Friday, December 30, 2005
2005 IN REVIEW
END OF THE YEAR
U.S. Chief Justice William Rehnquist Dies in Office.... Sandra Day O’Connor, First Woman to Serve on Nation’s Highest Court, Slates Retirement...Riverside Attorney Heiting Chosen to Lead State Bar
3 — Five new Los Angeles Superior Court judges took office after having been elected in November 2004. They were Mildred Escobedo and Daniel Z. Zeidler, formerly referees of the court; Gus Gomez, formerly a state deputy attorney general; Donna Groman, who had been a commissioner; and Laura Priver, a deputy district attorney at the time of her election.
4 — A provision in an auto insurance policy, excluding uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage for an accident that occurs when the insured is operating a motor vehicle with less than four wheels, violates state law, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
5 — Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye was elevated from the Sacramento Superior Court bench to the Third District Court of Appeal by the Commission on Judicial Appointments...The Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished Kern Superior Court Judge Stephen P. Gildner, saying he had improperly issued bench warrants for three defendants without allowing them to explain why they did not appear at the scheduled date and time...A bail condition barring a physician from practicing violated the doctor’s due process rights, the First District Court of Appeal ruled.
7 — Anthony Trendacosta became the Los Angeles Superior Court’s newest commissioner.
10 — A single dismissal of a misdemeanor complaint does not bar prosecution of a felony charge arising from the same conduct, the state Supreme Court ruled.
11 — The California Milk Producers Advisory Board is a public entity and cannot be sued under the Unfair Competition Law, the First District Court of Appeal ruled.
13 — A defendant whose criminal intent was formed in California may be prosecuted here even if the criminal acts occurred in another state, especially if the victims were Californians, the state Supreme Court ruled.
14 — A securities firm that has wound up its business and is no longer an active member of the National Association of Securities Dealers cannot compel an account holder to participate in an NASD arbitration, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
19 — The First District Court of Appeal revived false-claims and unfair competitions claims brought by San Francisco against auditors who issued a clean bill of health to Old Republic Title Company despite evidence the escrow company was mishandling funds.
21 — Judge Patti Jo McKay will be appointed as the new presiding judge of the Appellate Division of the Los Angeles Superior Court, a court spokesperson said, replacing Judge Charles Lee, who left the division in anticipation of a yearlong sabbatical in China.
24 — A coalition of law enforcement and social service agencies has been formed to improve efforts to identify and assist victims of human trafficking, and to prosecute traffickers, U.S. Attorney Debra W. Yang said...The California Supreme Court ruled that a gang member convicted of killing a Los Angeles police officer did not unequivocally request counsel before admitting the crime. In a unanimous decision, the justices overturned a Court of Appeal ruling, by this district’s Div. Eight, granting a new trial to Catarino Gonzalez Jr., a member of the Smiley Hauser clique of the 18th Street Gang serving life in prison without parole for the murder of Filbert Cuesta....This district’s Court of Appeal ordered publication of its Dec. 23 ruling that the presence of insurance representatives before the court when defense counsel agreed to terms of a settlement as stated on the record, without any objection, was sufficient to render the settlement enforceable under Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 664.6.
25 — A Superior Court judge did not violate the constitutional rights of a teenage boy by enjoining him from seeing his 16-year-old girlfriend or going near her family after he wrote a letter suggesting her parents ought to be killed so that they could be together, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.
26 — A La Habra city ordinance requiring exotic dancers to remain at least two feet away from patrons during “lap dances” and prohibiting physical contact between dancers and patrons in “adult cabarets” did not violate constitutionally protected freedom of speech and expression, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jack T. Ryburn died at age 81.
27 — The Court of Appeal for this district overturned the bulk of a $14.8 million arbitration award in favor of a Santa Barbara lawyer against billionaire Wendy McCaw, who was his client and lover before their personal and professional relationships disintegrated.
28 — State Bar President John Van de Kamp and Los Angeles County Bar Assn. President John J. Collins were feted as Metropolitan News-Enterprise “persons of the year” at a dinner marked by lofty accolades from county officials and others, light-hearted patter, and off-handed allusions to controversies.
29 — Retired Long Beach Municipal Court Commissioner George L. Pugsley died at age 76.
31 — An Oakland city ordinance purporting to regulate “predatory” mortgage lending practices is preempted by state law, the California Supreme Court ruled.
1 — Proposition 64’s limitations on private enforcement of unfair competition laws do not apply to lawsuits filed before its effective date of Nov. 3, 2005, the First District Court of Appeal ruled.
2 — The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, over a dissent by nine of its 24 active judges, denied en banc review of Stanley “Tookie” Williams’ bid to avoid execution for four murders.
3 — A homeowner’s association may be compelled to charge an emergency assessment to pay a judgment, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...A notice of appeal that improperly purports to challenge an order denying a motion for new trial should be construed as perfecting an appeal from the underlying judgment, so long as the appellant’s intent is clear and the respondent is not prejudiced, the state Supreme Court ruled.
4 — The anti-SLAPP statute applies to actions filed under the statutory procedure for expedited injunctions against harassment, the First District Court of Appeal ruled.
7 — A newspaper company’s practice of requiring subscription sellers to pay back their commissions when a customer cancels after less than 28 days does not violate state labor laws, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
8 — A trial court’s inherent power to revisit its own rulings does not permit it to entertain a renewed summary judgment motion in the absence of new facts or a change in the law, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...The Department of Motor Vehicles may suspend a driver’s license based on failure to submit to alcohol testing even in the absence of a finding the driver was operating a vehicle at the time of the refusal, the First District Court of Appeal ruled.
10 — The special masters considering misconduct charges against Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kevin Ross should find not only that Ross violated canons of judicial ethics, but that he lied in his testimony before them to cover it up, a lawyer for the Commission on Judicial Performance told the panel...Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Sandy Kriegler, Frances Rothschild and Thomas Willhite were named by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to fill vacancies on this district’s Court of Appeal...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge L. Jeffrey Wiatt shot and killed himself after becoming distraught when detectives contacted him about an allegation that he had molested a child, authorities said.
13 — Los Angeles Superior Court Judge C. Robert Simpson Jr. died less than a week before he was scheduled to retire at age 80.
14 — This district’s Court of Appeal upheld a Los Angeles Superior Court judge’s dismissal of a civil rights lawsuit against 10 domestic violence shelters by a man who posed as a victim and was turned down for being male...Singer Bing Crosby’s estate could not pass his attorney-client privilege on to a partnership formed after his death to manage his recording contracts and other business interests, the state Supreme Court ruled.
15 — Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter D. Lichtman overstepped his bounds by making factual findings, which could have bound the parties in future proceedings, as part of his efforts to settle sex abuse claims against the Diocese of Orange, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...The settlement of a dispute between L.L. Bean and a software vendor rendered an appeal moot despite a term of the settlement agreement calling for the vendor to pay the online retailer $10,000 if the district court’s ruling as to personal jurisdiction was affirmed, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...G.G. Baumen, who practiced in Los Angeles for more than 60 years, died at 91 years of age.
16 — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named Commissioner Michael Levanas, Deputy District Attorneys Eleanor Hunter and Scott Millington, and Claremont attorney Dorothy Reyes to the Los Angeles Superior Court.
17 — The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death sentence imposed for the murder of a 21-month-old child by a babysitter who abused her sexually. Justice Janice Rogers Brown, writing for a unanimous court, rejected challenges by Vicente F. Benavides to his conviction and sentence for first degree murder with special circumstances of felony-murder rape, felony-murder sodomy, and felony-murder lewd conduct.
18 — The First District Court of Appeal upheld a voter-approved measure mandating a life sentence without parole for second degree murder of a peace officer under specified circumstances...A California law making it a crime for certain designated persons to fail to report abuse of an elderly or dependent adult imposes strict liability on any mandatory reporter who knows of the abuse and fails to report it, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
23 — Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronni B. MacLaren was named to the Alameda Superior Court by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger...The Court of Appeal for this district threw out a Los Angeles Superior Court judge’s ruling granting the Oakland Raiders a new trial in the team’s $1.2 billion conspiracy lawsuit against the National Football League...State prisons cannot temporarily segregate inmates by race except under the most extraordinary circumstances, the U.S. Supreme Court said, all but ending a long-standing California policy aimed at reducing gang-related violence...California State Bar President John K. Van de Kamp was selected to receive the Los Angeles County Bar Assn.’s highest honor, the Shattuck-Price Award.
24 — Los Angeles County Bar President John J. Collins named a Blue Ribbon Commission on Improving the Superior Court, with himself as chairman.
