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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 4 Death penalty upheld for man convicted of killing 4 people
San Francisco Chronicle
The state Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a Stockton man’s death sentence for murdering four people in 1997 with a gun he had stolen from the van of an Alameda County sheriff’s deputy.
Related: California Supreme Court Opinion, Met News, San Jose Mercury News
Feb 5 State high court to decide parole revocation deadlines
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The state Supreme Court accepted Wednesday a case that asks whether trial judges must adhere to strict deadlines when holding parole revocation hearings for criminal offenders.
Feb 4 Chief Justice tells State Bar going through crises can make it stronger
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) When Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye became chief justice of California in 2011, she remembers facing a decimated budget, difficulties with a computer system project and "an angry mob."
Related: Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye
Feb 4 Judicial Profile: Alison Matsumoto Estrada
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Following 18 years as a deputy district attorney before her election to the bench, Superior Court Judge Alison Matsumoto Estrada is happy not advocating anymore.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Feb 3 Judicial panel approves downtown courthouse plan
Sacramento Bee
A state judicial committee on Wednesday unanimously recommended plans presented for a new 53-courtroom courthouse in downtown Sacramento in a crucial step toward replacing Sacramento Superior Court’s aging Ninth Street building.
Related: Court Facilities Advisory Committee
Feb 3 California revenue dips, possible sign of ‘revenue deterioration’ to come
Sacramento Bee
It’s been a heady ride for California finances in recent years, with budget revenue outpacing estimates by billions of dollars, buoyed along by the state’s healthy economic growth in 2015.
Feb 3 Former NY chief judge advises bar on legal services effort
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The former leader of New York's judiciary applauded State Bar officials' efforts to seek increased legal services funding in California, but said their messaging will determine whether they are successful.
Feb 3 Judicial Profile: Gustavo Lavayen
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Santa Barbara County Judge Lavayen inherited a criminal calendar after a career of civil litigation.
Related: Superior Court of Santa Barbara County
Feb 2 Felony defendants must come to court or forfeit bail
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) In a unanimous decision, the high court interpreted the state penal code and clarified that, absent a written waiver or a "sufficient excuse" determined by a trial court judge, felony defendants must always appear in court. People v. Safety National Casualty Corp., S218712.
Related: California Supreme Court Opinion, California Case Law Blog
Feb 2 Shifting alliances tally up to more unpredictable CA Supreme Court
California Bar Journal
After decades of domination by conservatives, the newly reconstituted state Supreme Court is now approaching political parity.
Related: California Supreme Court
Feb 2 2016 budget plan comes with rise in court funds
California Bar Journal
Gov. Jerry Brown continued the state’s cautious reinvestment in California’s court system, offering an additional $146.3 million for the judicial branch in 2016-17.
Feb 2 Judicial Profile: Kevin Haskins
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Kevin Haskins still remembers being yelled at by the court when he was a young prosecutor, and having another judge sarcastically mock his argument in front of a client when he was a defense attorney.
Related: Superior Court of Orange County
Feb 1 Troubled veterans get new chances in treatment court
Modesto Bee
Monday, Stanislaus County authorities took a more enlightened approach toward dealing with veterans accused of crimes. The first session of Veterans Treatment Court commenced in Stanislaus County Superior Court.
Related: Superior Court of Stanislaus County
Feb 1 White House expected to nominate high-profile Silicon Valley-based Judge Lucy Koh to federal appeals court
San Jose Mercury News
San Jose-based U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who in recent years has become the most influential judge in Silicon Valley, is expected to soon be nominated to the nation's largest federal appeals court, according to lawyers and judges familiar with the White House vetting process.
Related: Daily Journal, The Recorder
Feb 1 Justice Jeffrey King Retires From C.A.
Met News
Justice Jeffrey King was set to retire from Fourth District Court of Appeal yesterday and will become a private judge, the Judicial Council said Friday in a release.
Related: News Release, Daily Journal
Jan 29 Discussions set for long awaited new Sacramento courthouse
Sacramento Bee
Sacramento Superior Court leaders have long been eager to build a new railyard courthouse to replace a facility they call outdated, overcrowded and unsafe.
Related: New Sacramento Criminal Courthouse, Sacramento Bee
Jan 29 State high court to test rule that civil litigants pay for court reporters
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The state Supreme Court will scrutinize San Diego County Superior Court's policy of requiring litigants in civil lawsuits to pay for their own court reporters, after the justices agreed to review a medical malpractice case.
Jan 29 Brown's parole plan would likely reduce prosecutors' plea-bargain leverage, experts say
Los Angeles Times
Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to give more inmates a chance for early release would probably reduce prosecutors' leverage in negotiating plea bargains, legal experts said Thursday.
Jan 29 Brown Names Prosecutor to San Diego Superior Court
Met News
Gov. Jerry Brown yesterday named San Diego Deputy District Attorney Kelly Chong Mok to the San Diego Superior Court.
Releated: Daily Journal
Jan 29 State Bar seeks end to case over admission records
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The State Bar is planning to seek dismissal of a long-running case that has sought to make public demographic information about bar applicants.
Jan 29 Judicial Profile: Jeffrey Ferguson
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) In the seven months between his election and swearing-in, Orange County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ferguson went out of his way to question as many attorneys as he could, asking them for suggestions on what conflicts to expect, what needed to be changed, how he could accommodate them in a smooth-running courtroom.
Related: Superior Court of Orange County
Jan 28 State Bar admits ignoring dozens of complaints of people practicing law without a license
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The bar cannot prosecute non-attorneys in State Bar Court, but can petition superior courts to shut down offices engaged in the unauthorized practice of law or refer such matters to law enforcement.
