Tuesday, December 31, 2013
2013 IN REVIEW
END OF THE YEAR:
U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Proposition 8 Appeal, Opening Way to Same-Sex Marriage in California...Ninth Circuit Tosses Arizona Law on Harboring and Transportation of Undocumented Aliens...Brown Names 22 New Judges to Los Angeles Superior Court
7—The Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled the California Department of Corrections did not improperly discriminate against a correctional officer who was demoted to a non-peace-officer position because he could not wield a baton with both hands. Being able to subdue inmates was a reasonable requirement of the job, and waiving that requirement would have placed both prison employees and inmates at risk, Justice Cynthia Aaron wrote for a unanimous Div. One....Three newly elected Los Angeles Superior Court judges, all of whom were elected in last year’s June primary, were sworn in. Judge Sean Coen succeeded Deborah Andrews, who opted not to seek re-election; Judge Eric Harmon succeeded Anita Dymant, who retired April 10; and Judge Andrea Thompson succeeded Judith Vander Lans, who retired July 31.
8—The Clean Water Act does not render the Los Angeles Flood Control District responsible for billions of gallons of polluted water that have flowed into the Los Angeles and San Gabriel rivers, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled. The justices were unanimous in overturning a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in favor of Santa Monica Baykeeper—now known as L.A.Waterkeeper—and the National Resources Defense Council....The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held a man convicted of possessing lethal amounts of the biological toxin ricin was not entitled to habeas corpus relief, even though a forensic scientist who analyzed his belongings may have contaminated some of them.
10—The Court of Appeal for this district upheld the conviction of a former Thousand Oaks City Council candidate who threatened to kill Ventura County prosecutors. Div. Six rejected Daniel Avila’s argument that he lacked the apparent ability to carry out his threats because he was incarcerated at the time and did not have a fixed release date. Avila was arrested in 2005 and was charged with multiple counts of identity theft and fraud based on harassing text messages he sent during his council campaign.
11—Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner William R. Torres, 79, passed away. Torres retired from the court July 31, 2011, after 17 years as a referee and commissioner, mostly in juvenile court.
14—The California Supreme Court overruled its 75-year-old limitation on the fraud exception to the parol evidence rule. Saying that Bank of America etc. Assn. v. Pendergrass (1935) 4 Cal.2d 258 “was an aberration,” the justices unanimously held that limitations on extrinsic evidence of fraud run counter to both statutory and case law....Disbarred Los Angeles attorney Ricardo A. Torres II has been placed on probation for stealing from clients. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli sentenced Torres to five years’ probation. Torres pled guilty to one count of embezzlement, in violation of Penal Code Sec. 506.
21—The First District Court of Appeal affirmed a judgment requiring the nation’s third-largest tax preparation service to pay more than $1.3 million in penalties and restitution to customers. Div. Two upheld San Francisco Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow’s findings that Liberty Tax Service had blurred the line between tax refunds and high-interest loans in its marketing of products called “refund anticipation loans”—or RALs—and “electronic refund checks,” or ERCs.
22—Justice Kathryn Doi Todd of this district’s Court of Appeal, Div. Two, retired.
24—The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a jury’s award against toy-maker Mattel for misappropriating MGA Entertainment’s trade secrets involving the doll line Bratz. A three-judge panel held that MGA’s trade secrets claim never should have reached the jury, because it did not rest on the same “aggregate core of facts” as Mattel’s trade secret claims against MGA and was, therefore, not a compulsory counterclaim. The ruling wiped out the jury’s award of more than $80 million in damages, and an equal amount in exemplary damages which the trial court awarded for willful and malicious misappropriation pursuant to the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act....The California Supreme Court ruled a continuing or repeated violation of the Unfair Competition Law may extend the time in which to sue, just as with other statutes.
28—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the “discretionary function” exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act precludes investors who lost money in Bernard Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme from recovering damages from the government based on the alleged negligence of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
30—The California Supreme Court appointed three new members to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions, an independent committee appointed by the court to help inform the judiciary and the public concerning judicial ethics topics. The appointed CJEO members are Justice Judith L. Haller of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Div. One (four-year term), San Diego Superior Court Presiding Judge Robert J. Trentacosta (three-year term), and Contra Costa Superior Court Commissioner Lowell E. Richards (one-year term). The court also announced the reappointment of two current CJEO members, retired Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Garcia and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joanne B. O’Donnell, both of whom will serve additional four-year terms....The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled customers suing Toyota Motor Corporation and its U.S. distributor based on defects in their new cars cannot be required to arbitrate their claims based on clauses in their purchase agreements with Toyota dealers,.
