Newspaper: Metropolitan News-Enterprise

 

Publication Date: Friday, December 29, 2006

 

Page No.: 10

 

Headline: END OF THE YEAR: Justice Carol Corrigan Joins California Supreme Court...Judge Kevin Ross Resigns   From Los Angeles Superior Court After Commission on Judicial Performance Orders His Removal...Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janavs Defeated After 20 Years, but Is Appointed to Another Seat by Schwarzenegger

 

Byline: --

 

Body:

 

January

 

3—Former Deputy District Attorney Craig Richman was sworn in Jan. 3 to succeed Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory O’Brien, who retired Aug. 7 of last year.

4—Carol Corrigan, previously a justice of the First District Court of Appeal, Div. Three, was confirmed and sworn in as a justice of the state Supreme Court, succeeding Janice Rogers Brown, who was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

5—Catherine Pratt, formerly a deputy county counsel, was sworn in as a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner to succeed Christina Hill, who was appointed a judge in November of last year.

6—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s former legal affairs secretary and interim chief of staff, Peter Siggins, was confirmed and sworn in as a justice of the First District Court of Appeal, succeeding Carol Corrigan...The Fourth District Court of Appeal certified for publication a Dec. 9, 2005 opinion holding that an attorney who is a party to a lawsuit may recover fees from the opposition for successfully representing other parties.

9—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a suit that accused Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and two former advisers to Bill Clinton of conspiring to discredit Gennifer Flowers after she claimed she had an affair with the former president. Flowers sued James Carville and George Stephanopoulos for defamation in 1999, after they suggested in talk show interviews that the audiotapes she used to try to prove she and Clinton had an affair were doctored, and added the senator in 2000, but the appeals court said the statute of limitations had expired and that Flowers could not prove actual malice.

10—The tolling of the statute of limitations for a malpractice action against a law firm continues after the responsible lawyer leaves the firm if he or she continues to represent the client, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.

11—A divided Supreme Court reinstated a Kern County man’s death sentence yesterday in the first 5-4 vote under newly installed Chief Justice John Roberts. The court overturned a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Ronald Sanders had been denied due process and subjected to cruel and unusual punishment when the California Supreme Court upheld the sentence despite finding that two of the jury’s four special circumstance findings were invalid. The justices said the error was harmless because the two remaining findings were sufficient to uphold the sentence.

12—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kevin Ross resigned, two months after the Commission on Judicial Performance ordered his removal for multiple acts of misconduct.

13—Jacqueline Chooljian was sworn in as a U.S. magistrate judge for the Central District of California.

17—Clarence Ray Allen was executed at San Quentin, hours after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his final attack on the death sentence imposed by a Superior Court judge in Glenn County. The high court declined to review a ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that neither Allen’s age and infirmity—he was 76 years old and had been blind and nearly deaf after suffering a heart attack—nor the fact that he spent the last 23 years of his life on Death Row required that the sentence be vacated.

20—A two-year-old state law that requires financial information in divorce files be sealed if either party requests it violates the First Amendment on its face, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled....Oswald Parada was sworn in as a U.S. magistrate judge for the Central District of California.

23—The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death sentence of a Northern California man convicted of killing his wife and mother-in-law and linked to the brutal sexual assaults and murders of three other women. The high court rejected Phillip Carl Jablonski’s claim that San Mateo Superior Court Judge John G. Schwartz deprived him of a fair trial by allowing a prosecution mental health expert to testify that he was a “serial killer,” a phrase that Jablonski’s lawyer had no legal meaning and was used only to cause prejudice. Justice Carlos Moreno, writing for the high court, said the testimony was admissible to help jurors understand how Jablonski could have engaged in psychotic, bizarre anti-social behavior, yet still understand the difference between right and wrong...Former Federal Public Defender Maria Stratton was sworn in to succeed Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Floyd Baxter, who retired Nov. 1 of last year.

24—A Butte Superior Court judge erred in ruling that the primary assumption of risk doctrine provided a defense to a young snowboarder whose excessive speed and inattentiveness allegedly caused a serious crash, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.

25—A federal law that makes it a crime for an American to pay a child for sex in another country is constitutional, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Costa Mesa attorney Andrew Guilford, a former president of the State Bar, was nominated to succeed Judge Dickran M. Tevrizian, who took senior status on Aug. 5 of last year.

 26—The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death sentence for a Lynwood man convicted of three murders in what prosecutors said was an intended drug rip-off at a Monterey Park motel in 1988. Justice Marvin Baxter, writing for the court, rejected the argument that Eric Lamont Hinton suffered undue prejudice as a result of a brief comment to the effect of “Thank you God. Kill him.” allegedly made by the mother of one of the victims when the guilty verdict was returned.

27—The First District Court of Appeal rejected a challenge to state laws granting registered domestic partners many of the rights of married couples.

28—Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Zuzga, 51, was named a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner. She was sworn in Feb. 17.

31—U.S. District Judge Dickran M. Tevrizian approved the final settlement of a class action, requiring Los Angeles County and the Los Angeles Superior Court to take specific steps to make local courthouse facilities more accessible to the disabled...The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the federal government’s ban on the procedure called ‘partial-birth’ abortion, saying the law is unconstitutional for several reasons, including the lack of an exception to protect mothers’ health.

February

 

2—Prominent Los Angeles trial attorney Pierce O’Donnell was ordered to pay $155,200 in fines and penalties, placed on three years probation and banned from participating in any political fundraising for three years after pleading no contest to Political Reform Act violations. Superior Court Judge Alex Ricciardulli imposed the sentence after O’Donnell entered his plea pursuant to negotiations with prosecutors. O’Donnell was accused of making contributions to then-Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn under names other than his own during 2000 and 2001....An evidentiary hearing is not required in every case in which a non-custodial parent objection to the custodial parent’s plan to move with the child to another state.

4—Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Thomas Parrott retired.

6—A defendant’s good faith belief that a class of securities is exempt from registration requirements is an affirmative defense to a charge of selling unregistered securities, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled.

7—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named two prosecutors to fill the only vacancies on the Los Angeles Superior Court. Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzette Clover was chosen to succeed Judge Kevin Ross, who resigned, and Deputy District Attorney Hector Guzman was named to replace Judge David Workman, who retired the previous day after 25 years on the bench, but was immediately assigned to sit through the end of the year.

8—President Bush nominated Sandra Segal Ikuta, 51, deputy director and general counsel of the California Resources Agency and a former partner at O’Melveny & Myers, to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to succeed Judge James Browning, who took senior status in 2000.

9—The Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ruffo Espinosa Jr., saying his treatment of a deputy public defender whom he held in contempt of court was uncalled for and that the rights of the defendant were violated as well. Espinosa committed “serious misconduct” when he ordered Deputy Public Defender Michael Pentz taken into immediate custody, even though the judge was aware that state law imposes an automatic three-day stay when a lawyer is held in contempt, the commission found in a unanimous ruling.

14—President Bush nominated Los Angeles attorney Milan D. Smith, a former member of the state Fair Employment and Housing Commission, to succeed Judge A. Wallace Tashima, who took senior status June 30, 2004...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Howard Schwab retired.

15—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Tia G. Fisher to a judgeship on the court....Public policy precludes a court from terminating a parent’s rights with respect to his or her children solely because he or she and the other parent have so stipulated, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled. Affirming a trial judge’s ruling on a motion by Deborah Rowe Jackson, the ex-wife of Michael Jackson, Div. Seven said a stipulation terminating parental rights cannot be approved in the absence of proof that such action is in the children’s best interests.

16—A discrepancy between the version of an initiative measure circulated for voter signatures and that submitted to the attorney general for title and summary does not necessarily require removal of the measure from the ballot, a divided California Supreme Court ruled. Such a discrepancy will not be fatal, Chief Justice Ronald M. George wrote for the court, when it is inadvertent and “it is apparent that the technical defect in question, as a realistic matter, did not adversely affect the integrity of the electoral process or frustrate the purposes underlying the relevant constitutional or statutory requirements.”

19—Court of Appeal Justice J. Gary Hastings retired from this district’s Div. Four.

20—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Kolostian retired.

21—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Knight retired.

22—Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Mark Weiss retired.

23—James Richman, who had been an Alameda Superior Court Judge, was confirmed and sworn in as a justice of the First District Court of Appeal.

28—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert J. Sandoval died at age 56. He suffered a heart attack while hospitalized with leukemia....Justice Laurence T. Stevens of the First District Court of Appeal’s Div. Five retired.

March

 

2—An amicus curiae who appears on the losing side of litigation in which that party has no personal interest at stake cannot be ordered to pay attorney fees to the prevailing party, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled...The high court narrowly upheld the death sentence imposed on a construction worker convicted of fatally stabbing an emergency-room nurse in her Beverlywood home. In a 4-3 decision, the justices rejected the contention that there was insufficient evidence that Jose Francisco Guerra attempted to rape Kathleen Powell. Guerra, who was doing renovation work on the house next to Powell’s prior to the 1990 murder, was picked up for questioning after his fingerprints were found in the victim’s blood. Under interrogation, he first denied being in the house, then when told that his prints were discovered, said he was drunk and might have gone in and found the victim already lying dead...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen P. Pfahler, formerly city attorney for South Pasadena and Rolling Hills Estates, was sworn in to succeed retired Judge Richard Kolostian.

3—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ruth Essegian retired. She was replaced the next day by Principal Deputy County Counsel Victor L. Wright, 39, whose appointment was announced the previous month...Los Angeles Superior Court Com­mis­sioner Richard D. Hughes retired, as did Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Thomas Peterson.

6—The California Supreme Court, in a 5-2 decision, ordered a new penalty trial for the convicted killer of three men shot to death during a robbery at a Tustin auto store, saying the trial judge consistently showed favoritism toward the prosecution. Orange Superior Court Judge Donald A. McCartin, who retired not long after sentencing Gregory Allen Sturm to death, constantly disparaged the defendant’s attorney and witnesses during the defendant’s second trial, Justice Carlos Moreno wrote for the court...The court also ruled in another capital case, holding 6-1 that Ralph International Thomas, convicted in the 1985 shooting and killing of two people in a homeless encampment near Berkeley, was not entitled to a new trial based on claimed ineffective assistance of counsel. With Justice Joyce L. Kennard dissenting, the court held that while Thomas’ lawyer should have done a better job of investigating the claim that someone else committed the shooting, a better investigation would not have led to a better result...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David I. Doi retired after being a judge for more than 23 years...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Farrell retired.

