Richard Gonzales

Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.

Gonzales joined NPR in May 1986. He covered the U.S. State Department during the Iran-Contra Affair and the fall of apartheid in South Africa. Four years later, he assumed the post of White House Correspondent and reported on the prelude to the Gulf War and President George W. Bush's unsuccessful re-election bid. Gonzales covered the U.S. Congress for NPR from 1993-94, focusing on NAFTA and immigration and welfare reform.

In September 1995, Gonzales moved to his current position after spending a year as a John S. Knight Fellow Journalism at Stanford University.

In 2009, Gonzales won the Broadcast Journalism Award from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. He also received the PASS Award in 2004 and 2005 from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency for reports on California's juvenile and adult criminal justice systems.

Prior to NPR, Gonzales was a freelance producer at public television station KQED in San Francisco. From 1979 to 1985, he held positions as a reporter, producer, and later, public affairs director at KPFA, a radio station in Berkeley, CA.

Gonzales graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor's degree in psychology and social relations. He is a co-founder of Familias Unidas, a bi-lingual social services program in his hometown of Richmond, California.

The California Assembly unanimously passed a measure that requires a prison sentence for anyone convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious person.

Newly released government data paint a sobering picture of safety on the nation's roads and highways.

In 2015, the number of people who died in auto accidents reached 35,092, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a 7.2% increase over 2014. The last time there was such a large single-year increase was back in 1966 when Lyndon Johnson was president.

The California judge who is subject to a recall campaign after imposing a six-month jail sentence on a former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexual assault has been reassigned at his own request from criminal to civil court.

Aaron Persky, a Superior Court judge in Palo Alto, will move to a courthouse in downtown San Jose, effective Sept. 6.

The National Labor Relations Board ruled 3-1 Tuesday that graduate students working as teaching or research assistants at private universities are employees with the right to collective bargaining.

The decision comes in response to a petition filed by the Graduate Workers of Columbia-GWC and the United Autoworkers Union, which has been seeking to represent grad student assistants at Columbia University.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe renewed his efforts to restore the voting rights of felons in his state, announcing that his administration would process applications for 13,000 felons so that they might vote in November.

Have you ever wanted to keep track of bank robberies in your neighborhood or city? Or maybe you've always wanted to help the FBI catch a bad guy? As you've no doubt heard before, there's an app for that.

The FBI today released a Bank Robbers mobile app designed to help the public, law enforcement, and financial institutions see and share photos and information about robberies all over the country.

In a major victory for teachers unions in California, the state Supreme Court has upheld teacher tenure laws. By a 4-3 vote, a divided court decided not to hear Vergara vs. California, a case challenging state tenure laws.

A microscopic parasite is ravaging the fish population of the Yellowstone River in Montana prompting state officials to ban water-based recreation along a 183-mile stretch of the river and all of its tributaries.

The state's Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced the closure, which extends from Yellowstone National Park's northern boundary at Gardiner to the Highway 212 bridge in Laurel.

Cathy Lanier, the first woman to lead the Metropolitan Police Department for the District of Columbia, announced that she will step down next month to take a new job as the head of security for the National Football League.

The announcement came in a news conference by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. "The NFL is getting a good one here," said Bowser.

A day after she was convicted of perjury and other offenses, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, once considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, announced her resignation, effective at the end of the workday Wednesday.

In a statement, Kane said Tuesday, "I have been honored to serve the people of Pennsylvania and I wish them health and safety in all their days."

Comedian Bill Cosby's attempt to have his deposition testimony about alleged sexual assaults resealed was rejected by a federal appeals court, which decided that the issue is moot because the details have already been published.

The 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled:

The leader of the Islamic State in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Hafiz Saeed Khan, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in late July, according to NPR's Tom Bowman, citing American military officials.

As Tom reports,

"Officials say Khan was killed by a drone strike in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province, where most Islamic State fighters are located. There are several thousand ISIS fighters in the province, officials say, and the group has been increasing its attacks.

Two Fox News insiders have been tapped to fill the shoes of outgoing Chairman and Chief Executive Roger Ailes, who was forced to resign as a result of allegations he sexually harassed a former female news anchor.

The murder trial of the man accused of killing Kate Steinle, whose 2015 shooting death on a San Francisco pier became part of the national debate over illegal immigration and sanctuary city policies, is not likely to start until next year.

Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who had been deported back to his native Mexico five times before the July 1, 2015, shooting, will have his trial date set in December of this year.