31—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled prison officials who subjected a prisoner to a six-day “contraband watch,” in which he was under round-the-clock observation in a lighted cell while wearing restraints and required to sleep on a bed without a mattress are immune from suit, A divided panel concluded that when Rex Chappell was subjected to those conditions more than 10 years ago, there was no clearly established right to less onerous treatment of a prisoner suspected of having concealed drugs internally.
1—Jacqueline Fox, a dependency court mediator for the Los Angeles Superior Court, died at the age of 66....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joseph De Vanon retired.
4—The California Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for David Lee Whalen convicted of the 1994 robbery-murder of a man who was house-sitting for his brother in rural Stanislaus County. The justices were unanimous in affirming the conviction and sentence of Whalen for the murder of Sherman Robbins of Modesto, although a concurring justice expressed concern with how the voir dire was handled by the trial judge. Whalen was also convicted of robbing the home of Bill and Alvina Robbins in Patterson....The California Supreme Court ruled that Apple Inc. and other online retailers can continue to require California customers who purchase downloadable products with credit cards to provide personal information such as their addresses and phone numbers. In a 4-3 ruling, the majority said that the Legislature didn’t intend for Sec. 1747.08 of the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act to apply to the sale of such products, because online retailers need the data in order to combat identity theft and credit card fraud....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Phillip Hickok retired.
5—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal law does not require a state court to consider sentencing enhancements when determining if one offense is a lesser included offense of another. The panel unanimously held that since U.S. Supreme Court cases have not clearly established whether sentencing enhancements constitute an element of an offense, especially outside the context of capital cases, the California Supreme Court’s determination that they do not—for purposes of the Double Jeopardy Clause—does not violate “clearly established federal law.”
7—The California Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the death sentence imposed on one of three men convicted in connection with the robbery-murder of a Concord restaurateur and her disabled daughter. Williams was convicted of the first degree murders of Maria Elena Corrieo and Maria Eugenia (Gina) Roberts, largely on the testimony of an accomplice. The murders occurred in 1995. By the time he was charged in 1996, Williams was at San Quentin State Prison on another case, and he was subsequently transferred to Folsom.
11—The Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled an Orange Superior Court judge abused his discretion by denying all motions to compel arbitration in a case where at least some of the claims might have been arbitrated without potentially resulting in conflicting adjudications. Div. Three said the trial judge must reconsider the denials of six motions to compel arbitration of claims against the promoters of a series of real estate investments. Judge Nancy Wieben Stock had denied the motions under Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 1281.2(c).
13—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jan Greenberg Levine retired.
19—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dudley Gray retired.
21—The California Supreme Court held that California’s statutory procedures for winding down and dissolving corporations do not apply to those incorporated elsewhere, even if they do most of their business here....The Court of Appeal for this district ruled that a county ordinance prohibiting retailers from providing customers with plastic bags and requiring that they charge 10 cents for paper bags does not levy a tax that requires voter approval. Div. Three affirmed Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant’s ruling that the charge for paper bags is not a tax within the meaning of Proposition 26, which requires voter approval for new general or special taxes levied by a local government, because the retailer keeps the money.
22—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John S. Fisher retired.
25—The State Supreme Court named Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Ignazio J. Ruvolo of the First District’s Div. Four and Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Maddock to the Commission on Judicial Performance.
1—Baldo M. Kristovich, former Los Angeles County Public Administrator/Public Guardian, died at 98. He was a member of the State Bar for more than 70 years.
4—The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that a provision of Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 that criminalizes the blocking of traffic by persons seeking or offering day labor services is unconstitutional. The court upheld a district judge’s injunction against the enforcement of the provision. While the state has a significant interest in traffic safety, Judge Raymond C. Fisher wrote, the day laborer provision intrudes on personal freedom more than necessary to vindicate that interest.
6—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held the Libertarian Party and two of its members have standing to challenge a state law requiring that circulators of candidate nominating papers be voters within the constituency of the office. The panel overturned a ruling by U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez that the plaintiffs lacked standing in the absence of a genuine case or controversy between themselves and election officials over Elections Code Secs. 8066 and 8451. Judge Susan P. Graber said the case-or-controversy requirement was met because the plaintiffs had a “concrete plan” to violate the statutes and the defendants had made clear that they intended to enforce those enactments.
7—The Los Angeles Superior Court said it will close it’s Alternate Dispute Resolution department, the latest victim of budget cuts.
8—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Border Patrol agents must have reasonable suspicion of criminal activity before conducting comprehensive searches of laptops or other digital devices. Eight judges of an 11-judge limited en banc court rejected the government’s claim that its authority to conduct suspicionless searches of persons entering the country extends to forensic examinations of electronic devices, even when those devices have to be taken to distant locations for more intensive review than can occur at a point of entry.
