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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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San Francisco Court Workers Picket

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 25, 2014

(CN) - San Francisco Superior Court workers picketed at the Civic Center Courthouse on Tuesday as union members held a vote on whether to walk off their jobs if talks with court managers don't bring a pay raise.     

The scene outside the main entrance to the civil courthouse across from City Hall was celebratory and confrontational, with a large gray rat on display and union leaders exhorting the crowd of workers. During the course of labor negotiations, the court workers have often donned purple clothing on Wednesdays to show support for the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 which has a purple logo.     

Signalling a high level of commitment to his cause, one court worker picketing on Wednesday wore a purple bow tie with a purple shirt. A bus had brought additional demonstrators from the criminal courthouse.     

"I don't like getting disrespected," union chapter president Diane Williams said over a loudspeaker. "We want the money!"     Court spokeswoman Ann Donlan said it would not be appropriate to discuss labor issues with the media while negotiations between court and union representatives are under way.     

In addition to picketing, the court workers were also filling out ballots at tables set up on the sidewalk, deciding whether to walk off the job if they do not win a raise.     

The clerks, who marched during their lunch breaks, were pressing for a raise just two years after a long and largely successful battle in 2012 to reverse a 5% pay cut that came along with draconian cuts to the statewide court budget. That 2012 showdown included a brief strike, before the two sides came to agreement.

Read more via Courthouse News Service: http://www.courthousenews.com/2014/09/24/71777.htm

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Santa Clara County reduces court hours for public

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 25, 2014

Santa Clara County is closing its courthouses for public business an hour earlier daily, the latest fallout from statewide budgets cuts for the judiciary.

The change announced Wednesday will result in clerk's offices closing at 3 p.m. each day, reducing the time county residents can file documents such as divorce papers and lawsuits. The court last month closed small claims and traffic courts in its Palo Alto and Morgan Hill branches to ease budget troubles. 

The trend has hit courts across California, which has slashed more than $1 billion in funding for the state's 58 trial courts and other parts of the judiciary in recent years. While the governor did restore some money in this year's budget, court officials say they still do not have enough to keep the same level of services.

More than half of the state's trial courts, including most in the Bay Area, have taken similar steps, reducing hours that courts are open and in some instances closing down satellite courts.

 

Read via San Jose Mercury News: http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_26597509/santa-clara-county-reduces-court-hours-public

 

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PUBLIC NOTICE: Reduced Business Hours

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 24, 2014

IMPORTANT PUBLIC NOTICE

 

The Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara operates courthouses in Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, San Jose and Morgan Hill.  This is to inform the public of the Superior Court’s decision to reduce business office and telephone hours by one hour.  Beginning Monday, November 24, 2014, the daily office and telephone hours will be 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

 

The Court finds this action is necessary due to the significant and continuing cuts to the State Judicial Branch Budget.  Since 2009, state funding for the judicial branch has been significantly reduced, with those reductions impacting the budgets of individual superior courts.  The limited amount of funding restored in FY 2014-15 does not make it fiscally feasible to keep the same business hours. 

 

The Court apologizes for the inconvenience this may cause.  If you would like to submit comments about the proposed reductions, please send them to David H. Yamasaki, Court Executive Officer, 191 North First Street, San Jose, California 95113 by November 24, 2014.

 

For further information, please check the Superior Court website at www.scscourt.org.

 

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Governor signs bill meant to curb frivolous behavior in court

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill that authorizes trial courts to award legal expenses to a party if the lawyer on the other side is acting like a jerk.

Assembly Bill 2494 by Democratic Assemblyman Ken Cooley from Rancho Cordova seeks to curb tactics that are frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay.

Sponsored by the Civil Justice Association of California, the bill restores a tool to reduce bad-faith behavior in litigation. It plugs a gap in a 1995 law that allows sanctions for filing frivolous lawsuits, but limits the tool to filings -- and only after 21 days had passed. This aligned California law with federal law in treatment of frivolous filings.

