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December 28, 1989
I have read with interest the three articles (Nov. 5, Dec. 11 and Dec. 16 "Scandal Over Jail Informants Forces Retrial") on informants and the investigation into the conviction of Carlos Vargas, who is serving 29 years to life for the first-degree murder of Mary Ann Torres. The final result leaves me numb, because I see that justice is blind. Factually, defendant Vargas offered Mary Ann a ride home after entertaining her at a nightclub. He then went out of his way to drop his brother off at his house, at 2 a.m., so he could be alone with Mary Ann. Her beaten, strangled, and sexually assaulted body, with her throat cut, was found in an alley the next morning at 7:30 a.m., a few blocks away from the nightclub.
April 7, 2014 | David Lazarus
If you've eaten from a food truck or cart in Los Angeles County, chew on this: About 40% of the roughly 3,200 food trucks and carts cooking up meals in the area have never been inspected in the field by health officials since letter grades were introduced three years ago. And most of the remaining 60% have been checked out only once a year, even though official guidelines call for at least two annual field inspections. How do I know that? Because Angelo Bellomo, director of environmental health for the county Department of Public Health, told me so. He oversees inspections of all eateries, including mobile ones.
February 12, 2010 | By Andrew Becker
Ernesto Gamboa was a rare find -- the sort of informant who might come along once or twice in a cop's career. The 41-year-old Salvadoran auto mechanic assisted police in making hundreds of drug busts in the Pacific Northwest over 14 years. Armed only with a cellphone, he had a knack for posing as a drug buyer or seller, leading to harrowing transactions between heavily armed traffickers and narcotics agents. For about $10,000 a year, he risked his life time and again, according to those who worked with him. Undercover detectives came to trust him with their own lives.
March 31, 2014 | By Hector Becerra and Rosanna Xia
The magnitude 5.1 La Habra earthquake that shook Southern California isn't going into the seismic history books for its modest size and small damage totals. But it was an event on social media, which transmitted stories and images of the quake and its many aftershocks with a speed and breadth that left seismologists and emergency personnel taking notice. The first signs of damage came not from authorities but from residents posting photos on Facebook of broken dishes and fallen cabinets.
June 8, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
The U.S. handed over its largest reward in the campaign to wipe out Al Qaeda-linked militants in the southern Philippines, giving $10 million to Philippine informants in the killing of two top terrorism suspects. Four masked informants collected on promised $5-million rewards against Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khadafi Abubakar Janjalani, who was slain in a September clash on southern Jolo island, and against his presumed successor, Abu Solaiman, who was killed on Jolo in January. More than 7,000 U.S.
June 23, 1997 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Federal agents paid $3.5 million to informants in Pakistan and Afghanistan to help catch Mir Aimal Kansi, who was arrested in Pakistan four years after shootings outside CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., left two dead, a report in Newsweek said. Another report, in Time, said President Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright personally contacted Pakistani President Farooq Leghari to win approval for the June 15 operation that resulted in Kansi's arrest at a hotel in Pakistan.
November 30, 1988 | TED ROHRLICH, Times Staff Writer
The State Bar of California has opened an investigation into whether Los Angeles County prosecutors have used the testimony of jailhouse informants known to have been unreliable, officials said Tuesday. The law requires that an attorney call only witnesses he believes are telling the truth, officials said.
February 3, 1987 | PHILIP HAGER, Times Staff Writer
A state prison inmate may be punished solely on evidence provided by secret informants who have not appeared for questioning before a disciplinary hearing officer, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday. The court unanimously upheld state regulations that permit prisoners to be disciplined on the basis of such information, provided that the hearing officer takes other steps to independently make sure that the informants are reliable.
February 5, 1995
I am responding to the Jan. 22 Valley Commentary ("Turning Schoolchildren Into Informants Carries Risks") by Diana Beard-Williams. As a resident of the Antelope Valley, she pointed out a new and potentially hazardous trend in the school system there. This January, the board of the Antelope Valley Union High School District readopted a 2-month-old policy where school administrators would give cash rewards to students who informed them about other students breaking the law. In other words, administrators were encouraging school kids to tattle on each other.
January 6, 1989
David Berst, director of enforcement for the National Collegiate Athletic Assn., took issue Thursday with statements made by Ron Watson, assistant athletic director at Oklahoma. Watson criticized the NCAA for giving Oklahoma State wide receiver Hart Lee Dykes immunity in exchange for information implicating four schools in recruiting violations. "If you want to find out what really happened, you have to have limited immunity," Berst told the Tulsa Tribune.