11—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rule that the producer of the stage musical “Jersey Boys” did not infringe copyright by using a seven-second clip of Ed Sullivan introducing the Four Seasons on his television show. The panel agreed with U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee of the Central District of California, who ruled that the defendant’s use of the clip was protected by the fair use doctrine....Former Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patrick B. Murphy will not be prosecuted for misdemeanor domestic violence. Prosecutors found insufficient evidence to file charges based on the ex-jurist’s Dec. 27 arrest at his Alhambra home.
13—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction and 24-year prison term imposed on a Lodi man found guilty, in the first trial related to foreign terrorism ever held in California, of providing material support to terrorists and lying to the FBI. The divided panel rejected a number of contentions raised on behalf of Hamid Hayat, who is now serving his sentence at Federal Correctional Institution, Phoenix, according to the Bureau of Prisons. The defense argued that Hayat was the victim of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistani bias on the part of the jury foreman, and that U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell of the Eastern District of California made a number of evidentiary errors.
14—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the convictions of an Arizona woman sentenced to death in the notorious 1989 killing of her 4-year-old son, ruling that the case was tainted by a detective with a history of lying under oath and other misconduct. Even under the deferential standard of review required by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote, the failure of the prosecutors to turn over evidence of repeated misconduct by then-Detective Armando Saldate Jr. of the Phoenix Police Department violated Debra Jean Milke’s right to a fair trial....About 1,000 court employees and members of the Save Our Courts Coalition rallied in front of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse to protest the court’s plan to close eight courthouses.
15—Presiding Justice James Marchiano retired from Div. One of the First District Court of Appeal.
21—Alameda Superior Court Judge Paul Seeman, facing felony charges that include elder financial abuse and grand theft, resigned from judicial office....The California Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the first degree murder conviction and death sentence imposed on a former Richmond Housing Authority receptionist who killed his supervisor and her aide minutes after being fired. Michael Pearson, 38 at the time of the 1995 shootings, did not dispute that he killed Ruth Lorraine Talley, 47, and Barbara Garcia, 24. But the defense argued that he was delusional and suffering from a brief psychotic break at the time and thus lacked the capacity to commit premeditated murder.
22—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a former Sierra Madre police officer may sue the city’s now-retired police chief, but not the city itself, for having held up his pay raise in retaliation for his leading a vote of no confidence in the chief.
23—The U.S. Senate confirmed Sacramento Superior Court Judge Troy L. Nunley as a U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of California.
26—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that prayers at the opening of Lancaster City Council meetings do not violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. The panel said the prayers are constitutional based on a city policy of inviting members of all faiths and creeds to participate by applying to the city clerk, and to determine the content of their own invocations, free from government interference.
27—The Third District Court of Appeal ruled that a university’s interest in conducting academic research outside public view takes precedence over public concerns about undue influence by outside commercial interests, absent proof that such influence was actually exerted. The justices denied a petition by The Humane Society of the United States for a writ of mandate under the California Public Records Act. The society sought to compel disclosure of thousands of pages of documents generated in connection with a UC Davis study of the economic effects of hen-house restrictions.
29—The Court of Appeal for this district said a former associate at the national law firm of Bingham McCutchen can sue the firm for employment discrimination and wrongful termination. Hartwell Harris, a former Bingham associate in Santa Monica, sued the firm in 2011, claiming she was terminated because she suffers from a sleep disorder that was diagnosed in 2010 and for which Bingham failed to offer a reasonable accommodation.
31—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Meeka retired.
1—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Adler retired....Judge Raymond C. Fisher stepped down as an active judge of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Fisher said he chose senior status in order to continue to serve the judiciary with a more flexible schedule, one which will not include en banc hearings....Senior Judge A. Howard Matz retired from the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, after having served on it for almost 15 years.
3—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a California Highway Patrol officer who shot a Bay Area woman 12 times after a high-speed chase is liable in her death and not entitled to qualified immunity. CHP Officer Stephen Markgraf, the panel said, violated Karen Eklund’s clearly established due process right to be free from a physical assault that lacked a “legitimate law enforcement objective.” The ruling represents a turnaround by the court, which held in 2011 that Markgraf was immune because he made a good-faith, “split-second decision in dealing with someone who had just led police on a dangerous high-speed chase.”
5—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner retired....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Linda K. Lefkowitz retired.
10—The California Supreme Court declined to depublish a ruling that allows a malpractice carrier to enforce its judgment against a local attorney who agreed, on behalf of his dissolved law corporation, to a settlement under which the firm could become obligated to reimburse the carrier.
