Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson accused of using illegal photos

Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson violated Marsy’s Law by reducing a death penalty case to manslaughter without notifying the victim’s family.

Alan Jackson is back in the media this week.  This time it isn’t for his violation of Marsy’s law, but  for alleged illegal use of photos used to make an attack video on the City Attorney Carmen Trutanich.  The Contra Costa Times reports on the covert attack operations going on in the District Attoreny’s office lead by Alan Jackson who fears Trutanich will officially enter the race for Los Angeles District Attorney in 2012 and give him competition for Republican votes.   

Contra Costa Times reports on Jackson's alleged illegal use of campaign photos to make an attack video against another potential candidate

Contra Costa Times
By Melissa Pamer, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/02/2011 10:24:58 PM PST
Updated: 12/02/2011 10:30:58 PM PST

A slick online video based on “The Hangover Part II” that targets City Attorney Carmen Trutanich’s still-undeclared candidacy for county district attorney is at the center of a new campaign legal spat. A photographer who worked for Trutanich is suggesting he may take legal action against district attorney candidate Alan Jackson for unauthorized use of photos of the city attorney in Jackson’s campaign video.

Jackson, whose campaign manager is convinced that Trutanich himself is behind the threat, defended the video, but declined to discuss the photographer’s copyright concerns. “It is a fair ad that is completely truthful,” Jackson said. “Censorship of First Amendment free-speech rights is not part of what I believe in and I don’t believe a campaign should be part of that.”  John Shallman, Trutanich’s campaign manager, said a lawyer’s letter to Jackson about the copyright issue was sent on behalf of a photographer who worked for the 2009 city attorney bid. Trutanich was not connected to the letter, said Shallman.

But, he added, “We certainly sympathize with any small business person who has intellectual property that’s being stolen by a politician for their personal political ambitions.” Jackson, a deputy district attorney best known as the prosecutor in the Phil Spector murder trial, is one of seven declared candidates in the June 2012 primary. His campaign manager, John Thomas, who helped produce the anti-Trutanich video, worked on Trutanich’s 2009 city attorney campaign.

Trutanich has raised nearly $500,000 for the primary but hasn’t yet said he’s running for D.A. He was elected as Los Angeles city attorney after promising voters he wouldn’t seek higher office – a pledge Jackson’s campaign hammered in its video spoof.

The video, released in July, includes pictures that Trutanich’s campaign manager said were taken by a private photographer in the course of the 2009 race. In October, Jackson received a letter from an attorney alleging “unauthorized use of various copyrighted photographs.” The letter on behalf of an unnamed client later disclosed as a Trutanich campaign photographer, mentioned the potential for damages of up to $150,000 for willful copyright infringements.

`Thin-skinned individual’

Jackson’s campaign cried foul, saying Trutanich was behind the missive. “There’s only one person in the world that would have a vested interest in having us tear down that video, and that is our opponent, and he is a very thin-skinned individual,” said Thomas.

“The joke of it is he’s given my video a second life-cycle. … It’s a gift,” added Thomas, who provided the letter to the Daily News.

Thomas worked on Trutanich’s 2009 city attorney race, which was won after a nasty runoff against then-Councilman Jack Weiss. Thomas said he was working for Jackson now partly because he was disappointed Trutanich might not honor his pledge not to seek higher office. At issue is a video posted at that attacks Trutanich’s record while mimicking the style of a movie trailer. About two-thirds of the way through the video, a series of photographs of Trutanich flash quickly on the screen.

Photographer Scott Redinger asked Jackson via email in July to stop using the images, Shallman said. (Thomas said the Jackson campaign has no record of that request.) The Oct. 14 letter to Jackson from Pasadena lawyer Nicholas Connon asked questions about the video that Connon said needed answering “before taking any legal action.”

In an interview, Connon said he was representing Redinger and accused the Jackson campaign of trying to “politicize” a copyright issue. Reached by phone and asked about the letter, Redinger said, “I was the definitely the photographer.”