7—The City of Los Angeles and the Boy Scouts of America have no liability to a pair of men who claim they were sexually abused while teenagers participating in a police explorer program, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.

9—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named attorney Richard Kemalyan to the Los Angeles Superior Court to succeed Judge Michael Farrell.

10—Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Delbert E. Wong died at age 85.

16—The U.S. Senate, on a voice vote, confirmed the nomination of Riverside-based Magistrate Judge Stephen Larson to a judgeship on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California...A prisoner’s letters to his wife, who was also his attorney, were not protected from disclosure as marital communications, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The court said U.S. District Court Judge George H. King of the Central District of California properly ordered the letters handed over to prosecutors after a special master redacted those portions protected by the attorney-client and work-product privileges. The letters sent to Pamela Griffin by Robert Lee Griffin, accused of racketeering in connection with activities of the Aryan Brotherhood, were among six boxes of documents seized by law enforcement officials executing a search warrant at her residence.

20—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rodney E. Nelson retired, one week after the Commission on Judicial Performance cancelled a hearing before three special masters who were to determine whether the judge, 71, should be forced to retire due to “degenerative brain disease.”

21—Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner H. Ronald Hauptmann retired.

24—A group of Sierra Club members opposed to the conservation organization’s leadership and seeking a change in its policies may sue for alleged unfair treatment during the organization’s 2004 board election, the First District Court of Appeal ruled...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Philip Gutierrez was nominated to replace Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr., who took senior status on April 22, 2005.

27—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jean Matusinka died at the age of 67. The cause of death was lung cancer.

28—A legislative redistricting plan does not violate the state Constitution merely because it splits a city, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled, rejecting a claim by Santa Clara voters.

29—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Richard M. Goul to a judgeship in the Los Angeles Superior Court.

30—A Los Angeles Superior Court judge erred in disqualifying the entire District Attorney’s Office from prosecuting a defendant charged with killing a deputy district attorney’s mother, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled. Such disqualification requires actual proof of external interference with the discretion of the prosecutor assigned to the case, the panel said....Frederick Mumm was sworn in as a U.S. magistrate judge.

31—A defendant claiming self-defense need not prove that he or she lacked a reasonable alternative to using force, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Denner retired.

April

 

3—The obligation of police to protect individuals in their custody does not require that they perform CPR when an arrestee is stricken with a possible heart attack, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

4—Officials announced that Mid-Wilshire civil attorney Robert Harrison and Superior Court Referee Stephen Marpet were elected commissioners of the Los Angeles Superior Court.

5—The primary assumption-of-risk doctrine is a complete defense to a suit by a health club patron who alleges that the club failed to identify cardiac risk factors in designing his personalized training program, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled...The Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed a local zoning ordinance that bars the development of “big box” retail stores with full service grocery departments.

 6—The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death sentence imposed on a young San Diego man for the murder of a pregnant woman who may have planned to reveal a plot to kill a drug dealer. In an opinion by Justice Joyce L. Kennard, the court rejected the contention that Robert Jurado Jr.’s confrontation rights were violated when testimony given in an earlier proceeding by a key witness was admitted at his trial for the murder of Teresa Holloway...The risk of being intentionally hit in the head by a pitch is inherent in the game of baseball and is assumed by players of the sport at the community college level, the state high court ruled.

 10—U.S. District Judge Nora M. Manella of the Central District of California was confirmed to succeed retired Justice J. Gary Hastings as member of Div. Four of this district’s Court of Appeal, but her swearing in was delayed so that she could complete her work on the federal bench...A deviation between the approved language of a standard jury instruction and the version of the instruction that appears in the court reporter’s transcript is no basis for reversing a murder conviction and resulting death sentence, the California Supreme Court ruled in a 5-2 decision. The court affirmed Michael James Huggins’ conviction and sentence for the 1986 murder of Sarah Anne Lees, who was shot to death at her home in Castro Valley. Huggins admitted killing Lees but said he did so accidentally.

11—Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James P. Natoli died after a lengthy illness. He was 84.

13—The Court of Appeal for this district reversed the conviction of a Roman Catholic priest on child molestation charges. A Los Angeles Superior Court jury found Fernando Lopez, a former parish priest in a low-income and predominantly Hispanic area of the city, guilty of eight sex offenses involving three boys, but a divided panel said that remarks during final argument by the prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Darci Johnson, prejudiced the jury against the priest.

14—An employer’s policy of requiring female bartenders to wear makeup does not constitute sex discrimination, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 7-4 en banc decision...A Los Angeles ordinance that imposes fines and jail sentences for sleeping, sitting, or lying on the sidewalk cannot constitutionally be enforced against homeless people who lack shelter within the city, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

17—The U.S. Supreme Court reversed a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in favor of a white South African family seeking asylum in this country. A limited en banc panel of the Court of Appeals ruled last year that Michelle Thomas and her family constituted a “particular social group” and were potentially eligible for asylum because they had been harassed as a result of their connection to Thomas’ father-in-law, who had clashed with black workers at a construction company in South Africa. But the Supreme Court, in a per curiam opinion, said the Ninth Circuit should not have ruled on the “social group” claim because it was not resolved by the immigration judge, or the Board of Immigration Appeals, both of whom rejected the applicants’ claim that they were persecuted because of their race and their own political opinions.

18—Fresno Superior Court Judge Brad R. Hill was confirmed as a justice of the Fifth District Court of Appeal...A third party who refused to answer deposition questions about the identity of persons who allegedly posted defamatory statements on the Internet lacks standing to assert those persons’ First Amendment rights, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled.

19—The California Supreme Court denied a petition by former Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kevin A. Ross to review the Commission on Judicial Performance’s Nov. 16 order removing him from office.

20—A suburban San Diego teenager who was barred from wearing a T-shirt with anti-gay rhetoric to class lost a bid to have his high school enjoined from enforcing parts of its dress code when the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the school could restrict what students wear to prevent disruptions...A woman who accepted a job working with writers on a television program with sexual themes cannot sue over vulgar language employed in meetings as part of the creative process, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled...Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named Un­em­ployment Insurance Appeals Board Administrative Law Judge Mary Lou Villar—a sister of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa—along with civil litigators Steven D. Blades and Juan Carlos Dominguez, and former federal prosecutor Ray G. Jurado to the Los Angeles Superior Court.

21—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Thomas K. Herman retired.

24—President Bush nominated Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Philip Gutierrez to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California...The California Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the death sentence imposed in the 1995 robbery-murder of a Hanford convenience store owner. The justices rejected the argument that Clifton Perry’s rights were violated when he was excluded from a bench conference held after his wife caused a disturbance in the courtroom. Justice Joyce L. Kennard, writing for the high court, said that the conference did not deal with matters critical to Perry’s right to defend himself, so he had no constitutional or statutory right to be present.

25—A state law authorizing denial of support to someone who is convicted of abusing the supporting spouse takes precedence over a marital settlement agreement limiting the circumstances under which the support award can be modified, the Sixth District Court of Appeal has ruled.

27—The Commission on Judicial Performance brought formal charges against Monterey Superior Court Judge Jose A. Velasquez, accusing Velasquez, 47, with sentencing defendants to jail for probation violations with which they were not charged; increasing sentences in response to defendants’ questions or comments; improperly basing sentences on defendants’ answers to his questions about how it felt to commit the crime; pressuring defendants into pleading guilty; issuing bench warrants for defendants whose attorneys arrived late to court; making improper comments in court, including joking remarks about jail time; and allowing his young children to be in the bench area and in chambers during case discussions.

28—Los Angeles attorney Paul Ted Suzuki, corporate counsel Michele Flurer, and Deputy District Attorney Lia R. Martin were elected commissioner of the Los Angeles Superior Court, officials said...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Paula Mabrey retired.

30—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles Rubin retired.

May

 

1—High school student athletes have a First Amendment right to criticize a coach’s methods and actions and to petition to have the coach replaced, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...A crowd of immigration reform protesters, estimated by the Los Angeles mayor’s office at 250,000, staged a march concluding with a rally in front of City Hall as part of the national “Day Without Immigrants.”

2—A jury’s verdict absolving two contractors of liability for injury suffered by a subcontractor’s supervisor hit by falling scaffolding was supported by evidence that the plaintiff was looking down and talking on his cell phone while workers tried to warn him of potential danger, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall ruled that a Long Beach ordinance against soliciting work in public violated day laborers’ First Amendment right to free speech.

 3—The Commission on Judicial Performance charged Alameda Superior Court Judge Robert J. Freedman with violating rules of conduct by failing to decide cases on time and falsely swearing that he was keeping up with time limits.

4—The Republic of the Philippines and a commission created by it to recover funds former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos set up in accounts throughout the world are not indispensable parties to an interpleader action in which victims of human rights violations by the late dictator claimed compensation, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...The American Judicature Society an­nounced the nomination of California Chief Justice Ronald M. George as the winner of its annual award for judicial excellence...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Valerie L. Baker was nominated to succeed Judge Consuelo Marshall, who took senior status Oct. 24, 2005.

5—A gay couple prohibited from marrying under California law lack standing to challenge the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and the District Court properly abstained from considering their claims that California law violates the California Constitution, where the issue is an issue presently before the California state courts, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...A parent whose home was the site of a sleepover for teenage girls owed no duty to protect one of the guests from a sexual assault that occurred after she left the house without the host parent’s knowledge, the First District Court of Appeal ruled.

8—A judge whose daughter had been the victim of a knifepoint robbery at a photograph shop many years earlier was not required to recuse himself from the trial of a defendant accused of stabbing his victim to death in a robbery at a photograph drive-up store, the California Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision. The justices upheld the death sentence of Erik S. Chatman for the 1987 stabbing murder of Rosellina Lo Bue.

