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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.

Feb 27 S.C. Revives Claim That CHP Is Liable in Catastrophic Accident
Met News
The California Highway Patrol is potentially liable for the negligence of tow truck drivers whose companies have contracted to assist disabled motorists under a program supervised by the CHP.
Related: Daily Journal, At the Lectern
Feb 27 Political Ties Between Judge and Prosecutor Not Automatically Disqualifying in Death Case
Met News
The state Supreme Court yesterday upheld the death sentence in the killing of a Lake County woman, rejecting the defense argument that the defendant should get a new trial because the judge and the prosecutor had close personal, political, and professional ties.
Related: California Supreme Court, Daily Journal
Feb 27 Dan Potter Named Clerk of Sixth District Court of Appeal
Met News
Dan Potter, longtime assistant clerk/administrator of the Second District Court of Appeal, is leaving that post next week to become clerk/administrator of the Sixth District Court of Appeal, the 34-year-court employee told the MetNews yesterday.
Related: Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District
Feb 27 Judicial Profile: Dorothy C. Kim
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Having spent 12 years as an assistant U.S. attorney working in the federal system and prosecuting mostly high-profile and complex cases that would unfold over a period of months and years, the transition to the fast-paced state court system has necessitated a new perspective on case management.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Feb 26 L.A. County plans court to help child prostitutes
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles County authorities are planning a specialized court to handle the growing number of young people in foster care who street predators have lured or bullied into prostitution.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Feb 26 Courthouse concrete pour finished
San Diego Source
(Subscription required) Rudolph and Sletten recently completed concrete pours totaling more than 16,300-cubic yards for the mat foundation at the new San Diego Central Courthouse.
Related: San Diego Central Courthouse
Feb 25 Video: Last chance to save historic Dobrowsky house
A historic house in downtown Redding that sits on the site of the planned new courthouse is set to face the wrecking ball, unless a last ditch effort to preserve the nearly 100-year-old building comes through.
Related: New Redding Courthouse
Feb 26 Brown Reappoints Two to CJP
Met News
Gov. Jerry Brown yesterday reappointed former U.S. Marshal for the Central District of California Adam Torres and Northern California attorney Nanci Nishimura to the Commission on Judicial Performance.
Feb 26 Judicial Profile: Richard J. Guiliani
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) He's been a Democrat, a Republican and lately a Democrat again. He's been a prison guard and a public defender. The former Marine is all business in his tiny utilitarian courtroom, while his colorful chambers sport a bearskin rug, San Francisco Giants memorabilia, a print of Picasso's Guernica and a pair of tall, neon-pink plastic flamingoes.
Related: Superior Court of San Joaquin County
Feb 25 Rule opening up judicial branch committee meetings draws criticism
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Two months shy of its first anniversary, the rule opening up judicial leadership meetings to the public is drawing criticism.
Feb 24 Editorial: On redistricting, justices should let voters' will trump self-serving political bosses
Los Angeles Times
For decades, California's legislative and congressional districts were carved up and redrawn every 10 years by the leaders of the Assembly, the state Senate and whatever other political operatives they allowed into their locked and (in image, at least) smoke-filled room.
Feb 25 Judicial Profile: Victor E. Chavez
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) On a seemingly normal February afternoon, Superior Court Judge Victor E. Chavez was winding down day three of a jury trial regarding alleged fraud in hotel investments. Five hotels made a ton of money but the sixth was a financial disaster, triggering accusations of foul play.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Feb 24 Audio: Why Finding A Jury For Death Penalty Cases Is Complicated
Jury selection continues in the trials of the Boston marathon bombing and the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting. The prosecutors in both are seeking the death penalty. The process could take months.
Feb 24 Judicial Profile: Jesse Rodriguez
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) When he speaks of his family's arrival in the United States as refugees from Cuba, Judge Jesse Rodriguez can't hide the emotion or the gratitude. "My father was the first to deplane," Rodriguez said, pausing to control tears. "And he kissed the ground."
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Feb 23 Butte County courthouse to open in one month
The North Butte County Courthouse will open its doors in one month. The county says that the courthouse will not be holding any criminal cases upon opening.
