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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.

Aug 22 Supreme Court Upholds Death Sentence for Throat-Slashing Killer
Met News
The California Supreme Court yesterday upheld the death sentence for a man convicted of three murders in a case in which it took five months to seat a jury, 56 days of testimony before the jury got to deliberate, and seven days of deliberation to reach a partial verdict.
Related: California Supreme Court, News10
Aug 22 The trouble with electing judges
The Economist
Of all the ways in which America is exceptional, its practice of electing judges is one of the least obvious and most striking. The spectacle of someone who has the power to hand out death sentences making stump speeches, seeking endorsements and raising funds has long seemed odd to outsiders.
Aug 22 State to appeal ruling on constitutionality of death penalty
San Francisco Chronicle
California will appeal a federal judge's ruling that declared the state's death penalty unconstitutional, Attorney General Kamala Harris said Thursday, arguing that the ruling would actually reduce the rights of capital defendants in order to speed up executions.
Related: Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, KPCC, OC Weekly, Associated Press
Aug 21 Protestors arrested at Sacramento appeals court
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) California Highway Patrol officers arrested two protestors at the 3rd District Court of Appeals Wednesday afternoon.
Aug 21 State high court judge's son being considered for Alameda County bench
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Jason Chin, son of state Supreme Court Justice Ming Chin, is being vetted for a superior court judgeship in Alameda County.
Related: Superior Court of Alameda County
Aug 21 Judicial Profile: Kelly Vieira Simmons
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Marin County Superior Court Judge Kelly Vieira Simmons started a new headline-grabbing trial this week, that of an orthopedic surgeon from Santa Rosa accused of trying to meet for sex a Novato minor he'd encountered online.
Related: Superior Court of Marin County
Aug 20 State high court to rule on suit by asbestos-worker's family
San Francisco Chronicle
The state Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to decide whether a former Bay Area man who is dying of an asbestos-related cancer can sue a company that employed his uncle, who used to come home with his clothes covered in asbestos dust.
Related: California Supreme Court
Aug 20 Audio: L.A. Moves To Arrest Fewer Misbehaving Students
Here & Now
Los Angeles public schools are planning to reduce police response to student infractions. Judge Michael Nash is the presiding judge of the Los Angeles Juvenile Courts. He has been a juvenile court judge for 25 years. He speaks to Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti.
Related: Center for Public Integrity
Aug 20 State high court declines to hear Palmdale voting rights appeal
Los Angeles Times
The California Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to take up the city of Palmdale's appeals in a voting rights lawsuit it lost last year.
Related: Santa Clarita Valley Signal, Met News
Aug 20 Supreme Court upholds death penalty in Lemoore girl's murder
Fresno Bee
The California Supreme Court has upheld the death penalty verdict against Gene Estel McCurdy, 54, who was found guilty 17 years ago of murdering 8-year-old Maria Piceno of Lemoore.
Related: California Supreme Court
Aug 20 Judicial Profile: Patrick Hegarty
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) A piece of printer paper taped to the doors leading into Superior Court Judge Patrick Hegarty's courtroom ticks off a dress code. Don't come into the courtroom wearing shorts or tank tops, among other items.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Aug 19 Two Supreme Court justices, one prospective justice—and no more—on November’s ballot
At the Lectern
Having timely filed their declarations of candidacy, Justices Kathryn Werdegar and Goodwin Liu will appear on the November 4 ballot throughout California.
Aug 19 Prosecutor did not engage in 'pervasive pattern' of misconduct
San Jose Mercury News
In a political victory for Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen, the California Supreme Court on Monday cleared his chief of staff and best friend of a misconduct finding that threatened to taint Rosen's legacy and the chief's effectiveness.
Related: California Supreme Court, Daily Journal
Aug 19 Supreme Court Upholds Death Sentence for Skinhead Gang Leader
Met News
The California Supreme Court yesterday unanimously upheld the death sentence for a leader of a gang of skinheads, convicted of raping and murdering a woman who had spurned his romantic overtures.
Aug 19 California Court Limits Caregiver Suits
New York Times
The California Supreme Court has ruled that a home health aide may not sue a client with Alzheimer’s disease for an injury incurred on the job. The case is one of the first in the nation to assess legal remedies available to paid caregivers who work with Alzheimer’s patients at home.
Aug 19 Judicial Profile: Griffin M.J. Bonini
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Santa Clara County prosecutors have high praise for Superior Court Judge Griffin M.J. Bonini, a former deputy district attorney who currently is the sole judge assigned to the law and motions calendar for felony cases.
Related: Superior Court of Santa Clara County
Aug 18 Budget cuts lead to limited operations, furloughs in Solano courts for 2014-15
The Reporter
Solano County Superior Court officials on Monday announced they will observe three limited court operation days in the 2014-15 fiscal year.