9—The Commission on Judicial Performance by a 10-0 vote admonished Kings Superior Court Judge Ronald J. Maciel for abusing his authority in sanctioning an attorney without prior notice or an opportunity to be heard...The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a civil rights action brought on behalf of more than 1,000 former players against Major League Baseball. The ex-players, who played between 1947 and 1979, claimed the MLB discriminated against them by not giving them pensions, while giving payments to a small number of players who played in the “Negro Leagues” before the MLB integrated.

10—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the 90-month prison term imposed on now-suspended Beverly Hills attorney Rex DeGeorge for attempting to sink a yacht to collect insurance money...A 44-hour delay in the arraignment of an alleged illegal gambling operator was within the discretion and judgment of the arresting officers, thereby precluding liability for false imprisonment under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

11—The testimony of a murder defendant’s girlfriend was not “tainted” by his illegally obtained confession where her testimony would inevitably have been obtained or was otherwise procured by means sufficiently attenuated from the Fourth Amendment violation committed against him, the California Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision. The high court upheld the death sentence of Richard D. Boyer for the 1982 stabbing murders of Fullerton couple Francis and Aileen Harbitz.

12—State Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez announced the appointment of private consultant Jeannine English, 52, of Sacramento to the California State Bar Board of Governors.

15—Prospective jurors in a capital case may be discharged for cause based solely on their answers to a written questionnaire, if it is clear from their answers that they are unwilling to temporarily set aside their own beliefs and follow the law, the California Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision. The justices upheld the death sentence of Johnny Avila Jr. for the 1991 murders of Fresno women Dorothy Medina and Arlene Sanchez...The Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Judicial Elections Evaluation Panel issued ratings for candidates, giving an “exceptionally well qualified” rating to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dzintra I. Janavs and Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Judith L. Meyer; a “well qualified” rating to Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Janis Levart Barquist, Los Angeles Superior Court Com­missioner Alan H. Friedenthal, attorney Randolph Martin Hammock, Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Richard Kraft, Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Richard H. Loomis, Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Susan L. Lopez-Giss, Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Deborah L. Sanchez, Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney David W. Stuart and Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Hayden Zacky; a “qualified” rating to California Deputy Attorney General S. Paul Bruguera, Workers Compensation Judge John C. Gutierrez, attorney Maria Rivas Hamar, California Deputy Attorney General Bob Henry, Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Daniel J. Lowenthal, Los Angeles Deputy Public Defender C. Edward Mack, Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Daviann L. Mitchell and Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Edward J. Nison; and a “not qualified” rating to attorneys Stephen H. Beecher, David Crawford III, Robert Davenport, Stephen M. Feldman, Larry H. Layton, George C. Montgomery, Richard A. Nixon, Lynn Diane Olson and Douglas W. Weitzman...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John H. Sandoz retired...The State Bar Court Review Department recommended that Marina del Rey attorney David E. Brockway be suspended from the practice of law for five years for abandoning clients, but that the suspension be stayed on conditions that include at least two years of actual suspension.

16—The U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed President Bush’s nomination of Torrance attorney Milan D. Smith Jr. to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

17—The Court of Appeal for this district affirmed the murder conviction of Sante Kimes, who drew a life without parole sentence in California after being convicted of a prior murder in New York...The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to rehear its ruling that the owner of the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel may be sued for moving an African American fashion show out of the hotel’s Grand Ballroom in 2001 to accommodate a bar mitzvah party...The California Supreme Court declined to review a Court of Appeal ruling striking down a two-year-old state law that requires financial information in divorce files be sealed if either party requests it.

18—Reputed billionaire Ronald W. Burkle did not conceal assets from his wife, Janet E. Burkle, when they executed a 1997 marital agreement, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...A defendant who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death did not prove his claims that the trial judge advised the prosecutor to excuse Jewish potential jurors and that the advice was followed, the California Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision...The people of a general law county cannot prescribe minimum budgets for their local district attorney, sheriff, public defender and fire department through the initiative process, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.

19—Orders for the payment of monetary sanctions, other than in connection with discovery, in limited civil cases are immediately appealable, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled. The court left standing, on the basis of untimely appeal, nine monetary sanction orders in the total amount of $24,750 against now-suspended Sherman Oaks attorney Joel Drum in a $6,000 subrogation case he filed on behalf of an insurance carrier in 1998.

22—The 2001 attempted bombing of Vietnam’s embassy in Thailand by a naturalized United States citizen from Vietnam did not qualify under the “political offense” exception in the U.S.-Thailand extradition treaty, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

23—The airspace is a nonpublic forum and Honolulu’s ordinance banning aerial advertising does not violate the free speech rights of an anti-abortion group desiring to fly graphic political banners over Honolulu’s the city’s beaches, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...A man who was extradited from Venezuela to the United States, convicted of murder and sentenced to 15 years to life, is entitled to resentencing because Venezuela clearly expressed its understanding that the man would not be sentenced to more than 30 years when it extradited him, the Ninth U.S. Court of Appeals ruled...A Sacramento couple whose insurer’s mishandling of their claim drove the husband to drink, sent the wife to a therapist, and injured their marriage and their business are entitled to keep the more than $2 million awarded by a jury for bad faith, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.

24—The California Supreme Court reinstated the state’s high school exit exam as a graduation requirement for this year’s senior class, leaving 47,000 high school students who failed the test in danger of not graduating...The state law “right of publicity” claims of a recording artist who gave her record company the sole and exclusive copyright to a song recording, which was later licensed without her authorization to another record company, were preempted by the Copyright Act, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The court dismissed singer Debra Laws’ misappropriation suit stemming from the use of her work in a Sony records song performed by Jennifer Lopez and L.L. Cool J...A personal injury suit against the United States Postal Service was correctly dismissed for lack of jurisdiction where, although the plaintiff had timely deposited an administrative claim form in the mail, the postal service never received it because it was lost in the mail, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...A law enforcement agency must disclose the address of an arrestee to anyone who declares under penalty of perjury that the information will be used for a journalistic purpose, Attorney General Bill Lockyer said in a published opinion...Los Angeles County Bar Association trustees voted unanimously, with two members abstaining, to take a position against the State Bar’s proposal that would introduce a permanent disbarment provision into the California Rules of Court.

25—The Legislature cannot combine unrelated changes to the state Constitution into a single ballot measure, the California Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision...The police do not have probable cause to believe that a parolee lives at an unreported residence, so as to justify a warrantless search, where they watched the address in question for a month and did not see the parolee there, and other usual fact patterns which support probable cause were lacking, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

26—Publishers of news Internet sites are protected by California’s reporter’s shield and state and federal free speech guarantees from having to divulge sources of alleged corporate trade secret information published on their sites, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled...A law firm that represented the prevailing parties in public interest litigation may intervene to recover its fees under the private attorney general statute if the client will not request them, the First District Court of Appeal ruled...Where the legislative body of a local agency ultimately rejects the proposed dismissal of a public employee after discussing the issue in a closed session meeting, it is not thereafter required to publicly report its decision and the vote or abstention of each member, Attorney General Bill Lockyer said in a published opinion.

30—Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Richard Ceballos had no First Amendment protection against being demoted for authoring an internal memorandum accusing a law enforcement officer of lying and disclosing the memo to a defense attorney, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision...Where a trial court entered judgment even though a statement of decision had been requested but not prepared, and the appellate court on remand directed the trial court to prepare a statement of decision, the trial judge could not be disqualified under Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 170.6, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...Infinity Broadcasting Corporation did not discriminate against longtime KNX general manager George Nicholaw when it terminated his employment at the radio station three years ago at age 75, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled in an unpublished opinion.

31—The Los Angeles City Council gave preliminary approval to a motion to ban “racist and abusive” language during the council’s public comment periods.

June

 

1—Court of Appeal Justice Daniel A. Curry, of this district’s Div. Four, retired...Police may enter a home without a warrant if they have reason to believe that an occupant was driving drunk earlier and that blood-alcohol evidence will be lost absent such entry, the California Supreme Court ruled in a 6-1 decision...State officials do not have qualified immunity from claims of various constitutional violations brought by plaintiffs who have been civilly committed pursuant to California’s Sexually Violent Predators Act, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Where a woman suing her former surgeon for malpractice filed, in opposition to the surgeon’s motion for summary judgment, an expert declaration that the surgeon’s preoperative evaluation fell below the accepted standard of care and that the surgery was premature and unnecessary, there was sufficient evidence to put the element of causation in issue, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...Venice civil rights attorney Stephen G. Yagman, 62, was indicted on charges of attempting to evade the payment of more than $100,000 in federal income taxes by concealing his assets and committing bankruptcy fraud.

2—The statute of limitations period as to a legal malpractice claim may be tolled during the period that a lawyer failed to communicate with the client after agreeing to accept representation, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled, reinstating a suit against mid-Wilshire attorney Emelike I. Kalu...The builder of a proposed nuclear facility must include the likely environmental consequences of a potential terrorist attack in their environmental review required under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

5—Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Paul G. Flynn and Jacob Adajian retired...An entire city attorney’s office was disqualified from litigation where the city attorney previously advised one of the defendants in a substantially related matter, the California Supreme Court ruled in a 5-2 decision...A defendant cannot prospectively waive his right to a speedy trial under the Speedy Trial Act of 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision.

6—In elections for Los Angeles Superior Court offices, non-practicing attorney Lynn Diane Olson ousted 20-year incumbent Dzintra Janavs; Los Angeles Assistant City Attorney Susan L. Lopez-Giss was elected to succeed Judge Larry Knupp, who did not seek re-election; Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Daniel J. Lowenthal was elected to succeed Judge Barbara Burke; and Judith L. Meyer was elected to succeed Judge Stephen Petersen...Concealing or destroying evidence is not a possessory drug offense for which a defendant is entitled to a probationary sentence that includes drug treatment under Proposition 36, even if the destroyed or concealed evidence related to a drug offense, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.

7—A Spanish-speaking prisoner who filed an untimely habeas corpus petition may be entitled to equitable tolling of the one-year limitations period because he was unable to comprehend English and the prison law library lacked Spanish-language materials, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

8—The Commission on Judicial Performance censured Sonoma Superior Court Judge Elaine M. Rushing and Riverside Superior Court Judge Bernard J. Schwartz who, in separate incidents, tried to use their judicial positions to avoid being arrested for driving under the influence.

