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.

California Protections for Gig-Economy Workers Kept in Place

California Protections for Gig-Economy Workers Kept in Place

February 07, 2020 | Courthouse News Service
A federal judge on Friday tentatively denied Uber and Postmates’ request to block enforcement of a California labor law that requires certain gig economy companies to classify workers as employees.

Judicial Profile: Orange County Judge Glenn Salter

February 07, 2020 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Salter describes his transition to the superior court bench in 2010 as “shocking” but said he eventually settled into a rhythm that includes two steady principles: He doesn’t like surprises and he doesn’t ask idle questions. “I’m asking it for a very specific reason. So treat it as a serious question,” the judge said.

Is a new clemency opinion in the works?

February 06, 2020 | At the Lectern
At the end of last year, we speculated that the delay on the Tijani request could mean that one or more justices have concerns about a pardon. That might still be true, but it could also mean that an opinion is in the works — by the court or by an individual justice — to address the so far unanswered questions about how clemency recommendation requests are reviewed.

Murrieta Valley High Schools Competing In Mock Trials

February 06, 2020 | Murrieta, CA Patch
The event will begin about 6 p.m. at courthouses in Indio, Murrieta and Riverside. A total of five rounds are planned this month, according to the county Office of Education, which is sponsoring the contest along with the Constitutional Rights Foundation, Riverside County Bar Association and the Superior Court.

How Fines and Fees Reform Became a Priority for Cities Across the Country

February 06, 2020 | Route Fifty
California is one of many states using fees to fund projects entirely unrelated to the tickets they’re tacked onto. A 2018 audit found that traffic and moving violation fees generated more than $450 million each year for numerous state and county funds, including emergency medical services, court construction, and DNA identification research.

Training for nonlawyers to provide legal advice will start in Arizona in the fall

February 06, 2020 | ABA Journal
The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law has started a two-year pilot project that licenses a small group of nonlawyers to give limited legal advice on civil matters stemming from domestic violence. The individuals will be known as licensed legal advocates and trained to provide legal advice on topics including protective orders, divorce, child custody, consumer protection and housing.

Mental illness cases up in California jails

February 06, 2020 | Capitol Weekly
California Health Policy Strategies, a Sacramento-based consulting group, gathered administrative data from the Board of State and Community Corrections and discovered a 42 % increase in mental health cases reported and an 80 % increase in inmate medication prescriptions over the last 10 years.

After Judge's 'Troubling' Behavior, Lawmakers Question Court Misconduct Rules

February 06, 2020 | New York Times
A bipartisan group of lawmakers questioned on Thursday the effectiveness of the federal court system’s safeguards against workplace misconduct, saying in a letter that the recent public reprimand of a federal judge in Kansas for sexual harassment had documented “very troubling” behavior.

Company accused of unfair practices asks state high court for a jury trial

February 06, 2020 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) State Supreme Court justices peppered attorneys with questions Wednesday in a case raising the question of whether a company accused of unfair business practices and false advertising is entitled to a jury trial because four counties are seeking statutory relief.

‘Judicial emergency’ rules issued in Eastern District

February 06, 2020 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) For years, the now-former chief judge of the U.S. Eastern District of California, Lawrence J. O'Neill, warned of serious consequences if a shortage of judges was not addressed. Those warnings came to fruition this week through numerous orders citing a "judicial emergency" in the district.

Judicial Profile: Alameda County Judge Colin Bowen

February 06, 2020 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) “The challenge is making sure that they realize they’re part of the process, they’re impacted at the end of it and that they’ve been heard or you consider them separately,” Bowen said. “It’s important to give people respect and make people feel as though they are a part of the process. That’s something very close me.”

Recapping Diversity Summit 2020: The Issues, Solutions, and What’s Next

February 05, 2020 | SCOCAblog
Every diverse lawyer at the conference (including the Chief Justice) had a story about someone — a mentor, a teacher, a colleague, or a friend — who told them that they belonged in the profession and were capable of success. Say so to the next young lawyer who doesn’t look like you, and that could become the story a future Chief Justice tells.

Contra Costa County judge appeals removal to state Supreme Court

February 05, 2020 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The petition to the state Supreme Court painted a picture of a judge who admitted his mistakes and engaged in "over 90 hours of counseling with six different judges" to correct his prior errors, but who instead was railroaded by an unfair process.

Uber, Lyft drivers tell state to enforce AB5, get us back wages

February 04, 2020 | San Francisco Chronicle
On Wednesday over 100 Uber and Lyft drivers statewide are escalating the matter by filing wage claims with the state Labor Commissioner’s Office, The Chronicle has learned. They are seeking to be classified as employees and reimbursed for back wages, overtime and expenses for the past three years — amounts that for some drivers add up to over $100,000 each.
Judge: Pretrial Inmates in San Francisco Need Time in Sunlight

Judge: Pretrial Inmates in San Francisco Need Time in Sunlight

February 03, 2020 | Courthouse News Service
For years, the city and county of San Francisco has housed inmates awaiting trial in tiny cells, letting them out for only a few hours a day for exercise and often depriving them of any time outdoors, but conditions are set to improve for some after a federal judge ruled Friday that pretrial detainees incarcerated for more than four years must be given at least one hour a week of access to direct sunlight.

Marlon Wayans Keeps Free Speech Win After High Court Trip

February 03, 2020 | Law360
(Subscription required) Ordered by the California Supreme Court to reconsider its decision in light of two recent high court free speech rulings, an appellate court on Friday upheld an early victory by Marlon Wayans in a movie extra's harassment suit accusing the comedian of calling him a racial slur on set.

AB 5 is already changing how Uber works for California drivers and riders

February 03, 2020 | Los Angeles Times
For years, Uber drivers have had a few requests. They’ve wanted to be able to see where passengers were going before agreeing to take them. They’ve wanted to know exactly how much Uber was keeping from each fare. Above all, they’ve wanted to make more money.

Judicial Profile: Kings County Judge Randy Edwards

February 03, 2020 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Edwards will call attorneys out for being unprepared, said Tulare criminal defense attorney Jeffrey Boggs. “I would say that’s his biggest focus: ... being efficient and getting things done. He’s often pulled attorneys aside to tell them to step up and be more efficient.” But Edwards said the fact Kings County Superior Court is now paperless also helps.

In New Mexico, Nonattorney Helpers Could Ease Justice Crisis

February 02, 2020 | Law360
In a court where an enormous number of litigants do not have legal counsel, “everything takes dramatically longer” because the judge has to explain basic legal concepts to the people appearing before him and shepherd them through the process during their days in court, Mitchell said.
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