Fontana teachers go to court to get counselors brought back

By Jim Steinberg Staff Writer
Posted: 11/05/2011 09:23:21 PM PDT

FONTANA – The teachers union has filed a lawsuit against the school district seeking to reinstate laid-off counselors on the basis of seniority.

The legal action, filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court, contends that the Fontana Unified School District’s practices violate the California Education Code, a charge the district denies.

Pat Mazzulli, president of the Fontana Teachers Association, said the district created new job categories after it laid off 68 counselors at the end of the 2010-11 school year.
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Claremont residents among those charged in “purple drank” scheme

A Claremont mother and son are among four people named in a federal indictment alleging they operated a money laundering scheme related to the distribution of a powerful cough syrup nicknamed “purple drank.”

A trial is set to begin November 29 for Lucita Uy, 70, and her 42-year-old son, Lemuel Libunao, both of Claremont, in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, according to a statement Friday from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.

Two defendants from Texas appeared Friday in U.S. District Court in Houston.
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Pair sentenced in death of Yucaipa group home counselor

Two young men who beat to death a counselor at a Yucaipa group home in 2009 with a closet dowel were sentenced today to state prison.

A jury recently found Carlos Dubose and Davion Whitmore guilty of murder charges in the 2009 death of counselor George Onyango at Aiming High Treatment Center on Fifth Place in Yucaipa. They were charged as adults.

Friday in San Bernardino Superior Court, Judge Duke Rouse sentenced Dubose, who was 17 at the time of the attack, to life in state prison with the possibility of parole plus another life sentence, said Deputy District Attorney Beth Houser.
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Judge orders release of Colonies’ search warrants

SAN BERNARDINO – Eleven search warrants served over a two-year period in a sweeping corruption probe tied to a legal settlement between the county and a Rancho Cucamonga developer were ordered released Friday by a Superior Court judge.

Judge Michael A. Smith ordered the search warrants released Friday after defense attorneys did not appear in court to object to their release or request redactions be made to the documents.

Six of the 11 warrants, which span from Dec. 2, 2008, to Oct. 22, 2010, were released. The remaining five are expected to be released early next week.

The documents provide a glimpse into the private life of former county assessor and former Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Postmus.
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Colonies search warrants, affidavits could be released

A San Bernardino Superior Court judge is expected to decide today whether to unseal hundreds of pages of search warrants and affidavits from the investigation into a Rancho Cucamonga developer’s landmark lawsuit settlement with San Bernardino County.

Judge Michael A. Smith granted a defense request on Oct. 24 to tentatively unseal the warrants and affidavits at a hearing in San Bernardino Superior Court. The judge allowed the documents to go to the defense lawyers first so they can review them for any objections or redactions.

The judge then scheduled a hearing for today. If no objections or redactions are presented, or the lawyers don’t appear in court, Smith said the documents would be unsealed to the public.
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Former Rialto teacher back in jail

SAN BERNARDINO – A former Rialto schoolteacher, who pleaded guilty in July to giving drugs to a teenager, is back in county jail after he allegedly violated the terms of his probation.

Michael Jacob Edmondson of Rancho Cucamonga is scheduled for a probation violation hearing Nov. 17 before Judge Kyle Brodie in San Bernardino Superior Court, according to court records.

Deputy District Attorney Melissa Rodriguez, who prosecuted Edmondson’s case, confirmed Wednesday that he is scheduled for the hearing. However, Rodriguez had not yet received a report from law enforcement, so she did not have details about Edmondson’s arrest, she said.
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Decades-old murder conviction raises bail for Vagos member

SAN BERNARDINO – Prosecutors amended the charges against a local member of the Vagos motorcycle club, who was arrested during a sweep in October, to include a 1980 conviction in Idaho in the strangulation of a 19-year-old woman.

Thomas Henry Gibson of San Bernardino appeared Tuesday before Judge Michael Dest in San Bernardino Superior Court, where prosecutors announced the newly amended charges, according to court records. Gibson pleaded not guilty to the charges.

With the addition of the prior conviction, the 60-year-old Gibson is now being held at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, in lieu of $350,000 bail – an increase of $100,000.

Gibson is one of several San Bernardino County members of the Vagos arrested last month in a sweep conducted by state and local authorities. Drugs, weapons and body armor were seized during the raid, agents from the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement said.
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Seized files to be returned to Burum

In a rare move, federal prosecutors have agreed to return materials to a Rancho Cucamonga developer that were seized in September as part of an investigation into alleged corruption surrounding the $102 million lawsuit settlement between Colonies Partners LP and San Bernardino County.

The materials were seized by FBI agents serving search warrants at the offices and home of developer Jeff Burum, Colonies co-managing partner, and looking into alleged bribery and conspiracy related to the landmark 2006 settlement.

Stephen Larson, Burum’s attorney and a former federal judge, argued in the days after the Sept. 15 search that agents erred by taking documents and other materials not covered under the warrant.
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Man found guilty after hitting wife with SUV

A jury has found a Montclair man guilty of lesser charges after a meeting with his estranged wife last year erupted into violence and he ran down the woman with a GMC Yukon outside a Chino auto parts store.

Jurors in the trial for Carlos Briseno returned verdicts late Friday in Chino Superior Court, finding him guilty of attempted voluntary manslaughter for the horror he inflicted on 41-year-old Martha Briseno.

Carlos Briseno was also found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon — the SUV — and inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant, court records state. He returns to court Nov. 30 for sentencing.

Prosecutors had sought an attempted murder conviction.
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Defense motions postponed in Old Fire case

SAN BERNARDINO — A series of motions filed by the lawyers representing Old Fire suspect Rickie Lee Fowler were continued for another several weeks.

Fowler, 30, appeared today in San Bernardino Superior Court for a scheduled hearing for two motions, one which seeks to dismiss the indictment against Fowler and another which aims to recuse the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office from prosecuting the case in favor of state prosecutors.

The 170-page dismissal motion alleges prosecutors failed to present exculpatory evidence – which tends to show a person should not be indicted – to a criminal Grand Jury assembled in August 2009 to hear witness testimony about the wildfire.
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