9—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he would re-appoint Judge Dzintra Janavs, who was defeated by Lynn Olson in the June 6 primary election, “as soon as she completes the paperwork”...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven C. Suzukawa, nominated by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on May 2, was unanimously confirmed and sworn in to Div. Four of this district’s Court of Appeal, to succeed retired Justice Daniel Curry...Fijian asylum petitioners who lived for four years in Canada, where they had a child, worked, received health benefits, and had a refugee application pending before leaving for the U.S. are not necessarily barred from receiving asylum in this country, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

12—The Commission on Judicial Performance by a 7-2 vote admonished Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Bruce C. Mills for having improper ex parte discussions with a defendant, a lawyer, and a probation office and for making “sarcastic and discourteous” remarks about a defendant from the bench...A gang member’s death sentence for murdering two men as they worked on a car in an East Los Angeles driveway 10 years ago was overturned by the California Supreme Court...A successful appellant is entitled to one, and only one, new peremptory challenge to a judge under Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 170.6 when the case is sent back for a new trial, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...Hollywood writer/director Dirk Summer’s $3.7 million default judgment against his former girlfriend, “The Golden Girls” actress Rue McClanahan, was set aside by the Court of Appeal for this district.

13—The Commission on Judicial Performance by a vote of 10-0 publicly admonished Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joseph E. Di Loreto for using chambers judicial stationery in a personal matter involving the City of Downey...The Legislature has not unconstitutionally intruded on the power of a trial court to order a less-stringent criminal sentence by mandating that the DMV impose a two-year administrative license suspension for certain drunk drivers, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled...A park district cannot be held liable for the death of a young swimmer who drowned after lifeguards had finished their workday and left for the evening, the First District Court of Appeal ruled in an unpublished opinion, later certified for partial publication on July 6.

14—A Fourth District Court of Appeal ruling cutting punitive damage awards in a sexual harassment suit by former employees against Ralphs Grocery Company was left standing by the California Supreme Court...Provisions of a union agreement between the state and civil service engineers limiting the state’s right to contract with private engineers conflict with Proposition 35, and are unconstitutional, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled...A defamation action brought by a county hospital owner against the author of an email deriding the owner’s financial instability is a SLAPP suit, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled ...By a vote of 5-2, the California Supreme Court agreed to decide whether doctors had a legal right to refuse to perform artificial insemination on a lesbian.

15—The Pasadena Metro Blue Line Construction Authority is not entitled to reimbursement of costs it expended in moving utility lines while constructing the downtown Los Angeles-to-Pasadena leg of the Metro Rail transit system, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...Police’s violation of the “knock-and-announce” rule while executing warrant does not require the suppression of all evidence found in the search, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision...The Third District Court of Appeal dismissed a portion of an indictment charging a Sutter County Auditor-Controller Robert E. Stark with mishandling public funds, but left intact a grand jury accusation that could result in his removal from office even if he is acquitted on the remaining criminal charges...The state Assembly rejected a proposal to allow a bill that would permit financial records in divorce proceedings to be “redacted” upon request of either party to pass with a simple majority, rather than as an urgency measure requiring a two-thirds vote...The Commission on Judicial Performance said it unanimously accepted an agreement by which former Orange Superior Court Judge Ronald C. Kline, who pled guilty to possession of child pornography last December, would be censured and barred from performing court-assigned work.

16—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected several constitutional challenges to the City of Santa Monica’s public use permit requirements but struck down a provision requiring a permit for any widely advertised event.

17—Former Los Angeles Municipal Court Judge Sheldon H. Sloan was elected to succeed James Heiting as president of the State Bar of California...Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles H. Older, who presided over the 1971 trial of convicted murderer Charles Manson, died from complications from a fall in his West Los Angeles home.

19—The U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed the nomination of Sandra Segal Ikuta, deputy director and general counsel of the California Resources Agency and a former partner at O’Melveny & Myers, as a judge of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals...The Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed a $1.985 million damages award in a conversion and breach of fiduciary duty action against Los Angeles attorney Christopher O’Connell and the firm of Parker Milliken, Clark, O’Hara & Samuelian over the mishandling of an escrow...A jury cannot rely solely on the fact that a police car had a red light and siren in determining whether it was “distinctively marked” so as to support a charge of attempting to evade a police officer, the California Supreme Court ruled.

20—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named Deputy District Attorneys Charles Chung, Lori Ann Fournier and Darrell S. Mavis, and former assistant U.S. attorney Stanley Blumenfeld Jr. to judgeships in the Los Angeles Superior Court...The Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld the Public Utilities Commission’s imposition of more than $12 million in fines against what is now Cingular Wireless for engaging in unjust and unreasonable pricing practices from 2000 through 2002...A physically invasive test used to treat sex offenders implicates a significant due process liberty interest and can only be imposed as a condition of a sex offender’s supervised release if the government proves that alternatives are inadequate, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled

21—An identity theft victim whose name and personal information were used without authorization to acquire real property is entitled to the surplus funds from a foreclosure sale of the property where she is the sole claimant to those funds, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...The California Supreme Court agreed to decide whether the City of Los Angeles and/or the Boy Scouts of America may be held liable to a pair of former Explorer scouts who claim they were abused by then-LAPD officer David J. Kalish in the 1970s...Solano Superior Court Judge Scott L. Kays was elected president of the California Judges Association for the 2006-2007 term.

22—The U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed former State Bar President and Costa Mesa attorney Andrew Guilford as a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California...The statutory requirement that two witnesses attest to the execution of a will by signing it cannot be satisfied by having one of the witnesses sign after the testator has died, the California Supreme Court ruled in a 5-2 decision...Highway patrol officers did not owe a duty of care to a tow truck operator injured at the scene of an accident, where the officers neither created nor increased the risk of harm that led to his injuries, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled...Non-custodial parents with court-ordered visitation rights have a liberty interest in the custody of their children, but must meet a high threshold to establish that the state violated their constitutional rights in depriving them of custody, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

23—Actress Rosa Blasi’s former personal manager, who allegedly procured employment on her behalf without a talent agency license in violation of the Talent Agency Act, may pursue an action against her for unpaid commissions pursuant to their oral contract under the doctrine of severability, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.

26—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen Petersen retired...Police officers may stop a vehicle based solely on an uncorroborated phoned-in tip that a car matching its description and location has been driving erratically, the California Supreme Court ruled in a 4-3 decision...A district attorney cannot be compelled to produce documents compiled by other agencies pursuant to a subpoena for discovery of business records in a civil action, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled. Div. One granted a writ of mandate sought by District Attorney Steve Cooley, who argued he could not be compelled to comply with a subpoena duces tecum seeking records of a joint investigation by the Santa Monica Police Department and California High­way Patrol into the 2003 Santa Monica Farmers Market accident in which elderly driver George Weller killed 10 pedestrians...A man who claimed paternity of a young child immediately upon learning of the baby’s existence was entitled to assert presumed father status in dependency court, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.

27—AB 2814, which would add elder abuse to the list of crimes as to which a prosecutor’s schedule conflict is presumed to be good cause for a continuance, failed in the state Senate Committee on Public Safety by a vote of 3-2 on reconsideration, after failing on June 20. The bill had been assigned to the committee after it passed in the Assembly by a vote of 72-2 on May 4.

28—Coastal development cannot be regulated in order to protect a boater’s right to a view of the coastline from the ocean, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...The California Supreme Court unanimously denied relief to a Riverside County Christian school being sued for expelling two students allegedly involved in a lesbian relationship after the Fourth District Court of Appeal rejected the school’s request to stop the action, allowing the students’ parents to proceed with the lawsuit.

29—The California Supreme Court ruled in separate 4-3 decisions that passengers of a vehicle pulled over in a police traffic stop are not “seized” for Fourth Amendment purposes, and county zoning ordinances limiting timber harvesting to designated zones are not preempted by state forestry laws...Tenet Healthcare Corp., the nation’s second-largest hospital operator, agreed to pay $900 million to settle allegations it overbilled Medicare, company and Department of Justice officials said...The civil Grand Jury said Los Angeles County must swiftly move forward with refurbishing the Hall of Justice, which was closed down after the 1994 Northridge earthquake, using $16 million in FEMA Grant funds that would otherwise expire this year.

30—A trial court must conduct ex parte in camera review of the sealed affidavit that a defendant submits in support of his motion to discover police personnel records, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled...Congress can outlaw the possession of homemade machine guns under its power to regulate interstate commerce, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

July

 

3—U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy issued a temporary stay, extended on July 7, of a lower court order requiring the City of San Diego to remove a 29-foot cross from city property atop Mt. Soledad, or else face a fine of $5,000 per day for every day the cross was left standing after Aug. 1...A mechanic who alleges that his supervisors persistently ignored his complaints that co-workers were harassing him by challenging his masculinity has a triable claim under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...A wife suing her husband for negligently or knowingly infecting her with HIV is entitled to inquire into his medical records and past sexual conduct, the California Supreme Court ruled in a 4-3 decision.

5—A trial judge may not automatically disqualify a public defender for conflict of interest simply because that public defender’s office has previously represented a prosecution witness, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled...State laws allowing a private mediator to set binding terms to an initial agricultural collective bargaining agreement when the parties cannot not reach an agreement are constitutional, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.

6—Proof of the race of the perpetrator is not required as a foundation for introducing evidence of the likelihood, in various racial populations, of finding a random DNA sample matching that discovered at a crime scene, the California Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision...A plaintiff who accepts an unfavorable offer of judgment because of poor legal advice generally cannot later have the judgment vacated, the Ninth U.S Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

7—Settlements purporting to release various major California hotel chains from Proposition 65 liability should not have been approved, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...The Ninth US. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a permanent injunction prohibiting a vendor from selling unlicensed merchandise outside the gates of the annual Reno Air Show in Nevada.

