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Category: Westside

Lindsay Lohan case: Judge refuses to delay trial for car crash on PCH


A judge refused Friday to delay Lindsay Lohan's trial on charges she lied to Santa Monica police when she said she was not driving her Porsche when it rear-ended a truck on Pacific Coast Highway.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Dabney also warned that if Lohan continues to use Mark Heller as her attorney before the March 18 trial, she will waive her right to "competent" counsel under California law.

"I am somewhat concerned whether you have sufficient guidance from local counsel," the judge told Lohan's New York attorney after he filed a bill of particulars--a motion not used in California criminal procedure.

The judge bluntly lectured Heller for 10 minutes on how that, as well as some other motions, were incorrect procedures for a California criminal court.

Until last month, Lohan was represented by Shawn Holley, among the region's top lawyers. Heller took the legal helm recently after representing Lohan in New York. 

Dabney rejected Heller's motion to dismiss and informed the attorney he had not complied with California legal requirements. Under state law, attorneys must file motions to dismiss during the arraignment, Dabney said. That period has already passed.

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Some lanes on 405 Freeway in Sepulveda Pass to be closed this weekend

Sepulveda Pass in Oct 2012
Three northbound lanes on the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass will be closed for 55 hours beginning Friday night for construction work.

The freeway will be reduced from five to two lanes between the Montana Avenue offramp and the Getty Center offramp in West Los Angeles beginning at 10 p.m. Friday, Metro officials said. Southbound lanes and Sepulveda Boulevard will remain open.

“By pressing this work into this 55-hour period, they’re able to make up several months of work,” said Metro spokesman Marc Littman.

All northbound freeway lanes and ramps in the Sepulveda Pass will be closed for five hours early each morning through Monday, officials said. All lanes and ramps will be open to the public by 5 a.m. Monday.

If rain affects the work, the operation will shift about a week, officials said.

The construction work is part of the 405 Freeway Sepulveda Pass Improvement Project in which a carpool lane will be created and the freeway will be realigned. Motorists should expect delays and have been advised to take Sepulveda Boulevard or avoid the area, Littman said.

The construction could cause SigAlert conditions, Littman said.

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Twitter.com/haileybranson

Photo: The 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass in October 2012. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times.

Fewer L.A. County courthouses to hear eviction cases under plan

The number of courthouses in Los Angeles County hearing eviction cases will be reduced from 26 to five under a Los Angeles County Superior Court plan to cut costs.

The plan will disproportionately harm low-income tenants fighting eviction, legal advocates for the poor say. Some people will have to travel up to 32 miles to litigate their cases, court officials said, under the plan expected to be implemented by the end of June.

For some, the trips could take several hours using public transportation and include transfers on multiple trains and buses, said Neal Dudovitz, executive director of Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County. That travel time is of particular concern in eviction cases because the courts move quickly, he said.

"For people who are already in great stress and can't really afford to take days off work or have to bring little kids with them wherever they go, it's really impossible," Dudovitz said.

Under California law, tenants in most cases have five days to file a written response to the lawsuit brought by their landlords. If the person does not file a response within that time frame, the court rules in favor of the landlord.

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Lindsay Lohan case: Prosecutors demand rehab for star, sources say

A hearing is scheduled Friday morning for Lindsay Lohan related to a charge that she lied to police about a car crash on Pacific Coast Highway.

Police said the 26-year-old actress told officers she was not driving a Porsche that rear-ended a truck on June 18 as she headed to the set of “Liz & Dick.” Lohan faces one misdemeanor count each of reckless driving, providing false information to an officer and willfully resisting, obstructing or delaying an officer. 

To avoid trial on those charges, as well as violating her probation on a separate shoplifting conviction, Lohan will have to agree to serve at least 90 days in a lockdown rehabilitation facility, officials have said.

She is not required to appear in court Friday.

Santa Monica city prosecutor Terry White and Lohan’s attorney Mark Heller have discussed a possible plea deal, said sources familiar with the prosecution. But the L.A. city attorney won't accept any deal of less than 90 days in a locked rehab, they said.

Lohan was already on probation for stealing a necklace from a Venice jewelry store, a misdemeanor grand theft charge to which she pleaded no contest in May 2011. The Los Angeles City Attorney’s office has accused her of violating her parole.

