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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.

Dec 17 Chief Justice Names Chin to Seat on Judicial Council
Met News
Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye said yesterday she has appointed Supreme Court Justice Ming W. Chin to replace Justice Marvin Baxter on the Judicial Council.
Related: Associate Justice Ming W. Chin, News Release
Dec 17 Counties look to sell shuttered courthouses - but there's a hitch
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Many courts have responded to yawning budgets by temporarily shuttering facilities, with officials hoping to reopen them in better economic times. Now, several counties - San Bernardino, Mendocino, Plumas, and Tulare, to name a few - want to sell those buildings instead.
Dec 16 Groundbreaking on new courthouse set
Corning Observer
A groundbreaking ceremony will celebrate the start of construction on the new Tehama County Courthouse at 2:30 p.m. today at 1760 Walnut St. in Red Bluff.
Related: New Red Bluff Courthouse
Dec 17 Orange County Superior to pool court reporters
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Starting in February, all 24 civil courtrooms in Orange County - including the civil complex courtrooms - will shift from one-to-one assignment of court reporters to an as-needed system where court reporters are assigned to a courtroom for trials and evidentiary hearings only, the Superior Court announced Tuesday.
Related: Superior Court of Orange County
Dec 17 Judicial Profile: Connie R. Quinones
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) As a longtime defense lawyer, Connie R. Quinones handled countless cases with agonizing and horrifying fact patterns, including one that merited a death penalty sentence.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Dec 16 Doctor Gets No Offset Against MICRA-Capped Award—S.C.
Met News
A jury’s award of $1.3 million in noneconomic damages in a medical malpractice action, cut by the court to $250,000 to conform to the cap under the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 (“MICRA”), cannot be further pared to reflect the amount of a pre-trial settlement with other defendants attributable to noneconomic losses, the state high court held yesterday.
Related: California Supreme Court, Daily Journal
Dec 16 California Chief Justice addresses court funding at Sacramento County Bar Association meeting
Sacramento Business Journal
The California judicial branch has wrestled with a $1.5 billion budget whack since 2011.
Related: Chief Justice Tani-Cantil Sakauye, InFocus: Judicial Branch Budget Crisis
Dec 16 In unusual move, governor speaks out in defense of state high court nominee
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday came to the defense of his latest candidate to the state Supreme Court, 38-year-old Leondra Kruger, a lawyer for the Obama administration whose nomination is facing unexpected criticism because of her youth and lack of work experience in California.
Related: The Recorder, Sacramento Bee, Wall Street Journal
Dec 16 Bar asks state auditor to investigate issues related to executive director's firing
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Moving to thwart criticism, the State Bar has asked the state auditor to investigate issues made public following the firing of Executive Director Joseph L. Dunn.
Dec 15 Federal ruling a win for California's bullet train
Associated Press
A federal agency that has jurisdiction over California's bullet train has ruled that it has the authority to pre-empt state environmental law, creating uncertainty for numerous groups fighting the project in court.
Related: Fresno Bee
Dec 15 Opinion: California is overdue in adopting rule on exculpatory evidence
Los Angeles Times
Why California needs to adopt a rule on disclosing evidence that could prove a defendant's innocence.
Dec 15 Brown Names 11 to Superior Court Judgeships
Met News
Gov. Jerry Brown Friday named 11 new judges to superior courts throughout the state.
Related: Daily Journal, The Recorder, San Jose Mercury News
Dec 15 Judicial Council approves court fees extension
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Despite complaints from judges and lawyers that years of state funding reductions has resulted in courts creating a "pay-to-play" justice system, the state Judicial Council approved an extension of court fees Friday.
Related: News Release
Dec 15 Judicial Profile: Carl H. Moor
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Known for his amiability, Carl H. Moor values the 'completely human' aspects of being a judge.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Dec 14 Calls grow to eliminate grand juries’ secrecy in police killings
San Francisco Chronicle
As thousands of protesters nationwide ask how a pair of grand juries could decline to indict police officers in the deaths of two unarmed men, retired Judge LaDoris Cordell has another question: Why do we allow secret hearings that — at the very least — appear unfair?
Dec 14 Opinion: Puzzled over Jerry Brown’s East Coast nominee for Supreme Court
San Francisco Chronicle
Leondra Kruger, Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest nominee to the California Supreme Court, is young, African American and, from the looks of her resume, extremely talented.
