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.
(Subscription required) Democratic legislative leaders have asked California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye to keep in place court emergency rules blocking evictions and foreclosures for a few more weeks.
In California, nearly all evictions have been on hold because the state court system is not processing cases except for those deemed urgent. But state Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has said she plans to lift those restrictions as early as Aug. 14, arguing that it’s the job of the governor and state Legislature to mandate any eviction protections.
An important thing to keep in mind before navigating eviction bans is that cities and counties often offer two layers of protection. If your city and county have both enacted bans, the strongest protections take precedence, according to county officials and tenants advocates.
California is rapidly approaching what has been dubbed the “eviction cliff,” or the point where true protection from being evicted during the pandemic will fall away, at least for a short time. If that happens, as many as 1 million families across the state — some 365,000 in Los Angeles County alone — could find themselves at risk of being forced out of their homes, perhaps as soon as September.
This move online has come with serious challenges that threaten the integrity of court proceedings. In California, pranksters blasted music and danced during online proceedings. In one of the country’s first virtual jury trials, a juror in Texas disappeared from the screen for seven minutes. In Missouri, a judge muted a defense attorney for more than a quarter of a 48-minute hearing while the prosecutor sat in the courtroom.
Recent Stanford Law graduate Alex Wu J.D. ’20 said in an interview with The Daily that while he appreciates that the court seemed to recognize the challenges recent graduates face, “I don’t think that the solution meets the moment. I don’t think the solution that they proposed actually addresses those issues that they themselves bring up.”
(Subscription required) Does the California State Bar really believe that an attorney who has been representing clients in another state for four years will be less competent to represent Californians than recent law school grads who, though they may have passed the full two-day California bar exam, have never represented a client anywhere? Put another way, what does the California State Bar believe a one-day written test can reveal about an out-of-state attorney's competence that has not already been revealed by four years of practice?
(Subscription required) The former prosecutor came to family law at the start of the year after a stint in misdemeanors. He was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the San Diego County Superior Court in October 2018 and currently serves in the South County Division Courthouse in Chula Vista, where he grew up.
During the pandemic, California courts have launched new ways to provide safe access to justice—including court proceedings streamed live online for the public, remote hearings for litigants, live chat help for court users, remote adoptions & more.
Since the COVID-19 state of emergency issued in mid-March, courts around the state have been holding more court hearings remotely. Now courts are looking for ways to expand remote technology to support community engagement.
California’s legislative leaders are asking the state’s Judicial Council for more time before renter evictions resume during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying they are facing “an impossible decision” between rushing legislation and leaving millions of tenants unprotected.
Landlords said they feel stuck and abandoned because of California’s temporary eviction moratorium, which was put into place to help people who may be struggling to pay rent due the novel coronavirus outbreak and the resulting public health restrictions.
A San Francisco eviction ban survived a legal challenge by landlords after a California judge found the ordinance protecting tenants who can’t pay rent during the Covid-19 crisis was within the city’s regulatory authority.
But the pre-COVID cases are not subject to local and state eviction moratoriums because they pre-date those bans and because the Judicial Council oversees state courts, not local sheriff’s departments, attorneys said.
The San Mateo County Superior Court is reducing services, slashing 20 positions and placing administrative staff on a mandatory furlough to deal with $4.5 million budget cuts in response to the coronavirus pandemic and shrinking state revenues.
After going for months without criminal or civil jury trials, the Southern District of California Wednesday live streamed a mock trial where witnesses wore face shields, courtrooms were flip-flopped and trial spectators were relegated to overflow courtrooms.
State prison officials say as many as 17,600 California inmates may be released early due to the coronavirus, 70% more than previously estimated and a total that victims and police say includes dangerous criminals who should stay locked up.
For years, California state workers could sweeten a pension by piling on overtime or unused sick and vacation pay on a final year’s salary and go out the door with a bulked up retirement rate. When a fix was adopted to curb the abuse, public unions sued saying the change tampered with broad pension guarantees.
(Subscription required) The bar wrote on its website that the exam would be available for in-person administration for people with proven testing accommodation needs "that cannot be provided effectively in a remote environment."
(Subscription required) Superior courts in San Bernardino, Monterey, and Yuba counties have confirmed plans to launch committees on bias, increasing the number of state trial courts that follow a decade-old Standard of Judicial Administration in the California Rules of Court.
Using innovative technology, remote video proceedings are supported by a judicial officer sitting in the Victorville Courthouse. Residents may appear remotely at the Big Bear Courthouse located at 477 Summit Blvd. on traffic and nontraffic infractions as well as misdemeanor probation cases. Funding for the Big Bear District is made possible by an Innovation grant awarded by the Judicial Council of California.
When the courts reopened on July 6th after weeks of closure prompted by COVID-19, the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, began implementing a range of health and safety measures recommended by the LA County Public Defender and endorsed by the LA County Board of Supervisors. Additional measures may be necessary, however, given the recent surge in infections.
California lawmakers are scrambling to come up with an emergency renter relief plan. Lawmakers want to keep struggling renters from getting kicked out for not paying in this pandemic. But they don’t have much time.
With the recent announcement, a large chunk of what makes us California attorneys special has been taken away from us; our accomplishments are being cheapened and belittled by this decision. I knew as I took the exam, and failed, that the only person responsible for passing was me.
Prop. 25 is a referendum on whether to uphold or repeal Senate Bill 10, which was introduced in 2018 and aims to end the current cash bail system used to detain defendants before trial. Instead, pretrial detention and its conditions would be determined by risk assessment.