Friday, May 20, 2016

San Bernardino County Police Officer Memorial - 2016



President John F. Kennedy declared the first Peace Officers Memorial day on May 15, 1962, as a tribute to Peace Officers in honor of "those peace officers who, through their courageous deeds, have lost their lives or have become disabled in the performance of duty." And this day has been observed in our country annually since.

The Police Officer Memorial is a reminder that our everyday security does not come without a cost. We will never forget those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Hosted by the San Bernardino Police Department
Film produced by the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office


Thursday, May 19, 2016

IN THE NEWS: Run for the Wall kicks off in Ontario

Motorcycle riders taking part in the “Run for the Wall” leave Ontario for  the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.
Motorcycle riders taking part in the “Run for the Wall” leave Ontario for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. on Wednesday. STAN LIM — STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER  
 
ONTARIO >> In an annual tribute to veterans, motorcyclists took off Wednesday for a 10-day journey to Washington, D.C.
 
They gathered in Ontario before riding to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a wall that lists the names of those who died in the war. The event, dubbed Run for the Wall, honors veterans’ service and sacrifice.
 
Click here to read the article and view more photos.
 
ADDED NOTE: Supervising Deputy District Attorney Rick Young, who also served in the Army, will be participating in the 3,000 mile trek across the country in an effort to pay tribute to our nation's fallen soldiers and "ride for those who can't."

Friday, May 6, 2016

Public Service Announcement



Our office takes truancy very seriously. We know that it is often the “gateway” to juvenile delinquency and, later, more serious adult crime. Making sure that kids go to school and stay in school is very important because it is a pathway to future success.

To emphasize the point, we gave a camera and a few lights to a group of children and asked them to tell us what they want to be when they grow up.

Friday, April 29, 2016

District Attorney’s Office releases public service announcement on workers’ compensation insurance fraud


 


SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – The District Attorney’s Office released a public service announcement today to draw attention to workers’ compensation fraud in San Bernardino County.

“We will not tolerate employers who break the law in order to gain an unfair advantage over their competitors,” District Attorney Mike Ramos said. “Our office will continue to ensure that all workers are protected and that the playing field is level for law-abiding businesses who wish to conduct business in San Bernardino County.”

The short film focuses on the work of the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance Fraud Unit, in conjunction with its partners: Contractors’ State License Board, Employment Development Department, and the Department of Industrial Relations.

“When contractors violate the law and feed the underground economy, everybody suffers,” Ramos said.

An underground economy is one that includes activities where businesses fail to comply withbusiness and consumer licensing requirements, fail to pay or underpay payroll tax and income tax, engage in unfair labor practices such as wage theft, paying under the table, denying insurance benefits, and failure to acquire workers’ compensation insurance or making fraudulentmisrepresentations to insurers in order to gain a competitive advantage over competitors who comply with all legal requirements.

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Fraud units conducts on average 200 investigations a year and generally has 60-70 cases pending in court.

“We acquire convictions in over ninety percent of our cases,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Gary Fagan, who oversees the unit. “In the past three years we have secured restitution orders in excess of $2.45 million. We have also provided outreach training on workers’ compensation insurance fraud issues to over 2000 people in the last three years.”

The PSA, “Underground Economy,” is available on the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnaJhSdHFSo

PLEASE POST: If you suspect Workers' Compensation Insurance Fraud or believe you are a victim of workers' compensation insurance fraud in San Bernardino County contact the District Attorney at DAWorkersComp@sbcda.org or call (909) 891-3523.


PICTURED LEFT: Deputy District Attorney David Simon of the Workers' Comp Fraud Unit, attending "Legal Night at Chafey College", an annual event showcasing the Inland Empire's legal community.  DDA Simon spoke with students and members of the community about Workers' Compensation Fraud, the DA's Office's program to fight the Underground Economy, and provided information and documents to new business owners about their responsibilities under the Workers' Compensation laws.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

District Attorney Ramos announces formation of Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit

I’ll always remember the images of sickly cows, caked in manure, being dragged around in chains at the Chino-based slaughterhouse. It was this series of disturbing images captured on video in 2008 by an undercover investigator from the Humane Society of the United States posing as a plant employee that would lead to the largest beef recall in U.S. history.  It also resulted in my office prosecuting the most significant animal cruelty case in San Bernardino County history.   This case caused me to refocus my office’s efforts on animal cruelty investigation and prosecution. 

