Thursday, December 31, 2009
2009 IN REVIEW
END OF THE YEAR:
Newly Elected Judge Harvey Silberman Takes Office, Gets Indicted for Campaign Bribery...U.S. Supreme Court Says Van de Kamp and Livesay Absolutely Immune From Liability to Man Convicted on Informant’s Testimony...Trutanich Elected City Attorney After Multimillion-Dollar Campaign
4—Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Stephen A. Leventhal, who served on local trial courts for nearly three decades, died after suffering a massive coronary. He was 69.
5—A capital defendant was not prejudiced by his court-appointed lawyer’s agreement to represent him for a flat fee, nor by the fact that the attorney was under personal financial pressure when he took the case, the state Supreme Court ruled. The justices unanimously upheld Keith Zon Doolin’s conviction for the murders of two Fresno prostitutes in 1995, and affirmed the death sentence by a vote of 5-2. Doolin was also convicted of the attempted murders of four other sex workers, who indicated in their testimony that Doolin did not want to pay for their services....The state’s high court ruled that three Southern California parishes which left the Episcopal Church over its ordination of an openly-gay minister had lost ownership of their church buildings and property by disaffiliating themselves from the church.... Newly elected Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Hilleri G. Merritt, Michael O’Gara, Thomas Rubinson, Harvey Silberman, Pat Connolly, and Michael Jesic were sworn in.... Chief Judge Alicemarie Stotler of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California took senior status.
6—The Third District Court of Appeal ordered publication of its earlier opinion that a Placer County man who murdered his wife with a shotgun during a heated domestic argument and then dumped her body in a rural area must be released on parole. Directing the Board of Parole Hearings to find Ronald Singler suitable for parole, the court held that the circumstances of the 1982 crime were not so “especially heinous, atrocious or cruel” to undermine evidence of Singler’s rehabilitation....The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of a Los Angeles municipal ordinance curbing the use of commercial billboards within the city.
7—This district’s Court of Appeal reversed two misdemeanor convictions of a suspended attorney who used the Internet to solicit sex from teenage girls, but affirmed the man’s eight related misdemeanor and felony convictions. Ruling that state law extending the statute of limitations for child molestation to three years does not apply to misdemeanor attempt charges, Div. Eight overturned two of certified family law specialist and former Glendale police officer Arthur G. Crabtree’s 2006 convictions because they were not prosecuted within one year.
8—Patients who receive emergency room services through their health maintenance organizations are not responsible for the difference between the value of the services as determined by the doctors and the amount paid by the HMO, the California Supreme Court ruled....The Third District Court of Appeal affirmed a San Joaquin County man’s conviction for possessing child pornography based on the presence of temporary Internet files stored in his computer’s cache. Reasoning that California law defines an image of child pornography displayed on a computer screen as an object that may be knowingly possessed or controlled, the court upheld Michael James Tecklenburg’s conviction despite his argument that he was unaware of the files’ existence.
9—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals approved a district judge’s revised plan for the sale of writings and other materials seized from the Montana cabin of convicted “Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski in 1996....Former attorney J. Jeffrey Long of Santa Clarita was arrested without incident at his home by district attorney investigators on charges of grand theft by embezzlement and forgery. Long resigned from the State Bar rather than face disciplinary charges in 2007, and was accused of misappropriating more than $150,000 from a client’s settlement between June 2006 and July 2007.
12—The Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that a San Diego County man could sue the U.S. distributor of Honda automobiles for deceptive advertising over claims about the gas mileage of the Civic Hybrid. The court said the man raised triable issues of fact with respect to the veracity of Honda’s assertions in a brochure that purchasers need not drive the vehicle any differently than a conventional automobile to achieve advertised fuel economy, and that federal law did not preempt his claims.
13—The Court of Appeal for this district ordered a new parole hearing for Paul E. Gaul, the convicted killer of James Bernstein, Gaul’s housemate and himself an accused hired killer. Gaul admitted that he was hired by Mary Ellen Samuels, a Northridge resident, to kill Bernstein for $5,000. Samuels is now on Death Row for hiring Bernstein to kill her husband and hiring Gaul to kill Bernstein.
14—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Deputy Los Angeles District Attorney David Eng can sue District Attorney Steve Cooley for violating his free speech rights by disciplining him for an interview his lawyer gave about earlier accusations against him. The court said Eng had a clearly established personal First Amendment interest in his lawyer’s advocacy on his behalf....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rodney G. Forneret, a judicial officer for 28 years, died of leukemia at age 65.
16—A community redevelopment agency may make a loan to a company owned by the non-dependent adult son of a member of the agency’s governing board, although the member may not participate in the decision, Attorney General Jerry Brown said in a published opinion.
20—The Court of Appeal for this district upheld an award of $2.4 million in compensatory and punitive damages, and more than $750,000 in attorney fees, against the Vons Companies for sexual harassment and retaliation. Div. Six affirmed a Ventura Superior Court judgment in favor of fired grocery clerk James Stevens, saying Stevens had produced sufficient evidence for a jury to conclude that he was fired because he had complained about inappropriate conduct by a store manager and that the reason given by the company—that he violated policy by giving unsalable merchandise to charity instead of returning it to headquarters—was a pretext.
21—The Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the governor’s decision to deny parole to a man convicted of second degree murder over a violent 1991 confrontation with his then-girlfriend’s volatile former lover. Rejecting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s conclusion that David Vasquez posed an unreasonable risk to the public, Div. One reinstated a decision by the Board of Parole Hearings finding him suitable for release after 16 years in prison.
22—The governor named seven new judges to the Los Angeles Superior Court—Victor Greenberg and Maren E. Nelson, who had been commissioners; Deputy District Attorney Geanene Yriarte; Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Terrell; and Los Angeles attorneys Huey P. Cotton, David S. Cunningham III and Howard L. Halm.... The California Supreme Court ruled that counties do not need to cover the cost of automobile liability insurance for children in foster care. A unanimous court concluded that car insurance is not essential to the care and supervision of foster children, and rejected a 17-year old foster child’s attempt to compel the Contra Costa County Children and Family Services Bureau to pay for her coverage.... State courts may adjudicate a delinquency proceeding in which a juvenile is accused of violating a federal statute, including an immigration law, the state Supreme Court ruled....A plaintiff’s summons in a reverse validation action cutting short the date for responses by interested parties was fatally erroneous for purposes of jurisdiction, but an excusable mistake of law, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled. Holding that the omission of three days from the response period in the summons was critically important for jurisdictional purposes, but not the kind of error that constitutes inexcusable neglect given the plaintiff’s attempts to comply with applicable requirements, Div. One ruled that the trial court abused its discretion in denying leave to republish....Card dealers who object to being required to share their tips with other casino employees have a valid claim for unfair business practices to the extent that supervisors are allowed to share in those tips, but not otherwise, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
23—The advertising agency that guided Taco Bell’s Chihuahua-themed campaign in the late 1990s is not responsible for any part of the $42 million judgment the fast-food chain suffered in a suit by the company credited with first presenting the idea, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The court upheld the grant of summary judgment in favor of TBWA Chiat/Day Inc., saying Taco Bell could not show that the award in favor of Wrench LLC was covered by an indemnification agreement.
26—Former District Attorney John Van de Kamp and former Chief Deputy District Attorney Curt Livesay have absolute immunity from liability to a man who alleges he was wrongfully imprisoned because they failed to protect against the possibility of cases being prosecuted by lawyers who were unaware of promises made by their colleagues to informants, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled. In a unanimous opinion by Justice Stephen Breyer, the high court held that those matters were prosecutorial, rather than administrative, and overturned lower court rulings that would have allowed Thomas Lee Goldstein to sue....Two students expelled from a private Lutheran high school in Riverside County over an alleged lesbian relationship cannot sue for invasion of privacy or discrimination under the Unruh Civil Rights Act, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled....California’s fee arbitration statute does not prohibit a lawyer from forcing the client to submit a fee dispute to binding arbitration, the California Supreme Court said.
27—The First Amendment does not protect a California deputy attorney general’s right to engage in outside practice, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
29—The California Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the death sentence for a flooring installer convicted of the 1994 killing of a Laguna Hills woman whose home he had worked at two weeks earlier. The maximum penalty was not disproportionate to Eric Wayne Bennett’s culpability in the murder of Marie Evans Powell, Justice Carlos Moreno wrote for the court. Moreno also concluded that false statements by a juror during penalty deliberations, while constituting misconduct, did not affect the verdict and sentence.
30—Words of high praise flowed at the 21st annual Metropolitan News-Enterprise “Person of the Year” dinner for both the two honorees—Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Charles W. “Tim” McCoy Jr. and Assistant Presiding Judge Lee S. Edmon—and for attendees. In a program following the debut performance of the Los Angeles Lawyers Philharmonic Orchestra, McCoy lauded the assembled members of the legal community as “treasures” and told them the award was really “about us and our ability to work together.”
2—A 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that limited the ability of California judges to impose upper-term sentences based on aggravating circumstances not found by a jury requires setting aside of convictions dating back to 2004, when the high court issued a ruling that was a precursor to the later holding, the California Supreme Court held.
4—A Granada Hills attorney who pleaded no contest to possessing child pornography on his computer was placed on five years’ supervised probation and ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service. Steven George Hoover, 67, was charged with two felony counts of possessing child pornography on Christmas Eve, and entered his plea the same day….Coroner and autopsy reports from suspected homicide deaths are exempt from disclosure under California’s Public Records Act, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.
5—The California Supreme Court affirmed the second death sentence imposed on Michael Anthony Jackson for the murder of Ken Wrede, a West Covina police officer, in 1983. The justices unanimously rejected all claims of error on the part of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles Horan, who presided over a penalty retrial in 2002. The second trial was necessitated by a 1998 ruling that a deputy public defender who represented Jackson at the first trial should have presented mitigating evidence regarding Jackson’s family background and past mental health problems….The Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled that the Homeland Security Act did not protect Santa Clara County’s data depository on land boundaries and geographic data from disclosure under the California Public Records Act. Federal prohibitions on the disclosure of protected confidential infrastructure information only apply to the recipients of such information, not the creators, the panel ruled in upholding Santa Clara Superior Court Judge James P. Kleinberg’s order compelling the county to release the information.
6—School districts that maintain their own police forces are not entitled to state reimbursement for the costs of complying with the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.
7—The John M. Langston Bar Association, which bills itself has the oldest minority bar association in California, installed its youngest president ever, Beverly Hills attorney Jamon R. Hicks, 28.
9—A public entity may discipline an employee for refusing to answer potentially incriminating questions during the course of an internal investigation, the state Supreme Court ruled. The justices reaffirmed that a public employee’s compelled answers to questions asked during an internal investigation or disciplinary proceeding cannot be used against the employee in a subsequent prosecution. But they unanimously agreed that there is nothing in the state or federal constitution that requires a formal grant of immunity before the public entity may compel such answers. The decision reversed a Sixth District Court of Appeal ruling in favor of Thomas Spielbauer, who was fired as a Santa Clara County deputy public defender for insubordination and conduct unbecoming a public employee….The State Water Resources Control Board did not violate due process when it assigned an attorney serving as its advisor in another matter to simultaneously prosecute a water license revocation proceeding before it, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled. Reversing the Court of Appeal, the justices reasoned that no evidence showed the attorney’s functions were insufficiently separated or that she was more than just one of a group of legal advisors the board could consult, and rejected an Indian tribe’s challenge to proceedings to revoke its license to divert water from springs in Riverside County for irrigation.
10—The Court of Appeal for this district affirmed the conviction of a law office manager and his wife, who drew 22-year prison terms for insurance fraud. Div. Two, in an opinion by Justice Kathryn Doi Todd, said there was sufficient evidence to convict Ramon Alfonso Zanoletti and Magdalena Zanoletti of all of the charges against them. The Zanolettis were among the first persons arrested in Operation Freeway Squat by a task force consisting of representatives of the state Department of Insurance, the California Highway Patrol, and the District Attorney’s Office. Agents said they were part of a ring that may have involved as many as 600 people, including clients who were solicited at the scenes of accidents, were involved in staged accidents, or claimed to have been involved in accidents that never occurred.
