NewsLinks is a collection of recent news items relating primarily to the California judicial branch. NewsLinks does not verify nor endorse the accuracy or fairness of the news items, and the views expressed in opinions, editorials, and commentaries are those of the writers only.

Secret records of police misconduct and shootings must be released under new law, L.A. judge rules

February 19, 2019 | Los Angeles Times
A Los Angeles judge dealt a blow Tuesday to law enforcement unions trying to limit the scope of a landmark transparency law, ruling that records from shootings, use of force and some misconduct by police officers in California are public even if they occurred before the new law took effect this year.

Trump’s national emergency declaration could put courts on the spot, scholars say

February 20, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The complaint, filed Monday, is one of several squarely taking on the deference traditionally shown to presidents in declaring emergencies. But the most-often cited relevant legal precedent may have been partially superseded by a more recent federal law, with neither one seeing such a significant court challenge in decades.

Opinion: Has the U.S. Supreme Court Already Decided the Wall Case?

February 19, 2019 | POLITICO Magazine
What if following that script means these suits challenging the emergency as beyond the president’s fiscal powers will do nothing to enlarge Congress’ control over the federal purse? What if instead it has the main effect of giving Trump an electoral boost in 2020?

Judicial Profile: Butte County Judge Kimberly Merrifield

February 20, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The judge’s research skills when mulling over pre-trial motions is one of the first traits noted by several lawyers. “She’ll go above and beyond doing her own research and pointing out cases that attorneys didn’t catch,” said Deputy District Attorney Judith Jane Stark-Modlin.

Lawsuits proliferate on police personnel records issue

February 19, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) With the state's top law enforcement official declining to retroactively disclose certain law enforcement personnel records, attorneys for media organizations and First Amendment nonprofits are mounting an equally litigious counter offense against police unions hunting for injunctions.

Opinion: Oral arguments before the California Supreme Court

February 19, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) A few months ago, I consulted on an upcoming Supreme Court argument -- by serving on a moot court panel for one of the advocates. The case turned on whether a county had erred in approving an environmental impact report (EIR).

The Observer: Litigating transparency

February 17, 2019 | The Ukiah Daily Journal
This past week, a Contra Costa County Superior Court judge denied a preliminary injunction sought by police unions that would have barred the release of police misconduct records created before January 1, 2019, the date SB 1421 went into effect.

Petaluma to ask Supreme Court to hear funding case

February 15, 2019 | Petaluma Argus Courier
After two unfavorable rulings, Petaluma officials are hoping to plead their case to the California Supreme Court for millions of former redevelopment dollars that could potentially aid affordable housing projects or the Rainier crosstown connector.

Ginsburg back at Supreme Court

February 15, 2019 | The Hill
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was back at the court on Friday for the justices’ private conference. Among the petitions the justices considered Friday is a request from the Trump administration to bypass a regional appeals court and review a lower court’s decision to block administration officials from adding questions about citizenship to the 2020 census.

As pressures increase, law schools see high dean turnover

February 14, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) In the past five years, 15 of California’s 20 nationally-accredited law schools have had dean turnover, which experts say is a testament to how difficult and demanding the job is.

Opinion: Brown’s impact: Baxter to Cuéllar

February 13, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Our study of the three transitions suggests that anyone expecting a substantial shift in the court's jurisprudence with the appointment of Justice Joshua Groban is likely to be surprised, given that the remaining Republican appointees tend to be comparatively moderate and tend to agree with each other more consistently than their Democratic colleagues.

California law that rolled back felony-murder rule violates state constitution, judge says

February 12, 2019 | San Francisco Chronicle
Under the former felony-murder law, anyone who aided in a crime that proved to be fatal could be charged with the same offense as the actual killer. The new law, SB1437 by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, which took effect this year, allows accomplices to be charged with murder only if they intended to kill or acted with “reckless indifference to human life” in aiding the killer.

Newsom Doesn't Dwell on 'Dynamex,' Pointing to 'Much Bigger' Labor Issues

February 12, 2019 | The Recorder
Newsom has not taken a position on the dueling Dynamex-inspired bills. Last month he told reporters that his chief of staff, Ann O’Leary, a former Boies Schiller Flexner partner who advised tech and other corporate clients, “has a lot of ideas about a new committee to address the issues that led to the Supreme Court decision. … You’ll be hearing a lot more.”

State Bar recruits attorney panelists for bar exam study

February 12, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The State Bar is recruiting attorneys to participate in evaluating the content tested on the bar exam by weighing in on the skills beginning lawyers need day to day.
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