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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.

Oct 1 Audio: More on California's New Traffic Amnesty Program
Millions of Californians with suspended licenses could soon be back on the road.
Related: Traffic/Infraction Amnesty, San Diego Union Tribune, KPIX, CBS News 8
Oct 1 Gov. Brown signs law easing challenges to traffic tickets
Los Angeles Times
Californians will now be allowed to challenge most routine traffic tickets in court without having to first pay the contested fines.
Related: L.A. Weekly
Oct 1 California Working To Bring Interpreters To Civil Courtrooms
California state courts have long provided interpreters to people who are accused of a crime. But when it comes to civil cases where things like custody or restraining orders are decided, the need is not met.
Related: Language Access
Oct 2 New Yolo County Courthouse ‘100 years in the making'
Daily Democrat
Chief Justice of California Tani Cantil-Sakauye and Presiding Judge Kathleen White, cut a ribbon, signifying the Grand Opening of the new Yolo County Courthouse.
Related: New Woodland Courthouse
Oct 1 David Pasternak tackles bar presidency while battling cancer
Califiornia Bar Journal
When he is sworn in this month as the 91st president of the State Bar of California, David J. Pasternak plans to introduce a special guest without whom he would not be holding office. That person: his oncologist.
Oct 2 Judicial Profile: Dana B. Simonds
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Sonoma County Judge Dana Simonds earns praise for attempting to guide wayward youths.
Related: Superior Court of Sonoma County
Sep 30 Video: California offering amnesty on traffic debt for poor
California is instituting an amnesty program for residents who can’t afford to pay off spiraling traffic fines and court fees that have led to millions of driver’s licenses being suspended.
Related: Traffic Tickets / Infractions Amnesty Program, San Francisco Chronicle, Press Enterprise, NBC 7 San Diego, Capital Public Radio, KCRA, KPCC, CBS Los Angeles, ABC 7, Times of San Diego
Sep 30 New Yolo Courthouse an historic occasion
Daily Democrat
Tomorrow’s Grand Opening Celebration at the new Yolo County Courthouse on Main Street in downtown Woodland is arguably an historic occasion, being that the last dedication was held more than 100 years ago.
Related: Daily Democrat
Oct 1 Court of Appeal Upholds Law Designed to Curb Paparazzi
Met News
A state law designed to curtail reckless driving by photographers does not violate the First Amendment right to freedom of the press, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled yesterday.
Related: Daily Journal
Oct 1 Opinion: Can the court just remove a measure?
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) On Oct. 6, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. Padilla, S220289, the most significant separation of powers case the state Supreme Court has faced in decades, is scheduled for hearing.
Related: Oral Argument Briefs, At the Lectern, SCOCAblog
Oct 1 Judge considers suit over failure to increase judicial salaries
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Arguments took place Wednesday in a two-hour bench trial over whether the state controller's failure to increase the salaries of judicial officers from 2008 to 2013 violated state law.
Oct 1 Judicial Profile: Stanley L. Eller
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) A modest, easygoing man, Stanley L. Eller dislikes lawyers who make matters needlessly complex.
Related: Superior Court of Mono County
Sep 30 Buried under unpaid traffic fines? California launches amnesty program
Los Angeles Times
An amnesty program for Californians saddled with unpaid traffic tickets takes effect Thursday, paving the way for low-income drivers to win back their licenses.
Related: News Release, Associated Press, Sacramento Bee, Orange County Register, Modesto Bee, KGO, East County Magazine
Sep 30 San Diego Public Safety Costs Steady Despite High State Corrections Spending
The state is four years into its program to reduce prison overcrowding by shifting lower-level offenders to county jails and probation, and reducing some sentences.
Sep 30 State appeals court rejects Prop. 47 resentencing
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) A superior court judge cannot reconsider a criminal sentence when the defendant is pursuing a related appeal, a state appeals court decided Tuesday, highlighting an issue that experts say is ripe for California Supreme Court review.
Sep 30 Criticism of bail system increases
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The median bail amount in California is more than five times the national median amount, leading several legal experts to criticize the current system for undue monetary punishment and unjust guilty pleas.
Sep 30 Judicial Profile: Heather Mardel Jones
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Fresno County Commissioner Heather Jones believes kindness pays off in career and courtroom.
Related: Superior Court of Fresno County
Sep 29 Editorial: New Yolo Courthouse will change Woodland
Daily Democrat
We’ve heard people complain about the appearance of the new Yolo County Courthouse. Some say it’s ugly. Some say it has no “architectural grace,” whatever that means. Some people complain about lack of parking, lack of handicapped parking, lack of nearby parking. Others complain about how it has too much grass facing Main Street, or not enough grass elsewhere.
Related: New Woodland Courthouse
Sep 29 In major win for workers, 9th Circuit endorses Iskanian
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) In a big victory for plaintiff's employment lawyers, a divided federal appellate panel on Monday deferred to a landmark state Supreme Court ruling from one year ago and decided employees cannot waive their right to bring representative claims under the state's Private Attorney General Act.
Related: San Francisco Chronicle, The Recorder, Met News, Bloomberg BNA, National Law Journal
Sep 28 Union Courts Judicial Council Workers
The Recorder
After several years of flirting with the idea, the Service Employees International Union has launched a campaign to unionize employees of the Judicial Council.
