Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, January 3, 2013


Page 11






Retired Court of Appeal Justice and War Hero ‘Buck’ Compton Dies at Age 90....California Judicial Council, Citing Budge Crisis, Pulls Plug on CCMS....Brown Appoints State’s First Muslim Judge, First Openly Gay Appellate Justice, and First Latino Justices in Fifth and Sixth Districts



6—The Court of Appeal for this district upheld a judgment rejecting a claim against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno over alleged child molestation more than three decades ago. Div. Eight said jurors at the 2009 trial in Fresno Superior Court were correctly instructed that they could not find the church liable unless, before the plaintiffs were molested, it knew of sexual misconduct by Monsignor Anthony Herdegen, and that such knowledge could not be inferred from “innocuous or ambiguous” evidence.

9—The California Supreme Court unanimously reversed the death sentence for one of three men convicted of kidnapping, robbing, raping, torturing, and murdering a Long Beach woman for the $6 in food stamps she was carrying, due to the improper excusal of a prospective juror because of her views on capital punishment. In a decision by Justice Kathryn Werdegar, the state high court explained that a juror’s lack of strong views about the death penalty does not disqualify her from serving since she may still be capable of following her oath to the law. The issue arose in the automatic appeal of Kevin Darnell Pearson’s conviction and sentence for crimes against Penny Sigler, 43.

10—The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors honored Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary Ann Murphy for her community service. Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich presented a scroll and praised the judge for her dedicated service to both the legal community and the Irish-American community.

11—Gov. Jerry Brown named local attorney Glenn Sonnenberg to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission....The Commission on Judicial Performance ordered the removal of veteran Orange Superior Court Judge Richard W. Stanford Jr. from office for a pattern of misconduct involving the diversion of traffic tickets for his pastor, his court clerk, and his son-in-law over a five-year period....Judge Morgan Christen of Anchorage, Alaska took her seat on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

12—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that double jeopardy did not prevent drug smuggling charges from being reasserted against a defendant who obtained a mistrial after the prosecutor presented a falsified version of her earlier statements to impeach her, but that dismissal could be imposed as a sanction by the district judge or the prosecutor, an assistant U.S. attorney in Arizona, disciplined by the Department of Justice.

18—The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a constitutional challenge to a California law banning possession of firearms by persons convicted of certain misdemeanors....Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye named Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Emilie H. Elias to the Judicial Council of Cali­fornia....Prominent criminal defense attorney Gigi Gordon, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, com­mitted suicide at the age of 54. At the time of her death, she was directing attorney of the West Los Angeles-based Post Conviction Assistance Center.

27—The California Supreme Court upheld the state Senate map drawn in 2011 by an independent redistricting commission, rejecting a challenge by the state Republican Party, which argued that a different plan should be used pending a November referendum on the map.

31—Justice Paul Coffee retired from Div. Six of this district’s Court of Appeal.



2—An online service that allows users to advertise for roommates and to specify preferences based on race, gender and sexual orientation—among other things—did not violate the Fair Housing Act, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled....The California Supreme Court tossed out the death sentence of an Anaheim pimp convicted of killing a prostitute, citing an erroneous jury instruction. The justices voted unanimously to affirm Gary Galen Brents’ convictions for first degree murder, kidnapping, and felonious assault. They were also unanimous in throwing out the death sentence, but held, 6-1, that the penalty phase could be retried.

3—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a judgment requiring a former in-house lawyer for Toyota Motor Corporation to pay the company $2.6 million and enjoining him from disclosing confidential company information. The court rejected Dimitrios Biller’s claims that retired U.S. District Judge Gary Taylor, the arbitrator in the case, showed a “manifest disregard for the law” by failing to make explicit rulings on Biller’s defenses, including his claim that Toyota was guilty of unclean hands because some of the documents described illegal activities and other misconduct during the discovery process in its products liability litigation.

6—The California Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for a gang member convicted in the 1995 shooting death of Deputy Sheriff Stephen Blair and the attempted murder of his partner, Robert Lyons. With Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye writing the unanimous opinion, the court said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry correctly ruled that Freddie Fuiava, a member of the Young Crowd, could present evidence of misconduct by Blair or of misconduct by other deputies directed against Fuiava or specified friends of his, but could not offer evidence of misconduct by other deputies against other individuals.

7—The Commission on Judicial Performance issued a public admonishment to a Trinity Superior Court judge who cancelled a court reporter who was scheduled to work in the courtroom of the county’s only other judge. The commission, in a unanimous decision, said Judge Anthony C. Edwards breached his duty “to respect and comply with the law” and to “be faithful to the law” when he cancelled Judge James Woodward’s reporter in what Edwards’ counsel told the CJP was an effort to “prompt Judge Woodward to engage in a dialogue about court expenses.”....The identities of police officers involved in shootings are not exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records Act, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.

