be gunned down in school.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday's Briefing: High Court Orders Paint Companies to Clean Up Lead in Oakland and Other Cities; Perfumes and Fragrances Cause as Much Smog as Autos

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 10:18 AM

Stories you shouldn't miss for Feb. 16, 2018:

1. The California Supreme Court ordered paint companies to clean up lead in houses in Oakland and other cities, reports Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle. The decision, however, only applies to structures built before 1951, which is when paint companies stopped advertising lead-based paint. Paint companies have estimated that the clean-up will cost $400 million - and they want California taxpayers to pay for it through a bond measure they're pushing this year. The paint companies said they will also appeal the California decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

2. Perfumes, shampoos, moisturizers, and colognes produce just as much smog-causing emissions as cars and trucks, reports Peter Fimrite of the San Francisco Chronicle, citing new research from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and UC Davis. The volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, from fragrances "react with sunlight and produce ozone or particulate matter, the building blocks of smog, which can damage people's lungs."

3. A federal judge has ordered the Trump administration to implement Obama-era energy-efficiency rules designed to combat climate change, reports Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria ruled that Trump's energy secretary, Rick Perry, illegally blocked the efficiency rules on air conditioners, building heaters, and other appliances. The Trump administration is expected to appeal the decision.

4. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., voted for President Trump's controversial border wall as part of an immigration package in the Senate that also would have established protections for Dreamers - young undocumented people who came to this country as children, reports Sarah D. Wire of the LA Times$. California's other Democratic senator, Kamala Harris, voted against the proposal, saying Trump's proposed wall on the U.S. border with Mexico is "a waste of taxpayer money." The Senate was unable this week to reach a deal on immigration and Dreamers.

5. Climatologists predict there's at least a 40 percent chance that California's dry weather pattern will persist for the next three months, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. If true, it all but guarantees that this winter will be among driest ever.

6. The beloved Mariposa redwood grove in Yosemite National Park is scheduled to reopen on June 15, after a three-year, $40 million restoration project, reports Paul Rogers of the Mercury News$. The popular attraction features "roughly 550 giant sequoia trees, some of which are among the largest trees in the world, reaching 285 feet tall and 2,000 years old."

7. And Donald Trump had an affair in 2006 with former Playboy Playmate of the Year Karen McDougal - less than two years after marrying his current wife, Melania Knauss, and just months after their son, Barron, was born, reports Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker. Before the 2016 presidential election, the owners of the Trump-friendly tabloid, the National Enquirer, paid McDougal $140,000 for her story and then buried it.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Big Oil Has Pumped $170 Million into California Campaigns Since 2001

by Dan Bacher
Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 11:17 AM


The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the most powerful corporate lobbying group in California, and its members have contributed $170 million to California political campaigns since 2001, according to a new data analysis from the Berkeley-based, nonpartisan watchdog MapLight.

WSPA is the trade association for oil industry interests in the western states of Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. WSPA members include multinational oil corporations such as Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Valero, and the Plains All American Pipeline Company, the corporation responsible for the Refugio Beach Oil Spill of 2017.

WSPA and its members have contributed more than $112 million to ballot measure campaigns, $8 million to state candidates, and $50 million to other California political action committees and party committees, according to the MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

"Chevron tops the list of political donors from WSPA's membership, contributing $89 million overall since 2001, the first year in which online data is available," Maplight reported. "Aera Energy has contributed the second most at roughly $40 million, and Valero is third at $13 million.

The report documents all of the California legislators who have received campaign contributions from the oil industry since 2001.
State Sen. Jean Fuller, the Kern County Republican from Senate District 16 who has served as the Legislature's most fervent advocate for Big Oil, received the most oil industry contributions of any legislator: $88,890.

Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, a Democrat from Senate District 5, received the second largest amount of oil industry contributions, $83,350.

Assemlymember Rudy Salas Jr., a Democrat from Assembly District 32, received the third largest amount of Big Oil money: $79,850.