25 — Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Howard D. McClain died at 88.
28 — An arbitration award related to home improvements is unenforceable against the homeowner unless he or she was notified in writing that agreement to arbitration constituted a waiver of the right to a court or jury trial, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
1 — California’s new standards for neutral arbitrators cannot be applied to securities industry arbitrations, which must follow rules established by the National Association of Securities Dealers and the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
2 — Recently retired Yuba Superior Court Judge David E. Wasilenko was censured by the Commission on Judicial Performance for using his office to grant favors to friends and family members charged with traffic offenses; Wasilenko was also barred from sitting on assignment or otherwise performing court-appointed work.
3 — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reappointed Santa Monica attorney Marshall Grossman to the Commission on Judicial Performance...One of two men sentenced to death after Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Steven Ipsen argued inconsistent theories at their separate trials had his sentence overturned by the California Supreme Court. The justices overturned the death sentence of Peter Sakarias for the 1988 murder of Viivi Piirisild, saying Ipsen engaged in willful misconduct by arguing different theories of each defendant’s role in order to maximize the possibility of winning two death sentences. The death sentence of co-defendant Tauno Waidla was upheld, however, because the court found that he would have received the maximum penalty under any theory reasonably supported by the evidence....The justices also decided another capital case, unanimously upholding the death sentence of Cedric Harrison for killing two Oakland women as a result of what was alleged to be a drug deal gone sour.
4 — A statute providing that a man who donates semen for purposes of physician-assisted artificial insemination — of a woman not his wife — is not the child’s father is not subject to an exception for a donor who was in an intimate relationship with the mother, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
5 — The State Bar Board of Governors went on record opposing a proposal that it cede to the state’s chief justice the power to name three lawyers to the California Judicial Council.
7 — Anthony B. Drewry, staff counsel at Munger, Tolles & Olson, was elected a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner...A Stanislaus County man sentenced to die for his role in a bloody quadruple murder was not deprived of a fair trial by biblical references in the prosecutor’s closing argument, the California Supreme Court ruled...Scott Drexel, who for 16 years has been a top State Bar Court executive, has been selected to replace Michael Nisperos Jr. as the State Bar’s chief trial counsel, State Bar officials said...The First District Court of Appeal ordered publication of its Feb. 4 ruling rejecting a $5 million award of attorney fees and expenses as part of the settlement of a derivative suit brought by shareholders in Bank of America’s former parent corporation.
9 — A fire insurance policy may be rescinded based on an unintentional, material misrepresentation in the application, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled, even though the standard fire insurance policy required by statute permits the voiding of a policy for misrepresentation only if it is intentional...A Sikh activist accused of participating in the killing of agents or former agents of the Indian government may be exempt from extradition under the “political offense” exception to the applicable treaty, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
10 — Prosecutors may call a mental health expert to the stand in the penalty phase of a capital case to establish the existence of aggravating circumstances, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled. The justices affirmed the conviction and death sentence of Gregory Scott Smith, a former teacher’s aid at Darby Elementary School in Chatsworth. Witnesses testified that Smith, who was fired for inappropriate physical roughness with children, blamed 8-year-old Paul Bailly — who complained to a school official after Smith twice tied him up with jump ropes — and vowed revenge.
11 — Robert K. Puglia, presiding justice of the Third District Court of Appeal from 1974 to 1998, died at age 75.
14 — A deputy alternate public defender was treated and released after being attacked by her client in a San Fernando courtroom, officials said...A death sentence imposed for the murder of an eight-year-old San Fernando Valley girl was unanimously affirmed by the California Supreme Court. Justice Carlos Moreno acknowledged that the defendant, Hooman Ashkan Panah, “was a youth who, before this crime, had no prior record of any serious offenses” whose “journey from his native land” — Iran — ”to this country was an arduous and perhaps traumatic one.” But those facts “pale in comparison to the gravity” of the killing of Nicole Parker, who was kidnapped and sexually assaulted with tremendous force, Moreno said.
15 — Chief Justice Ronald M. George, speaking to a joint session of the Legislature, urged legislators to create 50 new judgeships in each of the next three years...A California law allowing domestic partners to sue for wrongful death applies to cases in which the death occurred before the law took effect, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...Choosing among five hopefuls, the Breakfast Club voted to support John P. McNicholas and Holly J. Fujie to fill two District 7 seats on the State Bar Board of Governors.
17 — A private citizen cannot sue to enforce the open meeting requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
18 — Violence against ethnic Chinese in Indonesia, particularly against women and Christians, is sufficiently pervasive to require that a Chinese Christian woman be found eligible for asylum, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...The court also ruled in an unpublished memorandum that the California Court of Appeal’s rejection of a suit by a woman who claimed that she was coerced into having repeated sex with the judge — former Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George W. Trammell III — who placed her on probation bars a federal suit based on the same “primary right.”
21 — The U.S. Supreme Court left standing a $10.5 million San Francisco Superior Court judgment in favor of a longtime smoker against Philip Morris USA...The California Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for a Reseda auto mechanic in the death of a woman who was raped and strangled after she accepted the man’s offer of a ride home from a local bar. Richard Stitely, 44 at the time of the killing, was tied to the rape and murder of Carol Unger, 47, by DNA tests, after Unger’s body was found in an alley the day after she failed to return home from the White Oak Inn.
22 — The U.S. Supreme Court overturned district court and court of appeals rulings holding Simi Valley officers liable for handcuffing a resident for an extended period of time during a search of the place where she lived...The court also ruled that an Orange County killer who has spent 23 years on Death Row and claimed to have undergone a religious conversion while awaiting trial is not entitled to a new penalty trial based on remarks made to the jury by the prosecutor. In a 5-3 ruling, the justices said the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was in error when it held en banc that William Charles Payton was denied his constitutional right to have all relevant mitigating evidence considered.
23 — Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Edward Kakita died at age 64...The California Supreme Court rejected a bid by two conservative groups to halt implementation of the state’s controversial stem-cell research initiative.
24 — The Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John D. Harris for misconduct during the last years of his 30-year judicial tenure.
25 — The owner of a copyright may not assign the right to sue for infringement while retaining other rights to the work in question, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
28 — The Commission on Judicial Performance announced the election of Santa Monica attorney Marshall Grossman as chairman.
29 — The City of Los Angeles may not keep submissions received in response to a request for proposals secret while it completes negotiations with a successful bidder, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled...Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., the dynamic, eminently quotable attorney whose televised murder defense of O.J. Simpson made him a legal superstar, died at age 67.
30 — A retroactive feature of California’s domestic partnership law allows a local woman to sue Sherman Oaks Hospital and a physician affiliated with it for wrongful death even though the couple never registered as domestic partners under California law, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled...Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley said he will not run for California attorney general and expects to serve out his second term...Settlements received from third parties who are not medical providers are deducted from a malpractice plaintiff’s total damages, not from the statutory cap on noneconomic damages, the First District Court of Appeal ruled...A men’s rights group was properly rebuffed in its attempt to upset a spate of statutes which it claimed unconstitutionally favor women, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled, saying in an unpublished opinion that the Coalition of Free Men and its Los Angeles chapter president lacked standing to sue.
31 — Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioners Mitchel J. Harris, H. Kirkland Jones, and Steven Leventhal retired....The City of Los Angeles said it expects to pay about $70 million to settle lawsuits that alleged misconduct or brutality by corrupt police officers in an anti-gang unit in the Rampart division.
1 — The family of a man who died of lung cancer after more than four decades of smoking Marlboro cigarettes is entitled to $50 million in punitive damages, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
4 — Sandy Kriegler, Frances Rothschild and Thomas Willhite were confirmed and sworn in to fill vacancies on this district’s Court of Appeal...Six lawyers filed to run for two State Bar Board of Governors seats representing Los Angeles County by the deadline, the State Bar reported; Los Angeles attorney Holly Fujie, Sherman Oaks attorney Phillip Feldman, and Los Angeles lawyers Adam Abrahms and Marty O’Toole filed to run for the seat occupied by Deputy District Attorney Steven Ipsen, while Los Angeles attorney John P. McNicholas III and Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Kim sought the seat by Century City attorney David Marcus.
5 — Costa Mesa attorney Theodor C. Albert was named a bankruptcy judge for the Central District of California by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a court official said...The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reappointed Maria Stratton as federal public defender for the Central District of California, court officials announced.