11—The California Supreme Court ordered that prominent Beverly Hills attorney Richard I. Fine be disbarred for filing a stream of disqualification motions and other papers containing what the State Bar Court found to be false and frivolous charges regarding members of the state bench….A suspended West Hollywood attorney surrendered on four felony charges of engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. Crane Stephen Landis, 43, was released on his own recognizance….Former Deputy District Attorney Matthew Monforton’s qui tam action under the False Claims Act, alleging that attorneys at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton defrauded the City of Cudahy by collecting fees from the city for representing individual council members in connection with a grand jury investigation, may proceed, Div. Four of this district’s Court of Appeal said in an unpublished opinion.
12—The State Bar of California disclosed that it has taken over the Sherman Oaks, San Diego and Riverside law offices of attorney Mitchell Roth. Roth, 58, had been hospitalized due to severe depression since Jan. 23, the State Bar said, leaving several clients in foreclosure defense cases subject to losing their homes and facing eviction. Roth is a former candidate for Los Angeles Superior Court judge.
19—A Los Angeles Superior Court judge erred in admitting testimony that a murder victim’s 3-year-old son had implicated the child’s father two months after the killing, but the error was harmless because there was enough circumstantial evidence to sustain the conviction, the California Supreme Court ruled. The justices unanimously affirmed the death sentence for Alfred Anthony Gutierrez, convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend, Dawn Nakatani.
20—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathryne A. Stoltz retired.
21—Los Angeles attorney James L. Flournoy passed away at his home after a long illness at the age of 93. The first African American to be nominated by a major political party for statewide constitutional office, Flournoy garnered the Republican nomination for secretary of state in 1970.
22—This district’s Court of Appeal threw out a $30 million malpractice award against the law firm Seyfarth Shaw for its representation of “Tae Bo” fitness routine promoter Billy Blanks in a suit against his unlicensed former agent. Ruling that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Susan Bryant-Deason erred by failing to distinguish between Jeffrey Greenfield’s illegal work as an agent and his other services, and by holding the firm negligent as a matter of law on an unrelated in limine motion, Div. Three remanded for a determination whether the firm met its standard of care.
23—This district’s Court of Appeal ordered publication of its decision rejecting a father’s challenge to a juvenile court order he said forced him to choose between the right to use medical marijuana and his children. Saying the children’s physical and emotional health and safety was the paramount interest, and threatened by the father’s manner of marijuana use, Div. Three affirmed an order requiring the man to undergo drug counseling and testing.
24—A woman standing in the lobby of her dentist’s office when she was injured by fragments of a stray bullet fired by a police officer attempting to apprehend a suspect cannot sue the officer, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled….A Los Angeles Superior Court judge violated a Virginia man’s equal protection rights by requiring him to deposit almost $160,000 to sue his former lawyers without adequately allowing him to demonstrate indigency, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled. Reinstating Nihad Alshafie’s suit arising from litigation over his daughter’s birth and severe brain damage, Div. Seven ruled that Judge Cary H. Nishimoto erred when he ordered the undertaking from the former California resident without giving him a meaningful opportunity to address concerns with financial information provided. The defendants sought under Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 1030 to impose an undertaking to secure any award of costs they might obtain. The statute allows for such an undertaking in order to prevent out-of-state residents from filing frivolous lawsuits against California residents, but the requirement may be waived if the plaintiff establishes indigency.
26—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office released statistics showing that the proportion of women applying for judicial appointment increased in 2008, despite a lower number of female applicants, but both the number and proportion of minority applicants decreased….Government employees who allege retaliation for whistleblowing do not have to obtain a reversal of adverse findings by the State Personnel Board before they can sue for damages in the superior court, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled.
28—Statistics released by the Administrative Office of the Courts indicated that the diversity of the bench within California increased in 2008. The AOC reported that the number of female judicial officers increased from 433 in 2007 to 453 last year, and that 462 women now constitute 28.8 percent of the bench. In terms of ethnicity, the number of non-white jurists increased in three years from 319 to 338 to 355, making up 22.1 percent of the judiciary….This district’s Court of Appeal upheld Century City law firm Troy & Gould’s anti-SLAPP challenge to claims it unethically conveyed a settlement offer to one of multiple co-defendants represented by the same counsel in order to raise a conflict of interest. Holding attorneys’ communications of such offers to opposing counsel a protected activity subject to an absolute litigation privilege, regardless of propriety, Div. Eight affirmed a ruling striking the other defendants’ complaint for intentional interference with contractual relations….Retired Inglewood Municipal Court Judge Wardell G. Moss, who served from 1980 to 1998, passed away at the age of 79.
2—This district’s Court of Appeal rejected a former cocktail server’s challenge to the inclusion of bartenders in tip pools. Rejecting an argument that state law limits tip pools to those who directly service tables, Div. Eight affirmed an order dismissing Aaron Budrow’s putative class action against restaurant and video arcade chain Dave & Buster’s....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Aurelio Munoz retired.
3—The California Supreme Court unanimously revived a challenge by two San Francisco 49ers season ticket holders to the team’s patdown security screening policy. Reversing lower court decisions in favor of the 49ers, the court held that the reasonableness of the policy, and the legitimacy of the team’s claim that the plaintiffs consented to the screenings, could not be determined solely on the basis of the complaint and that the team’s demurrer should thus have been overruled….A man who claimed he was molested by his parish priest in Portland, Ore. in the 1960s may sue the Holy See on a respondeat superior theory, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. A three-judge panel, in a per curiam opinion, affirmed in part a district judge’s ruling that claims by the plaintiff, identified as John V. Doe, may be litigated under the “tortious act” exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act….Former Los Angeles Municipal Court Judge James P. Zarifes died at the age of 77 after battling Parkinson’s disease. Zarifes was appointed to the bench in 1991 by then-Gov. George Deukmejian, and served for eight years before retiring after being diagnosed with the disease.
5—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Yaffe sentenced disbarred Beverly Hills attorney Richard I. Fine to jail for contempt of court. Ordering Fine into custody at a hearing, the judge sentenced Fine to five days in jail or a $1,000 fine for practicing law and holding himself out as an attorney without being an active member of the State Bar, and ordered Fine confined indefinitely until he complies with an order to participate in a judgment debtor examination stemming from a $46,000 sanctions award entered in April 2008….Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Matthew C. St. George and Deputy Public Defender Kenneth H. Taylor were elected Superior Court commissioners.
9—A MetNews analysis of spending by candidates for the Los Angeles Superior Court at the November 2008 general election showed that each of the five prosecutors elected to the court spent more than $140,000 on his or her campaign. The highest spender, however, was a losing candidate, Superior Court Referee Cynthia Loo, with total expenditures of more than $342,000….The state Supreme Court unanimously concluded that four insurers may be responsible for a share of the state’s $500 million-plus liability for the costs of cleaning up the damage caused by discharge of hazardous wastes from the Stringfellow Acid Pits in Riverside County.
11—The California Supreme Court voted unanimously to leave standing the Dec. 19 ruling of this district’s Court of Appeal in American Civil Rights Foundation v. Los Angeles Unified School District, 169 Cal.App.4th 436. Div. Five upheld Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Paul Gutman’s conclusion that LAUSD’s Magnet School program and a separate voluntary desegregation program are exempt from Proposition 209’s ban on racial preferences in education because the programs grow out of a 1981 Superior Court desegregation order.
13—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a $17 million judgment against the marketers of a program purporting to teach purchasers how to become wealthy in a matter of a few days by buying and selling privately held mortgages. Based on the “overwhelming evidence of deceptive claims,” the panel affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the Federal Trade Commission against John Stefanchik, author of the book “Wealth Without Boundaries,” and his company, the Beringer Corporation.
16—Retired Los Angeles Municipal Court Judge Harold Crowder died at age 83. Crowder was a L.A. Police Department detective before becoming a lawyer, and was the last surviving member of the LAPD’s famous “Hat Squad.”
17—A public school assignment plan designed to ensure that students within a given school come from geographic areas with diverse socio-economic characteristics does not violate Proposition 209’s ban on assigning students by race, the First District Court of Appeal ruled.
18—A defendant cannot be convicted of violating the federal murder-for-hire statute unless he or she traveled between states or countries or caused another person to do so at a time when the defendant possessed the intent to commit murder, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The panel, however, affirmed Paul Driggers’ conviction for causing Matthew Robinson to travel from California to Idaho with the intent of having Robinson kill Driggers’ ex-wife. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, writing for the panel, said the district judge gave an erroneous instruction on the requisite intent, but that it was harmless because the evidence of Driggers’ intent was overwhelming.
19—A public utility with a power line easement is immune from the property owner’s claim for indemnity in an action by a person injured as a result of contact with the power line, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled.
20—Former shareholders in Peregrine Systems Inc. lack sufficient evidence to go to trial on their claims that the majority shareholder and two other directors knew about the massive accounting fraud that preceded the software maker’s bankruptcy filing, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
23—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived the claim of a Chinese national of North Korean descent who sought asylum based upon alleged persecution for rendering humanitarian aid to North Korean refugees in China. The panel rejected a Board of Immigration Appeals’ finding that Chinese authorities’ arrest and torture of Xun Li was a valid prosecution for a criminal act of harboring foreign citizens.
24—Legislation authorizing the state to sell $7.4 billion worth of revenue bonds in order to build and improve prison and jail facilities and expand rehabilitation and treatment programs does not violate the “pay-as-you-go” provisions of the state Constitution, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled…Retired Court of Appeal Justice James Hastings died of cancer at 91. Hastings served on the Los Angeles Superior Court and the Court of Appeal between 1972 and 1987, and later as an assigned justice and as a private judge.
25—The First District Court of Appeal ruled that a trial court could not retroactively change an order in a 1988 divorce to grant a woman part of the pension plan of her former husband after he died before reaching retirement….Los Angeles County Bar Association trustees announced the selection of Justice Laurie D. Zelon of this district’s Court of Appeal, Div. Seven, to receive the organization’s highest honor, the Shattuck-Price Outstanding Attorney Award. LACBA also announced the retirement of its executive director, Stuart A. Forsyth, effective at the end of November.
26—A Mexican man who paid a “coyote” to smuggle himself and his wife into the United States automatically lacked the “good moral character” necessary to cancel removal, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, ruled….Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named 23 people to superior court judgeships in 12 counties throughout the state, including attorney Mark A. Borenstein of Overland Borenstein Scheper & Kim and Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Christian R. Gullon to the Los Angeles Superior Court.
27—An order denying monetary sanctions for a discovery violation may be appealed in a case where there is no final judgment and the ruling might never be reviewable otherwise, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled. In an opinion on consolidated appeals, Div. Eight affirmed an order granting sculptor and Santa Monica resident Manfred Muller a new trial in his medical malpractice suit against doctors who treated him after a 1999 auto accident. At the same time, the court ruled that it had jurisdiction to hear Muller’s appeal from an order denying sanctions for intentional concealment of expert opinion contrary to the defendants’ position, although it affirmed that order on the merits.
30—An “assaultive-type” crime, such as shooting at an occupied vehicle, merges into a resulting homicide, precluding application of the second-degree felony murder rule, the California Supreme Court ruled….The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived Leonard McSherry’s civil rights case against the Long Beach Police Department arising from his wrongful conviction for the 1988 kidnapping and rape of a 6-year-old girl. Reversing a grant of summary judgment by U.S. District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner of the Central District of California for the second time, the panel ruled that genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether the police deliberately fabricated evidence against McSherry, who was exonerated by DNA evidence in 2002….Juvenile courts may order a parent to participate in substance abuse treatment as part of a reunification case plan, but cannot use contempt sanctions to incarcerate a parent who fails to satisfy the condition, the California Supreme Court ruled. Reasoning that state law provides for such parents to be penalized through loss of custody and parental rights, the justices voted 6-1 to overturn an order, pursuant to a San Diego Superior Court local rule, requiring a mother to serve 300 days in jail for refusing a drug test....Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner H.M. “Trip” Webster III retired.
