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.

Judicial Profile: Stanislaus County Commissioner Lynne Meredith

December 13, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) One thing that sets her apart, Huang said, is Meredith requires law enforcement to always meet its burden of proof. In one recent case, he said, the commissioner dismissed a speeding ticket because the officer failed to show he had done the proper maintenance to calibrate his radar speedometer, drawing its results into question.

California Chief Justice Touts Court Diversity, Unity at Forum

December 12, 2019 | Courthouse News Service
Speaking at a forum largely filled with state employees in downtown Sacramento, Cantil-Sakauye said the broad range of judges that have been appointed over the last two decades has the judiciary primed to face and adapt to upcoming challenges, such as another recession and a sweeping consumer privacy law promising to spark a flood of litigation.

“A Conversation with Chief Justice of California Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye”

December 12, 2019 | At the Lectern
Topics include civics education, bail, fines and fees, diversity of the judiciary, the Supreme Court’s frequent unanimity, homelessness, federal immigration arrests in California’s courts, Proposition 66 and the death penalty, language access to the courts, domestic violence, and anticipated short-fuse 2020 election law cases.

Chief Justice not ready to retire

December 12, 2019 | At the Lectern
At her annual meeting with the media yesterday, the Chief Justice disclosed that, after apparently doing some planning in the last six months, she intends to stay put. “This is the best job,” she’s quoted as saying.

Chief justice defends judicial challenges and efforts to fight them

December 12, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye defended the current system in which judges must face voters in elections during a wide-ranging discussion Wednesday, but she also said she favors longer terms for appellate justices and supported Los Angeles County judges’ political action committee to fight challengers.

Supreme Court Reappoints Members to Ethics Committee

December 12, 2019 | California Courts Newsroom
The California Supreme Court today announced the reappointment of three current members of the Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions (CJEO), an independent committee that helps inform the judiciary and public on judicial ethics.

Report on state supreme court election spending cites California as model

December 12, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) While nearly $40 million was spent nationwide in 2017 and 2018 seeking to influence 48 judicial elections for 21 state Supreme Courts, not a dollar was spent in California, according to a study released Wednesday by The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.

Supreme Court allows Governor to commute two more sentences

December 11, 2019 | At the Lectern
The Supreme Court today cleared the way for Governor Gavin Newsom to commute the sentences of Kristopher Blehm and Jose Ledesma. The court’s approvals are constitutionally required because the two clemency candidates have been convicted of multiple felonies.

States prepare to purge tens of thousands of pot convictions

December 11, 2019 | Los Angeles Times
With the tap of a computer key, prosecutors in Los Angeles and Chicago plan over the coming weeks to erase tens of thousands of marijuana convictions from people’s criminal records, a key part of a progressive crime-fighting strategy that is seeking to rectify the wrongs of a decades-long drug war.

Opinion: State high court wrong to not depublish CEQA case

December 11, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The California Supreme Court recently decided not to depublish a recent 2nd District Court of Appeal opinion that misstates the law in a manner harmful to lead agencies and the regulated community.

Judicial Profile: Alameda County Judge Richard Seabolt

December 11, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) “In my view, the goal in family law cases is to try to take a difficult situation — and unwinding a relationship is inherently difficult — and to take that difficult situation and make it less difficult,” Seabolt tells everyone in the courtroom during a prepared speech. “The best way to do that is for each of you to try to reach an agreement with the other party.”

Assembly budget chair makes no promises on courts budget

December 10, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) California’s courts are in line for a 1% increase, about $22 million, in the new fiscal year on their nearly $2.2 billion annual budget, according to documents released late last month by the Legislative Analyst’s Office. The chair of the Assembly Budget Committee is going to take a close look at court funding for the 2020-21 fiscal year but declined to make any specific commitments on a conference call with reporters on Monday.

Editorial: Don't drive child-porn viewers away from therapy

December 10, 2019 | Los Angeles Times
One case in point is a law adopted by California lawmakers in 2014 that requires therapists to report patients who admit to having viewed or downloaded child pornography. The state Supreme Court is considering whether the mandate is constitutional. The question for Californians, though, is not whether the law is constitutional, but whether it’s wise.
California Falls to No. 2 on Annual 'Judicial Hellholes' List

California Falls to No. 2 on Annual 'Judicial Hellholes' List

December 10, 2019 | The Recorder
The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, where a jury awarded an $8 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson, took the No. 1 spot. That Oct. 8 verdict, plus a flood of other mass torts, prompted the ATRA, which publishes the 2019-2020 Judicial Hellholes report, to replace California with Philadelphia’s court as the worst venue in which to get sued.

Column: Dynamex echoes Supreme Court principles decided almost 50 years ago

December 10, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Back in 1972, in the case Friends of Mammoth Lakes v. Mono County, the Supreme Court entered the fray over the scope of the California Environmental Quality Act. Similar to the Dynamex court's rejection of a literal interpretation of "suffer or permit," the Mammoth Lakes court did not consider the absence of reference to private projects to be a limitation on CEQA's scope. The court said: "Once a particular legislative intent has been ascertained, it must be given effect even though it may not be consistent with the strict letter of the statute."

Historical Society review is available

December 09, 2019 | At the Lectern
The Fall/Winter 2019 review — previously called the newsletter — of the California Supreme Court Historical Society is out now.

State Bar plans to prepare extra questions for exam

December 09, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The State Bar is working to prevent another premature leak of bar exam test topics but is also taking measures to give the agency more options for how to respond if a similar snafu occurs. Amy Nunez, the bar’s director of admissions, told the panel in 2020 the bar plans “to create additional exam questions to have a reserve bank on hand if this ever were to become necessary.”

Judicial Profile: Santa Clara County Judge Edward Lee

December 09, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Lee is a man of many other hobbies and a former police officer from Southern California who’s wrapping up his 27th year as a judge in Santa Clara County. He oversees a felony arraignments and settlements calendar, and the jurist speaks modestly about how much his bench experience factors into trying to get parties on the same page.

Should psychotherapists be required to report patients who look at child porn?

December 08, 2019 | Los Angeles Times
The California Supreme Court will soon decide whether to revive a challenge to the law brought by therapists who treat people for sexual compulsions. Instead of helping children, the therapists argue, the new reporting requirement will discourage people from seeking help for porn addictions and other sexual proclivities.

Mental Health Court roundup outlines successes, future goals

December 07, 2019 | Davis Enterprise
The Yolo County Mental Health Court team has published its outcome measures for fiscal year 2018-19, showing significant reductions in arrests, jail bed days and hospital bed days of Mental Health Court participants.

Operation Mobile Justice

December 06, 2019 | California Courts Newsroom
To prepare for potential emergencies, the court collaborated with Cal State Fullerton to practice using the campus’s emergency operations center as a makeshift courtroom.

Judicial Profile: Riverside County Judge Eric Keen

December 06, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) When asked what finding justice in any individual case meant, Keen said it could mean enrolling a person with a drug addiction into a treatment program rather than sending them to state prison. He also spoke about recent changes to the law he said gave him more discretion when it comes to adding or declining to add enhancements.
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