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June 1 Digest

Posted By Administration, Thursday, June 2, 2016

California Assembly kills bill overhauling State Bar

In a clear rebuke to California’s system for regulating attorneys, the Assembly on Tuesday decisively rejected a bill that sought to overhaul the State Bar. A recent audit of the quasi-governmental agency lambasted it for a backlog of claims related to attorney misconduct, which the agency is tasked with investigating. By Jeremy B. White — The Sacramento Bee


Former Trump University workers call the school a ‘lie’ and a ‘scheme’ in testimony

In blunt testimony revealed on Tuesday, former managers of Trump University, the for-profit school started by Donald J. Trump, portray it as an unscrupulous business that relied on high-pressure sales tactics, employed unqualified instructors, made deceptive claims and exploited vulnerable students willing to pay tens of thousands for Mr. Trump’s insights. One sales manager for Trump University, Ronald Schnackenberg, recounted how he was reprimanded for not pushing a financially struggling couple hard enough to sign up for a $35,000 real estate class, despite his conclusion that it would endanger their economic future. By Michael Barbaro and Steve Eder — The New York Times

Campaigning for a judge's seat? A sexier title could get you elected — or sued

Every two years, candidates campaigning for judge in Los Angeles County follow the same trusted routine. Hang political signs. Vie for endorsements. And head to court to accuse rivals of lying about their ballot title. By Marisa Gerber — Los Angeles Times

Kamala Harris takes measured approach to probing SF cop shootings

In TV ads for her U.S. Senate campaign, California Attorney General Kamala Harris describes herself as fearlessly taking on “powerful” interests on behalf of “voiceless and vulnerable” Californians. But some civil rights advocates, legal scholars and community leaders say California’s top law enforcement official hasn’t done enough when it comes to investigating officer-involved shootings in San Francisco, where she was elected twice as district attorney. By Joe Garofoli — San Francisco Chronicle (sub. req.)

CA judges oppose bill to transfer judgeships

California trial judges are opposing the Judicial Council's latest political move, the introduction of a last-minute "gut and amend" bill that would allow the council to move five vacant judgeships among county courts. The effort has found an ally in the California Legislature with Assembly Member Jay Obernolte, a Republican from San Bernardino, recently signing on as a sponsor for the bill. By Maria Dinzeo — Courthouse News Service

US court: Police don't need warrant for cell tower records

Police don't have to get a search warrant to obtain records about cellphone locations in criminal investigations, a federal appeals court ruledTuesday in a case closely watched by privacy rights advocates. The 12-3 decision by the full 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a three-judge panel's ruling last year that the constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure requires police to get a warrant for information obtained from cell towers. By Larry O'Dell — The Associated Press

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May 31 Digest

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Case to Watch: California to weigh jurisdiction for out-of-state plaintiffs

The California Supreme Court is set to decide whether non- residents can sue pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb in its state courts, in an appeal that could clarify what presence companies must have in California in order to be sued there by out-of-state plaintiffs. The state high court will hear oral arguments June 2 in Bristol-Myers Squibb's bid to overturn a ruling that found California courts had jurisdiction to hear claims from non-California residents who said they were injured by the New York-based company's blood thinner Plavix. By Jessica Dye — Reuters

Judge acknowledges Donald Trump's attacks, unseals files in Trump U suit

A federal judge blasted Friday by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has taken note of the fact that Trump isn't happy with the way the judge is handling lawsuits over alleged fraud by the Trump University real estate seminar program. Just hours after Trump used a campaign speech at a San Diego convention center to unleash a remarkable verbal fusillade against U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the judge — who also happens to be based in the same Southern California city — acknowledged, in a much more measured fashion, the criticism Trump has aimed at the court. By Josh Gerstein — POLITICO

Kathryn Steinle’s parents sue over daughter’s SF slaying

The parents of a woman who was shot to death on a San Francisco pier last year sued former Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, the city and federal officials on Friday, saying the gunman would have been kept in custody, disarmed and deported if they’d done their jobs. The federal court suit by Kathryn Steinle’s parents said Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a Mexican immigrant who has admitted firing the fatal shot, was freed from jail weeks before Steinle was killed because of blunders by both Mirkarimi and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. By Bob Egelko and Kevin Schultz — San Francisco Chronicle

Rulings and remarks tell divided story of an 8-member Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is trying hard to reach common ground in the wake of the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. But some justices are trying harder than others. By Adam Liptak — The New York Times

