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.

State high court to review mandatory sentence minimum laws

June 14, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) In its Wednesday conference, the high court granted review for two cases dealing with Senate Bill 1393 that had different outcomes at the appellate level. The bill, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last September and enacted Jan. 1, empowers trial judges to strike prior serious felony convictions that require a five-year enhancement.

Why the State's New Budget Gave the Judiciary $2.8M It Didn't Request

June 13, 2019 | The Recorder
Tucked into the $215 billion budget that California legislators approved Thursday is a $2.8 million gift to the judiciary, one that court leaders did not ask for. The money will pay for roughly 5 acres of vacant land in Placerville, the site, someday, of a new six-courtroom courthouse in the government seat of El Dorado County.

Judicial Profile: Kings County Judge Valerie Chrissakis

June 13, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Her days as a research attorney are long gone, but Judge Valerie Chrissakis still keeps an eye out for updates and policy changes that could impact cases, and she makes sure lawyers are apprised, passing on her findings frequently in writing.

Commission on Judicial Performance leader urges lawmakers to mandate court reporting

June 13, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The head of the Commission on Judicial Performance on Wednesday urged state lawmakers to pay for more court reporters while cautiously approaching any constitutional amendments to overhaul the oversight system, part of a response to an audit he said already is prompting major changes.

Thousands Of California Lawyers Yet To Be Re-Fingerprinted

June 13, 2019 | Above the Law
Re-fingerprinting is being undertaken because the California bar was required by a 1989 law to ensure the retention of submitted fingerprints from lawyer applicants so it could receive notifications of subsequent attorney arrests and convictions. But the agency did not follow the law for two-plus decades, so it has worked in recent years to achieve compliance.

Three more women accuse justice of harassment

June 12, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Three additional women are accusing Justice Jeffrey W. Johnson of sexual misconduct, including non-consensual touching and inappropriate comments at networking events.

Introducing Justice Joshua Groban

June 10, 2019 | California Supreme Court Historical Society
When Joshua Paul Groban took the oath of office as an associate justice of the California Supreme Court on January 3, 2019, he was in one sense a familiar face to attorneys and judges throughout the state. As a senior advisor to Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., Justice Groban screened and interviewed more than a thousand candidates for judicial office.

In California, it's guilty as charged

June 10, 2019 | Crosstown
In its most recent Court Statistics Report, the Judicial Council of California examined the 170,531 felony cases that made it into California’s Superior Courts between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017. A whopping 98% of the total cases never make it to trial.

Labor case takes unexpected twist in state Supreme Court

June 10, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) A seemingly unexpected question at the state Supreme Court’s oral argument morning session Wednesday has altered the course of an employment law appeal that was set to further clarify what sort of labor claims can bypass arbitration via California’s Private Attorneys General Act.

State Fails to Effect Needed Courthouse Repairs

June 06, 2019 | Metropolitan News-Enterprise
Lack of funding, Highberger says, “inevitably limits our ability to do robust preventative maintenance.” He underscores that deterioration of courthouses stems from inadequate appropriations to the courts and attests to the Judicial Council’s continuing efforts to “work with the Department of Finance and the Legislature” to secure adequate funding. Meanwhile at courthouses, pipes burst, elevators stall, occupants swelter one day and shiver on another, and brown water spurts from facets.

Justices appear divided on proactive ‘Brady’ list disclosures

June 06, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) A lively and perhaps divided bench challenged three attorneys Wednesday on how law enforcement agencies and prosecutors can fulfill their constitutional mandate to share favorable evidence with criminal defendants while preserving the privacy rights of officers, from whose personnel files such evidence is sometimes culled.

Monterey County Superior Court will seek approval for two new courthouses.

June 06, 2019 | Monterey County Weekly
The court, in the next week, plans to send its requests to the Judicial Council, and those requests are for a seven-courtroom replacement courthouse to be built somewhere on the Peninsula – looking at you, Seaside – and for a two-courtroom courthouse in Greenfield. The seven-courtroom plan might be less than ideal, but it ups the possibility the Judicial Council will approve both.

Audio: Can Police Share Problem Officers' Names With DAs?

June 05, 2019 | KPCC
The California Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a case that weighs whether the L.A. County Sheriff can share with the District Attorney a list of the names of deputies who may have credibility issues if they testify in court.
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