Sep 28 Court Street Courthouse served as epicenter for Yolo County government
Daily Democrat
While the now abandoned Courthouse at 725 Court St., was completed in 1917, the site has actually been the epicenter of Yolo County government for more than a century.
Sep 28 Crime down, costs up since prison realignment, study finds
San Francisco Chronicle
Another goal of realignment — reducing California’s high rate of recidivism, the commission of new crimes by recently released inmates — hasn’t been accomplished yet, the report said.
Sep 28 Concern grows over rules for foreign GCs
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) California is one of many states that lacks a rule on the practice of foreign in-house counsel.
Sep 28 Specialty court helps struggling East Bay veterans clean up records, clean up lives
Bay Area News Group
Alameda County Veterans Court gives vets entangled in the criminal justice system the opportunity to clean up criminal records and clean up their lives post-conviction, with individualized attention and at their own pace.
Sep 28 Judicial Profile: Graciela L. Freixes
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) LA Superior Court Judge Graciela Freixes is well traveled, enthusiastic, and decisive on the bench.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Sep 27 Editorial: Legislature shouldn't meddle with judicial branch
Orange County Register
A bill passed by the state Legislature manages to violate both separation-of-powers principles. Senate Bill 682 is by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and severely limits when local trial courts can contract-out services.
Related: Los Angeles Times
Sep 27 Prop 47 could purge DNA database
San Diego Union Tribune
The fate of as many as 500,000 DNA samples collected from felony arrestees and stored in a state database is at the center of the latest court battle over Proposition 47.
Sep 27 Overloaded federal courts lead to delays in civil, criminal cases as judges try to keep up
Associated Press
Across the country, federal district courts have seen a rise in recent years in the time it takes to get civil cases to trial and resolve felony criminal cases as judges' workloads have increased, according to statistics from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
Sep 26 Dedication ceremony planned for new Courthouse
Daily Democrat
Following a successful move from one building to another, Yolo Superior Court staff are hosting a dedication ceremony to celebrate their new home.
Related: News Release
Sep 26 Justice delayed: Stanislaus courts slowest in state for murder trials
The Modesto Bee
The Bee’s statewide survey turns up no county with more ponderous pileup problem.
Sep 25 Opinion: The Disappearing Precedent
The Marshall Project
The California Supreme Court Wednesday refused to intercede in a dispute between lower court judges and prosecutors over the constitutionality of a dubious confession given by a juvenile defendant. But the dispute wasn’t over the merits of the confession or the appropriateness of the order that suppressed its use.
Sep 25 Opinion: Thomas Peele: California's public records practices can shock outsiders
San Jose Mercury News
It's around this time each year that a student from another state reacts incredulously to something I've said about government access in California during a lecture at the Graduate School of Journalism at Berkeley.
Sep 25 State high court to determine if voters can decide Citizens United advisory measure
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The state Legislature is constitutionally muzzled, Republican lawyers claim. As a result, a conservative lobby plans to argue to the state's highest court next month, lawmakers are forbidden from asking voters at the ballot box what they think about the sway of big money on political campaigns.
Related: California Supreme Court
Sep 25 S.C. Declines to Stop Proceedings Against ‘Vexatious’ Valley Lawyer
Met News
The California Supreme Court has declined to dismiss State Bar disciplinary proceedings against a Northridge attorney accused of filing 11 separate frivolous appeals in connection with a dispute over a family trust, among other things.
Sep 25 Bid to raise medical malpractice payouts blocked by the state high court
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) In yet another blow to the plaintiffs' bar, the state Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously denied review of a case aimed at raising the damages cap on medical malpractice lawsuits.
Sep 25 Judicial Profile: D. Tyler Tharpe
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Judge D. Tyler Tharpe, a sports official, brings calm efficiency to Fresno County's family court.
Related: Superior Court of Fresno County
Sep 24 New Court Marks Shift in Fight Against School Truancy
Students in Contra Costa County with too many absences would have to do community service or would have their driver’s license revoked.
Sep 24 Supreme Court to tackle reach of CEQA
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) If you wanted to build a freeway in California, the state's bedrock environmental law requires a look at how all that car pollution might harm people living near the new roadway. But what about when you build an apartment building next to an existing freeway - do you have to look at how that freeway pollution will affect the building's future residents?
Sep 24 Judicial Profile: Kristi Culver Kapetan
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Judge Kristi Culver Kapetan has finally put up pictures in her chambers after eight years on the bench.
Related: Superior Court of Fresno County
Sep 23 Report Shows Increase in Superior Court Workloads
Met News
Filings in “high workload” cases in the state’s superior courts—including felonies, probate and mental health cases, and dependency cases—are increasing, the Judicial Council said in its annual Court Statistics Report.
Related: News Release
Sep 23 Opinion: Relief for Californians with traffic fines
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) California judges have the authority to do a lot to help people in this situation. However, as the report noted, millions of Californians were never able to see a judge because they were required to pay the full amount they owed in advance.
Sep 23 Judicial Profile: Suzanne R. Bolanos
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Bolanos was one of two Latinas in her class. The other one, Pamela C. Sanchez, wore cowboy boots every day and the two became fast friends. The campus was intimidating at first, but in less than one semester Bolanos found her groove.
Related: Superior Court of San Francisco County
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