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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 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
Jul 17 Judicial Profile: Anthony Sabo
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) For most of the 13 years after he hung his shingle in the Ohio River town of Rising Sun, Ind., Sabo worked as a prosecutor; ran a booming civil practice; represented the city, the park board and the planning board; and raised his daughter as a single dad. He also was the town Santa Claus and soccer coach.
Related: Superior Court of Ventura County
Jul 16 Fewer released felons returning to California prisons
The Sacramento Bee
Fewer felons released from state prison are returning because of committing new crimes or having their paroles revoked, a new report from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says.
Jul 16 Supreme Court to Determine Validity of Insurance Rule Inspired by Southern California Wildfire
Met News
The state Supreme Court yesterday agreed to determine the validity of a Department of Insurance regulation governing the content of replacement-cost estimates for homeowner’s insurance.
Related: California Supreme Court
Jul 16 No new day in court for foster-child killer
The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to review the case against a former South Los Angeles resident convicted of the beating death of the 2 1/2-year-old foster daughter she was in the process of adopting.
Jul 16 The School-to-Prison Pipeline
The Daily Beast
In her latest show, Anna Deavere Smith distils the experiences of 170 people to interrogate why so many young people end up in the criminal justice system.
Related: Truthdig
Jul 16 Obama, in Oklahoma, Will Focus on Overhaul of Criminal Justice System
The New York Times
In becoming the first sitting president to visit a federal prison, Mr. Obama will showcase an emerging bipartisan drive to overhaul America’s criminal justice system in a way none of his predecessors have tried, at least not in modern times.
Related: KQED, Los Angeles Times, The Sacramento Bee
Jul 16 Judicial Profile: Thomas A. Delaney
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Commercial litigator recently turned criminal judge Thomas Delaney has a reputation for fairness.
Related: Superior Court of Orange County
Jul 15 Justice Kennedy: 'the Constitution is yours'
San Diego Union Tribune
Kennedy echoed a theme from this week’s conference on the importance of getting the courts involved in making sure young people are educated and engaged in civics. The justice half-jokingly suggested renaming civics courses “Defense of Freedom” or “Responsibilities of Freedom.”
Jul 15 What happens when you go to small claims court in SLO County
The Tribune News
Small claims court in San Luis Obispo County plays out like the old “People’s Court” TV show, with a variety of cases herded through in 15-minute segments.
Related: Superior Court of San Luis Obispo County
Jul 15 Courthouse lawn raises concerns
Daily Democrat
Many of Woodland’s residents have chosen to let their grass turn brown in an effort to save water and money during California’s continuing drought. So, the look of newly planted green grass in front of the new Yolo County Courthouse on Main Street has caused many to see red.
Related: New Woodland Courthouse, FOX40, KCRA
Jul 15 Judicial Profile: Kenneth C. Twisselman II
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Voir dire might take just a little longer in the courtroom of Judge Kenneth C. Twisselman II. As prospective jurors recognize him, a prominent Kern County public figure and member of a pioneer ranching family, a bit of hometown banter sometimes breaks out.
Related: Superior Court of Kern County
Jul 14 Supreme Court Approves Separate Suits Against Joint Debtors
Met News
A plaintiff may bring separate lawsuits against defendants who are jointly and severally liable on the same debt, even if a final judgment has been entered against one of them, the state Supreme Court ruled yesterday.
Related: Supreme Court Opinion
Jul 14 Bar Oversight Measures Advance in Assembly
The Recorder
State Assembly members on Tuesday approved a half-dozen measures to improve oversight of the State Bar of California, including another audit of the troubled agency.
Related: Daily Journal, Sacramento Business Journal
Jul 14 Restorative Justice for Fresno Schools
The Chronicle of Social Change
“As soon as kids get suspended or go to court, they see themselves differently,” says VORP mediator Grace Spencer. “It’s only when plans are put into place to remove the label of ‘bad kid’ that the student is reestablished as a part of a supportive community. Only then does he have an incentive to complete his education.”
Jul 14 Obama makes a case for changes to the criminal justice system
Los Angeles Times
President Obama on Tuesday began rolling out a plan for reforming a criminal justice system he says is “skewed by race and by wealth” but is ripe for change at the hands of political leaders.
Jul 14 Opinion: Judicial activism! But only if we lose
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Those who favor marriage equality for gays and lesbians celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, but was it correct as a matter of constitutional law?
Jul 14 The best way to deal with America’s incarceration problem is hiding in plain sight
The Washington Post
Jails might look similar to prisons from the outside, but the differences are crucial to understanding the challenges of incarceration in America.
Jul 13 California regains control over healthcare at Folsom prison
Los Angeles Times
The state has regained full control of one of its prisons for the first time since 2006, when a federal court stripped California of control over its sprawling inmate healthcare system.
Related: Associated Press
Jul 13 Opinion: Changing jury selection is bad for justice
Sacramento Bee
The right to an impartial jury is the linchpin of our justice system. Now, that fundamental protection is in jeopardy for millions of Californians.
Jul 13 State Supreme Court to Decide Whether Law Firms' Bills to County Must Be Made Public
Met News
The California Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether invoices to Los Angeles County from the law firms defending it in suits regarding jail violence are exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records Act.
Related: Daily Journal
Jul 13 State Bar watcher urges legislators to intervene in agency operations
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Legislators shouldn't approve the State Bar's annual dues bill until the "rogue agency" addresses some of the criticisms raised by the State Auditor in its recent report, according to a longtime bar expert and gadfly.
Jul 13 Opinion: ICE vs. the Constitution
Los Angeles Times
We should not shred the Constitution in the face of tragedy.
Jul 12 Judgment By Algorithm – Silicon Valley Codes The Court System
Associated Press
 Imagine working out a divorce without hiring an attorney or stepping into court or disputing the tax assessment on your home completely online. A Silicon Valley company is starting to make both possibilities a reality with software that experts say represents the next wave of technology in which the law is turned into computer code that can solve legal battles without the need for a judge or attorney.
Jul 12 Judge Lawrence K. Karlton, 80, man of ‘passion’ on federal court bench, dies in Sacramento home
Sacramento Bee
Lawrence K. Karlton, who arrived in Sacramento while in the Army and stayed to become a federal judge whose rulings aimed to help people who needed it the most, died Saturday night at age 80.
Jul 11 California foster children would be better protected from overprescribing physicians, under proposed new laws now in the Assembly
San Jose Mercury News
Proposed laws aimed at cracking down on the overuse of psychiatric medication in foster care require more from judges, lawyers, nurses, social workers, caregivers and state investigators to better protect children from potentially dangerous drugs.
Jul 11 Opinion: California’s initiative process needs reform -- not repeal
San Diego Union-Tribune
Most Californians have a love-hate relationship with the initiative process. They love it when the voters approve their initiatives, but they hate having to vote on so many propositions.
Jul 11 Chino buys courthouse for $2.2M
Chino Champion
Pursuing its goal of controlling property in the downtown civic center, the Chino city council voted 4-0 Tuesday to spend $2,262,000 to buy the former Chino Superior Courthouse, which closed Dec. 31, 2012.
Jul 10 Opinion: What Supreme Court justices say, and what they rule
San Francisco Chronicle
Sometime in the next year or two, a U.S. Supreme Court justice probably will depart, voluntarily or otherwise. Which means it’ll be smoke-blowing time. All Supreme Court nominees blow smoke these days when someone brings up a difficult or embarrassing subject.
Jul 10 Deal near for new court
A board that oversees construction projects for the state is finalizing the purchase of a site in Menifee that is expected to be the home for a new civil courthouse.
Related: New Riverside Mid-County Civil Courthouse
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