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News for, and by, our local legal community, curated and created by the Santa Clara County Bar. The opinions expressed in this blog are the authors' own and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of the Santa Clara County Bar Association, its members, its employees, or its governing board.

 

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Barry Bonds case: Feds considering U.S. Supreme Court appeal

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 29, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Justice Department is seriously considering asking the U.S. Supreme Court to restore home run king Barry Bonds' obstruction of justice conviction, according to court papers filed on Tuesday.

San Francisco U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag urged the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to hold off on finalizing last week's ruling overturning Bonds' 2011 felony conviction to give prosecutors time to decide whether to appeal to the Supreme Court. The government has until July 22 to ask the high court to intervene, prosecutors said in court papers.

In a 10-1 ruling, the 9th Circuit wiped out what was left of the long-running prosecution of the former San Francisco Giant, concluding there was insufficient evidence to back up the charge that his rambling testimony interfered with a federal grand jury probing the BALCO steroids scandal more than a decade ago.

Read the whole story at Inside Bay Area News

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State Bar Court judge rules to disbar S.F. lawyer for taking funds

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 27, 2015

A State Bar Court judge has recommended that a San Francisco attorney be disbarred for taking $55,000 from the trust fund of a client who was in prison.

Michael Scott Keck removed the money to repay a debt to another client, lied to his imprisoned client and concealed his actions for four years, Judge Lucy Armendariz said in a ruling April 13. The bar suspended Keck from practice three days later.

Keck has practiced law since 1986 and had no previous record of misconduct.

The case stems from his representation of Harvey Hereford, an attorney who pleaded guilty in 2004 to manslaughter for a drunken-driving crash in Sonoma County that killed bicyclist Alan Liu and injured another cyclist, Jill Mason.

Read the whole story at SFGate

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New California Supreme Court surprises analysts early on

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 27, 2015

  

 

When Gov. Jerry Brown's two latest nominees joined the California Supreme Court in January, legal analysts foresaw the creation of a more liberal majority.

The first test came in March, when the seven-member court had to decide whether to reconsider a death penalty case. Justices Mariano-Florentino Cuellar and Leondra R. Kruger provided two crucial votes to give the death row inmate another chance to argue that his sentence should be overturned.

But in a case involving a law that some judges said had been inspired by homophobia, Cuellar and Kruger were on different sides.

During a closed session last week, Kruger joined the more conservative justices in refusing to revisit a decision that said adults who have consensual oral sex with minors must register as sex offenders — even though registration is not mandatory for adults who have sexual intercourse with people in the same age group.

Read the whole story at LA Times

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Kleiner Perkins Tallies $1M Bill for Ellen Pao

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 27, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO — After last month's trial win, venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is asking for almost $1 million in defense costs from plaintiff Ellen Pao.

The Silicon Valley firm said it will waive its $972,815 request if Pao agrees not to appeal the verdict. The sum includes $864,680 for payments to expert witnesses including Harvard Business School professor Paul Gompers, who charges $900 an hour. Kleiner Perkins scored a total victory following a monthlong sex discrimination trial that riveted Silicon Valley and prompted widespread discussion of gender disparity in the venture capital and tech industries.

Pao, a former junior partner at the firm, claimed she was refused promotions and ultimately fired because she's a woman, and as retaliation for complaining about the firm's sexually charged, boy's club culture. A jury of six men and six women in San Francisco Superior Court returned a defense verdict March 27.

Read the whole story at The Recorder

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Announcement: WiFi Access at the Santa Cruz Superior Court

Posted By Administration, Friday, April 24, 2015

Announcement from the Santa Cruz Superior Court 

 

If your practice takes you to the Santa Cruz Courthouse, you can obtain an annual subscription to courthouse WiFi through the Santa Cruz County Bar Association. 

Annual Subscription rates are based on the number of attorneys in your firm:

1.  Sole practitioners  - $60 a year 
2.  Law firms of 2 through 5 - $55 per lawyer 
3.  Law firms of 6 through 10 - $50 per lawyer
4.  Law firms of 11 or more - $45 per lawyer

(*Note:  If you are a firm of 2 or more, only pay for lawyers in your firm who will each be using the WiFi program.)

To sign up for an annual subscription, please contact the Santa Cruz County Bar Association at 831-423-5031.

Limited duration subscriptions are also available onsite at the courthouse. There are signs throughout the courthouse explaining the password process using a credit card for payment. 

WiFi access may be particularly useful come October, when the Tyler Odyssey Case Management System goes live at the courthouse. Call the Santa Cruz County Bar Association today to sign up for an annual WiFi account at 831-423-5031.

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Telling a Harasser to Back Off is Protected Conduct, Court Says

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 23, 2015

Workers who resist the sexual advances of a harasser are entitled to protection under anti-retaliation laws, a federal appeals court said Wednesday in a ruling that sets up a circuit split.

Siding with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit for the first time ruled that saying no to a harassing supervisor qualifies as protected activity under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

The three-judge panel upheld a $1.5 million jury award to four former employees of New Breed Logistics for sexual harassment and retaliation.