Dec 13 Prop. 47 may keep addicts from using drug court's treatment program
Los Angeles Times
A lawyer calls the impact on drug courts the 'largest unintended consequence' of Prop. 47.
Related: Associated Press, Peninsula Press
Dec 12 County's lack of judges top in state
Victorville Daily Press
The San Bernardino County court system currently maintains 86 judges, but the county’s caseloads justify it having 143, according to the 2014 Judicial Workload Assessment presented this week in San Francisco to the state Judicial Council.
Dec 12 Rain not expected to delay concrete pour for downtown courthouse
San Diego Source
Potentially $1 million worth of material is scheduled to be installed Saturday at the construction site of the new downtown San Diego courthouse, as crews plan to pour around 6,800 yards of foundation concrete in a single day.
Related: New San Diego Courthouse, 10 News
Dec 12 Vacancies, changed priorities lead to fewer state Supreme Court opinions
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The state Supreme Court is issuing a lot fewer decisions than a decade ago, with the decline driven by a drop in civil opinions, a series of retirements, and a cultural shift that places less emphasis on issuing a high number of rulings.
Related: California Supreme Court
Dec 12 Video: Court clerks in Santa Barbara County picket for wage increase
KSBY
Court clerks at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse in Santa Maria walked off the job Thursday.
Related: Superior Court of Santa Barbara County, Santa Barbara Independent
Dec 12 Attorneys at Bet Tzedek net ruling to help unaccompanied immigrant minors
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Unaccompanied undocumented children must be treated the same as any other child seeking legal guardianship through the probate courts, according to a 2nd District Court of Appeal ruling.
Dec 12 San Francisco Superior Court, SEIU reach agreement on labor negotiations
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) San Francisco County Superior Court and the local Service Employees International Union chapter that represents some 200 court employees have reached a labor agreement in which the workers will get the choice to take or "cash out" five additional floating holidays next year.
Related: Superior Court of San Francisco County
Dec 11 Lawmaker Seeks Second Bar Audit
The Recorder
A Central Coast lawmaker announced late Thursday that he will seek a financial and operational audit of the State Bar "in light of recent allegations made against" the bar by ousted executive director Joe Dunn.
Dec 11 Trial by Cash
The Atlantic
Judicial elections have gotten ugly. That's bad news for defendants.
Dec 11 State Supreme Court orders hearing in Packer murder case
Ventura County Star
The state Supreme Court on Thursday ordered that a hearing be held on whether a Ventura County prosecutor should be removed from the Joshua Packer case because his children once spent time with the man accused of killing a Faria Beach couple.
Related: California Supreme Court, Daily Journal, Met News, KEYT
Dec 11 The Cost of Juvenile Incarceration
Pacific Standard
States pay tens of thousands of dollars every year to keep each juvenile offender behind bars. A new report calculates that long-term costs of incarceration could add up to $21 billion annually.
Dec 11 Judicial Profile: James L. Crandall
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) James L. Crandall describes himself as a white, law-and-order Republican and former reserve deputy sheriff who spent some 40 years as a civil litigator.
Related: Superior Court of Orange County
Dec 10 Three Appellate Court Nominees Confirmed
The Recorder
Gov. Jerry Brown's three nominees to California's courts of appeal cruised to confirmation in brief hearings Wednesday afternoon.
Related: Daily Journal, Met News
Dec 10 State's high court takes up sea wall fight
UT San Diego
The state’s highest court agreed Wednesday to hear a legal battle over an Encinitas sea wall in a case that could affect the future of the controversial structures along California’s coast.
Related: Daily Journal, Fox5 San Diego, Times of San Diego, The Coast News, City News Service, Los Angeles Times
Dec 10 Chief justice offers more reserved assessment of judiciary's funding fight prospects
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) In light of California's recent conservative financial forecast, Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye on Tuesday reined in her assessment of the judiciary's funding fight prospects.
Related: Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye, Judicial Branch Budget Crisis, The Sacramento Bee
Dec 10 State Bar executive placed on leave
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The State Bar has removed another top executive in the wake of firing former executive director Joseph L. Dunn.
