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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.

Oct 9 Brown Vetoes Bill to Fund New Superior Court Judgeships
Met News
Gov. Jerry Brown late yesterday vetoed a bill that would have funded 12 previously authorized judgeships, including one in the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Oct 9 State Supreme Court opinion count drops again
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The state Supreme Court issued fewer opinions during its last term than in at least five years, a trend that some experts attribute primarily to the addition of two new justices this year.
Related: News Release
Oct 9 Judicial Profile: Teresa Sanchez-Gordon
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) LA Superior Court Judge Teresa Sanchez-Gordon tries to help others see the forest through the trees.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Oct 8 Jerry Brown signs bill requiring search warrants on electronic data
San Francisco Chronicle
Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Thursday that will require police in California to obtain a warrant from a judge before searching any electronic communications, including e-mails, text messages, GPS data and other location information.
Related: Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News, Sacramento Bee, Capital Public Radio, ABA Journal
Oct 8 High court scrutinizes organic food labeling
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) A disgruntled consumer asked the state Supreme Court Wednesday to restore her lawsuit alleging that a Half Moon Bay grower deliberately misled her and a class of consumers by selling nonorganic herbs in packages labeled organic.
Oct 8 State Bar executive director wants controversial chief trial counsel to stay on
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) New State Bar Executive Director Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker has made convincing Chief Trial Counsel Jayne Kim to seek a new four-year term a major priority.
Oct 8 Just the Facts: California's Criminal Courts
Public Policy Institute of California
California’s criminal courts are part of one of the world’s largest court systems.
Oct 8 Judicial Profile: Hayden Zacky
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) As a young man, Hayden Zacky thought about becoming a doctor, but found the hospital environment to be "scary and sad." Now, as a judge presiding over criminal court, he instead deals with domestic violence, drug addicts, kidnapping, assaults and murders.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Oct 7 Air district’s environmental standards face skeptical justices
San Francisco Chronicle
State Supreme Court justices seemed skeptical Wednesday of the Bay Area air district’s environmental standards that would require developers of new projects to consider the harm residents and workers might suffer from local conditions, like air pollution from nearby freeways.
Related: Daily Journal
Oct 7 Governor Brown Signs State Bar Dues Bill With Open Meetings, Records Requirements
Met News
Gov. Jerry Brown yesterday signed into law the State Bar dues bill, maintaining the existing fee structure for 2016.
Related: Daily Journal
Oct 7 State Bar leader’s goals include beating cancer
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Incoming State Bar President David Pasternak is promising transparency from the organization and is starting with himself. "I have kidney cancer that has spread to my lungs," the 64-year-old attorney said calmly. Pasternak received the grim news in April 2014. He was told it was a type of cancer that could result in only living about a year more.
Oct 7 Judicial Profile: Brian Alvarez
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) "I was taken out of the custody of my parents," he said. "So I understand the impact a judge can have on a person's individual life. A decision a judge makes will not only affect that person but the person's family members, and it has a rippling effect."
Related: Superior Court of Fresno County
Oct 6 Calif. Justices Wade Into 'Citizens United' Scuffle
The Recorder
(Subscription required) California's Supreme Court justices engaged in lively debate Tuesday on whether the state legislature can use the ballot to conduct a de facto opinion poll of voters.
Related: Daily Journal, Capital Public Radio, International Business Times
Oct 6 Editorial: Amnesty helps, but California fee trap still preys on the poor
Fresno Bee
With its pointless punitive cycle of fines and late fees, California’s traffic ticket system has long been a source of oppression for millions of motorists, burdening them with mounting debt they can’t pay and depriving them of the driving privileges they need to remain employed.
Related: Traffic Tickets / Infractions Amnesty Program, Daily Democrat
Oct 6 California's high court appears ready to allow voters to weigh in on Citizens United
Los Angeles Times
The California Supreme Court appeared ready Tuesday to allow the Legislature to ask voters their view of a controversial U.S. Supreme Court ruling that expanded corporate and union spending in federal elections.
Oct 6 Editorial: California's criminal code needs more than reflection — it needs cleaning up
Los Angeles Times
Gov. Jerry Brown is right: California has criminalized too many acts and enhanced too many penalties without stopping to ask why.
Oct 6 Judicial Profile: Anita L. Santos
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Contra Costa County Judge Anita Santos aims to be more efficient with her courtroom calendar.
Related: Superior Court of Contra Costa County
Oct 5 How assisted suicide will work in California
Los Angeles Times
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a measure Monday allowing physicians to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients.
