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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.

Jul 28 S.C. Snuffs Rule Barring Extrinsic Evidence Where Will Is Clear
Met News
The California Supreme Court yesterday abrogated the court-made rule that extrinsic evidence may not be admitted to reform a will that is unambiguous.
Related: Supreme Court Opinion, Daily Journal
Jul 27 Santa Clara County court CEO gets top honor
San Jose Mercury News
Santa Clara County's top court official has been recognized by the state Judicial Council for distinguished service, the first time in 21 years that an administrator from the county has been honored by the policymaking arm of the California courts.
Related: Mr. David H. Yamasaki
Jul 27 Boy Scouts End Ban on Gay Leaders, Over Protests by Mormon Church
The New York Times
The Boy Scouts of America on Monday ended its ban on openly gay adult leaders.
Related: Associated Press
Jul 28 Courthouses statewide face maintenance woes
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) A fire that shut down two-thirds of the Pasadena Courthouse on Monday is just the latest emergency in a string of floods, elevator entrapments and plumbing disasters plaguing trial courts statewide, according to a draft report released this month by the trial court facility modification advisory committee.
Jul 28 Fire closes parts of Pasadena Courthouse; some cases transferred
Los Angeles Times
A fire at the Pasadena Courthouse sparked by oil-soaked rags forced officials to close parts of the courthouse through Tuesday and send some cases to Boyle Heights and downtown Los Angeles, authorities said.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Jul 28 Judge Ann Jones Is Under Consideration for Court of Appeal
Met News
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ann I. Jones is in contention for appointment to this district’s Court of Appeal, the MetNews learned yesterday.
Jul 27 Publishing appellate decisions
Sacramento Bee
The Sacramento region’s state appeals court declared three decades ago that when a corporation hires lobbyists to pass a bill, it loses its claim of privacy in a libel action.
Jul 27 Former Court Exec Spams Judges
The Recorder
Curtis Child, a former executive with the Administrative Office of the Courts, has miffed some judges around the state after sending a widespread email touting the virtues of his new employer, CourtCall LLC.
Jul 27 Prop. 47 also reduces some juvenile offenses, state court rules
Los Angeles Times
Alejandro was 15 when he tried to steal three bottles of vodka and a bag of potato chips from his neighborhood pharmacy.
Related: Daily Journal
Jul 27 In close vote, longtime State Bar activist elected as the organization's president
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Promising to improve efficiency and transparency, David J. Pasternak, a receivership lawyer and longtime bar activist, was elected Friday to be the next president of the State Bar.
Related: The Recorder, Met News
Jul 26 In California, a death sentence with no date in sight
It's been close to a decade since California executed a death row inmate, thanks in large part to significant state and federal legal challenges to its constitutionality as well as the years it takes to resolve each case.
Jul 25 Why doesn't the Supreme Court have cameras?
All nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have acknowledged at some point in their careers the value of televising court proceedings.
Jul 24 Commission Confirms Four Brown Nominees for Court of Appeal
Met News
The Court of Appeal for this district yesterday grew by four justices, as the Commission on Judicial Appointments unanimously confirmed the governor’s picks to fill vacancies on the court.
Related: News Release, Daily Journal, The Recorder, Bay Area Reporter
Jul 24 Inside Oakland’s Youth Court, Where Kids Call the Shots
Wright was 17 at the time, a high school senior from West Oakland with a spotless record. She’d just sent out her college applications, and was in the final stretch toward graduation.
Related: California Peer/Youth Courts
Jul 23 High Court Leaves Ruling on Tiered Water Rates in Place
Met News
A Fourth District Court of Appeal ruling that struck down a city’s tiered water rates as a violation of the state constitutional right to vote on taxes remains statewide precedent after the state high court yesterday rejected a request to depublish the opinion.
Related: Daily Journal, Orange County Register, San Jose Mercury News, Sacramento Bee
Jul 23 Video: Bill Cosby request in sex assault lawsuit denied by California Supreme Court
Los Angeles Times
The California Supreme Court denied a request to review a lawsuit against Bill Cosby, paving the way for the comedian to be deposed in a civil suit filed by a woman who claims he molested her in the 1970s.
Related: Reuters, CBS News, NBC News, The Washington Post, NPR, CNN, The Recorder
Jul 23 Opinion: Community property and the legend of 'separated' spouses
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) On Monday, in In re Marriage of Davis, 2015 DJDAR 8320, the California Supreme Court clarified once and for all whether a couple may be "living separate and apart" for purposes of Family Code Section 771(a) while they still live together in the same home. That statute provides that "[t]he earnings and accumulations of a spouse ... while living separate and apart from the other spouse, are the separate property of the spouse."
