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In an unusual move the state Supreme Court has ordered judges around the state to consider an individual’s ability to pay before setting bail in criminal cases, potentially upending longstanding reliance on bail schedules set by each county.
The amendments, which take effect immediately, end what lawmakers said were unworkable limits on services provided by freelance writers and still photographers, photojournalists, and freelance editors and newspaper cartoonists. It includes safeguards to make sure they are not replacing current employees.
“It is an absolute honor to serve on the Judicial Council during these unprecedented times of significant challenges and uncertainty. I thank Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye for giving me the opportunity to serve on the Council and assist the Council’s goals of providing fair and accountable administration of justice to the people of California,” Landry stated.
(Subscription required) Reflecting on the last decade, as well as his work prior to the bench, Lonergan said he felt lucky to have the opportunity to do work he genuinely enjoys. And for now, he's looking forward to what the coming years will bring. "I'm doing felony jury trials, which is what I want to do and that's what my experience is as a prosecutor.
That law, which Gov. Gavin Newsom signed minutes before an existing moratorium expired, bars evictions through Jan. 31. Better yet, as long as tenants pay 25% of the rent owed by that time, they cannot be evicted for being delinquent on the rest even after the new state moratorium expires.
For more than 25 years, Moreno served at all levels of the state and federal judicial systems in California, including four years as a federal district court judge and 10 years as a justice on the California Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye appointed two new voting members and four new advisory (nonvoting) members to the Judicial Council. She also reappointed four voting members and two advisory members.
California’s courts are resuming eviction hearings this week, but a flurry of new protections could ensure that financially struggling tenants will not lose their homes, at least through the rest of the year.
There’s a seeming exception to that last rule, and it’s one that has riled up a group of local criminal defense attorneys: Several judges, the attorneys state in a letter sent to state Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and county Presiding Judge Julie Culver, have repeatedly taken the bench without wearing masks. And while the court has placed plexiglass barriers throughout the courthouse – including where judges sit while presiding – the nine attorneys who signed the letter say the plexiglass barriers “does not obviate the requirement to wear a mask.
(Subscription required) Robert Sherman, assistant court executive officer, said in an email Wednesday in response to questions sent to the judge, "The use of a face shield with physical distancing allows a jury the benefit of assessing physical gestures, as part of its credibility assessment, while also taking steps to protect the safety of those in the courtroom.
(Subscription required) "All judicial officers of the Superior Court are independently appointed or elected constitutional officers and are therefore prohibited from intervening in pending cases or from engaging in ex parte communications regarding such matters," Taylor wrote. "Having said that, the concerns raised by your letter were taken seriously by this office."
(Subscription required) Despite the difficulties there was no indication that social distancing measures were hindering the attorneys' work or making the jurors especially uncomfortable. One juror's glasses kept fogging up because of her mask and she adjusted them periodically. The judge allowed beverages in the court and jurors could remove their masks to take a quick drink.
(Subscription required) The State Bar has begun circulating draft rules for a temporary supervised provisional licensure program which will be available for 2020 graduates who have not passed the bar exam. The deadline for the public to comment on the draft rules is Sept. 15.
(Subscription required) The bar has not announced if it will administer the exam online in February or if those who don't take it can join the temporary licensure program. The bar is in conversations with the court and the National Conference of Bar Examiners about the February exam.
The Supreme Court on Monday came up one vote short of granting review in People v. Triplett, a case raising a Batson/Wheeler issue, named after the U.S. and California Supreme Court decisions prohibiting racial discrimination in selecting jurors. How to analyze claimed Batson/Wheeler violations has been dividing an otherwise mostly harmonious court for a number of years.
While California's new law and the federal policy announced this week will help keep people in their homes, both are temporary measures. And some housing experts say they fail to provide relief for the mountains of unpaid rent that are going to accrue in the meantime, affecting tenants and landlords alike at a time when millions of people are still without jobs.
On Tuesday, District Attorney Jeff Reisig provided a summary of the effects on the county since the California Judicial Council’s Statewide Emergency “Zero” Bail Schedule went into effect on April 13 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A six-page draft rule of court spells out what the program will require. Anyone who became eligible, or will become eligible, to sit for a bar exam between Dec. 1, 2019, and Dec. 31, 2020, can apply for provisional licensing.
Richmond Law’s judicial nomination guru Professor Carl Tobias said a lot of attention is focused on California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger. With six years on the California high court, she has ample judicial experience for the job and her relatively moderate record would make it difficult for Republicans to brand her as a dangerous radical.
(Subscription required) AB 3070 instead places the burden on a judge to decide whether an objective observer could view implicit bias played a factor in a strike. If so, the judge can either seat the challenged juror, declare a mistrial or provide an appropriate alternative remedy accepted by the objecting party.
(Subscription required) AB 3088 took effect immediately upon the governor’s signature on Monday. The bill is not considered to be a long-term fix to the COVID-19-related rental problem, but it does provide the Legislature with another five months to come up with a longer term solution. The bill’s requirements are complex and will cause confusion in the coming months for landlords, tenants and courts.
Jurors weighing the claims in an asbestos lawsuit are currently deliberating remotely on Zoom, with warnings from the presiding judge not to “do any other work or perform any other activity while in deliberations.”
(Subscription required) In dueling appeals to the state Supreme Court, Monsanto argued Tuesday that federal law preempts arguments it failed to warn consumers about glyphosate-based weedkillers' health risks, while plaintiffs' attorneys claimed they should be able to recover significantly more in damages.