Southern California breaking news and trends

Planned PR-hood: Susan G. Komen Foundation responds to backlash

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Red-alert reaction to the pink ribbon organization has colored the past two days since breast-cancer research advocacy group Susan G. Komen For the Cure foundation announced it would be cutting its support for Planned Parenthood.

Widespread backlash over the loss of more than $600,000 in grant money for breast exams has many questioning if Komen caved to political pressure. A top Susan G. Komen official has resigned over the decision, The Atlantic reported.


Susan G. Komen founder and CEO Nancy G. Brinker has issued a face-to-screen video response to the Planned Parenthood controversy. Affirming her 30-year commitment to helping women, she says the changes only reinforce the foundation's mission.

 

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Mark Berndt investigated 18 years ago for 'attempted fondling'

Mark Berndt

L.A. Sheriff's Department

Accused teacher Mark Berndt.

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Mark Berndt, the longtime Los Angeles teacher accused of committing lewd acts on 23 children, was investigated but never charged in "an attempted fondling" of a young girl 18 years ago, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. Dan Scott, who discovered the case while reviewing records Wednesday evening.

The suspected incident occurred in 1994, and was reported to by Miramonte Elementary officials, notes the L.A. Times. The girl, 10 or 11 years old at the time, told authorities that Berndt tried to touch her over her clothing near her genital area. Following a LASD investigation, the case was rejected by the district attorney's office. 

LAUSD Supt. John Deasy confirmed that he also learned of the alleged incident but said the sheriff’s office, not the district, had the records. Deasy has ordered an internal investigation of the 61-year-old suspect to see if district records of past incidents or suspicions exist.

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Court won't unseal video of landmark same-sex marriage trial

Federal Appeals Court Holds Hearing On Prop 8

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File: People watch a live telecast of a hearing about Prop 8 at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on December 6, 2010 in San Francisco, California.

A federal appeals court says it won't unseal video recordings of a landmark trial on the constitutionality of California's same-sex marriage ban.

Siding with the ban's supporters, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled Thursday that the public doesn't have the right to see the footage.

The 2010 trial was the first in a federal court to examine if prohibiting gay couples from marrying violates their constitutional rights.

The proceedings were open to the public and former U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker had staff members record them with the caveat that the footage would be used only by him to help him reach a verdict.

A coalition of media organizations and lawyers for the two couples who successfully sued to overturn Proposition 8 in Walker's court had petitioned to have the recordings made public on First Amendment grounds.

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Armed robbery charges for pair implicated in teen slaying

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Photo by KimNBCLA via Twitter

24-year-old Jason Schuman and a 19-year-old Elizabeth Ibarra have been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Francisco Rodriguez.

Jason Schumann and Elizabeth Ibarra, the pair implicated in the targeted killing of 17-year-old El Camino Real High School soccer player Francisco Rodriguez, were charged with armed robbery on Wednesday for an incident that occurred at the end of last year, the L.A. Times reported.

19-year-old Ibarra and 24-year-old Schumann used a handgun to rob a man of his cell phone behind a market in the San Fernando Valley on Dec. 29. Schumann, a Calabasas resident, has also been charged in the Jan. 11 Winnetka killing of the teen goalie. Rodriguez was fatally shot in the front yard of his home after being lured outside by a woman believed to be Ibarra, who is believed to be Schumann's girlfriend, according to authorities.

Ibarra remains in jail on a probation violation. Schumann is being held on $2-million bail. The murder weapon, believed to be in the Calabasas landfill in Agoura, was not found during a recent search.

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Honda loses hybrid lawsuit in SoCal small-claims court

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Honda Motors lost in Los Angeles today to Civic hybrid owner Heather Peters. The MPG-maven was awarded $9,867 for the car company's failure to deliver on stated claims about mileage.

The Civic hybrid owner sued the automaker when she did not receive the fuel economy promised with her 2006 vehicle. On Wednesday, Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner Douglas Carnahan said Honda misled her about the expected mileage, and awarded the Southern California woman a small-claims victory. 

Peters previously opted out of a class-action lawsuit in order to try for a higher payout. A former lawyer, Peters hoped to inspire others, saying if all 200,000 owners of the same '06 car sued Honda and won, it could cost the company $2 billion.

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