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Lindsay Lohan: L.A. prosecutors want 90 days in rehab, source says

Lindsay Lohan attends the Mr. Pink Ginseng launch party at the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Oct. 2012. Credit: Richard Shotwell / Invision / Associated Press

Lindsay Lohan will have to agree to serve at least 90 days in a lockdown rehabilitation facility if she wants to avoid trial on a charge of lying to police about being behind the wheel during a crash on Pacific Coast Highway and violated her probation for shoplifting.

While Santa Monica city prosecutor Terry White and Lohan attorney Mark Heller have discussed a possible plea deal, the L.A. city attorney, which secured a jewelry theft conviction against the actress, won't accept any deal of less than 90 days in a locked rehab center, said a source familiar with the prosecution.

In the event Santa Monica's prosecutor agrees to a lesser sentence, L.A. prosecutors will probably object and ask that Lohan be sentenced to 90 days for violating the terms of her probation, the source said.

PHOTOS: The trials and tribulations of Lindsay Lohan

The negotiations Wednesday were snagged by the issues of Lohan's entering rehab, community service and extensive therapy to resolve the misdemeanor criminal charge, according to several sources. If no deal is struck, prosecutors will go to trial next month.

According to sources, L.A. prosecutors are taking a hard line because Lohan has a history of repeatedly disobeying court orders, and those involved believe she needs "meaningful rehab" in a credible facility.

They don't want to send her to jail, but without meaningful treatment "she is not only a danger to herself but to the public, especially while driving," according to one source familiar with the prosecution.

The prospect of a plea deal comes as law enforcement sources say a bottle of alcohol was found near the car at the scene of the PCH crash but not tied to Lohan or the case.

In a letter to prosecutors, Heller has offered to have Lohan participate in intense therapy, regular screenings and offer inspirational speeches to schools, hospitals and other groups while establishing a nonprofit foundation for youth.

In recent years, Lohan has made more court appearances than movies. Nearly six years ago, she was arrested for drunk driving in Los Angeles and was subsequently convicted. She repeatedly violated the terms of that probation, going to jail for short periods of time, as well as rehab.

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With prospect of all-male L.A. Council, female candidates organize

Tina HessTina Hess says she never planned to be a Los Angeles City Council candidate.

But last November, when she turned her attention to local races after the presidential election, she was shocked to see not a single woman running to represent her Westside district. And in eight other council races across the city, only a handful of women were running, compared to dozens of men.

“I just saw this void,” said Hess, a city prosecutor who lives in Del Rey. She decided to enter the race when she realized the city could soon be without any women on its 15-member lawmaking body after mayoral candidate Jan Perry, the council’s lone female, departs on June 30 because of term limits.

Hess is one of several female candidates waging uphill battles against men who have raised considerably more money.

In the west San Fernando Valley, attorney Joyce Pearson and business owner Elizabeth Badger are in a six-person field looking to replace Councilman Dennis Zine. Pearson has raised nearly $90,000 for her campaign, according to the most recent reports. Her main opponent, Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, collected nearly twice that amount during the same period.

In the east Valley, two women are running in a lopsided four-way race against former Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes. In the most recent fundraising reports, Fuentes had raised 10 times as much money as two of his opponents -- actress and community volunteer Krystee Clark and education activist Nicole Chase.

In south Los Angeles, Ana Cubas is facing seven male candidates. In a news conference Wednesday, she urged voters not to let the council become a male-only outpost of city government. “Do we want to go back to 1933?” she asked, pointing to a picture from that era in which not a single woman sits at the council's "horseshoe" of desks.

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Lindsay Lohan close to deal on lying-to-cops charge, sources say

PHOTOS: The trials and tribulations of Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan's lawyer is close to making a plea deal that would keep her out of jail on a charge she lied to police when she allegedly said she wasn't driving a Porsche during a crash on Pacific Coast Highway.

Santa Monica city prosecutor Terry White and Lohan attorney Mark Heller are close to formalizing a plea to send her to rehab, community service and extensive therapy to resolve the misdemeanor criminal charge, according to several sources.

Although the L.A. city attorney's office wants Lohan to go back to jail for violating probation for a jewelry theft in 2011, according to sources, it is allowing White to take the lead.

