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.

Final hearing set for Contra Costa County judge

September 06, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The Commission on Judicial Performance has scheduled final arguments for Oct. 2 in a discipline hearing for Contra Costa County Judge John T. Laettner, who is accused of sexual harassment and remanding defendants off the record.

California State Court Filing Fees on the Rise in 2020

September 05, 2019 | The Recorder
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday signed into law Assembly Bill 330, which is projected to generate an additional $11 million per year for the Sargent Shriver Civil Counsel program. The 2009 program, funded by an existing $10 surcharge on court filing fees, pays for pilot projects that provide legal help with housing-related matters, restraining orders, conservatorships, guardianships, elder abuse and custody actions.

California bill banning forced arbitration heads to governor

September 05, 2019 | Associated Press
The bill is the latest effort by state governments to limit private companies from imposing forced arbitration agreements, whose surge in popularity has contributed to the difficulty of workers suing their bosses for sexual harassment in the era of #metoo.

Program to erase old pot charges aids 58 California counties

September 05, 2019 | Associated Press
Code for America, a San Francisco-based nonprofit tech organization, announced Thursday it is making its computer algorithms available for free to all 58 district attorneys. The program quickly finds eligible cases in court documents that may date back decades.

Confusion, delays as videos replace interpreters at immigrants’ hearings

September 05, 2019 | San Francisco Chronicle
The Trump administration has been slow to implement its new policy replacing in-person interpreters with informational videos at immigrants’ initial hearings, but the switch is causing delays and confusion where it has been introduced, including in San Francisco, observers say.

State Supreme Court declines to hear desal project challenge

September 04, 2019 | Monterey Herald
Without explanation, the State Supreme Court has declined to consider a legal challenge backed by the Marina Coast Water District and city of Marina against the state Public Utilities Commission’s approval of California American Water’s proposed Monterey Peninsula water supply project.

Settlement reached in San Francisco bail challenge case

September 04, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The sheriff's department will conduct a public safety assessment on pre-arraignment detainees within eight hours. Superior court judges will review that assessment and decide whether to release the detainees on their own recognizance or keep them in custody.

State Bar wants to split off part of Lawyers Assistance Program

September 04, 2019 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Heather L. Rosing, the California Lawyers Association’s president, said her organization is excited about the potential to take over a portion of the assistance program. She said her 100,000-member association, which launched in 2018, sees it as an opportunity to start a much broader wellness program.

Supreme Court makes 2019 appointments to State Bar Board of Trustees

September 03, 2019 | California Courts Newsroom
The Supreme Court of California announced the reappointment of Attorney Mark A. Broughton and the appointment of Attorney Sean M. SeLegue to four-year terms, and the appointment of Attorney Alan K. Steinbrecher to a one-year term, on the State Bar Board of Trustees. The court also appointed Mr. Steinbrecher as chair and Mr. SeLegue as vice chair of the Board of Trustees for one-year terms.

Will Supreme Court block clemency that seeks to block deportation?

September 03, 2019 | At the Lectern
When Governor Gavin Newsom asked the Supreme Court last week to allow him to pardon Thear Sam, Newsom noted that Sam’s application to him sought relief “to avoid severe collateral consequences of conviction, specifically deportation and permanent family separation.”

Ditch Multiple Choice? Simplify the Test? Ideas Abound on Reforming the Bar Exam

September 03, 2019 | The Recorder
Those are just a few of the questions that have surfaced from an extensive, seven-month series of listening sessions conducted by the National Conference of Bar Examiners’ Testing Task Force with bar exam stakeholders—the first of a three-phase inquiry into the future of the test.

Alameda County awarded $14.4 million for new bail reform program

August 30, 2019 | East Bay Times
The pretrial pilot program will try a new system to release qualifying offenders from Alameda County jail much earlier than what is currently happening. The program can provide an alternative to bail, Alameda County Superior Court Presiding Judge-elect Tara Desautels explained in an interview this week.

Judicial Council Sets New Priorities for Courthouse Construction

August 29, 2019 | Courthouse News Service
The Judicial Council of California approved new priorities for 80 courthouse construction and renovation projects across California on Thursday, a move sure to draw both congratulations and criticism depending on where courts fall on the list.
Nevada County Courthouse a 'critical need,' according to new project list

Nevada County Courthouse a 'critical need,' according to new project list

August 29, 2019 | The Union
“Funding for an improved courthouse in Nevada County is long overdue,” CEO Alison Lehman said in an email. ”The current courthouse is functionally deficient, and our community deserves a facility that would improve access, safety and efficiency. The county stands ready to support a project that meets these goals and best serves our community.”

New Fort Ord courthouse favored over Greenfield facility in state rankings

August 29, 2019 | Monterey Herald
The former state assemblyman told The Herald he would call for the state legislators to pursue a formal state audit of the process by which Monterey County Superior Court officials and the Judicial Council of California considered the local courthouse proposals as part of a statewide review of dozens of courthouse projects if his call for revising a draft ranking list to elevate the Greenfield courthouse project was not heeded.
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