The top ten recipients of WSPA member money in the California Legislature are listed below:

(1) Jean Fuller, Republican, Senate District 16, $88,890

(2) Cathleen Galgiani, Senate District 5, Democrat $83,350

(3) Rudy Salas Jr., Assembly District 32, Democrat, $79,850

(4) Raul Bocanega, Assembly District 39, Democrat, $76,300

(5) Adam C. Gray, Assembly District 21, Democrat, $72,600

(6) Jim Cooper, Assembly District 9, Democrat, $71,650

(7) Sebastian M. Ridley-Thomas, Assembly District 54, Democrat, $70,800

(8) Chad Mays, Assembly District 42, Republican, $63,700

(9) Mike Gipson, Assembly District 64, Democrat, $62,650

(10) James L. Frazier Jr., Assembly District 11, Democrat, $58,176

While the amount of money legislators have received from WSPA members is alarming, they pale in comparison to the $9.8 million from oil companies, gas companies, and utilities that self-styled "climate leader" Gov. Jerry Brown has received since he ran for his third term as governor, according to Consumer Watchdog.

In addition to pouring millions into campaigns, WSPA "augments its political influence with a massive lobbying presence in Sacramento," topping the list of lobbyist spending in California in the third quarter of 2017, according to Maplight.

Big Oil dominated three out of the four top spots of expenditures by all lobbying organizations in 2017, according to documents from the California Secretary of State's Office.

Outspending all of its competition, Chevron placed first with $8.2 million, and the WSPA placed second $6.2 million. Tesoro Refining and Marketing Company finished fourth with $3.2 million.

That's a total of $17.6 million dumped into lobbying by the three top oil industry lobbying organizations alone. That figure exceeds the $14.6 million expended by all 16 oil lobby organizations in 2016.
Big Oil has become so powerful in California, in spite of the state's "green" image, that every bill except one opposed by the oil industry has failed to make it out of the legislature over the past three years.

Thursday's Briefing: Florida Mass Killer Is a White Supremacist; Berkeley Slashes Cannabis Tax in Half

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 10:34 AM

Stories you shouldn't miss for Feb. 15, 2018

1. The 19-year-old who killed at least 17 students at a Florida high school on Wednesday is a member of a white supremacist group, the Associated Press reports. The AP also reports that Nikolas Cruz legally purchased the AR-15 assault rifle that he used in the mass killing, under Florida's weak gun laws, even though he exhibited signs of mental illness. BuzzFeed News reports that Cruz posted on social media that "I'm going to be a professional school shooter."

2. The Berkeley City Council voted 7-0 to cut the city's cannabis tax in half, slashing it from 10 percent to 5 percent, reports Kimberly Veklerov of the San Francisco Chronicle. The council's move will lower costs for marijuana users and is designed to give Berkeley's dispensaries a market advantage. The vote could put pressure on Oakland to lower its 10-percent city tax on weed.

3. Assemblymember Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, has introduced legislation in Sacramento that would give tenants around the state just cause protections, reports Melody Gutierrez of the San Francisco Chronicle$. Bonta's plan, co-sponsored by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, would ban California landlords from evicting tenants for no reason.

4. Bonta also put forward legislation that would ban employers in California from firing workers who ingest cannabis for medical reasons, reports Brooks Edward Staggs of The Cannifornian. "To be discriminated against by your employer because of the type of medicine you use is both inhumane and wrong," Bonta said.

5. A plan to build 760 units of housing at the Alameda Marina is moving forward, reports Peter Hegarty of the East Bay Times$. Some Island residents, however, want the property to remain a working marina.

6. Tackle football would be banned for children until they reach high school age in California under legislation being considered in the state Capitol, the Sacramento Bee$ reports. Proponents of Pop Warner football are vowing to fight the proposal, despite the strong evidence that the sport causes brain trauma.

7. A federal appeals court ruled that President Trump's latest travel ban is unconstitutional because it unlawfully targets predominantly Muslim countries, the Associated Press reports. "In a 9-4 vote, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond said it examined statements made by Trump and other administration officials, as well as the ban itself, and concluded that it is 'unconstitutionally tainted with animus toward Islam.'"

