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.

Imperial County residents could be fined $750 for not attending jury duty

September 20, 2019 | KYMA
The Superior Court of California, County of Imperial is continuing its effort to increase juror response rates and has been holding citizens, who fail to appear for jury service, in contempt of court. In recent hearings, non-compliant persons have been fined up to $750.00.
Teens faced life sentences, now only six years under California's new juvenile offender law

Teens faced life sentences, now only six years under California's new juvenile offender law

September 20, 2019 | Desert Sun
A California law enacted this year raised the age at which juvenile offenders can be tried as adults from 14 to 16. For two Coachella Valley men, the new law means the 65-years-to-life sentence they were each facing when convicted of armed robbery last year likely will be reduced to six years, due to limitations on juvenile sentences.

Judicial Profile: San Mateo County Commissioner Rachel Holt

September 20, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) She alternates between taking pleas on felony cases, a multitude of disputes in family law, small claims, and the obligatory traffic court assignments. As she explained all this recently, in between preparing to cover a domestic violence calendar, the phone rings. It’s her clerk asking about a recent criminal trial.

Jerry Brown says murder-accessory reform law he signed will stand up

September 19, 2019 | San Francisco Chronicle
In his final year in office, former Gov. Jerry Brown helped push through a bill limiting who can be charged with murder, a parting shot in his campaign to roll back decades of tough-on-crime history in California. Now the law, under challenge by prosecutors across the state, is all but certain to end up before the California Supreme Court.

County prepares for possibility of no-bail system

September 19, 2019 | Highland Community News
In response to this potential scenario, the San Bernardino County Probation Department and the Superior Court are diligently working to create a system to evaluate defendants and appropriately monitor those released from custody prior to the resolution of their cases.

Federal judge blocks California law to force disclosure of Trump's tax returns

September 19, 2019 | Los Angeles Times
A federal judge ordered a temporary injunction Thursday against California’s first-in-the-nation law requiring candidates to disclose their tax returns for a spot on the presidential primary ballot, an early victory for President Trump but a decision that will undoubtedly be appealed by state officials.

Opinion: AB 5: Changing the Landscape for Independent Contractor Analysis

September 19, 2019 | The Recorder
Although the national media has largely focused on the effects on ride-hailing, meal delivery and other gig economy workers, the effects of AB 5 are much broader and are worrying those in many industries including technology, media, transportation and entertainment.

Supreme Court OK’s pardon for twice-convicted felon at risk of deportation

September 18, 2019 | At the Lectern
Acting unusually quickly, the Supreme Court today gave Governor Gavin Newsom permission to pardon a man who the Governor said had applied for clemency “to avoid severe collateral consequences of conviction, specifically deportation and permanent family separation.”

Supreme Court decides not to answer Ninth Circuit’s rest break questions

September 18, 2019 | At the Lectern
Last November, voters approved an initiative overturning the Augustus decision as to ambulance workers. Soon after, the Supreme Court ordered supplemental briefing about the effect of the initiative on the questions the Ninth Circuit had asked. Today, nine months after the supplemental briefing, the court dismissed the matter, Stewart v. San Luis Ambulance, Inc., stating that, “In light of the passage of [the initiative], resolution of the questions posed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is no longer ‘necessary . . . to settle an important question of law.’ (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.548(f)(1).)”

Newsom signs bill rewriting California employment law, limiting use of independent contractors

September 18, 2019 | Los Angeles Times
California businesses will soon face new limits in their use of independent contractors under a closely watched proposal signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday, a decision praised by organized labor but unlikely to quell a growing debate over the rules and nature of work in the 21st century economy.

173 judges needed, says Judicial Council report

September 18, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The assessment comes a week before a planned Sept. 24 meeting where the advisory committee will announce its findings and also recommend the council revise its formula to determine case workloads around California, according to state officials.

Council to Consider New Formula for Ranking Judicial Need

September 17, 2019 | California Courts Newsroom
The updated formula forms the basis of the Judicial Needs Assessment, which prioritizes judgeship needs in counties around the state. The study estimates California needs an additional 173 judgeships.

Exempting newspapers from gig bill may lead to opt-outs

September 17, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Once signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, newspaper publishers will have until Jan 1, 2021 to switch their delivery drivers and other distributors to employees, granting those workers basic labor guarantees including minimum wage, paid sick leave and unemployment insurance.

Why is secrecy the default on gubernatorial clemency recommendation requests?

September 16, 2019 | At the Lectern
Secrecy has been the Supreme Court’s watchword regarding its clemency approval process, not only in handling records a Governor submits, but in not disclosing any reasons for its rulings on gubernatorial requests for clemency recommendations. To date, also secret is any explanation for the secrecy.

California bill may fill data gaps in the criminal justice system

September 16, 2019 | Engadget
The measure would set clear data collection and reporting standards for both the courts and law enforcement, such as a requirement that agencies hand over criminal ID and information, incident and court numbers. It would also let courts share some data with researchers hoping to interpret justice data and hold officials to account.

El Dorado County superior courts expand service hours

September 16, 2019 | Tahoe Daily Tribune
The return of a more robust economy in California coupled with leaner operating costs has allowed the El Dorado Superior Court to now increase its operating hours, living up to its mission to provide all persons a fair, efficient, and accessible forum for resolving disputes, protecting, public safety, and righting wrongs.

OC Approves New Policy to Immediately Destroy Public Records

September 16, 2019 | Voice of Orange County
Orange County officials, without public discussion, approved a controversial new policy last week allowing immediate destruction of public records, despite state law and a court ruling saying they must be kept for two years.

Utah passes California, OKs nonlawyers giving legal advice

September 16, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Utah has beaten California to the punch in embracing measures that will open up its legal marketplace to nonlawyers and drastically shift the state's approach to regulating legal services.

State Bar to provide record amount for legal aid in 2020

September 16, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) “The State Bar is working to fulfill its mission of furthering access to legal services along multiple fronts,” State Bar Executive Director Leah T. Wilson said in a statement. “This record allocation is the most tangible of those efforts. Through our legal services partners, the funding will support access for hundreds of thousands of Californians in need.”
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