Related: New Chico Courthouse
Feb 23 Merced court receives funding to fight recidivism
Merced Sun-Star
A grant of more than $500,000 has been awarded to the Merced County Superior Court to help reduce the number of repeat offenders coming through the criminal justice system by helping some receive mental health treatment.
Related: Superior Court of Merced County
Feb 23 State Settles Suit Over Aborted Sale of Court Buildings
The Recorder
California will pay $24 million to settle litigation brought by investors who say the state reneged on a 2010 deal to sell 11 properties for $2.3 billion.
Related: Daily Journal
Feb 23 City investigates shared lease options to reopen regional courthouse
Plumas County News
At its Feb. 12 meeting, the Portola City Council authorized staff to research the feasibility of a possible shared lease agreement with the California Judicial Council to reopen the Plumas-Sierra Regional Courthouse at 600 Gulling St.
Related: Plumas/Sierra Courthouse
Feb 23 New California law Prop 47 could threaten drug rehab program
Orange County Register
The fear of some regarding Proposition 47, which reclassifies most drug crimes as misdemeanors instead of felonies, is simple: Without the threat of a felony, which brings a possible prison sentence and closes the door to many jobs, fewer people will embrace treatment and instead will accept a misdemeanor conviction and continue using.
Related: Sacramento Bee, Monterey County Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles TimesMother Jones
Feb 23 LAO wants courts to provide more data about spending
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Courts receiving new funding should also be held accountable for how they spend the additional dollars, the Legislative Analyst's Office urged Friday in a review of Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed judiciary budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Feb 23 Letter: Courts must unite to fight for funding
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The article "Courts losing money under new funding method cry foul" (Feb. 12) starkly illustrates how, as California's trial courts begin to reduce the historic disparities in funding, the money budgeted is far from enough.
Feb 23 A 2014 NCSC Public Opinion Survey
National Center for State Courts
Public trust in the state courts has ticked upward in the last two years, reports a recent public opinion survey conducted for NCSC by GBA Strategies.
Feb 23 Judicial Profile: George J. Abdallah Jr.
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Ronald Freitas said he was feeling pretty sharp for citing a published precedent that was only one week old in San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge George Abdallah's courtroom. It was a death penalty case, and new precedents were coming down frequently.
Related: Superior Court of Joaquin County
Feb 21 Opinion: Learning American Basics
Champion Newspapers
“The strength of our democratic institutions relies on the public’s understanding of these institutions,” said Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.
Feb 21 Lawsuits’ Lurid Details Draw an Online Crowd
New York Times
Intimate, often painful allegations in lawsuits — intended for the scrutiny of judges and juries — are increasingly drawing in mass online audiences far from the courthouses where they are filed.
Feb 21 California foster care: Push to curb medication has failed in past
San Jose Mercury News
Over the course of a decade, California lawmakers have considered a dozen bills to regulate the use of psychiatric drugs in the nation's largest foster care system.
Feb 20 Series of powder-laced envelopes marked for LA courthouses
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Several envelopes containing white powder sent to Los Angeles County Superior Court in Van Nuys and downtown and possibly other public buildings have set off an FBI investigation.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Feb 20 When a judge's past comes back to haunt
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The state Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions (CJEO) recently issued an ethics opinion providing that judges presiding over a criminal case are not disqualified for a prior, nonsubstantive appearance as a deputy district attorney in the same case. CJEO Formal Opinion No. 2015-007 (Jan. 29, 2015).
Related: Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions (CJEO)
Feb 20 Ethics opinion explores how to withdraw without revealing client confidences
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Sometimes, an attorney just needs to get out of a case. Maybe a conflict of interest crops up or the client announces a plan to do something illegal. Maybe it's a matter of not being paid.
Feb 20 Judicial Profile: Peter H. Kirwan
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The 21-page document outlining guidelines and protocols for Santa Clara County's complex civil litigation department provides a useful glimpse into how Superior Court Judge Peter H. Kirwan likes to manage his cases.
