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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 6 State high court limits who can see police personnel files
San Francisco Chronicle
Ruling in a San Francisco domestic violence case, the state Supreme Court refused Monday to require prosecutors to help defendants discover information in the personnel files of officers who are potential witnesses in their criminal trials.
Related: Supreme Court Opinion, Daily Journal, Associated Press
Jul 7 Editorial: A setback for due process
Los Angeles Times
Prosecutors are constitutionally bound to share with criminal defendants any evidence that undermines the credibility of their witnesses, including police officers.
Jul 7 Orange County court computer system enabled, shut down casefile tampering
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) In March, when an Orange County Superior Court clerk noticed something peculiar in the file of a criminal case, court officials quickly discovered that another clerk had been doctoring misdemeanor and infraction files for years.
Related: Superior Court of Orange County
Jul 6 State high court issues split ruling on Prop. 36 sentencing guidelines
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Voters wanted to ease the harsh three-strikes law by passing Proposition 36 in 2012, but some details remained murky. On Thursday, the state Supreme Court started trying to untangle the many unanswered questions in the measure.
Related: California Supreme Court
Jul 6 S.C. Upholds Death Sentence for Veteran Who Claimed PTSD
Met News
The California Supreme Court has unanimously affirmed the death sentence of a Vietnam veteran convicted of a triple robbery-murder, rejecting his argument that the abuse he suffered as a child, combined with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, render the penalty excessive.
Jul 6 Judicial Profile: Sherilyn Garnett
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) LA Superior Court Judge Sherilyn Garnett keeps a cool demeanor in a hot Glendale courtroom.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Jul 3 Repeat offenses down in San Joaquin County
The county Probation Department reported that offenders on probation supervision who were released from state prison or San Joaquin County Jail under “realignment” law AB109 are returning to jail at a decreasing rate.
Jul 2 Barstow Courthouse services to expand
Desert Dispatch
The supervising judge for San Bernardino County will implement a reorganizational plan that will expand services at the Barstow Courthouse in order to enable the Victorville Courthouse to take on more criminal cases.
Related: Superior Court of San Bernardino County
Jul 2 Audio: Court Case Could Limit Private Emails From Being Used For Public Business
Capital Public Radio
A case before the California Supreme Court could directly affect Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and his staff's use of private emails and electronic devices to conduct city business.
Jul 2 State Judicial Council taps retired Solano County judge for seat on community corrections board
The Reporter
Recently retired from the Solano County Superior Court bench, Judge Ramona J. Garrett has been appointed to a state judicial council post.
Related: News Release
Jul 2 Audio: One woman's story of falling in with OC's 'ticket fixer'
Next week, a federal grand jury will start hearing testimony from hundreds of Orange County residents who allegedly paid a former Superior Court clerk to reduce or erase their drunk driving and other traffic violation charges and penalities over the last five years.
Jul 2 Editorial: Time for TV in the Supreme Court
New York Times
Last week, in a span of 24 hours, the Supreme Court issued opinions in cases involving three of the most profound issues facing the country: same-sex marriage, health care reform and housing discrimination.
Jul 2 What marriage ruling means for employers
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The U.S. Supreme Court's decision last week recognizing a fundamental right to same-sex marriage will have substantial impact on employers whose employees enter into same-sex marriages.
Jul 2 Court of Appeal Orders Publication of Opinion Upholding Schwarzenegger’s Pardon of Esteban Nunez
Met News
The Third District Court of Appeal yesterday granted Gov. Jerry Brown’s request that it publish its June 2 opinion upholding his predecessor’s decision to grant executive clemency without advance notice to prosecutors and victims.
Related: Third District Court of Appeal
Jul 2 Judicial Profile: Thomas A. Glazier
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) OC Superior Court Judge Thomas A. Glazier is a legal veteran who can fill in wherever he's needed.
Related: Superior Court of Orange County
Jul 1 Lake Isabella court, closed for two years, to reopen in August
Bakersfield Californian
The Kern County Superior Court branch in Lake Isabella, closed since 2013 for budget reasons, may open again in mid-August with limited service to the Kern River Valley.
Related: Superior Court of Kern County
Jul 1 Innovative court programs land Solano County judge 2015 Aranda award
California Bar Journal
In describing his childhood, Judge Garry Ichikawa likes to say he was born with a shovel in one hand and a book in the other.
Jul 1 Like Our Vets, Justice-Involved Youth Are Survivors of War
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange
Legislatures and courts across the country have put reforms in place to address the service-related trauma underlying patterns of veterans engaging in criminal activity and violence.
Jul 1 Opinion: Why the late-career conversions at the Supreme Court on the death penalty?
Washington Post
In a dissenting opinion filed Monday in Glossip v. Gross, Justices Breyer and Ginsburg suggested that they have decided, after decades on the Court, that the death penalty is categorically unconstitutional.
Jul 1 California tax fight headed to U.S. Supreme Court
Sacramento Bee
A nasty, 24-year-old fight between California’s tax collectors and a computer-chip entrepreneur living in Nevada is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court – for the second time.
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.
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 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.
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 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 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 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, Fox News
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
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