Related: CNN, KQED, Channel 3, Huffington PostAllGov, Politico
Oct 5 California Legislature's ballot power in court test
San Jose Mercury News
In a case set to be argued Tuesday in the California Supreme Court, the justices are considering whether the Legislature has the authority to put nonbinding, advisory measures on the ballot -- allowing state politicians to essentially test the waters on issues with voters without actually enacting new laws.
Related: California Supreme Court, Sacramento Bee, Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News,  Capital Public Radio
Oct 5 Editorial: The Biggest Questions Awaiting the Supreme Court
New York Times
When the Supreme Court’s most recent term ended in June, same-sex marriage was legal nationwide, and two major pieces of federal legislation — the Affordable Care Act and the Fair Housing Act — remained intact, despite carefully coordinated legal attacks meant to destroy them.
Related: U.S. Supreme Court
Oct 4 Court implements plan to get more cases to trial
Times Standard
Faced with a large backlog of criminal cases, including several approaching and ongoing high profile murder trials, Humboldt County Superior Court judges implemented a plan of action last week to bring more cases to trial.
Related: Superior Court of Humboldt County
Oct 4 Opinion: Unions tilting the balance
Orange County Register
Public employee unions in California – and elsewhere – have gone far beyond seeking basic protections and fair compensation for government workers.
Oct 3 With strong message against creating new crimes, Gov. Brown vetoes drone bills
Los Angeles Times
Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday vetoed a trio of bills that would have prohibited civilians from flying aerial drones over wildfires, schools, prisons and jails, despite alarm over close calls with firefighting aircraft.
Oct 3 California Lawyer, major legal magazine, ceases publication
San Francisco Chronicle
California Lawyer, one of the nation’s foremost legal magazines, has ceased publication after 35 years.
Oct 2 New Yolo County Courthouse ‘100 years in the making'
Daily Democrat
Chief Justice of California Tani Cantil-Sakauye and Presiding Judge Kathleen White, cut a ribbon, signifying the Grand Opening of the new Yolo County Courthouse.
Related: New Woodland Courthouse
Oct 2 Judicial Profile: Dana B. Simonds
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Sonoma County Judge Dana Simonds earns praise for attempting to guide wayward youths.
Related: Superior Court of Sonoma County
Oct 1 Audio: More on California's New Traffic Amnesty Program
Millions of Californians with suspended licenses could soon be back on the road.
Related: Traffic/Infraction Amnesty, Handford SentinelSan Diego Union Tribune, KPIX, CBS News 8
Oct 1 Gov. Brown signs law easing challenges to traffic tickets
Los Angeles Times
Californians will now be allowed to challenge most routine traffic tickets in court without having to first pay the contested fines.
Related: L.A. Weekly
Oct 1 California Working To Bring Interpreters To Civil Courtrooms
California state courts have long provided interpreters to people who are accused of a crime. But when it comes to civil cases where things like custody or restraining orders are decided, the need is not met.
Related: Language Access
Oct 1 David Pasternak tackles bar presidency while battling cancer
Califiornia Bar Journal
When he is sworn in this month as the 91st president of the State Bar of California, David J. Pasternak plans to introduce a special guest without whom he would not be holding office. That person: his oncologist.
Oct 1 Court of Appeal Upholds Law Designed to Curb Paparazzi
Met News
A state law designed to curtail reckless driving by photographers does not violate the First Amendment right to freedom of the press, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled yesterday.
Related: Daily Journal
Oct 1 Opinion: Can the court just remove a measure?
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) On Oct. 6, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. Padilla, S220289, the most significant separation of powers case the state Supreme Court has faced in decades, is scheduled for hearing.
Related: Oral Argument Briefs, At the Lectern, SCOCAblog
Oct 1 Judge considers suit over failure to increase judicial salaries
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Arguments took place Wednesday in a two-hour bench trial over whether the state controller's failure to increase the salaries of judicial officers from 2008 to 2013 violated state law.
Oct 1 Judicial Profile: Stanley L. Eller
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) A modest, easygoing man, Stanley L. Eller dislikes lawyers who make matters needlessly complex.
Related: Superior Court of Mono County
Sep 30 Video: California offering amnesty on traffic debt for poor
California is instituting an amnesty program for residents who can’t afford to pay off spiraling traffic fines and court fees that have led to millions of driver’s licenses being suspended.
