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 Court Cases That Changed L.G.B.T.Q. Rights

June 19, 2019 | New York Times
Beginning before Stonewall and continuing in the 50 years since, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have regularly turned to the courts for protection against mistreatment or to overturn laws that targeted them. From H.I.V.-based discrimination to the fight for marriage equality to President Trump’s attempt to ban transgender people from the military, courts across the country have played a key role in the story of L.G.B.T.Q. rights in America.

Some schools improved slightly on February bar

June 19, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Both first-timers and repeaters saw slight improvements in passage rates over last February, but performance remains historically low at 40.6% and 28.4%, respectively. The majority of February test-takers are repeaters.
US Supreme Court Justice Wins … Entertainment Award?

US Supreme Court Justice Wins … Entertainment Award?

June 18, 2019 | VOA News
The MTV Movie and TV Awards were held recently in Los Angeles, California. One of the surprising winners: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The 86-year-old judge was named the best real-life hero by supporters voting online.

Budget includes funds for 25 more judges

June 18, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Newsom first proposed the new positions in his May budget revision. Last week, the slots were amended into a pair of nearly identical budget trailer bills for the courts, AB 95 and SB 95. The bills also include almost $67 million over the next two years to fund the judges and their staffs.

Column: Justice Carol A. Corrigan by the numbers

June 18, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) To date, Justice Corrigan has voted in 487 civil cases and 732 criminal, quasi-criminal, juvenile, disciplinary and mental health cases. She has written majority opinions in 71 civil cases -- 14.58% of the total number of cases she has participated in. Her busiest years were 2007 and 2017, when she wrote nine majority opinions apiece.

County court to restore S.J. clerk’s office hours

June 18, 2019 | Lodi News
As the San Joaquin Superior Court recovers from a budget deficit, it will restore the clerk’s office business and phone hours to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday except for court holidays beginning next month. “We are grateful for Gov. (Gavin) Newsom’s support to the judicial branch and Chief Justice (Tani) Cantil-Sakauye’s Leadership. As San Joaquin Superior Court recovers from a severe deficit, we are pleased to move forward, expanding needed services to the public,” said Presiding Judge Linda L. Lofthus in a Monday press release.

Calaveras County judge declares new state murder law unconstitutional

June 17, 2019 | Calaveras Enterprise
The law changed the concept of felony murder to include only those who directly kill a person, actively participate in the killing or are involved in the killing of an on-duty peace officer. Inmates across the state have already been freed based on the retroactive nature of the law, which no longer defines murder as a death occurring during the commission of another felony.
Novato murder convict seeks freedom under new law

Novato murder convict seeks freedom under new law

June 17, 2019 | Marin Independent Journal
The law, SB 1437, was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September. It aims to allow certain prisoners to get murder convictions vacated if they were lesser figures in homicides, not the “actual” killers. Then they can apply for resentencing.

State budget includes money for UC Riverside medical school, Inland Empire judges

June 17, 2019 | The Press-Enterprise
There’s also $36.5 million in ongoing money to support 25 new judges and their staffs statewide. A California Judicial Council survey from last November found San Bernardino County leading the state in the need for more judges – 38 more than what’s now assigned – with Riverside County ranked second with 36 more judges needed.

Opinion: The realities of court reporting in the 21st century

June 17, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Rather than fighting against digital reporting, shorthand reporters and voice writers need to recognize that a professional digital reporter is as much a part of the reporting industry as they are and that they can work side by side with a professional digital reporter as comfortably as anyone else.

Judicial Profile: Merced County Judge Jeanne Schechter

June 17, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) “I try to engage them a little bit so that they feel more comfortable, and [it] gives them a little buy-in also,” Schechter explained. “Sometimes it takes a few times for somebody to get the hang of a program, or they may fail, we end up sentencing them and they come back again. It can take a few times before things really start to click.”

Commentary: Lessons from the Old Courthouse in El Centro

June 16, 2019 | CALmatters
In 2014, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye launched the Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court Initiative. The goal is to leverage the convening power of the courts to bring together people across a range of fields—from judges and mental health professionals to probation officers and teachers—and tackle the issues that have a profound impact on our state.

Contra Costa judge found to have committed misconduct, faces discipline

June 16, 2019 | Mercury News
A Contra Costa County judge is facing significant discipline after a panel of special masters found he committed serious misconduct three times and sustained three other accusations against him. Superior court Judge John Laettner, a former assistant U.S. Attorney, was found to have made inappropriate comments to women in the course of his job, and had an improper conversation with a prosecutor during a bail hearing.
Yolo County judge appointed to California Judges Association's Executive Board

Yolo County judge appointed to California Judges Association's Executive Board

June 15, 2019 | Daily Democrat
The organization represents the interests of judges, justices and commissioners in the state and is governed by a 25-member executive board. Its mission is to promote judicial excellence and achieve fair and impartial justice. “It’s an honor to be able to continue to serve the law and to represent the judges of the State of California,“ Rosenberg said.
Video: Peer-to-peer court puts justice in the hands of teens

Video: Peer-to-peer court puts justice in the hands of teens

June 14, 2019 | WGAL
Two million American children are suspended or expelled from school each year. Now, some schools are taking a new, more restorative justice approach to discipline. They're training kids to hold peer courts. Correspondent Robin Hamilton sees how it's working in one school in Washington, D.C.

State high court to review mandatory sentence minimum laws

June 14, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) In its Wednesday conference, the high court granted review for two cases dealing with Senate Bill 1393 that had different outcomes at the appellate level. The bill, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last September and enacted Jan. 1, empowers trial judges to strike prior serious felony convictions that require a five-year enhancement.

Thousands Of California Lawyers Yet To Be Re-Fingerprinted

June 13, 2019 | Above the Law
Re-fingerprinting is being undertaken because the California bar was required by a 1989 law to ensure the retention of submitted fingerprints from lawyer applicants so it could receive notifications of subsequent attorney arrests and convictions. But the agency did not follow the law for two-plus decades, so it has worked in recent years to achieve compliance.

Why the State's New Budget Gave the Judiciary $2.8M It Didn't Request

June 13, 2019 | The Recorder
Tucked into the $215 billion budget that California legislators approved Thursday is a $2.8 million gift to the judiciary, one that court leaders did not ask for. The money will pay for roughly 5 acres of vacant land in Placerville, the site, someday, of a new six-courtroom courthouse in the government seat of El Dorado County.

Commission on Judicial Performance leader urges lawmakers to mandate court reporting

June 13, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The head of the Commission on Judicial Performance on Wednesday urged state lawmakers to pay for more court reporters while cautiously approaching any constitutional amendments to overhaul the oversight system, part of a response to an audit he said already is prompting major changes.

Judicial Profile: Kings County Judge Valerie Chrissakis

June 13, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Her days as a research attorney are long gone, but Judge Valerie Chrissakis still keeps an eye out for updates and policy changes that could impact cases, and she makes sure lawyers are apprised, passing on her findings frequently in writing.
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