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.

Judges Show Their Human Side, Discuss Partisanship and Social Media at Berkeley Law

June 20, 2019 | The Recorder
“This is a profession and the profession has principles. The profession has values,” Fogel said, who is now the director of The Berkeley Judicial Institute after a stint leading the Federal Judicial Center. “I don’t think the public really understands what those values are, and I think to a large part that’s on us.”

Judicial Profile: San Joaquin County Judge Kristine Eagle

June 20, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The compliance court is something she helped create, partly funded by a Judicial Council grant under the terms of the AB 109 realignment law. In March, Eagle spoke at a Judicial Council meeting about how some excellent candidates for drug court were slipping through the cracks. “If your drug and alcohol abuse was not severe enough, we had to say, ‘Sorry, you’re not addicted enough for us to give you our resources,’” Eagle said.

Lawyer groups oppose bill to raise reporter’s transcript fees

June 20, 2019 | At the Lectern
The Committee on Appellate Courts of the Litigation Section of the California Lawyers Association submitted a memo to the bill’s author stating its concerns that a transcript fee increase could adversely affect “low income litigants and their ability to have access to justice on appeal.”
New Tuolumne Courthouse Under Construction

New Tuolumne Courthouse Under Construction

June 20, 2019 | Correctional News
As part of the County’s Law and Justice Center, this new courthouse will include five courtrooms, courts clerks and administration space, family court services and in-custody facilities. This new building will provide a much-needed replacement from the existing county courthouse that was built in 1898.

Two California Efforts Could Revamp Attorney 'Moral Character' Review

June 20, 2019 | The Recorder
A state bar working group charged with reviewing and possibly revamping how the bar gauges applicants’ moral fitness met for the first time June 7 in San Francisco. A bill moving separately in the state Legislature would largely prohibit the bar from seeking future lawyers’ mental health records during the character assessment process.

Trump administration presses again to overturn California sanctuary law

June 19, 2019 | San Francisco Chronicle
The most far-reaching law, SB54, prohibits police and sheriffs from notifying federal agencies about an undocumented immigrant’s scheduled release date from jail or from holding immigrants past their scheduled release so immigration agents can take them into custody. It does not apply to inmates charged with serious crimes and does not prohibit local sheriffs from publicly disclosing the release dates of all jail inmates.

State Supreme Court Won't Hear Case of Man Convicted of Hollywood Killing

June 19, 2019 | mynewsLA
Ezeoma Chigozie Obioha is serving a life prison term without the possibility of parole for the July 5, 2015, slaying of Carrie Melvin, 30, who was shot once in the head near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and McCadden Place while walking with her boyfriend from their apartment to a nearby Thai restaurant.

The Court Cases That Changed L.G.B.T.Q. Rights

June 19, 2019 | New York Times
Beginning before Stonewall and continuing in the 50 years since, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have regularly turned to the courts for protection against mistreatment or to overturn laws that targeted them. From H.I.V.-based discrimination to the fight for marriage equality to President Trump’s attempt to ban transgender people from the military, courts across the country have played a key role in the story of L.G.B.T.Q. rights in America.

Some schools improved slightly on February bar

June 19, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Both first-timers and repeaters saw slight improvements in passage rates over last February, but performance remains historically low at 40.6% and 28.4%, respectively. The majority of February test-takers are repeaters.
US Supreme Court Justice Wins … Entertainment Award?

US Supreme Court Justice Wins … Entertainment Award?

June 18, 2019 | VOA News
The MTV Movie and TV Awards were held recently in Los Angeles, California. One of the surprising winners: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The 86-year-old judge was named the best real-life hero by supporters voting online.

County court to restore S.J. clerk’s office hours

June 18, 2019 | Lodi News
As the San Joaquin Superior Court recovers from a budget deficit, it will restore the clerk’s office business and phone hours to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday except for court holidays beginning next month. “We are grateful for Gov. (Gavin) Newsom’s support to the judicial branch and Chief Justice (Tani) Cantil-Sakauye’s Leadership. As San Joaquin Superior Court recovers from a severe deficit, we are pleased to move forward, expanding needed services to the public,” said Presiding Judge Linda L. Lofthus in a Monday press release.

