February 20, 2014, 12:36 p.m.
SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death penalty Thursday for a Montebello woman convicted of murdering her husband for life insurance and implicated in the choking death years earlier of her baby daughter.
Angelina Rodriguez fatally poisoned her husband, a special education teacher, by serving him drinks laced with oleander and antifreeze in 2000, a few months after persuading him to take out joint life insurance policies, the court said.
It was her second attempt, according to the ruling written by Justice Ming W. Chin. She had previously tried to kill him by loosening natural gas valves in their garage, the court said.
Rodriguez had married Jose Francisco Rodriguez several months before his death.
During her murder trial, the prosecution also presented evidence implicating her in the 1993 death of her 13-month-old daughter, Alicia. Rodriguez was married to another man at the time.
The baby died after choking on the rubber nipple of a pacifier. Two months earlier, Rodriguez had taken out a $50,000 life insurance policy on the baby—without her then-husband’s knowledge—and made herself the beneficiary, the court said.
Rodriguez and Alicia’s father also sued the manufacturer of the pacifier, which had been recalled based on five consumer complaints that it had broken apart. The company paid a $710,000 settlement.
While behind bars for the murder of her husband, Rodriguez tried to dissuade a witness from testifying against her, the court said. The jury convicted of her interfering with the witness but failed to reach a verdict on a charge that she tried to have the witness murdered.
In challenging her conviction and sentence, Rodriguez argued, among other things, that the jury should not have been told she killed her daughter. Rodriguez was not charged or convicted in connection with the death, but law enforcement reexamined it after the poisoning of her husband.
The court said the jury was entitled to hear about the child’s death during the penalty phase of deliberations.
“There was ample evidence that defendant murdered her daughter,” Chin wrote.
Karen Kelly, who is representing Rodriguez on appeal, said she would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision.
Copied from the Palm Springs POA Website
By William Hutchinson, President – Palm Springs Police Officers’ Association
California, police officers and firefighters are being scapegoated for the financial challenges facing some California communities — so much so that pension “reformers are embracing a proposed ballot measure advanced by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed that would completely eliminate our vested retirement benefit rights and invalidate existing contracts made in good faith.
This comes despite the fact that the average public employee pension in California’s Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) is $31,000 per year, with more than half receiving less than $19,000 annually. And despite the fact that more than 600 new agreements in nearly 400 jurisdictions have been signed where public employees are paying more for their retirement benefits. (Another 175 jurisdictions have reduced pensions for new hires).
The criticism of our pensions comes with an undercurrent that taxpayers should somehow be offended by the benefits we are receiving. For those of us who are willing to work weekends, work while our friends and family are home asleep, and who are willing to risk our own safety to protect a complete stranger or their property, the suggestion that there is something insidious about public servants being provided with a retirement security is offensive – particularly when the salaries and golden parachutes of corporate executives in our community go without a wiff of criticism.
Our pensions are simply deferred salary. These pensions are essential for public employers to recruit and retain qualified, trained and experienced employees. Our police officers will receive multiple injuries throughout their career, and some have or will make the ultimate sacrifice of never returning home to their families.
During their service, our officers contribute salary every month toward their retirement and their health care costs. And contrary to the claims of pension critics, taxpayers don’t pay the rest.
According to the latest figures from CalPERS, for every dollar paid in pensions, 64 cents comes from investments. Fortunately, here in the Desert, most elected officials who have worked with us in providing solutions to our challenges are not playing the “blame the public employees game.” Unlike Mayor Reed – who plans on spending $5 million in taxpayer dollars to pay lawyers to defend an unconstitutional pension slashing scheme –these elected officials have ironed out their differences with us at the bargaining table instead of the ballot box.
They know that when governments hire teachers, first responders, parks maintenance workers, garbage truck drivers, and other public employees, they make certain promises regarding those employees’ retirements. Then, they often have decades to pay for those promises.
It’s the same as when a family buys a house — they finance the large amount, and pay it off over 30 years. In California, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) pays for most of those government workers’ retirements, and it does that by making investments, earning interest, and growing the bank account from which it cuts retirement checks.
Critics of CalPERS contend the system doesn’t have enough money in the bank to cover all of the promises it has made. However, it’s already sitting on more than 70 percent of the money it will need over the coming 30 years. Should it have 100 percent? Of course not. Many of the workers whose retirements CalPERS is funding are still young and working, so the system won’t need to cut checks to them for years or even decades.
The better question is not how much CalPERS has sitting in the bank, but whether it — like that family buying a home — has a realistic plan for paying off its commitments to public employees. The numbers indicate that the answer to that question is a clear “yes.”
CalPERS is currently projecting a 7.25 percent annual return on its investments. Critics call that “unrealistic.” Some suggest 3 percent is a safer figure. However, the system yielded a 13.3 percent return in 2012, and over the past two decades it has earned an average of 8 percent every year. Any investor would be ecstatic to realize sustained returns on investments like the ones CalPERS achieves. In fact, over a 20-year period prior to the recession, from 1988-2007, the average Wall Street mutual fund investor saw annual returns of just 4.48 percent, according to Dalbar, a financial market analyst.
What’s the solution? In addition to Gov. Jerry Brown’s changes in pensions last year that are estimated to save $77 billion, we must continue to work with our community leaders at the bargaining table to manage costs. No one has a greater stake in helping our communities during tough difficult times than those of us who serve it.
But Mayor Reed’s proposal to eliminate vested retirements and invalidate existing contracts is both unfair and wrong.
Let’s hope it never sees the ballot.
The next general membership meeting will be March 6, 2014 at 6pm @ Salvatore’s Restaurant.
The MPOA will be raffling an Xbox One and other prizes the night of the meeting. If you wish to purchase tickets, they are $20.00 each.
Please contact Scott (email@example.com), Mark (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Marc (email@example.com for tickets.
The 2014 schedule for retirees annual qualification has been posted on the Retirees Page. Retirees are required to qualify annually to renew their Montebello Police Identification Cards to retain their ability to carry a concealed weapon. Also to carry CCW out of state you must possess a valid HR-218 LEOSA card along with a valid MPD ID Card. Please check the Retirees Page for dates and times.
Members of the Montebello Police Department participated in the 29th Annual Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay. Congratulations to Team Montebello PD for their 9th place finish in the 99 Category at Baker to Vegas….Time was 18:30:29, with no penalties!!!
The Baker to Vegas Relay is the most “positive” event offered to law enforcement officers today. It gives them a reason to maintain a physical fitness program so as to help them better perform their duties. Over the 20+ years the Challenge Cup/Baker to Vegas Relay has been run hundreds of thousands law enforcement personnel have tread across the desert. The original ideals of the race continue: teamwork, camaraderie, physical fitness and competition. The event has expanded in many ways — most notably in entries and categories.
The number of teams has grown 14 fold from the first 19 teams in 1985. The number of teams is now limited to 270. Categories have grown to include Probation Officers, District Attorneys, US Attorneys and full time civilian police personnel.
As a result of this growth the race has flourished. Today it is the largest law enforcement event of its kind in the World with teams participating from Calgary Canada, RCMP both men and women, Berlin and Hamburg Germany and law enforcement teams throughout the United States. The Challenge Cup/Baker to Vegas Relay is truly a National and International event.
Every dollar helps!! Support the Montebello Police Officers Association. Your donation will be tax deductable!
Click on link to take you to the donation page http://www.gofundme.com/1suf64