10—Court of Appeal Justice Kathleen O’Leary won confirmation as presiding justice of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Div. Three....The parents of a 25-year old man killed by a Los Angeles sheriff’s deputy as he and his girlfriend were attempting to flee in a stolen truck cannot pursue a federal civil rights claim against the county, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The judges concluded that the action by the parents of Glenn Patrick Rose was barred as a matter of law because a judgment in their favor would contradict a verdict finding Rose’s girlfriend, Sarah Morales, guilty of assaulting the officer who shot Rose, among other crimes. The panel’s conclusion, in an opinion by Judge Consuelo Callahan, was directly opposite that of this district’s Court of Appeal, Div. Eight, which ruled in November 2011 that the same plaintiffs could pursue a California wrongful death action in Los Angeles Superior Court on the same facts.

14—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Marjorie Steinberg retired.

21—Tax fraud is an aggravated felony for immigration purposes if it costs the government more than $10,000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled. In a 6-3 decision, the justices affirmed a ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, upholding a deportation order against Akio Kawashima. Kawashima and his wife, Fusako Kawashima, residents of this country since 1984, owned Cho Cho San restaurants in Tarzana and Thousand Oaks.

23—The California Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the death sentence for a man convicted of killing two Compton police officers. The decision came 19 years and one day after Officers James Wayne MacDonald, 23, and Kevin Michael Burrell, 29, were gunned down following a routine traffic stop. Witnesses identified Regis Deon Thomas as the killer, saying he continued to fire at the officers’ heads as they lay on the ground.

24—The use of private domain name registrations by an Internet advertising company in order to prevent recipients from readily identifying the sender violated California’s Anti-Spam Law, the First District Court of Appeal ruled. The court also ruled that federal law does not preempt the statute....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Connor retired.

25—Retired Court of Appeal Justice Lynn “Buck” Compton of this district’s Div. Two died at age 90. Compton was a member of Easy Company in World War II, and was prominently featured in the book and later television miniseries “Band of Brothers.”

29—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carl J. West retired.



1—First District Court of Appeal Justice Patricia Sepulveda retired....California courts lack jurisdiction to determine whether a member of the Legislature is qualified to serve, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled, holding that only the state Senate could consider a defeated opponent’s claim that Sen. Tom Berryhill did not live in his district....U.S. District Judge Valerie Baker Fairbank took senior status.

2—Los Angeles Superior Court Referee Sherri Sobel began a 30-day suspension, which was imposed by Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Lee Smalley Edmon based on complaints that Sobel called a lawyer a “bitch” in open court, flipped off a mother in one of her dependency cases in open court, and employed the same gesture in front of counsel in chambers while on a conference call with a lawyer. Sobel had earlier denied the allegations.

5—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district judge’s ruling allowing federal authorities to forcibly medicate Tucson shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner. The court said there was sufficient evidence that Loughner was dangerous to himself and others, and that the compelled use of psychotropic drugs would likely render him competent to stand trial for the Jan. 8, 2011, shooting that killed six people, including John Roll, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.

7—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gary Hahn retired.

8—A school district may be liable for negligent hiring, training, and or retention of an employee who molested a student, even if the actual molestation took place when the counselor was acting outside the scope of her employment, the California Supreme Court ruled.

12The 22-year sentence imposed on the so-called “Millennium Bomber” was excessively lenient, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 7-4 en banc decision. Ressam is an Algerian national convicted of plotting to detonate explosives at Los Angeles International Airport while Ame­ricans celebrated the beginning of the year 2000.

15—The U.S. Senate confirmed Los Angeles attorney Michael W. Fitzgerald as a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Fitzgerald, the first openly gay judge in the court’s history, and only the fourth in the nation’s, was approved by a vote of 91-6.

16—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out the second death sentence imposed on a former Newport Beach resident for a 1977 drug-related murder near Fresno. The panel said Richard L. Phillips was denied a fair trial with respect to the death penalty because the prosecutor allowed Phillips’ ex-girlfriend to testify falsely that she received no benefits in exchange for her testimony.

19—The California Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for a man convicted of a 1991 robbery-murder that took place outside a Tustin bank. John Clyde Abel, a prolific bank robber whose sentence was affirmed by a unanimous court, was already serving a federal sentence of more than 53 years, and a state sentence of more than 44 years, when he received the death sentence for the 1991 killing of Armando Miller. Miller, 26, worked at his family’s market, and would regularly withdraw thousands of dollars from the bank so that the business could cash checks for its customers.

27—The Judicial Council of California pulled the plug on its ambitious computer project, which was intended to electronically connect every courthouse in the state but cost taxpayers more than $500 million. The council voted unanimously to immediately halt funding the California Case Management System, a project that was nearly 10 years in the making. Members blamed the bleak economic climate in California, saying the project became economically unsustainable while court operating budgets are being slashed....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rose Hom retired.

