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.
(Subscription required) Just over a year ago, Cavalluzzi brought what she learned from her parents, along with her years as a criminal defense attorney, to a Los Angeles County misdemeanor court in Santa Clarita. She said she understands the difficulty of completing treatment programs and the cost that comes with it.
The situation in Kern County highlights the challenges courts across the U.S. are facing as they try to balance public health protections with public access to their proceedings amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
In California and New Jersey, pending legislation would bar peremptory challenges — a tool used by prosecutors and defense attorneys to disqualify potential jurors — based on race, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation.
The chief judge for the Central District of California, the nation’s largest federal court jurisdiction, which includes Los Angeles and its neighboring counties, has stepped down from that post, citing his racially insensitive comments regarding the court’s top administrative official, a Black woman.
Courtroom dramas change, but the courts themselves rarely do. The courts worked pretty much the same during the Patty Hearst trial in 1975 as they did during the OJ Simpson Trial in 1995, and how they were still operating this year... right up until the pandemic struck.
An explosion of coronavirus infections at California's San Quentin State Prison, the state's oldest, has public health officials there worried about its impact on prisoners, staff and the wider hospital system in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer, testifying Friday in a hearing on a motion to recuse his office from parole violation hearings for several sex offenders, said he did not mean to intimidate any judges when he criticized the release of the offenders amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The effect of COVID-19 on the California court system is evident—it’s reduced jail populations, and ended trials for months—and here, in-custody defendant John Kempker didn’t appear in court because he refused to be tested for the deadly virus.
Civil liberties groups filed a federal lawsuit Friday alleging that the Kern County Superior Court has illegally denied the public and news media constitutionally required access to legal proceedings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program will address jail overcrowding; work to reduce failures to appear; prioritize community safety, ensuring incarceration is reserved for those who jeopardize public safety; and reduce discrimination based on wealth and race.
Depending on local health requirements, building configurations, and the amount of jurors needed, superior courts are using a variety of strategies to ensure the courthouse is safe for people reporting for jury duty.
The court’s unanimous opinion by Justice Goodwin Liu holds a district attorney can seek not only statewide injunctive relief under California’s unfair competition law, but also “civil penalties for violations occurring outside of the district attorney’s county as well as restitution on behalf of Californians who do not reside in the county.”
(Subscription required) On weekends, she and her husband volunteer by picking up meals in downtown San Diego arranged by the organization People Assisting the Homeless. Even if lawyers are unaware of the judge's volunteer work, that can-do approach is apparent in her court. She goes out of her way to find workable dispositions, lawyers said.
A California appellate court has found that Contra Costa County Superior Court’s denial of an in-custody defendant’s demand for a prompt preliminary examination wasn’t justified during shutdowns prompted by the coronavirus pandemic in the latter part of March.
Evictions have been forbidden in Shasta County since April, under legal provisions put in place by the California State Judicial Council that are tied to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 emergency declaration. Even with the moratorium, the number of illegal evictions and eviction attempts have more than doubled during the past three months, Legal Services of Northern California reports.
State court caseloads dropped sharply when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and governments shut down in April and May, although the types of cases that tend to involve corporations saw smaller decreases, according to Lex Machina data released Thursday.
The California Supreme Court unanimously ruled Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer could recover civil penalties and restitution for violations of a statute that prohibits unfair and fraudulent business practices that occur outside the county’s borders.
In People v. Stamps, the Supreme Court today holds that, even though they were sentenced under a plea agreement, a defendant may invoke on appeal a new statute allowing superior courts to strike serious felony enhancements.
The court states, “Determining a defendant’s culpability under the special circumstances statute requires a fact-intensive, individualized inquiry” and it lists numerous factors to consider in making the determination.
Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana at the start of 2018, allows those convicted of what were previously marijuana-related crimes — now legal or lesser offenses — have their convictions lessened or dismissed.
The Sacramento County Superior Court confirmed Thursday that Joseph DeAngelo’s latest hearing will take place on the Sacramento State campus. “It might be the biggest trial I think in history,” explained Sacramento-area attorney Mark Reichel.
The California Assembly will return to work on Friday from their summer recess to vote on a spending plan that closes the state’s estimated $54.3 billion deficit through a combination of temporary tax increases, delayed spending and cuts to colleges, courts and state worker salaries.
The court granted review in Conservatorship of E.B., where the First District, Division Five, Court of Appeal in a published opinion disagreed with their colleagues in Division One regarding whether a prospective conservatee can be forced to testify in a proceeding to determine if they will be subject to an involuntary conservatorship as a gravely disabled person.
A team of UC Berkeley and UCSF health experts warned prison medical officials nearly two weeks ago that they’d need to cut the population of San Quentin State Prison in half to avoid a potentially “catastrophic” outbreak there.