8. And President Trump reiterated that he will veto any immigration measure concerning Dreamers - young undocumented immigrants who came to this country as children - that does not include billions in dollars of funding for his controversial wall on the Mexico border, The New York Times$ reports.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

No-Bid $300,000 Contract for Oakland's Department of Violence Prevention Consultant Put on Hold

by Darwin BondGraham
Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 11:30 AM

Lynette Gibson McElhaney.
  • Lynette Gibson McElhaney.
At yesterday's Oakland City Council Life Enrichment Committee meeting, councilmembers decided not to approve a $300,000 no-bid contract to hire an outside consultant tasked with helping set up the new department of violence prevention. Instead, the proposed contract is being held in committee for a vote at a future date.

But Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney, who chairs the committee, expressed concerns about the slow pace at which the new department is being established by the city, as well as decisions made by the mayor and city administrator to appoint interim leadership instead of a new department head.

Several community activists also voiced frustration with Mayor Libby Schaaf and the city administration, who they accused of dragging their feet on getting the new department up and running.

"The [department of violence prevention] was passed in July 2017. Why is it taking so long," said Audrey Cornish at yesterday's meeting. Her son Torian Hughes was murdered in 2016 in West Oakland.

The new department was proposed last year by Gibson McElhaney, Council President Larry Reid, and Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan. Other councilmembers expressed skepticism about setting up what they said would be just another bureaucracy, however. Debate over whether to establish the agency was highly divisive, but in the the end the council decided a new department could elevate non-police solutions to community violence within the budget process and overall city policy.

But the recently proposed consulting contract raised questions about when and how city councilmembers can guide the work of the administration. Under Oakland's charter, councilmembers can't direct city staff. But the resolution to approve hiring the consultant talks about providing guidance to the administration in setting up the new department. The consultant would report directly to Gibson McElhaney and Reid, not the city administrator.

Councilmembers Dan Kalb and Annie Campbell Washington said at yesterday's hearing they might support hiring the consultant, but that they are concerned about the contract.

"The part I have questions about is having this person report, in terms of a formal sense, what this says, report directly, in terms of a formal sense, to the city councilmembers," Kalb said. He said the department and its consultants should report to the city administrator.

"It does not sound usual at all with what we would do to set up a department, which would report to the city administrator," Campbell Washington added during yesterday's meeting.

Campbell Washington also questioned where the $300,000 would come from in the city budget. And she questioned the no-bid nature of the contract, saying it sounds like someone has already been selected for the work.

Gibson McElhaney acknowledged earlier this week that one name that's been floated for the work is David Muhammad, the former chief probation officer of Alameda County. Muhammad resigned from the post in 2012 after allegations of sexual assault.

Gibson McElhaney said the contract wasn't being voted on, but rather would stay in committee.

She said that the community activists who pushed for establishment of the new department have felt "silenced" and ignored since last year, and they want more transparency from the city administration in terms of how the department is being launched. The consultant would help provide this transparency and inform the city administration about community concerns, she said.

Wednesday' Briefing: Attorney Says Video Footage Doesn't Substantiate BART Killing; The Drought is Back and People Aren't Conserving Water

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 10:24 AM

John Burris.
  • John Burris.

Stories you shouldn't miss for Feb. 14, 2018:

1. Oakland attorney John Burris said body-camera video conflicts with BART police's claim that that an officer was justified in fatally shooting a man at the West Oakland station last month, reports Angela Ruggiero of the East Bay Times$. Burris is representing the family of Sahleem Tindle, who was killed by BART police on Jan. 3. Burris and Tindle's family, who are calling for criminal charges against BART officer Joseph Mateu, watched the video at the headquarters of Oakland police, which is investigating the shooting. Burris said the video shows Mateu shooting Tindle in the back and that there's no evidence that Tindle had a gun - as BART police have claimed.

2. California appears to be heading back into a drought, but state residents are failing to conserve water, reports Paul Rogers of the Mercury News$. The Sierra snowpack is at just 22 percent of normal, but California residents are not saving water like they did during the most recent drought.