But he said he couldn’t comment any further. “I was told not to talk to reporters,” Redinger said.

Experts divided on claim

Trutanich also did not return requests for comment. Experts who viewed the video were divided on whether a legitimate copyright claim could be made by the photographer. Frederic Woocher, a Los Angeles election law and First Amendment expert, said the case wasn’t “cut and dried.” A judge could decide use of photos in the video would not be subject to the “fair use” exemption of copyright law.

“I would think that the campaign here would be well advised to offer to pay for the photo or remove it from the ad, because apparently there is a substantial risk involved in losing the argument over fair use if it went to court,” Woocher said in an email. But Eugene Volokh, a constitutional and copyright law expert who teaches at UCLA, disagreed.

“There’s a pretty good fair-use claim,” Volokh said. “The defense could say, `We are indeed commenting on the campaign that had used this photo, and this photo, by being part of the campaign, becomes something we should be free to take.” The video also uses a snippet from a 2009 Trutanich campaign television ad. Shallman said the Trutanich campaign had no problem with that.

“We’re just choosing not to pursue it because it’s irrelevant. (Trutanich) might very well have a claim but it sinks below him. His focus is on putting gang members away,” Shallman said. Jackson declared his intent to run for district attorney last December, while Trutanich created a fundraising committee in April. Six other candidates, all prosecutors, have also begun raising funds for the race. The candidate filing period in the nonpartisan race begins Feb. 13 and ends March 9. “We’ll make a decision before then,” Shallman said. “(Trutanich) is not under any time frame. He’s not one of those traditional politicians.”


Steve Ipsen, Deputy District Attorney saves the state of Calfornia millons: Manson acolyte ‘Tex’ Watson denied parole

Tex Watson denied parole for five more years thanks to Steve Ipsen, co-author of Marsy's Law

Tex Watson denied parole for five more years thanks to Steve Ipsen, co-author of Marsy's Law

CNN Justice reports on the five year parole denial of “Tex” Watson.  He has been up for parole 16 times and denied parole 13 times.  Each time he goes before the parole board the families of the murder victims have to re-live the horrific murders of their loved ones.  Equally unfair, Tex Watson has gone before the parole board 13 times, falsely hoping for his freedom.  Steve Ipsen, Deputy District Attorney, co-author of Marsy’s Law, and candidate for Los Angeles District Attorney in 2012 changed the Calfornia Constitution with Proposition 9, “Marsy’s Law” in 2008.  With this provision, the parole board now has the option to deny parole for up to 15 years for those who qualify.  This change was designed to be fair to victims and criminals who have little to no chance of parole. 

When Marcella Leach, one of the co-founders of Justice for Homicide Victims and the mother of “Marsy”, told Steve Ipsen she suffered a heart attack, due to the stress, while attending one of the parole hearings for the murder of her daughter, Mr. Ipsen was determined to change the way victims were treated in the state of California.  He designed and authored the provision to allow the parole board denial options that are fair to victims and the criminal offender.  

In the first year after Marsy’s Law was passed by California voters on Nov. 4, 2008, the new Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights had significantly improved victims’ rights in the state.  In that year, 81 criminals received a maximum 15-year parole denial and an additional 393 convicted felons were denied parole for seven to 10 years, according to the Crime Victims Action Alliance web site.  In 2010 –  357, 196 and 79 criminals received 7, 10 and 15 year denials respectively.  Prior to Marsy’s Law, parole hearings were denied for a maximum of five years, with most ranging between one and three years.

Today Tex Watson was denied parole and although this family was hoping for at least a seven year denial, they can go on with their lives for the next five years before they have to again re-live the horrific murder of their loved ones.  

By the CNN Wire Staff

updated 7:43 PM EST, Wed November 16, 2011

(CNN) — Charles Denton “Tex” Watson, one of the chief participants in the Manson Family murders in the summer of 1969, will stay in prison at least another five years, the California Board of Parole Hearings announced Wednesday.

Watson, 65, was denied parole for the 16th time, the board said, and will not be considered again until 2016.

