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.

Judicial Profile: Los Angeles County Judge Timothy Weiner

August 05, 2020 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) After Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in March due to the coronavirus, Weiner, who had only served in his new family court assignment for a couple of months, had to report for duty with the Judge Advocate General's Corps. Things got even more chaotic when the military was redirected to respond to the national civil unrest spurred by the police killing of an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis in May.
San Francisco Evictions Ban Upheld by State Judge

San Francisco Evictions Ban Upheld by State Judge

August 04, 2020 | Courthouse News Service
Unlawful-detainer actions are currently on hold statewide under an emergency rule passed by California’s Judicial Council in March. The policymaking arm of the state’s court system could soon vote to dissolve the eviction freeze, however, allowing state courts to resume processing eviction lawsuits starting on Aug. 14. San Francisco’s law will permanently forestall evictions, however, provided the tenant has made a claim to their landlord that they have suffered a financial loss from the pandemic.

Judge rejects Prop. 22 backers' attempt to change gig-work ballot language

August 04, 2020 | San Francisco Chronicle
A Sacramento Superior Court judge on Tuesday rebuffed backers of Proposition 22, a referendum aiming to keep some gig workers as independent contractors, in their lawsuit claiming California Attorney General Xavier Becerra wrote a slanted description of their measure.

One side challenges LA judge’s in-person meeting rule

August 04, 2020 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) A Los Angeles County judge's mandate that informal discovery disputes be litigated in person instead of over the court's video conferencing system has drawn an outcry from two plaintiffs' attorneys who say their safety is at risk. Attorneys for the defendant said the rule is proper and in-person hearings are more efficient.

The double-edged sword of a publication request

August 04, 2020 | At the Lectern
When telling the Court of Appeal why its opinion deserves to be preserved for posterity in the Official Reports, you might also help make the losing party’s case why the Supreme Court should grant review, and review not only exposes the opinion’s result to possible reversal but also normally strips the opinion of its binding effect while the case is pending in the high court.

Opinion: A ‘clear and convincing’ appellate standard

August 04, 2020 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) In Conservatorship of O.B., 2020 DJDAR 7797 (July 27, 2020), the California Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision authored by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, resolved over a century of uncertainty over how appellate courts should review findings made under a "clear and convincing" evidentiary standard.

How California reduced its inmate population to a 30-year low

August 04, 2020 | San Francisco Chronicle
California’s prison population of 99,000 is its lowest since 1990 and 74,000 below its peak in 2006. Court rulings, new state laws and policies on imprisonment, and changes in voters’ attitudes have all contributed to the reduction, which has not led to any statewide increase in crime.

Supreme Court limits business competition tort actions

August 03, 2020 | At the Lectern
The court’s unanimous opinion by Justice Goodwin Liu holds that the tort of interfering with a contract terminable at will requires a wrongful act independent of the interference itself, which is the same rule as with interference-with-economic-relations causes of actions, but is more than is required to sue for interference with non-at-will contracts.

Time growing short for state efforts to prevent looming eviction crisis

August 03, 2020 | San Francisco Examiner
After legislators delayed their return from summer recess until July 27 due to COVID-19, the state legislature must vote on hundreds of bills before the legislative session ends at the end of the month. In addition, the Judicial Council of California announced this month it may vote on ending state emergency protections for tenants later this month.

Bias committees are enigmas, attorneys say

August 03, 2020 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Members of the Contra Costa County Superior Court committee on bias meet when they receive a complaint, while the committee in Santa Barbara County has never met, court officials confirmed last week. The communications director at San Francisco Superior Court did not return a request for comment.

Leader of state Senate Republicans says remote voting by legislators is unconstitutional

August 04, 2020 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The Legislative Counsel analysis concedes "arguments can be made that meeting by remote access would be constitutional if used on a temporary emergency basis, such as during the pendency of the COVID-19 pandemic. ... A decision by the Legislature to conduct business by remote access could be upheld by a court based upon the principle of separation of powers."

California Courts Covid Update

August 03, 2020 | Courthouse News Service
California Courts Covid Update. California Court Accessibility During Covid-19, Aug. 3, 2020 Edition.
Editorial: California faces an eviction catastrophe. Newsom, lawmakers need to act now

Editorial: California faces an eviction catastrophe. Newsom, lawmakers need to act now

August 02, 2020 | Los Angeles Times
First, Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers cannot allow the statewide eviction moratorium to expire without having strong tenant protections in place. The Judicial Council considered ending its moratorium in June but delayed the decision in order to give Newsom and the Legislature time to come up with an alternative measure. But that hasn’t happened yet.
Unemployed and Desperate, LA Residents May Soon Face Eviction

Unemployed and Desperate, LA Residents May Soon Face Eviction

August 01, 2020 | Courthouse News Service
When the Judicial Council announced it would take up a vote on the eviction ban earlier this month, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said, “I urge our sister branches to turn their attention to this critical work to protect people from the devastating effect of this pandemic and its recent resurgence.”

Squatters sit out evictions moratorium

August 01, 2020 | The Bakersfield Californian
People in the rental housing business say tenant protections put into place during the COVID-19 crisis are having the unintended effect of protecting trespassers who are able to convince law enforcement they have a right to reside at someone else's property despite not actually paying rent.

Traffic court returns to Yolo County

August 01, 2020 | Davis Enterprise
Those with pending traffic matters — halted in mid-March when Yolo County issued a shelter-in-place order that triggered reduced court operations — should expect to receive courtesy notices reminding them to appear, with the oldest pending cases being handled first, Landry said. Still need a court date? Call the court’s traffic division at 530-406-6702.

Fresno Judges Leniency on Payments, Program Enrollment During COVID-19 Pandemic

August 03, 2020 | The Davis Vanguard
In Fresno County Superior Court, judges have been more accommodating to defendants’ circumstances as a result of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Closures of various services and a spike in unemployment could be informing the approach of those running the courts here.
Water main break shuts down Fresno Superior Court

Water main break shuts down Fresno Superior Court

August 03, 2020 |
The Fresno Superior Court said the water will be shut down to make an emergency repair. Due to this unforeseen issue, the Fresno Superior Court will suspend operations at the Main Courthouse at noon Monday.

A proposal to transform California's juvenile justice system

August 03, 2020 | CALmatters
How California ultimately decides to transform juvenile justice will have long-term impacts on families and communities for generations. This transformation will influence whether young adults sink deeper into the criminal justice system or rehabilitate into independent individuals.

Column: Chin Up

August 03, 2020 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Mention the name Justice Chin and one immediately thinks of his civility, collegiality and humor. He is down to earth and has no sense of self-importance, but he does have a keen sense of the importance of his work. His well-written opinions reflect a fair and objective exposition of the law. He reflects everything we expect from a judge -- humanity, objectivity, and professionalism.

Homeless No-Shows in Fresno: For Unhoused, There's No Incentive to Appear in Court

August 02, 2020 | The Davis Vanguard
The Judicial Council of California has developed a blueprint for such programs stating that “HCPs and CCPs leverage the authority of courts and the work of homeless service agencies to both intervene and help prevent the revolving-door syndrome that often leads indigent, mentally ill, and/or substance-abusing homeless people into a vicious cycle from the street, to jail, and back into the courts.”
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