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Los Angeles DA George Gascon’s policies blamed for another killing

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A California murderer was freed from just eight years into serving a life sentence thanks to a policy from embattled Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon — and now is facing charges in a homeless man’s killing.

Victor Bibiano, 30, was arrested last month for the April 16 killing of Mario Rodriguez, 42, who was discovered fatally shot at a homeless encampment in Pacoima.

The slaying occurred less than a year after Bibiano was released from prison, reported the Los Angeles Daily News.

Bibiano had been serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for a special-circumstance double murder, attempted murder, and shooting a firearm at an inhabited dwelling, as well as gun and gang enhancements.

He had been 17 years old in 2012 when he and two other men were convicted in adult court for the 2009 killings of two rival gang members and the attempted murder of a third.

DA George Gascon is facing criticism over his lax treatment of criminal offenders.
DA George Gascon is facing criticism over his lax treatment of criminal offenders.
MediaNews Group via Getty Images
Protestors call for Gascon's removal.
Protestors call for Gascon’s removal.
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Because of Proposition 57, which was approved by voters in 2016, Bibiano — who was a minor at the time of his conviction — was eligible for a transfer hearing in juvenile court to determine if he should be tried again as an adult, according to the report.

In 2020, Bibiano’s conviction was vacated under Proposition 57 and his case was sent to juvenile court to await a transfer hearing. But when Gascon became the DA in December, he immediately banned trying defendants again in adult court for crimes committed when they were juveniles.

In May 2021, Alysa Blair, Gascon’s special assistant, appeared in juvenile court on his behalf and informed a judge that the DA’s Office would not be taking part in a transfer hearing.

Kathy Cady, acting as a representative for one of the victims’ family, pointed out to the newspaper that according to a memo from the Writs and Appeals Division of the District Attorney’s Office, California law requires that the court conduct a transfer hearing.

The juvenile system does not house anyone over the age of 26, and since Bibiano was in his late 20s by that point, the judge handling his case had no other choice than to free him.

In a statement released to the outlet, Gascon argued that his office could not seek a transfer to adult court unless it could prove Bibiano would not have benefited from juvenile rehabilitative services at the time he committed his offenses.

A poster honoring fallen officers made by students at Mountain View High School.
A poster honoring fallen officers made by students at Mountain View High School.
MediaNews Group via Getty Images

“Given that Bibiano had no prior delinquency record at the time of the homicides, he had no serious infractions while in prison, and he presented other confidential mitigating information, we determined we could not meet that burden,” the DA said.

Gascon also pointed out that evidence suggests that Bibiano “did not personally shoot or kill” Rodriguez in April.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the loved ones of Mario Rodriguez,” he stated, adding that the transient was killed during a robbery and drug deal.

Olga Garcia, mother of slain officer Joseph Santana, walks past a poster of suspect Justin Flores.
Olga Garcia, mother of slain officer Joseph Santana, walks past a poster of suspect Justin Flores.
MediaNews Group via Getty Images

The report comes amid a campaign to recall the first-term DA over what his critics have described as his soft-on-crime policies.

Gascon came under fire last week, when Justin William Flores allegedly killed two El Monte police officers while on probation, which he received after being allowed to plead no contest in a drug and weapons possession case.

Gascon defended his office’s handling of Flores’ case, arguing that his prior history did not contain evidence of violence.

In a statement to the Los Angles Daily News addressing Bibiano’s case, Gascon acknowledged the groundswell of anger that has been directed at his policies.

Desiree Andrade, left, whose son was killed in 2018, urges listeners to recall Gascon.
Desiree Andrade, left, whose son was killed in 2018, urges listeners to recall Gascon.
Getty Images

“I know that people are angry, and I am angry, too,” he said. “But we cannot use single tragedies to make policy. One person’s failure cannot lead us to doubt the potential of everyone else. In other Los Angeles cases where juveniles previously sentenced to life have been released, including Mr. Bibiano’s original co-defendant, the results have been overwhelmingly positive.

Gascon also declared that he was not going to “play politics with this or any other tragedy.”

