Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

April 11, 2014
'Shrimp Boy' off the hook for legal fees, attorneys say


An undercover FBI agent spent thousands building a case against Raymond 'Shrimp Boy' Chow - but Chow's lawyers say his defense against the government's charges won't cost him a cent.

An FBI affidavit depicts an agent repeatedly paying Chow money that, according to the government, bought Chow's blessing for the agent to work with Shrimp Boy's associates to launder money and move stolen liquor and cigarettes.

Now Chow's legal team - which includes J. Tony Serra, a legendary lawyer who has represented controversial figures like Black Panthers founder Huey Newton - says they will represent Chow for free.

During a Thursday press conference, Serra underscored that fact as a sign of Chow's innocence. Couldn't a powerful crime figure, Serra asked, afford a lawyer?

"We serve Raymond because we believe in his innocence. This is a pro bono cause for us," Serra said. "If he was a real gangster, he would have real money. He does not."

The U.S. District Court in San Francisco did not respond to requests for confirmation that Serra and his team are representing Chow in lieu of a court-appointed defender.

A similar situation applies to Keith Jackson, an associate of suspended Sen. Leland Yee who stands accused of conspiring to sell drugs and guns and setting up a paid hit. The court appointed prominent trial lawyer James Brosnahan to handle Jackson's defense.

PHOTO: A picture of Raymond 'Shrimp Boy' Chow sits next to quotes from an FBI affidavit that Chow's lawyers said establish his innocence during a press conference in San Francisco, Calif. on April 11, 2014.

April 11, 2014
AM Alert: Pete Peterson leads wide-open Secretary of State field

Pete_Peterson.jpgCalifornia's struggling Republican Party currently holds no statewide office, but is there a possibility that could change this year?

As subscribers to the Capitol Alert Insider Edition app learned last night, Republican Pete Peterson leads the pack of Secretary of State candidates by a wide margin heading into the June primary, with 30 percent of likely voters expressing support for the public policy institute director in a new Field Poll.

Democratic state Sen. Alex Padilla of Los Angeles trails with 17 percent, and none of the remaining three candidates garnered support from more than 5 percent of respondents. With more than 4 in 10 likely voters still undecided, however, the wide-open race could look very different two months from now.

It already underwent a big shift last month when state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, dropped out one day after being arrested by the FBI on corruption charges. Field was in the middle of polling when the news broke and its results caught a huge shift in public perception of Yee: After the arrest, his favorable rating swung 23 points in the negative direction, though about half of respondents continued to have no opinion on Yee.

Reporter Christopher Cadelago has more in his story. Read the statistical tabulations for the poll here.

VIDEO: Yee's arrest has also harmed the Legislature's fragile image with the public, Dan Walters says.

CRAM SESSION: The Legislature's spring recess has begun, but some lawmakers are kicking off their break with official business: Assemblyman Mark Stone, D-Scotts Valley, will be joined by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, and Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, for a select committee hearing on offshore oil and gas fracking along the California coast, 10 a.m. at the Santa Barbara County Administration Building.

Others are using the time to promote their legislation: Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, will be at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in Los Angeles at 9:30 a.m. to discuss a package of bills targeting child sex trafficking. Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, will announce changes to a financial ethics bill for elected and appointed officials, 10:30 a.m. at the California Public Utilities Commission building in San Francisco.

STATE PRESERVATION: The University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law hosts a symposium on resource management in California, dealing with issues of urban land use, water and environmental protection, starting at 8:45 a.m.

NEW JOBS: Roger Salazar's upstart public affairs firm ALZA Strategies has announced its first hire: Irma Martinez, a former lawyer for the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board.

CELEBRATIONS: An early happy birthday to California Republican Party chairman Jim Brulte, who turns 58 on Sunday.

PHOTO: Secretary of State candidate Pete Peterson. Courtesy of Common Sense California

April 11, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Leland Yee arrest harms Legislature's fragile image

yee_press_resized.jpgThe California Legislature has bounced back from record low approval in recent years, but the March arrest of state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, immediately reversed some of those gains, Dan says.

Have a question you'd like Dan to answer? Post it on our Facebook page.

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

PHOTO: State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, leaves Federal Court in San Francisco on March 26, 2014. Bay Area News Group/Karl Mondon


Capitol Alert Staff

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @DanielSnowSmith

Jim Miller Jim Miller covers California policy and politics and edits Capitol Alert. Twitter: @jimmiller2

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. Twitter: @ccadelago

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers the Legislature. Twitter: @capitolalert

Koseff Alexei Koseff edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @akoseff

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @WaltersBee

More Capitol Alert

Capitol Alert on Twitter

Popular Categories

Now on


April 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30      

Monthly Archives

Latest California Clips