• CRIMINAL PROBE IN BIRD INJURIES DROPPED: OAKLAND (AP) — Federal wildlife officials are no longer pursuing criminal charges against a tree trimmer who injured baby birds outside California post office.
In a statement released this week, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Gavin Shire says the agency in consultation with the U.S. Attorney’s Office concluded that no further action was warranted in the case.
The wildlife service had sought criminal charges against Ernesto Pulido after several night herons were injured during the May 3 tree trimming operation in Oakland.
Pulido said he was thankful he would not face charges. He has donated $2,500 toward the birds’ care and plans to be present when they are released Saturday.
The fish and wildlife service’s criminal inquiry had been criticized by Southern California Congressman Darrell Issa.
• STATE SUPREME COURT RULES ON RED LIGHT CAMERAS: SACRAMENTO (AP) — The California Supreme Court has ruled against a Southern California woman who challenged a traffic ticket based on red-light camera photos and video.
In a unanimous ruling on Thursday, the court said the red-light camera evidence against Carmen Goldsmith was adequately authenticated and there was no need to adopt stricter evidence rules for red-light camera violations.
Goldsmith was accused of running a red light in Inglewood in 2009 and fined $436. A police officer testified at her court hearing.
Goldsmith’s lawyer had called for testimony from the camera’s manufacturer. But the Supreme Court said the officer’s testimony was sufficient.
• 3 CHARGED IN BRUTAL CALIFORNIA TRAFFICKING RING: PITTSBURG (AP) — Three Northern California men are facing charges in what prosecutors say was a brutal sex trafficking ring in which women were raped and beaten and one was branded with a clothes iron.
Contra Costa County prosecutors on Thursday charged Eric Beman, Roy Gordon and Derrick Harper with conspiracy to commit human trafficking, torture, mayhem and kidnapping for extortion.
Prosecutor Mary Knox says the men, all from Pittsburg, used force to keep at least three women in their late teens and early 20s in their prostitution ring.
Knox says the men would shave the women’s heads with butcher knives and clippers as punishment. One woman has a scarred leg after allegedly being burned with an iron. The alleged crimes occurred from 2006 to 2013.
• KOREAN BOY CRITICAL AFTER 3-STORY HOTEL ROOM FALL: SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego County officials say a 7-year-old boy is in critical condition after falling 35 feet from the third-floor window of a Del Mar hotel.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Dustin Lopez tells KGTV that the boy and his family were visiting San Diego from Korea and staying at the Clarion Del Mar Inn. He says the boy was left playing alone in the hotel room when he fell Thursday, landing in a parking lot. Relatives discovered the fall when they checked on him.
Lopez says he doesn’t know if the boy opened the window or if it was already open but the department’s child abuse unit is handling the case.
Lopez says he’s being treated for a broken leg and head trauma.
• SQUID SEASON OFF TO FAST START ON MONTEREY BAY: MONTEREY (AP) — The squid-fishing season has gotten off to a fast start on Monterey Bay.
The season opened on April 1 and 28 boats crowded the water Thursday.
Monterey Harbormaster Stephen Scheiblauer tells the Monterey County Herald that it’s a 12-month season but it’s limited by a maximum amount of tonnage that can be taken.
Scheiblauer says some years the maximum cap is never reached, but recent years have seen a boom in squid and the cap has been reached fairly early.