6 — A star-studded crowd of more than 4,000 gathered at a South-Central Los Angeles church to mourn and honor celebrated Los Angeles civil rights and criminal defense lawyer Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., who died March 29 at age 67 after a battle with brain cancer...Legislation that would grant Los Angeles Superior Court law clerks permanent employee status 180 days after beginning work was approved by an Assembly committee...Wakefield Taylor, a longtime First District Court of Appeal justice and member of the California Judicial Council, died at 93.
7 — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger nominated Monterey Superior Court Judge Wendy Clark Duffy to the Sixth District Court of Appeal...The Commission on Judicial Performance released its annual report, saying it disposed of more than 1,000 complaints against California judges in 2004...Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Bonnie Lee Martin died at her home in Los Angeles at age 74.
8 — Los Angeles Superior Court Referee Steff Padilla was elected a Superior Court commissioner in balloting by the court’s more than 400 judges, officials announced.
11 — A California Department of Corrections policy prohibiting inmates from possessing materials showing male or female frontal nudity does not violate the First Amendment, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
13 — The right to sue for negligent infliction of emotional distress after witnessing an accident involving a family member does not apply if the injured person is not related to the plaintiff by blood or marriage, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...Legislation extending the statutory limitations period from one year to two years in personal injury cases applies to any claim as to which the one-year period had not expired when the new law took effect, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
14 — Four attorneys, three of them from Los Angeles, were named to the California Law Revision Commission by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; the three local appointees were Sidney Greathouse, Pamea Hemminger, and David Huebner...Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named Commissioner Sanjay T. Kumar, Deputy District Attorney Craig Mitchell, and Deputy Public Defender Alex Ricciardulli to the Los Angeles Superior Court.
15 — The Los Angeles County Bar Association announced it will present Chief U.S. District Judge Consuelo B. Marshall of the Central District of California with its Outstanding Jurist Award for 2005... The Los Angeles Superior Court will receive a Ralph N. Kleps Award from the Judicial Council of California for its online New Judge Orientation Program, the Administrative Office of the Courts announced...The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2004 ruling that generally bars sentence increases based solely on facts that have neither been found by a jury or admitted by the defendant does not apply to cases that were final before it was handed down, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled...The Court of Appeal for this district ordered the removal of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Lichtman from the coordinated cases involving the anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx, saying the disclosure that Lichtman himself used the drug raised doubts about his ability to remain impartial.
18 — Victims of Nazi persecution in Eastern Europe can sue the Vatican Bank for restitution of property allegedly misappropriated by the Nazi puppet regime that ruled Croatia during World War II, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Highly paid public employees must be identified by name and salary under the California Public Records Act, absent unusual circumstances in an individual case, the First District Court of Appeal ruled.
21 — The nomination of California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia advanced on a 10-8 party line Judiciary Committee vote to the full Senate.
22 — U.S. District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr., who served as chief judge of the Central District of California from 1998 to 2001, took senior status...An ordinance permitting a city to seize and hold for forfeiture vehicles used in purchasing drugs or soliciting prostitution was overturned by the Third District Court of Appeal.
25 — Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David P. Yaffe did not abuse his discretion in rejecting a bid by Malibu neighbors of entertainment mogul David Geffen to intervene in Geffen’s dispute with the California Coastal Commission over beach access, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Lichtman should have blocked efforts by plaintiffs claiming child sex abuse by San Diego priests to inquire into the financial condition of an insurer for the Archdiocese of San Diego, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
26 — A Yuba Superior Court judge committed a prejudicial abuse of discretion by excluding evidence that a personal injury plaintiff paid his own medical bills, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.
27 — The judge in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial acted properly in ordering the grand jury transcript, search warrant affidavits and other documents in the case sealed, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled...Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mortimer G. Franciscus died at age 79 after a lengthy illness.
29 — James Bianco, of counsel to the Los Angeles firm of Overland, Borenstein, Scheper, and Kim; H. Jay Ford, of Century City’s Tyre Kamins Katz Granoff & Menes; and Pam Davis, a juvenile traffic referee in Santa Monica, have been elected by the judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court to succeed three commissioners who recently retired, court officials said.
30 — Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Judith Abrams retired.
3 — The Assembly Judiciary Committee approved a measure under which base dues for active State Bar members would rise for the first time since 2000 and inactive dues would more than double.
4 — Judge Lorna Parnell retired....Stephen L. Saltzman, formerly a partner in the entertainment practice group at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s Los Angeles office, has joined Irell & Manella, the latter firm said...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Sandra A. Thompson is the recipient of the 2005 Joan Dempsey Klein Distinguished Jurist Award, California Women Lawyers said...The Court of Appeal for this district ordered a new trial on a claim that the proprietor of the Magic Mountain amusement park discriminated against an African American customer by expelling him for having cut in line with members of his family.
5 — An order granting a new trial to a San Francisco lawyer convicted of second degree murder after her dog mauled a neighbor to death was overturned by the First District Court of Appeal, which sent the case back to the trial judge saying he used an incorrect standard when he ruled there was insufficient evidence of implied malice to support the murder conviction.
9 — Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Phillip J. Argento will retire Aug. 1 after 23 years on the bench, the MetNews learned...The statute of limitations for medically related causes of action does not necessarily begin to run against all potential defendants once the plaintiff realizes he or she has a possible claim against one of them, the California Supreme Court ruled.
10 — Campbell “Sandy” Lucas, who retired as presiding justice of Div. Five of this district’s Court of Appeal in 1991, died at age 80.
11 — Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Meredith Taylor retired....The California Supreme Court declined to review a Court of Appeal ruling that allows a newspaper company to require subscription sellers to pay back their commissions when a customer cancels after less than 28 days, a practice the sellers claimed violates state labor laws...A plaintiff who seeks to have a limited civil case reclassified as an unlimited case need only demonstrate a possibility of an award in excess of $25,000, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
12 — The Federal Judicial Qualifications Committee established by Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and a confidante of President Bush is not covered by a federal statute requiring open meetings of advisory bodies, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
13 — A federal statute allows the Department of Defense to extend enlistments of members of the National Guard who have not been yet been deployed, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
16 — A magistrate’s reduction of a “wobbler” charge to a misdemeanor at the end of the preliminary hearing is not appealable, the California Supreme Court ruled...A measure under which base dues for active State Bar members would rise for the first time since 2000 and inactive dues would more than double won approval in the state Assembly.
14 — Riverside attorney James O. Heiting of Heiting & Irwin was elected to succeed John Van de Kamp as president of the State Bar of California.
17 — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Stanford Reichert to the San Bernardino Superior Court...Schwarzenegger also named former State Bar President James Herman to the Santa Barbara Superior Court.
19 — The Coastal Commission has no authority to deny a permit for development of a project straddling the coastal zone where the only unmitigated negative impacts of the project would be felt in areas outside the commission’s jurisdiction, the state Supreme Court ruled.
20 — Russell M. Frandsen has joined Reed Smith LLP as a partner in the Corporate & Securities Group at the firm’s Los Angeles office, a firm spokesperson said...Forty percent of the 4,520 applicants who took the February 2005 California bar examination passed it, the Committee of Bar Examiners reported...Lancaster attorney David Bianchi has been elected a commissioner of the Los Angeles Superior Court, court officials said.
23 — California’s new standards for neutral arbitrators cannot be applied to securities industry arbitrations, which must follow rules established by the National Association of Securities Dealers and the Securities and Exchange Commission, the state Supreme Court ruled.
24 — A defendant convicted, on a felony complaint, of an offense punishable as either a felony or misdemeanor may be compelled to give a DNA sample, and is not entitled to have information deleted from the state’s DNA bank if the offense is eventually determined to be a misdemeanor, the First District Court of Appeal ruled.
25 — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named Los Angeles attorney Joseph M. Miller chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.
26 — A person who kills due to a sincere but unreasonable belief that he or she is protecting another from imminent death or great bodily harm is guilty of voluntary manslaughter, not murder, the state Supreme Court ruled...A California civil rights law does not prohibit a broadcaster from screening out callers to a talk show on the basis of age, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
31 — By accepting returns through Borders bookstores in California, Borders Online became obligated to collect state tax on merchandise sold to California residents, the First District Court of Appeal ruled... A law firm that agrees to handle a suit against another of the firm’s clients may not resolve the conflict by agreeing to partially withdraw from the new case, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
2 — A defendant seeking discovery of police personnel records to show officer misconduct need only show facts sufficient to establish that such conduct “could or might have occurred” in order to obtain an in camera review, the California Supreme Court ruled...The Court of Appeal for this district ruled, in an unpublished opinion, that the City of Pomona may shut down a strip-tease dance hall based on a zoning ordinance even if there is no available real property within the city where the establishment could lawfully be operated.
