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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 1 4th District offers novel approach to Prop. 47 case
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) A murky area of Proposition 47 got a step closer to being clarified after a 4th District Court of Appeal panel ruled late Monday that a prison inmate who has been trying to have his felony conviction reclassified as a misdemeanor can have his appeal stayed while the original trial court decides whether a sentence reduction is appropriate.
Jun 30 Bill provides amnesty for drivers with suspended licenses
There may be some relief coming for the more than 4 million Californians who have had their drivers' licenses suspended.
Jul 1 Judicial Profile: George C. Hernandez Jr.
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Alameda County Judge George Hernandez Jr. sees himself as a participant in trials he oversees.
Related: Superior Court of Alameda County
Jun 30 Kennedy tilted the U.S. Supreme Court slightly left this term
San Francisco Chronicle
Same-sex marriage. Housing discrimination. Reapportionment commissions. Searches of hotel records. Racially skewed election districts. The issues have two things in common: Each was the subject of a ruling that swung the U.S. Supreme Court to the left in the just-completed term, and the 5-4 majority in each case included Justice Anthony Kennedy, the most moderate member of the court’s five-justice conservative bloc.
Related: Los Angeles Times, Daily Journal
Jun 30 Personal opposition to death penalty should not disqualify jurors, state high court rules
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Taking a fresh slant on capital appeals, the state Supreme Court reaffirmed that personal opposition to the death penalty is not automatic grounds for disqualifying prospective jurors.
Related: California Supreme Court, Met News
Jun 30 Supreme Court to Weigh Dispute Over Union Fees
The New York Times
The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a challenge to the way public-sector unions finance their operations. Union officials said a ruling against them would deal a blow to organized labor.
Related: Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, Daily Journal, KQED
Jun 29 Supreme Court blocks Texas abortion law from taking effect
Los Angeles Times
The Supreme Court by a 5-4 vote blocked the state of Texas, at least for now, from enforcing a strict new abortion law that was likely to close most of the state’s remaining abortion clinics.
Related: Reuters, NPR, Associated Press, Time Record
Jun 30 California Gov. Jerry Brown signs tough new vaccination law
Los Angeles Times
Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed one of the nation’s toughest mandatory childhood vaccination bills, moving to end exemptions from state immunization laws based on religious or other personal beliefs.
Related: Associated PressReuters, Sacramento Bee, San Jose Mercury News
Jun 30 Red-light cameras shut off in Santa Ana, now only Los Alamitos, Garden Grove have them in O.C.
Orange County Register
The future of red-light cameras in Orange County is looking dim, with one more city shutting off its cameras and another considering it.
Jun 30 Judicial Profile: Nancy Ramirez
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Nancy Ramirez's work with underserved litigants prepared her to handle a child support courtroom.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Jun 29 Supreme Court upholds power of independent commissions to draw districts
Los Angeles Times
The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the kind of independent redistricting commissions used in Arizona and California to prevent partisan gerrymandering.
Related: US Supreme Court, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today
Jun 29 Supreme Court blocks air pollution rules for power plants
Los Angeles Times
The Supreme Court has blocked Obama administration rules designed to sharply limit the hazardous air pollutants that spew from the nation's power plants.
Related: Reuters, Dallas Morning News
Jun 29 Supreme Court OKs use of controversial sedative in executions
Los Angeles Times
The Supreme Court has cleared the way for Oklahoma and other death-penalty states to execute convicted murderers with a lethal injection that relies on a substitute sedative.
Related: Associated Press, NPR, USA Today
Jun 29 Amidst drought, state high court to look at groundwater pumping fees
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) As the state is placing more scrutiny on rampant groundwater pumping amidst the drought, the California Supreme Court has taken up a case that tests the powers of local agencies to raise money to help sustainably manage aquifers.
Related: California Supreme Court
Jun 29 Water conservation plan approved by Judicial Council
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The state Judicial Council on Friday adopted its proposal that asks superior courts to cut water use 25 percent.
Related: News Release
Jun 29 Governor appoints LA County judge to 2nd District Court of Appeal
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday appointed Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Luis A. Lavin as associate justice of the 2nd District Court of Appeal, Division 3.
Jun 29 Judicial Profile: Charles Fuertsch
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) His wife says he volunteers too much. After being named a commissioner for San Bernardino County last June, Charles Fuertsch worked for free in his new assignment for a couple of weeks before he was sworn in, because the court needed help.
Related: Superior Court of San Bernardino County
Jun 26 Are Legislative Democrats in Court Unions' Pocket?
The Recorder
Watching California's legislative judiciary committees can be a little like watching C-SPAN. You know it's important—democracy in action and all that—but sometimes, secretly, you just wish you could flip over to a "Real Housewives" episode.
Jun 26 Why the Supreme Court Doesn’t Give Advance Notice About Decisions
The National Law Journal
When the U.S. Supreme Court returns to the bench Monday, June 29, it will be the last sitting before its summer recess—and the only day of the term when the public can be relatively sure which rulings will be announced.
