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 http://electionhangover2.com 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.”

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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.

No Apology to the Victims after Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson Reduces Murder to Manslaughter in Violation of Marsy’s Law

Alan Jackson provides no apology to victim's family and avoids returning reporter's phone calls.

Alan Jackson provides no apology to victim's family and avoids returning reporter's phone calls.

Alan Jackson and Arnold Schwarzenegger have much in common.  Two politicians breaking laws with reckless disregard for the victim’s family.  Both Alan Jackson and Arnold Schwarzenegger reduced murder sentences to just a few short years without notifying the victims and without allowing the victims to come forward and give victim impact statements.  Alan Jackson simply ignored reporters’ questions and blamed the detectives.  The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office spokesperson responded to the Antelope Valley press with excuses.  Marsy’s Law (Proposition 9) was co-authored by Steve Ipsen, Alan Jackson’s competition for the 2012 election for the elected Los Angeles District Attorney.

The Antelope Valley Press reports on Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson's run from the reporters after violating Marsy's Law.

FROM AV PRESS: ‘Something wrong with our justice system’
June 28, 2011

LANCASTER, CA

We know that Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson is running for the post of district attorney, but Friday he just seemed to be running from our phone calls.  We wanted to know why a Palmdale woman was literally crying to us about the plea-bargain deal her brother’s killer received.

It made no sense.  Joseph Azevedo, an aerospace worker, was murdered 30 years ago, and last year cops nabbed an Indiana truck driver named Christopher Winter and charged him with the crime. But as Valley Press Managing Editor Charles F. Bostwick reported Saturday, prosecutors struck a deal – a guilty plea in exchnge for a sentence of less than 6 years – and family members said they were unaware of it:  “Joseph Azevedo’s sister and nephew said the family was not told about a June 7 hearing in Los Angeles at which Christopher Winter, 55, was sentenced after being allowed to plead no contest to involuntary manslaughter and two counts of receiving stolen property.  

A murder charge carrying a potential death sentence or life in prison was dismissed.  ”Where is the justice? I can’t believe it after all these years,” Esmeralda Tirak of Palmdale said Friday.  “The guilty get away with murder, and the victims” she said, breaking into tears. “I can’t talk anymore.”  Michael Tirak, Azevedo’s nephew, said: “There’s something wrong with our justice system.”  After three decades, the family at least deserved the decency of a phone call to give them a chance to be there. Victims’ families usually speak in court to let the judge know the impact the loss of the loved one has had on friends and family.  

Deputy DA Jackson did not return our calls. A DA spokeswoman said she was told that Joseph Azevedo’s relatives had been informed by an investigator that Winter was expected to enter a plea to reduced charges that would let him avoid the death penalty, though she didn’t know if they had been told the hearing date.  The family members told us they were aware of a hearing and possible plea deal, but it had been postponed and they were never told the new date and a plea “to avoid the death penalty” is far cry from a plea for 6 years.

Violation of Marsy’s Law – Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson and Arnold Schwarzenegger have much in common

Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson and Arnold Schwarzenegger - Republicans Violate Marsy's Law and Give Secret Deals to Murderers. DA Jackson recently released a video saying how he advocates for victims.

Antelope Valley Press Reports ‘Cold Case’ Killer gets six years – This blatant violation of Marsy’s Law by Alan Jackson is similar to that of the former Governor Schwarzenegger who reduced a murder sentence to 7 years without consulting the family.   Shortly after Alan Jackson’s secret deal with a murderer, the Alan Jackson campaign released a video where he champions himself as a victim’s advocate.  We report this illegal and complete disregard for Marsy’s Law.   Justice was never sought nor served when Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson secretly plea bargained the potential death penalty murder case to manslaughter.  Also of note – the Alan Jackson campaign has already launched an attack on the city Attorney Carmen Trutanich who hasn’t yet officially declared his run for DA.  Carmen Trutanich has a special page on the City Attorney’s website that is dedicated to Marsy’s Law

Antelope Valley Press Reports - Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson Violates Marsy's Law and Gives a 6 Year Deal to Murderer. DA Jackson blames the detectives.