Watson, along with Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Linda Kasabian were convicted in 1971 of murder and sentenced to death for the killings of five people, including the eight-months pregnant movie actress Sharon Tate, on the night of August 9, 1969. They and their leader, Charles Manson, were convicted and sentenced for stabbing Leno and Rosemary La Bianca to death the night after the Tate killings.

All their sentences were commuted to life imprisonment after a California court decision struck down capital punishment.

Watson has been housed at Mule Creek State Prison since 1993, according to the parole board.

The Wave and TMZ Blast District Attorneys Jackie Lacey and Steve Cooley for taking David Walgren’s and Deborah Brazil’s credit

TMZ and Betty Pleasant weigh in on Steve Cooley and Jackie Lacey’s showboating, while David Walgren and Deborah Brazil look on.
Captain Kirk (Steve Cooley) with Mr. Spock (Jackie Lacey) by his side

Captain Kirk (Steve Cooley) with Mr. Spock (Jackie Lacey) by his side

TMZ reports Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock took credit for David Walgren’s and Deborah Brazil’s prosecution of the Michael Jackson case.  The news reports, “It’s pretty stunning, Cooley was flanked by his number 2 Jackie Lacey, and D.A. honcho Pat Dixon.  Choosing Lacey is an audacious move on Cooley’s part, since he personally chose her to run as his successor in the 2012 election.”

Betty Pleasant says, "Get off my TV to Steve Cooley and Jackie Lacey"

Betty Pleasant says, "Get off my TV to Steve Cooley and Jackie Lacey"

Betty Pleasant also takes the opportunity to say “Get off my TV.”  She addresses the irritating showboating of Steve Cooley and his side kick Jackie Lacey.  She says she has kept silent about the Michael Jackson trial with no opinion of either guilt or innocence, but regarding the press conference, she states the “pitiful, showboating, grandstanding mess of a press conference District Attorney Steve Cooley held on TV immediately after the jury convicted Murray of involuntary manslaughter, during which Cooley preened and gloated and praised and patted himself and his staff on their backs for having done an outstanding job of nailing the doctor — while his right-hand woman, Jackie Lacey, stood silently by his side with her heart glowing all over the place. It was sickening.”

We have to agree with Betty Pleasant.  Cooley comes out of his hole when the media blitz is beckoning, but when violent and horrible murder trials come to a close, Cooley is no where in sight, and no where near the fine prosecutors in the DA’s office, to congratulate them,  who thankfully are in charge of the trials instead of Steve Cooley. 

The prison overcrowding crisis created by Steve Cooley and Jackie Lacey’s failed policies over the last ten years have paved the way for Conrad Murray’s freedom.  Steve Cooley might as well hold a press conference with a News Flash: Message to criminals – Do a crime and pay no time!  Or how about this slogan: Murder the King of Pop, Don’t Stop.  Just pass go and collect your $200.

Michael Jackson Fans to Media Hogs Steve Cooley and Jackie Lacey: “Thank you David Walgren”

Michael Jackson Fans Blast Steve Cooley and Jackie Lacey for Taking Credit for Walgren's Prosecution

Michael Jackson Fans Blast Steve Cooley and Jackie Lacey for Taking Credit for Brazil's and Walgren's Prosecution

Fans of Michael Jackson are not happy that Steve Cooley hogged the podium to take credit for the work of Deputy DA David Walgren and Deborah Brazil.

Steve Cooley and Jackie Lacey are desperate for positive media attention.  With Cooley’s chosen successor Jackie Lacey near by, he reads from his notes rather then giving the microphone to the true heros of the Jackson case.

Steve Cooley decided not to seek murder in the 2nd degree and  Jackson fans are hitting the blogs.  Murray will sit in county jail, then likely retreat to house arrest and enjoy a life like Martha Stewart.

The fans wanted to hear from David Walgren and Deborah Brazil, but Cooley took the spot light as if he conducted the prosecution.  Even former DA Hamid Towfigh weighs in on a two minute video blasting Cooley and Lacey for not prosecuting Jackson for murder.

