Settlement to give disabled persons better access to San Bernardino County courts

A proposed settlement has been reached in a 2006 federal class-action lawsuit filed against San Bernardino County and its courts over accessibility for disabled persons at more than a dozen courthouses.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Riverside, claimed that parking, paths of travel, courtrooms, bathrooms and other areas were inaccessible to people with mobility or manual dexterity disabilities.

Lawyers for the Disability Rights Legal Center in Los Angeles, which represented plaintiffs in the case, said Tuesday that both sides worked hard to reach what they described as a model settlement that could be a blueprint for any court system in any county.
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Charges ordered dismissed against Vagos member

SAN BERNARDINO – A judge dismissed criminal charges this morning against Andrew Eloy Lozano, a local member of the Vagos motorcycle club who was arrested last month in a law enforcement sweep across Southern California.

At a scheduled preliminary hearing for Lozano in San Bernardino Superior Court, Judge James Dorr ruled that prosecutors presented insufficient evidence to hold Lozano for trial on charges of possessing body armor and participating in a criminal street gang.

“The court finds there is insufficient evidence as to both counts and the allegation,” Dorr said during the proceedings.
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Judge says FBI searches in Colonies case appear just

Joe Nelson and Mike Cruz, The (San Bernardino County) Sun
Posted: 11/10/2011 05:01:31 PM PST

RIVERSIDE — A federal judge seemed poised to rule that federal agents did not violate the civil rights of Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum when they served search warrants at his home and office in September.

During a two-hour hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court, Judge S. James Otero heard arguments from Burum’s attorney, Stephen G. Larson, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerry A. Behnke over whether federal prosecutors should be able to retain documents and other information seized during the Sept. 15 raid.

There is no deadline or estimated amount of time for Otero to deliver a decision, lawyers said. All they can do is wait for an email alert from the court that a ruling is available.
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SB County’s top prosecutor seeks greater partnership with feds

RIVERSIDE — District Attorney Michael A. Ramos announced plans Wednesday to strengthen his office’s partnership with federal prosecutors.

Ramos told members of the Inland Empire Chapter of the Federal Bar Association that he plans to cross-designate one of his local prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Ramos revealed the plan while discussing a host of top issues affecting public safety, such as street gangs, medical marijuana and mortgage fraud, alongside Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach and U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. during a meeting at U.S. District Court in Riverside.
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Trial starts for two men in robbery, deadly beating of elderly woman

SAN BERNARDINO — Prosecutors delivered their opening remarks Monday in the trial for two young men who repeatedly struck an elderly San Bernardino woman with hammers while ransacking her home for money and other valuables.

“Storma Del’Andrae, who is 87 years old, was murdered for a handful of cash, a suitcase and some costume jewelry,” said Deputy District Attorney Tristan Svare. “That’s what this case is all about.”

The prosecution’s opening remarks came just prior to witness testimony in San Bernardino Superior Court. Defense lawyers reserved their statements for later in the trial. Each defendant has his own jury.
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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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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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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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Defense says man didn’t commit Grand Terrace robberies

SAN BERNARDINO – The family and lawyer of a Lancaster man who is accused of robbing a Grand Terrace liquor store three times in 2009 say he isn’t the armed man who authorities see in surveillance videos.

Derik Carl Garcia appeared Friday before Judge Harold Wilson in San Bernardino Superior Court, where lawyers set a jury trial for Garcia in December. He returns to court Nov. 23.

Garcia, 30, is charged with robbing Smart Time food store at gunpoint in August and twice in December 2009. Sheriff’s detectives have surveillance videos that show a Hispanic man robbing the store on Barton Road, near Canal Street, according to the defense.
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