29—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 state Supreme Court ruled. The 5-2 decision held that certain suits filed after 2003—those against defendants alleged to have failed to take reasonable steps after being placed on notice of molestation accusations against employees or others within their control—are barred if the limitations period expired on those claims before they were filed....

30—Senior Judge Robert R. Beezer, 83, of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals died of lung cancer in Seattle.



3—Conditions in Lebanon have improved sufficiently in recent years to permit immigration officials to return a convicted felon to that country despite a previous finding that he had been tortured there, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

9—A group of demonstrators claiming the Secret Service forced them to remain two blocks away from then-President George W. Bush during a 2004 campaign stop in Oregon—while allowing the president’s supporters to demonstrate from a closer distance—can sue for violation of their First Amendment rights, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

10—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Anita Dymant retired.

16—The California Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the death sentence for a North San Diego County man convicted in the 1993 slaying of a jeweler during a robbery. La Twon R. Weaver was convicted of killing Michael Broome, owner of a jewelry store located in a Vista shopping mall, and the high court rejected contentions that Weaver—who waived his right to trial by jury—did not understand the significance of his express waiver of the right to appeal a number of pretrial rulings, was not advised of his right to participate in jury selection, and did not expressly waive the right to have a jury decide on the robbery and burglary special circumstances.

17—A private attorney hired by a local government to conduct an investigation into possible employee misconduct may claim qualified immunity, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled. In a unanimous decision, the court reversed a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that allowed a Rialto firefighter to sue a Manhattan Beach attorney for what the plaintiff alleged was an unconstitutional search of the plaintiff’s home.

22—Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Irwin Nebron died at age 85.

26—The California Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the death sentence for David James Livingston, a Compton gang member convicted of killing security guards Remigio Malinao, 49, and Roderico Paz, 62, at the New Wilmington Arms apartment complex in 1999. Justice Ming Chin wrote that the single error identified by the court, the erroneous admission of a videotaped statement by a witness who died before trial, was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt because the tape was a minor piece of evidence that had no apparent effect on the jury.



2—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out a convicted terrorist’s lawsuit accusing former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, who wrote the so-called “torture memos” for the Bush administration, of authorizing illegally harsh treatment of “enemy combatants.”

3—A defendant who sold drugs in one county and stored them in another was properly tried in the first county after drugs were found in his storage locker, the California Supreme Court ruled....A person who is the victim of willfully tortious conduct directed at another person, and who thereby loses an expected inheritance from that person’s estate, may have a cause of action under California law, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled. Presiding Justice Kathleen O’Leary, writing for Div. Three, said “it is time to officially recognize this tort claim” for intentional interference with an expected inheritance. The court sent Brent Beckwith’s suit against Susan Dahl back to the Orange Superior Court so that he can amend his complaint to state such a claim, and/or to pursue a deceit claim the appellate panel said was erroneously dismissed. Beckwith alleged that he had a 10-year relationship with Dahl’s brother, Marc Christian MacGinnis, who died in 2009 at age 56 of pulmonary disease, leaving an estate valued at more than $1 million.

7—The state Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the death sentence for William Alfred Jones of Riverside County, convicted of raping and killing next-door neighbor Ruth Eddings, 81, then setting her house afire....The Senate confirmed U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Nguyen of the Central District of California as a judge of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

9—Fifth District Court of Appeal Justice Betty Dawson retired.

11—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joan Comparet-Cassani retired.

16—Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said Assessor John Noguez should resign, based on the unfolding investigation of allegations Noguez lowered the property tax assessments for associates and supporters, and that he accepted bribes.

18—Gov. Jerry Brown named Deputy District Attorneys Halim Dhanidina and David Walgren; Deputy Alternate Public Defender Debra A. Cole; Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter A. Hernandez; Los Angeles attorneys Bruce G. Iwasaki, H. Clay Jacke II, and Jeffrey K. Winikow; and Pasadena lawyer Virginia Keeny to the Los Angeles Superior Court. Dhanadina is the first Muslim judge of a California court....Just over 42 percent of the 4,382 applicants who took the February California bar examination passed it, the Committee of Bar Examiners reported.