Former Deputy District Attorney Hamid Towfigh Blasts Steve Cooley and Jackie Lacey for their failure to prosecute Murray for Murder in the Second Degree.

Former Deputy District Attorney Hamid Towfigh Blasts Steve Cooley and Jackie Lacey for their failure to prosecute Murray for Murder in the Second Degree.

Hamid Towfigh is a former Deputy District Attorney for the LA District Attorney’s office and states that David Walgren wanted to prosecute for murder, but his boss Steve Cooley made the decisions.  The prison overcrowding crisis, created by the bad policies Steve Cooley enforces, are the reason Conrad Murray will see no jail time.

Towfigh said the Jackson family was not happy that Murray could get only four years.  They wanted justice.  He states that the Major Crimes Division in the LA DAs office does not prosecute manslaughter cases.  He implies this was entirely a publicity stunt for Cooley.
Sending drug offenders to state prison and going after marijuana clinics has been Steve Cooley’s priority for the past 10 years.   The prisons are so overcrowded there is no room for Conrad Murray.  Murder gets Conrad Murray a few days in County jail.
Steve Cooley and Jackie Lacey take credit for David Walgren's prosecution
Steve Cooley and Jackie Lacey take credit
 TMZ delivers blistering remarks about Steve Cooley’s press conference and how Steve Cooley should have been in the background while David Walgren addressed the crowd.
Major faux paus on Cooley’s part.  The negative press hurts the image of the DA’s office and Jackie Lacey’s image as she stands next to Cooley.  Remember Jackie Lacey is running to be the next DA in 2012.  Remember her speech the night Cooley prematurely declared victory while the California Attorney General votes were still trailing in, and just before his loss to Kamala Harris by over 65% in LA County?  She stated that every day she works with Cooley she “glows”.   Well, this glowing moment doesn’t resonate well with victims or with Michael Jackson fans.
LIONEL of KPRL11 News in St. Louis says Cooley's prosecution was flawed.

LIONEL of KPRL11 News in St. Louis says Cooley's prosecution was flawed.

To balance the opinons of those who think this case should have been tried in civil court, LIONEL of KPLR11 News in St. Louis,  blasts elected DA Steve Cooley for the prosecution of Conrad Murray.

District Attorneys Jackie Lacey and Steve Cooley try to steal David Walgren’s thunder reports TMZ – Walgren sent to Siberia

Jackie Lacey, Steve Cooley and Pat Dixon steal David Walgren's thunder as they capitalize on the media of the Michael Jackson case

(TMZ photo) Jackie Lacey, Steve Cooley and Pat Dixon steal David Walgren's thunder as they capitalize on the media of the Michael Jackson case

Media Hogs?
It seems that Jackie Lacey and Steve Cooley are desperate for some positive media attention with all that is going wrong in the District Attorney’s office.  With the prison overcrowding crisis hanging over their head, the Michael Jackson trial is a perfect opportunity to hurdle them into the spot light.  But, it seems that even TMZ is on to the overcrowding disaster.  The failed policies of Steve Cooley and Jackie Lacey are sending so many low-level offenders to prison that there doesn’t seem to be room for murderers like Murray.  If Cooley would have sought murder in the second degree, then Murray may be locked in California state prison.  Rumor has it that Walgren wanted to seek murder, but Cooley didn’t want to in case they lost the trial.  That bad press could have resulted in another OJ fiasco, one that Cooley clearly capitalized on when he was first elected to office.  TMZ reports the press isn’t loving on Steve Cooley or Jackie Lacey as Murray prepares for house arrest and a few days in LA County jail.  Pat Dixon takes the opportunity to get his name in the spot light.  Who is he anyway?

TMZ reports
The man of the hour — Prosecutor David Walgren — who won the Conrad Murray case, might as well have been sent to Siberia by his boss, L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley, because he was completely out of the shot as Cooley took credit for the victory.

