Brutal Killer Daniel Wozniak Calmly Watches Lawyer Slugfest Over PreTrial Disputes

Wozniak: Temporarily playing a non-speaking role
It's difficult to imagine a more heated Orange County courtroom today than the one in which Superior Court Judge James A. Stotler presided over contentious, pretrial disputes in the case of People v. Daniel Wozniak, the local actor turned gory, decapitation murderer.

Wozniak--merely a smiling, upbeat observer at today's hearing--long ago admitted his guilt in a bizarre, May 2010 double murder, but the battle over whether he's suitable for California's death row at San Quentin State Prison is crawling like a race between two heavily sedated, senile turtles.

That's not to suggest the fight between prosecutor Matt Murphy and public defender Scott Sanders hasn't been intense and colorful as we approach a scheduled February trial date to determine punishment. It has. As a result, the mild-mannered Stotler found himself repeatedly playing boxing referee and not satisfying either lawyer, each of whom insists he has been the victim of his opponent's crass plotting, theatrics and paranoia.

For example, Murphy blasted Sanders for planning to file an upcoming 20,000-page motion by pointing out that the combined texts of War and Peace, Moby Dick, The U.S. Constitution, Gettysburg Address, IIiad, Odyssey, New King James Bible and Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking total 14,000 fewer words.

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Doctors, DMV Cleared Gerald Douglas Rupple to Drive Before School Bus Crash: His Lawyer

Photo by flickr user if winter ends
Prosecutors say a driver of one of these lied about his medical condition.
UPDATE, JAN. 23, 6 A.M.: Former Orange Unified School District bus driver Gerald Douglas Rupple pleaded not guilty this week to child abuse, child endangerment and perjury counts related to an April 24, 2014, crash in Anaheim Hills that left four students with significant injures such as broken bones, bleeding on the brain, a shattered spine and a toe amputation. The 25-year-old also denied four sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury.

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Male Teacher Suspended Over Facebook Post About Male Students' Sex with Female Teachers

Courtesy of Orange County Sheriff's Department
Melody Lippert (left) and Michelle Ghirelli are accused of hooking up with male students for sex.
UPDATE, JAN. 22, 12:37 P.M.: The male high school students who allegedly met two female teachers for sex on the beach in San Clemente "should have just kept your stupid mouths shut and enjoyed it," reads a Facebook post that has led to the suspension of a male teacher from the same school.

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Family Run Loan Modification Scammers Preyed on Latinos Throughout SoCal: OCDA

Photo by flickr user Louish Pixel
Money, money, money ...
Three Orange County family members and two of their business associates operated a loan modification scam that stung Latino customers throughout Southern California for nearly $400,000, prosecutors alleged Thursday.

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Carlos Bustamante's Alleged Sex Crimes Are Barely Criminal, Says Judge

Luke McGarry/OC Weekly

It's rare when an Orange County Superior Court judge is the most uncomfortable person in the courtroom, but John Conley couldn't hide his displeasure during a Jan. 16 hearing. A former prosecutor educated at an elite, private New England prep school and known for a distinguished presence, Conley is presiding over a case with lascivious story lines straight out of a lame, 1970s porno. The defendant, Carlos Bustamante--a fired county executive, onetime Santa Ana city councilman and, at least in his own mind, rising, family-values star in the Republican Party--spent years throwing himself at women other than his wife, according to pending criminal charges.

But during a media-packed session in which Bustamante sat slouched, stone-faced and almost entirely silent at the defense table, Conley aimed his ire at prosecutors Matt Lockhart and Aleta Bryant. The scene was remarkable because in our county it's usually defense lawyers who unnerve judges. This day, however, Conley saw the Orange County district attorney's office (OCDA)--not Bustamante--as advancing the indefensible by trying to turn vulgar but non-criminal or, at worst, misdemeanor acts into supposed felonies.

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Teacher Christopher Millette Charged for Sex Acts with Girl Relative Under 10: Update

Courtesy of Fullerton Police Department
Christopher Millette teaches at Valadez Middle School.
UPDATE, JAN. 21, 1:23 P.M.: Placentia teacher Christopher Millette is due in court Thursday to face one count of oral copulation or sexual penetration of a child 10 years old or younger, two counts of lewd or lascivious acts on a child younger than 14 and a sentence-enhancing allegation of substantial sexual conduct with a child--in this case a girl under 10 he is related to.

But prosecutors also say they fear the 36-year-old may have preyed on other children. Under the current counts Millette faces up to 19 years to life in prison if convicted, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office.

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Gregory Lynn Cross, Serial Bank Robbery Suspect Who Wore Angels Shirt, Still Out There

Gregory Lynn Cross was No. 1 on our recent list of "6 Bandits Who Wore Anaheim Angels Gear While Robbing Banks."
Regional law enforcement agencies are still seeking 58-year-old Gregory Lynn Cross, who is now suspected in eight bank robberies or attempted bank robberies since Dec. 13, the FBI announced Tuesday.

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Rateb Said Najjar, Son Eyad Rateb Najjar Face 104 Years for Sales of Fake iPads, iPhones, Etc.

Categories: Court, Crime-iny

Craigslist iPhone Counterfeiters OC.jpg
Real or fake?
A Westminster father and son are accused of money laundering and conspiracy charges connected to the sale of counterfeit iPhones and other electronic goods valued at nearly $3 million.

Rateb Said Najjar, 60, and his son Eyad Rateb Najjar, are charged with more than 100 felonies that could send each to prison for 104 years if convicted.

Amir Ali Shaerzadeh, 36, of Irvine, faces the same counts and punishment, but he is a fugitive with an outstanding arrest warrant.

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Man Sues California Highway Patrol For Failing To Arrest Him

Southern California citizens most commonly complain that cops overzealously exercise their law enforcement powers.

But an Orange County man is suing the California Highway Patrol (CHP) for failing to arrest him after he partied with booze in Sept. 2013 at Anaheim's Bottoms Up Tavern.

No, you correctly read that sentence.

Daniel Ray Fernandez has filed a complaint for damages because he claims a CHP officer stopped him for driving in excess of 100 mph on Interstate 5 near Disneyland, impounded his motorcycle, gave him a traffic ticket, and left him on the side of the highway heavily intoxicated, moneyless and without a cell phone.

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Adam Jay Stone and Ransom Lee Cook to be Arraigned for Shotgun Slaughter in Park

Courtesy of Anaheim Police Department
Defendants Adam Jay Stone (left) and Ransom Lee Cook
UPDATE, JAN. 19, 8:16 A.M.: Adam Jay Stone and Ransom Lee Cook are scheduled to be arraigned this morning for the murder of Alexander Raymond McMoore, who was gunned down in Anaheim's Twila Reid Park earlier this month. Stone, 28, of Anaheim, is charged with murder and a sentence-enhancing allegation of personal discharge of a gun causing death.

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