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.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
The legislation would raise bar fees in 2020 from a combined $430 to $544, a 27 percent increase, and would be the first bump in that figure in roughly 20 years. Attorneys can still deduct up to $47 from the total if they opt out of paying for certain items.
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.
(Subscription required) Sunnyvale family law attorney John Conway was in the audience the day the illiterate man explained his situation to Blecher and was impressed with her compassion, given the pressure to push through a high-volume calendar.
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.”
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).)”
The Republicans’ objection to the amicus brief doesn’t mention that their own reply in the case was apparently late and was filed only after the court granted their motion for relief from default for an untimely filing.
Building on a series of reforms enacted in recent years that aim to reduce numbers in the state’s overcrowded and overwhelmed prison system, the changes mark a shift away from the tough-on-crime punitive policies of the past.
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.
(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.
(Subscription required) An unusual side dispute has arisen in the state Republican Party’s case seeking to stop a California law demanding presidential tax returns: an effort to prevent UC Berkeley School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky from filing an amicus brief.
(Subscription required) “‘Justice is giving someone what they deserve.’ I think we can do justice and also treat people well. It is not just putting someone in jail and throwing away the key,” said the judge.
An agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement showed up at a Riverside County Superior Courthouse this month, a rare but legal move that prompted immigrant-rights advocates and some legal experts to suggest that courts should be treated as off-limits for immigration enforcement.
A state appeals court reinstated a transgender patient’s suit against the Catholic hospital chain Dignity Health on Tuesday for refusing to perform transgender surgery, and then allegedly relenting and referring the patient to another hospital only after the story hit the local airwaves.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
(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.”