31—The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors named Chief Deputy Public Defender Robert Kalunian as acting county counsel, effective the following day when Raymond Fortner retired….Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Simpson died at 72. Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Gretchen Taylor retired.
1—Actual notice of intestate probate proceedings was insufficient to trigger time limitations on the introduction of a holographic will, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled, affirming a lower court ruling awarding an estate worth more than $1 million to The Human Rights Campaign Inc., a gay rights group. The court held that the failure of Stanley Wade Kelly’s father, who was the administrator of his estate and would have been entitled to all of it had Kelly died intestate, to mail the organization notice of the petition for letters of administration was fatal to his limitations claim….Retired Southeast Municipal Court Commissioner Charles A. Pope died at age 86. Pope, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, retired from the court in 1994 after 19 years of service.
2—The Fourth District Court of Appeal reinstated felony drunken boating charges against a Sonoma County man whose friend was struck and killed after jumping off the back of a vessel the man was operating in reverse. Reasoning that William Russell Dawson should have foreseen that his friend would end up in the water near the propeller, Div. Two ruled a magistrate misapplied the law of causation when he declined to hold Dawson over for trial based on the friend’s intervening act….Comments posted on a publicly accessible website are not private, and the poster cannot sue for invasion of privacy when the comments are republished in a newspaper, the Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled. The court affirmed a Fresno Superior Court judgment insofar as it rejected the privacy claim of a UC Berkeley student, whose online journal informed myspace.com users that she “despise[d]” her hometown of Coalinga. The justices, however, reinstated her claim, along with those of family members who still lived in the town at the time, that the school principal who sent a copy of her comments to the Coalinga Record intentionally inflicted emotional distress.
3—The Fourth District Court of Appeal rejected a negligent hiring and retention action against a company whose former employee met a woman during a service call one month before he was fired and then murdered her two years later, after they had begun a relationship. Explaining that an employer owes no duty of care with respect to the post-termination torts of former employees, Div. One upheld a grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer.
4—Los Angeles trial attorney Eliot Disner passed away at the age of 62 after battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
6—A widow cannot sue the University of California Regents over the UC Irvine’s willed body program’s loss of her late husband’s remains, the California Supreme Court ruled. Holding Evelyn Conroy could not show a breach of a duty of care absent evidence the particular body was used in a manner other than that authorized in the donation agreement, the justices unanimously affirmed a trial court’s grant of summary judgment....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert O’Neill retired.
7—A woman’s claim that a former teacher exploited her age, vulnerability and confidence to seduce her into an unlawful and harmful sexual relationship did not accrue until she realized through psychotherapy that she had been victimized, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled. Holding the allegations sufficient to invoke the delayed discovery rule, Div. Three reversed a trial court’s order dismissing the woman’s negligent supervision action against the Arcadia Unified School District.
8—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles Stoll died of multiple organ failure at age 78.
9—A defendant on trial for first degree felony murder based on rape was charged with a “sexual offense” allowing admission of evidence of a similar pattern of conduct, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled. Reversing the Sixth District Court of Appeal’s ruling that a trial court prejudicially erred in Gary Dean Story’s 2005 murder trial for the rape and strangulation of Betty Yvonne Vickers in 1976, the justices further concluded that “ample evidence” supported Story’s conviction….The Fourth District Court of Appeal threw out medical negligence claims against an Orange County psychiatrist whose autistic teenaged patient shot and killed two people. As 19-year old William Freund had not displayed any violent tendencies or motives against the victims, Div. Three ruled, Laurence Greenberg owed no duty of care to the victim’s family in treating his patient.
15—The Commission on Judicial Performance announced that it had accepted Riverside Superior Court Judge Christopher Sheldon’s offer to accept censure, resign from the bench, and never seek judicial office again or sit on assignment, thereby resolving charges that he had routinely left court before noon and failed to make himself available for other judicial work. Sheldon, 60, was dubbed the “Jogging Judge” after being publicly admonished in 1998 for leaving his courtroom clerks to sign off on negotiated criminal dispositions while he ran up and down the courthouse stairs for exercise. In its decision accepting the negotiated disposition, the commission said that “[u]nfortunately the issuance of a public admonishment did not deter Judge Sheldon from abandoning his judicial responsibilities in the future” and that his continued routine of “working part-time while being paid a full-time salary” was “utterly unacceptable and casts disrepute upon the judicial office.”
16—A man who claims his life was threatened because he refused to join the Mara Salvatrucha gang in his native Honduras is not eligible for asylum because such refusal did not make him a member of a cognizable social group, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled….A suit charging Blue Cross of California with liability for failure to approve a medical procedure that may have saved the life of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Mintz was revived, in part, by this district’s Court of Appeal. Div. Eight, in an opinion by Ventura Superior Court Judge Vincent O’Neill, sitting on assignment, said Blue Cross may be liable in negligence for having breached a duty of due care to protect insureds from injury in making benefit determinations. The court did, however, affirm the dismissal of claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress and interference with contract.
17—A suit accusing a San Jose broadcaster of defaming a local attorney by accusing him of ties to Vietnamese Communists arose from protected activity within the meaning of the anti-SLAPP statute, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled. The justices overturned an order denying a motion by KSJX-AM and others to strike the action brought by attorney Tam Nguyen. The panel sent the matter back to Santa Clara Superior Court so that it can determine whether Nguyen can avoid dismissal by showing a likelihood of prevailing.
20—A public entity does not engage in illegal campaign activity by disseminating a list of projects and services that will be curtailed or eliminated if a tax-cutting ballot measure is approved, the California Supreme Court ruled. In a unanimous decision, the high court agreed with the plaintiffs that a one-sided presentation of issues to be voted on may constitute illegal electioneering, even without an express exhortation to vote a particular way. But the justices upheld lower court rulings in favor of the City of Salinas, saying it did not cross the line when the council approved the list of cuts and publicized them on the city website and in a newsletter mailed to all citizens a month before the election….The Second Amendment does not prohibit local governments from regulating gun possession on their property, a panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held. The court held that the individual right to bear arms recognized last year by the U.S. Supreme Court binds state and local governments, but nonetheless rejected a challenge to an Alameda County ordinance prohibiting firearms on county property. The panel concluded the ordinance did not meaningfully impede individuals’ ability to defend themselves in their homes.
21—The brother of a victim of Iranian terrorism cannot collect $2.8 million from a California company that owes Iran for a cancelled weapons shipment, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled. Reversing the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the justices ruled that sovereign immunity precludes Dariush Elahi—the brother of Cyrus Elahi, an Iranian-born U.S. citizen murdered in Paris in 1990, reportedly by agents of Iran’s Islamist regime—from collecting the money from Cubic Defense Systems, Inc….Arizona taxpayers stated an as-applied Establishment Clause challenge to a 1997 Arizona law that allows taxpayers to take credits for donations to organizations that provide private scholarships to children attending elementary and secondary schools or preschools, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The plaintiffs alleged that of the three largest organizations qualifying under the law, one benefitted students attending Catholic schools in the Phoenix diocese, another only benefitted those in evangelical Christian schools, and another only helped students attending two specific Catholic schools.
23—The mental state required for attempted murder is the intent to kill “a” human being, not any particular one, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled. Reversing a Court of Appeal ruling overturning a Kings County gang member’s conviction for shooting from a car window into a group of rival gang members, the justices held that the generalized intent to kill someone, not necessarily a specific target, is sufficient….The state high court upheld the death sentence for a man who admitted shooting two people during a home invasion robbery near Baldwin Hills in 1996. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Connor sentenced Carlos Hawthorne to death in September 1997 after a jury found him guilty of first degree murder with special circumstances, two counts of robbery, and one count of attempted murder in the death of Vanessa Sells and the wounding of her teenage daughter Kristian Forte.
24—This district’s Court of Appeal held that one attorney’s complaint to the State Bar against another attorney with whom he was in a fee dispute was not protected under the state’s anti-SLAPP statute because it was extortion. Ruling Encino attorney Michael S. Brown’s false complaint was not a valid exercise of the rights of petition or free speech, Div. Three affirmed an order rejecting his motion to strike Pasadena attorney Arlan A. Cohen’s lawsuit.
27—Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca formally withdrew his co-endorsement of City Councilman Jack Weiss in Weiss’ bid to become city attorney. A spokesperson for Baca said that the sheriff, who had endorsed both Weiss and opponent Carmen Trutanich, had never before withdrawn an endorsement but that Baca was upset that Weiss had engaged in what the sheriff saw as negative campaigning.
28—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that five former terrorism suspects can sue a Boeing Co. subsidiary for allegedly flying them to secret prisons around the world to be tortured as part of the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” program. While a district judge had dismissed under the “state secrets” doctrine, the appellate panel said the plaintiffs should be given the opportunity to attempt to prove their case without classified information being disclosed.
29—A woman who commanded her dog to attack another woman properly received an enhanced sentence for having “personally” inflicted great bodily injury upon the victim, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.
30—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark Mooney did not abuse his discretion in denying a self-represented defendant’s mid-trial attempt to revoke his waiver of counsel, the California Supreme Court ruled in a 6-1 decision. Reasoning that the defendant failed to articulate a compelling reason, and that continuance of the joint trial after the jury had been empanelled and the prosecution’s first witness had begun to testify would cause delay and disruption, the justices voted to reverse a contrary ruling by Div. Seven of this district’s Court of Appeal.
1—A life sentence without possibility of parole for kidnapping violated the state and federal constitutions where the defendant was 14 years old at the time of the crime and suffered from mental problems, and the victim was unharmed, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled. The justices ordered a new sentencing hearing for Antonio DeJesus Nunez, whom Justice Richard Aronson of Div. Three described as “the only known offender under age 15 across the country and around the world subjected to an LWOP sentence for a nonhomicide, no-injury offense.” The sentence, Aronson said, “is so freakishly rare as to constitute arbitrary and capricious punishment violating the Eighth Amendment.”
3—States are not immune from claims of employment discrimination and free-speech violations by employees in policymaking positions, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. An en banc panel revived claims by two women who served on Walter Hickel’s policy staff when he was governor of Alaska. In a 7-4 decision, with an eighth judge joining the majority in part, the court ruled that the Government Employee Rights Act of 1991 “unmistakably” expressed Congress’ intent to abrogate sovereign immunity for these types of claims.
4—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Manatt, Phelps & Phillips partner George D. Kieffer to the University of California Board of Regents.
6—Suspended West Hollywood defense attorney Crane Stephen Landis pled no contest to four felony counts of engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.
8—A 17-year old gang member’s admission that he was present at the scene of a murder after police told him he had failed a polygraph test in which he had denied any involvement in the crime was not a coerced confession, even though the police had administered a fake test, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.
11—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied en banc review of a three-judge panel’s ruling that upheld the death sentence for convicted murderer Kevin Cooper. The action came over the dissents of 11 of the circuit’s 27 active judges, who argued that the evidence supported Cooper’s claims that police framed him and withheld exculpatory evidence….The gunmaker and firearms dealer who provided the weapons used by a self-proclaimed white supremacist during a shooting rampage at a Granada Hills Jewish summer camp and the murder of a Filipino-American letter carrier cannot be held liable in tort to the victims, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. A divided panel ruled that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act preempted California’s tort law and provided the federally licensed manufacturer and seller of the firearms used by Buford O. Furrow Jr. with a safe harbor from the victims’ claims for civil liability.
12—A federal law that makes it a crime for a convicted felon to possess body armor that has been “sold or offered for sale in interstate commerce” does not violate the Commerce Clause, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled….The Arcadia man convicted of attacking Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney Erwin Nepomuceno with a hammer was sentenced to 12 years in state prison. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teri Schwartz sentenced Mulji Patel, 70, and also ordered him to pay Nepomuceno $16,000 for medical expenses and $20,250 for lost wages.
