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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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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Program to offer discount for old, unpaid traffic tickets

SAN BERNARDINO – Have an old, unpaid traffic ticket that you just haven’t taken care of? Now is your chance.

Starting in January, the Superior Court of San Bernardino County will be offering a 50-percent discount on some old, unpaid traffic tickets.

It’s a limited time “amnesty program” being offered in all 58 counties statewide. Court officials estimate more than 6 million cases across the state could qualify.

“This is a win-win,” Ron Overholt, interim administrative director of the courts, said in a press release last week announcing the program.
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Two Vagos motorcycle club members seek lower bail

SAN BERNARDINO – Four local members of the Vagos motorcycle club, who were arrested earlier this month in a raid across Southern California, appeared before a Superior Court judge Tuesday.

Two of the men, Thomas Henry Gibson and Andrew Eloy Lozano, sought bail reviews by Judge Michael Dest in San Bernardino Superior Court to have their bail reduced.

Lozano’s lawyer Mark McDonald, who substituted-in to represent Gibson, 60, of San Bernardino, told the court that Gibson is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.

But based on his client’s charges of possession of marijuana for sale and participation in a criminal street gang, McDonald argued that $50,000-100,000 bail “is more appropriate.”
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Court culls mountains, burn areas from jury pool in Old Fire case

SAN BERNARDINO – A Superior Court judge has ruled that residents from the local mountains and northern portions of San Bernardino and Highland will not be among potential jurors in the upcoming trial for suspected Old Fire arsonist Rickie Lee Fowler.

In discussions Friday in San Bernardino Superior Court over a defense motion to exclude jurors from those areas, Judge Michael A. Smith acknowledged that residents in those areas may be “particularly more sensitive” to fire issues.

Lawyers grappled with the idea during court appearance for Fowler where discussions occurred about how best to exclude residents from the pool of potential jurors who may been evacuated, impacted or even lost a home during the devastating wildfire.
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Pomona man arraigned in embezzlement case

A former Marine from Pomona, accused of embezzling $200,000 from a Palm Desert non-profit group that provides educational scholarships to other Marines, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Jason Patrick Hitt appeared for arraignment on the charges Wednesday before Judge Victoria E. Cameron at Larson Justice Center, in Indio, according to court records.

Hitt, 35, pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of embezzlement and forging documents, court records indicate. He returns to court Thursday.
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Three arraigned in Vagos raid

SAN BERNARDINO – Three San Bernardino County members of the Vagos motorcycle gang were arraigned Friday in connection with the drug and weapons raid connected on Thursday.

A fourth member from Oak Hills has a warrant for his arrest and remains at-large, while a fifth member from Ontario was arrested and remained uncharged as of Friday.

Scott Randall Rivera and Scott Randall Rivera, both of San Bernardino, and Andrew Eloy Lozano of Fontana appeared for arraignment, via a video link, in San Bernardino Superior Court.
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Two men ordered held on Fontana double homicide

Two men will be formally arraigned Jan. 6 after being ordered held on murder charges in a double homicide outside a crowded Fontana house party in October 2007.

After hearing testimony and reviewing evidence, Judge Ingrid A. Uhler ordered Francisco Javier Rodriguez and Francisco Gonzalez Jr. held to answer on the charges at a Dec. 23 hearing in Fontana Superior Court.

Victims Aaron Angulo, 21, of Rialto, and Anthony Lopez, 21, of West Covina, were found shot in the 16400 block of El Revino Drive in Fontana. Angulo died at a local hospital, and Lopez died as friends drove him there.

Rodriguez, 21, and Gonzalez, 20, each face two counts of murder, according to court records.

Man sentenced to six years in Griffin shooting in San Bernardino

Norris Anthony Crawford was sentenced to six years in state prison for his part in the 2007 deadly shooting of 20-year-old Edward Griffin.

Under the terms of a Nov. 26 plea bargain, Crawford pleaded guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter and a special allegation. He was sentenced Dec. 22 in San Bernardino Superior Court.

Crawford received credit for 785 days, equating to more than two years, for time already served in county jail.
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Liggins found guilty in San Bernardino stabbing death

A jury has found Orienthal Liggins guilty in the deadly stabbing of 24-year-old Erika Munoz in front of her San Bernardino home in 2004.

The jury returned the verdict Dec. 23 in San Bernardino Superior Court, according to court records. Liggins, 34, represented himself during the trial.

Liggins was found guilty of murder and a special allegation for the use of a knife, court records indicate. The defendant is scheduled to return to court Feb. 13 for a court trial on his prior offenses.

Authorities found the body of Munoz, which had been stabbed numerous times, with a large kitchen knife through her chest in the front yard of a home in the 700 block of West 10th Street on Dec. 23, 2004.