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.

Yolo County jury delivers $10.5M verdict after trial postponed by shutdowns

July 08, 2020 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) It's a sign of the times that the most surprising aspect of the case is not the large award but that a jury delivered a civil verdict at all. The trial began March 2, was delayed March 16 by court shutdowns in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, was postponed again in May, and finally reached a resolution on Monday.

US judge laments juror exposure in ‘weak’ case

July 08, 2020 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The judge handling the first federal trial to resume in California slammed prosecutors Tuesday for reconvening a pool of anxious jurors to continue what he considers a weak case.

Calif. Jury Reconvenes To Award $10.5M In Virus-Delayed Trial

July 07, 2020 | Law 360
A California injury trial that was interrupted months ago by the coronavirus pandemic reconvened this week, concluding with a $10.5 million verdict to a truck driver whose leg was amputated following an accident, in a case referred to as a "guinea pig" test for restarting jury trials in one Northern California county.

Coronavirus in Jails and Prisons

July 07, 2020 | The Appeal
After a series of missteps that resulted in COVID outbreaks in at least two California prisons that had previously reported no cases, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation replaced its top medical officer.

Napa DA to review more marijuana convictions

July 07, 2020 | Napa Valley Register
District Attorney Allison Haley stated that “our duty to fulfill the will of the voters is continuous and ongoing. In collaboration with the California Department of Justice and the Napa Superior Court, relief has been brought to more defendants impacted by prior marijuana convictions in a fashion that comports with the law.”

Noted Marin lawyers named to state panel

July 07, 2020 | Marin Independent Journal
The group will study potential measures to counteract bias, including diversity in jury pools and changes to jury instructions. The group consists of 11 state judges, including retired Supreme Court justice Kathryn Werdegar of Ross.

Pressure mounts on governor to name LGBTQ justice to state high court

July 07, 2020 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) "The candidates under consideration reflect the broad diversity of our state and include sitting judges and experienced trial and appellate lawyers. They are well regarded by the bench and bar for their intellectual rigor, legal aptitude, integrity, collegiality, and for their demonstrated record of service to the residents of California. Governor Newsom expects to announce his nominee to the California Supreme Court in the next few months."

You Can Get Kicked Out of a Jury Pool For Supporting Black Lives Matter

July 07, 2020 | The Marshall Project
California courts rarely find racial bias in jury selection, but in January the state Supreme Court announced plans to review the rules for disqualifying potential jurors. State lawmakers are also considering a measure that would tighten rules on removing juror candidates.

If tenant groups can intervene in suit so can landlords, say attorneys

July 07, 2020 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) While both landlords and tenants say they have been negatively affected by Covid-related economic hardship, attorneys for Public Counsel argue landlords are not "remotely comparable in terms of vulnerability," in their motion to intervene. Property owners may still borrow against their properties, sell their properties, and benefit from their properties' appreciation in value, they argue.

Monterey County judges suspend new courthouse projects in Greenfield, Seaside

July 06, 2020 | King City Rustler
The Greenfield courthouse project has been in the works for more than a decade, and has already been the subject of funding-focused delays. Greenfield’s city government made an arrangement where the state would build and fund the courthouse, while the city granted the property. The property is currently owned by the state.

Judgement Day

July 06, 2020 | Commercial Observer
While there is no statewide moratorium for commercial tenants, all eviction proceedings have been suspended throughout California since April. Last month, the state’s Judicial Council planned to vote on ending that suspension by August, but they delayed the vote after talking with Newsom and other lawmakers. A spokesperson for the council said there have been no new talks of updating the suspension since.

California Supreme Court Names Jury Selection Work Group

July 06, 2020 | California Courts Newsroom
“The right to trial by a jury of our peers is central to our justice system, and we must continue to safeguard that right,” said Justice Kathleen O'Leary, who will chair the work group. “We join a broad statewide and national dialogue that is focused on ensuring juries fairly represent the communities they serve.”

22 counties not complying with bias committee recommendation

July 06, 2020 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Court representatives in Alameda and Kern counties noted they participate in bench-bar committees to address bias and other courtroom concerns, while San Bernardino County has an internal committee that focuses on community outreach and bias.
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