14—A suit charging Fox News Network with defaming immigrant day laborers in a story about a fight they had with an anti-immigration activist was properly stricken under the anti-SLAPP law, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled. In a 2-1 decision, Div. One affirmed San Diego Superior Court Judge Ronald L. Styn’s order eliminating the claim against Fox from the suit arising from a November 2006 incident involving anti-illegal immigration activist John Monti.
15—Fewer than 34 percent of the 4,084 applicants who took the February California bar examination passed it, the Committee of Bar Examiners reported. That figure was a seven-year low, and was down from 39.6 percent last year and 36.8 percent in 2007.
18—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of a partial strip search and pat down of a male inmate by a female training cadet….The California Supreme Court gave new life to a class action on behalf of smokers who were allegedly persuaded by false advertising with regard to the health effects of cigarettes. In a 4-3 decision, the justices ruled that Proposition 64, which requires private plaintiffs in a suit under the Unfair Competition Law to have suffered actual economic injury, applies only to named plaintiffs and not to unnamed class members.
19—Long Beach attorney Carmen Trutanich defeated City Councilman Jack Weiss in the runoff for Los Angeles city attorney. The two candidates spent more than $6 million, including over $2 million in the 10 weeks between the primary and the runoff.
20—A Los Angeles deputy public defender’s accusation of prosecutorial misconduct as part of his argument to the jury was sanctionable conduct, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled. Div. Seven held that Joohan J. Song’s statement was not proper advocacy and a violation of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patrick T. Madden’s lawful order that he refrain from using the phrase “prosecutorial misconduct” with the jury….The Fourth District Court of Appeal reinstated a suit on behalf of a boy who was hit by a car after being allowed to leave his school bus when he was six years old. A reasonable jury may conclude the driver, an employee of the Cajon Valley Union School District, was negligent in allowing the child to exit the bus after telling the driver his parents were coming for him and that he had seen his father’s car, Justice Richard M. Huffman wrote for Div. One.
26—The California Supreme Court upheld a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, but it also decided that the estimated 18,000 gay couples who tied the knot before the law took effect will stay wed.
28—A federal court verdict on an excessive-use-of-force claim under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 bars a suit for negligence in state court against the same defendants, the California Supreme Court ruled. The justices unanimously reversed a ruling by this district’s Court of Appeal, which had reinstated an action by the family of George Hernandez against the City of Pomona and four of its officers. Hernandez, a 30-year-old father of seven, was killed in January 2001 after he led police on a 100-mph chase from Pomona to Ontario, crashed his car, and ran from the officers.
29—Los Angeles City Attorney-elect Carmen Trutanich named former Chief Deputy District Attorney Curt Livesay as his chief deputy and former Assistant U.S. Attorney William W. Carter as his chief of staff.
2—A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that interpreted the Second Amendment as permitting individual ownership of firearms does not invalidate California’s bans on possession of assault weapons or the .50 caliber BMG rifle, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled. The high court’s ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) 1171 L.Ed.2d 657, does not permit the ownership of “unusually dangerous weapons” like the ones used to kill five children on a Stockton playground in 1989—the immediate impetus for passage of the state Assault Weapons Control Act—or to kill 21 people at a fast-food restaurant in San Ysidro five years earlier, the court said….This District’s Court of Appeal threw out the claims of 15-year old twins born to a surrogate mother against the Texas estate of their biological father asserting breach of the surrogacy agreement due to the father’s failure to support them as time-barred. Div. Four held that Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 366.2’s “one year after the date of death” statute of limitations applies to an action on the liability of a deceased person without regard to the location of the decedent’s estate and ordered dismissal of the action against the $120 million estate of Harold Farb.
3—The City and County of San Francisco did not violate the Establishment Clause by passing a non-binding resolution criticizing a Vatican official’s edict that Catholic social services agencies in the local archdiocese not place children with same-sex couples for adoption, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
4—Chief Justice Ronald M. George named Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David S. Wesley to a three-year term on the Judicial Council of California, commencing Sept. 15....Sacramento Superior Court Judge Maryanne G. Gilliard submitted a petition to the Administrative Office of the Courts opposing a pending budget proposal to shut down courts statewide one day a month which she said was signed by 46 out of 55 bench officers at her court and 22 out of 26 judges in the San Mateo Superior Court
8—The Fourth District Court of Appeal ordered that judgment be entered in favor of a customer in order to sanction the U.S. distributor of Bentley automobiles for persistent failure to comply with discovery orders in a “lemon law” case. Overturning a denial of terminating sanctions is “extraordinary,” Justice Richard Fybel said, acknowledging that the court was aware of no precedent for doing so. But it is appropriate, he said, because Bentley Motors, Inc. “engaged in repeated and egregious violations of the discovery laws that not only impaired plaintiff’s rights, but threatened the integrity of the judicial process.”...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Aviva K. Bobb retired.
9—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael P. Vicencia was elected the 78th president of the California Judges Association by the group’s executive board at its meeting in Sacramento.
11—Plaintiffs seeking damages under California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act for the denial of equal treatment on the basis of disability need not prove intentional discrimination, the California Supreme Court ruled in response to a certified question from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals….Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger nominated Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victoria G. Chaney and U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey W. Johnson of the Central District of California to Div. One of this district’s Court of Appeal. He also nominated Alameda Superior Court Judge Kathleen M. Banke and San Francisco Superior Court Judge Robert L. Dondero to the First District’s Div. One and Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Terence L. Bruiniers to Div. Five.
12—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Alice Hill resigned to become counselor to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
15—The California Supreme Court upheld the death penalty for Joseph Avila, convicted of the murders of Robert (Bobby) Navarro, 20, of Buena Park and Raul Humberto Moncada, 18, of Stanton on Jan. 13, 1991. Witnesses said Avila, then 22, attacked the two—along with David Montoya, a then-17-year-old Stanton resident who survived—with a knife in front of about 100 people. The court said a Riverside Superior Court judge did not deprive the defendant of his right to counsel by removing a court-appointed lawyer who said he would not be ready to try the case for at least a year….Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carlos M. Teran died at age 93. He served on the East Los Angeles Municipal Court from 1957 to 1979.
16—Approximately 200 Los Angeles Superior Court employees and their supporters gathered at the Burbank office of the Administrative Office of the Courts to present a petition objecting to a proposed statewide closure of courts one day a month but were turned away by building management and police. After a brief confrontation in the stairwell, the protestors returned to the plaza outside the building’s entrance and a representative from the AOC came to the lobby to accept the petition—a nearly foot-high stack of paper tied with a ribbon like a gift—and a banner from a union representative.
17—A Los Angeles Police Department directive that prohibits officers from approaching an individual for the sole purpose of inquiring about the person’s immigration status is not—on its face—preempted by state or federal law, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
18—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the denial of Social Security survivor benefits to a 10-year old girl conceived using semen taken from a man after he had died….The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death sentence for a gang member who killed two college students from Japan during a 1994 carjacking in the parking lot of a San Pedro supermarket. In doing so, the justices rejected the contention that a Los Angeles Superior Court judge coerced the jury into reaching a death penalty verdict for Raymond Oscar Butler.
19—A voluntary declaration of paternity, filed in statutory form with Department of Child Support Services, takes precedence over the presumption of paternity arising from having held a child out as one’s own, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled. Div. Three, in an opinion by Justice Raymond Ikola, said Orange Superior Court Judge Robert Monarch erred in ruling that an Orange County family law attorney, identified in the opinion as Kevin Q., was the father of his former girlfriend’s son even though the mother and the man shown by DNA testing to be the biological father had filed the statutory declaration.
22—The Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed retired Orange Superior Court Judge Theodore E. Millard’s felony drunk driving conviction, but ordered that his restitution obligation be recalculated because it improperly included attorney fees sustained in the victim’s civil action….The unanimous California Supreme Court held that the Safe Drinking Water Act does not impose an implied duty on counties to warn residents of contamination….Two gang members were properly convicted of aiding and abetting a fellow member’s killing of a member of another gang following a fistfight, the California Supreme Court ruled. In a 4-3 decision, the justices reversed a ruling by Div. Four of this district’s Court of Appeal. The court held that evidence of the gang’s hostility towards its enemies, its desire to expand its territory, and its willingness to use guns to settle scores supported a finding that the killing was a “natural and probable” consequence of the fistfight….David T. Bristow, formerly a shareholder and president of the executive committee at the Inland Empire firm of Reid & Hellyer, was sworn in as the newest magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Bristow was assigned to the Central District’s Riverside courthouse.
23—Shackling a pre-trial detainee, chaining him to a bench and forcibly opening his jaw to extract a DNA sample without a warrant, court order, reasonable suspicion or concern about facility security was a violation of the detainee’s clearly established Fourth Amendment rights, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
24—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the city of Seattle’s regulations governing street performers in the downtown entertainment zone known as the Seattle Center as unconstitutionally overbroad.
25—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a distributor of Internet security software is entitled to immunity, under the safe harbor provision of the Communications Decency Act, from a suit claiming that its software interfered with the use of downloadable programs by customers of an online media company….The First District Court of Appeal upheld an award of nearly $200,000 in damages to a San Francisco woman subjected to debt collection abuses due to a case of mistaken identity. In its decision, Div. One clarified that the litigation privilege did not shield conduct violating the Robbins-Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, but it did bar a cause of action for the intentional infliction of emotional distress and reduced Anastasiya Komarova’s award against National Credit Acceptance Inc. accordingly.
29—Div. Six of this district’s Court of Appeal certified for publication its June 3 opinion that the First Amendment protects a political party county central committee’s right to oust a member for reasons specified in the committee’s own bylaws….The Fourth District Court of Appeal held that the inability of parties and counsel to travel from the criminal calendar court in Riverside to an available courtroom 76 miles away before it closed for the day on the last statutory day for trial constituted good cause for a continuance.
30—A defendant who intentionally identified photographs as depicting a different intersection than the one where he claimed the picture was taken was properly convicted of preparing “false” evidence, the First District Court of Appeal ruled….MySpace.com cannot be held liable to four teenage girls who were sexually assaulted by men they met through the Internet social networking site, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled. Div. Eight held that the site’s operator was shielded with immunity pursuant to the Communications Decency Act....Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 5, the Electronic Discovery Act, by Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa.
1—Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich was sworn into office....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victoria G. Chaney and U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey W. Johnson of the Central District of California were confirmed as justices of Div. One of this district’s Court of Appeal.
2—Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Barry Baskin ruled that a county’s pension records are not exempt from disclosure pursuant to the Public Records Act, in what was believed to be the first legal challenge to the release of such data after the California Supreme Court held in 2007 that the names and salaries of government employees are public record....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John T. Doyle was charged with misdemeanor drunk driving following a minor traffic accident with another vehicle. He was arrested and released on $30,000 bail....John E. McDermott was sworn in as a U.S. magistrate judge for the Central District of California....The Third U.S. Circuit Judicial Council admonished Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski over sexually explicit material on his personal website....A trustee who allegedly made sexual comments to the mother of a trust beneficiary in the course of one telephone conversation and one in-person meeting over the course of one day did not engage in actionable harassment, the California Supreme Court ruled....The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death sentence for Richard Wade Farley, a former Silicon Valley computer technician convicted of killing seven people and attempting to kill four others in 1988 at the company from which he was fired for stalking a co-worker.
3—President Barack Obama named Pepperdine Law School Professor Douglas W. Kmiec as the ambassador to the Republic of Malta.
6—The California Supreme Court upheld the capital conviction of a San Diego man, Ramon Rogers, based in part on evidence recovered by police officers after they conducted a warrantless entry of the storage rooms under his apartment out of concern that the mother of his child—who had been missing for over three weeks—was locked inside.