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Michael Stenger, Senate security chief on Jan. 6, dies before hearing

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The former Senate sergeant-at-arms who oversaw security during last year’s Capitol insurrection has died – one day before Tuesday’s hearing to present new evidence.

Michael Stenger, who resigned a day after pro-Trump rioters easily stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, died Monday morning, Politico reported.

The Marine Corps veteran, 71, spent 35 years in the Secret Service before joining the Senate sergeant-at-arms team in 2011. He was later appointed to the post in 2018. Former colleagues were notified of his death Monday afternoon, Politico reported.

Stenger stepped down after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell requested his resignation amid widespread criticism in the deadly attempted insurrection. House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving and Capitol Police Chief Sund also resigned.

“The ultimate blame for yesterday lies with the unhinged criminals who broke down doors, trampled our nation’s flag, fought with law enforcement and tried to disrupt our democracy and with those who incited them,” McConnell said at the time. “But this fact does not and will not preclude our addressing the shocking failures in the Capitol’s security posture and protocols.”

Pro-trump rioters
Pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.
Gabriella Bass

A Senate Rules Committee report cited Sund and Stenger’s inaction in the Capitol violence, finding that Sund never submitted a formal request to Capitol Police for National Guard support ahead of Jan. 6. Instead, Sund had “informal conversations” with Stenger on the possible need for National Guard troops.

Stenger’s death came one day before Tuesday’s abruptly-added Jan. 6 panel hearing during which an aide of former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will testify to present “recently obtained evidence and receive witness testimony.”

Cassidy Hutchinson, who served as a special assistant in the White House during the Trump administration, will take the stand to provide intel on last year’s Capitol insurrection and the administration’s response.

Michael Stenger
Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger (right) escorts Vice President Mike Pence (left) to the House chamber at the Capitol in Washington, DC.
AP

The House panel has yet to explain the newly added 1 p.m. hearing after Washington lawmakers were away on a two-week recess. The committee said last week no more hearings would be held until July.

Stenger’s death was noted by Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who shared video of his testimony to a Senate committee in February 2021.

“There is an opportunity to learn lessons from the events of January 6th,” Stenger said. “Investigations should be considered as to funding and travel of what appears to be professional agitators. First Amendment rights should always be considered in conjunction with these investigations.”

Stenger said the Jan. 6 insurrection “went beyond disobedience” and was a coordinated attack. A bipartisan Senate report found seven deaths were linked to the violence, including three law enforcement officers.

With Post wires

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Bam Margera Found After Fleeing Rehab, ‘Jackass’ Star to Resume Treatment After Intervention

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Bam Margera has been found after he went missing again from rehab center in Florida this past weekend. The Jackass star was located at a hotel in Deerfield Beach, Florida, on Monday (June 27) TMZ reports.

Margera was found by deputies Monday evening and was reportedly located safely, per TMZ. He was approached by a crisis intervention team and police after fleeing LifeSkills, the facility where he had been staying. His parents were also on the scene, and the group staged an intervention for Margera. The reality star agreed to return to rehab, and will check into a new facility, the outlet reports.

His return to rehab comes after Margera fled a Florida treatment facility earlier this month, leaving on June 13 when he was reportedly unsatisfied with his experience in the program. He had been staying at the facility under a court order. After he was found on June 15, Margera voluntarily checked back into treatment, but left again about two weeks later.

Margera first entered treatment for substance abuse in 2009 and has publicly struggled with drugs and alcohol for years. In May, he marked one year of treatment and told TMZ he planned to continue taking classes while living close to a rehab center with his wife, Nicole Boyd Margera, and their four-year-old son, Phoenix.

Before undergoing treatment in Florida, Margera was dropped from the latest Jackass film, Jackass Forever. The reality star and skateboarder was cut from the movie, appearing in a single stunt, after he allegedly tested positive for Adderall, according to Variety.

Margera rose to fame after appearing in the original Jackass series from 2000-2002, in which he and his costars filmed themselves performing outrageous stunts and pranks. Margera continued to star in the franchise with roles in Jackass: The Movie, Jackass Number Two and Jackass 3D. He later starred in his own spinoff projects, including Viva La Bam and Bam’s Unholy Union.