10—The California Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the death sentence of Riverside man Gregory S. Demetrulias in the stabbing death of local resident Robert Miller who was killed in his room at a boarding house...The California Supreme Court in a 5-2 decision affirmed the murder convictions of Andrew Vasquez and Anthony Fregoso, in the 2000 stabbing death of Armando Ayala near Fairfax High School, rejecting their claims that the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office discriminated against them because the mother and stepfather of one of them were employed by that office...At the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference in Huntington Beach, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy criticized the federal Sentencing Guidelines and lobbying efforts of correctional officers’ unions; and Los Angeles attorney Shirley M. Hufstedler, a former Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge who served as the first U.S. secretary of education, was honored with the John P. Frank Award.

11—A county jail inmate injured by fellow prisoners cannot bring a civil rights suit against the county over its inmate placement policy, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...Police may seize and search a suspect’s roommate’s computer even though the roommate has not been identified as a suspect and is not named as a target in the warrant, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...A 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 is constitutional, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.

12—Consumers seeking to recover from drug maker Pfizer, Inc. in a class action over its allegedly misleading Listerine advertisements cannot sue unless they show actual injury, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...The fact that a foreign business operates an Internet site and caters to American customers overseas does not give U.S. courts personal jurisdiction over it, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Jewish writer Rachel Neuwirth, who claimed that prominent local rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller attacked and injured her after they argued about Middle East politics, can sue the organization he works for, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...AB 1806, which will increase the salaries of all California judges by 8.5 percent as of Jan. 1, increase the number of attorney positions authorized for the Capital Habeas Resource Center from 30 to 34, and authorize additional trial court funding, took effect as an urgency measure after being signed by Gov. Arnold Schwar­zenegger...Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law SB 1137, revising Proposition 36, which provides for drug treatment rather than incarceration for certain drug offenses.

13—Businesses engage in deceptive practices when they solicit customers by using mailers that appear on their face to be rebate checks and only disclose on their back in small print that that cashing or depositing the check constitutes agreement to pay for the advertised service, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Out-of-state callers must abide by California law prohibiting the recording of telephone conversations without all parties’ consent when calling someone in California, even law of the state they are calling from is different, the California Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision...Girardi & Keese partner Howard B. Miller defeated two opponents to win a seat on the State Bar Board of Governors representing District 7, which consists of Los Angeles County, State Bar officials said...Close votes in some highly contentious end-of-term cases will not prove fatal to efforts to create greater consensus on the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. told Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference attendees...U.S. Department of Defense has named former Sheppard Mullin Partner Roy Wuchitech to the post of deputy general counsel, the firm announced.

14—Judges may inform prospective jurors that there is no legal authority for jury nullification and solicit their agreement that, if chosen, they will not engage in such conduct, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled...In an unpublished opinion, the Fourth District Court of Appeal issued a $46,000 sanction award against Los Angeles attorneys A. Thomas Hunt and Jonathan Biddle for bringing a frivolous motion to disqualify defense counsel, Morrison & Foerster partner Janie Schulman, in their client’s wrongful termination suit. Hunt, plaintiff’s appellate counsel, had moved to disqualify Schulman on the ground that she possessed a copy of a highly sensitive letter that the plaintiff was given by Biddle, his trial counsel—but a copy of letter had been sent to the defendant in an envelope bearing plaintiff’s name and city of residence in the return address field.

17—A parolee who claims that a warrantless search of his person was illegal because the police did not know he was on parole is not entitled to have his conviction thrown out, but only to a new suppression hearing, the California Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision...A judge does not violate the First Amendment rights of defendants accused of fundraising fraud by admitting evidence that 80 percent of donations went to telemarketers with other evidence of fraud, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Los Angeles attorney Robert Ellis Guilford, 73, a partner at Baum Hedlund and specialist in aviation and accident law, died in an airplane crash in Oregon while piloting his aircraft home from an air show.

18—U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis, filed a resolution that could lead to the impeachment of U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real, of the Central District of California, for allegedly seizing control of a bankruptcy case involving a defendant he knew and then allowing her to live rent-free for years in a house she had been ordered to vacate...The Commission on Judicial Performance charged Riverside Superior Court Judge Robert G. Spitzer with backdating orders, failing to decide cases within the time required by law, filing false salary affidavits and other misconduct...Santa Clarita attorney Arthur Crabtree, 45, a certified family law specialist and former Glendale police officer, was sentenced to nearly eight years of incarceration after being convicted for using the Internet to solicit sex from teenage girls...A juvenile court judge hearing a dependency proceeding regarding a missing child may make orders designed to ensure the child’s return, but has no jurisdiction to decide custody issues, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...A juvenile court drug test order requiring a minor to submit to on-demand drug testing by group home staff whenever they had reason to believe she was under the influence does not violate a dependent child’s privacy right under the state Constitution where the order was based on specific documentation showing the minor had a recent history of drug abuse, had responded well to a rehabilitation program that included drug testing, and was likely to benefit from continued testing, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.

19—The Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld a multi-million dollar punitive damages award against Ford Motor Company, but reduced the amount to $55 million, affirming a jury finding that the owner of an Explorer incurred severe permanent injuries in an accident as a result of Ford’s deliberately defective design of the car...The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the mail fraud conviction of a Rhode Island resident O. Stephen Lyons for selling memorabilia with counterfeit signatures of celebrities including Teri Hatcher, Carmen Electra, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Muhammad Ali, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jerry Garcia.

20—A lawsuit brought by a hospital physician arising out of a disciplinary recommendation against him by the hospital’s peer review committee is subject to the anti-SLAPP statute, the California Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision...Los Angeles Superior Court judges elected as commissioners Haight, Brown, & Bonesteel partner Lori Behar to replace Commissioner Beverly Mosely, and East Los Angeles attorney Bejamin R. Campos to replace Commissioner Roberta Lee...An amendment to Family Code Sec. 4502 (c) that repealed the laches defense in child support enforcement actions between private parties applies retroactively, before its effective date of Jan. 1, 2003, the California Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision.

21—A fleeing suspect who stops and, expecting a police officer to follow, waits holding a handgun in shooting position, but is captured after the officer approaches from behind, can be convicted of attempted murder, but not assault, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled...Hearsay testimony, though admitted if credible, must be weighed less heavily than non-hearsay evidence in asylum determinations, the Ninth U.S Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, rejecting the asylum claim of a Chinese man who said he feared religious persecution based on his friend’s warnings...The doctrine of primary assumption of risk does not apply to a golfer injured by his partner’s negligent swing, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.

22—Members of the California Federation of Interpreters voted to authorize their union’s bargaining committee to strike if necessary to elicit further dialogue from the court, which had closed labor negotiations by declaring an impasse after offering the interpreters a 2.5 percent raise.

24—A student who asked for $125,000 in compensation for an alleged incident of harassment, in which a teacher at a charter school intentionally used profanity and sexual innuendo to embarrass her, cannot sue because she failed to file a claim with the Los Angeles Unified School District, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...Proposition 64’s limitations on private enforcement of unfair competition laws apply to lawsuits filed before its effective date of Nov. 3, 2004, the California Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision...An alien who has been accepted into the Family Unity Program, and meets other requirements, is eligible for cancellation of removal, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald Sohigian overruled a demurrer by the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County to a suit by bathhouse owners challenging the constitutionality of “commercial sex venue” ordinances being applied to their businesses.

25—A parole board cannot deny parole to an inmate who probably will be deported just because he does not have an alternate plan for living in California, the First District Court of Appeal ruled...A child’s mother has standing in a paternity suit to assert statutory presumptions of fatherhood on behalf of a non-party individual, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...The Board of Governors Committee on Operations for the State Bar of California took an emergency action on behalf of the board to support continuing legal education requirements for judicial officers...Health care providers may make wholesale disclosures of medical information to their attorneys regarding patients threatening malpractice claims, the First District Court of Appeal ruled in an opinion certified for publication Aug. 18...Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Glenette Blackwell has died at age 72, sources said.

26—A court is not estopped from vacating an order placing a minor in Proposition 21’s deferred entry of judgment program pursuant to a plea bargain where the minor did not meet the program’s age requirement, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...Ralphs Grocery Co. pled guilty to charges stemming from its hiring of hundreds of workers under fake names during a 2003 strike and lockout in the Southern California supermarket industry.

27—A trial court lacks discretion to reopen jury selection proceedings after the 12-member jury has been impaneled, even if alternates have not yet been sworn, the California Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision...An attorney who threatened to sue an entertainment celebrity on behalf of a woman who claimed she was raped, and to disseminate information about the case if the claim was not settled, has no constitutional protection from being sued by his target, the California Supreme Court ruled in a 6-1 decision...A paralegal who sued her former employer for malicious prosecution, after his malicious prosecution suit against her was dismissed as a SLAPP, had the burden of showing that his suit was illegal as a matter of law in order to avoid his anti-SLAPP motion, California’s Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision...Psychiatric evaluations that generally recommended “medication” for a mentally incompetent criminal defendant were insufficient to support an involuntary medication order, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.

28—State judicial officers named as defendants in a conspiracy suit were not entitled to an award of attorney’s fees upon dismissal of the claims against them, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...A state law allowing the insurance commissioner to suspend an insurance agent’s right to transact business without first conducting a hearing where the agent has been charged with certain felonies is constitutional, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...This district’s Court of Appeal reinstated a lawsuit against billionaire Ronald Burkle by his daughter, who claimed she was owed an accounting with respect to an investment he made in her name without her knowledge.

31—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied en banc review of an April ruling allowing a suburban San Diego school district to bar a high school student from wearing a T-shirt featuring anti-gay rhetoric to class.

August

 

1—A county’s repeated denial, on inconsistent grounds, of a religious group’s application for a zoning permit to build a temple imposed a substantial burden on the groups’ religious exercise in violation of federal law, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Attorney General Bill Lockyer filed a $2 million-plus lawsuit against a local pay day loan company for violating a state law that prohibits such businesses from suing for triple the amount of the check when customers’ bank accounts do not hold sufficient funds to honor post-dated checks written to secure the loan...The Sixth District Court of Appeal granted a new trial to a Northern California massage therapist convicted of sexually assaulting a client, on the ground that a hearing-impaired juror committed prejudicial misconduct by failing to tell the court during trial that she had missed hearing part of the testimony...A Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded $989,886 in economic damages and $105,000 for emotional distress to Pasadena attorney Warren Snider in his wrongful termination suit against the firm of Laquer Urban Clifford & Hodge, which allegedly fired him because treatments he underwent for chronic liver disease required him to scale back his billable hours.

