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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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Civil Practice News: Judicial Arbitrator to Rule 4 Neutral

Posted By Amy R. Carlson, Friday, March 6, 2015

by Amy R. Carlson

Employment Rights Attorneys, LLP

 

Last month, I wrote about being a Rule 4 Early Settlement Neutral.  Rule 4 neutrals are apparently a rare breed.  We need more of them and so I'm writing about them again.   

I found out this week that being a judicial arbitrator is not the same as being a Rule 4 neutral.  It turns out that if you are listed as a judicial arbitrator, you'll have to fill out a short form to become a Rule 4 neutral---the two do not overlap. 

Because there is no overlap, the Superior Court is short on Rule 4 neutrals and long on judicial arbitrators.  If you're seeing this message, you're already one step closer to helping out your legal community and making a few dollars at the same time. Go to http://www.scscourt.org/forms_and_filing/forms/CV-5016.pdf and fill out the form.

The Court could also use your help in recruiting Temporary Judges.  Temporary Judges can serve as Judicial Officers at the Superior Court.  (Any of you with aspirations of becoming a judge should pay attention) 

Qualified and experienced attorneys may volunteer their time to serve as part of the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara's Temporary Judge Program.  They are appointed and serve at the discretion of the Court.  http://www.scscourt.org/general_info/jo/temp_judges.shtml 

I have not yet applied for this prestigious opportunity as I am on the Judiciary Committee, but it looks rewarding and quite interesting.  They even provide training (which I have heard may get you some MCLE credits).   

As I said before, any of these opportunities are a great way to meet new people and reunite with old friends (or enemies---whatever).  Giving back to a Court that has given you a home away from home in your career is the best way to show your passion for the law and your compassion for the people of Santa Clara County. 

Thank you for reading and if you have any questions or comments, please jot me a note in the comment section below. 

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Alabama’s Dangerous Defiance

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 6, 2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — On Tuesday the Supreme Court of Alabamaprohibited the state’s probate judges from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This decision effectively throws down the gauntlet, challenging the federal courts to make earlier federal rulings stick — including last month’s refusal by the United States Supreme Court to stay a federal judge’s decision requiring the state to recognize same-sex marriages. It draws on a disturbing line of thinking in the history of American federalism, one that, were it to gain currency as a model, could compromise our entire system of law.

The court’s position is that under the Constitution, it does not have to follow the rulings of lower federal courts; in its ruling, it promises to “defer only to the holdings of the United States Supreme Court.” (That said, Chief Justice Roy Moore’s public statements have been more equivocal; he told a radio host in Birmingham, Ala., “It would be a very hard decision, because I know there’s nothing in the U.S. Constitution that authorizes the Supreme Court of the United States or any federal court anywhere to misinterpret the word marriage.”)

Such extreme states’ rights positions first appeared during an epic battle between the great chief justice John Marshall and Spencer Roane, a member of the Virginia Court of Appeals. The two were bitter political and ideological enemies in the early years of the republic, and Roane had long railed against the authority of the federal Supreme Court over state courts. He repeatedly declined to implement federal decisions with which he disagreed, and refused to recognize the authority of federal courts to review state court rulings. In the end, however, Marshall prevailed.

Read the whole story at The New York Times

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Growth of legal incubator movement on display at conference

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 5, 2015

When proponents of legal incubators held seminars several years ago about their efforts to address the unmet legal needs of the public, they say they were thrilled to draw anywhere from a half-dozen to a dozen people.

This past weekend, 160 people gathered at California Western School of Law for the second annual international conference on legal incubators and residencies, a 33 percent increase in attendance over the first gathering last spring.

Incubator pioneers said the large turnout and excitement among attendees demonstrates the state of the movement — which has seen an increase in the past three years from a handful to at least three dozen incubators worldwide — is as strong as it has ever been.

Fred Rooney, who founded the first incubator in New York eight years ago and oversaw the launch of the first international one in the Dominican Republic in 2013, said he expects the momentum to continue, especially with additional projects funded or on the drawing board.

“We have the energy. We have the drive," said Rooney, of Touro Law Center in New York. "We have the ambition to push our institutions to be able do more and to be able to serve the millions of the people in this country who don’t even have a prayer of ever seeing a lawyer.”

Directors of incubators, law school leaders, bar association representatives, judges and attorneys were among those attending the event.

Read the whole story at San Diego Source

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State has DNA databases from cradle to jail

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 5, 2015

In 2015, genes have many uses.

Soon after every baby in California is born, a hospital worker extracts and logs its genetic information. It will be tested for diseases and then stashed permanently in a warehouse containing a generation of Californians’ DNA.

For those charged with a felony – or, potentially, just arrested – a sliver of genetic code will be taken and placed in a state database that has grown rapidly in the last decade.

As scientists have mapped the personalized blueprints contained in each strand of DNA, the government has been collecting and storing reams of genetic material to combat disease and capture criminals. In seeking to shape when public agencies can take genetic information and how they can use it, lawmakers face a tension between individual privacy and public health and safety.