3 — A family may qualify as a “particular social group” whose members qualify for asylum based on persecution for being part of that family, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
6 — Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Guillermina Byrne retired.... Reed Smith LLP said that retired Justice Margaret M. Grignon of this district’s Court of Appeal had joined the firm’s Los Angeles-based appellate practice....California courts have jurisdiction of suits by guests against Nevada hotels that market extensively in this state, the California Supreme Court ruled...The high court also reinstated a murder conviction in the death of an 11-month-old girl, saying prosecutors were not obligated to disclose evidence that could have been used to impeach the medical examiner whose testimony established the time of the child’s death.
7 — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named Superior Court Commissioners Martha Bellinger and Roger Ito, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lawrence Cho and Beverly Reed O’Connell, Deputy County Counsel Dalila Corral, and veteran litigator Rex Heeseman to fill longstanding vacancies on the Los Angeles Superior Court.
8 — California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown was confirmed 56-43 by the U.S. Senate to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit after senators voted to end debate on the contentious selection.
9 — Mary Lou Katz, a research attorney for this district’s Court of Appeal, has been elected a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner, court officials said...Fees paid to official court reporters for transcripts of felony trials cannot be included in calculating wages for pension purposes, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry Friedman was named president of the California Judges Association for 2005-2006 by the group’s Executive Board.
10 — Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory C. O’Brien Jr. plans to retire this summer, capping a 20-year judicial career, the MetNews learned.
11 — Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Harry T. Shafer died at age 92.
14 — The state may treat the disbarment of an attorney as proof of unfitness to hold a real estate license, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled...Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Preciliano Recendez died at age 74.
15 — Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles W. McCoy Jr., prominent civil litigator Thomas V. Girardi, and immediate past State Bar President Anthony Capozzi have been named to the California Judicial Council for terms beginning Sept. 15, officials said...A public official claiming to have been misadvised by his or her agency’s counsel as to the effects of a conflict of interest law cannot maintain a malpractice suit based on the consequences of a criminal conviction for violating that law, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
16 — The California Supreme Court reduced a $1.7 million punitive damages award to $50,000, saying the action was necessary to comply with a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court precedent...The high court also ruled that the operator of an amusement park ride may be classified as a “common carrier” subject to a heightened duty to protect patrons.
17 — The litigation or “official proceedings” privilege is no bar to a suit against the owner of a Melrose Ave. boutique by a man who claims the defendant’s employees falsely arrested him and exposed him to ridicule when he visited the store while Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez were shopping there, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
20 — Recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings on criminal sentencing do not invalidate state laws under which a judge decides whether to impose the upper, middle, or lower base term and whether terms are served consecutively or concurrently, the California Supreme Court ruled.
23 — The California Supreme Court ordered the disbarment of Pacific Palisades attorney Ronald R. Silverton, who ran for the State Bar Board of Governors three times as a critic of the disciplinary system...The high court also ruled that the California Coastal Commission’s current appointment structure does not violate the state Constitution, nor may any defect in the previous structure be used as a basis to challenge past commission decisions.
27 — The California Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the death sentence for a San Fernando Valley woman in the murders of her husband and the man who allegedly helped her hire the actual killer...The high court also ruled that federal law does not require California to apply another state’s laws to a contractual arbitration proceeding where those laws violate this state’s fundamental public policy.
28 — A patron who claims that a business charged a discriminatory price or fee based on gender can only sue if he or she demanded and was refused equal treatment, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...An attorney who was told by a reporter that he was being sued for malpractice by a client on whose behalf he won a large judgment, but who waited several days before notifying his insurance carrier, was covered even though his “claims made and reported” policy expired in the interim, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
29 — A Third District Court of Appeal ruling that upheld the state’s expanded domestic partnership law was left standing by the California Supreme Court.
30 — Amy M. Pellman, formerly of the Alliance for Children’s Rights, was named a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner.
1 — Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court and a swing vote on abortion as well as other contentious issues, announced her retirement.
5 — A conversation in which a jail inmate told a counselor that the inmate had sent a threatening letter to the White House was not covered by the psychotherapist-patient privilege because it did not take place in a therapeutic setting, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled....The Sixth District Court of Appeal overturned a series of rulings by a Santa Clara Superior Court judge which would have required the state’s Board of Prison Terms to produce thousands of records to justify parole decisions....Taking issue with a 1993 decision from this district, the Fourth District Court of Appeal’s Div. Two held that a judge’s ruling granting a new trial to a defendant convicted by a jury is not undermined by the judge’s failure to articulate reasons for finding the evidence of guilt insufficient.
6 — The California Constitution, as amended by Proposition 218 in 1996, permits the imposition of a special assessment on property owners for the purpose of acquiring and preserving open space, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled.
7 — A suit by the surviving spouse of a woman whose life insurance policy was dishonored because she allegedly lied by denying having smoked in the 36 months before she applied for the policy should not have been dismissed on that ground, the California Supreme Court ruled. The court held that the plaintiff raised an issue of triable fact by alleging that his wife told her insurance agent that she had smoked on a few occasions....Prosecutors did not commit misconduct at the trial of three gang members convicted of the 1996 murder of Dr. Haing Ngor, who survived the horrors of the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia to win an Academy Award before being shot dead in the carport of his Los Angeles residence, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. While the prosecutor’s retelling of Ngor’s life story “may have been a little overblown,” Senior Judge Stephen Trott wrote, his explanation went to the heart of the prosecution case — that while Ngor willingly gave up his gold Rolex to the robbers, his “intense emotional attachment” to a locket containing a photo of his late wife, and unwillingness to give it up, explained why he was killed....The date a tort cause of action arises, rather than the date of actual injury, determines whether the claim is separate or community property if the injured party separates from his or her spouse before the claim is settled, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.
8 — Aurora Lapuz Recana, wife of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mel Red Recana, Aurora Recana passed away after battling breast cancer for 13 years.
11 — The California Supreme Court affirmed the death sentence imposed for the 1984 murder of an Arizona tool salesman whose body was found inside a van in a Long Beach parking lot. The maximum penalty was not disproportionate to Robert Paul Wilson’s culpability for the murder of his employer, Roy Swader, Justice Ming Chin wrote for a unanimous court....The high court also ruled that a trial court cannot relieve a party of the consequences of failing to timely request a trial de novo following a mandatory attorney fee arbitration proceeding.
12 — The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the tax and bankruptcy-related convictions of a prominent Beverly Hills physician whose husband and co-defendant leaped or fell to his death the day before the jury returned its verdict. The panel rejected Letantia Bussell’s contention that she should have received a new trial because jurors improperly — as well as erroneously — speculated that John Bussell had made a deal to plead guilty.
13 — A $60 million punitive damage award against an Arizona elected official who allegedly interfered in a business merger so that an attorney friend could collect huge fees from another company was tossed out by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The judges upheld a jury verdict holding James M. Irvin, a former member of the state Corporations Commission, liable for interference with the failed merger agreement between Southern Union Company and Southwest Gas Corporation. But the court said the punitive damage award, which was more than 150 times the award of compensatory damages, was excessive, even though Irvin’s wrongdoing — including an effort to falsify trial evidence — was substantial....In a ruling hailed as a victory by advocates on both sides, Div. Seven of this district’s Court of Appeal ruled that demolition permits for the Lincoln Place Apartments in Venice Beach were improperly issued by the City of Los Angeles, but that the developers may seek new permits once the 40 or so surviving buildings of the half-century-old complex have been photographed and an attempt made to sell the structures and move them intact to another location. The court rejected a broader challenge that could have forced the owners to maintain the structures as a historic site instead of replacing them with upscale housing.
14 — The State Bar released election results showing that Los Angeles attorney Holly Fujie and Century City practitioner John P. McNicholas were elected to the State Bar Board of Governors to represent Los Angeles County lawyers. Also elected were San Francisco attorney James N. Penrod, Ventura Superior Court staff attorney Maria Carmen Ramirez, and Danni R. Murphy, a supervising attorney in the Orange County Public Defender’s Office and former Orange County Bar Association president.
15 — The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for a postmaster who claims the Postal Service failed to protect her from ongoing racial harassment by customers and citizens of the small Oregon community where she was employed. The panel upheld jury findings that Arlene Galdamez’s supervisors were not motivated by racism when they placed her on leave and reprimanded her for rudeness and for undermining community relations and efficiency by insisting on strict compliance with postal regulations, leading to customer complaints. But Senior Judge Procter Hug, writing for the court, said the magistrate judge erred in failing to instruct jurors that the Postal Service could be held liable if the supervisors failed to investigate or to act upon Galdamez’s claim that she was being harassed due to her Honduran origin and discernible accent.