Jun 26 Same-sex marriage rights in trailblazing California now extend to all
Los Angeles Times
Retired California Chief Justice Ronald M. George, aboard a cruise ship in the Arctic last June, was dining with his wife when a waiter brought over a bottle of wine. Attached was a note: "Can we come over and give you a hug?"
Related: San Francisco Chronicle, The Recorder, Daily Journal, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle
Jun 26 U.S. Supreme Court grants constitutional right to same-sex marriage
San Francisco Chronicle
In a historic victory for gay rights, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Friday that gays and lesbians have the constitutional right to marry their chosen partner.
Related: US Supreme Court Opinion, Los Angeles Times, National Law Journal, Associated Press, Dallas Morning News, CNN, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, NPR, USA Today
Jun 26 Questions About Gang Affiliation Violated Miranda Rights
Met News
Jailers violated the Miranda rights of a murder suspect when they asked about his gang affiliation while he was being booked, the state Supreme Court ruled yesterday.
Related: Daily Journal, San Francisco Appeal
Jun 25 Court reporters in demand at California courthouses
The Press Democrat
Jotting down someone’s every word isn’t easy. It’s even harder when two people join the conversation. Or three. And they start arguing.
Jun 25 Officials break ground on $32.5 million Los Banos courthouse
Los Banos Enterprise
Merced County officials broke ground last week on a new multimillion-dollar courthouse in Los Banos.
Related: New Los Banos Courthouse
Jun 25 State top court outlaws coffee house internet gaming
Sacramento Bee
A unanimous California Supreme Court today outlawed computerized games offered in coffee houses throughout the state, ruling that they are another form of slot machines.
Related: Supreme Court Opinion, The Recorder, Los Angeles Times, The Bakersfield CalifornianAssociated Press
Jun 25 Supreme Court Allows Nationwide Health Care Subsidies
The New York Times
The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that President Obama’s health care law allows the government to provide nationwide tax subsidies to help poor and middle-class people buy health insurance, a sweeping vindication that endorsed the larger purpose of Mr. Obama’s signature legislative achievement.
Related: Huffington Post, National Law Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, New York Daily News, McClatchy Washington Bureau
Jun 25 Supreme Court opens door to housing discrimination lawsuits
Sacramento Bee
A closely divided Supreme Court on Thursday allowed housing bias lawsuits based on unintentional actions that happen to have a discriminatory effect on racial minorities.
Related: Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Reuters
Jun 25 Opinion: We're an outlier on misdemeanor peremptory challenges
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) California is an extreme outlier when it comes to misdemeanor peremptory challenges and SB 213 finally addresses this problem that is wasting citizens' time, souring potential jurors on the legal system, and wasting millions of precious dollars.
Jun 25 State Supreme Court still mulling nonbinding campaign spending initiative
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) After getting pulled from the ballot by the state Supreme Court last year, the question of whether Californians can cast a nonbinding vote on campaign finance reform still lingers before the justices. Depending on an upcoming ruling, voters could get another shot at voicing their views when they cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election.
Jun 25 California Assembly approves stricter vaccine mandate
Los Angeles Times
California lawmakers Thursday approved one of the toughest mandatory vaccination laws in the nation, legislation that would eliminate the ability of parents to keep their children from being vaccinated based on religious or other personal beliefs.
Related: Sacramento Bee, Associated Press, San Jose Mercury News
Jun 24 Jerry Brown signs $115.4 billion general fund budget
The Sacramento Bee
Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed the $115.4 billion general fund budget lawmakers passed last week, issuing only a handful of line item vetoes valued at $1.3 million.
Related: Los Angeles Times
Jun 24 Despite problems with the interpreter, divided appeals court upholds conviction
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Even as the Judicial Council wrestles with a new language access plan to bring more interpreters into courtrooms, a state appellate panel's opinion Tuesday spotlighted how botched translation can mar an everyday trial.
Related: Language Access Plan
Jun 24 Feds change rules to allow quicker release of immigrant families from detention centers
Los Angeles Times
The federal government announced Wednesday that it will release some undocumented migrant families on bond, a move designed to ease the strain on detention centers and address criticism from activists who argue that it is wrong to hold women and children for long periods.
Jun 23 Timm Herdt: When they talk, women listen
Ventura County Star
Last week, the state’s chief financial officer sat down for an intimate lunchtime conversation with some friends.
Jun 23 Brown’s latest nominee another young, judicially inexperienced Obama lawyer
San Francisco Chronicle
Like his last state Supreme Court appointee, one of Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest appellate court nominees is a young Obama administration lawyer with no judicial experience. The current pick, Lamar Baker, is stirring up a certain amount of controversy.
Jun 23 Court sides with media outlet in California records fight
Associated Press
A federal appeals court revived a lawsuit Tuesday brought by a media outlet over a failure by the court in a California county to make some civil complaints available on the same day they are filed.
Jun 23 Beverly Hills Bar Association Honored California Supreme Court Justices
The Beverly Hills Bar Association (BHBA), in conjunction with the Beverly Hills Bar Foundation, hosted the 61st Annual Supreme Court Luncheon honoring the justices of the California Supreme Court on Tuesday, June 2, 2015, at Montage Beverly Hills.
