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) “She’s extraordinarily bright and very, very intelligent,” he said. “She’s always prepared. When you walk in the door, she knows your case as well as you do. She’s on time, a no-nonsense judge. I feel sorry for lawyers who show up late.”
California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu, a former clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has joined Jeremy Fogel, a former U.S. district judge and Federal Judicial Center director, and the American Bar Foundation, to delve into the question and come up with positive solutions for judges, law students, professors and other players in the law clerk hiring process.
If not for the anti-SLAPP statute, Proposition 47, and death penalty appeals, would the Supreme Court have anything to do? That’s definitely hyperbole, but, then again, the court’s Wednesday conference didn’t dispel the perception, at least as to anti-SLAPP cases, and despite hopes the Chief Justice voiced almost three years ago. The court also involved itself in two whistleblower matters; no, definitely not that one.
(Subscription required) In Riverside, the court has 80 authorized and funded judicial positions though it has an assessed need of 116. Meanwhile, San Bernardino has 88 authorized and funded judge positions but an assessed need of 126.
The presence of ICE agents in California courtrooms has been a big deal policy-wise, starting at the top: State Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has asked ICE to refrain from making arrests at courthouses because “the judicial system relies on the trust and confidence of people… to come into court,” she said.
(Subscription required) “I think that Judge Saban thinks about her cases thoughtfully,” Stephenson said. “She has her reasons for giving sentences that are not always the same as what we’re asking for, but I think she always has logical reasons.”
The state Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed animal-rights activists to hold protests in the parking lot and walkways outside Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, leaving intact a lower-court ruling that said the privately owned areas are a “public forum for expressive activity.”
San Bernardino’s superior court needs an additional 49 judges, according to the study. The superior court in Riverside County needs 37 more judges and Sacramento County is 20 judges shy of what’s needed.
(Subscription required) Under the council's new formula, a majority of judges would go to less than a handful of counties based on the number of case filings in each superior court, the types and complexity of those cases, and the amount of time a judicial officer has to work on cases per year.
(Subscription required) The Judicial Council has started instituting new protocols for the reporting and handling of misbehavior complaints, specifically against justices, after an investigation began into claims of sexual harassment by Justice Jeffrey Johnson of the 2nd District Court of Appeal.
(Subscription required) Luckily, both the California Judicial Council and the Judicial Conference have been proactively conducting reviews of their workplace conduct policies and have been looking to strengthen victim protections. These reform efforts are to be lauded, but the retirement loophole must also be closed.
(Subscription required) “I couldn’t have imagined a better judge for a first jury trial. She was very clear about what motions in limine should look like, when jury instructions would be due, everything,” Barnett said. “She wasn’t treating us that way because she knew we were new and needed handholding but because she wanted to make it clear what was expected of us.”
The council, meeting in Sacramento, approved an update to its judicial needs assessment, a document that crunches workload and filing data tied to each of the 58 superior courts to determine which ones most need new bench officers.
Today’s courthouse is too small for the caseload, said the Judicial Council of California, which is funding the $279 million replacement. The building also has poor access for disabled people and less-than-ideal ways of escorting inmates to court dates.
"This is happening. It's not the first — there's been several incidents in court," said Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo, who represents most of Salinas and reported Friday's arrest as well as published video of it on social media. "... When ICE targets the courts, it undermines the justice system and public safety."
A bill now awaiting action by Governor Gavin Newsom would punish companies that attempt to stall arbitration by refusing to pay the fees required to launch and maintain cases filed by employees and consumers.
The formula relies on three main factors to determine judicial need: the number of case filings in each superior court, the types and complexity of those cases, and the amount of time a judicial officer has to work on cases per year.
The court might expressly direct the parties to address in their briefs the effect on retroactivity of Assembly Bill 5, legislation Governor Gavin Newsom signed last week that by its terms is intended to “codify the decision of the California Supreme Court in Dynamex and [to] clarify the decision’s application in state law.”
(Subscription required) When it comes to California’s cash bail system, both advocates and some critics agree on one point: that upcoming changes may replace cash bail with policies that uphold existing problems in the state’s criminal justice system, including lengthy pre-arraignment processes and a liability to discriminate against people of color.
Hundreds of responses received over the last two months about various California bar proposals that could alter fee-sharing and open a door to non-attorney ownership of firms reveal a common thread: Most of those who shared their thoughts don’t support a wholesale reshaping of how legal clients are served in the Golden State.
State Capitol Democrats and organized labor say their new “gig” law will correct the misclassification of 1 million California workers who are falsely deemed independent contractors. But their thinking reflects a misunderstanding.
If private prisons are not meeting the needs of the state, steps should be taken to address those needs. But a ban on much needed private prisons is not the answer, at least not if Gov. Newsom’s goal is to improve the conditions of state inmates, and the treatment of immigrants in custody.
(Subscription required) “She helps point out the weaknesses and strengths of both the prosecutor and defense, which helps from an independent perspective,” Angel said. “It helps parties see their case; sometimes you get mired down in your own facts.”
A look at Cuéllar’s exquisitely constructed résumé reveals the lines one typically associates with the U.S. Supreme Court short list: elite degrees (a Harvard, Yale, Stanford trifecta), high-level judicial experience and relative youth (at 47, he’s five years younger than Neil Gorsuch, the youngest justice).
Court Administrative Officer Chris Ruhl said, “Our main concern is these arrests in and around the courthouse of course have the potential of deterring people from coming to the courthouse. For us, it becomes an issue of access to justice."