3. Student leadership at California High School in San Ramon have banned the playing of the national anthem during student rallies, saying unplayed portions of the song are racist, the school's student newspaper reports (h/t East Bay Times$). The school, like many others in the Bay Area, has been struck recently by racist graffiti.

4. The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously last night to make Berkeley a sanctuary city for cannabis, reports Annie Ma of the San Francisco Chronicle. The move, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, bars Berkeley police and any other city employee from aiding anti-marijuana efforts by the federal government.

5. BART's plan to target fare jumpers is on hold because the transit agency has yet to deploy functioning handheld ticket and Clipper card readers and handheld machines that can issue tickets to fare cheats, reports Jill Tucker of the San Francisco Chronicle.

6. And anti-abortion groups are gaming Google's search engine to trick young women seeking abortions into going to clinics that try to convince them not to have them, reports Ethan Barron of the Bay Area News Group$.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Civil Rights Attorney Accuses Alameda Sheriff of Retaliation After Female Client Is Arrested and Jailed for Six Days Following Press Conference

by Darwin BondGraham
Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 4:45 PM


A lawsuit alleging abuse of pregnant women inside Alameda County’s Santa Rita Jail has taken a surprising turn after one of the plaintiffs in the case was arrested two weeks ago in Hayward.

The sheriff’s department insists that Christina Zepeda was arrested and jailed for five days as a result of a routine investigation.

But Zepeda and her attorney, Yolanda Huang, claim that the arrest was in retaliation for Zepeda’s outspoken participation in the civil rights case against the sheriff.

Last August, Zepeda was incarcerated in Santa Rita Jail following a felony burglary conviction. Zepeda, who has multiple prior felony convictions, was pregnant at the time. She believes that her treatment by sheriff’s deputies and jail medical staff was so negligent that it resulted in a miscarriage.

After being released from the jail, Zepeda joined five other women and filed suit against the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. Several other female inmates have since joined the lawsuit. According to the complaint, which was filed on Jan. 4 in federal court, medical staff and deputies have pressured incarcerated women to submit to abortions, pregnant women are made to endure cold cells and unsanitary conditions, and the jail’s food isn’t nutritious enough.

The sheriff’s department has adamantly denied these allegations. Last month, sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said the department would vigorously defend itself rather than have its reputation damaged by "false claims."

The case is in its earliest stages, however, and the federal judge overseeing it, James Donato, has yet to rule on any of the allegations made by the women.

But on Jan. 31, Zepeda was arrested a few hours after she participated in a press conference about the lawsuit outside Alameda County’s administration building in Oakland. At the press conference, Zepeda spoke to multiple news reporters about the conditions inside the jail and a petition her attorneys filed with the court earlier that day. Immediately after, she traveled with a friend, Robert Maddox, to visit with Oakland resident Christopher Plascensia.

A few hours later, Zepeda, Maddox, and Plascensia drove to a friend’s apartment in Hayward. After dropping Plascensia off at the apartment, Zepeda and Maddox drove about half a mile to pick up food, they said in sworn statements. They were stopped, however, by two sheriff’s detectives who searched their car and arrested them for alleged probation violations. The detectives said they recovered a .45-caliber loaded pistol magazine and an electronic scale in the vehicle that had drug residue on it.

Both detectives said in sworn statements that they were unaware of Zepeda’s participation in the pregnant inmate lawsuit before they initiated they stopped her. Instead, the detectives said they targeted Zepeda based on intelligence they obtained from confidential informants. Detective Shaun Corey declined to identify the confidential informants, saying it would jeopardize ongoing investigations.

In documents filed with the court earlier this week, the sheriff’s department depicts Zepeda as a repeat drug offender with gang ties who has had frequent contact with law enforcement. Corey said in a statement that he "obtained information that Ms. Zepeda was involved in the street-level sale of narcotics such as methamphetamine" and that there were also firearms in the apartment that Zepeda had visited.

The detective also justified stopping Zepeda and Maddox because they were both on probation and subject to court-mandated searches for any reason at any time. And the detective said the vehicle didn’t have a front license plate.

