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Dec 19, 2014

Influential Rabbi Harold Schulweis dies at 89 in California

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Rabbi Harold Schulweis, a tireless innovator who implored followers to fight against genocide and see Judaism as a religion with universal significance, has died at age 89 at his Los Angeles home, his synagogue said in a statement.

Schulweis, who was regarded as one of the most influential rabbis of his generation, died on Thursday after a struggle with heart disease, his congregation Valley Beth Shalom said in a statement.

Dec 10, 2014

Civilian oversight approved for Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A plan to create a civilian oversight panel for the troubled Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was approved on Tuesday, as county leaders moved to avert problems of the kind that triggered unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

The measure is a bid to tackle thorny issues faced by the sheriff’s department, such as allegations of excessive force and poor management of its jail system, the nation’s largest.

Dec 5, 2014

California man whose wrongful conviction inspired Asian-American movement dies

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – A Korean-American man who was wrongfully convicted of a 1973 gang murder in San Francisco and whose case inspired Asian-Americans of all backgrounds to mobilize for his freedom has died at age 62, friends said on Thursday.

Chol Soo Lee died on Tuesday at St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco due to complications from a problem with his digestive system, said family friend Doris Yamasaki.

Dec 5, 2014

L.A. police chief finds fault with shooting of unarmed man after chase

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Three Los Angeles police officers who killed an unarmed man after a car chase last year, in a shooting caught on live television, acted in violation of the department’s use of force policy, the police chief said in a report released on Thursday.

The three officers have said they thought 51-year-old Brian Beaird was reaching for a gun or shooting at them when they fired on him 21 times last December in an incident in downtown Los Angeles that raised questions about police use of force.

Dec 3, 2014

California surgeon disciplined for removing wrong kidney from inmate

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A California surgeon who accidentally removed the wrong kidney from a prison inmate and left the patient’s tumorous kidney in place has been put on probation for three years by a state medical board, records from the agency show.

The board also prohibited Dr. Charles Coonan Streit, who performed the 2012 surgery at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, southeast of Los Angeles, from supervising physician assistants during his probation.

Dec 3, 2014

U.S. couple leaves Qatar after convictions overturned in child death

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A U.S. couple whose convictions were overturned in the death of their adopted daughter in Qatar left the Gulf Arab state on Wednesday after a travel ban that had kept them in the country was lifted, their supporters and the U.S. ambassador to Qatar said.

Matthew and Grace Huang boarded a flight at the airport in Doha and are bound for their home in Los Angeles, said a statement on the website of the California Innocence Project, an organization that works to win the release of wrongfully convicted inmates.

Dec 3, 2014

FBI seizes data from Los Angeles school district over iPad program

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – FBI agents investigating the purchasing process for the Los Angeles school district’s $1.3 billion effort to supply students with iPads have seized 20 boxes of documents, the district’s superintendent said on Tuesday.

The surprise involvement of the FBI in the controversial project follows the October resignation of Superintendent John Deasy, who drew criticism over the process used to select Apple Inc to provide iPads and Pearson Plc to provide built-in curriculum. He was replaced by Roman Cortines.

Dec 2, 2014

U.S. couple stuck in Qatar in child death case can leave: ambassador

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Qatar will soon lift a travel ban that has kept a U.S. couple from leaving the Gulf Arab state even after their convictions were overturned in the death of their African-born adopted daughter, the U.S. ambassador to Qatar said on Tuesday.

Ambassador Dana Shell Smith said on Twitter that Matthew and Grace Huang should be able to leave the country on Wednesday once the travel ban was lifted, and added she expected no further prosecution appeals in the case.

Nov 21, 2014

L.A. school district settles teacher sex abuse suits for $139 million

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Los Angeles school district has agreed to pay $139 million to families of students subject to sexual abuse by an elementary school teacher who infamously took bondage-style photos of some pupils, school officials said on Friday.

The Los Angeles Unified School District and attorneys for the families settled all remaining litigation in the case involving the teacher as jury selection was underway for a trial in some of the cases. The school district had previously paid $30 million to settle dozens of other related lawsuits.

Nov 21, 2014

Judge overturns capital sentence of Wyoming’s only death row inmate

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – A federal judge on Thursday vacated the death sentence of Wyoming’s only inmate awaiting capital punishment, in a ruling that faulted the murder convict’s trial lawyers for not adequately presenting to jurors evidence of his mental impairment and troubled life.

Dale Eaton, 69, was found guilty in 2004 in the 1988 kidnap, rape and murder of 18-year-old Lisa Marie Kimmell, whose body was found near Casper, Wyoming soon after her disappearance. She had been traveling from Colorado to Montana when she stopped in Wyoming and encountered Eaton.