Related: Superior Court of Santa Clara County
Feb 19 State Court Officials to Trim Perks
The Recorder
State judicial leaders on Thursday announced that they will eliminate a number of executive perks in response to a recent audit that criticized branch administrators for spending lavishly on salaries, benefits and consultants during years of bleak budget-cutting in the courts.
Related: News Release, Daily Journal
Feb 19 State must release full records of abuse at care facilities, court say
Los Angeles Times
In a victory for freedom of information advocates, the California Supreme Court decided unanimously Thursday that the state must release all information — except for patients' names — about documented abuses in long-term care facilities for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled.
Related: California Supreme Court, Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, Associated Press
Feb 19 Yolo courthouse construction expands to Main Street; one-month closure planned
Daily Democrat
Downtown Woodland business owners are worried upcoming road construction on Main Street will drive away their customers.
Related: New Woodland Courthouse
Feb 19 Courts set to see changes to funding for child welfare attorneys
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) For years, courts in California have received far less funding for court-appointed counsel to represent minors in dependency court than they need. Now, attorneys who have long said that the little state funding courts receive isn't fairly allocated are praising a decision by Gov. Jerry Brown to push the judiciary to address the disparity.
Feb 19 California court revives DNA collection from felony arrestees
Sacramento Bee
California law enforcement officials can continue collecting and processing DNA from people arrested for felonies after the California Supreme Court announced that it will hear a case challenging the state’s policy of gleaning genetic material from felony arrestees.
Related: California Supreme Court, San Jose Mercury News, Met News
Feb 19 State Supreme Court's anti-arbitration ruling to be tested in 9th Circuit
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The state Supreme Court's sustained pushback against blanket enforcement of arbitration agreements is about to come under federal judicial scrutiny in two cases teed up for oral argument at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Feb 19 Judicial Profile: David R. Chaffee
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Judge David R. Chaffee likes to watch good lawyers putting on their cases. He takes that into consideration when he decides what to do about trials running overtime or attorneys "pulling surprises out of their hip pocket."
Related: Superior Court of Orange County
Feb 18 Unlikely Cause Unites the Left and the Right: Justice Reform
New York Times
Usually bitter adversaries, Koch Industries and the Center for American Progress have found at least one thing they can agree on: The nation’s criminal justice system is broken.
Feb 18 Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye Makes Final Appointments To Futures Commission, Sets Group’s First Meeting
Met News
Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye yesterday named the final 40 members of the Commission on the Future of California’s Court System, charged with recommending ways to improve the state court system by making it more efficient and effective, the Judicial Council staff said in a press release.
Related: News Release
Feb 18 Impact of Proposition 47 on California state budget
Orange County Breeze
On Nov. 4, 2014, voters approved Proposition 47 which makes significant changes to the state’s criminal justice system.
Related: KQED
Feb 18 Judicial Profile: Robert A. McSorley
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Robert A. McSorley is a chatter. Proceeding through his calendar of traffic violations and civil harassment cases he talks to one defendant about a movie, asks another what kind of car he drives, dialogues with a mother about how babies grow up fast.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Feb 17 Expulsions and suspensions decline as schools shift strategies
School suspensions and expulsions are falling at dramatic rates in California – a 20 percent decline in expulsions and a 15 percent decrease in suspensions in the last school year.
Feb 17 California Assemblyman Mark Stone
The Recorder
After two years as chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee, Mark Stone, D-Scotts Valley, takes the reins this year as Judiciary Committee chairman.
Feb 17 Judicial Profile: Dennis Keough
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Dennis Keough has practiced law and been a judge in Nebraska and California. He's lived in the East and the West, the Midwest and the South. He's been a sole practitioner, a traveling county judge, a deputy district attorney, and a bench officer handling criminal, major civil and juvenile cases.
Related: Superior Court of Orange County
Feb 16 Sex crime ruling a tough test for Brown’s high court appointees
San Francisco Chronicle
(Subscription required) The immediate future of the California Supreme Court is in the hands of Gov. Jerry Brown’s two new appointees, judicial neophytes whose views on most subjects are publicly unknown. The first signs of where they stand, and how they approach their jobs, could come soon in a case on the sensitive issues of sex offenders and historic homophobia.
Related: California Supreme Court
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