18 — Employees whose careers suffer as a result of favoritism shown to co-workers who are having sexual relationships with a supervisor may have viable sexual harassment claims based on the existence of a hostile working environment, the state Supreme Court ruled....The Los Angeles County Claims Board approved a $40,000 payment to the Metropolitan News Company, the final step in settling the company’s claim that District Attorney Steve Cooley violated federal law when he authorized a search of the company’s offices three years ago. Cooley agreed, as part of the settlement, to revise department policies dealing with searches of news media premises. The settlement was reached with the assistance of a pro bono mediator, Encino attorney Lee K. Alpert....An action by a former student at University of West Los Angeles School of Law, who claimed that the school caused her emotional distress and violated her rights by failing to accommodate her psychological disability, has been rejected by this district’s Court of Appeal. Div. Seven, in an unpublished opinion by Justice Earl Johnson Jr., said Joan Marie Howell — who represented herself in the trial and appellate courts — failed to show that the school violated the law when it terminated her student status for failing to meet required grade levels.
19 — President Bush nominated Judge John Roberts of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to succeed retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor....University of West Los Angeles School of Law announced that it had named Los Angeles attorney Cheryl Ward, who recently retired after a lengthy career with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, as interim dean.
20 — Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William R. Clay, a 20-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department who practiced law while still on the force, died at age 85.
21 — Writings and other materials seized from the Montana cabin of convicted Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski in 1996 must be sold in order to pay the $15 million in restitution ordered at the time of sentencing, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled....Officers did not violate the Fourth Amendment when they tape-recorded the conversations of three murder suspects in their holding cells at the West Los Angeles police station, the state Supreme Court ruled. The ruling came as justices unanimously affirmed the first degree murder conviction and death sentence of Stanley Bernard Davis in a highly publicized 1985 murder case. Davis and the other two men were convicted of killing two college students in a robbery near the UCLA campus. Justice Joyce L. Kennard, writing for the court, said that pretrial detainees, like sentenced inmates, lack a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to their conversations.
22 — Los Angeles Superior Court officials announced that attorneys Graciela Freixes, Susan K. Weiss, and Alan H. Friedenthal were elected commissioners of the court.
23 — Despite a warning from one member that it was “perpetuating a tension” between the State Bar and the governor, the State Bar Board of Governors voted not to explore rule changes to allow the governor’s judicial appointments advisor to attend meetings of the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation.
25 — Grand jury subpoenas for records of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles regarding possible child molestation by two of its priests were upheld by the Court of Appeal for this district. Div. Three, in an opinion by Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein, rejected challenges by the archdiocese and the two priests, identified as Doe 1 and Doe 2, except that one document, in which Doe 2’s psychological treatment was discussed, was held to be protected by the psychotherapist-patient privilege....Showing a witness a photo of a murder suspect without a shirt on, revealing tattoos depicting a swastika, guns, and the name of a motorcycle gang, was not an unduly suggestive technique, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled. Saying the identification technique was reasonable under the totality of the circumstances, and rejecting several other contentions, the court affirmed the first degree murder conviction and death sentence imposed on Jerry Noble Kennedy by a Colusa Superior Court judge.
26 — The Commission on Judicial Performance disclosed that a Santa Barbara Superior Court judge convicted of drunk driving was facing public discipline by the commission. In a notice of formal proceedings, the commission charged Judge Diana R. Hall with three counts of misconduct. One count was based on the drunk driving conviction, another on the filing of campaign finance reports in which she allegedly lied about the source of a loan or contribution, and the third on an incident in which the judge allegedly threatened a prosecutor who had her disqualified from a case.
27 — Suspended attorney and former Azusa Mayor Stephen J. Alexander, a onetime judicial candidate, was sentenced to six months in jail for lying on a tax return. A jury had earlier found Alexander guilty of failing to report as income the money he allegedly took while helping former Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patrick Murphy and others conceal funds from their rightful owner. The State Bar placed Alexander on interim suspension in June....An initiative that would restore the Public Utilities Commission’s power to regulate the California electricity market was ordered back on the Nov. 8 ballot by the California Supreme Court, four days after the Third District Court of Appeal knocked it off. The measure was defeated at the polls..... Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioners Stuart M. Rice and Ross M. Klein, Deputy District Attorney Daniel B. Feldstern, and environmental lawyer Gail Ruderman Feuer as judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court.
28 — The California Supreme Court yesterday unanimously affirmed a Hollywood man’s death sentence for poisoning his neighbor to death, rejecting claims that James Nelson Blair should not have been allowed to represent himself, particularly in the penalty phase of the 1987 trial in which virtually no mitigating evidence was offered....An eight-episode alternative drama series called “The Law Firm” debuted on NBC, featuring four retired Los Angeles Superior Court judges. Lawrence W. Crispo, Burton S. Katz, Dion G. Morrow, and Martha Goldin sat on the bench, as real attorneys competed with one another while trying “real court cases with real clients,” in front of the jurists and “juries,” according to the show’s publicists. It was a ratings disaster and was soon moved to overnight cable.
31 — Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo named Richard Llewellyn Jr., 49, to replace Terree Bowers as chief deputy city attorney, effective Aug. 15, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Isaacs, 47, to replace Luis Li as head of the Criminal Division as of Sept. 6. Bowers and Li both returned to private law practice....A California Department of Corrections regulation limiting the length of male prisoners’ hair to three inches violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
1 — A private club violates California’s law prohibiting discrimination by businesses if it fails to extend to members’ registered domestic partners the same privileges it grants to spouses, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled.... Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Phillip J. Argento retired after 23 years on the bench.
2 — The exclusive Kamehameha Schools’ policy of preferring native Hawaiians in admissions violates federal civil rights law, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
3 — A person who rents a cellular telephone under an assumed name has the same expectation of privacy as someone who does so under his or her true name, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled....Senior U.S. District Judge William J. Rea of the Central District of California died in Santa Monica. Rea, who was 85, died while recuperating from surgery.
4 — Pre-dispute contractual waivers of trial by jury are unenforceable in California, the state Supreme Court ruled.
5 — A forest management plan for the Tongass National Forest, which would allowed harvesting of more than 200 million board feet of timber in the next decade, is seriously flawed and must be reconsidered, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
7 — Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gilbert Alston, an outspoken jurist who began California’s experience with televised courtroom proceedings, died at age 74 after a months-long battle with leukemia....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory C. O’Brien Jr. retired, capping a 20-year judicial career, .
8 — Over 5,000 attorneys face the possibility of losing their license to practice law for not complying with continuing education requirements or not paying their bar dues, the State Bar of California said in a news release.
9 — A settlement was announced in a dispute over ownership of a Picasso painting allegedly stolen from its rightful owners by Nazis during the occupation of Paris. The agreement, which was brokered by U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Nagle in June but kept confidential pending completion of paperwork by the lawyers, put an end to lawsuits filed in the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara superior courts and the U.S. district courts for the Northern District of Illinois and the Central District of California over the 1922 painting “Femme en blanc.” Thomas Bennigson, a Boalt Hall graduate living in Oakland who claimed that his since-deceased grandmother was the lawful owner at the time of the theft, was to receive $6.5 million from Chicago philanthropist Marilynn Alsdorf plus an undisclosed sum from New York art dealer Stephen Hahn.
10 — The California Supreme Court denied requests that it bypass the First District Court of Appeal and immediately review a San Francisco Superior Court ruling that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the California Constitution.
11 — A woman who claims she was forced from her management position with a cosmetics firm because she would not fire a sales associate her superior considered unattractive has a viable retaliation claim under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, the state Supreme Court ruled....The court also held that individual officials of a corporate employer may be not be held liable for knowing and willful violations of state wage and hour laws.
12 — The Los Angeles Superior Court announced the election of Los Angeles attorney David J. Cowan and Superior Court Senior Research Attorney Tamila Ipema as commissioners....A gay man who testified that he was repeatedly forced to perform oral sex on a high-ranking police officer in his native Mexico and feared that he would be mistreated again by authorities if forced to return there established eligibility for asylum, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
13 — Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert I. Weil, a former president of the California Judges Association, died at 83.
15 — Evidence disclosed to police by a lawyer in violation of the attorney-client privilege is admissible against the client unless the government has actively procured or induced the breach, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
17 — A judicial officer accused of assaulting and battering a litigant does not have absolute immunity from liability, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled in a case stemming from an altercation involving a discovery referee at a deposition.