Read more via Sacramento Business Journal: http://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/news/2014/09/24/governor-signs-bill-frivolous-court-behavior-calif.html

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Ninety Second Networking with SCCBA

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 23, 2014

  


SAN JOSE, CA (Sept 23, 2014) - Last week, 24 mentors, including one area judge, and 44 newer attorneys met after hours at the offices of the Santa Clara County Bar Association at the speed networking event, "Forming Connections and Bridging the Experience Gap." This event, sponsored by the SCCBA Diversity Committee, allowed the newer attorneys of Silicon Valley an opportunity to network and learn from their more experienced professional peers.


The event included a reception with the SCCBA Executive Committee, which allowed the young barristers a chance to network in an unstructured environment, as well as an hour-long panel discussion exploring the personal narratives and career paths of the panelists, including the different mentoring relationships each has had.


This annual event, sponsored by Fenwick & West, Greenfield, and Hoge Fenton Jones & Appel,  allows newer attorneys an opportunity to form connections and gain exposure to more experienced practitioners, as well as insight,  in a hands-on and intimate format.  

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Santa Clara County Judges Elect New Leadership

Posted By Administration, Monday, September 22, 2014

Assistant Presiding Judge Risë Pichon elevated to Presiding Judge; Judge Patricia Lucas named new Assistant Presiding Judge.

 

SAN JOSE, Calif. (September 22, 2014): the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara (Court) has elected its new leadership for the 2015-17 term, with Assistant Presiding Judge Risë Pichon elevated to Presiding Judge and Judge Patricia Lucas named new Assistant Presiding Judge. 

 

“Judges Pichon and Lucas are two incredibly capable leaders. I am confident that, under Judge Pichon’s leadership, the Court will continue to tackle the tremendous fiscal challenges ahead while serving Santa Clara County residents with the utmost integrity,” said Presiding Judge Brian C. Walsh. “Having worked with Judge Pichon as closely as I have over the past two years, I know that I’ll be leaving the Court’s leadership in incredibly skilled and gifted hands.” 

 

The Court’s leadership transition will become effective on January 1, 2015.

 

ABOUT PRESIDING JUDGE-ELECT RISË PICHON

Judge Risë Pichon was first appointed to the Municipal Court of Santa Clara County in July 1984 and is currently the Assistant Presiding Judge. Before becoming the Assistant Presiding, Judge Pichon was the Supervising Judge of the Criminal Division, the Court’s largest area. Judge Pichon was admitted to the Bar in 1976 and earned both her Bachelor of Science and Juris Doctor degrees from Santa Clara University.

 

Before being appointed, Judge Pichon was an attorney with the Office of the Public Defender      (1976-79) and the Office of the County Counsel (1979-83). Judge Pichon also served as a Commissioner for the Municipal Court of Santa Clara County (1983-84).

 

A resident of Santa Clara County since 1969, Judge Pichon has been involved in many community activities, including President of the St. Thomas More Society Board of Directors, as well as Santa Clara University School of Law’s 100th Anniversary Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, and Markkula Center for Applied Ethics Advisory Board, Self-Study Committee and Board of Visitors.

 

Judge Pichon’s many honors include 2014 Judge of the Year for the Santa Clara County Bar Association Women Lawyers Committee, 2012 “100 Women of Influence” (Silicon Valley Business Journal), 2011 Judge of the Year (Santa Clara County Bar Association) and 2011 Social Justice and Human Rights Award (Santa Clara University School of Law).

 

ABOUT ASSISTANT PRESIDING JUDGE-ELECT PATRICIA LUCAS

Judge Patricia Lucas was first appointed to the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara County in 2002 and is currently the Supervising Judge of the Civil Division. Judge Lucas was admitted to the Bar in 1979 and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the Rice University and her Juris Doctor from University of California Berkeley Law School (Boalt Hall).

 

Before being appointed to the Court, Judge Lucas was in private practice and served as Litigation Practice Group Leader with Fenwich & West (1993-2003), Partner with Brown & Bain (1986-93) and Associate with Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison (1979-86).

 

Originally born and raised in San Francisco, Judge Lucas has been involved in many community activities, including Board of Governors of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers – Northern California, St. Thomas More Society Board Member, Center for Judicial Education and Research Board Member, Loaves and Fishes Family Kitchen Board of Directors, and Santa Clara County Bar Association Judiciary Committee Member.

 

Judge Lucas’ many honors include Judge of the Year for the Santa Clara County Bar Association Women Lawyers Committee (2007), Robert F. Peckham Award for Outstanding Public Interest (2000), and San Jose Business Journal Woman of Influence (2011).