Related: Superior Court of Solano County
Aug 18 Superior Court wages added to public pay site
Sacramento Business Journal
The executive officer at Sacramento County Superior Court earned $217,756 in wages last year, according to data posted online by State Controller John Chiang. Total compensation, including retirement and health-care benefits, reached $294,189.
Aug 18 Unions may lose bid to limit court contract workers
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) A bill containing previously vetoed provisions regulating courts' use of contractors failed to make it out of California's Senate Appropriations Committee last week, raising the possibility the legislation will die.
Aug 18 Court ruling against state Legislature revives possibility of a backlash
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) High school civics teachers instruct students about the separation of power between the three branches of government. Human nature blurs those lines. When courts make decisions legislators don't like, the fallout can sometimes be felt in the judiciary's budget or bills affecting the courts - or something subtler still.
Aug 18 Judicial Profile: Raoul M. Thorbourne
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Thorbourne said he knows attorneys see him as flexible and not rushed. "They know I'm not going to cop an attitude," he said. "I don't think as a judge it's my role to act like a tyrant."
Related: Superior Court of Sacramento County
Aug 15 Layoffs piling up for Shasta County Courts
The Superior Court of Shasta County announced Friday it has handed out more than a dozen layoff notices, and officials said it's a result of state budget cuts combined with a recently enacted law eliminating rainy day funds for trial courts.
Related: Superior Court of Shasta County, InFocus: Judicial Branch Budget Crisis
Aug 15 S.C. Orders New Look at Conviction in Traffic Fatality of Child
Met News
The California Supreme Court yesterday ordered the First District Court of Appeal to reconsider a ruling that threw out the manslaughter conviction of a man charged with causing a 2007 car crash that resulted in the death of a child.
Related: California Supreme Court, Daily Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Associated Press, U T San Diego
Aug 15 High Court Upholds Death Sentence for Double Murderer
Met News
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge did not deprive a capital defendant of his right to a fair trial in the penalty phase by excluding him from the courtroom, after he engaged in “egregious” misconduct, including spitting on the judge and throwing a bag of excrement and urine in the courtroom, the state Supreme Court ruled yesterday.
Aug 15 Opinion: Why shouldn't California voters get to weigh in on Citizens United?
Los Angeles Times
Got an opinion about the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission? Feel free to weigh in, just not on the November ballot.
Aug 14 California Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Whether Anti-SLAPP Law Bars City’s Conflict-of-Interest Suit
Met News
The state Supreme Court agreed yesterday to decide whether a city’s conflict-of-interest suit against its former officials implicates protected activity and is barred by the anti-SLAPP statute.
Related: California Supreme Court
Aug 13 Opinion: Et tu, Liu? A liberal justice faults a California ballot measure
Los Angeles Times
In 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown nominated Liu for a seat on the California Supreme Court.
Related: Associate Justice Goodwin Liu
Aug 13 Audio: California Violating Rights Of English-Language Learners
Capital Public Radio
A Los Angeles County judge has ruled that California is violating the constitutional rights of students just learning English by letting some of them fall through the cracks. Adolfo Guzman-Lopez reports.
Related: Associated Press, EdSource
Aug 13 Consecutive drop in lawsuit filings could indicate court access difficulties
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The number of small lawsuits filed in California dropped for the third straight year in 2013, according to the state judiciary. Legal observers say the trend is a worrisome sign that ordinary citizens may be having a hard time accessing state courts to resolve complaints.
Related: News Release, Capital Public Radio, Sacramento Business Journal, Victorville Daily Press, The Reporter
Aug 13 Opinion: The High Cost of Justice
East Bay Express
In April, the Alameda County Superior Court quietly began charging $1 per page to view most of its legal documents online.
Aug 13 Most people need more legal help than they know, new survey finds
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Americans need more help with civil legal problems than they realize, according to a new study released Friday by the American Bar Foundation.
Aug 13 Judicial Profile: Curtis A. Kin
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) It's not often a former prosecutor, especially one that spent 13 years in the U.S attorney's office, tells you he's more comfortable as a neutral than in an adversarial role, but Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Curtis A. Kin has long admired the position of fact finder.
Related: Superior Court of San Francisco County
Aug 11 State Supreme Court yanks Citizens United measure from ballot
San Francisco Chronicle
The state Supreme Court has removed from the November ballot a measure calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed unlimited corporate spending in federal elections.
Related: California Supreme Court, The Recorder, Daily Journal, Los Angeles Times, At the Lectern, Sacramento Bee, Associated Press, Capital Public Radio, KQED
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