31—Factual errors by a prosecutor arguing the capital phase of a murder conviction, including the statement that prisoners serving life sentences without possibility of parole are eligible for conjugal visits, do not require reversal of the sentence, the state Supreme Court unanimously ruled. The justices upheld the conviction and death sentence of Matthew Souza, who was 18 years of age when Regina Watchman, Dewayne Arnold, and Leslie K. Trudell were killed by automatic weapons fire at Watchman’s Oakland residence. Souza and his brother, Michael Souza, who was 19 at the time, were both convicted of first degree murder....The Third District Court of Appeal upheld a Sacramento Superior Court judge’s order requiring a juror to submit his Facebook postings from a case involving a gang beating for in camera inspection. The justices denied a petition for writ of prohibition brought on behalf of the juror, and lifted a previously ordered stay. Judge Michael Kenny, they concluded, acted within his authority in ordering the juror to execute a consent form allowing Facebook to turn over the postings....The eldest son of a wealthy San Diego banker is entitled to part of his grandfather’s estate, contrary to the wishes of his father, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled. Div. One said Thomas W. Sefton Jr. is entitled to a “substantial” share of the estate left by his grandfather, Joseph W. Sefton Jr. , whose family controlled San Diego Savings Bank, later San Diego Trust & Savings Bank, from its founding in 1899 until its sale to First Interstate Bank in 1993. The appeals court reversed a ruling by San Diego Superior Court Judge Julia C. Kelety, who said that Thomas W. Sefton Sr. had an exclusive power of appointment under his father’s will, and thus could disinherit any of his children. The appellate panel held that the statute Kelety relied on, Probate Code Sec. 652, should not apply because it was not in effect when the will was written or when the testator died.... Senators confirmed Los Angeles attorney Paul J. Watford as a judge of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by a vote of 61-34.



4—Friends said there would be no funeral or memorial services for former Los Angeles County Bar Association President Don Mike Anthony, who died of cancer at age 73....The California Supreme Court named First Appellate District Managing Attorney Frank A. McGuire as its new clerk/ad­ministrator.

5—Three Los Angeles Superior Court judges were returned to office by large margins in primary voting, while three prosecutors won open seats. Returns from all of the more than 4,000 county precincts showed that Judges Lynn D. Olson, Sanjay T. Kumar, and James D. Otto won new six-year terms and Deputy District Attorneys Sean Coen, Andrea Thompson, and Eric Harmon won the seats of judges who retired or did not seek reelection....Chief Deputy District Attorney Ja­ckie Lacey and Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson qualified for a November runoff for the right to succeed District Attorney Steve Cooley.

7—The state Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death sentence for a man who killed his son’s mother by setting her afire in a Fontana pizza parlor parking lot. The justices rejected claims by Howard Larcell Streeter that the trial judge abused his discretion by admitting evidence that may have had a significant emotional impact on the jury, including a tape of the victim screaming in pain for 20 minutes on her way to the hospital where she died.

8—The First District Court of Appeal affirmed the conviction of a former Bay Area Rapid Transit District police officer for the shooting death of a man suspected of involvement in a fight on board a train. Div. One said there was sufficient evidence to establish that Johannes Mehserle was criminally negligent. Mehserle said the shooting of Oscar Grant was an accident, that he intended only to use his taser against the suspect but grabbed and used his handgun instead.

9—Former Los Angeles Public Defender Wilbur “Bill” Littlefield died at the age of 90.

12—Andrew David Hurwitz, an Arizona Supreme Court justice, was confirmed as a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge.

18—Police were alerted after 71-year-old Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Linda K. Lefkowitz failed to appear for court. She was found shortly after 11:30 p.m. at a McDonald’s restaurant in Carson, where she met some people who had apparently seen television news coverage of her disappearance and called authorities. Reports said Lefkowitz had recently started chemotherapy for breast cancer and was warned that forgetfulness was possible.

19—Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Alan H. Friedenthal was elected secretary-treasurer of the California Judges Association. Sonoma Superior Court Judge Allan D. Hardcastle defeated Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Dabney for president. Three candidates sought two seats as vice presidents, with San Joaquin Superior Court Judge Barbara Kronlund and Butte Superior Court Judge Rob Glusman defeating Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victor Wright. The winning candidates took office Oct. 14.

20—Senior U.S. District Judge Robert J. Kelleher died at 99. He became the oldest living federal judge after District Judge Wesley E. Brown of the District of Kansas, the oldest judge in the history of the federal courts, died in January at 104.

21A suspended West Hills attorney convicted of federal extortion and obstruction-of-justice charges was sentenced to three years in prison by U.S. District Judge George H. King of the Central District of California. Alfred Nash Villalobos, 46, was convicted last summer of having accepted a $50,000 cash payment after promising that a client would lie to authorities conducting a federal grand jury investigation, prosecutors said.

28—David Thompson, previously an Orange Superior Court judge, was confirmed and sworn in to succeed Justice Kathleen O’Leary, who was elevated to presiding justice of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Div. Three, and Santa Clara County Counsel Miguel Marquez was confirmed fill a vacancy created when Justice Richard McAdams retired from the Sixth District Court of Appeal. Marquez is the first Latino justice in the Sixth District.

29—State Supreme Court Clerk/Administrator Frederick “Fritz” K. Ohlrich retired, ending 47 years of government service.

30—Longtime Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner George Kalinski retired after 35 years on the job.