FROM AV PRESS ‘Cold Case Killer’ gets only six years

By Charles F. Bostwick
Managing Editor 
LANCASTER, CA

Relatives of a Lancaster aerospace worker whose 30-year-old murder was apparently solved last year with the arrest of anIndianatruck driver are dismayed that the ex-convict   apprehended was allowed to plead guilty to reduced charges and sentenced to fewer than 6 years in state prison.  

Joseph Azevedo’s sister and nephew said the family was not told about a June 7 hearing in Los Angeles at which Christopher Winter, 55, was sentenced after being allowed to plead no-contest to involuntary manslaughter and two counts of receiving stolen property.  A murder charge carrying a potential death sentence or life in prison was dismissed.  

“Where is the justice? I can’t believe it – after all these years,” Esmeralda Tirak of Palmdale said Friday.  “The guilty get away with murder, and the victims…,” she said, breaking into tears. “I can’t talk anymore.” 

Michael Tirak, Azevedo’s nephew, said: “There’s something wrong with our justice system.”  Esmeralda Tirak said the family was not invited to speak before the sentencing to give a so-called “victim impact statement,” which is standard practice in California court rooms.  

They had been told that a hearing had been postponed and would be rescheduled, but were never told a new date, she said.  Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson, a Major Crimes Division prosecutor who is running for District Attorney in 2012, didn’t return calls seeking comment.  

A District Attorney’s spokeswoman said she was told that Joseph Azevedo’s relatives had been informed by an investigator that Winter was expected to enter a plea to reduced charges that would let him avoid the death penalty, though she didn’t know if they had been told the hearing date.  She said the evidence against Winter turned out to be weaker than expected.  

Winter remains in custody in Men’s Central Jail inLos Angelespending his transfer to a state prison.  Joseph Azevedo was a 50-year-old Lockheed Aircraft worker and father of four sons. He had separated from his wife, who moved toPennsylvaniawith one of the boys, but the other three – ages 10 to 20 – were living with him.  Two of the boys found their father dead in their home’s family room after returning from camping at Littlerock Reservoir. 

Family said they had never heard of Winter and he wasn’t anyone Azevedo knew.  Sheriff’s homicide detectives said they believe Winter was burglarizing the Azevedos’ mobile home, in the 42000 block ofSixth Street East, when Winter was surprised to see Joseph Azevedo inside and killed him.  

At the time, Winter was a 25-year-old ex-convict who had been released from prison on parole six months earlier. Winter had been sent to prison in April 1980 on aLos AngelesCountyconviction for armed robbery and possession of a weapon by an ex-felon, state prison records show.  He was sentenced to three years in prison on the first charge and two years on the second, but he was paroled in less than seven months.  Winter was sent back to prison in August 1984 on a two-year sentence for aLos AngelesCountyconviction for burglary, prison records show.  He was released from prison on parole in June 1985 and was discharged from parole in June 1992. 

When Winter’s arrest was announced last November, sheriff’s officials said it was the result of fingerprint and DNA evidence that wasn’t available three decades ago.  Homicide detectives gathered forensic evidence in 1981 and interviewed residents and family members, but no leads were ever produced to identify a suspect, according to a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department statement released after Winter’s arrest.

Sheriff’s Cold Case Homicide detectives reopened the case in 2006 and began following several leads that included new fingerprint and DNA analysis. They eventually identified a suspect. However, they did not have enough information to prosecute the case, and the trail ran cold.  The case was reopened in May 2010, and a review of statements made by the suspect and witnesses in addition to modern forensic analysis was able to produce sufficient evidence to charge Winter, sheriff’s officials said.  

Detectives learned that Winter had been working as a long-haul truck driver inOhio. Winter was spotted at a distribution center inTipp City,Ohio. FBI agents and Tipp City police arrested him without incident Nov. 6.  Nearly 30 years after a Lockheed Aircraft worker as found shot to death on his family room floor, sheriff’s officials announced that a suspect had been arrested.