 

 


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Barry Bonds case: Conviction reversal seems likely

Posted By Administration, Friday, September 19, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO -- The government's case against home run king Barry Bonds may turn out to be a whiff.

During an hour of legal arguments here Thursday, the majority of an 11-judge federal appeals court panel sent strong signals that Bonds' 2011 conviction for obstructing justice is on shaky ground.

 

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges appeared troubled by a host of factors, including what may have been an overbroad use of obstruction laws to snag the former San Francisco Giant for giving evasive testimony to a federal grand jury more than a decade ago.

 

"I find your reading of the (obstruction of justice) statute absolutely alarming," 9th Circuit Judge William Fletcher remarked to assistant U.S. attorney Merry Jean Chan at one point.

 

Read more via San Jose Mercury News: http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_26561729/barry-bonds-case-conviction-reversal-seems-likely

 

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Patients sue state over backlog of Medi-Cal approvals, now at 350,000

Posted By Administration, Friday, September 19, 2014

Citing a paperwork backlog that has left the healthcare of hundreds of thousands of low-income Californians in limbo, patients represented by a coalition of legal advocates are suing the state.

 

In a petition filed Wednesday in Alameda County, the group asked the court to order California's Department of Health Care Services to comply with rules requiring eligibility reviews for Medi-Cal, the state medical plan for the needy, to be complete within 45 days. Some reviews haven't been completed for nearly a year.

 

The lawsuit also asks the state to provide benefits to otherwise-eligible applicants while income is being verified and to notify applicants affected by the backlog that they have the right to request a hearing.


Read more: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-medi-cal-backlog-lawsuit-20140917-story.html

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Bar Suspends Lawyer for Photoshopping Herself Into Celebrity Shots

Posted By Administration, Friday, September 19, 2014

 

SACRAMENTO — A State Bar Court judge has recommended a six-month suspension for a Los Angeles attorney who posted manipulated photos on her firm's website that suggested she hobnobbed with movie stars and politicians.

 

Svitlana Sangary engaged in deceptive advertising, refused to cooperate with bar investigators and, in a separate manner, dragged her feet releasing the files of a client who had fired her, State Bar Court Judge Donald Miles found.

 

"The court has grave concerns regarding [Sangary's] demonstrated lack of insight and her contemptuous conduct during these proceedings," Miles wrote. Her "failure to remove the deceptive images from her website, even after the State Bar brought this issue to her attention, and her demonstrated disregard for the disciplinary process give little reason to believe that her misconduct will not continue."



Read more: http://www.therecorder.com/id=1202670433611/Bar-Suspends-Lawyer-for-Photoshopping-Herself-Into-Celebrity-Shots#ixzz3DmQVqarp

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Judges Convene Friendly Competition for Students Across County

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 18, 2014

Superior Court judges celebrate national Constitution Day with more than 3,200 5th grade students throughout Santa Clara County.

 

SAN JOSE, Calif. (September 17, 2014): Today, thirty-two judicial officers from the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara (Court) are visiting more than 3,200 students at 40 schools from across the county in celebration of national Constitution Day, which marks the 227th anniversary of the Constitution’s signing.

 

“Constitution Day gives us an opportunity to connect with students about this vital document that rules the laws of our land, but more importantly, it allows us to reach these students and show them that the judges who uphold the law are real people too,” said Judge Julia Alloggiamento, Chair of the Court’s Community Outreach and Planning Committee.

 

Federal law mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on September 17th about the history of the American Constitution. Locally, judges will be meeting with more than 3.200 5th grade students at schools throughout the county. The judges will be presenting a grade-level appropriate presentation on the Constitution and then moderating a quiz game with prizes for the students.

 

“Our Bench is diverse, representing all aspects of our community. Ideally, we will inspire these students to take pride in jury service as adults or maybe even to become our future lawyers and judges,” said the Hon. Julia Alloggiamento.”

 

The Court thanks Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Rep. Anna Eshoo, Rep. Zoe Lofgren and Rep. Mike Honda for supplying more than 600 hundred pocket Constitutions that are being distributed to students who participate in today’s friendly quiz game.

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