1—Los Angeles County Bar Association officers for 2012-13 took office, including President Richard Burdge, President-elect Patricia Egan Daehnke, Senior Vice President Linda L. Curtis, and Vice President Paul R. Kiesel. Joining the board as at-large trustees were Jeffery J. Daar, Richard Goetz, Angela S. Haskins, Sajan Kashyap, Manny A. Medrano and David Reinert....The Los Angeles Superior Court laid off hundreds of employees, downgraded 60 court reporters from full-time to part-time status, and closed 56 courtrooms around the county, as a result of reduced fund­ing....Southwestern Law School Vice Dean and Professor of Law Austen Parrish became interim dean, as Bryant Garth retired after seven years in the post.

2—Charter cities do not have to comply with the state law requiring that prevailing wages be paid on public works projects, the California Supreme Court ruled. In a 5-2 decision, the court held that wages paid for work on construction of public buildings is not a matter of statewide concern, so charter cities may exempt themselves from general state law requiring that all persons employed on public works be paid at least “the general prevailing rate of per diem wages for work of a similar character in the locality in which the public work is performed.”

5—The Commission on Judicial Performance, pursuant to stipulation, censured Orange Superior Court Judge Salvador Sarmiento judge for attempting to obtain a favorable disposition of his wife’s traffic case from a fellow jurist, the Commission on Judicial Performance said.

9—A defendant sentenced to death for robbing and killing an elderly Bakersfield man should not have been allowed to represent himself in a competency hearing, the California Supreme Court ruled The justices unanimously ordered a new hearing, if “still feasible,” to determine whether Christopher Charles Lightsey received a “procedurally adequate and substantively acceptable” competency hearing, and if so, whether he was competent to assist counsel at the time of his 1995 trial.

11—An Alameda Superior Court judge who told a criminal defense lawyer to “spend every waking moment” working on a case she was trying to continue, to “work all day today, work all night” and “get up early tomorrow morning” was publicly admonished by the Commission on Judicial Performance. Judge Morris D. Jacobson deprived Oakland attorney Anne Beles of the dignity and courtesy that judges owe to lawyers and others in their courtrooms, demeaned her in front of her client, and abused his authority, the commission said.

15The state Supreme Court threw out the death sentence imposed on John Riccardi for the 1983 murders of his ex-girlfriend Connie Navarro and her best friend Susan Jory. The court said a potential juror was improperly disqualified solely on the basis of questionnaire responses that were internally inconsistent with respect to her views of the death penalty.

16—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gary E. Daigh retired.

20—Patrick M. Kelly, western regional managing partner at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP, was elected president of the State Bar of California for 2012-2013.

23—The California Supreme Court affirmed the death sentence for a man convicted of the murder of a 25-year-old woman kidnapped from a Bay Area Rapid Transit District station. Attorneys for Keith Tyson Thomas did not dispute his involvement, which he confessed to, in the robbery and kidnapping of Francia Young, but tried to pin most of the blame on his codefendant, who was sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

26—The Court of Appeal for this district affirmed the conviction of a world-famous geneticist on charges he molested the daughter of an associate. Div. Three, in an opinion by Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein, rejected claims by William French Anderson that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor excluded exculpatory evidence at his 2006 trial. Jurors found him guilty of continuous sexual abuse of a child and three counts of lewd acts with a child, for which Pastor sentenced him to 14 years in prison.

27—The Judicial Council of California named retired Shasta Superior Court Judge Steven Jahr as the new administrative director of the courts.

31—The District Attorney’s Office confirmed that Steven J. Ipsen, former president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, “no longer works for” that agency. It was previously reported that Ipsen had been served with notice of possible termination.... Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Judith Vander Lans retired.



10—The Court of Appeal for this district voided a consent degree under which layoffs for budgetary reasons at certain schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District would not be based on seniority.

15—Div. Eight of the Court of Appeal for this district ordered publication of its July 23 opinion holding that an attorney ordered to pay nearly $300,000 in fees to the lawyer who represented him in a dispute with a former client failed to prove that the arbitrator who made the award was biased or failed to disclose potential conflicts. Former U.S. District Judge George Schiavelli made the award in favor of Frank Nemecek of Nemecek & Cole.

16A prison sentence of 110 years to life for a defendant who was a juvenile at the time of the crime violated the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, the California Supreme Court ruled.

20—The spouse of a worker who sues an employer because the worker was injured by a power press that lacked a proper guard cannot sue for loss of consortium because the power-press exception to workers’ compensation exclusivity applies only to the injured employee, the California Supreme Court ruled....Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks is personally liable for automated telephone calls used to promote his failed campaign for county supervisor four years ago, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.

21—Frank Zolin, who served as executive officer of the Los Angeles Superior Court for more than 20 years, passed away at his Sacramento-area home. He was 79.