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May 26 Digest

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 26, 2016

Google Defeats Oracle in $9 Billion Copyright Case

SAN FRANCISCO — A San Francisco federal jury has sided with Google Inc. in its copyright clash with Silicon Valley rival Oracle Corp. In a verdict handed down Thursday, 10 Bay Area jurors found that Google’s use of basic elements of the Java programming language to build its Android mobile operating system was a fair use under federal copyright law.  By Ross Todd— The Recorder


California Supreme Court to weigh in on juvenile sentences

The California Supreme Court is set to decide whether a mandatory criminal sentence of 50 years to life for a juvenile convicted of a killing violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The ruling expected Thursday comes amid heightened scrutiny of sentences for juveniles. The U.S. Supreme Court in a 2012 ruling said that children are more likely to be impetuous, fail to appreciate risks and be vulnerable to peer pressure and home environment. By Sudhin Thanawala — The Associated Press

State Supreme Court won’t hear Saucedo’s petition

The California Supreme Court has denied a petition to review the decision to remove former Tulare County Superior Court Judge Valeriano Saucedo from the bench. Saucedo filed the petition with the state’s high court in response to the California Commission on Judicial Performance’s decision onDec. 1 to end his 40-year legal career for judicial misconduct following an investigation of claims by a clerk, Priscilla Tovar, that the judge tried to entice her in 2013 by giving her $26,000 in gifts and using his position as her boss to intimidate her into a personal relationship. By David Castellon — Visalia Times-Delta


Lawyers debate merit of Monsanto case

Lawyers for Monsanto on Wednesday asked a federal judge in San Diego to toss out the test case in a novel legal strategy aimed at holding the corporate giant responsible for millions in cleanup costs associated with chemical pollution in West Coast bays and rivers. The motion to dismiss rested heavily on a technical argument that the city and the Port of San Diego have no legal standing to bring a public nuisance claim against the company for pollution from polychlorinated biphenyls, better known as PCBs. By Joshua Emerson Smith — San Diego Union-Tribune

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May 25 Digest

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 25, 2016

California's teacher tenure battle is reignited by Vergara appeal and a new bill

The fight over teacher tenure in California continues. On Tuesday, former students who sued over the issue asked the state Supreme Court to hear their appeal of the judicially whipsawed Vergara v. California case. By Joy Resmovits — Los Angeles Times


Central Valley's federal justice system among slowest in the nation

It might just be the best kept secret from Central Valley taxpayers. Federal justice moves slower here than it does just about anywhere else in the United States. By Kyle Harvey — Bakersfield Now

SF city attorney slams Sanders’ backers’ voter registration suit

A lawsuit by supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders and a group of independent voters against election officials is just a headline-grabbing “political stunt” unsupported by any evidence, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said Tuesday. The suit “cynically aims to undermine the legitimacy of our election, and to further a political narrative that has zero basis in reality,” said Herrera, whose office represents San Francisco elections Director John Arntz in the case. By Bob Egelko — San Francisco Chronicle

Sergio Garcia, who became the first undocumented immigrant to be admitted to the State Bar of California since 2008 when applicants were first required to list citizenship status on bar applications, has a new Chico office. Garcia purchased the building at the corner of Manzanita and Marjorie avenues behind Chico Nissan. By Jerry Olenyn — KRCTV News

U.S. attorney general defends lawsuit aimed at overturning North Carolina's bathroom law

U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch visited North Carolina on Tuesday and vigorously defended her decision to sue her home state over its so-called bathroom law, saying the statute amounted to state-sanctioned discrimination against a vulnerable group of citizens. In a news conference and interview, Lynch refused to yield to complaints cast hours earlier by about three dozen black pastors who sharply criticized her for linking the fight over transgender rights to past civil rights struggles. By Del Quentin Wilber — Los Angeles Times

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May 24 Digest

Posted By Paula Collis, Wednesday, May 25, 2016

LA city council president, community leaders call for hate-speech probe

Leaders in the African-American community and rabbis on Monday called for the State Bar of California to disbar attorney Wayne Spindler for the racially-charged comments he wrote on a public speaker card at a Los Angeles City Council meeting. Daniel Bakewell, publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel, an African-American owned and operated newspaper, called on the state bar to take away Spindler's law license on grounds that he violated ethics. By Jason Kandel and Angie Crouch — NBC Los Angeles

Prosecutor: My run against censured Judge Scott Steiner has been 'career suicide'

Sexual misconduct. Job retaliation. Unfair politics. All three are elements in the back-and-forth allegations in the race for the Orange County Superior Court seat held by Judge Scott Steiner. By Tony Saavedra — The Orange County Register

