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.

“Denied” is the Wednesday conference response to almost all petitions, but a divided court gives a felony-murder case some positive attention

April 18, 2019 | At the Lectern
In D.W. v. Superior Court, after the Second District, Division Eight, Court of Appeal summarily denied a writ petition, the Supreme Court directed the appellate court to issue an order to show cause “why relief should not be granted on petitioner’s claim that the juvenile court’s finding of a prima facie case is no longer valid following Senate Bill No. 1437’s amendments to Penal Code sections 188 and 189.”

A two-thirds civil early-May calendar

April 17, 2019 | At the Lectern
May is the only month with two Supreme Court oral argument calendars. The early-May calendar, which was announced today with minimum notice, will have nine cases, six of which are civil matters.
US appeals court upholds most of California's 'sanctuary' laws

US appeals court upholds most of California's 'sanctuary' laws

April 18, 2019 | Los Angeles Times
The three-judge panel refused to block the centerpiece of the sanctuary package — a law that prohibits police and sheriff’s officials from notifying federal immigration authorities of the release dates of immigrant inmates.

New State Bar discipline systems improve backlog slightly

April 19, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The State Bar’s attorney discipline case backlog decreased slightly last year compared to 2017 while the agency’s high priority case backlog dropped by 27 percent, according to a draft report released Thursday.

High court ruling on oil rig labor law may not end lawsuits

April 18, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) A U.S. District Court judge dismissed the lawsuit under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, writing that it only allows the importation of state laws onto rigs, which are under federal jurisdiction, in the presence of a “significant void or gap.” The Fair Labor Standards Act, though not providing for on-call time compensation as California does, has no such gap.

Battle over Proposition 8 courtroom video returns to 9th Circuit

April 18, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Nearly a decade after same-sex marriage activists sought to strike down California’s Proposition 8 as unconstitutional, a Bay Area news organization is fighting for access to video recordings of the historic court battle, while a conservative legal group is pushing to keep the tapes sealed.

Trump Loses Fight Over California's Immigrant-Sanctuary Laws

April 18, 2019 | Bloomberg
SB 54, known as the California Values Act, bars local officials from informing federal officials about immigrants’ release dates from jail except in serious criminal cases. The bill was signed into law by former Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat who led the most populous state’s resistance to Trump’s agenda before he was succeeded this year by Gavin Newsom.

Judicial Profile: Orange County Judge Walter Schwarm

April 18, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) After Schwarm is assigned a case, he said he encourages parties to settle and arranges a mandatory settlement conference to help resolve the matter, but he won’t go much further in trying to get parties on the same page. He said he’s only done that once at the request of both sides.

Pacific High earns state award for civic education

April 17, 2019 | Highland Community News
Pacific High School’s efforts to engage students in civic learning has earned the campus a prestigious state award. Pacific was one of six California schools, and the only one in the Inland Empire, to receive the 2019 Civic Learning Award of Distinction from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and Chief Justice of California Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye.

LA County commissions report on court fees for convicts

April 17, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Two counties, San Francisco and Alameda, have already abolished administrative fees for individuals convicted of crimes after commissioning similar reports. In Alameda, the probation department auditor estimated the aggregate loss of revenue among all the fees the county eliminated is $1.45 million annually. However, advocates of the change say those fees are rarely collected since most clients are indigent and unable to pay.

Opinion: How California is dumbing down our democracy

April 17, 2019 | Washington Post
Currently, most CSU students must complete two classes to meet this requirement. The task force recommended reducing this to just one class in the field of “Democracy in the U.S., which may include American and California government and history.” The most important word in this sentence is “may”: It suggests that, if these changes are implemented, CSU students will be able to graduate without having taken a single class in American history.

Opinion: Missed opportunity to align state and federal takings law

April 17, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The California Supreme Court was faced with a situation where, even if it clarified the law, there was a strong suggestion that the result in this particular case would not change. Thus, if the high court agreed with the factual decision below, the result of granting review would -- in the box score -- simply say "affirmed."
Trump, death penalty, immigration mark Newsom's 1st 100 days

Trump, death penalty, immigration mark Newsom's 1st 100 days

April 16, 2019 | Associated Press
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has kept up a frenetic pace in his first 100 days, jousting with President Donald Trump, traveling to Central America, placing a moratorium on executions and pledging bold action on housing and clean water.