Jan 28 Judicial Profile: Christopher J. Frisco
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) LA Judge Christopher Frisco, a former prosecutor, enjoys picking apart cases in search of the facts.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Jan 27 Court weighs potential overhaul of California school financing
San Francisco Chronicle
A state appeals court indicated Wednesday that it is considering a potentially historic judicial intervention in California’s woeful school finance system — a ruling that it violates students’ constitutional right to an adequate education.
Related: Daily Journal, EdSource
Jan 27 Brown will go to November ballot with plan to remove mandatory prison sentences
Los Angeles Times
Almost four decades after he signed a law to require strict sentences for most serious crimes, Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday will announce a November ballot initiative to change course and return California to a system where judges and parole boards have much more discretion.
Jan 27 Collaborative courts aim to create 'cultural shift'
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Four innovative community collaborative courts in Los Angeles County have begun the work of trying to create a "cultural shift" in the criminal justice system's dealings with at-risk populations.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Jan 27 Judicial Profile: Thomas A. Rasch
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) When asked recently to detail his career accomplishments, Alameda County Superior Court Commissioner Thomas A. Rasch mentioned flying under the radar and "avoiding reporters who want to do a profile."
Related: Superior Court of Alameda County
Jan 27 Jerry Brown wants to make it easier for non-violent offenders to get parole
Sacramento Bee
In a conference call, California Gov. Jerry Brown explains his history with sentencing law and his rationale for a prison sentence reform measure.
Related: Daily Journal, Associated Press, Reuters, San Jose Mercury News
Jan 26 Governor’s Budget Includes Money For Tuolumne County Courthouse
As Tuolumne County leaders are preparing to build a new jail, it appears as the state may build a new courthouse at the same time.
Related: New Sonora Courthouse
Jan 26 Suit challenging bail system runs into snag
San Francisco Chronicle
A lawsuit claiming the bail system in San Francisco and elsewhere is unconstitutional, because it keeps poor people in jail while wealthier people charged with the same crimes can go free, hit a wall in federal court Tuesday.
Jan 26 Assembly's Top Lawyer Takes Lobbying Job
The Recorder
(Subscription required) Fredericka McGee, the chief legal advisor to five state Assembly speakers, announced Tuesday that she's leaving the Capitol for the private sector. She will join the American Beverage Association as vice president of California government affairs and operations.
Related: Daily Journal
Jan 26 Do Programs for the Poor Count if No One Knows About Them?
Voice of San Diego
The amnesty program? They sure don’t advertise it. I talked to several reps of the collection agency for our court system and visited two San Diego County Superior and traffic court locations, and didn’t hear nor see one word about it.
Related: Traffic/Infraction Amnesty Program
Jan 26 Opinion: Freedom for sale in California – if you can afford it
Los Angeles Times
On any given day, two-thirds of the people sitting in California jails haven't been convicted of anything. These 42,000 people are simply awaiting their day in court, many of them incarcerated for no reason other than being too poor to post bail.
Jan 25 California Supreme Court clears way for user fee on Cal Am bills
Monterey Herald
More than five years after the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District was barred from collecting a user fee on California American Water bills to pay for Carmel River mitigation and other work, the California State Supreme Court ruled the state Public Utilities Commission had no authority over the fee.
Related: California Supreme Court Opinion, Daily Journal, At the Lectern, Law360
Jan 25 Life sentences of prisoners convicted as juveniles to get new review
Los Angeles Times
The Supreme Court opened the door Monday to possible parole for hundreds of aging prisoners across the nation who are serving life terms for homicides committed when they were under age 18.
Related: New York Times, Voice of America
Jan 25 Barry LaBarbera to lead SLO Superior Court as presiding judge
The Tribune News
Superior Court Judge Barry LaBarbera, who has twice served as the court’s presiding judge in 2002 and 2012, was again elected by the court’s 11 judges Monday, according to a courthouse news release.
Related: Superior Court of San Luis Obispo County
Jan 25 Judicial Profile: Michael Bishay
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Michael Bishay, an associate pastor at Granada Hills Community Church, had finished his Sunday sermon and was greeting church members as they left. One woman, distraught over a bitter divorce, grabbed him and could not stop weeping.
Related: Superior Court of San Bernardino County
Jan 25 A fight ahead on peremptory challenges
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The California Judges Association and the California Judicial Council favor the change, whereas the defense bar organization California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ) opposes it. The schism means the proposal faces a bruising fight.
Jan 22 Joe Dunn, Bar Officials Spent Freely on Foreign Travel
The Recorder
(Subscription required) In late January 2014, a group of six executives and trustees from the State Bar of California embarked on a mission to protect the public from unscrupulous lawyers—by traveling to El Salvador.
Jan 22 California Supreme Court to review opinion in UCLA stabbing case
Los Angeles Times
The California Supreme agreed Thursday to review an appellate court decision that public colleges and universities have no responsibility to protect students from violence committed by other students on campus.
Related: Daily Journal
Jan 22 Millions of Californians Could Regain Driver’s Licenses Under New Bill
The California Department of Motor Vehicles could suspend a driver’s license only for serious traffic violations related to DUIs and reckless driving, under a new bill introduced to the Legislature last week by California Sen. Bob Hertzberg.
Jan 22 Judicial Profile: Randolph A. Rogers
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) For Randolph A. Rogers, the devil is in the details. A meticulous approach to each case is what fulfills the Los Angeles County Superior Court judge.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
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