18 — Death sentences for two murderers were unanimously affirmed by the California Supreme Court. The justices rejected a number of contentions by Glen Cornwell, sentenced in Sacramento County, and Richard Moon, sentenced in Los Angeles County. Moon was convicted in 1991 of the first degree murders of Rose and Melitta Greig at their Walnut home. Moon, who was Melitta Greig’s former boyfriend, admitted killing her and her mother, and also admitted taking money and checks, as well as one of the family’s automobiles....A dispute between members of a church and the couple in charge of its youth programs over alleged improper conduct with a young female was a public matter for purposes of the anti-SLAPP statute, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.
22 — A child conceived through artificial insemination is the legal child of the birth mother’s lesbian partner because the couple raised them together prior to splitting up, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled. In a second case, the justices ruled 4-2 that a woman who donated genetic material so that her partner could conceive through in vitro fertilization was the child’s other parent regardless of the parties’ intent at the time. And in another related case, the court unanimously ruled that where a lesbian couple stipulated to a judgment — during the pregnancy — under which the birth mother’s partner assumed the rights and responsibilities of parenthood, the partner was estopped to attack the judgment later on the ground that the child had not yet been born when the stipulation was entered into.
23 — An Indian tribe has constitutional and statutory authority to try an Indian who is not a tribal member for a crime committed on the tribe’s reservation, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. Ruling in an eight-year-long jurisdictional dispute between the Navajo Nation and activist/actor Russell Means, the panel said the tribe can try Means on charges of threatening and battery resulting from an alleged altercation with two men, including Means’ then-father-in-law, a member of the Omaha tribe....The Ninth Circuit upheld an Arizona inmate’s conviction for plotting to murder U.S. District Judge Roslyn O. Silver.
24 — A district judge properly barred a Mexican immigrant charged with illegal reentry after deportation to use a “necessity” defense based on his HIV-positive status and alleged need to search for his children in the United States regarding end-of-life decisions, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
25 — The Assembly Appropriations Committee opted to hold legislation creating new judgeships, killing the measure for this year....A claim that Alameda County prosecutors deliberately excluded Jews from serving on the jury in a capital case was unanimously rejected yesterday by the state Supreme Court. The court affirmed the conviction and death sentence imposed on Mark Lindsey Schmeck for the 1986 murder of Lorin Germaine. Prosecutors said Schmeck shot and killed Germaine inside the victim’s motorhome, parked in an industrial area near the Hayward BART station, with the intent to steal the motorhome and sell it.
26 — Riverside attorney James Heiting, elected in May as the State Bar’s next president, won another honor — first prize in a national horse show....The owner of a defective product has no claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress resulting from the death of a close relative who died in an accident that the owner did not see and was not involved in, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled.
29 — The California Supreme Court affirmed the death sentence imposed for the 1994 killing of a pregnant Gardena woman, saying the trial judge’s manner of questioning the defendant during his testimony may have been improper but was not prejudicial. In a 5-1 decision, the justices affirmed Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles Horan’s imposition of the maximum penalty on Maurice Harris for the murder of Alicia Allen and her fetus. The apparent motive was to steal Allen’s jewelry....A daughter’s signature on a form agreeing to arbitrate disputes over nursing home care provided to her mother was binding where the mother had executed a power of attorney for health care, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled....Ruling in a pair of cases, the state high court reiterated that “damages” in an insurance policy means only court-ordered payments, but said that policies with broader language may require insurers to cover the costs of administratively ordered environmental cleanups.
30 — A statute requiring a trial court to grant relief from “default or dismissal” upon timely motion, accompanied by a declaration showing that the default was the fault of the defendant’s attorney, does not apply to summary judgments, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
31 — The prospective conservatee has no right to represent himself or herself in conservatorship proceedings, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled....The California Supreme Court declined to grant direct review of a Sacramento Superior Court judge’s order upholding a new state law that requires overseas absentee voters to waive their right to a secret ballot if they choose to send in their votes by fax.... The Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed an award of more than $1.25 million to three white men for racial discrimination they endured while employed with the police department at California State University, Fresno, rejecting the university’s claim that there was insufficient evidence to support the plaintiffs’ claims that they were discriminated against because of their race. The court, however, also concluded that Fresno Superior Court Judge Donald Black did not abuse his discretion in cutting the original award of $4.25 million and that the plaintiffs waited too long before objecting to Black’s hearing the case, in which the defendants were represented by a law firm for which Black worked before becoming a judge and at which his wife still worked....Presiding Justice Laurence D. Kay of the First District Court of Appeal retired.
2 — Retired Municipal Court Commissioner John Murphy and former Referee Laura Hymowitz were elected Los Angeles Superior Court commissioners.
3 — U.S. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist died of thyroid cancer.
5 — Harassing conduct directed at female employees may violate federal law, based on circumstantial evidence that male and female employees were treated differently, even in the absence of direct evidence that the harassing conduct or the intent that produced it was because of sex, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Another Ninth Circuit panel ordered a substantial reduction of punitive damages awarded to physicians who said they felt threatened after an anti-abortion group and its members created Wild West-style posters and a website targeting abortion doctors. The plaintiffs were given a choice of having their award of more than $108 million cut to $4.73 million, or nine times their compensatory damages, or having the issue retried....A federal judge did not commit clear error when she allowed two Los Angeles men who faced deportation for their involvement in a terrorist plot more than 20 years ago to become naturalized citizens, the Ninth Circuit ruled in a unanimous en banc decision.
7 — The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district judge’s denial of Lyle and Erik Menendez’s habeas corpus petitions. Senior Judge Stephen S. Trott, writing for the panel, said U.S. District Judge Manuel Real was correct in ruling that there were no constitutional violations that would support overturning the brothers’ convictions and life-without-parole sentences for the murders of their parents....Seth Levy, a 28-year-old attorney of counsel to Davis Wright Tremaine in its Los Angeles office, was named the recipient of the 2005 Jack Berman Award. The 13-year-old award is given by the California Young Lawyers Association and honors a new or young lawyer for commitment to public service.... Firing an employee who tests positive for marijuana does not violate the Fair Employment and Housing Act, even if the employee can show that he uses marijuana for medicinal purposes under Proposition 215, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.
8 — Novelist and retired attorney Richard North Patterson touched on a series of political hot buttons in kicking off the 78th convention of the State Bar of California with remarks at a luncheon in San Diego. The author of 13 novels, a former partner in the San Francisco firm of McCutcheon, Doyle, Brown & Enersen, described himself as a “secular humanist” and spoke about abortion, gun control, and capital punishment — all issues he has explored in his fiction....The alleged conflict of interest resulting from a romance between a defendant on trial for his life and a lawyer who defended him does not warrant overturning the death sentence, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The judges did, however, award Ricky Lee Earp an evidentiary hearing on his claims that the prosecution committed misconduct by intimidating a witness who would otherwise have given favorable testimony at a hearing on Earp’s motion for a new trial, and that his defense team conducted an inadequate investigation into potential mitigating evidence for the penalty phase.
9 — Police violated a defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights by subjecting him to a drug test at his home, without warrant or probable cause, based on his having consented to such testing as a condition of pretrial release, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
10 — Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry B. Friedman, who served four terms in the state Assembly before being elected to the bench, marked his installation as president of the California Judges Association by calling on his colleagues to build “personal relationships” with legislators. Friedman was sworn in by Chief Justice Ronald M. George as annual conventions of the CJA, judicial branch officers, and the State Bar of California were held at the San Diego Marriott.... Acknowledging that he “cannot carry the weight” alone, newly installed State Bar President James O. Heiting called on members of the Board of Governors to employ “teamwork and passion” to help the organization’s governing body reach its goals for his term.
11 — Meeting for the first time under new President James O. Heiting, the State Bar Board of Governors voted to cut a controversial charge for online payment of dues and fees from $9.50 to $5.
12 — The Fourth District Court of Appeal’s Div. One certified for publication an Aug. 22 opinion in which it held that the San Diego County Civil Service Commission abused its discretion in ordering reinstatement of a probationary deputy sheriff fired for covering up a fellow deputy’s beating of a jail inmate.
13 — An attorney and a former attorney were arrested and charged with conspiracy to violate the prohibition against practice of law by non-lawyers, among other crimes. Charged in an 18-count criminal complaint were Bryan Daniel Kamenetz, 34, and Steven Unger, 46. The two were charged with attempting to cover up the fact that Unger was continuing to practice after resigning with disciplinary charges pending in 2002.