LA City Attorney, county to enforce new abortion notice law

The Los Angeles City Attorney's office said Monday it will enforce a new California law requiring "crisis pregnancy centers" to notify clients that the state offers access to low-cost and free abortions, even as it faces challenges in state and federal court. His statement follows a KPCC investigation last month, where a reporter visited eight pregnancy centers in Los Angeles County and found six were not complying with the Reproductive FACT Act. By Rebecca Plevin — 89.3 KPCC

Sanders supporters file lawsuit to extend California voter registration deadline

Today is the deadline to register to vote in California's primary. That's a big problem according to some Bernie Sanders supporters who are reportedly now suing to push the deadline back. Political Data Incorporated, a company that provides voter information to candidates and consultants, says so far more than 1.5 million people have registered to vote since January 1. By Sergio Quintana and Matt Keller — ABC 7 News

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Police Officer in Freddie Gray Case Is Acquitted of All Charges

Posted By Paula Collis, Monday, May 23, 2016

BALTIMORE — A police officer was acquitted of all charges on Monday in the arrest of Freddie Gray, a black man who sustained a fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody. The verdict is likely to renew debate over whether anyone will be held responsible for Mr. Gray’s death.

The officer, Edward M. Nero, sat with a straight back and stared forward as Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams, who ruled on the case after the officer opted to forgo a jury trial, read his verdict on the charges of second-degree assault, misconduct and of reckless endangerment.

Read the whole story at NY Times

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Supreme Court rules that prosecutors intentionally kept blacks off jury

Posted By Paula Collis, Monday, May 23, 2016

The Supreme Court rebuked Georgia prosecutors and judges Monday for having excluded black citizens from the murder trial of a black defendant, and then denying his claims of racial bias even after stark new evidence was revealed.

In an unusually biting opinion, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said it was “nonsense” and “not credible” for prosecutors to claim they acted for legitimate reasons when they struck several blacks from the jury pool.

For example, a prosecutor said one black juror was excluded because his son was convicted of “basically the same thing” as the defendant, who was charged with rape and murder. In fact, the man’s son had been given a suspended sentence five years earlier for stealing hubcaps from a car.

Read the whole story at LA Times

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Nonprofit law firm goes to battle for hundreds of O.C. veterans

Posted By Paula Collis, Monday, May 23, 2016

In a cramped office at Saddleback College’s veterans center, Vivian Mai, 33, confided in her lawyer. A roommate at her off-campus apartment had assaulted her. The police were called and he fled. She had changed the locks on the door.

“When he laid his hands on me, it triggered my PTSD,” said Mai, who was recovering from a traumatic stint in the Marine Corps. “I’m not doing well. I can’t sleep.”

The lawyer, Antoinette Balta, was firm. “You need to file a restraining order,” she said. “We will help you fill out the petition.”


Read the whole story at OC Register

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Ex-County Counsel Sues L.A. to Get Job Back

Posted By Paula Collis, Monday, May 23, 2016

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Los Angeles county's former top attorney claims the Board of Supervisors violated a public meetings law when it forced him to resign last year, and he wants his job back.
     Mark Saladino sued the L.A. County Board of Supervisors in Superior Court on Thursday under California's Ralph Brown Act, claiming he was summoned to appear at a "mystery" meeting with Supervisor Michael Antonovich, a Republican, and Supervisor Hilda Solis, a Democrat, on the morning of June 10, 2015.
     The county's attorney Skip Miller, with Miller Barondess, also attended, according to Saladino, who says the supervisors told him he was being reassigned and would have to announce his resignation.

Read the whole story at Courthouse News Service

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U.S. court allows private-prison inmates to sue over valley fever

Posted By Paula Collis, Monday, May 23, 2016

Inmates infected with valley fever at a federal prison in Central California can sue the government for damages even though the prison is run by a private contractor, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

Although the U.S. Bureau of Prisons is not involved in day-to-day operations at Taft Correctional Institution in Kern County, the bureau can be held responsible for placing the inmates there without warning them about an ongoing outbreak of the airborne illness, said the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. A warning might have allowed them to request a transfer or take precautions, the court said. 

Read the whole story at SF Gate

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more Calendar

Barristers' Annual Judges Luncheon

Knowing When To Accept A Case and When It's Time To Say Goodbye.

Disability and ERISA Issue Spotting for Labor Law Attorneys

Recent Recognitions
Hon. Edward J. Davila2017 Diversity of the Year
Susana Inda2018 Barrister of the Year

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