Dec 10 Judicial Profile: Armen Tamzarian
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Armen Tamzarian views his place on the bench through the lens of his family's arduous history.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Dec 9 New Santa Barbara County report shows prison realignment law has positive impact
KSBY
In 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed the controversial bill AB 109 to reduce overcrowding in California's prisons. On Tuesday, after presenting a report to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, probation officials said prison realignment is working, and it's cutting down on the likelihood of repeat offenders.
Dec 9 S.C. Orders New Hearing on Jury Misconduct in Murder Trial
Met News
The California Supreme Court yesterday ordered reconsideration of a motion for new trial in a case where jurors admittedly discussed among themselves the fact that the defendants chose not to testify and how that should affect the verdict.
Related: California Supreme Court
Dec 9 Under Prop 47, thousands of inmates ask O.C. courts for their freedom
Orange County Register
They waited patiently within the caged-off courtroom holding area, watching as a steady stream of their fellow inmates got months or even years of their sentences washed away with a quick ruling.
Related: Proposition 47
Dec 9 Judicial Profile: Michael G. Bowman
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) During a recent trial, Judge Michael Bowman drove home his focus on punctuality to a defendant who failed to come back in time after a 10-minute break in the testimony.
Related: Superior Court of Sacramento County
Dec 8 'Tech savvy' justice has big goals for seat on Judicial Council
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) When California Supreme Court Justice Ming Chin takes over retiring Justice Marvin Baxter's Judicial Council seat in January, he'll assume a post that hasn't been vacant for nearly two decades.
Related: Associate Justice Ming W. Chin
Dec 8 Digital Courthouses Go Paperless
The Pew Charitable Trust
If you walked into a courthouse a decade ago, you might have seen file clerks pushing carts and searching for case folders, paralegals lugging stacks of paperwork to the clerk’s office and staffers entering mounds of documents by hand into a computer system, if there was one.
Dec 8 Judicial Profile: Sergio C. Tapia II
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) While valeting cars for San Francisco's Flying Dutchman Parking Company in the late 1980s, Sergio Tapia would think about his studies at nearby UC Berkeley, or whether his side job would help meet that month's bills.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Dec 7 Many want more money; UC should get in line
Los Angeles Times
Then there are all those shuttered courtrooms — more than 200 closed in recent years because of state funding cuts exceeding $1 billion.
Dec 6 Accusations fly as State Bar of California leader Joe Dunn fights ouster
Los Angeles Times
The agency that regulates California's lawyers is once again beset with conflict, riddled by accusations involving expense accounts and ethics.
Related: The Recorder
Dec 5 Demand for court and stenography reporters rising in California, nation
Bakersfield Californian
Typing quietly while catching every spoken word, court reporters are often overlooked but critical components of the judicial system.
Dec 5 Bar Board Missing Public Members
The Recorder
Personnel and legal drama may be plentiful at California's State Bar these days. But the number of nonlawyers overseeing those travails by serving on the bar's board of trustees is not.
Dec 5 Construction work continues on the new Stockton Courthouse, set to open in 2016
Lodi News
Anyone traveling in or near downtown Stockton has likely noticed the towering yellow cranes reaching high above the San Joaquin County Superior Court building.
Related: New Stockton Courthouse
Dec 5 California courts continue to chip away at-will doctrine
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) By now, California employment law practitioners should be well aware of the Jan. 1, 2014, amendment to California Labor Code Section 1102.5(b), which contains language expressly prohibiting employers from retaliating against employees believed to have filed reports to government or law enforcement agencies - even if the employee did not in fact make such a complaint.
Dec 5 Opinion: Reinvent the State Bar of California
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) On Nov. 13, the State Bar of California's Board of Trustees announced the sudden departure of its executive director, former state Sen. Joe Dunn. The scope of the State Bar's challenges going forward could be inferred from Dunn's lawsuit against the bar, filed the same day.
Dec 5 Judicial Profile: Peter B. Foor
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Peter Foor doesn't shy away from tough situations. The Solano County Superior Court judge, who's known for running a strict courtroom and occasionally dressing down attorneys, is also a decorated Marine and a veteran defense lawyer reputed for taking on hard cases.
Related: Superior Court of Solano County
Dec 4 San Bernardino Superior Court Discusses Plan for Domestic Violence Council
One Legal
The San Bernardino Superior Court hosted representatives from ten County agencies and community organizations to talk about creating a Domestic Violence Council.