Column: Justice Carol A. Corrigan by the numbers

June 18, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) To date, Justice Corrigan has voted in 487 civil cases and 732 criminal, quasi-criminal, juvenile, disciplinary and mental health cases. She has written majority opinions in 71 civil cases -- 14.58% of the total number of cases she has participated in. Her busiest years were 2007 and 2017, when she wrote nine majority opinions apiece.

Budget includes funds for 25 more judges

June 18, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Newsom first proposed the new positions in his May budget revision. Last week, the slots were amended into a pair of nearly identical budget trailer bills for the courts, AB 95 and SB 95. The bills also include almost $67 million over the next two years to fund the judges and their staffs.

Calaveras County judge declares new state murder law unconstitutional

June 17, 2019 | Calaveras Enterprise
The law changed the concept of felony murder to include only those who directly kill a person, actively participate in the killing or are involved in the killing of an on-duty peace officer. Inmates across the state have already been freed based on the retroactive nature of the law, which no longer defines murder as a death occurring during the commission of another felony.
Novato murder convict seeks freedom under new law

Novato murder convict seeks freedom under new law

June 17, 2019 | Marin Independent Journal
The law, SB 1437, was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September. It aims to allow certain prisoners to get murder convictions vacated if they were lesser figures in homicides, not the “actual” killers. Then they can apply for resentencing.

State budget includes money for UC Riverside medical school, Inland Empire judges

June 17, 2019 | The Press-Enterprise
There’s also $36.5 million in ongoing money to support 25 new judges and their staffs statewide. A California Judicial Council survey from last November found San Bernardino County leading the state in the need for more judges – 38 more than what’s now assigned – with Riverside County ranked second with 36 more judges needed.

Judicial Profile: Merced County Judge Jeanne Schechter

June 17, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) “I try to engage them a little bit so that they feel more comfortable, and [it] gives them a little buy-in also,” Schechter explained. “Sometimes it takes a few times for somebody to get the hang of a program, or they may fail, we end up sentencing them and they come back again. It can take a few times before things really start to click.”

Opinion: The realities of court reporting in the 21st century

June 17, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Rather than fighting against digital reporting, shorthand reporters and voice writers need to recognize that a professional digital reporter is as much a part of the reporting industry as they are and that they can work side by side with a professional digital reporter as comfortably as anyone else.

Contra Costa judge found to have committed misconduct, faces discipline

June 16, 2019 | Mercury News
A Contra Costa County judge is facing significant discipline after a panel of special masters found he committed serious misconduct three times and sustained three other accusations against him. Superior court Judge John Laettner, a former assistant U.S. Attorney, was found to have made inappropriate comments to women in the course of his job, and had an improper conversation with a prosecutor during a bail hearing.

Commentary: Lessons from the Old Courthouse in El Centro

June 16, 2019 | CALmatters
In 2014, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye launched the Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court Initiative. The goal is to leverage the convening power of the courts to bring together people across a range of fields—from judges and mental health professionals to probation officers and teachers—and tackle the issues that have a profound impact on our state.
Yolo County judge appointed to California Judges Association's Executive Board

Yolo County judge appointed to California Judges Association's Executive Board

June 15, 2019 | Daily Democrat
The organization represents the interests of judges, justices and commissioners in the state and is governed by a 25-member executive board. Its mission is to promote judicial excellence and achieve fair and impartial justice. “It’s an honor to be able to continue to serve the law and to represent the judges of the State of California,“ Rosenberg said.
Video: Peer-to-peer court puts justice in the hands of teens

Video: Peer-to-peer court puts justice in the hands of teens

June 14, 2019 | WGAL
Two million American children are suspended or expelled from school each year. Now, some schools are taking a new, more restorative justice approach to discipline. They're training kids to hold peer courts. Correspondent Robin Hamilton sees how it's working in one school in Washington, D.C.
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