“Sexual harassment is without question an ‘unlawful employment practice.’ If an employee demands that his/her supervisor stop engaging in this unlawful practice—i.e., resists or confronts the supervisor’s unlawful harassment—the opposition clause’s broad language confers protection to this conduct,” Judge Keith Damon wrote for the panel, which included Chief Judge R. Guy Cole Jr. and Judge Alice Batchelder.

Read the whole story at National Law Review

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After Long Delay, Loretta Lynch Confirmed as Attorney General

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 23, 2015

Lynch, in 56-43 vote, becomes first African American woman to lead the Justice Department.

The Senate on Thursday afternoon confirmed Loretta Lynch to be the U.S. attorney general, the first African-American woman to hold the post.

Lynch’s 56-43 confirmation vote marked the end of a five-month wait marked by political wrangling over President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration and an unrelated Senate spat over federal abortion funding.

“Even Republicans who will vote against her because they disagree with the president praise her credentials and personal qualifications,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, said before an earlier vote Thursday to end debate and move to confirmation. No previous attorney general nominee has been subject to such a cloture vote, which carries with it a filibuster threat.

Obama in November nominated Lynch—who until Thursday was the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York—to succeed Eric Holder Jr., the first African-American to lead the Justice Department.

Read the whole story at The National Law Journal



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Barry Bonds’s Obstruction-of-Justice Conviction Overturned

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 23, 2015

Barry Bonds’s obstruction-of-justice conviction was reversed Wednesday by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled his meandering answer before a grand jury in 2003 wasn’t material to the government’s investigation into steroids distribution.

Bonds, baseball’s career home-run leader, was indicted in 2007 for his testimony four years earlier before the grand jury investigating the illegal distribution of performance-enhancing drugs by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative.

Following a trial that opened in March 2011, a jury deadlocked on three counts charging Bonds with making false statements when he denied receiving steroids and human growth hormone from trainerGreg Anderson and denied receiving injections from Anderson or his associates.

Read the whole story at The Wall Street Journal

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The Meme-Worthy Judge of Silicon Valley’s Titans

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 21, 2015

IN 2011, DURING a tense court hearing between two of the world’s biggest gadget makers—Apple had brought a suit against Samsung, alleging the South Korean company had “slavishly” copied its iPhone and iPad to produce its Samsung Galaxy line of products—Judge Lucy Koh held up both companies’ tablets above her head and asked a Samsung lawyer, Kathleen Sullivan, if she could tell which one was which.

After an uncomfortable beat, Sullivan—who also happens to be a former Stanford Law School dean—responded, “Not at this distance, your honor.” She stood at a podium about 10 feet away.

Just another day in Judge Koh’s courtroom. In Silicon Valley, new tech constantly butts up against old laws—and companies are always trying to find legal loopholes that give them an advantage. It falls to Koh, 46, with five years on the bench in US District Court in San Jose, to give the tech elite a stern talking-to. And Koh’s rulings on cases relating to patent infringement, privacy, and wage conspiracy don’t just influence the big-name firms that test the boundaries of the law. They affect every one of those firms’ users, which explains why Koh has garnered so much attention for her decisions.

Read the whole story at Wired.com

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Courts' Improvement Fund Broke; Cuts Coming, Judicial Council Says

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 20, 2015

(CN) - With a crucial judiciary coffer running at a deficit, California's Judicial Council met Friday to deliver a painful blow of funding cuts to trial court security, technology, court-appointed counsel for juveniles and complex civil litigation.

The Improvement and Modernization Fund, for years a source of funding for court technology projects, interpreters, court security, judicial education, subscriptions to publications, jury management, self-help centers and a host of other projects and programs, is $11 million in the hole.

"There is no money in the IMF," Judge Laurie Earl of Sacramento gravely told the council. "Any action you do today needs to be based on there's no money in the IMF. This fund runs at a deficit. It has a structural imbalance and we need to act now or we'll be forced off the cliff that is looming. The cliff is here and we are standing at the edge of it."

Earl chairs the council's trial court budget advisory committee, and is co-chair of its revenue and expenditure subcommittee.

On Friday, Earl's committee recommended that the council approve about $10.8 million in cuts, which will eliminate funding for nine programs, including publication subscriptions, trial court security grants, alternative dispute resolution centers and the complex civil litigation program, which funds complex civil litigation staff in the superior courts of Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, Orange, San Francisco, and Santa Clara County.

The elimination of complex civil litigation funding from the IMF will save $4 million, the committee estimated. Future funding will be based on workload need.
The recommendations were a last-ditch effort to save the fund from insolvency, but the notion of de-funding programs like trial court security and complex civil litigation did not sit well with many council members.

Read the whole story at Courthouse News Service

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more Latest News
more Calendar

8/7/2018
Barristers' Annual Judges Luncheon

8/23/2018
Disability and ERISA Issue Spotting for Labor Law Attorneys

10/10/2018
2018 Annual Judges' Night Dinner

Recent Recognitions
Hon. Edward J. Davila2017 Diversity of the Year
Hon. Julie A. Emede2017 Outstanding Jurist of the Year

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