2—Holding that Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Michael L. Schuur did not err in admitting evidence of a prior incident of domestic violence at the trial, the Court of Appeal for this district affirmed the conviction and 35-year-to-life sentence of Whittier resident Samuel Feathers for the strangling murder of his ex-wife Gina Interrante...President Bush nominated Magistrate Lawrence J. O’Neill, formerly on the Fresno Superior Court, to succeed Judge Oliver Wanger as a U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of California.

3—An employment contract stating that the employment is “at will” and defining that to mean the employment may be terminated “at any time,” without saying more, allows the employer to terminate the employment without cause, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously...The California Environmental Quality Act requires a detailed analysis before a proposal to avoid demolition of a historically significant building to create a retail center is rejected, the Sixth Court of Appeal ruled, affirming a judgment requiring the City of San Jose to rescind its approval of the environmental impact report for a new Lowe’s home-improvement center...Los Angeles attorney Morse Mehrban, a prolific litigator of “bounty hunter” lawsuits under Proposition 65, is liable for $20,000 in penalties for failing to file statutorily required reports on those suits with the state attorney general, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.

7—The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the murder, rape and other convictions and death sentence of “Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez, who was sentenced to death by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Anthony Tynan after a jury in 1989 convicted him of 13 counts of murder, five counts of attempted murder, four counts of rape, three counts of forcible oral copulation, four counts of forcible sodomy and 14 counts of burglary arising from 15 separate incidents involving 24 victims during a 14-month period...The Los Angeles Superior Court’s Central Civil West Courthouse closed for business due to a complete shut down of its emergency power, which occurred when an overheated generator Sunday caused an electrical fire.

8—A proposed constitutional amendment, SCA 16, which would have required that Los Angeles Superior Court judges be elected by district, with each district to elect no more than 36 judges, was withdrawn by its sponsors in the face of opposition from the California Judicial Council and a union representing public workers...An animal shelter’s alleged agreement with Los Angeles County exempting it county licensing requirements as long as it retained its nonprofit status, complied with rabies vaccination requirements and the department had no cause to believe it was mistreating animals was illegal and unenforceable, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled in an unpublished opinion.

9—Court of Appeal Justice Laurie D. Zelon of this district’s Div. Seven took office as a member of the American Bar Association’s Board of Governors...A since-amended San Francisco ordinance requiring landlords to pay 5 percent interest on security deposits held for more than one year did not cause not an unconstitutional taking of property, the First District Court of Appeal ruled...Prospective informers seeking to bring a qui tam action pursuant to the federal or state False Claims Act need not provide the government with information pertaining to the fraud allegations prior to the information’s public disclosure, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

10—The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and Department of Children and Family Services honored Presiding Juvenile Court Judge Michael Nash for his efforts on behalf of adoption, at DCFS’ annual All For the Love of Kids fundraising dinner...A suit by a former grocery manager for Albertson’s, Inc. seeking overtime compensation may not proceed as a class action, because the benefits of a class action are outweighed by the difficulty in resolving issues applicable to individual managers, the First District Court of Appeal ruled...A Compton resident who sold pseudoephedrine pills in Lynwood to buyers who ultimately used them for methamphetamine manufacture in Rio Linda was properly tried in federal court in Sacramento, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...A U.S. consul general to Russia was acting within the scope of his employment when he allegedly caused an automobile accident abroad while driving home from a gym where he stopped after work, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The ruling effectively barred the Russian plaintiff from suing in U.S. courts because federal employees are immune from liability for torts committed within the scope of their employment and the government is immune from suit for torts committed by its employees abroad.

11—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Deputy District Attorney Judith Levey Meyer, elected in June to succeed Judge Stephen Petersen, to the Los Angeles Superior Court, allowing her to serve the last four months of Petersen’s unexpired term...The First District Court of Appeal struck down a preliminary injunction that prohibited California school districts from withholding high school diplomas from members of the class of 2006 who had not passed California’s high school exit exam, but met all other graduation requirements...The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Los Angeles man Ephraim Tekle, who was 11 years old when a team of officers allegedly pointed guns at and handcuffed him while seeking to arrest his father at the family home, may sue for the violation of his constitutional rights. The panel reversed a ruling by U.S. District Judge Ronald S.W. Lew, who held that officials, who claimed the boy looked older and that they did not know he was unarmed, did not use excessive force, acted reasonably and were entitled to qualified immunity...The state may not fund an on-line charter school for the instruction of pupils who reside outside either the county where the school is chartered or an adjacent county, Attorney General Bill Lockyer said in a published opinion.

14—The City of Claremont did not violate state labor law by implementing a racial profiling study that required police officers to track the race of each person stopped while driving without negotiating the policy with the officers’ union, the California Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision...Legitimate commercial sales of trademarked goods, even for a failing business depleting inventory, are sufficient to defeat a claim of abandonment of the trademark, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...The Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the death sentence imposed on crack dealer Walter Joseph Cook III in the unrelated 1992 killings of Palo Alto men Ernest Sadler, Michael Bettancourt, and Ronald Morris.

15—The Commission on Judicial Performance by a 6-4 vote publicly admonished Riverside Superior Court Judge Paul Zellerbach for delaying the taking of a verdict in a murder trial because he was attending an Angels playoff game in Anaheim. The four dissenters voted for a private admonishment...A wife’s abuse of her husband that included screaming, hitting and threatening supported a finding that his written transmutation of his separate property to her was the result of duress and undue influence, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled...The City of Los Angeles filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to enjoin and declare invalid a Kern County initiative ordinance that bans the application of biosolids to land in unincorporated areas of the county. The city alleged the measure was intended specifically to bar operations at a farm the city owns and uses for land application of its biosolids, thereby hampering its biosolids recycling program.

16—The Commission on Judicial Performance in a 6-3 decision publicly admonished Orange Superior Court Judge Pamela L. Iles for ordering an unrepresented probationer in a domestic violence matter to jail for nearly one month without a hearing...The Court of Appeal for this district threw out most of a suit filed by a former Occidental College student-radio “shock jock” alleging the school disciplined him, a Caucasian male, for harassing students, while letting non-Caucasians or females engage in the same conduct without being disciplined...The California Supreme Court unanimously declined to review a ruling by the Court of Appeal for this district that struck down a Ventura County ordinance prescribing minimum budgets for the district attorney, sheriff, public defender and fire department...The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death sentence of Fermin R. Ledesma, whom a jury convicted of killing a gas station attendant he had previously robbed, apparently to prevent him from testifying.

18—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named Riverside attorney Bruce Varner, managing partner of the firm of Varner & Brandt, to the Board of Regents for the University of California...The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an immigration judge manufactured a ground for denying relief to Sri Lankan asylum applicant Arangesan Suntharalinkam because of government suspicions he was a terrorist.

19—The State Bar Board of Governors voted 9-5 to endorse the adoption of a proposed new rule of court making permanent disbarment a possibility for lawyers engaged in repeated or serious misconduct. Under proposed new rule 951.2, the State Bar Court would be retired anytime it recommends the disbarment of a member to also recommend whether that member should be permanently prohibited from seeking reinstatement.

21—A dependent elder’s close friends who provide health care for her at the end of her life are presumed to have used undue influence if the elder includes them in a will or trust, the California Supreme Court ruled in a 4-3 decision...The California Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the death sentence imposed on former Kern County Sheriff’s Deputy David Keith Rogers who was convicted of murdering two prostitutes.

22—A “top two” primary system, in which all voters vote on the same candidates and the top two vote-getters move on to the general election even if both are from the same party, is unconstitutional, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Div. Seven of this district’s Court of Appeal issued an order granting Courtney Knapp’s petition for rehearing in her sexual harassment suit against Palisades Charter High School, which had been rejected on summary judgment for failure to comply with the Government Claims Act. Knapp had sued the school in June 2004 alleging that history teacher Ronald Cummings, now semi-retired, used sexual innuendo and profanity to embarrass her while she was visiting the school...The former wife of music producer Alan Douglas, who claimed valuable rights in the works of the late Jimi Hendrix, is entitled to a new trial on her claim that her ex-husband concealed community assets in their divorce proceedings, and to shift the burden of proof to the ex-husband, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...Encino attorney Mervyn H. Wolf, 67, pled not guilty to charges of embezzling more than $300,000 from his clients...Courier service drivers are employees, not independent contractors under the state’s workers’ compensation laws, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled. The opinion was certified for publication Sept. 11.

23—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 2875, which would eliminate confidential settlements in cases where the conduct giving rise to the claim could be prosecuted as a felony sex offense. The parties could agree to maintain confidentiality as to the amount of the settlement.

24—The California Supreme Court named Hearing Judge Joann M. Remke as presiding judge of the State Bar Court, and reappointed San Francisco-based Hearing Judge Patrice E. McElroy to another six-year term...The deaths of children left in a locked vehicle on a hot day fall within a liability insurance policy’s exclusion for injuries arising out of the use of an automobile, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...The California Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the death sentences of Albert Lewis and Anthony Cedric Oliver, convicted of killing Patrinella Luke and Eddie Mae Lee during a Friday night service at the Mount Olive Church of God and Christ in 1989...The convictions of former Compton Mayor Omar Bradley, former Councilman Amen Rahh, and former City Manager John Johnson II on charges of misappropriating city funds were affirmed by the Court of Appeal for this district. Div. Eight Thursday held that jurors were adequately instructed as to the law governing use of city credit cards and payment of travel expenses in connection with official business, and rejected claims by Bradley and Rahh that their good-faith reliance on Johnson’s advice precluded prosecution.