7—The “sham affidavit” rule does not authorize a trial court to grant summary judgment solely because a party’s deposition testimony varies from that of the party’s own witnesses, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled....The Ninth Circuit ordered a new trial for a San Mateo man convicted of strangling the daughter of former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff in 1999. The panel ruled that the prosecutor’s proffered race-neutral reasons for striking the only African-American members of the jury pool were pretextual.
8—The Los Angeles County Grand Jury indicted Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Harvey Silberman and campaign consultants Evelyn Jerome Alexander and Alan Randall “Randy” Steinberg on felony charges of solicitation to induce a person not to become a candidate for public office and solicitation to offer, accept, or join in the offer or acceptance of a bribe....The State of Washington may require pharmacies to dispense the “morning after” pill, regardless of moral or religious objections, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
9—Attorney Patrick M. Kelly was elected to the District Seven seat on the State Bar Board of Governors....The California Supreme Court ruled that a man convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol should have been allowed to present evidence of how the ratio used to derive a blood-alcohol percentage from a breath sample may have yielded an inaccurate representation of his blood-alcohol level in order to rebut the presumption that his blood-alcohol concentration affected his ability to drive safely.
10—Foreign workers for companies that supply goods to Wal-Mart Stores cannot sue the giant retailer for violations of labor standards incorporated into Wal-Mart’s contracts with their employers, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled....A district judge did not err in finding that a Bell man convicted on federal charges of jamming radio frequencies being used by the military and by public safety agencies had been properly admonished and willingly waived his right to counsel, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said....A Syrian national who attempted to purchase false immigration documents from an undercover agent and was later deported was not entitled to a refund of the $40,000 he had paid for the forged alien registration cards, the Ninth Circuit held.
13—The prior dismissal of a felony complaint for vehicular manslaughter against a driver whose alleged negligent operation of a motor vehicle resulted in the death of a 9-year-old boy did not bar a subsequent prosecution for a reduced misdemeanor charge, the California Supreme Court ruled....The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that complaints by police officers about their supervisors’ conduct are not protected by the First Amendment.
14—The warrantless search of a hotel room, after its occupant had been mistakenly given a key to another room and items belonging to that room’s occupant were stolen, violated the Fourth Amendment, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
15—The Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured retired Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Ann Dobbs and barred her from receiving any future work assignments from any California state court, marking the first time the state’s judicial watchdog has disciplined a commissioner. Dobbs, who served six years on the bench in the Family Law Department, stipulated to the discipline—which is the maximum the commission may levy on a retired judicial officer—and to having repeatedly failed to complete her cases in a timely manner.
16—A Riverside Superior Court judge did not deprive a defendant charged with capital murder of his constitutional rights by telling the jury, in response to a question, that the governor would have the power to commute any sentence of life imprisonment without parole, the state Supreme Court ruled in upholding the death sentence for Michael L. Bramit....The state high court unanimously upheld the conviction and death sentence of Michael Bernard Lewis for a rape and murder, rejecting his claim that the trial judge had erred in admitting evidence of a rape Lewis had committed four years earlier. The court concluded that the crimes were similar and sufficiently close in time since Lewis was in prison for most of the intervening period to have the probative value of the evidence outweigh any prejudice....LAUSD Assistant General Counsel Stephanie M. Bowick, Commissioners Henry J. Hall and Randall F. Pacheco, Deputy District Attorneys Renee F. Korn and Olivia Rosales, private practitioners Ralph C. Hofer and Stephen M. Moloney, and Senior Deputy County Counsel Gary Y. Tanaka were appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court.
17—The Fourth District Court of Appeal certified for publication its June 25 opinion holding that a former California State Department of Parks and Recreation policy which effectively allowed nude sunbathing on a portion of the San Onofre State Beach as long as other beachgoers did not complain was never adopted as a regulation, and thus did not have to be formally repealed in order for officials to crack down on the practice....Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Charles W. “Tim” McCoy announced that the court was implementing a program this fiscal year allowing judges to contribute a portion of their salaries toward court operating costs.
20—A deaf prosecution witness’ inability to speak or use standard sign language to communicate did not violate the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to confront that witness’s and cross-examine her the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled....The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld Jack Wayne Friend’s death sentence, rejecting claims that a witness may have received a secret immunity deal and that several Alameda County prosecutors—one of whom was Joanne Parrilli, later a First District Court of Appeal justice and now retired—improperly vouched for the witness’s credibility.
21—The Fourth District Court of Appeal, Div. Two, revived a lawsuit against Southern California Edison by a woman who was injured when the car she was a passenger in collided with a light pole, ruling that the utility company had not shown the absence of a duty of care.
22—The California Supreme Court ordered that San Francisco attorney Francis T. Fahy be disbarred for misconduct while acting as a civil trial juror. A State Bar Court hearing judge had found that Fahy voted to find a defendant not liable for negligence in order to end a likely jury deadlock so that he could return his attention to his law practice, lied to the trial judge about his verdict and disrespected the courts....The Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled that a Fresno law firm could serve as counsel to the executor of a will as an individual beneficiary in a dispute with another beneficiary.
23—The California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that retrial of an enhancement allegation after a jury finds the defendant guilty but deadlocks on the enhancement, or after a new trial motion is granted only as to the enhancement, does not constitute double jeopardy. In a companion case, the court said that the grant of a new trial on special allegations was not tantamount to an acquittal for double jeopardy purposes.
26—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that evidence regarding the roles traditionally played by members of certain ethnic groups in the pseudophedrine pill trade was improperly admitted in the trial of three men of Middle Eastern descent and one from Mexico, but affirmed the defendants’ convictions on trafficking and weapons charges. The panel concluded that the properly admitted evidence was so strong that the jury would have undoubtedly found the defendants guilty even if it had not heard the inappropriate testimony.
27—The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death penalty for an East Palo Alto woman for two 1992 murders which took place in separate instances during the commission of a robbery and burglary. The justices rejected Celeste Carrington’s claims that police used a pretextual burglary investigation to obtain a warrant to search for evidence she was involved in the two homicides....The California Supreme Court issued an order for the State Bar to permit Sara Granda, a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic graduate of UC Davis’ law school, to be seated for the bar examination.... Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William H. Winston Jr. passed away at the age of 82.
28—Beverly Hills immigration attorney Margarita Mkrtchyan, who had been arrested a day earlier, appeared before a U.S. magistrate judge along with four others—including the former Armenian consul in Los Angeles from 1999 to 2003, Norair Ghalumian—on charges of obstructing proceedings before U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a crime punishable by up to five years in prison....The Fourth District Court of Appeal, Div. One, reversed an award of over $3,500 in monetary sanctions and attorney fees against a Pasadena attorney, ruling that Linda Paquette had not violated a court order by disregarding a request by counsel for a proposed conservatee that all communications to her client go through her....A Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded nearly $370 million in damages against Guess? Inc. co-founder Georges Marciano for claims of defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress by several former employees.
29—The Judicial Council named California Supreme Court Justice Ming W. Chin it’s “Jurist of the Year.”....The Federal Trade Commission announced a 90-day reprieve from enforcement of the “Red Flags Rule,” which mandates that “creditors” implement programs to identify, detect and respond to the warning signs, or “red flags,” that could indicate identity theft. The rule had been slated to go into effect Aug. 1, and was met with opposition from the Los Angeles County Bar Association, American Bar Association and more than two dozen state and local bar associations who called on the agency to exempt attorneys from the regulation’s definition of “creditor.”
30—The Judicial Council of California announced that it approved the one-time reallocation of $159 million in special funds to offset cuts to court security, employee retirement, dependency counsel, and the court interpreter program and help close the state judiciary’s estimated $414 million funding gap....The California Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for a man convicted or murder and other crimes in connection with one of Orange County’s first carjacking cases. A unanimous court rejected Shaun Burney’s claims that he should not have been tried with two codefendants, and that his sentence was disproportionate to their life-without-parole sentences for a crime he largely blamed on them....The American Bar Association presented Los Angeles Assistant Public Defender Winston A. Peters with the Livingston Hall Juvenile Justice Award during the ABA’s annual conference in Chicago. The award commemorates Livingston Hall, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, and is given in recognition of outstanding commitment and service in the field of juvenile justice and advocacy on behalf of children impacted by the juvenile justice system.
31—President Obama nominated Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California....The Fifth District Court of Appeal upheld a trial court’s order setting aside a $15,000 default judgment nine years after it was entered due to the plaintiff’s use of the incorrect first name for the defendant in the summons and complaint.
3—The California Supreme Court threw out a ruling by this district’s Court of Appeal permitting a lawsuit to proceed against a private employer for conducting hidden surveillance of its employees’ office.
4—A 62-year-old Corona Del Mar woman who reached the age entitling her to access a retirement account she co-owned with her former husband had not experienced a material change of circumstances allowing modification of their dissolution order, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled….The Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association of Los Angeles called on its 700 members to boycott the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, the host of the State Bar Annual Convention, over its owner’s reported contribution to the Yes on 8 campaign overturning the right of same-sex couples to marry….This district’s Court of Appeal ruled that a defendant’s conviction for robbing a young man of his newly-purchased pair of pants did not justify barring the defendant from any courthouse as a condition of probation….Senior U.S. District Judge Robert M. Takasugi of the Central District of California, the first Japanese American to serve on the federal bench, died at age 78.
5—The Fourth District Court of Appeal threw out a $19,400 judgment against a former Tustin attorney for dissolution litigation expenses of his former firm, saying he was entitled to notice and opportunity to be heard on competing claims amongst shareholders and against the corporation despite having taken “improper and ill-advised actions.”….The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that a San Diego law firm that allegedly plagiarized from a Novato, Calif.-based firm’s copyrighted website was subject to personal jurisdiction in the Northern District of California….The Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles said it had selected Silvia R. Argueta to be its next executive director.
6—Richard McWhorter, a Kern County man sentenced to death for the murders of his former neighbor and her 10-year old son, lost his appeal to the California Supreme Court challenging the admission of his confession and subsequent recantation, with the court unanimously clarifying that the degree of attenuation that would dissipate the taint of a coerced confession and a later voluntary admission of guilt also applies to a subsequent recantation for purposes of determining the voluntariness of the later statement….The Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that a former San Bernardino physician cannot escape prosecution for “preparing” false documentary evidence merely because he manipulated the Department of Motor Vehicles into making the document for him….Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed two bills that would extend legal immunity for Good Samaritans, as well as two bills that would give law enforcement officials additional resources to more effectively monitor and prosecute registered sex offenders and sexually violent predators.
7—Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said he would file suit against the governor over what Steinberg said he considered illegal vetoes of funding for social service programs.
10—The Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the conviction of former Southern California radio personality Raymond E. Peyton on child molestation charges.
11—This district’s Court of Appeal ruled that the four-year period in which to prosecute a theft of public funds was not triggered until the nonprofit entity tasked with distributing the money reported its suspicions to the responsible government agency….Nadya Suleman’s 7 1/2-month-old octuplets do not need a guardian to watch over their financial interests, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
12—The Sixth District Court of Appeal revived a lawsuit by a film industry group against a high-end consumer electronics company for allegedly abusing its license to use a proprietary encryption method that secures the millions of standard-definition DVDs sold worldwide.
13—The California Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for Michael M. Martinez, convicted of killing a Hayward woman in her home and attempting to kill the woman’s 10-year-old daughter, who was raped and sodomized….Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa tapped former U.S. Attorney Debra Wong Yang to serve on the Board of Police Commissioners….The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a U.S. District Court judge’s decision requiring the Bay Area Rapid Transit system to improve the accessibility of some of its facilities to those with vision impairments.
14—This district’s Court of Appeal ruled that a former San Fernando High School teacher may sue school officials he alleges forced him out of his job for complaining about how the school was run and engaging in off-campus political activities, including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign….A student who filed suit against his former school alleging liability for death threats he received from classmates based upon their perception of his sexual orientation could not be held responsible for arbitral expenses and attorney fees after an arbitrator found in favor of the school, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled….Former Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Sherman Juster passed away at the age of 80.
