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.

Assigned Judge Can’t Provide Legal Advice to Rotarians

August 16, 2019 | Metropolitan News-Enterprise
A retired judge who sometimes sits on assignment may not serve as a youth protection officer for the local Rotary International district, the Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions said in an opinion posted yesterday, summarizing oral advice it previously rendered.

Deciding what was probably a stuck case, a divided Supreme Court limits warrantless searches of electronics as parole condition

August 15, 2019 | At the Lectern
The majority opinion by Justice Goodwin Liu (with Justices Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Leondra Kruger, and Groban concurring) holds requiring submission to warrantless searches of a defendant’s electronic devices does not pass the test when that condition is imposed on a burglary defendant who hadn’t used electronic devices to commit burglaries or in connection with any other illegal activities.

A New Push to Solve the Mystery of Low Numbers of Minority Law Clerks

August 15, 2019 | National Law Journal
California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu, a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has joined former judge and Federal Judicial Center director Jeremy Fogel, and the American Bar Foundation, to delve into the question and come up with positive solutions for judges, law students, professors and other players in the law clerk hiring process.

Sonoma County receives $5.76 million grant to boost alternatives to jail

August 15, 2019 | Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Presiding Judge Gary Nadler said the goal is to expand and improve pretrial release evaluations already in place to keep potentially dangerous people in custody while allowing others to get out, enabling them to maintain obligations to family and employers while awaiting the outcome of their cases.

Editorial: As we await bail reform vote, pilot plan a wise idea

August 15, 2019 | Los Angeles Daily News
“The projects aim to increase the safe and efficient release of arrestees before trial; use the least restrictive monitoring practices possible while protecting public safety and ensuring court appearances; validate and expand the use of risk assessment tools; and assess any bias,” according to a statement from the council, which oversees court operations.

Truckers express road rage over California bill

August 15, 2019 | KCRA
On Tuesday, dozens of independent truckers who own and operate their own rigs drove around the Capitol in a street protest against AB 5. Those truckers said the bill would take away their flexibility to work when they want – and where they want – and threaten their ability to make a living.

Judicial Profile: San Diego County Judge Loren Freestone

August 16, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) “Most of what we did on the level of lawyers rises and falls on the level of preparation. And I think the same can be said about judges. So I try and be the most prepared that I can be. It helps focus the issues and also helps the litigants know that you care about what’s coming before the court,” Freestone said.

Supreme Court Committee Issues Advice About Serving as a Rotary Officer

August 15, 2019 | California Courts Newsroom
"As well-meaning as protecting Rotary youths might be, judges can't give legal advice or allow their title to benefit others, and this includes retired judges in the Temporary Assigned Judges Program," said committee chair Justice Ronald B. Robie.

Tulare County Probation Department is growing with 11 new positions to be filled

August 15, 2019 | Visalia Times Delta
The expansion follows a recent California Judicial Council allocation for $75 million to 16 pretrial programs across courts statewide. Tulare County received a $3.7 million piece of the pie to expand its current pretrial risk assessment program, which depends heavily on probation officers.

Appellate Division Must Appoint Counsel for Indigent Defendant

August 15, 2019 | Metropolitan News-Enterprise
“The point of a defendant having appointed counsel in the trial court is that the defendant established indigency and is not required to establish it a second time in the appellate division,” Miller wrote. “Not having to go through a second process of establishing indigency permits appeals to proceed in an efficient manner.”

Judicial Profile: Los Angeles County Judge Alison Mackenzie

August 15, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) In domestic violence restraining order cases, Mackenzie will step down from the bench to address young witnesses. “I go out and bring the child from the hallway myself,” she said. “I explain what everything is in the courtroom. The child sits at the counsel table, and I sit next to them at the counsel table, and they get sworn in.”

Ventura County Superior Court gets $3.7 million for program on alternatives to money bail

August 14, 2019 | Ventura County Star
Under the expanded program, people who have been booked into Ventura County jail will be assessed before they are charged by the Ventura County District Attorney's Office, said Chief Probation Officer Mark Varela. However, the law prohibits this from being done in cases where certain felony offenses are alleged, Varela said.

San Mateo County awarded $6M for pretrial pilot plan

August 14, 2019 | San Mateo Daily Journal
Ongoing efforts among San Mateo County officials to revamp pretrial detention practices for those who are arrested got a boost with a $6.2 million allocation from the Judicial Council of California to expand its pretrial pilot project, according to a press release from the Judicial Council.

$3.8 million grant for pretrial services

August 14, 2019 | Porterville Recorder
“A commitment to pretrial justice is a core function of our courts and the daily decisions regarding the detention of pretrial defendants are among the most important we make,” said Presiding Judge Brett Alldredge. “Indeed, in a system where over 90 percent of all criminal cases are resolved prior to trial, many expert observers have written, ‘Informed pretrial justice decisions determine everything.’

Reform coming to defendants in Tulare County. What does it mean?

August 14, 2019 | Visalia Times Delta
"Pretrial justice itself has been a long-overlooked area in which resources and creative thought should be given," said Tulare County Presiding Judge Brett Alldredge in an April interview. "We have dozens of cases on the calendar with defense and prosecution trying to negotiate deals."

CHP officer says justice propositioned her repeatedly

August 14, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) A California Highway Patrol officer tearfully testified Tuesday that Justice Jeffrey W. Johnson propositioned her for sex and repeatedly commented on her physical appearance during the three years she was assigned to drive and protect him.

Judicial Profile: Stanislaus County Judge Kellee Westbrook

August 14, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) "Some family law attorneys say they had reservations about someone with no experience with family law coming onto the court. But Modesto family law attorney Cort Van Wiegand said those fears proved unfounded. “She’s very practical,” Van Wiegand said. “She catches on really fast. You don’t have to tell her again and again and again though people try to.”

Waiting for Justice Groban’s first opinion

August 13, 2019 | At the Lectern
Justice Joshua Groban joined the Supreme Court seven months ago, but he hasn’t filed an opinion for the court yet. That’s not unusual, but that first opinion is likely to file soon.

How Much Do Judges Make in 2019?

August 13, 2019 | The Street
The pay scale of state judges is largely a matter of politics. Like at the federal level, judicial pay scales are set by legislature. As a result, most of the decision has to do with budgets. Put another way, judges make what the state can afford to pay them. A few key factors are involved in that decision.

Opinion: Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye by the numbers

August 13, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Of course, any analytic profile of the chief justice gives only a partial picture of her tenure, since a substantial part of her duties involve administering the state-wide court system. As the state’s ranking judicial officer, the chief justice has promoted bail reform, noting the impact of unaffordable bail on those accused of criminal acts. She has been a strong advocate with the Legislature for increasing the funding for the both the courts and the bar. She has also emphasized the importance of California’s courthouses being a safe zone for all Californians to come to resolve their differences without risking arrest by Immigration officials.
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