Related: Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye
Jun 23 Judge rules proposed antigay measure unconstitutional, blocks it
San Francisco Chronicle
A Southern California lawyer’s “Sodomite Suppression Act,” which would require the state to execute all gays and lesbians, is “patently unconstitutional” and will not be circulated for the ballot, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Related: Associated Press, Sacramento Bee, Slate, Daily Journal, Capital Public Radio, Los Angeles Times, The Recorder; The Guardian
Jun 23 Longtime San Mateo County court executive to step down
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) San Mateo County Superior Court Executive Officer John Fitton, who helped lead the court through budget cutbacks during the past decade, will retire in August.
Related:  Superior Court of San Mateo County
Jun 23 After audit, State Bar defends dues, backlog
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) State Bar leaders Monday disputed findings in a new state audit that the bar charges lawyers too much in annual dues and that it has allowed its backlog of discipline cases to grow.
Jun 23 The Roberts Court’s Surprising Move Leftward
New York Times
This term so far shows potential for a greater percentage of liberal decisions than any since 1969.
Jun 23 Judicial Profile: Robert Schuit
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Despite the reminder that troubled youth are locked up right next door, the feeling around the Sylmar court building is cool, placid, and a world away from downtown L.A. - which is exactly where Judge Robert Schuit wants to be.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Jun 23 281 graduate Tulare County Drug Court
Visalia Times-Delta
As graduation ceremonies go, it may have seemed to some an unusual opening remark for a commencement speech: “Hey there everybody. I am Mike, and I’m an addict. I’m REALLY an addict.”
Related: Superior Court of Tulare County
Jun 22 Video: Rulings on raisins, hotel registries favor individual rights
The Supreme Court today ruled on cases that set boundaries in the government’s power over individuals.
Jun 22 High court strikes down L.A. law on motel, hotel registry inspections
Los Angeles Times
The Supreme Court on Monday struck down as unconstitutional a Los Angeles city ordinance that authorized police to instantly inspect hotel and motel guest registries at any hour of the day or night.
Related:  Met News, Daily Journal, KPCC, Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, Recorder, Santa Monica LookoutSan Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles TimesChristian Science Monitor
Jun 22 Officials break ground on $32.5 million Los Banos courthouse
Merced Sun-Star
Merced County officials broke ground last week on a new multimillion-dollar courthouse in Los Banos.
Related: New Los Banos Courthouse
Jun 22 Supreme Court Sides With Raisin Farmers in Property Rights Case
The New York Times
The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a government program dating to the Great Depression meant to increase raisin prices by keeping some of them off the market amounted to an unconstitutional taking of private property by the government.
Related: Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg Business, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Los Angeles TimesCentral Valley Business Times, Entrepreneur, Fresno Bee, NPR, Washington Post, Tribune News Service
Jun 22 Amidst drought, Judicial Council to ask courts to cut water usage
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Faced with California's ongoing water shortage, the Judicial Council is considering a conservation plan this week that may lead to brown courthouse lawns and revised construction plans - but no firm limits.
Related: June 25-26 Judicial Council Meeting (Item K)
Jun 22 Rogue clerk may have altered records in more than 1,000 cases
ABA Journal
An investigation of altered court files in Orange County, California, is leading to one rogue clerk, according to legal counsel for the county court system.
Related: Los Angeles Times, Daily Journal
Jun 22 State Supreme Court denies appeal of mass killer David "Moochie" Welch
Contra Costa Times
The California Supreme Court on Monday denied the appeal of one of Oakland's most notorious mass killers.
Related: San Francisco Chronicle
Jun 22 Judicial Profile: Rupert Byrdsong
Daily Journal
(Subcription required) LA Superior Court Judge Rupert Byrdsong likes to keep things light, even doling out candy to jurors.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Jun 20 Editorial: Traffic fines had their day in court
Daily Democrat
The California Judicial Council has ordered that drivers challenging traffic infractions don’t have to pay fines until they’ve had their day in court. It’s defeat against a system that harkened back to “Debtor’s Prisons” from hundreds of years in the past.
Jun 19 Scorched Bar Isn't Feeling Much Heat
The Recorder
California's State Bar has been awash in troubling news for the last eight months, starting with the firing of executive director Joe Dunn in November and continuing this week with the release of an eyebrow-raising audit.
Related: ABA Journal
Jun 19 Yolo judge tells attorneys to prepare for ‘sea change’
Daily Democrat
The Yolo County court system will be changing in a few months, warned Presiding Superior Court Judge Kathleen White, and it will be up to local attorneys to not only keep up with the technology but the institutional memories.
Related: Superior Court of Yolo County
Jun 19 Video: Amnesty program on the table for large traffic fines
Millions of California drivers have had their licenses revoked because of court fines and fees that balloon if they are unable to pay them.
Related: San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle
Jun 19 Opinion: Two new Collaborative Courts on tap
Visalia Times-Delta
The landscape of justice is ever-changing. As your District Attorney, I have been steadfastly dedicated to bringing justice to victims of crime.
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