17—The California Supreme Court revived a professional model’s suit alleging that Nestlé USA used his image without permission on millions of labels of Taster’s Choice instant coffee around the globe, ruling that appropriation of likeness claims are subject to the single-publication rule….The Court of Appeal for this district ruled that a man who pled no contest to a murder charge based on his introducing a Long Beach woman to the contract killer who murdered her husband is entitled to a new parole hearing.
18—This district’s Court of Appeal upheld the first-degree murder convictions of two septuagenarian women who staged the hit-and-run killings of two homeless men in order to collect on their life insurance policies….The Fourth District Court of Appeal reinstated felony charges against the operators of a Palm Desert business the defendants contend was a legal medical marijuana dispensary, holding that a trial judge erred in ruling that CannaHelp was a “primary caregiver” under Proposition 215….A Newport Beach man previously convicted for holding himself out as an attorney to courts, lawyers and paying clients was sentenced to two years in prison for again holding himself out to be a lawyer.
19—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a California law reviving time-barred claims against museums and galleries allegedly harboring art stolen from Holocaust victims is unconstitutional….The First District Court of Appeal ordered publication of its opinion holding that a petition seeking only to enforce a trustee’s nonwaivable fiduciary duty to provide reasonable information regarding administration of the trust did not violate a no-contest clause.
21—A payment made by the California Insurance Guarantee Association after it steps into the shoes of a third-party tortfeasor’s insurer is credited against the liability of an injured worker’s employer for workers’ compensation benefits, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled….This district’s Court of Appeal affirmed an order throwing out multiple criminal charges against former West Covina Planning Commission member Carlos M. Thrasher, clarifying that a promissory note is not a loan to a public official and that Thrasher’s failure to disclose a debt to a developer whose company later came before the commission did not make a false statement….The Third District Court of Appeal ruled that a state law requiring a parent to support a child in foster care applies when the child has been placed because he committed a crime against another of the parent’s children.
24—Former West Hills attorney Alfred Nash Villalobos was indicted on charges of endeavoring to obstruct a grand jury investigation and interfering with interstate commerce by extortion after he allegedly solicited cash payments totaling $100,000, as well as other compensation in the form of payments and a fraudulent charitable donation receipt, from the target of a pending federal grand jury investigation….The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Board of Immigration Appeals erred when it determined that an Indonesian native failed to show past persecution because the circumcision his daughter endured was “less extreme” than other types of female genital mutilation….A trial judge approved the settlement of a suit by Attorney General Jerry Brown charging that CashCall Inc., a money lender well known as a result of its ubiquitous television advertising featuring former child television star Gary Coleman, violated consumer protection statutes….The California Supreme Court ruled that an automobile insurer is not liable for attorney fees incurred by an insured in order to obtain medical payment compensation from a third party tortfeasor.
25—The First District Court of Appeal ordered publication of its ruling that an Alameda Superior Court judge abused his discretion by disqualifying the entire District Attorney’s Office from prosecuting a former police officer solely because an employee of the office was prepared to testify to prior bad acts by the defendant….The Third District Court of Appeal said a Northern California doctor’s repeated arrests for driving while intoxicated could serve as a proper basis for professional discipline, even though those arrests did not result in any criminal convictions….The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal agents were wrong to seize the infamous drug list and samples of 104 Major League Baseball players who allegedly tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003.
26—A deputy attorney general who attended a social gathering at a cattle ranch celebrating a legal victory she had secured could not sue the hosts of the event for injuries she sustained after she took one of the rancher’s horses for a ride and fell from her mount into a feed bunk, the Third District Court of Appeal held….The California Supreme Court adopted a new rule, effective Jan. 1, requiring attorneys who do not have malpractice insurance to directly notify their clients about the lack of coverage.
27—This district’s Court of Appeal rejected efforts by two Pasadena-area attorneys to compel arbitration of an ex-client’s claim for indemnification of a $25,000 judgment entered against her—based on a breach of a confidentiality provision in a settlement agreement the lawyers had negotiated with her former employer—arising from their firm’s activities to solicit new business….The First District Court of Appeal ruled that a suit for a state income tax refund is triable by jury, but a suit by the state to collect tax penalties is not.
28—First District Court of Appeal Justice James Richman, sitting on assignment as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, rejected a constitutional challenge to legislation enacted early this year authorizing counties to continue paying benefits to supplement the salaries of Superior Court judges, ruling that the legislation validly restored the authority of counties to grant benefits to judges over and above those given all judges under state law….The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the maker of Mercedes-Benz automobiles cannot be sued in California for human rights violations that its Argentinean subsidiary may have participated in when the country was ruled by a military junta in the 1970s and 1980s.
31—The Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert A. Schnider for failing to supervise retired Commissioner Ann Dobbs, who was censured for persistent failure to meet deadlines for deciding cases….The Third District Court of Appeal said that a landmark California case holding a public employer responsible for a sexual assault committed by a police officer while on duty should not be extended to other types of government employees, declining to hold the city of Sacramento responsible for an alleged sexual assault on a photographer by two firemen in 2004….California courts lack jurisdiction over a suit against Catholic church officials in Ireland who allegedly sent a newly trained priest to the Stockton archdiocese with knowledge of his propensity to molest children, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
1—U.S. Attorney Thomas O’Brien of the Central District of California stepped down and said he would join Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker as a partner in its litigation department….Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named Pasadena attorney John J. Kralik, Superior Court Commissioner John C. Lawson II and Beverly Hills lawyer Elaine W. Mandel to judgeships in the Los Angeles Superior Court….The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of a former San Diego councilman for accepting $34,500 in bribes from a strip club owner to try and weaken a municipal ordinance banning “lap dances.”
2—An official reprimand issued to a police officer who displayed his weapon outside his home, in response to what he claimed was an imminent threat, affected his vested right to employment, thus triggering the independent judgment standard of judicial review, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled….The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of a Northern California man who, together with his business partner, bilked over 700 individuals of approximately $20 million in a fraudulent investment scheme.
3—This district’s Court of Appeal said that a Huntington Park truck repair facility may be held liable for a deadly October 2005 crash in which a commercial tow truck stolen from its service yard careened onto the sidewalk and struck 11 people at a crowded bus stop….This district’s Court of Appeal ordered publication of its opinion holding that a minor cannot sue the nonprofit corporation that referred him to a family day care home where he was sexually assaulted….A suit by a Santa Monica attorney against another lawyer for failure to honor an attorney fee lien was not a strategic lawsuit against public participation, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled….A Contra Costa Superior Court judge tentatively ruled that an action by a group of newspapers against a retired Contra Costa deputy sheriff who filed suit to block release of her pension information was a strategic lawsuit against public participation.
4—Former Attorney General John Ashcroft is not immune from liability to individuals wrongfully detained as material witnesses after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled….The First District Court of Appeal reinstated a contest by the former Republican Party chairman for Alameda County to the election of seven members of the party’s Central Committee.
8—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that school officials in Washington state did not violate a high school student ensemble’s constitutional rights by barring them from performing “Ave Maria” at graduation….The State Bar of California announced that former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, the first Latino to serve on the court, would receive the 2009 Bernard E. Witkin Medal….The extended one-year statute of limitations on crimes solved by DNA evidence begins to run when most of the work necessary to present the evidence at trial has been completed, not when the evidence first identifies a suspect, this district’s Court of Appeal held….A foreign governmental entity may be sued in U.S. courts for possession of expropriated property, even if that entity is not the expropriator, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled….An administrative law judge’s proposed decision becomes final under the Administrative Procedures Act 100 days after it is received by the agency, unless the agency rejects the decision or orders a hearing transcript within that time, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.
9—The First District Court of Appeal ordered publication of an opinion holding that the disinherited sons of a Trinity County man whose body was discovered the same day as his mother’s death are entitled to an evidentiary hearing to determine if their father had predeceased their grandmother…. A ban on asylum for aliens who engaged in “terrorist activity” does not provide an exception for legitimate armed resistance against military targets, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held….A manufacturer of military equipment may generally be held liable for negligent failure to warn of a defect in the product, the First District Court of Appeal ruled.
11—A federal judge threw out Universal Music Group’s copyright infringement suit against online video-sharing service Veoh, ruling that the latter satisfied all of the requirements necessary to preclude monetary or injunctive relief under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s “safe harbor” provisions.
13—A resolution before the Conference of California Bar Associations that would have asked the Legislature to require parties who choose to enter mediation in general civil cases to bear the costs and set compensation for mediators was defeated for a second year….The Conference of Delegates announced plans to break away from the State Bar and begin holding an independent annual meeting during the spring of 2011.
15—A Chapter 7 bankruptcy debtor who stays current on car payments instead of reaffirming the validity of the debt runs the risk that the creditor can repossess the vehicle anyway, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled….Legislation intended to increase penalties for the sexual abuse of children actually eliminated authority to impose full, consecutive sentences on those who molest multiple victims, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled….Chief U.S. District Judge Audrey M. Collins of the Central District of California said that the district “faces a crisis of retention” and that an urgent need exists for congressional action on both judicial salaries and creation of additional judgeships….The Court of Appeal for this district affirmed the first-degree murder conviction of an accused gang leader for the 1992 killing of a cab driver in Koreatown.
16—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles Horan said he had been named an interim director of the Alliance of California Judges, a fledgling organization that is openly challenging the state’s judicial hierarchy and calling for more democratic decision-making….The First District Court of Appeal rejected a San Francisco church’s attempt to leave the Reformed Church of America rather than submit to closure over dwindling attendance….A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that the longtime same-sex domestic partner of the Los Angeles Police Department officer killed last year in the Chatsworth Metrolink crash is entitled to survivorship pension benefits.
17—The Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld a judgment requiring a San Diego law firm to pay a 25 percent referral fee after winning a multimillion dollar settlement for insurance company bad faith….The City of Los Angeles did not violate a developer’s due process or equal protection rights, or the California Environmental Quality Act, by rejecting a proposed development before completing a draft environmental impact report, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
18—The State Bar of California said it is investigating 16 attorneys, in addition to several whose names had previously been made public, for possible misconduct related to their loan modification services….Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Lori-Ann C. Jones was placed on paid administrative leave after she admitted contacting a judicial candidate about the availability of a financial incentive to switch races last year.
21—A lawyer who hired a private investigator to determine whether a city attorney was engaged in an inappropriate romantic relationship with the city manager and was later rebuked by the City Council for his actions should not have had his claim of retaliation thrown out as a SLAPP, the Sixth District Court of Appeal said.
22—A letter in which the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation said former state Sen. Charles Poochigian lacked the “actual practical legal experience” required of a Court of Appeal justice was made public….A property owner’s decision not to actively deny the public access to private recreational property does not convert the property into a “public accommodation” under the Americans With Disabilities Act or California law, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled….This district’s Court of Appeal ordered publication of its ruling that California’s medical marijuana law does not require cities to approve zoning for dispensaries.
23—This district’s Court of Appeal ordered publication of its ruling upholding a more than-$400,000 default judgment in a malpractice action against a Santa Monica attorney, rejecting her claim that substituted service on an employee of the business where she kept her private postal box was inadequate to establish jurisdiction….A plaintiff’s objections that discovery requests for “economic damages” sustained were too vague and that follow-up questions seeking specific amounts were improper constituted “game-playing” supporting an award of sanctions, the First District Court of Appeal held….The Los Angeles City Council unanimously confirmed Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s nomination of former U.S. Attorney Debra Wong Yang to serve on the Board of Police Commissioners….The California Supreme Court declined to revive a challenge to the limited insurance coverage for infertility treatment offered by an employer-provided group health plan….A federal judge dismissed a suit against Los Angeles County by a man who claims he was wrongfully imprisoned because a former district attorney and his top aide failed to protect against the possibility of cases being prosecuted by lawyers who were unaware of promises their colleagues made to informants.