First, we spearheaded the creation of the San Bernardino County Animal Cruelty Task Force (ACT) in 2012.  With the assistance and leadership of Claudia Swing, Chief of the District Attorney’s Bureau of Administration, we brought together city and county animal control agencies, law enforcement, the Humane Society of San Bernardino, Deputy District Attorneys, District Attorney Investigators, domestic violence agencies, and others to coordinate and unite our efforts to fight animal cruelty.   The Task Force has been a complete success and is now a model for the state and the nation.  Today, there are 25-plus participating agencies from multiple counties involved with ACT.

In 2014 I was honored to be invited to be a member of the newly formed National Law Enforcement Council of The Humane Society of the United States. The council brings together current and former law enforcement officers and prosecutors from across the country to assist the organization in its efforts to strengthen and better enforce laws to stop animal cruelty and abuse. Through my communication and work with this council I was able to see just how prevalent the problem of animal cruelty was across the United States.

In April 2011, Victor Lopez kicked and killed the family dog in front of his wife Lorna Lopez and four children. He pled guilty and was sentenced to 30 days in county jail. Nearly two years later, following an argument, Victor Lopez allegedly killed Lorna Lopez by strangling her. He then took her body to a sight in Chino and dumped it. This case is ongoing and set for trial next month

It is a sad fact that animal cruelty and neglect, cockfighting rings, dogfighting by criminal street gangs, animal hoarding, and companion animal abuse and co-occurring family violence are all issues still faced by San Bernardino County. The “Link” between animal cruelty and family violence (domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse) is widely recognized by law enforcement professionals and social science studies. Street gangs turn loving pets into trained fighting dogs to protect their criminal enterprises, for sport, and for profit. Hundreds of chickens each year are maimed and killed in San Bernardino County due to cock fighting rings. We must do a better job of investigating and prosecuting these cowardly and heartless abusers of helpless animals. 



On March 23, 2016, it is alleged that Keion Hector killed an 8-week old pit bull in order to intimidate a female victim.

“I killed your dog because you went over there (next door),” said Hector. “Now lay down on the bed and turn the lights off. Lay in the bed or I’ll put your face by the dead dog. If you leave, I’ll kill you like I killed Sasha.”

As District Attorney, I believe the time is now to take the next step in our fight against animal cruelty.  Effective prosecution of animal abuse requires a collaborative team approach, vertical prosecution, and specially trained prosecutors and investigators who are dedicated to protecting innocent animals. In short, it requires a special vertical prosecution unit dedicated solely to prosecuting animal cruelty. 

I am proud to announce the creation of the District Attorney’s Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit (ACU), which together with new stricter policies on prosecution, will help us accomplish the goal of investigating and prosecuting animal cruelty to the fullest extent of the law.
 
Animal Cruelty Stats

In 2013, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office filed 83 cases related to animal cruelty.
In 2014, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office filed 71 cases related to animal cruelty.

In 2015, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office filed 84 cases related to animal cruelty.
 
Overview of Unit

  • In recognition of the Link between animal cruelty and family violence, the Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit (ACU) will be part of the Family Violence Unit and will consist of: 
  • A Chief Deputy District Attorney (ACU-CDDA),
  • A Supervising Deputy District Attorney (ACU-SDDA) who supervises a Family Violence Unit,
  • A Lead Deputy District Attorney (Lead ACU Prosecutor),
  • Two regional Deputy District Attorneys (Regional ACU Prosecutors) specially designated to handle select ACU cases as needed,
  • Two regional Juvenile Division Deputy District Attorneys (Juvenile ACU Prosecutors),
  • A Senior Investigator from the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation.

Although not technically part of the ACU, the Asset Forfeiture Unit will designate a prosecutor to handle asset forfeitures arising out of ACU cases. 