Related: Traffic Tickets / Infractions Amnesty Program, San Francisco Chronicle, Press Enterprise, NBC 7 San Diego, Capital Public Radio, KCRA, KPCC, CBS Los Angeles, ABC 7, Times of San Diego
Sep 30 New Yolo Courthouse an historic occasion
Daily Democrat
Tomorrow’s Grand Opening Celebration at the new Yolo County Courthouse on Main Street in downtown Woodland is arguably an historic occasion, being that the last dedication was held more than 100 years ago.
Related: Daily Democrat
Sep 30 Buried under unpaid traffic fines? California launches amnesty program
Los Angeles Times
An amnesty program for Californians saddled with unpaid traffic tickets takes effect Thursday, paving the way for low-income drivers to win back their licenses.
Related: News Release, Associated Press, Sacramento Bee, Orange County Register, Modesto Bee, KGO, East County Magazine
Sep 30 San Diego Public Safety Costs Steady Despite High State Corrections Spending
The state is four years into its program to reduce prison overcrowding by shifting lower-level offenders to county jails and probation, and reducing some sentences.
Sep 30 State appeals court rejects Prop. 47 resentencing
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) A superior court judge cannot reconsider a criminal sentence when the defendant is pursuing a related appeal, a state appeals court decided Tuesday, highlighting an issue that experts say is ripe for California Supreme Court review.
Sep 30 Criticism of bail system increases
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The median bail amount in California is more than five times the national median amount, leading several legal experts to criticize the current system for undue monetary punishment and unjust guilty pleas.
Sep 30 Judicial Profile: Heather Mardel Jones
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Fresno County Commissioner Heather Jones believes kindness pays off in career and courtroom.
Related: Superior Court of Fresno County
Sep 29 Editorial: New Yolo Courthouse will change Woodland
Daily Democrat
We’ve heard people complain about the appearance of the new Yolo County Courthouse. Some say it’s ugly. Some say it has no “architectural grace,” whatever that means. Some people complain about lack of parking, lack of handicapped parking, lack of nearby parking. Others complain about how it has too much grass facing Main Street, or not enough grass elsewhere.
Related: New Woodland Courthouse
Sep 29 In major win for workers, 9th Circuit endorses Iskanian
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) In a big victory for plaintiff's employment lawyers, a divided federal appellate panel on Monday deferred to a landmark state Supreme Court ruling from one year ago and decided employees cannot waive their right to bring representative claims under the state's Private Attorney General Act.
Related: San Francisco Chronicle, The Recorder, Met News, Bloomberg BNA, National Law Journal
Sep 28 Union Courts Judicial Council Workers
The Recorder
After several years of flirting with the idea, the Service Employees International Union has launched a campaign to unionize employees of the Judicial Council.
Sep 28 Court Street Courthouse served as epicenter for Yolo County government
Daily Democrat
While the now abandoned Courthouse at 725 Court St., was completed in 1917, the site has actually been the epicenter of Yolo County government for more than a century.
Sep 28 Crime down, costs up since prison realignment, study finds
San Francisco Chronicle
Another goal of realignment — reducing California’s high rate of recidivism, the commission of new crimes by recently released inmates — hasn’t been accomplished yet, the report said.
Sep 28 Concern grows over rules for foreign GCs
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) California is one of many states that lacks a rule on the practice of foreign in-house counsel.
Sep 28 Specialty court helps struggling East Bay veterans clean up records, clean up lives
Bay Area News Group
Alameda County Veterans Court gives vets entangled in the criminal justice system the opportunity to clean up criminal records and clean up their lives post-conviction, with individualized attention and at their own pace.
Sep 28 Judicial Profile: Graciela L. Freixes
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) LA Superior Court Judge Graciela Freixes is well traveled, enthusiastic, and decisive on the bench.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Sep 27 Editorial: Legislature shouldn't meddle with judicial branch
Orange County Register
A bill passed by the state Legislature manages to violate both separation-of-powers principles. Senate Bill 682 is by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and severely limits when local trial courts can contract-out services.
Related: Los Angeles Times
Sep 27 Prop 47 could purge DNA database
San Diego Union Tribune
The fate of as many as 500,000 DNA samples collected from felony arrestees and stored in a state database is at the center of the latest court battle over Proposition 47.
Sep 27 Overloaded federal courts lead to delays in civil, criminal cases as judges try to keep up
Associated Press
Across the country, federal district courts have seen a rise in recent years in the time it takes to get civil cases to trial and resolve felony criminal cases as judges' workloads have increased, according to statistics from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
Sep 26 Dedication ceremony planned for new Courthouse
Daily Democrat
Following a successful move from one building to another, Yolo Superior Court staff are hosting a dedication ceremony to celebrate their new home.
Related: News Release
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