24—The state Commission on Judicial Appointments confirmed the nomination of former state Sen. Charles Poochigian to the Fifth District Court of Appeal….A district judge’s rejection of a plea agreement is not reviewable on appeal, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday.
25—Running from a public school security officer does not support a criminal charge of resisting or delaying a public officer, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled….Baldwin Park police officers are not entitled to a public vote on their salary proposal, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled….Los Angeles Superior Court officials confirmed that judges of the court elected Hermosa Beach attorney Stephen M. Lowry as a commissioner….This district’s Court of Appeal threw out a $1.2 million verdict in favor of a 20-year U.S. Navy veteran suffering from malignant mesothelioma, ruling that the defendant was not responsible for exposure to asbestos-containing products supplied by other manufacturers.
28—A man who claims satellite television provider DIRECTV used false advertising to induce subscribers to purchase more expensive “high definition” services cannot proceed with a class action, this district’s Court of Appeal held.
29—This district’s Court of Appeal rejected an attempt by the daughter of five-time Grammy award-winning comedian and actor Richard Pryor to annul her father’s marriage to Jennifer Pryor and void certain gifts and bequests to her stepmother….Judges of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine Bauer and attorney Deborah J. Saltzman to serve as judges of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California….A San Francisco jewelry store owner’s alleged consent to a heist perpetrated while the store was under the control of employees not in on the scheme did not vitiate the “felonious taking” element of robbery, the First District Court of Appeal ruled….An air quality management district may limit the amount of volatile organic compounds in paint and other coatings as long as the technology to meet those limits currently exists, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
30—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out an evidentiary ruling which would have prevented two Irell & Manella attorneys from testifying at former Broadcom Corporation Chief Financial Officer William Ruehle’s criminal trial regarding statements he made during the firm’s investigation of stock options backdating at the company.
1—A former Los Angeles attorney now based in Irvine, Sandeep Baweja, agreed to plead guilty to two felonies yesterday for misappropriating more than $2 million from his client trust account and losing almost all of it through day trades in the stock market….District Attorney Steve Cooley and two top deputies, speaking at a forum sponsored by the District Attorney’s Criminal Justice Institute, said the District Attorney’s Office aggressively enforces the state’s open meetings law for local public agencies with an aim of gaining compliance, not to punish anyone or entangle itself in local politics.... The American Bar Association’s General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division said it was awarding State Bar of California past President Holly Fujie its Making a Difference Through Service to the Profession Award.
2—Two three-judge panels of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously granted habeas corpus petitions in two unrelated death penalty cases. U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton of the District of Arizona denied the petitions of Laurence Libberton and Danny Jones, but the appellate court found that both men had been denied effective assistance of counsel during the penalty phase of their trials....A proposal to expand the right to present live testimony in family law proceedings highlighted a series of recommendations released by the state courts task force charged with recommending changes in family law procedures.
5—The U.S. Supreme Court denied review of the disbarment of Beverly Hills attorney Richard I. Fine, who lost his license after 35 years based on a finding that he frivolously litigated a dispute with court officials.
6—A statute that mandates lifelong sex offender registration for those convicted of committing lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 16 years of age is constitutional, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled. The justices reversed a contrary ruling by a Santa Clara Superior Court judge, who said David Reid Cavallaro did not have to register because the statute unfairly discriminates among those convicted of different offenses.
7—Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John R. Stanton Jr. passed away at the age of 87.
13—Arcadia attorney Ronald N. Gottschalk, of Gottschalk & Associates, pled not guilty to two counts of grand theft by embezzlement....Div. Five of this district’s Court of Appeal threw out a $78,000 attorney fee award in favor of the proponents of an effort to recall Carson Mayor James L. Dear, which was based on Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu’s determination that various voter requests to withdraw their signatures from the recall petition were invalid. The appellate court said signature withdrawal requests must be honored, even if they were executed before the voter actually signed.
14—A Placer county man who claimed a little green person encouraged him to don a black ski mask and take a sawed-off shotgun to rob a random business after he played a marathon session of a Grand Theft Auto video game should have been allowed to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled....A ballot initiative imposing a tax on millionaires to fund mental health services did not violate equal protection, Div. Two of this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
15—Loyola Law School professor Michael J. Shultz was elected by the judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court as a commissioner....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen and attorney Dolly Gee—both named to the U.S. District Court for California’s Central District—cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee without opposition on a voice vote along with Northern District nominee U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Seeborg, while U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward Chen, also named to the Northern District, was approved on a roll call vote of 12-7 that was split along party lines....Div. Four of the First District Court of Appeal ruled that a cancer patient who was not allowed to take a restroom break at work was entitled to damages for disability discrimination.
16—Stephen Barnett, professor emeritus at the UC Berkeley School of Law, died of complications resulting from cardiac arrest at the age of 73.
18—Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rodney E. Nelson passed away at the age of 75.
19—Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David W. Perkins passed away at the age of 74 after a battle with cancer....The Third District Court of Appeal upheld a grant of a new trial against a commercial truck driver and Wal-Mart Transportation LLC for a fatal 2004 roll-over accident on Interstate 5....Div. Five of this district’s Court of Appeal ruled that it was reasonable for a Houston woman who fled from her husband to California with their children to fear that her husband would follow through on threats to kill her, even though he was still in Texas and had no income.
20—Evidence that was suppressed in a criminal case may be used to terminate a Caltrans employee found in possession of a gun and illegal drugs on department property, Div. Two of this district’s Court of Appeal ruled....The federal government cannot retain monies seized from a local medical marijuana dispensary during an illegal 2005 search by the Los Angeles Police Department as proceeds traceable to federal narcotics violations, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held.
21—The value of an attorney referral may be recovered in quantum meruit, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held.
22—Statements made by a sexual assault victim during a rape examination were testimonial hearsay and should not have been admitted at trial, Div. Four of this district’s Court of Appeal ruled....A Pomona hospital could reduce the hourly wages of the nurses who volunteered to work 12-hour shifts in an attempt to keep overall pay revenue-neutral without violating the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime pay requirements, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held.
23—The California Judicial Council approved the Administrative Office of the Courts’ recommendation to allocate special fund monies for court system projects and programs, including approximately $171 million for statewide administrative and technology infrastructure....The state may be held liable for veteran boxing referee Ray Corona Sr.’s potential exposure to HIV because it allowed a boxer to fight without proof of a negative test for the virus, the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Div. Two ruled.... Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reappointed George Davis as a public member of the State Bar Board of Governors, and appointed former public member Jeannine English to another term on the board.
27—Los Angeles attorney Stephen Marshall Weiss entered a plea of not guilty to 32 counts of grand theft of personal property, insurance fraud and filing false and fraudulent claims, while Glendale attorney John Akopian pleaded not guilty to 38 counts, as well as charges of money laundering, receiving stolen property and possession of an assault weapon. The men were accused of defrauding 15 insurance companies by allegedly filing false claims for staged accidents along with nearly two dozen individuals, including Beverly Hills attorney Leon Rubin Laufer and Corona attorney Edward Leonid Katsnelson....The Third District Court of Appeal reversed the delinquency adjudication on a juvenile for making threatening or obscene telephone communication to his ex-girlfriend in a series of text messages which included a multitude of expletives derived from sexually-related themes....A trial judge may not rule on the merits of an anti-SLAPP motion if the plaintiff dismisses the case prior to trial and the procedural posture of the case is not such that the plaintiff will inevitably lose, the Court of Appeal for this district, Div. Three, ruled....The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to grant en banc review of a ruling that five former terrorism suspects can sue a Boeing Co. subsidiary for allegedly flying them to secret prisons around the world to be tortured as part of the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” program.
28—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the obscenity convictions of two men for sending unsolicited e-mail advertisements for an adult website....The Department of Energy acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it declined to allow California to establish water efficiency standards for residential clothes washing machines, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled....The Court of Appeal for this district ordered publication of its Sept. 28 opinion holding that a lawsuit charging DIRECTV with using false advertising to induce subscribers to purchase more expensive “high definition” services cannot proceed as a class action. Ruling that members of the proposed nationwide class did not share a commonality of interests because their rights could vary from state to state and because many subscribers did not rely on the alleged falsehoods, Div. Eight upheld the trial court’s denial of class certification....The Los Angeles County Bar Association Board of Trustees selected Sally Suchil as the organization’s new executive director...Retired First District Court of Appeal Justice Herbert W. Walker died at his home in Napa at the age of 76.
29—A trust beneficiary’s demand for arbitration of a dispute with a fellow beneficiary and co-trustee was not a contest of the terms of the trust, the California Supreme Court ruled....A defendant charged with pregnancy discrimination has a complete defense if the plaintiff would have been terminated for legitimate performance reasons, this district’s Court of Appeal, Div. Eight ruled.
30—The Association of Deputy District Attorneys filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California accusing Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley and senior managers of violating the First Amendment by retaliating against the union’s supporters and members.... Senior Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Melvin T. Brunetti passed away in his 24th year of service after a long battle with cancer. He was 75.
2—A voluntary incentive plan by which a corporation’s employees took part of their compensation in restricted stock, subject to forfeiture if the employee left the company before the right to the stock vested, does not violate California labor laws, the state Supreme Court ruled....A prosecutor’s use of a PowerPoint presentation during her closing argument to illustrate the reasonable doubt standard was improper but not prejudicial, the Third District Court of Appeal held....A federal jury convicted a former telephone company employee of three counts of lying to the FBI and committing perjury before a grand jury and district court in connection with the wiretapping investigation of former private investigator Anthony Pellicano.
3—A man who was ejected from a city council meeting for giving a Nazi salute in the presiding officer’s direction did not suffer a violation of his First Amendment rights, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled....A police department’s alleged culture of racist remarks by officers did not justify a supervisory officer’s use of such language in publicly referring to his subordinates, the First District Court of Appeal said.
5—A defendant who proffered evidence that the star prosecution witness had presented the trial court with a forged military document and repeatedly lied under oath about being a combat veteran is not entitled to a new trial, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled....The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to decide en banc whether the city and county of San Francisco violated the Establishment Clause by passing non-binding resolution criticizing a Vatican official’s edict that Catholic social services agencies not place children with same-sex couples for adoption....Deputy Public Defender Nancy Pogue was elected by the judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court as a commissioner....Legislation that would expand the circumstances under which judges may impose jail terms on persons who violate probation conditions imposed under Proposition 36 is unconstitutional, the First District Court of Appeal ruled.
6—The First District Court of Appeal revived two women’s claims against the wife of the man convicted of molesting them when they were children for having made the girls available to him by relinquishing her babysitting obligations....Legislation creating a one-year period in which child abuse victims could sue defendants who negligently failed to prevent the abuse from occurring, without regard to the prior statute of limitations, did not extend the time in which such persons could sue once the yearlong period expired, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
9—The Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that a trust beneficiary could recover from a third party who helped a former trustee breach the trust, even though a successor trustee had been appointed....An order barring a defense lawyer from discussing with his client a declaration by an accomplice who incriminated the defendant and received a plea bargain violated the Sixth Amendment, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled.
11—A reference librarian whose work included assisting self-represented litigants with their appeals lost his own pro per appeal from the rejection of his wrongful termination action against trustees of the San Diego County Public Law Library....The State Bar of California said it had taken action against five more attorneys from Los Angeles and Orange counties for alleged loan modification misconduct....The California Supreme Court agreed to decide whether state law pre-empts a Los Angeles city ordinance requiring a purchaser of a large grocery store to retain the existing workforce for 90 days.
10—The U.S. Senate confirmed President Obama’s appointment of former State Bar of California President Jeffrey L. Bleich as ambassador to Australia.
12—A defendant whose accomplice is killed by the intended victim in the course of an attempted murder may be guilty of first degree murder if the defendant personally acted willfully, deliberately and with premeditation during the attempted murder, the California Supreme Court ruled.