Related: Superior Court of San Bernardino County
Dec 4 San Diego court offers one-day divorce
UT San Diego
San Diego Superior Court’s “One-Day Divorce” program is here to help, said Supervising Judge of the Family Court, Maureen Hallahan.
Dec 4 Appeals Court Strikes Down Part of State’s Law on DNA Testing
Met News
The First District Court of Appeal yesterday struck down a portion of an initiative measure that requires the collection of a DNA sample from anyone arrested on suspicion of committing a felony.
Related: Daily Journal, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Associated Press, San Francisco Appeal, UPI
Dec 4 State high court justices say Jessica's Law has backfired
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) In two cases this week, the state Supreme Court left no doubt that the 2006 ballot measure Jessica's Law, forbidding registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools and parks, was a well-intended but bad law that had backfired in its goal of improving public safety.
Related: California Supreme Court
Dec 4 Los Angeles city attorney receives funds for Prop. 47 cases
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) When voters approved Proposition 47 in November to reduce low-level felonies to misdemeanors, the Los Angeles city attorney and district attorney offices began scrambling to configure a transfer of thousands of felony cases.
Related: Tahoe Daily Tribune
Dec 3 Opinion: When politicians bully judges
USA Today
Impeachment of judges was not designed as a tool to settle political disagreements.
Dec 3 Hazmat team responds to Ukiah courthouse
Ukiah Daily Journal
A hazardous situation unfolded near the Mendocino County Courthouse Tuesday morning as sealant recently applied to the roof of the building began to wash off.
Related: New Ukiah Courthouse, The Press Democrat
Dec 3 Judicial Profile: James E. Herman
Daily Journal
 (Subscription required) For someone who took nearly three decades of legal practice before pursuing a judicial role, Judge James Herman wasted no time making an impact upon the Santa Barbara County Superior Court.
Related: Assistant Presiding Judge James E. Herman
Dec 2 State court may tighten review process for building giant homes
San Francisco Chronicle
The state Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday on whether the rules exempting most proposed single-family homes from public review apply to a computer magnate’s plan.
Related: California Supreme Court
Dec 2 California, investors square off over $2.3B sale
Associated Press
The State of California and a group of private investors accused each other at a trial Tuesday of breaking an agreement over a $2.3 billion plan to sell 11 state properties and have the state lease them back.
Dec 2 State Bar board begins look at replacing fired executive director
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) State Bar trustees began exploring Monday how to replace fired Executive Director Joseph L. Dunn, including whether the bar's next staff chief must be a lawyer.
Related: California Bar Journal
Dec 2 Governor names federal lawyer, Pasadena native to California Supreme Court
California Bar Journal
Gov. Jerry Brown nominated federal government lawyer Leondra R. Kruger to the California Supreme Court last month. At 38, Kruger will be one of the court’s youngest justices ever and its only African-American.
Related: San Bernardino County Sun, Daily Journal
Dec 2 An elated adieu to NBC spoof of LA County judges
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) NBC has announced they are cancelling their short-lived comedy, "Bad Judge."
Dec 2 Judicial Profile: Harry M. Dorfman
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) His hands beckon litigants to tell their stories or indicate they have said enough. His voice, at once commanding and mild, demands attention. San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Harry M. Dorfman decided against pursuing an acting career, but the courtroom is his theater and he sits center stage.
Related: Superior Court of San Francisco County
Dec 1 CEQA exemptions on trial at high court
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The California Supreme Court is finally poised to hear and decide a landmark California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, case that has been pending for over two and a half years on its docket. The court set oral argument for Dec. 2 in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley, S201176, and should issue a written decision within 90 days of arguments.
Related: California Supreme Court
Dec 1 State Supreme Court nominee described as understated, thoughtful
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Described by colleagues as serious and understated, state Supreme Court nominee Leondra R. Kruger's advocacy before the U.S. Supreme Court matched her off-court temperament.
Dec 1 Judicial Profile: James K. Voysey
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) A typical day might see Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge James Voysey arraign suspected murderers one moment and petty thieves the next. A plea from an inebriated motorist might be followed by one from a sexually violent predator.
Related: Superior Court of Santa Barbara County
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