It’s pretty stunning, given that the winning prosecutor typically addresses the media after a verdict, but even if the D.A. was exercising caution while the sentence is pending, Cooley didn’t even allow Walgren to stand next to him.

Instead of Walgren, Cooley was flanked by his number 2, Jackie Lacey, and D.A. honcho Pat Dixon. Choosing Lacey is an audacious move on Cooley’s part, since he personally chose her to run as his successor in the 2012 election. 

A D.A. spokesperson said Lacey was standing next to Cooley because, “It’s like Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock.”

Steve Ipsen “Fair and For the People” – Three strikes ballot measure faces public safety politics

Three Strikes Reform Initiative of 2012
ABC covers the Three Strikes Reform Initiative of 2012 that will be presented to the voters of California

Three Strikes and You’re Out
A new “Three Strikes Reform” initiative was filed with the California Attorney General’s office last month.  It has been reported that Steve Cooley is being recruited to back this initiative and Ace Smith (Kamala Harris’s campaign manager) will head up the campaign.  We predict this is a political stunt for Steve Cooley to re-enter the District Attorney’s race in 2012, despite his announcements he will not run.  It is odd that Ace Smith would work so closely with Steve Cooley afer he criticized Cooley’s Attorney General campaign with such vehemence.  We predict Cooley is getting cozy with the reformers so he can use this platform to get into the DAs race for 2012 and say he is going to save the prison overcrowding crisis, when in fact the prison overcrowding crisis is one in which Steve Cooley and his faulty policies created.   

Victims remember that Steve Cooley was one of the last people to oppose Prop 66 in 2004.  Both Republicans and Democrats opposed Proposition 66 including former Governors Arnold Schwarzenneger,  Jerry Brown, Pete Wilson, Gray Davis and George Deukmejian.  The four page article  the below author refers to is one Steve Ipsen wrote and mentions some of the criminals that would have benefited by Prop 66.  Charles Manson was featured highlighting his 14 “Strikes” that would have been reduced from 14 to one.  A man who raped his own mother was pictured on the front page along with a man who poured gasoline on his own son and lit him on fire.  It is wise for the legislative writers at Stanford to take into account the problems with Proposition 66, when considering their new law, because victims are watching very closely.   Steve Ipsen has been a strong victim’s advocate and is proposing criminal justice reform for low-level and nonviolent offenders.  At least “Reform First” is proposed by someone victims can trust to look out for them and he is a  “Fair and For the People” prosecutor.  Compared to the natorius Alan Jackson who recently violated Marsy’s Law, then refused to apoligize to the victims after he failed to notify the victims, when he reduced a capital murder case to manslaughter, giving the murderer six years instead of the death penalty.  In reflection, it was only a matter of time before a new “Three-Strikes” law would  again appear before the voters of California.  “Three-Strikes” was written after the brutal murder of Kimber Reynolds.  Her father Mike Reynolds changed the history of California criminal law, aimed at protecting society from other victims.  Also worth remembering is the blistering attack video and add Kamala Harris launched against Steve Cooley in the race for Attorney General of California where Steve Cooley lost overwhelmingly in LA County by over 65% of the vote.  When refering to Jessica’s Law, Steve Cooley was recorded saying that if you want to write a law in California “name it after a female”.  Unbecoming of an elected official if you ask victims.  Mike Reynolds reports disappointment in Steve Cooley in the way he prosecutes “Three Strikes” cases.  Recently, and infamously,  John Ewell was the beneficiary of Steve Cooley and Jackie Lacey’s failure to follow “Three Strikes”.  Ewell later murdered four people.

Insider News portrayed some of the most henius crimes and the perpetrators who would have benefited if Prop 66 would have passed.

By Ryan Gabrielson (California Watch)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KABC) — A pair of Stanford University law professors spent months this year writing ballot language to narrow, ever so slightly, California’s three strikes sentencing law.

The result is the “Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012,” which is now under legal review by the state attorney general’s office. It aims to remove courts’ authority to sentence convicts to 25 years to life in prison when their crimes have been neither violent nor serious.

