Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, January 9, 2015


Page 11



Deputy DAs Vote to Sever Ties With National Labor Union


The Los Angeles County Association of Deputy District Attorneys has voted to “disaffiliate” itself with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), a national union with more than 1.6 million members including nurses and sanitation workers.

Ballots were due Wednesday at 5 p.m. and counting of them was concluded in the early evening.

Deputy District Attorney David Berger, whose website has been promoting a “yes” vote on disaffiliation, yesterday posted his analysis of the election. He commented that the local prosecutors’ union “delivered a crushing and resounding blow” to AFSCME “when ADDA members voted 143 to 65, to oust the under-performing, expensive and corruption-tainted big labor group.”

He continued:

AFSCME had promised much, but delivered little in return for the $1M in members dues that had been paid over the past three years.

Participation in ADDA votes has traditionally been low, but when independent CPA firm Haynie & Co announced that 208 ballots had been received in the disaffiliation election, an audible gasp filled the meeting room at AFSCME headquarters.

Of the 396 ADDA members, 53.25% had voted, a participation level previously unheard of. It was a sign that members were motivated, and that was bad news for AFSCME who, like most unions, thrive only when member participation is low.

When the ballots were counted, the overwhelming majority vote to disaffiliate from AFSCME (almost 70%) was not only unimpeachable, but a crushing blow to embattled AFSCME Executive Director Cheryl Parisi, who faces a humiliating career setback as a result of loosing her grip over the ADDA. It is a rainy day in hell when a big labor union is trounced to defeat, and ADDA President Marc Debbaudt deserves the credit for bravely leading the charge….

Alan H. Friedenthal, a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner, last month was in New York City attending a meeting of the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists. Pictured below are, from left, Friedenthal, New York criminal defense attorney Benjamin Brafman, recipient of the group’s Pursuit of Justice Award, and retired Los Angeles Superior Court Referee Mark Frazin.



Mike Gatto, a member of the Assembly representing the Burbank-Glendale area, has introduced a bill to reinstate DNA testing by police, but on a more limited basis than under the state’s DNA and Forensic Identification Database and Data Bank Act of 1998, gutted by the First District Court of Appeal on Aug. 4.

Writing for Div. Two, Presiding Justice J. Anthony Kline said:

“[W]e conclude that the DNA Act, to the extent it requires felony arrestees to submit a DNA sample for law enforcement analysis and inclusion in the state and federal DNA databases, without independent suspicion, a warrant or even a judicial or grand jury determination of probable cause, unreasonably intrudes on such arrestees’ expectation of privacy and is invalid under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

Gatto’s press release on Tuesday declared:

“In December, a Court of Appeal struck down California’s criminal-DNA-testing program contained in Proposition 69.  In People v. Buza, the court found several aspects of California’s DNA-testing practices unconstitutional, dealing a huge setback to law enforcement’s ability to solve crimes.  For CSI-like crime solving to resume in California, policymakers must now come up with a constitutional framework that addresses the court’s concerns. Assemblyman Mike Gatto, a former constitutional lawyer, today introduced AB 84, which would allow DNA testing to resume in the state.  The legislation would bring forensic investigation into the 21st century and create new tools for law enforcement to collect and analyze DNA samples from criminals, while protecting our constitutional rights.”

Overlooking Kline’s reliance on the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the press release said:

“The legislation comes as courts across the country are grappling with the issue of DNA testing, including the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld a Maryland testing program that allows for DNA to be collected from those charged with specific and very serious felonies.  However, that decision, Maryland v. King, was no help in the Buza decision, which struck down Prop. 69 under the California Constitution only.”

It explained:

“Gatto’s legislation seeks to address the court’s concerns by expressly allowing DNA to be collected from people convicted of a felony or those convicted of a serious or violent misdemeanor.  It would allow for DNA to be collected from individuals arrested and charged (but not yet convicted) with serious felonies upon court process and a finding of probable cause.  To protect people wrongfully accused, arrested, charged, or convicted, the DNA sample would be required to be completely expunged if the case is dismissed or the accused is acquitted or otherwise exonerated.  The legislation also expands upon a pre-existing testing program that allows a person who is arrested for a non-violent minor crime, such as shoplifting, to have their charges dropped in exchange for paying a small fine and agreeing to a DNA swab to check against prior violent crimes, and to keep on hand for the future.”

Asvar Law PC has issued a press release on its victory in this district’s Court of Appeal Tuesday in a case in which Div. Five held that the “going and coming rule”—barring workers’ compensation benefits to employees injured while commuting to or from work—did not apply to a man once he entered a restricted Air Force Base, although the place within the base where he worked was miles away.

The press release quotes the attorney for claimant Craig Schultz, Chris Asvar, as saying:

“”The Court’s opinion allows for an analogy to be drawn in various future circumstances:  Imagine an airline worker who is injured within the vast perimeter of an airport, but far from the actual airline office where she is employed; or a cook who is injured within the wide expanse of a school campus, but miles from the kitchen in which he works.  This opinion will affect those good people and many others like them.”

Asvar goes on to say:

“This was the quintessential David and Goliath battle. Mr. Schultz is not only an exemplary person, but according to every ounce of evidence presented at trial, he was an exemplary employee who got seriously injured.  In accepting this case, we took on not only one of the most powerful insurance companies in the country, but also a defense contractor situated behind the secured gates of an air force base, insulated from even being served a subpoena. In the end, that very gate was instrumental in demonstrating that the injury broadly happened within that employer’s premises.”

The case is Schultz v. WCAB, 2015 S.O.S. 99.

A retired attorney, Martin Vesole, is questioning a law—but not one contained in statutes.

A press release issued yesterday is headed, “Is Jewish Law Too Strict for Its Own Good? Vesole’s response to the question is in the affirmative.

The press release says:

About one out of every 514 people in the world, 0.02 percent, is Jewish, according to a recently published survey by Israel’s Maariv newspaper.

“There is something inherently misleading about this; no doubt the study was done with the best academic standards, but the historical method for counting Jews has problems,” says Martin Vesole, former president of Temple Menorah in Chicago and author of the Jewish-themed novel Sleeping Truth,

“According to Jewish law, which by the way does not even come from the Bible, the child of a Jewish woman is Jewish regardless of who the father is, while the child of a Jewish father is not Jewish if the mother is not Jewish. In other words, a Jewish woman can confer Jewishness, while a Jewish man cannot,” he says.

“In my view, Jewish law on this point is completely insane, both genetically and sociologically,” says Vesole, a former attorney. “What possible point could there be in denying genetic Jews membership among the Jewish people? No other group works this way. It’s time to bring our rules into the 21st century.”


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