While Zepeda and Maddox were being arrested, several other sheriff’s deputies went back to the apartment where Plascensia had been dropped off and conducted a search while detaining several people. According to the sheriff’s office, they recovered two firearms along with “suspected heroin and drug paraphernalia” from the apartment.

Huang believes that the timing of Zepeda’s arrest is more than just a coincidence. She wrote in a court brief yesterday that the missing license plate was a pretense to stop and arrest her client, and that the entire incident, including Zepeda’s subsequent detention in the jail for five days was "retaliatory."

According to Huang, the vehicle had temporary dealer’s plates and a permit taped in the front windshield, making it legal to operate. Furthermore, Zepeda and Maddox denied having the pistol magazine or scale in the car and said they didn’t witness the sheriff’s deputies recovering anything during the search. They also weren’t charged with any crimes related to the magazine and scale, according to a review of court documents.

But Zepeda was subsequently taken to Santa Rita Jail and locked up for six days without being charged with a crime. Huang wrote in a court brief that Zepeda's detention was illegal because exceeded the lawfully allowed amount of time a person can be held before seeing a judge.

Four days after Zepeda’s arrest, Huang wrote to Judge Donato requesting emergency help for what she described as "flagrant harassment, intimidation, stalking, and unlawful arrest and imprisonment," of her client. Donato ordered the sheriff and county to respond to the allegations, but he didn’t intervene or say whether the allegations had any merit.

Sheriff’s deputies at the jail and a probation officer countered in other filings made with the court, however, that the detention was legal because they didn’t intend to file charges. Instead, they sought to file a revocation petition against Zepeda for violating her probation.

But according to the sworn statement of Alameda County Probation Officer Justin Eaglin, the revocation petition was lost in the county’s internal mail system for several days. Because it wasn’t received on time, the superior court was unable to process the petition and set a hearing before a judge within the three-day limit allowed under state law. Zepeda was therefore released on Feb. 5. The sheriff’s department says it followed standard policy with respect to Zepeda’s detention and release, and that she wasn’t treated differently than any other inmate.

A clerk at the Dublin courthouse confirmed Eaglin’s statement, saying in a declaration filed with the court that the probation revocation petition against Zepeda didn’t arrive until Feb. 6.

Attorneys for the sheriff and county insist the entire incident had nothing to do with the jail lawsuit. They concluded in a brief to the court that "the fact that Ms. Zepeda’s most recent arrest occurred on the same day that she participated in a ‘press conference’ related to this lawsuit is merely a coincidence."

Tuesday's Briefing: Berkeley May Become Sanctuary City for Cannabis; OPD Rookie Valedictorian Arrested for DUI

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 9:35 AM

Stories you shouldn't miss for Feb. 13, 2018:

1. Berkeley would become a sanctuary city for cannabis under a proposal scheduled for a vote tonight by the city council, reports Annie Ma of the San Francisco Chronicle$. The proposal, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, would make it illegal for Berkeley police or any other city employee to help federal anti-marijuana efforts.

2. A rookie Oakland police officer who was the valedictorian of his academy class was arrested for drunken driving early Monday on Interstate 580 in Oakland near the Park Boulevard exit, reports Kimberly Veklerov of the San Francisco Chronicle. "Officer Isaac Goins, 25, completed the 175th basic academy in January 2017 at the top of the 24-person class."

3. The state Water Resources Control Board is poised to make it a crime to waste water in California, the Orange County Register$ reports (h/t Rough & Tumble). The proposal, which the board is scheduled to vote on next week, would establish $500 fines for people who over water their lawns, wash down sidewalks and driveways, and wash their cars without a shutoff valve, among other wasteful practices.

4. A homeless man died in a blaze at a sprawling encampment in the 2600 block of Northgate Avenue of Oakland early Monday, the East Bay Times$ reports. "The fire gutted a makeshift shack and burned other debris in the area. The homeless encampment is underneath a freeway overpass and near BART tracks."

5. And home prices in the Bay Area continued to soar in January, with the median home price in the region reaching $880,000, reports Roland Li of the San Francisco Business Times$. The price hikes are caused by the lack of homes available on the market.

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