25—Police officers may perform an investigatory stop of a vehicle just because it is parked illegally, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

28—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law AB 1995, which would expand trial court employees’ access to their personnel files. The bill passed the state Senate Aug. 10 by a vote of 28-9 after clearing the Assembly by a vote of 59-19 on May 15...The governor also signed legislation protecting college student newspapers from prior restraint, and reporters from discipline, by college administrators...Kennel workers bitten by a dog in their care may not sue its owner under the state’s dog-bite statute, the Supreme Court ruled in a 6-1 decision...The Ventura Superior Court announced the election of Judge Colleen Toy White as its presiding judge for 2007 and 2008...The California Law Revision Commission announced Los Angeles attorney David Huebner’s election as its Chairperson for the 2006-2007 term beginning Sept. 1...Statutory penalties for labor law violations recoverable by an employee prior to the adoption of the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act are not subject to the act’s exhaustion of administrative remedies requirements, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.

29—The Court of Appeal for this district upheld the convictions of Mercedes and Felix Navarrete and Joan Frederick for running a now-defunct local pyramid scheme, finding that “co-owner” interest program amounted to the illegal and fraudulent sale of securities under the Corporations Code.

30—Non-competition agreements between employees and employers that bar the employee from performing services for the employer’s clients are invalid even if narrowly drawn, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled. Div. Three unanimously reinstating the claim of former Arthur Andersen employee Raymond Edwards II, who lost his job allegedly for refusing to sign a broad release of liability the firm demanded in exchange for his release from a previously executed noncompetition agreement...Juvenile courts must apply criminal liability principles in determining whether a parent caused the death of another child through neglect, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled. The opinion was certified for publication Sept. 12.

31—Prosecutors may not impeach testifying defendants at trial with statements they made before trial during a court-ordered mental competency examination, the California Supreme Court ruled in a 4-3 decision...Students and their parents may sue charter schools that collect state funds but fail to deliver on instructional promises under the state’s fraudulent claims act, the California Supreme Court held unanimously.

September

 

5—A lawsuit alleging that the University of Phoenix lied to the federal government about its student recruiter compensation in order to obtain funding properly stated a cause of action under the False Claims Act, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Individual issues predominate in claims of false advertising against tobacco companies under the state’s unfair competition law, making such a suit inappropriate for a class action, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.

 7—An attorney may not be disqualified for having ex parte communications with a management-level employee of a party unless the attorney has actual knowledge the employee is represented by counsel, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled...A person can face burglary charges if he attacks his spouse at the family residence after entering it in violation of a restraining order, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.

8—A contempt order which fails to mention the prior order upon which the contempt is based is void, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.

11—A sharply divided Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals en banc panel threw out the first degree murder conviction of a Native American man, saying minority members were improperly excluded from the jury at his Humboldt Superior Court trial.

12—The California Constitution does not require that a list of specific projects appear on the ballot in order for the reduced supermajority requirement applicable to school construction bond measures to apply, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled...A women who registered with her partner as domestic partners with the county, but failed to register with the state, may not bring an action for dissolution of domestic partnership in family law court, the First District Court of Appeal ruled yesterday...The Fair Political Practices Commission fined a committee called the “Voters for Honesty and Integrity in Politics” and its treasurer, Los Angeles attorney Ricardo Torres II, for failing to disclose contributor information in a late independent expenditure report.

13—Sentencing a defendant while he was shackled, nearly naked, bleeding and exhausted violated the defendant’s constitutional due process rights, the Ninth U.S Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...The California Department of Corrections bears liability for the harassment of female correctional officers by male inmates, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Los Angeles Superior Court Assistant Presiding Judge J. Stephen Czuleger and Civil Supervising Judge Tim McCoy elected to be the court’s presiding and assistant presiding judges, respectively, for 2007 and 2008.

14—A driver who cut off another motorist on the highway had an obligation to stop at the accident scene where the other motorist subsequently crashed, even though the two cars never made physical contact, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled...Local law enforcement officials yesterday urge Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature to address the chronic backlog of DNA samples waiting to be analyzed and entered into a DNA database...Employees who claim that their privacy was violated by their employer’s use of a hidden camera at work need not prove that they were actually recorded or viewed by the camera, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...A cruise line that allowed a teenager to use a sauna without supervision did not breach its duty of care to the minor and is not responsible for his being sexually assaulted, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled in an unpublished opinion.

15—A city ordinance prohibiting portable signs violated First Amendment rights where it contained content-based exceptions and the city could have accomplished its goals by less restrictive means, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...A district-wide shackling policy implemented by the U.S. Marshals Service for the Central District of California requiring all custodial defendants to wear leg irons in their initial appearance before a magistrate judge does not violate the Due Process Clause, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

18—An arbitration clause in a cable television service agreement that barred classwide arbitration of claims was unconscionable, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled...Lenders may be liable for secretly charging home-loan borrowers more than the lenders pay for services provided by others, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled...The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a San Diego County ordinance barring picketing within 300 feet of a residence in the county’s unincorporated areas.

19—Petitions to recall elected officials initiated and distributed by private recall proponents need only be printed in English, even where it is not the predominant language of the large majority of voters, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Welfare applicants may be required to consent to having investigators visit their homes without obtaining warrants in order to determine their eligibility, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

20—Public libraries which open their meeting rooms to private groups can prohibit use of the rooms for religious worship, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

21—California may prohibit employers from using state grant money to oppose union organizing campaigns, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Bay Area attorney Donald F. Miles to serve as a State Bar Court hearing judge in Los Angeles...A hearing opened before the Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, headed by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas on charges that U.S. District Court Judge for the Central District of California Manuel Real, 82, improperly seized control of a bankruptcy case involving a defendant he knew, Deborah M. Canter, estranged wife of one of the owners of Canter’s Delicatessen, then allowed the defendant to live rent-free for years in a house she’d been ordered to vacate.

22—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB 56 that will create 50 new superior court judgeships throughout the state.

25—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB 10 under which the state and counties will share responsibility for seismic problems at courthouse facilities transferred to the state...A trial judge may be peremptorily challenged when the Court of Appeal sends the case back for the entry of an attorney fee award, even if the jurist’s ruling on other issues has been sustained, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB 1524 giving victims of genocide in Armenia and their heirs and beneficiaries another 10 years to sue for the loss or theft of assets deposited in European or Asian banks.

26—A correctional officer who was injured after he stopped while on his way to work to help at an accident scene is not entitled to worker’s compensation benefits, the Third Appellate District Court of Appeal ruled.

27—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law four bills designed to improve the administration of conservatorship and guardianship cases in the trial courts...A parent who viciously assaults the other parent while aware that their child is at the scene may be convicted of misdemeanor child endangerment, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled...A repair shop that left keys in a vehicle overnight was not responsible for injuries caused when the man who stole the vehicle crashed into a police car, even though police had urged the company to secure car keys after two prior thefts, the Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled in an opinion certified October 20...The Court of Appeal for this district reinstated a motion for class certification in a suit against Cintas, the large uniform rental company, by employees who claim they did not receive wages and benefits owed them under the Living Wage Ordinance of the City of Los Angeles in an opinion certified October 26.

28—Federal law does not bar California consumers from suing banks for alleged misrepresentations in the marketing of tax refund appreciation loans, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled...Temporary exclusion of defendant’s friends during testimony of a child witness did not violate accused’s constitutional right to a public trial, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.

29—Indian tribes’ sovereign immunity protects tribe-owned casinos from suits brought by their employees, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...An investigator’s report on his probe of a school superintendent who subsequently negotiated a severance agreement with his district must be disclosed under the California Public Records Act, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled Friday...Gov. Schwarzenegger signed AB 2927 which would require any state agency that publishes an Internet Web site to include on the site certain information, including the terms of litigation settlements, and would authorize any person to bring an action to enforce the duty of a state agency to post this information and would provide for penalties.

October

 

3—A U-Haul customer seeking class action status for a suit charging the truck rental firm with deceiving customers about fees charged for fuel has a viable claim under the Unfair Competition Law and Consumers Legal Remedies Act, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.

4—Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed SB 1281 which would have required all state contractors with more than 100 employees to pay their employees for the first week of jury duty.

5—First District Court of Appeal upheld California’s ban on same-sex marriage...Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked Arizona law requiring voters to present photo ID’s when voting.

7—Former Los Angeles Municipal Court Judge Sheldon H. Sloan was sworn in as president of the State Bar at annual meeting in Monterey...Solano Superior Court Judge Scott L. Kays was  sworn in as president of California Judges’ Association at annual meeting in Monterey.

10—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janavs, who was defeated in the June primary, to a vacancy on same court...Evidence obtained pursuant to a fabricated traffic stop based on a false allegation must be suppressed, even if the stop leads to discovery of a valid warrant, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...Sanctions prohibiting U.S. citizens from traveling to Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1990 were properly promulgated and enforceable, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules UPS Inc. violated anti-discrimination laws by automatically barring hearing impaired from parcel delivery driving positions.

11—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals named Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Kwan as a bankruptcy judge for the Central District of California...University campus security guards lack authority to give police valid third-party consent to enter and search students’ dormitory rooms, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled...The Court of Appeal for this district rejected a former police officer’s claim that she was unlawfully interrogated by her supervisor prior to being terminated for disclosing personal information about a vandalism suspect to the person who made the complaint.

12—A lawsuit against an animal rights group by a biopharmaceutical company whose employees were harassed in connection with the group’s activities clearly survives a motion to strike under the anti-SLAPP statute, the First District Court of Appeal ruled.

13—A peace officer married to a fellow officer may not refuse to answer questions about his or her spouse’s conduct as part of an internal investigation, Attorney General Bill Lockyer said...Former Assistant U.S. Attorney John C. Rayburn Jr. was sworn in as U.S. magistrate judge for the Central District of California.

15—Grace Quinn, co-founder of the Levitt & Quinn Family Law Center in Los Angeles died at age 91.

17—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Marion Johnson retired.

19—Republican Party leaders filed suit challenging Demo­cratic state attorney general candidate Jerry Brown’s eligibility to hold that office.