27—The California Supreme Court tossed out the death sentence imposed on a man convicted of killing two San Jose jewelers more than 25 years ago. The court, in a unanimous opinion by Justice Joyce L. Kennard, said the prosecution in the case of Miguel Angel Bacigalupo withheld evidence that would have lent credence to the defendant’s claim that he carried out the 1983 murders of brothers Orestes Guerrero and Jose Luis Guerrero under threats from Columbian drug dealers, and that he believed his whole family would have been killed if he had not complied.

28—The California Supreme Court named former Los Angeles County Bar Association President David Pasternak to the State Bar Board of Trustees for a term beginning Oct. 14....The Court of Appeal for this district held unconstitutional a state tax law that defers payment of capital gains taxes on the sale of stock in some corporations but not others.

29—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for a San Diego man sentenced to death for the 1985 execution-style slayings of three men in a garage. A divided panel ruled that Hector Ayala’s constitutional rights were violated when the judge at his 1989 trial rejected his claim of racial discrimination in the exercise of peremptory challenges, after allowing prosecutors to explain their reasons in an in camera hearing from which the defendant and his counsel were excluded....The publishers of the weekly Phoenix New Times newspaper, arrested late at night after publishing the contents of purported grand jury subpoenas, can sue the prosecutor who allegedly ordered their arrests, and the sheriff who allegedly instigated them, the Ninth Circuit ruled en banc. The court said the publishers could sue former special prosecutor Dennis Wilenchik and Sheriff Joe Arpaio for retaliation in violation of the First Amendment, false arrest in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and selective prosecution in violation of the Equal Protection Clause, as well as conspiracy.



5—The City of Los Angeles cannot generally seize property left temporarily unattended on sidewalks by Skid Row’s homeless residents, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

6—A Los Angeles Superior Court judge did not abuse her discretion by denying a motion to disqualify the District Attorney’s Office from prosecuting former Bell Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled. Div. Three denied Spaccia’s petition for a writ of mandate, holding that she failed to submit prima facie evidence that an alleged professional relationship between former Chief of Police Randy Adams and District Attorney Steve Cooley required disqualification of Cooley’s entire office.

13The parents of a woman shot to death by her deputy sheriff husband in 2006 may sue deputies they claim allowed her to die, rather than obtain immediate medical help, on order to protect their colleague, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

14—Audrey Collins resigned as chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, and was succeeded by Judge George H. King.

28—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for a man convicted of a 1986 murder his attorneys claim was committed by his brother. The panel held, 2-1, that Armenia Cudjo Jr. is entitled to a writ of habeas corpus. A 1993 California Supreme Court ruling that affirmed Cudjo’s conviction and sentence for the murder of Amelia Prokudo misapplied “clearly established federal law” that permits a defendant to present “trustworthy and necessary exculpatory testimony” under the Due Process Clause, the court said.

29—Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Irwin Garfinkel died at the age of 82



1—The U.S. Supreme Court left standing the conviction of the former mayor of Vernon and his wife for falsely claiming to live in California’s least populous city. The justices, without comment or dissent, denied certiorari petitions by Leonis and Dominica Malburg.

2—A suit for damages caused by a defective airplane component cannot be brought more than 18 years after the plane originally containing the part was delivered to its initial purchaser, even if the suit is for injuries sustained after the component was placed in a different plane, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The decision strictly interpreted the statute of repose enacted as part of the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994, known as GARA.

3—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carolyn Kuhl was elected assistant presiding judge of the court for 2013 and 2014, court officials said. Kuhl, a judge since 1995, defeated Judge Dan T. Oki.

5—Incoming State Bar President Patrick M. Kelly and retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Lawrence W. Crispo and Charles Horan will be recipients of the Metropolitan News-Enterprise’s “Person of the Year” awards for 2012, it was announced....Legal scholar Jesse H. Choper was chosen as the recipient of the 2012 Bernard E. Witkin Medal, the State Bar of California said....A provision of the state Constitution requiring voter approval for local taxes does not bar a city from extending previously enacted taxes to residents of areas that it annexes, even if the annexation did not require voter approval, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.

8—Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Gerald T. Richardson died at the age of 63.

12—The First District Court of Appeal ordered a new sentencing hearing for a then-17-year-old convicted in the 2005 murder of a Bay Area police officer. Div. Five rejected the argument that Andrew Moffett’s sentence of life imprisonment without possibility of parole was necessarily cruel and unusual under a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. But because the defendant might have received a lesser sentence had the trial judge anticipated the standard the high court would set, Moffett must be sentenced again, the court said.

15—The California Supreme Court upheld the first-degree murder conviction of Helen Golay, one 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 ruling was one of three in which the court rejected defendants’ Confrontation Clause challenges to the admission of expert testimony regarding forensic evidence where the expert who testified was not the one who performed the underlying analysis.

18—Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Senior Judge Otto Skopil Jr. of Portland, Ore. died at the age of 93.