16—The U.S. Supreme Court for the third time reinstated the death sentence of a San Joaquin County man who in 1982 beat to death a 19-year-old woman who caught him burglarizing her home....State law barring admission of offers to compromise applies to an employer’s offer of a severance payment in exchange for a release of potential claims by a newly-terminated employee, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled....The Fourth District Court of Appeal ordered publication of its ruling that an unsecured guaranty of a defaulting debtor’s promise to pay a loan secured by real estate is enforceable by attachment.
17—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Pounders said he will step down from the bench when his term ends in January 2011....President Obama nominated Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges partner Edith Ramirez to the Federal Trade Commission....The State Bar Court recommended that a Bay Area lawyer be suspended for 90 days as part of a two-year probation for violations that include threatening and disrespecting North Carolina court officials overseeing the probate of the attorney’s father’s estate.
18—Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich said he was not supporting his predecessor, Rocky Delgadillo, for election as attorney general, notwithstanding a flier representing that Trutanich would appear at a Dec. 1 Delgadillo fundraiser....A deputy federal public defender for the Central District of California is entitled to receive back pay for the period of time his same-sex spouse was denied health care and other benefits by his employer, Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt ruled....Citing a predicted loss of as many as 1,827 jobs and 182 courtrooms in the next four years, Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Charles “Tim” McCoy advised the LACBA Board of Trustees that the resultant judicial backlog could pose an impediment to the recovery of the economy....The state Supreme Court declined to review a ruling allowing a Huntington Park truck repair facility to be sued for a deadly October 2005 crash in which a commercial tow truck stolen from its service yard careened onto the sidewalk and struck 11 people at a crowded bus stop.
19—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling denying an advocacy group’s request to intervene in a suit challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8.....The standard jury instruction on simple kidnapping is defective, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled....This district’s Court of Appeal ruled that Ford Motor Credit Company did not violate state law when it applied a customer’s payment under an installment sales contract to an earlier missed payment rather than the current month’s installment, triggering successive late fees.
20—A California law compelling table grape growers to pay for generic advertising does not violate the First Amendment, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled....The pass rate for the July 2009 general State Bar examination was 56.4 percent, a drop of more than five percentage points from last year, the State Bar announced. The Committee of Bar Examiners said that a total of† 8,667 applicants—30 more than last year—took the test, and 4,888—about 500 fewer than in 2008—passed....Animal welfare activists lack standing to sue the federal government over what they claim is its failure to require the humane slaughter of chickens, turkeys and other domestic fowl, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled....The U.S. Senate confirmed President Obama’s appointment of openly gay California attorney David Huebner as the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, subject to his commitment to respond to requests to appear and testify.
23—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that restrictions preventing legal aid organizations that receive certain federal grants from lobbying, soliciting clients, participating in class actions or seeking attorneys’ fees do not violate the First Amendment....A man who hired a methamphetamine-using parolee to kill his wife’s lover was criminally responsible for the death of a California Highway Patrol officer killed while conducting a traffic stop of the would-be assassin, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.
24—Two defendants who failed to answer a complaint based on their lawyer’s advice that the court lacked jurisdiction, and then failed to raise the attorney’s bad advice as grounds for setting aside the default, were entitled to have the ensuing judgment set aside, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled....Motion picture film processor Technicolor Inc. did not have a duty to protect its employees’ family members from contact with toxic vapors brought home on employees’ clothing, this district’s Court of Appeal held....A trial judge erred in dismissing an indigent inmate’s malpractice claim against the doctor who treated him during his incarceration over the inmate’s failure to appear without ensuring that the prisoner had received meaningful access to the court, the Fourth District Court of Appeal held....The Los Angeles Superior Court said that Presiding Judge Charles W. McCoy named Judge Raul Sahagun as the new supervising judge in the Southeast District and left all other supervising judges in place....A title insurance company could not set aside a Fresno man’s transfer of his interest in a home to his girlfriend in order to keep a lien from being placed on it, but could proceed on a theory that the man intended to retain an equitable interest, the Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled.
25—The right to a division of property acquired during a putative marriage is not limited to an “innocent” spouse, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled....The Court of Appeal for this district upheld the conviction of a real estate entrepreneur on charges resulting from a Ponzi scheme that targeted African American church congregations, often using unwitting pastors in an effort to convince members to invest.
30—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brett Klein stepped down after almost 20 years on the bench....A trust beneficiary whose misconduct as trustee harmed the trust cannot rely on a spendthrift provision to protect her interest from other beneficiaries, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled....An opinion letter sent by outside counsel to a corporate client is protected by the attorney-client privilege, irrespective of the letter’s content, the California Supreme Court clarified.
1— The Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed a family law court’s ruling that a woman who bought a Porsche for her ex-husband during their marriage with her own money lost her rights in the vehicle by virtue of the gift. Reasoning that the 2001 sports car was not tangible property of a personal nature, Div. One held the gift did not transmute the vehicle from community to separate property and said the former wife had a right to reimbursement for the purchase....The filing of a lawsuit in a foreign country is not a protected activity for purposes of an anti-SLAPP motion, this district’s Court of Appeal held....The U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California....The City Attorney’s Office said a former employee, whom it did not name, is believed to be the person responsible for a fundraising solicitation that linked City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, without his authorization, to his predecessor’s campaign for state attorney general, David Berger, special assistant to Trutanich, said....Chief Justice Ronald M. George assigned Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry to preside over the murder trial of a former Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer who allegedly shot an unarmed passenger in the back on the floor of a train platform in Oakland.
2—The anti-SLAPP statute does not protect a law firm from being sued for malpractice based on activities it performed on behalf of the client who later sued it, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled
3—This district’s Court of Appeal threw out the arson adjudication of a minor whose “cherry bomb” firecracker sparked a July 2008 blaze that burned five acres of forest land near Pasadena. Modifying the judgment, Div. One said the then-17-year-old boy was guilty only of the lesser included offense of unlawfully causing a fire because there was no evidence he acted with malice when he lit the firecracker with friends on a hillside and then threw it, starting the fire.
4—An Orange Superior Court judge reserved ruling on motions to dismiss bribery charges against Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Harvey Silberman and two political consultants who handled his successful campaign for the bench last year.
7— The California Supreme Court will close its satellite clerk’s office in the Ronald Reagan Building at the end of the month for budgetary reasons, a court spokesperson said....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry Friedman said he would leave the court to become a private judge....The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death sentence for Dennis Ervine, a decorated Vietnam veteran convicted of killing a Lassen County sheriff’s deputy and attempting to kill three others.
8—The District Attorney’s Office said former Assemblyman Walter Karabian would not be charged with a felony in connection with allegations that he ran over a female parking attendant before a USC football game at the Coliseum....Los Angeles attorney and former State Bar Board of Governors member Jeffrey A. Tidus died, hours after being gunned down outside his home in Rolling Hills Estates.
9—Police are immune from liability for the arrest and jailing of a leader of a motorcycle club and his wife after a killing outside a Stockton bar, but a prosecutor may be liable for telling police to file unsupportable charges, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled....The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the death sentence of a former Van Nuys resident who killed two men with a knife during the botched burglary of a Tarzana home in 1982. The court, sitting en banc, voted 8-3 to affirm a district court’s ruling granting Scott Lynn Pinholster habeas relief due to ineffective assistance of counsel at the penalty phase of his 1984 trial and remanded for a new penalty trial....The Fifth District Court of Appeal upheld an award of nearly $500,000 to a fired administrative law judge on her claim that her superiors retaliated against her for voicing concerns over the way travel assignments were being distributed among her colleagues. The panel clarified that the doctrine of res judicata did not preclude Cynthia George from pursuing both internal administrative civil service remedies and those available under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
10—An Oregon attorney once suspected of participating in the 2004 Madrid train bombings lacked standing to challenge various provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act as unconstitutional, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled....Raymond Oscar Butler, convicted of killing a fellow Los Angeles County Jail inmate, is entitled to a new trial because the judge wrongfully prevented him from representing himself, the California Supreme Court ruled....Best Best & Krieger partner Scott Campbell, who serves as city attorney for Avalon on Santa Catalina Island, was elected president of the City Attorney’s Association of Los Angeles County.
11—The governor’s power to deny an inmate release on parole does not permit reconsideration when a denial is overturned for lack of evidence, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled. Div. Three ordered the immediate release of James Masoner, who served more than 21 years in prison for the murder of 4-year-old Jessica Shaner, killed when a car driven by Masoner crashed into her family’s home south of Universal City. Masoner had a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit when tested more than two hours after the crash.
14—The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a constitutional challenge to a Los Angeles ordinance curbing the use of commercial billboards within the city....The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office confirmed that it had brought domestic violence charges against Richard A. Widom, a workers’ compensation attorney accused of beating his wife—a lawyer at the firm where both of them were working at the time—in connection with the March 1 incident....Construction of a new Glendale courthouse, along with four other new courthouses across the state financed by Senate Bill 1407, received initial funding authorization by the State Public Works Board....This district’s Court of Appeal rejected a motorcyclist’s claim that he could not have been trying to evade police during a high-speed chase through San Luis Obispo County because the pursuing officer deactivated his emergency lights while briefly losing the trail.
15—The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors named former federal, state and local prosecutor and former Los Angeles County Bar Association President Andrea S. Ordin as county counsel, effective Feb. 1....Consumers who claim they were misled into purchasing the painkiller Vioxx before it was pulled from the market in 2004 cannot sue the manufacturer in a class action, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled....The Judicial Council approved the 71 recommendations of the Commission for Impartial Courts, including a proposed rule that would ban judicial candidates from seeking support from partisan groups.
17—A juvenile court exceeded its authority when it ordered a minor facing drunk and drugged driving charges to relinquish his Fourth Amendment rights as a condition of a pre-plea diversionary program, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.... This district’s Court of Appeal ruled that Penal Code Sec. 12370’s prohibition on a convicted felon’s possession of body armor is void for vagueness....The good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule renders evidence admissible where the warrantless search by which it was obtained was legal when it occurred, even if invalid under subsequent case law, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled....Chief Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski announced that the court’s governing body approved the limited use of cameras in federal district courts within the circuit on an experimental basis.
18—Los Angeles Superior Court William R. Chidsey Jr. observed his last day on the bench. A court spokesperson said that Chidsey, 70, will officially retire Feb. 25.
21—This district’s Court of Appeal rejected filmmaker Roman Polanski’s bid to have his 32-year-old sex case dismissed, but cited grave concerns over possible judicial and prosecutorial misconduct.
23—Justice Barton C. Gaut of the Fourth District Court of Appeal’s Div. Two is stepping down Feb. 28 next year after 14 years on the bench, the Judicial Council announced....U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II of the Central District of California declined to stay administrative hearings regarding complaints of District Attorney Steve Cooley’s anti-union animus and ordered the county to show cause as to why sanctions should not be imposed against it for bad faith conduct in seeking the stay.
24—The California Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the death sentence for a convicted killer who insisted on representing himself at trial. Justice Kathryn M. Werdegar, writing for a unanimous court, said San Bernardino Superior Court judges did not err in finding that Keith Desmond Taylor was competent to represent himself and that his waiver of counsel was knowing and intelligent....Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Francis A. Gately Jr., 68, suffered a fatal heart attack while returning from Christmas Eve dinner with members of his family. Gateley, a judge since 1989 and a commissioner for two years before that, retired last year but continued to serve on assignment....The U.S. Senate confirmed attorney Dolly Gee as a U.S. district judge for the Central District of California.
28—An Anaheim chiropractor who molested several patients was properly convicted of the relatively new crime of sexual battery by fraud, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
29—The State Bar of California said yesterday its investigation into the unauthorized leak of Fifth District Court of Appeal Justice Charles Poochigian’s confidential Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission rating to this newspaper’s editor had concluded without identifying who disclosed the “not qualified” assessment....The governor nominated Court of Appeal Justice Tricia Bigelow of Div. Eight to be presiding justice of that division....Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley inched close to, but just shy of, a formal announcement that he is running for California attorney general.
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