PHOTOS: The trials and tribulations of Lindsay Lohan

The prospect of a plea comes as law enforcement sources say a bottle of alcohol was found near the car at the scene of the PCH crash but not tied to Lohan on the case.

In a letter to prosecutors, Heller has offered to have Lohan participate in intense therapy, regular screenings and offer inspirational speeches to schools, hospitals and other groups while establishing a nonprofit foundation for youth.

In recent years, Lohan has made more court appearances than movies. Nearly six years ago, she was arrested for drunk driving in Los Angeles and was subsequently convicted. She repeatedly violated the terms of that probation, going to jail for short periods of time, as well as rehab.

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Pedestrian killed while crossing Pacific Coast Highway

A man was struck and killed by a car when he tried to run across Pacific Coast Highway on Tuesday night, authorities said.

The incident occurred about 6:40 p.m. between Encinal Canyon Road and Mulholland Highway and closed Pacific Coast Highway in both directions for hours.

The man, whom authorities did not identify, was running across the highway illegally with two other people after fishing near El Pescador State Beach, said Sgt. John Skikas of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

"He appears to be at fault," Skikas said. "No citation was issued against the driver."

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Westboro Baptist Church pickets briefly at Santa Monica High School

Members of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church, an organization best known for protesting at military funerals, spent Monday morning picketing at Santa Monica High School in apparent protest of what the church called “brutish teachers & hateful parents" who "have broken the moral compass of this generation.”

The visit was quick and “everything was peaceful,” according to Sarah Wahrenbrock, a spokeswoman with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District superintendent’s office.

“They did show up,” she said, “but they weren’t around very long.”

Wahrenbrock said she was still trying to gather additional details, but a news release from Westboro Baptist Church said members would picket the high school from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Monday. Supporters of the students claimed the church was specifically protesting the school’s affirmation of LGBT students.

In response to the planned protest, the school district’s Board of Education adopted an open letter to the community last week, reaffirming the school board’s “unwavering commitment to teach tolerance, acceptance and compassion for others.”

The visit Monday morning came on the heels of the Oscars, where some protesters took their form of activism to tourists and Hollywood stars, the Huffington Post reported.  

The church, based in Topeka, Kan., "engages in daily peaceful sidewalk demonstrations opposing the homosexual lifestyle of soul-damning, nation-destroying filth," according to a statement on its website. 

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L.A. votes: Next mayor's big challenges, questions about union influence

Los Angeles mayoral candidates Jan Perry, Kevin James, Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel and Emanuel Pleitez stand at a debate at UCLA's Royce Hall.

The nation’s eyes were fixed this weekend on the Oscar race unfolding in Hollywood. But with just days to go before the citywide March 5 election, local political contests were getting just as hot and heavy.Election Memo

The Times took a wide-angle look at the challenges facing the city as voters pick a successor to termed-out Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. City leaders have already cut hundreds of millions of dollars out of everyday services and ongoing maintenance to stay afloat, but the next chief executive will have to make hard decisions, especially in light of costly, ill-timed spending commitments made at City Hall and a failure to adjust to the region's weakening economic foundation.

That hard fact has prompted some to question two city unions’ heavy financial backing of Wendy Greuel in the race. Greuel defended her record, saying as controller she has scrutinized many city agencies and has worked on behalf of taxpayers.

FULL COVERAGE: L.A.'s race for mayor

Greuel is not the only one receiving outside aid in her bid. Kevin James, who has received nearly a half-million dollars of support from an independent committee, issued a plea for new funding from the Texas billionaire who has thus far bankrolled much of the effort. Meanwhile, James continued to attack Greuel for her ties to the union representing  many workers from the city’s Department of Water and Power.

The first in a series of profiles of the mayoral candidates examines the past and present statements of James.

The mayoral candidates made their Oscar picks for best movie, and tried to use the focus on Hollywood bonanza to woo voters. James highlighted his endorsement by the Bring Hollywood Home Foundation in a fund-raising appeal that warned, “Imagine a Hollywood with no Oscars because the industry was run out of town by our city's bad policies.” Greuel put out a mailer featuring the head of her rival, Councilman Eric Garcetti, superimposed on an Oscar statue with the headline, “And the award goes to... ERIC GARCETTI. Worst Performance By A Politician In A Leading Role.”

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About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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