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The 10 best pressure cookers of 2022, according to reviewers

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Pressure cookers have exploded in popularity as of late, as many people working from home have been spending more time in the kitchen —unless you’ve relied on meal kits or cookie delivery services to keep you afloat.

With so many on the market — that all look the same, to be honest — the best pressure cooker to buy is based on your budget, preferred size and how tech-y you’d like it to be.

With a good model, you can create flavorful meals in a pinch, from braised roasts to creamy stews. And, with a good set of knives and a walnut cutting board (one of our favorites), you’ll be ready to prepare, cook and entertain like a pro.

Not to mention, pressure cookers pair well with some of the best air fryers and woks to complete your kitchenscape. Plus, most are on sale ahead of Amazon Prime Day 2022.

Before you’re ready to go full-send on a new multipurpose cooker, it’s important to know some of the basics on the handy-dandy appliance that’s getting all the love.

What is a pressure cooker?

First things first. A pressure cooker is essentially a large pot with lots of steam. Since it’s super-steamy, the pressure cooker — true to its name — builds up high pressure which, in turn, makes your food cook faster.

How does a pressure cooker work?

We’re giving it to you straight with no physics class required.

As a steamy sous chef of sorts, a pressure cooker will raise the boiling point of water (typically to 250 degrees F). As a result, the pressure is raised and more water enters the pot. This helps tougher foods, like thick meat, become nice and tender.

How do I use a pressure cooker?

First, add your food and liquid to the pot, ensuring the pressure setting is to your preference.

For electric pressure cookers: select the cooking program and time. Once pressure builds up, the screen on your pot will display the cook time countdown.

For stovetop pressure cookers: Place the pot on the stove, select the pressure setting of your choice and make sure the heat is on high. Once things start heating up, change the heat to low and start your timer based on the required cook time.

Be sure to note that you can’t assess flavor or adjust your food along the way. So, it’s important you follow your recipes to a T. But, you can quickly reduce the pressure and open the lid for good measure. Keyword — quickly.

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
Amazon
  • Capacity options: 3 Qt. ($69.99); 6 Qt. ($89); 8 Qt. ($99.95)
  • Dimensions: 11.8″ x 10.5″ x 11″ (3 Qt. size)

Let’s start with the pressure cooker with the most acclaim: the humble Instant Pot. Wearing seven hats — a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté pan and food warmer — it certainly boasts time-saving tricks to make life easier.

What’s more, it has 13 customizable programs that can be activated with just one touch. It also has 10 built-in safety features, including overheat protection and a safe-locking lid.

As the perfect gadget for up to three people, it’s wonderful for small families and meal prepping. But, if you like the functionality of the Instant Pot and prefer a larger size, 6-quart and 8-quart options are also available.


Chef iQ Smart Pressure Cooker
Amazon
  • Capacity option: 6 Qt.
  • Dimensions: 13″ x 13″ x 13″

Yes, aside from pressure cookers being convenient, they can also be smart.

The Chef iQ Smart Pressure Cooker boasts 10 cooking functions, 18 features, a built-in scale and access to more than 600 recipes with the paired Chef IQ app. Plus, it comes with a convenient steam rack to cook larger foods like fish and whole vegetables, along with a basket for smaller ingredients.

Noteworthy about this model is its auto pressure release function to, without fail, release steam at the end of pressure cooking for both convenience and safety. Especially great for new cooks and those who will be using a pressure cooker often, Chef iQ gets five gold stars.


Wolfgang Puck Programmable Pressure Cooker
Amazon
  • Capacity option: 7 Qt.
  • Dimensions: 14.5″ x 19.6″ x 17.9″

Enter the industrial king of the pressure cooker family: Wolf Gourmet. This quality option (with a beautiful red knob, of course) is a deluxe option because of its LCD screen that displays every detail of the cooking process. So, you can receive temperature feedback and cooking duration recommendations to ensure the perfect simmer.

Also, it’s a six-in-one product: slow cooker, programmer, meal timer, sous vide machine, rice cooker and sauté/searer. It’s a pretty foolproof buy, especially if you want an ol’ reliable that’s fit for nearly any recipe — and, one that looks dynamite on your cooktop.