A federal jury found Pacific Gas and Electric Company guilty on five felony counts of failing to adequately inspect its gas pipelines before the blast that incinerated a neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., in September 2010. The utility was also found guilty of one count of misleading federal investigators about the standard it used to identify high-risk pipelines.

PG&E was acquitted on six other charges of violating pipeline safety laws.

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's bid for a reduction in his 14-year sentence for corruption was rejected today by a federal judge in Chicago. U.S. District Judge James Zagel upheld the sentence despite pleas for leniency from the disgraced ex-governor, his wife and two daughters.

Judge Zagel, acknowledged Blagojevich's family, saying "I am sympathetic to ... how painful this situation is to them. But as I said four years ago, the fault lies with the governor."

In an unusual legal action, federal prosecutors in San Francisco drastically cut back the potential criminal penalties they were seeking in the trial of utility giant Pacific Gas and Electric Co. which is accused of violating pipeline safety laws in the wake of the 2010 San Bruno gas explosion. Eight people were incinerated and 38 homes were destroyed in that explosion.

The American bald eagle, once near-extinct, is back with a vengeance. And there's a rar e-- and frankly, brutal — video, perhaps the first ever footage of osprey predation by an eagle in Hog Island, Maine, to prove it.

James O'Neill, the man chosen to replace outgoing New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, has a track record as a law enforcement innovator who is popular with the department's rank and file.

O'Neill's promotion by New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio was announced along with the news that Bratton will step down next month.

Lee Baca, the former Los Angeles County sheriff who had pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about reports of corruption and prisoner abuse in his jail, changed his plea Monday. He backed away from a deal calling for a six-month sentence, which a federal judge has ruled is too lenient.

Baca, 74, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, was the top elected law enforcement official in Los Angeles beginning in 1998. By withdrawing his plea, Baca chose to face trial.

The U.S. Navy plans to honor slain gay rights activist and former San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk by naming a ship after him. The USNS Harvey Milk, which hasn't been built yet, is the latest in a series of Navy vessels named for civil rights icons.

The Obama administration announced today that it is expanding a program that helps Central American refugees, including minors, to reunite with their families in the United States. The effort is designed to discourage people from leaving their homeland and flooding the southern U.S. border, say administration officials.

The program has three components.

The Brazilian laboratory that was designated to conduct drug testing for the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro has been suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency for not conforming to international standards.

News of the suspension came in a statement issued in Montreal. The decision can be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport within 21 days.

The owner of Orlando's Pulse nightclub, where 49 people were shot and killed on June 12, says she and her staff will host a "Latin Night" street party on Thursday.

"We need to show that we are strong, that Pulse continues and that we appreciate all the help the community has shown us," said Barbara Poma in a statement.

NPR's Cheryl Corley reports the club itself remains closed, so another venue has been chosen:

If you're walking through Times Square and you want to take a picture with a costumed character like, say the Naked Cowboy, just make sure he stays in his box. A big teal-colored rectangular box.

For years, street performers and costumed characters, like Elmo of Sesame Street, have delighted, and sometimes imposed themselves on, tourists and other passersby.

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah Sr. of Pennsylvania was found guilty today of multiple counts of racketeering, fraud and money laundering in a case involving his unsuccessful 2007 bid to become mayor of Philadelphia.

The Democratic congressman reacted to the verdict with little more than a smile as he consulted with his attorneys, The Associated Press reported.

Days after a 2-year-old boy was snatched and drowned by an alligator at a lagoon in Disney World, the company is setting up warning signs alerting people to the potential danger posed by the reptiles.

"We are installing signage and temporary barriers at our resort beach locations and are working on permanent, long-term solutions at our beaches," Jacquee Wahler, vice president of Walt Disney World resort, said in a statement.

The California judge who issued what critics called a lenient sentence to a former Stanford University swimmer convicted of sexual assault has been removed from hearing an unrelated sexual assault case.

The owner of the gun shop where Omar Mateen, the shooter in the Orlando nightclub attack, legally bought two guns called the assailant "an evil person" who had passed a full background check.

Ed Henson, owner of the St. Lucie Shooting Center, held a brief news conference Monday afternoon, saying if Mateen "hadn't purchased them from us, I'm sure he would have gotten them from another local gun store in the area."

Henson said he used to be a New York City police officer, had worked at the twin towers in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks and retired in March 2002.

It's a mother's nightmare. She returns home one day and finds no trace of her only child, and the apartment she shares with the 18-month-old boy's father is ransacked. There are no baby clothes, no papers, no photographs, not even an ultrasound image of her son, Steven.