At the same time, the initiative’s backers argue this measure will ensure dangerous criminals remain incarcerated.

By protecting one piece of the three strikes law (life sentences for violent offenders), the proponents hope California voters will agree to discard another piece (life sentences for minor crimes).

That transaction shows the initiative’s political vulnerability, said Arnold Steinberg, a Republican political strategist. “Their challenge at the margins is to prevent their effort from being seen as soft on crime,” he said.

Past efforts to change the three strikes law have failed that challenge. California’s law, enacted by voters in 1993, is the only law in the United States that allows convicts to receive a third strike for any new crime, including petty theft.

The initiative’s supporters intend to focus on the cost of long prison terms for minor crimes, said Dan Newman, a spokesman for the effort. Felons previously convicted of murder, rape and child molestation could continue to receive a third strike for any conviction.

“Frankly, it’s built to win,” Newman said. “It’s built so it restores what voters wanted when they voted for three strikes in the first place. And it does so in a way that allows us to put together a broad coalition of supporters.”

That coalition is still under construction, Newman said.

Supporters expect to begin collecting signatures next month to secure a spot on the November 2012 ballot.

Steinberg said the list of supporters has to include conservatives and law enforcement to convince voters that the measure won’t risk public safety.

“It cannot look like liberals from central casting,” he said.

In 2004, Proposition 66, a ballot measure that would have dramatically changed three strikes, was defeated after California prosecutors made a late media blitz characterizing it as a mass release of dangerous criminals. Numerous top state officials lined up against the measure, including former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gov. Jerry Brown.

Prop. 66 would have required that a third “strike” be a serious or violent crime and reduced the number of offenses deemed serious under state law.

Pre-election polls showed Prop. 66 was likely to pass before opponents claimed the measure could result in the release of 26,000 felons. Steve Ipsen, head of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, produced a four-page flier that listed 10 violent convicts who Ipsen contended would be “eligible for release” under the proposition.

The lineup included a man who had “cut dog’s head off,” the flier states.

The Stanford professors, David Mills and Michael Romano, kept that political attack in mind as they drafted the current initiative.

“Those criminals who committed heinous acts are singled out in the reform language to ensure they receive no benefit whatsoever,” Newman said.

Romano leads the Stanford Three Strikes Project, where law students work to reduce life sentences for convicts who received their strikes for minor offenses, like shoplifting or drug possession.

Ipsen, a prosecutor for the Los Angeles district attorney’s office, said he agrees that three strikes has resulted in some outsized prison sentences. However, he opposes altering the law, as it means reducing prosecutors’ discretion in how they charge their cases.

“It would be very unfortunate if that happened because I think discretion can be used properly,” Ipsen said. “It has been getting better.”

The law would not change for convicts receiving a second strike if voters approve the initiative.

There are more than 32,000 inmates with two strikes presently serving time in state prison, compared with about 8,800 with three strikes, according to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation data. So-called “second-strikers” have their sentences doubled under the law.

Nov. 2nd, 2011 – Debate and candidate forum for Los Angeles District Attorney 2012

District Attorney Debate

Join victims and friends at the first debate and candidate forum for the office of Los Angeles District Attorney 2012 on Wednesday November 2nd 2011.  It’s free to the public. RSVP to

WHERE:  Japanese American Museum, 369 East First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

TIME:  Debate starts at 6pm

Victims want to know:

  • Will Alan Jackson publicly apologize for his recent violation of Marsy’s Law?
  • Will Jackie Lacey discuss they LA District Attorney’s Office policy and its failure to follow “Three Strikes”?
  • Will Mario Trujillo elaborate on his support for “Restorative Justice” and why victims should embrace their rapists and those who brutally murdered our family members?
  • Will Danette Meyers explain “Smart Justice”?
  • Will Carmen Trutanich show up and declare his candidacy?
  • Will Bobby Grace talk about his ideas for alternative sentencing?
  • Will Steve Ipsen explain “Reform First” and ensure he will prioritze violent crime?