Cuisinart 12-in-1 Pressure Cooker
HSN
  • Capacity option: 6 Qt.
  • Dimensions: 14.9″ x 13.7″ x 13.5″

Cuisinart’s top-of-the-line pressure cooker is fairly priced at $150 and is clad with 12 pre-programmed settings to help prepared steamed veggies and chicken breast optimally and with ease. It has an easy-to-read LCD screen, too and contoured handles to carry it from counter to table, if so desired.


Crock-Pot Express Pressure Cooker
Amazon
  • Capacity option: 6 Qt. ($59.99); 8 Qt. ($101.99)
  • Dimensions: 16.8″ x 16.8″ x 14″

This guide would be incomplete without a mention of the conventional, decades-loved Crock-Pot. The brand’s Express Pressure Cooker offers a wealth of options, from concocting the perfect soup or broth to making decadent desserts.

Due to its oval shape, it’s one of the best for fitting large cuts of meat and gives a more even sear with no stacking required. And, with its easy-clean function, you won’t have stuck-on odors from the pot after use.

And let’s not forget to note its incredible deal right now, along with 15% off its 8-Qt. size.


Breville Fast Slow Pro Slow Cooker
Amazon
  • Capacity option: 6 Qt.
  • Dimensions: 12.5″ x 13.5″ x 14″

Breville’s gorgeous stainless steel shell made the cut, notably for its chimney-like steamer export and built-in, color-changing LCD screen that notes when it’s cooking, pressuring or releasing steam.

With the Fast Slow Pro Slow Cooker, you have 11 cooking settings to choose from, paired with a practical keep warm function so your food is ready to serve without reheating. There’s even a removable cooking bowl to serve — all features making it well worth its $280 price point.


Presto Electric Pressure Cooker
Amazon
  • Capacity option: 6 Qt.
  • Dimensions: 11.9″ x 12″ x 12.5″

Notable for its high and low-pressure distinctions, Presto’s Electric Pressure Cooker is a solid option. For its high-pressure setting, it’s one of the best for preserving nutrients from meats, vegetables and other healthful ingredients you’re cooking up.

And, its easy-to-use front settings and center timer make it perfect for the once-in-a-while pressure cooker users who are seeking something effective and thoughtless to maneuver.


Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker
Amazon
  • Capacity option: 8 Qt.
  • Dimensions: 16.1″ x 14.6″ x 14.2″

It’s time to bring out the big guns, a.k.a. the Ninja Foodi.

With a generous size and durable makeup, it made the cut because of its TenderCrisp Technology, making ingredients juicy, crispy and golden brown, akin to your air fryer.

The nonstick and easy-to-wash pressure cooker also has a reversible rack for steaming, broiling and crisping up to eight chicken breasts at once. Plus, there are nine functions: pressure cooking, air frying, steaming, slow cooking, searing/sautéing, baking/roasting, yogurt-making, broiling and dehydrating.

And, it comes with 45 follow-along recipes for inspiration.


GoWise Copper 12-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
Amazon
  • Capacity option: 6 Qt. ($73.99); 10 Qt. ($100.99)
  • Dimensions: 11″ x 13″ x 9.5″ (6 Qt. size)

Finished in beautiful copper, the GoWise 12-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker is likely your best value for the features. With specialized settings for risotto making and cooking eggs, you’re getting one of the most personalized options for less than $75.

And, if you want the Mama Bear of pressure cookers, it also comes in a 10. Qt size for $100.99.


Insignia Multi-Function Pressure Cooker
Best Buy
  • Capacity option: 6 Qt.
  • Dimensions: 13″ x 12.2″ x 12.6″

With more than 9K raving reviews on Best Buy, Insignia’s Multi-Function Pressure Cooker is one of the more affordable ones on the market at just $60. It boasts 10 preset cooking functions, a 24-hour timer and a keep-warm setting if you’re not planning on serving right away. Not to mention, its locking lid and includes accessories — a measuring cup, rice scoop, soup ladle and more — make this model one of the best values buys.


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