22—Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Senior Judge Betty B. Fletcher of Seattle died at age 89.

26A new California law barring criminal convictions based on uncorroborated testimony by jailhouse informants does not apply to a defendant who was convicted and sentenced before the law took effect, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled. Div. One affirmed Jimmy Gonzalez’s conviction for first degree murder in the death of Mikko Brooks, 32, who was found dead inside her apartment in Bellflower on the morning of Jan. 9, 2008.

29—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district judge’s order granting a new penalty trial to a Death Row inmate on the ground his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to present mitigating evidence. A divided panel said Chief U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii of the Eastern District of California did not commit clear error in finding that Hugh Goodwin, a former Fresno Municipal Court judge inadequately prepared for the penalty phase of Douglas Stankewitz’s 1983 trial. Stankewitz’s habeas corpus counsel argued that Goodwin was so fixated on trying to convince jurors of the potential for redemption through God that he failed to present a potentially successful case in mitigation based on the defendant’s horrifying childhood.

30A timekeeping system that rounds off time worked by employees to the nearest one-tenth of an hour for the employer’s administrative convenience does not necessarily violate California wage and hour laws, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.



5—The Commission on Judicial Performance charged Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Bruce C. Mills with interfering in a juvenile infraction case involving his son.

 6—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the death sentence imposed on a man convicted in the 1982 murders of a couple who managed a motel in the Kern County town of Mojave. In a 10-1 en banc ruling, the court held that Chief U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii of the Eastern District of California did not err in denying Constantino Carrera’s habeas corpus petition, which was based on claimed ineffective assistance of counsel. Even if Carrera’s trial lawyer was deficient in failing to raise a claim of racial bias in jury selection under People v. Wheeler, 22 Cal. 3d 258 (Cal. 1978), Judge William A. Fletcher wrote for the appeals court, there was no prejudice....Jackie Lacey was elected Los Angeles County district attorney.

13Los Angeles County Public Defender Ronald L. Brown named Kelly G. Emling as his chief deputy.

14—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell was nominated to serve as a judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California....An outline of a preliminary plan for severe Los Angeles Superior Court cutbacks, effective July 1, 2013, was distributed internally, with 10 courthouses being slated to be virtually shuttered.

16The pass rate for the July 2012 general State Bar examination was 55.3 percent, a slight increase over the last two years, the State Bar announced.

19—Los Angeles District Attorney-Elect Jackie Lacey named her top management team, including Sharon Matsumoto as chief deputy district attorney, William Hodgman as assistant district attorney in charge of line operations, Joseph Esposito as assistant district attorney in charge of special operations, and Pamela Booth as assistant district attorney in charge of administration....Los Angeles County wrongfully withheld millions of dollars of local tax revenue from cities, the California Supreme Court ruled, in a dispute concerning county’s Educational Revenue Aug­men­tation Fund, a state-created fund that reallocates portions of local property tax revenue to fulfill the state’s constitutional obligation to fund education at specified levels.

21—John A. Clarke, executive officer/clerk of the Los Angeles Superior Court, will retire in March 2013 after more than 18 years in the post, the court said....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles D. Sheldon, 80, retired.

23—A lawsuit charging Oregon State University with violating the civil rights of a conservative student group by confiscating their monthly newspaper and limiting its dissemination to two designated campus locations was reinstated by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A divided panel said the OSU Student Alliance adequately alleged that three named officials personally participated in the adoption of an illegal policy limiting the distribution of The Liberty, and that one of them was also involved in illegal confiscation of copies of the paper.

30Four gang members were properly convicted of the murder of a fellow member who was killed when a rival gang member shot at them in self-defense, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled. Div. Eight affirmed the convictions of Josue Mejia, Adam Perez, Carlos Hernandez, and Edwin Caseros for the first degree murder of Jesus Lorenzo, citing the “provocative acts” doctrine. The court said the four were responsible for the death of Lorenzo because they and the deceased went to Leonardo Pulido’s residence and intended to kill him, before Lorenzo was shot while attempting to enter the apartment through a rear window.



3—The California Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and death sentence of a onetime probationary police officer for the 1985 murders-for-hire of a San Fernando Valley couple. In a 6-1 decision, the court rejected Steven Homick’s claim that he could not be prosecuted in California for the killings of Gerald and Vera Woodman because he was previously convicted in federal court of interstate murder for hire, and also because the Woodman murders were predicate acts to a federal racketeering conviction. The court said the victims’ sons hired Homick and his brother, an attorney, to kill their parents because of business disputes with their father....Los Angeles County’s new district attorney, Jackie Lacey, took the oath of office....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Philip Hickok said he would retire in February.

5—Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Douglas Carnahan said he would retire. He said his last day on the bench will be Feb. 8, 2013 and his official retirement date will be March 28.