Alan Jackson Secretly Violates Marsy’s Law and Ignores the Victims’ Constitutional Rights Under California Law

Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson Violates Marsy's Law - The Victim's Bill of Rights - Reducing a potential death penalty case, for the shooting of Joseph Azevedo, to manslaughter without notifying the victim's family and further blaming the detective for the oversight.

Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson Violates Marsy's Law - The Victim's Bill of Rights - Reducing a potential death penalty case, for the shooting of Joseph Azevedo, to manslaughter without notifying the victim's family and further blaming the detective for the oversight.

Yes you can get away with murder, especially in the state of California.  If citizens of the State of California believe they have Constitutional Rights under California Law, they are in for a wake up call.  The Antelope Valley Press reported Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson, a candidate for the next elected District Attorney of Los Angeles in 2012, violated Marsy’s Law on June 7th 2011.  Jackson reduced a potential death penalty case to manslaughter for the murder of Joseph Azevedo without notifying the victims.  He failed to give the victim’s family a chance to exercise their Constitutional Rights and provide a victim impact statement.  (See original newspaper article here)

Alan Jackson fails to comply with Marsy's Law and allows the shooter to plead from murder to manslaughter without notifying the victim's family.

Alan Jackson fails to comply with Marsy's Law and allows the shooter to plead from murder to manslaughter without notifying the victim's family.

Joseph Azevedo was shot to death and found on his family room floor in a cold case left unsolved.  30 years later the cold case was re-opened when detectives found and matched new forensic evidence leading to the arrest of Christopher Winters who was facing potential death penalty charges or life in prison.  Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson, from the downtown LA  major crimes division secretly allowed the murderer to plead no contest to involuntary manslaughter and two counts of stolen property.  The victims were not notified and not allowed to give victim witness impact statements.  Murder charges carrying potential death or life in prison were dismissed by Alan Jackson to the shock and dismay of the victim’s family.

Alan Jackson violates the Constitutional Rights of the victim's family and refuses to answer questions.

Alan Jackson violates the Constitutional Rights of the victim's family and refuses to answer questions.

To make matters even more unfathomable,  Jackson refused to answer questions by the Antelope Valley Press and used the District Attorneys office spokesperson to respond – blaming the oversight on the detectives.

Victims to Alan Jackson (Q&A):
1.  Is the detective or the prosecutor ultimately in charge?
2.  If you can’t  uphold Marsy’s Law, why do you think you deserve to be the next District Attorney of Los Angeles County?

Alan Jackson is one of six candidates in the race for the next District Attorney of Los Angeles County in 2012.  Jackson recently released a video claiming to be a champion for victims.  Ironically he is running against 25 year veteran prosecutor and co-author of Marsy’s Law, Deputy District Attorney Steve Ipsen.

Marsy’s Law was written specifically to prevent this exact occurrence.  For years victims have been ignored in court, given no opportunity to speak, no voice and no respect.  Criminals have 36 rights under the law.  After the 2008 passage of Marsy’s Law, victims have 17 rights under the California Constitution.  In this case, Alan Jackson violated the following Marsy’s Rights:

(6) To reasonable notice of and to reasonably confer with the prosecuting agency, upon request, regarding, the arrest of the defendant if known by the prosecutor, the charges filed, the determination whether to extradite the defendant, and, upon request, to be notified of and informed before any pretrial disposition of the case.

(7) To reasonable notice of all public proceedings, including delinquency proceedings, upon request, at which the defendant and the prosecutor are entitled to be present and of all parole or other post-conviction release proceedings, and to be present at all such proceedings.

(8) To be heard, upon request, at any proceeding, including any delinquency proceeding, involving a post-arrest release decision, plea, sentencing, post-conviction release decision, or any proceeding in which a right of the victim is at issue.

It is a tragedy when a family member dies.  The pain is like no other and never subsides.  When a prosecutor like Alan Jackson has complete disregard for the victim’s family and the law, justice is never served.