Role and Responsibilities of the Lead ACU Prosecutor

Countywide, all animal cruelty cases against adults will be handled vertically, from initial case review to sentencing, by either the Lead ACU Prosecutor or the Regional ACU Prosecutors.  All juvenile animal abuse cases will be handled vertically by a Juvenile ACU Prosecutor. 
The Lead ACU Prosecutor will be responsible for providing our animal abuse investigation partners with advice at the initial stages of case investigation.

The Lead ACU Prosecutor will also be responsible for education, training, and outreach activities for our Deputy District Attorneys, law enforcement agencies, animal control agencies, other Animal Cruelty Task Force (“Task Force”) partners, and to the community.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Ride Against Child Abuse

Members of our Morongo Basin Office were on hand to represent the District Attorney's Office at Friday's inaugural Ride Against Child Abuse sponsored by the Morongo Basin Sexual Assault Services and Bikers Against Child Abuse.




Tuesday, April 12, 2016

IN THE NEWS: MOURNING IN INLAND EMPIRE WITH VICTIMS' RIGHTS WEEK VIGILS

San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos, right, presents Rose Madsen, director of Families and Friends of Murder Victims, Inc., with an award for her service during a special memorial on Monday, April 11, 2016 at the San Bernardino County Government Center in San Bernardino, Ca. (Micah Escamilla/The Sun)

By Ryan Hagen, San Bernardino Sun

SAN BERNARDINO » Twelve long years after her daughter’s murder, Rose Madsen stood tall. But her voice still quaked.

Life never returns to normal after a loved one is taken from you, Madsen said Monday, as she accepted the Award for Exemplary Service to Victims of Crime on behalf of the organization she created, Families and Friends of Murder Victims.

“Life may feel empty and hollow,” said Madsen, whose daughter, Jennifer LeeAnne Balber, was killed in Rialto in November 1994. “Life doesn’t mean what it used to mean. ... But in time, life can be good again.”

Recognizing the unending pain caused by crime while doing what they can to make life good again — that was the mission honored in a solemn memorial Monday for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

It’s a mission the memorial’s host, San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos, said his office has in common w ith law enforcement and the dozen other public servants who attended the ceremony inside the San Bernardino County Government Center.

“We must never forget our community members and the victims whom we serve,” Ramos said. “What Rose doesn’t know is she inspires me, because if she can get up and fight, (we can do the same).”

Photos of homicide victims surrounded the entrance to the Government Center, in the third year of a tradition that ties into nationwide recognitions from April 10 to April 16.

Today, there will be a Crime Victims’ Rights Week candlelight vigil at the San Bernardino Police Department, 710 N. D St., from 7-8:30 p.m.

In Riverside County, District Attorney Mike Hestrin will host three Victims’ Rights Week candlelight vigils this week: today at Palm Desert Civil Center Park, 43900 San Pablo Ave., Palm Desert; Wednesday at Harveston Lake Park, 40135 Village Road Drive, Temecula; and Thursday at Riverside County Historic Courthouse, 4050 Main St., Riverside. Each will begin at 7 p.m. and will remember the victims of violent crime by reading their name and lighting a candle for them.

In San Bernardino, bag pipes and a moment of silence honored victims on Monday. First responders were recognized for two events in particular: Bryce Hanes, a San Bernardino police officer who was fatally hit by a drunk in November, and the Dec. 2 terrorist attack. “It really hit home Dec. 2 ... and I was so proud of the partners we have,” Ramos said.

Other partners had booths at the event to make victims aware of the help they offer, and the Redlands East Valley High School choir performed Svyati Boze.

Click here to read more.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

IN THE COMMUNITY: The Yucca Valley Pelican Club

Members of the Morongo Basin Office attended a recent community meeting which brought together leaders from Joshua Tree, Morongo Valley and the 29 Palms area.
Pictured from left to right: Supervising DDA Ron Webster, Victim Advocate Iris Robertson, Investigative Tech Bianca Ralston, Supervisor James Ramos, Supervising Investigator Paul Garcia and Sr. Investigator Phil Suchowski.