6—A person with a potential cause of action against a public entity does not substantially comply with the claims-presentation requirement by delivering a claim to a person who has actual authority to act on it but lacks express statutory authority to receive it, the state Supreme Court ruled. Unanimously reversing the Sixth District Court of Appeal, the high court ordered dismissal of an action by a woman who claims that doctors at a Santa Clara County hospital botched an operation. The court said counsel for Hope DiCampli-Mintz failed to serve the “clerk, secretary, or auditor” of the county, or its “governing body”—as required by Government Code Sec. 915—by delivering notice to a hospital employee, addressed to the hospital’s risk management department.

11—The U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Jesus G. Bernal to be a U.S. district judge for the Central District of California. Senators approved the nomination by voice vote.

12—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Diana Wheatley said she would retire after 28 years on the bench. She said her retirement would be effective April 16, 2013 but that her last day on the bench would be Feb. 28....A former deputy district attorney, Leonard R. Milstein, had his conspiracy conviction thrown out by this district’s Court of Appeal. Div. Seven ruled that prosecutors waited too long to bring charges against the defendant, who resigned from the State Bar in 2004 with disciplinary charges pending. Those charges, and the conspiracy prosecution, stemmed from Milstein’s involvement with a magazine distributed to inmates in California jails and prisons. Milstein was accused of conspiring to obtain payment from prisoners’ relatives to provide legal services that hat he didn’t, and couldn’t, provide, including the seeking of “early release” for inmates.

13—The Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished an Orange Superior Court judge for making insensitive remarks about a rape victim at the defendant’s sentencing. Judge Derek G. Johnson’s remarks suggesting that the victim’s lack of resistance and the paucity of serious physical injuries indicated that she wasn’t really the victim of a crime “reflected outdated, biased, and insensitive views about sexual assault victims who do not ‘put up a fight,’” the commission said in a unanimous decision.

16—A man who waived any interest in his partner’s future property, prior to their marrying during the brief period that same-sex marriage was legal in California, could not claim to be a pretermitted spouse, the First District Court of Appeal ruled.

17—Permitting child witnesses who would be traumatized by having to face the accused to testify remotely does not violate the defendant’s rights under the Confrontation Clause, even if the witnesses aren’t themselves victims of the crime, this district’s Court of Appeal held. Div. Six, in a unanimous opinion, said that the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Maryland v. Craig (1990) 497 U.S. 836, approving the right of an abuse victim to testify by closed-circuit television, does not restrict the use of the procedure in cases involving children who witness crimes....The U.S. Senate confirmed U.S. Magistrate Judge Fernando M. Olguin to serve as judge of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The nomination was confirmed by voice vote following brief debate....The California Supreme Court affirmed the death sentence for a man convicted of the 1991 murder of West Covina community activist and engineering consultant Raymond G. Shield. The justices unanimously agreed that there was sufficient evidence for jurors to find that Paul Sodoa Watkins was attempting to rob the 61-year old Shield when he was fatally shot, and that Watkins was subject to the death sentence even if he was telling the truth when he testified that his gun went off accidentally during the botched robbery attempt.... The Alliance of California Judges said it had elected Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White as its president for 2013, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Tia Fisher as secretary, and Fresno Superior Court Judge Kent Hamlin as treasurer.

20—Gov. Jerry Brown named Donald Miles to a new six-year term on the State Bar Court of California, where he has served since 2007....The Commission on Judicial Appointments confirmed three of Gov. Jerry Brown’s nominees to the state Court of Appeal. The commission, which met in San Francisco, unanimously confirmed Adrienne M. Grover, elevated from the Monterey Superior Court to the Sixth District Court of Appeal; James M. Humes, a former aide to Brown, to sit in the First District’s Div. Four; and Rosendo PeÒa Jr., previously of the Fresno Superior Court, to the Fifth District. Humes is the state’s first openly gay appellate justice, and PeÒa is the first Latino justice in the Fifth District.

21—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jan Greenberg Levine spent her last day on the bench. She officially retires Feb. 13, 2013....Retired Superior Court Commissioner A. Michael Kautz died at the age of 72.

26—Attorney Sandra J. Levin took over as executive director of the LA Law Library following the retirement of Marcia Koslov.

27—Gov. Jerry Brown named Lori R. Behar, Daniel L. Brenner, Robert B. Broadbelt III, Patrick A. Cathcart, Annabelle G. Cortez, Robert S. Draper, Marc D. Gross, Joseph R. Porras, Tony L. Richardson, Michael J. Shultz and Lynne Hobbs Smith to the Los Angeles Superior Court. Former Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patrick B. Murphy was arrested at his Alhambra home on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic violence.

31In a 6-1 decision, the California Supreme Court held that the primary assumption of risk doctrine extends to amusement park rides.


Copyright 2012, Metropolitan News Company