Weekender Updater: More Questions Than Answers After Overdose Ruling ... Plus More!

The late Erica Alonso's father has more questions than answers after overdose finding.
This weekender you are updatered on: a father not buying the overdose death of his once-missing daughter; a Laguna Beach billionaire beating the Swiss bank that shielded some of his assets; a Santa Ana dad copping to beating his precious two-month-old baby daughter into critical condition at a hospital; and a thieving Santa Ana piano company controller hitting a sour note at sentencing.

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Orange County Judge Pans Lawyers' Theatrics In Gruesome Death Penalty Case

Categories: Court, Crime-iny

Thumbnail image for DanielWozniakmugOC.jpg
Daniel Wozniak quietly watched today's courtroom drama
Saying he is "shocked" by "ad hominem" attacks, a veteran Orange County Superior Court judge today lectured a prosecutor and defense lawyer in People v. Daniel Wozniak, a pending death penalty case.

Homicide prosecutor Matt Murphy and Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders are tireless, gifted legal advocates, but they also despise one other--a sentiment neither has masked for 18 months of courthouse bickering that's gotten personal.

Murphy says Sanders is rude, obnoxious and a chronic, empty accuser of prosecutorial misconduct. He thinks his adversary purposely blocked his 2014 Christmas vacation. Sanders says Murphy is a cheap-shot artist and reckless defender of unethical law enforcement conduct. He thinks the prosecutor can't be trust to surrender exculpatory evidence. Both agree, however, the other isn't fit to handle such a high stakes case.

"He's a hypocrite," Murphy declared today.

Sanders said the prosecutor hoped to "poison the court" against the defense by repeatedly labeling him "a bad evil-doer."

The Republican-controlled Congress actually may get along better with President Barack Obama.

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Samy Hakim Allegedly Raped One Cab Fare But Prosecutors Fear There May Be More

Categories: Court, Crime-iny

Samy Hakim
So far, an Orange County cab driver is accused of raping only a Huntington Beach woman, but the district attorney's office (OCDA), fearing there may be other victims, turned to the public this morning for help.

Samy Hakim is scheduled to be arraigned Friday on felony counts of rape and sexual penetration by foreign object of an intoxicated person. If convicted, the 54-year-old Anaheim resident faces up to 10 years in state prison, OCDA says.

Hakim got a fare in the early morning hours of Nov. 18, 2014, when an unidentified 36-year-old woman was picked up at a Surf City bar and driven home. The OCDA alleges Hakim drove the intoxicated woman to her apartment complex, raped her in his cab, dropped her off and drove away.

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Sheriff Clicks Her Heels But OC Snitch Scandal Won't Go Away

Bob Aul/OC Weekly
Anyone who had spent a year traveling overseas before walking into the July 24 Board of Supervisors' meeting on civilian oversight woes at the Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) might have thought they were witnessing the coronation of Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. The top cop's arrival in the Hall of Administration, with her entourage, prompted smiles, handshakes and backslaps. One attendee said the sheriff was doing an "excellent" job. Another praised her willingness to attend; a third declared "the highest degree of respect for her." Even board chairman Todd Spitzer praised Hutchens' purported desire "to do the right thing."

If OCSD is a paradigm of virtuous public service, why call a semi-emergency hearing? The sheriff wondered the gist of this question out loud, though she said, in disingenuous politeness, "I'm pleased to be here." Worried police-corruption revelations once again have won national attention, Spitzer assembled the powwow to discuss strengthening the Office of Independent Review (OIR) or scrapping it for more effective oversight. "We have a problem as a county," he said.

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Meet More of Your Neighbors and Fraudsters, Orange County!

Photo by flickr user ivers
F is for fraud.
Two local men were recently sentenced, a third pleaded guilty, a fourth pleaded not guilty and a woman was charged in separate, unrelated frauds that stung victims for amounts ranging from the thousands to the millions of dollars, according to authorities.

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Mark Sostak Gets Year in Jail for Role in Land Scam That Falsely Included Arnold Palmer

Photo by flickr user Sean
Trying to confirm that the burned at least received this as a parting gift.
A 57-year-old man was sentenced to a year in jail Friday for his part in a $52 million real estate scam that had fraudsters falsely claiming golf legend Arnold Palmer was a partner on the way to wiping out the life savings of some retiree investors.

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Isai Beltran Accused of Sex Assaults on 2 Boys He Met as Church Helper, More Victims Feared

Courtesy of the Orange County District Attorney's office
Isai Beltran is currently out of custody, having made his $100,000 bail.
A 25-year-old Long Beach man who was a youth group volunteer at several Cypress and Los Alamitos churches is scheduled to be arraigned today for the sexual assault of two boys, but police and prosecutors fear there may be other victims.

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Costa Mesa Cop Ryan Patrick Natividad Accused of Filing Fraudulent Claim About His Fist

Photo by flickr user Dirk Gently
In some cultures, such claims are known as "fisting."
A Costa Mesa cop has been charged with committing insurance fraud through a work-injury claim involving his fist, according to prosecutors.

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Jailhouse Snitch Hoped For Punishment Break But Lands Huge Prison Sentence

A Mexican Mafia gangster who worked as a government informant inside the Orange County Jail during a massive investigation into the underworld's Southern California activities probably hoped for a significant punishment reduction.

But Brian Todd Ruorock (a.k.a. "Sporty") learned this month that his enthusiastic snitch services during a period around 2010-2011 didn't save him from a hefty prison punishment of 88 months for dealing methamphetamine.

When the gangster emerges from custody he must undergo supervised probation for a decade, according to a July 17 sentencing order by U.S. District Court Judge Andrew J. Guilford.

The judge banned the Huntington Beach man, who attended Edison High School, from any future association with East Side Longos gangsters, unless they are relatives.

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Junior Rigoberto Lopez Gets Three Years for Hit-and-Run Slaying of Mother of Seven

Anaheim Police Department
Junior Rigoberto Lopez's white truck fled the scene of the fatal hit and run.
A 31-year-old pickup driver--who fled the scene in Anaheim after mowing down a mother of seven riding a bicycle to go feed the homeless--was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison.

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