“You want to make sure government isn’t collecting too much DNA, but you also recognize it is the modern fingerprint,” said Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, though he differentiated genetics from fingerprints: “You’re taking the very stuff of life.”

Read the whole story at The Modesto Bee

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Sunnyvale can enforce gun ordinance, appeals court rules

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 5, 2015

A federal appeals court decided unanimously Wednesday that the Bay Area city of Sunnyvale can enforce an ordinance prohibiting large-capacity gun magazines.

The ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals clears the way for other cities to pass similar bans. A ban of large-capacity magazines in Los Angeles is headed toward a City Council vote, and San Francisco already has passed a law to outlaw the ammunition devices.

State law prohibits the sale of such magazines, but the city laws go further by barring even their possession.

"Sunnyvale's interests in promoting public safety and reducing violent crime are substantial and important government interests," Judge Michael Daly Hawkins, a Clinton appointee, wrote for the court.

Read the whole story at LA Times

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Law School Dean: Demographics of California's Bench Reflect Need for Diversity

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 5, 2015

     

 

A new report on the demographics of California's nearly 1,700 judges finds slow but sure progress on making the bench look more like the state. And yet, more than two-thirds of California judges are white males. What difference does it make, and why should we care? Host Scott Shafer talks with Kevin R. Johnson, dean of the UC Davis Law School and the first Latino to head a University of California law school. 

 

Read the whole story at The California Report

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Grinch Charged with PC 487 (Grand Theft – Christmas)

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Santa Clara County Judges adopt San Jose’s Horace Mann School for the Court’s annual participation in Read Across America.

 

SAN JOSE, Calif. (March 3, 2015): Nineteen judges from the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara (Court) volunteered during their lunch hour to celebrate national Read Across America at this year’s sponsored school -- San Jose Unified School District’s Horace Mann School. Judges read stories that were either written by Dr. Seuss, celebrated Black History Month or gave a child's perspective into the court system. All of the books selected and ready by the judges were donated to the school, including many Dr. Seuss books that were purchased during the holidays by Court staff to support this event.

 

Sponsored by the National Education Association, Read Across America Day is a nationwide reading celebration that takes place annually on March 2—Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books.

 

"Our adoption of a school for Read Across America is truly one of our most cherished annual traditions at the Court. Aside from being a fun, educationally enriching experience, students benefit from seeing firsthand the strong ethnic and gender diversity of Santa Clara County’s bench," said Judge Julia Alloggiamento, Chair of the Court's Community Outreach Committee. " It’s not simply story time for our judges It’s an opportunity for us to spend some real quality time with young people, sharing our personal stories and hopefully inspiring the next generation to become whatever they dream, whether that be a judge, teacher or carpenter."

 

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Technology changes the game with juror misconduct

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 2, 2015

It's an admonishment jurors have received since Perry Mason was a pup: "Do not discuss, research or form an opinion about this case."

These days, that admonition seems as quaint and outdated as the black-and-white reruns in which Mason, the iconic TV barrister, lives on. Technology has changed the game.

The proliferation of smartphones and the ubiquity of wireless Internet access have given jurors -- instantly, effortlessly and in many cases anonymously -- the means to flaunt age-old judicial safeguards put in place to guarantee the constitutional right to a fair trial. Moreover, they have created for jurors a sense of entitlement to rival a judge's robed authority.

"They cannot stop themselves," Contra Costa Chief Public Defender Robin Lipetzky said. "It's so easy for them. Do we have statistics on this kind of misbehavior? No. But there's no doubt in my mind that it's pervasive."

Read the whole story at ChicoER News

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Santa Clara County: Ex-jailer says planting informants was routine

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 2, 2015

A former Santa Clara County Jail official has claimed he routinely helped cops and prosecutors plant jailhouse informants to actively dig up information from suspects for about 10 years ending in the late 1990s, potentially violating a Supreme Court ruling that prevents the government from sending anyone to interrogate defendants without their lawyer being present.

The remarks by retired Lt. Frank Dixon in a sworn declaration he gave in an appellate case, as well as an interview with this newspaper, appear to be a rare admission of what defendants have long insisted is a common civil rights violation by law enforcement.

Under a 1986 Supreme Court ruling, the government may plant jailhouse informants only as "silent listening posts" who cannot deliberately elicit incriminating information from the accused.

 

Read the whole story at San Jose Mercury News

 

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Brown continues trailblazing judicial appointments

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 2, 2015

Gov. Jerry Brown, a trailblazer in his judicial appointments, set some new milestones last year.

A report from Brown’s office Friday said 35 of his 76 judicial appointees in 2014, or 46 percent, were racial or ethnic minorities. The figures don’t include his two latest appointees to the state Supreme Court, who were both sworn into office last month: Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, a former Stanford law professor and an immigrant from Mexico, and Leondra Kruger, a former U.S. Justice Department lawyer who is African American. About 38 percent of Brown’s  court appointees in the previous three years were minorities.

More than 40 percent of last year’s new judges are women, also an increase from Brown’s previous record.

Read the whole story at SFGate

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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
Susana Inda2018 Barrister of the Year

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