20—U.S. Supreme Court ruled Arizona may require voters to provide photo IDs when they vote in November election...An elderly man who killed 10 people when his car roared through a Santa Monica farmer’s market was convicted of manslaughter...City ordinances barring solicitations and the setting up of tables in a downtown promenade area violate the First Amendment, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Retired Los Angeles Municipal Court Judge Robert L. Swasey, 79, died at his Studio City home following a battle with lung cancer...The Judicial Council voted unanimously to reject a proposed rule of court that would have required state trial court judges to complete 30 hours of continuing judicial education every three years, opting for an alternative treating the standard as a guideline.

22—Gov. Schwarzenegger signed SB 56 which authorizes creation of 50 superior court judgeships statewide.

24—Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Barbara Lee Burke and Hugh C. Gardner were granted disability retirement.

25—Gov. Schwarzenegger signed SB 10 which provides that counties retain responsibility when a seismically deficient courthouse facility is transferred to the state, to the extent that the county would have been responsible had the facility not been transferred...Aiming a gun and pulling the trigger constitutes “discharging” a firearm even when the gun malfunctions and fails to project a bullet, this district’s court of Appeal ruled.

26—Disabled persons seeking the greater of two possible statutory recoveries for design violations must prove the violations were intentional, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.

27—Sheriff’s deputies were not entitled to qualified immunity in a civil rights suit where they allegedly detained a 60-year-old man wearing only a t-shirt outside for approximately one hour when there was no safety threat, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.

30—A state law that allows consumers to bar the dissemination of their credit reports, designed to deter identity theft, violates the First Amendment because it precludes the reporting of information containing in public records, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.

31—California courts may not modify child custody orders of a foreign court which has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over a marriage dissolution, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled...A no-contest clause in a testamentary trust stating that one beneficiary’s contest voids bequests as to an entire class of beneficiaries does not violate public policy, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled...Justice Richard Aldrich of this district’s Court of Appeal  was honored by the Judicial Council as its Jurist of the Year...Allegations that council members in the Bay Area city of Fremont had private discussions about a new police department policy on burglar alarm responses were sufficient to plead a violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act, the First District Court of Appeal ruled.

November

 

1—A defendant impliedly consented to the delay of her trial where her attorney was simultaneously handling another matter sent out for trial, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled...The fact that a convicted sexual predator has voluntarily undergone chemical and surgical castration does not mean that he is no longer likely to reoffend, the Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled.

6—Two Los Angeles police officers sued the city complaining their superiors took them off gang detail pursuant to a federal consent decree simply because they were so successful at enforcing gang injunctions that gang members filed numerous complaints against them.

7—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger won re-election...Oak­land Mayor Jerry Brown was elected next state attorney general...Deputy District Attorneys David W. Stuart, Daviann Mitchell, Hayden Zacky and Deputy City Attorney Deborah L. Sanchez were elected to the Los Angeles Superior Court...The state does not have to pay for the college education of an extremely gifted student under the age of 16, the Third District Court of Appeal held...retired Rio Hondo Municipal Court Judge Joseph Gordon McNulty died at the age of 82.

9—The First Amendment does not permit religious services at a homeless shelter operated by a nonprofit group on premises leased from the public, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

10—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jack W. Morgan died of prostate cancer at age 69 ...U.S. Attorney Debra Wong Yang of Central District of California resigned.

13—U.S. Supreme Court upholds jury instruction telling jury to consider “[a]ny other circumstance which extenuates the gravity of the crime even though it is not a legal excuse for the crime,” against challenge that it prevented jury from considering forward-looking mitigation evidence.

15—President Bush nominated Orange Superior Court Judge James E. Rogan to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California...Butte Superior Court Judge Stephen E. Benson admonished by the Commission on Judicial Performance for failing to report a campaign loan...A ship holding a large amount of cocaine, some bundled with markings similar to other cocaine found in the United States, stopped 1,500 miles from San Diego, has sufficient nexus with the United States to give U.S. courts jurisdiction over its crewmembers, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

16—Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Barry Bonds’ personal trainer returned to prison for refusing to testify before grand jury investigating performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports...A convicted sexually violent predator has no due process right to testify over his attorney’s objection during a recommitment trial under the Sexually Violent Predators Act, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.

17—Third District Court of Appeal overturned a $34.2 million judgment in favor of the Oakland Raiders football team against the nonprofit corporation that formerly operated the Oakland Coliseum...The State Bar Board of Govs. consolidated five constituent access committees into a single entity as part of its Pipeline Project...The pass rate on the July 2006 general California bar exam was 51.8 percent, the highest in five years, the State Bar reported.

20—A federal law that immunizes users of interactive computer services from liability for content authored by others abrogates traditional liability for republication of material that one knows or reasonably should know to be false and defamatory, the state Supreme Court unanimously ruled...Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney George S. Cardona was named by the Justice Department as acting U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California pending the appointment of Debra Wong Yang’s successor...Members of a local legislative body generally lack standing to sue their colleagues for violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act’s open-meetings provisions, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.

27—A state law extending workers’ compensation death benefits to the estates of employees without dependents is unconstitutional, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...A defendant cannot be convicted on child pornography charges based on possession of images found in his computer’s internet cache files absent knowledge the computer automatically saved the images from web sites the defendant visited in such files, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...The Medical Marijuana Program applies retroactively to cases pending at the time of its 2003 enactment, the California Supreme Court ruled.

28—A Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision holding unconstitutional the Ventura County sheriff’s policy of subjecting all suspects arrested on drug charges to strip searches with visual body cavity inspection was left standing by the U.S. Supreme Court.

29—The Commission on Judicial Performance admonished Orange Superior Court Judge James M. Brooks for making “sarcastic, demeaning and intimidating” remarks to litigants.

30—A voter-approved measure requiring the City of San Diego to give the federal government its cross-featuring war memorial atop Mt. Soledad did not violate the state Constitution, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled...The governing body of Little League Baseball is not responsible for repeated molestations of two young athletes by a volunteer coach and umpire, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled in an unpublished opinion.

December

 

1—Jurors will be allowed to take notes in all civil and criminal trials and judges will be encouraged to permit jurors to submit written questions directed to witnesses under new rules approved by the Judicial Council of California.

4—The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a challenge to a school psychological survey which asked Palmdale first, third and fifth graders about sexual feelings...The Ninth U.S. Court of Appeals enjoined further activity on an Oregon logging project until a revised environmental analysis is prepared, even though all of the logging was completed a year ago, and only “minor clean-up” remains to be done...An arbitration clause in an individual franchisee’s agreement with a large corporation was invalid because its provisional remedy and forum selection provisions favored the franchisor, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

5—The exclusive Kamehameha Schools’ policy of preferring native Hawaiians in admissions does not violate federal civil rights law, a sharply divided Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

6—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Bobbi Tillmon, along with Deputy District Attorneys Daviann L. Mitchell, David W. Stuart and Hayden A. Zacky to the Los Angeles Superior Court...The Fifth District Court of Appeal upholds the California Voting Rights Act against claims that it violated state and federal equal protection guarantees.

7—Before selling excess liability policies in rental car transactions, insurance agents who have inspected a customer’s driver’s license and verified signature need not investigate the actual status of the license if it appears valid, the Supreme Court ruled.

8—The Third District Court of Appeal struck down regulations of the Fair Political Practices Commission limiting donations to ballot measure-committees controlled by candidates for elective offices.

11—A Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling granting a new trial to a convicted murderer, who claimed he was denied a fair trial because relatives of the victim appeared in court wearing buttons with the deceased’s picture on them, was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

12—The Commission on Judicial Performance ordered the removal of Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Diana R. Hall from the bench, saying she engaged in willful misconduct, lied about it, and could not be trusted to obey ethical rules if allowed to remain in office...Former state Assembly Majority Leader Dario J. Frommer, D-Glendale, joined the Los Angeles office of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw as a partner in its California Government Practice Group...The California Supreme Court unveils new rules on publication of Court of Appeal opinions, to take effect next spring, intended to encourage the publication of all opinions that may assist in the reasoned and orderly development of the law and to improve public confidence in the publication process.

13—The California Supreme Court declined to review a ruling that the state Constitution does not require that a list of specific projects appear on the ballot in order for the reduced supermajority requirement applicable to school construction bond measures to apply.

14—A company that gives its employees Internet access through its internal computer system is a “provider...of an interactive computer service” entitled to immunity under the Communications Decency Act of 1996, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled.

15—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled California lethal-injection executions are unconstitutional ...A defendant convicted of pimping and other crimes was not deprived of his rights when a Los Angeles Superior Court judge allowed a witness to testify wearing dark sunglasses and a headscarf in order to disguise her appearance, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.

20—The California Supreme Court unanimously agreed to decide whether the state’s ban on same-sex marriage violates a constitutional ban on discrimination...An out-of-state business’ web site and minimum prior sales to California residents were not sufficient to confer personal jurisdiction over the business on California courts, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled.

21—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named Alan B. Honeycutt, Edward B. Moreton Jr. and Michael Villalobos to judgeships in the Los Angeles Superior Court and Alameda Superior Court Judge Henry E. Needham as a justice of the First District Court of Appeal...Local jail inmates serving sentences for offenses that could have been punished by a term in state prison, but weren’t, are entitled to vote under the California Constitution, the First District Court of Appeal ruled...The Commission on Judicial Performance censured retired Orange Superior Court Judge Susanne S. Shaw and barred her from receiving any work assignments from any California state court...A federally recognized Native American tribe is not immune from suit by the California’s Fair Political Practices Commission for allegedly violating campaign contribution reporting requirements, the state Supreme Court held...Jeopardy attached where the trial court sua sponte declared a mistrial after a defense attorney purposely allowed defendant’s taped coerced confession to be admitted into evidence as a trial tactic, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled...Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named Los Angeles City Con­troller Laura N. Chick as public member of State Bar Board of Governors.

22—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cut punitive damages award against Exxon Mobil Corp. relative to economic losses stemming from Valdez oil spill from $5 Billion to 2.5 billion.

26—A deputy sheriff’s wife, who alleged in divorce proceedings that she was the victim of domestic violence, is entitled ­to an in camera review of her estranged husband’s personnel records, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.

27—The names and urine samples of about 100 major league baseball players who tested positive for performanceñenhancing drugs can be used by government investigators in probe of steroids in sports, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.