Law and Disorder 3-19

Officers responded to a report of a stabbing at an apartment complex at 123 Oceano Avenue on 3/17. The victim, an unnamed 21-year-old man, received stab wounds to the upper torso and was transported by medics to Cottage Hospital, where he received emergency surgery. He is currently in the intensive care unit. Witnesses reported that the victim and his friends had been engaged in a fight with two others. The investigation is ongoing.


Two State Street brawls resulted in the arrest of three men in the early morning of 3/15. According to the police press release, the first incident occurred at the club Statemynt at 519 State Street. There, bystanders directed the police to another fight up the block. The 20-30 people gathered at the second fight swelled to more than 100 by the time the police were able to subdue the combatants with Tasers and disperse the crowd. (/fisticuffs219)


What began as a civil case filed by Patrick Nesbitt of Windsor Capital Group against his former assistant and office manager, Angela Phillips, has now become also a criminal case. Phillips, accused of embezzling approximately $800,000, was brought by her attorney to the Carpinteria Police station on 3/11. Nesbitt has announced that no comment will be issued by him or Windsor Capital at this time.


Ira Distenfield, who founded We the People self-help legal services in Santa Barbara and expanded it to almost 180 franchises before selling the corporation four years ago, was booked into Los Angeles County Jail on 3/16 to serve five days for contempt of court. A judge found that Distenfield lied to conceal assets from attorney Richard Lubetzky, a creditor. Distenfield and his wife, Linda, currently operate the PR Store on upper State Street.


Santa Barbara Sheriff’s deputies raided an extensive cockfighting and breeding operation in the Santa Maria Valley on 3/9, finding more than 800 hens and roosters used for breeding and fighting. Also found were cockfighting videos, magazines, trophies, and weapons designed to strap onto birds’ legs during fights. Sheriff’s spokesperson Drew Sugars noted that some of the birds would have sold for at least $350 each. No charges have yet been filed against anyone. (/rooster219)


Area property management company Sima has filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against tenant William Levy Investments for failure to pay rent. Levy, once known for his ambitious Santa Barbara developments, is these days better known for his fall and subsequent filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Sima claims Levy owes $700,000 and that he vacated his offices in the El Paseo before the end of his lease in 2007, after leaving damage there.


Overcrowded conditions at County Jail have been an issue since 1981 when attorney Robert Sanger first sued the county sheriff-who is responsible for the facility-and won a judicial order to eliminate triple-bunking and filthy conditions. Inmates sleeping on floors, although on cots, recently was enough for Sanger to raise a contempt action against Sheriff Bill Brown that was heard last week. Judge Brian Hill postponed that action for a month to give attorneys for Brown and inmates time to reach an agreement. (/jail219)

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