14 — Public entities and parties litigating against them can keep most litigation-related documents free from public disclosure under the California Public Records Act, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
15 — California’s law banning job discrimination against the disabled does not require the hiring of otherwise-qualified commercial drivers who are vision-impaired in one eye and lacking in peripheral vision, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
19 — A suit against an insurer for not paying a claim related to the Northridge earthquake may be timely under the doctrine of equitable estoppel, even if not filed within either the contractual limitations period or the one-year period for revival of such claims adopted by the Legislature, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
20 — The requirement that a photograph appear on a driver’s license does not violate the constitutional rights of a person whose religious beliefs prohibit being photographed, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
21 — A defendant whose confession was obtained in violation of his Miranda rights was not deprived of due process, either in the guilt or penalty phase, where the other evidence against him was overwhelming, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. A divided panel upheld the denial of habeas corpus relief to Mitchell Carlton Sims, who is on Death Row for the killing of John Harrigan, who delivered a pizza to Sims and his girlfriend at the Glendale motel room where they were staying.
22 — Summaries of the personnel records of 26 Catholic priests being sued for molesting children cannot be publicly disclosed because they were part of a mediation process, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.... John Roberts’ nomination as chief justice of the United States cleared a Senate committee on a bipartisan vote of 13-5.... The settlement of a Proposition 65 action, in which several manufacturers of surgical devices agreed to pay the plaintiff’s attorney fees even though they and the plaintiffs agreed that their products did not expose the public to carcinogens, was thrown out by the Court of Appeal for this district.... Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 1322 into law, as a result of which contacts between a judge and an alternative dispute resolution provider no longer mandate disqualification of the judge from ADR-related matters....The governor also signed the State Bar’s dues bill for 2006 and 2007.
26 — The Malibu City Council violated the Ralph M. Brown Act by agreeing after a closed session to settle litigation by exempting a development project from some current and possible future zoning regulations, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.... The Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld a judge’s apportionment of 90 percent of a wrongful death settlement to the decedent’s adult daughter, with only 10 percent going to the widow, provoking a strong dissent from Div. Three’s presiding justice.
27 — Legislation enacted in 2003 to allow insurers to give “persistency” discounts to drivers who have maintained insurance with any carrier for a number of years is invalid because it does not further the purposes of a 1988 insurance reform measure passed by the voters, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
28 — California’s statute on confidentiality of medical records permitted a clinic to disclose that a woman underwent in vitro fertilization to her ex-fiancÈ, whose credit card was used to pay for the procedure, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
29 — John G. Roberts Jr., 50, was sworn in as chief justice of the United States. Roberts, originally nominated to succeed Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, was subsequently nominated for chief justice following the death of William Rehnquist.....A communication between a church congregant and a clergy member need not include the seeking of forgiveness of sin to be protected by the priest-penitent privilege, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
30 — The Ninth Circuit Judicial Council ended misconduct proceedings against U.S. District Judge Manuel Real of the Central District of California, saying the judge’s expression of regret for “misunderstandings” concerning his actions in a bankruptcy case constituted “adequate corrective action” under the judicial discipline statute. The decision, drew a sharp dissent from Judge Alex Kozinski, who said Real had “committed serious misconduct by abusing his judicial power.”
3 — The U.S. Supreme Court denied review of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upholding the death sentence of 75-year-old Clarence Ray Allen for masterminding the 1980 triple murder of Bryan Schletewitz, Josephine Rocha and Douglas Scott White at Fran’s Market in Fresno.
5 — The Court of Appeal for this district certified for publication a Sept. 13 opinion in which it held that an appellate reversal of an order denying class certification does not give a litigant an opportunity to peremptorily challenge the judge who issued the order.
6 — The corpus delicti rule still applies to preliminary hearings, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled. The traditional rule that the fact that a crime has been committed must be proven by evidence other than the defendant’s out-of-court statement was not abrogated by the Victim’s Bill of Rights enacted in 1982, Presiding Justice Candace Cooper wrote for Div. Eight....Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named Andrea Hoch, a former top deputy to Attorney General Bill Lockyer, as his legal affairs secretary.
11 — A public entity that mandates its employees wear uniforms need not pay for the acquisition, replacement, repair and cleaning of the outfits, the First District Court of Appeal ruled....The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the death sentence of Stanley “Tookie” Williams, a founder of the Crips street gang whose later work for peace won him Nobel Peace Prize nominations.
12 — The California Supreme Court agreed to decide whether the state Constitution, as amended by Proposition 218 in 1996, permits the imposition of a special assessment on property owners for the purpose of acquiring and preserving open space.
13 — Veteran State Bar administrator Gayle Murphy was named to head the State Bar of California’s Office of Admissions. Murphy, 52, replaced Jerome Braun upon his retirement Nov. 1....A grand jury subpoena issued to compel an assistant federal public defender to testify against her own client did not implicate the attorney-client privilege but was properly quashed as “unreasonable and oppressive,” the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
14 — Thousands of Americans, including 8,000 in the Central District of California, filed for bankruptcy protection in advance of changes in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code that took effect Oct. 17.
17 — California law granting undocumented aliens who are hurt on the job most of the rights granted to other injured workers is not preempted by the 1986 immigration reform law, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
18 — Declaring her a “shining example of what intelligence and determination can bring,” the Tournament of Roses named retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor grand marshal of the 117th Rose Parade...A defendant who had reason to believe that his lawyers had discussed his case with another suspect and disclosed confidential information to prosecutors was deprived of his constitutional right to counsel when the trial judge denied his request to appoint new attorneys, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
19 — The Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules for Publication of Court of Appeal Opinions, chaired by high court Justice Kathryn Werdegar, released proposed rules changes for comment. If adopted, potential embarrassment to parties, lawyers or trial judges would be no excuse for justices not ordering publication of Court of Appeal opinions....A Los Angeles Superior Court judge must reconsider his denial of an anti-SLAPP motion brought by U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and her campaign committee in a suit charging her and others with trying to subvert campaign finance laws, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled....The California Supreme Court agreed to decide whether a patron who claims that a business charged a discriminatory price or fee based on gender is barred from suing if the patron did not demand equal treatment at the time.
20 — The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled en banc yesterday that a plan used by the Seattle public schools to assign students to high schools, taking into consideration the race of students competing for limited spots at popular schools, did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment....Holocaust survivors who claim to have been treated unfairly by the commission set up to settle claims based on life insurance policies issued in pre-World War II Europe cannot sue the commission, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
24 — Judge Consuelo B. Marshall of the Central District of California took senior status, one month after turning the duties of chief judge over to Judge Alicemarie Stotler.
26 — An arbitration award cannot stand if the arbitrator accepted an undisclosed engagement in another matter involving the same attorneys, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled. The ruling affirmed Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ralph W. Dau’s decision of a year ago that tossed out an award of more than $3.3 million in favor of entertainment impresario Michael Ovitz against film producer Cathy Schulman.
27 — A 69-year-old former Los Angeles Superior Court judge was sentenced to four years in state prison after pleading no contest to stealing from elderly clients, including a woman on life support. Huey Percy Shepard was taken into custody immediately after he was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Patricia Titus.... Two women who were persuaded to invest in a business operated by their attorney are entitled to reimbursement from the State Bar Client Security Fund, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
28 — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger nominated Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victoria Chavez to fill the last remaining vacancy on this district’s Court of Appeal, and named Superior Court Commissioner Robert P. Applegate, Deputy District Attorney Mike Camacho, Long Beach Assistant City Prosecutor Daniel S. Murphy, Los Angeles County Employee Retirement Association staff counsel Margaret L. Oldendorf, and Otis D. Wright, a partner in the Los Angeles firm of Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, to the Los Angeles Superior Court.
31 — The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday overturned a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that granted a new trial to a convicted carjacker because he was largely denied access to a law library before and during trial....Fourth District Court of Appeal James D. Ward retired from Div. Two to become a private judge...The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a California Supreme Court ruling that left intact some 100,000 rulings handed down by the California Coastal Commission prior to the 2002 change in its appointment structure....Former California Congressman and Glendale Municipal Court Presiding Judge James E. Rogan joined the Orange County office of Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds.
1 — A woman who agreed to withdraw a domestic violence complaint to the police as part of a divorce settlement may be ordered to comply with that agreement, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Floyd V. Baxter retired.