March 30, 2014 | By Mike DiGiovanna
The name is familiar, but the title is not. The Angels hired Rick Eckstein, the older brother of former World Series-winning Angels shortstop David Eckstein, as their major league player information coach in November, which begs the question: What the heck - or would that be what the Eck? - is a player information coach? In short, it's a position that combines scouting and on-field coaching duties. "It's a hybrid role," General Manager Jerry Dipoto said, "one that will be very valuable to our club.
March 30, 2014 | By Donie Vanitzian
Question: I'm the president of our homeowner association mainly because no one else wants the job. We live in a prestigious area of Los Angeles and have fewer than 30 units. Because nobody wants to be on our board we hired a management company. They're not a California company. Their head office is out of state, and we've never seen or been to their California place of business and do not know where it is or that they even have a California office. A management representative came and picked up our files and documents, including owners' personal information and accounts, and gave us their P.O. box number.
March 19, 2014 | Meghan Daum
Rush Limbaugh is right on this one. The reporting on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared March 8, has turned into a spectacle - not the good kind. It's all "such a show," Limbaugh told his listeners Monday. "We've got anchors and anchorettes who don't know beans about even why an airplane flies. They couldn't explain the concept of air pressure differential or lift to you if their jobs depended on it. " Actually it's even worse than "such a show": The lack of any real information has pushed television news to new levels of unintentional self-parody.
March 19, 2014 | By Neela Banerjee
WASHINGTON - As part of its campaign to address climate change, the White House on Wednesday unveiled a website to serve as a one-stop location for the enormous amount of climate data housed at different federal agencies. The initiative to make the information easily accessible to communities, researchers and industries trying to adapt to global warming is the White House's latest move to deliver on a pledge President Obama made in June: to use his executive authority to confront climate change in light of congressional inaction.
March 14, 2014
If you go THE BEST WAY TO THE VAL D'ORCIA, ITALY From LAX , Alitalia, Lufthansa, Air France, British, US Airways, United, Swiss, Delta and KLM offer connecting service (change of planes) to Rome. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $767, including all taxes and fees. Lufthansa, Air France, Swiss, KLM, Delta, United and US Airways offer connecting service to Florence. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $822, including all taxes and fees. Both cities are about a two-hour drive to the Val d'Orcia.
March 12, 2014 | By Chris Dufresne
The 10-person NCAA selection committee meeting at the Conrad Hotel in Indianapolis this week will use a myriad of analytic indexes - RPI, Sagarin, Kenpom - to help it seed the 68-school tournament field that will be announced Sunday. “The committee is very aware of everything,” Ron Wellman, chair of this year's panel, said on a conference call Wednesday. When it comes to injuries, however, the committee must depend on trust. “We have to rely upon what the schools tell us,” Wellman, the athletic director at Wake Forest, said.
June 9, 2009 | Associated Press
FBI Director Robert Mueller says his agency will continue to use informants inside American mosques despite complaints from Muslim organizations. Mueller told reporters Monday in Los Angeles that investigations in places of worship will be respectful of 1st Amendment rights but will continue if warranted by evidence of possible wrongdoing. A Muslim organization has asked the Justice Department to investigate complaints that the FBI is asking followers of the faith to spy on Islamic leaders.
August 5, 2012 | By Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times
As part of an elite intelligence team, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies Michael Rathbun and James Sexton turn inmates into informants, looking for tips on crimes and gang activity inside the nation's largest jail system. Earlier this year, one of their informants offered up a bombshell: A fellow jail deputy was working as an operative for drug-smuggling, skinhead gangsters. Following protocol, the partners detailed the allegations in a direct memo to their boss, Lt. Greg Thompson, the head of jailhouse intelligence.
March 11, 2014 | Bloomberg News
McGraw Hill Financial Inc.'s Standard & Poor's unit may be allowed to seek information from former U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner related to what the company said was a "threatening" call he made to McGraw Hill Chairman Harold W. McGraw III after S&P's downgrade of U.S. debt in 2011. At a hearing Tuesday in Santa Ana, U.S. District Judge David Carter said he's concerned about why Geithner would have made the call to McGraw Hill's chairman three days after the downgrade, other than for it to have a "chilling effect.
March 6, 2014 | By Sheri Linden
In "Bethlehem," Israel's submission to the recent Academy Awards for the foreign language Oscar, first-time filmmaker Yuval Adler views entrenched political tensions through the template of a police procedural. Focusing on an Israeli intelligence agent and one of his Palestinian informants, the movie has the taut efficiency of a well-constructed crime thriller, while its real-world underpinnings play out with a less convincing sense of urgency. Tsahi Halevy carries himself with a mournful, in-over-his-head demeanor as Razi, an officer in Israel's secret service who's trying to prevent an impending suicide bombing in Jerusalem.
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