Jul 23 Judicial Profile: Brian M. McNamara
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Lava lamps, a stereo with records, and an animatronic parrot that once frightened an attorney by declaring, "I love you." These are some of the items in the chambers of Judge Brian M. McNamara. It's clear he is a bit different, from his Scottish accent to his mathematical system for qualifying jurors 24 at a time to complimenting lawyers from the bench when they've handled a case well.
Related: Superior Court of Kern County
Jul 22 State Supreme Court rejects model-killer's plea
The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to review the case against a man convicted of the 1985 murder of an aspiring model from Covina whose remains were found in the Angeles National Forest more than a month after she vanished.
Related: California Supreme Court
Jul 22 Brown state appeals court nominee gains critical support
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Lamar W. Baker, one of Gov. Jerry Brown's picks for a seat on the Los Angeles-based 2nd District Court of Appeals, has been rated "qualified" by judicial evaluators.
Related: News Release, The Recorder
Jul 22 Reporter fees remain topic of consternation
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Five years after the California Supreme Court ordered the Judicial Council to investigate allegations that court reporters were illegally overcharging for transcript preparation, attorneys on both sides complain they have yet to see any price reduction or reform.
Jul 22 How Florida’s judicial system violates the federal Civil Rights Act and leaves non-English speakers out in the cold
Orlando Weekly
According to a Brennan Center for Justice report in 2009, 46 percent of state courts fail to require that interpreters be provided in all civil cases, 80 percent fail to guarantee that people needing interpretation are not unlawfully charged and 37 percent fail to require that interpreters be credentialed.
Jul 22 Judicial Profile: James E. Oakley
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Oakley said he generally appeared in the civil department in Madera County Superior Court during his time as an attorney, and when he was appointed he "went from the table to the bench in the same courtroom and pretty much handled the same types of cases."
Related: Superior Court of Madera County
Jul 21 Long-awaited courthouse nears finish
Madera Tribune
The future home base of the Madera County judicial system is nearing completion after more than a year of delays.
Related: New Madera Courthouse
Jul 21 Supreme Court: Couple Cannot Be ‘Separated’ Under One Roof
Met News
A married person cannot be considered separated, and thus permitted to keep his or her earnings as separate property, while continuing to live with his or her spouse, the California Supreme Court ruled yesterday.
Related: Supreme Court Opinion, San Francisco Chronicle, The Recorder, Associated Press, Bay City News, Castro Valley PatchKEYT
Jul 21 No more excuses, state Supreme Court tells attorney over default judgment
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) A Los Angeles lawyer got nowhere on Monday at the state Supreme Court with a parade of pleas that events beyond his control were to blame for lapses that cost his client $1.7 million.
Related: Supreme Court Opinion
Jul 21 Judicial Profile: Christopher G. Rudy
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Christopher Rudy made a quick pivot from private practice last year.
Related: Superior Court of Santa Clara County
Jul 21 Letter to the Editor: Opinion piece takes cheap shot at new justices
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Singling out the three newest justices for criticism is misleading at best. It takes more than three to make a majority on the seven-member court. Indeed, unmentioned in the op-ed is that all five of the death penalty reversals to which the piece apparently refers were unanimous decisions.
Jul 20 There’s never been a better time for bail reform
The Washington Post
What happens to defendants before they go to trial can have devastating personal and legal effects.
Jul 20 Justices to Decide Whether County Retiree Entitled to Interest on Retroactive Benefits
Met News
The California Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether a county retiree granted retroactive disability benefits is also entitled to interest from the date from which benefits are awarded.
Related: California Supreme Court
Jul 20 Opinion: It's time to rethink the integrated bar
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Much discussion has resulted from the state auditor's report on the State Bar of California issued last month. Mostly, its conclusions regarding the consistent and long-term management failures by the State Bar are spot on. The bar has agreed to implement the measures suggested in the report.
Jul 20 Judicial Profile: Gustavo N. Sztraicher
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) "I'm still finding out what kind of judge I am," said Gustavo N. Sztraicher, who was appointed to the Superior Court bench just north of one year ago after 24 years as a Los Angeles County public defender. One part of being a bench officer Sztraicher is learning about is the right time to intervene during a lawyer's case presentation.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Jul 18 Arizona firm chosen to build new courthouse
Redding Record Searchlight
(Subscription required) An Arizona-based construction company celebrating its 125th anniversary has been selected to build the new Shasta County Courthouse.
Related: New Redding Courthouse
Jul 17 Governor Appoints Two Irell Partners, 17 Others to State Bench
The Recorder
Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday appointed 19 trial court judges, including three in the Bay Area.
Related: Daily Journal, Met News, Imperial Valley News, Press Enterprise
Jul 17 Gov. Jerry Brown Names Public Member to CJP
Met News
Gov. Jerry Brown yesterday named Michael A. Moodian as a public member of the Commission on Judicial Performance.
Related: Commission on Judicial Performance
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