2 — A school psychological survey which asked Palmdale first, third and fifth graders about sexual feelings did not violate their parents’ due process or privacy rights, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
3 — The Metropolitan News-Enterprise announced the selection of Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge William A. MacLaughlin and Assistant Presiding Judge J. Stephen Czuleger as the “Persons of the Year” for 2005....A California statute making it a crime to file a knowingly false complaint against a peace officer unconstitutionally restricts free speech, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, contrary to a 2002 ruling of the California Supreme Court.
7 — A commercial truck driver must take “extreme caution” when driving in hazardous conditions, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled, saying it was prejudicial error for a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to give an instruction inferring that a lesser degree of care was acceptable....A would-be screenwriter accused of threatening three judges of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California yesterday lost his bid to have all of the district’s judges barred from conducting the trial.
8 — The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a bankruptcy judge’s ruling that a former legislator who once ran for California attorney general was mentally competent to settle a dispute with a bankruptcy trustee. Judge Johnnie Rawlinson, writing for the appellate panel, said that Omer L. Rains failed to show that the judge’s finding, which was based on sworn declarations from other attendees at the settlement conference, was clearly erroneous.
9 — Prosecutors using California’s “Freeze and Seize” law in order to preserve victims’ interests in assets of defendants charged with serious economic crimes must prove that the defendants actually owned, and not merely controlled, the funds in order to defeat third-party claims, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
10 — President Bush nominated Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. to succeed retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John H. Sandoz said he will retire next year.
15 — A policy under which all custodial defendants making their initial appearances in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California are required to wear leg shackles violates the Due Process Clause, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled....Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Mark A. Weiss said he would retire from the bench in February....Retired First District Court of Appeal Justice Winslow Christian was killed when a car struck him as he crossed a Redding street. Christian, 79, was sitting on assignment in Shasta Superior Court....Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert C. Nye, who died last Tuesday at age 85.
16 — The Commission on Judicial Performance ordered Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kevin A. Ross removed from office, saying he violated defendants’ constitutional rights, made improper comments to the media, used his office in an effort to promote a tasteless concept for a television program, and prevaricated when confronted by the commission about his conduct.
18 — The State Bar reported that fewer than half of those who took the July 2005 general California bar exam passed, marking the third consecutive year in which that was true. The Committee of Bar Examiners said that a total of 8,343 applicants — about 300 more than last year — took the test and 4.072, or 48.8 percent, passed.
21 — A 35-year-old state law banning importation of kangaroo products into California is preempted to the extent it conflicts with federal law allowing such products to be imported into the United States, the First District Court of Appeal ruled....Covina attorney Rocky Lee Crabb took the bench as a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner.
22 — This district’s Court of Appeal revived an unfair competition suit against Blockbuster Inc. in which independent video retailers claimed the company negotiated with film studios to obtain secret discounts on the movies it purchased for rental.... The board of a non-profit corporation created by a city to assist its redevelopment agency in acquiring real estate cannot meet privately with the agency’s lawyers to discuss pending eminent domain litigation, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled....A Los Angeles lawyer who in two petitions for rehearing asserted that appellate justices were biased against her client and had reasoned backward to reach a predetermined result was found guilty of criminal contempt by this district’s Court of Appeal.
23 — The Commission on Judicial Performance asked the California Supreme Court to appoint three new special masters to hear the misconduct case of Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Diana R. Hall. The CJP took the step six days after it took the apparently unprecedented action of halting proceedings after three days of testimony regarding the charges against Hall, a judge for nearly 15 years, after allegations that one of the masters told a former court clerk that the panel had already concluded that Hall was guilty on at least some of the charges.
24 — Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Francis Garvey died at age 92.
28 — A supervised release condition requiring a defendant to stand in front of a San Francisco post office wearing a signboard stating “I stole mail. This is my punishment” was left in effect by the U.S. Supreme Court....Exigent circumstances justified the conduct of narcotics officers who entered a probationer’s residence without knocking and announcing themselves, the California Supreme Court ruled....An insurance broker for the California Fair Plan was the insurer’s “representative” for purposes of the statute reviving some time-barred homeowners’ claims for damage sustained in the Northridge earthquake, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
29 — An arbitration clause in an internet service provider’s standard service agreement is unconscionable because it requires consumers to arbitrate relatively small claims in the company’s home state and prohibits class-wide claims, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
1 — State laws that implement collective bargaining agreements by allowing workers in certain units to arbitrate grievances over discipline, bypassing the State Personnel Board, are unconstitutional, the state Supreme Court ruled.
2 — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Christina Hill, Federal Public Defender Maria Stratton, and Deputy District Attorney Craig Richman to the Los Angeles Superior Court.
4 — The California Supreme Court yesterday unanimously upheld the death sentences imposed on East Compton laborer for four murders that occurred in southeastern Los Angeles County during a one-year period between January 1989 and January 1990. Attorneys for Abelino Manriquez, 33 when he was charged with the crimes, failed to show that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Armstrong — now retired — committed error at trial, Chief Justice Ronald M. George wrote for the court.
5 — Edward L. Masry, the lawyer made famous in the movie “Erin Brockovich,” died of complications of diabetes at age 73. Masry, a former mayor of Thousand Oaks, had resigned from the City Council on Nov. 30 due to ill health.
7 — Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner David Ziskrout said he would retire at the end of the year, capping a career of nearly 38 years on the local bench....The Commission on Judicial Performance initiated formal proceedings seeking to force the retirement of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rodney Nelson. The commission said it had taken the rare step because Nelson, a Superior Court judge since 1995, suffers from “degenerative brain disease” which is, or is likely to become, permanent and which prevents him from performing his judicial duties....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victoria Chavez won unanimous confirmation as a justice of Div. Two of this district’s Court of Appeal.
8 — Deputy District Attorney Douglas Sortino was named to the Los Angeles Superior Court.
9 — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger nominated First District Court of Appeal Justice Carol Corrigan to the California Supreme Court....Police officers need not preserve their rough investigative notes after using them to prepare written reports, provided that they act in good faith and pursuant to agency policy, the First District Court of Appeal ruled.
11 — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger nominated his former legal affairs secretary and interim chief of staff, Peter Siggins, to the First District Court of Appeal and tapped Justice Ignacio Ruvolo of the First District’s Div. Two to be presiding justice of Div. Four....The reception hall at the Chatsworth branch of the Los Angeles Superior Court was formally named the Justice Armand Arabian Reception Hall in honor of the retired jurist, a longtime San Fernando Valley resident.
12 — A former Orange Superior Court judge who kept sexually explicit pictures of young boys on his home computer faced a possible prison term after pleading guilty to four counts of having child pornography. Ronald C. Kline, a Superior Court judge from 1995 to 2003, entered his plea in federal court in Los Angeles. Three other counts of child pornography were dropped as part of a plea agreement.
15 — Former Los Angeles Superior Court Referee Joel Wallenstein was sworn in as the court’s newest commissioner.... The California Supreme Court yesterday unanimously affirmed the death sentence imposed on a former California State University, Northridge student for the killings of two men shot to death during the June 1991 robbery of a Subway sandwich shop near the campus. The court, however, left open the possibility of a successful habeas corpus challenge to James Robinson Jr.’s death sentence, declining to address the merits of his claim that an excessive amount of victim-impact testimony was admitted.
16 — Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Richard Kolostian and Michael Knight said they had slated February retirements.... President Bush nominated former Idaho Republican Chairman N. Randy Smith, now a state trial judge, to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
19 — A law firm’s threat to sue a retailer for selling an illegal product may be the subject of a suit by the product’s manufacturer for intentional interference with its business relationship with the retailer, the Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled.
20 — A racial discrimination suit charging the owner of the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel with moving an African American fashion show out of the hotel’s Grand Ballroom in 2001 to accommodate a bar mitzvah party was reinstated by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
21 — A law firm must be disqualified from a case when it associates as counsel an attorney who previously obtained confidential information from the opposing party, even in the absence of any evidence that confidential information was shared between the firm and the associated counsel, the Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled.
26 — Defamation claims by a high school baseball coach against parents who tried to get him fired from his job are barred by the anti-SLAPP law, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
27 — The Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Donald R. Alvarez for a misdemeanor driving under the influence citation, and for failing to self-report the incident to the CJP.
28 — Mario Rocha, serving 35 years to life in prison for a 1996 murder at a party that turned into a shootout involving Highland Park gang members, is entitled to a new trial because his defense counsel failed to conduct an adequate investigation of the facts that led to the conviction, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
29 — A defendant who fired a single bullet into a slowly moving vehicle, narrowly missing a mother and her infant son, was properly convicted of two counts of attempted murder, the California Supreme Court ruled.
Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company