88,000 people in SF who lost driver's licenses may get them back

April 16, 2019 | San Francisco Chronicle
On Tuesday, city officials are expected to announce that San Francisco Superior Court has lifted suspensions for 88,000 people who had their licenses revoked for failing to appear in court to address traffic tickets.

Superior Court Honors Prop. 36 Treatment Court Graduates

April 16, 2019 | NoozHawk
In Santa Barbara County’s Prop. 36 program, defendants are sentenced to a minimum six months of intensive treatment, probation supervision, and multiple court reviews. The program promotes sobriety, recovery and stability. Successful completion may result in dismissal of charges and early termination of probation.

U.S. Supreme Court seems likely to rule against Calif. oil workers

April 16, 2019 | Associated Press
The question for the high court has to do with the law that should apply in the case: federal law, which wouldn't require drilling platform workers to be paid for non-working time spent at their work location, or the more generous California law, which would. The case is relevant to workers on approximately two dozen oil platforms off California's coast.

Discipline Rare For State Judges In Sexual Misconduct Cases

April 15, 2019 | Law360
(Subscription required) Since the vast majority of states don’t release data on sexual harassment claims against judges, the issue is nearly impossible to track on the front end. In some states, the only way to find out about such claims is after a commission has made a recommendation for public discipline with the supreme court.

Riverside County sheriff's union drops effort to try to block release of misconduct records

April 15, 2019 | Desert Sun
At a hearing Monday, Robert Rabe, the attorney representing the Riverside Sheriff's Association, told Riverside County Superior Court Judge Chad Firetag that the union was abandoning a lawsuit that argued a new California law requiring police departments to make officer misconduct records public did not apply to records from before the law's enactment on Jan. 1.

CJP Has No Duty to Divulge Status of Complaint

April 15, 2019 | Metropolitan News-Enterprise
The Court of Appeal has affirmed a judgment dismissing the action by a woman against the Commission on Judicial Performance for not letting her know what’s being done in response to her complaint against an Orange Superior Court judge.

Opinion: Will California pass legislation addressing the Dynamex ruling?

April 15, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The good news is that legislative negotiations are ongoing. At a recent committee hearing on AB 5, both labor and the employer community acknowledged that good faith discussions were underway and would continue. At the end of the day, the question for California employers will be whether the legislature provides any meaningful relief, or does further harm by merely codifying and expanding an already-difficult standard.
Opinion: Why Turning Contractors Into Employees Hurts Everyone

Opinion: Why Turning Contractors Into Employees Hurts Everyone

April 15, 2019 | Governing
Based on the ABC Test's broad language, thousands of people who have traditionally been classified as contractors -- such as insurance and real-estate agents, construction workers, personal trainers and gig economy workers -- could be converted to employee status. The costs would be immense.

Opinion: Waive oral argument?

April 15, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) With very limited exceptions, the California Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court hear oral argument in all appeals. They do not ask counsel if they want to waive oral argument. Anyway, who would pass up a chance to argue in these courts? Thus, whether to waive oral argument is a live issue only when a California Court of Appeal asks you whether you would like to waive.

Judicial Profile: Los Angeles County Judge Audra Mori

April 15, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) After studying a case file, for example, Mori said she’ll draft a list of bullet points and recite them from the bench before parties speak. “I can and typically will summarize my understanding of the facts to the parties,” she said. “And they can let me know if they think I’ve gotten something wrong.”

Contra Costa may join growing movement to cut criminal court fees that gouge the poor

April 13, 2019 | East Bay Times
To spell them some relief, advocates have been pushing to get rid of court fees imposed by counties and the state. Their efforts have led to some success, in the form of a Senate bill introduced earlier this year that would repeal the state’s authority to collect such fees and in moratoriums by some counties against imposing them.
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