15—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell was confirmed as a U.S. district judge for the Central District of California....The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out former South Gate Treasurer Albert Robles’ convictions on 25 counts of honest services fraud and money laundering, but upheld convictions on five counts of bribery. Judges also threw out honest services fraud convictions against businessman and Robles friend George Garrido, and sent the case back to the U.S. District Court. The appellate ruling comes more than seven years after the pair was sentenced and more than two years after their appeals were argued.
16—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated part of a lawsuit by a San Diego County woman who claims that her ex-boyfriend, a San Diego County sheriff’s deputy, conspired with another deputy to have her arrested in order to help him win custody of the couple’s children. The panel reinstated claims by Michelle Cameron against San Diego County and Michelle Craig, a sheriff’s detective....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Diane Wheatley retired.
18—The Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled a Family Code provision that allows a judge to order forfeiture of a party’s interest in an asset to the other party as a sanction for failure to disclose the asset is limited to community property.
22—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court’s approval of a $45 million class action settlement involving the three major credit-reporting agencies. The court said the agreement was unfair because $5,000 incentive awards for class representatives were improperly conditioned on their support for the settlement and were excessive relative to what many class members would receive. The settlement reportedly would have been the second-largest ever in a case involving the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.... The Court of Appeal for this district ruled that an attorney’s demand letter—which threatened opposing counsel’s client with all sorts of dire consequences if the sender’s settlement demands were not met—constituted “criminal extortion” and was not protected by the anti-SLAPP statute.
24—Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge M. Margaret McKeown took office as president of the Federal Judges Association.
25—The Court of Appeal for this district tossed out embezzlement charges against four current and former officials of the City of Irwindale. Div. One said the District Attorney’s Office improperly withheld evidence that might have cleared council members Mark Breceda and Manuel Garcia, former council member Rosemary Ramirez, and Abe De Dios, the city’s now-retired finance director.
29—The Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that the standard of medical care for incarcerated persons is the same as it is for other patients.
30—The Court of Appeal for this district ruled that both the prosecution and the victim have a right to notice and to be heard before a defendant is resentenced under the limited retroactivity of last year’s Proposition 36....Beverly Reid O’Connell, previously a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, took office as a U.S. district judge for the Central District of California.
2—The Third District Court of Appeal ruled that a state regulation which prohibits Medi-Cal from paying for more than two visits per month by an outpatient to a community mental health clinic does not violate the federal Medicaid Act. The panel overturned a Sacramento Superior Court judge’s ruling in favor of the Mendocino Community Health Clinic and affiliated clinics, which contended that as a “federally-qualified health center” under the act, it was entitled to payment for all necessary treatment rendered to its Medi-Cal patients.
6—The California Supreme Court affirmed the death sentence for a local man who grew up in affluence but left home for gang life. George Brett Williams, the adopted son of philanthropists Charles and Jessie Maye Williams, was convicted of the murder of Jack Barron and Willie Thomas and shot them to death. The court, in a 5-2 decision, rejected claims of jury selection error, ineffective assistance of counsel, and evidentiary and instructional error raised by Williams’ counsel. The dissenting justices argued that Williams should receive a new trial because the first five African-American women to be questioned as potential jurors were stricken by the prosecution....The California Supreme Court ruled that California cities may ban medical marijuana dispensaries from operating within municipal boundaries. Justice Marvin Baxter, writing for a unanimous court, said that neither the 1996 initiative that allows the use of marijuana on a doctor’s written recommendation—known as Proposition 215 or the Compassionate Use Act—nor follow-up legislation enacted eight years later preempts local land use laws.
13—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Anaheim police used reasonable force during a struggle in which a man suspecting of possessing drugs was shot in the head. A divided panel affirmed an order by U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson of the Central District of California, who granted summary judgment to the city and two officers in a suit by the family of Adolf Anthony Sanchez Gonzalez, who was killed by an Anaheim police officer in 2009.
21—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Arizona’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy absent a medical emergency. The panel said the law violated a woman’s constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is able to survive outside the womb. “Viability” of a fetus is generally considered to start at, or just shy of, 24 weeks. Nine other states have enacted similar bans starting at 20 weeks or even earlier. Several of those bans had previously been placed on hold or struck down by other courts....Gov. Jerry Brown named Julie Fox Blackshaw, H. Jay Ford III, Gregorio Roman and Douglas W. Stern to the Los Angeles Superior Court....The Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled that a juror who researched the case he was sitting on, by reading the court’s prior opinion in the litigation, committed misconduct requiring a third reversal in a murder case that is now 24 years old. The defendant, Michael Pizarro, is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the rape-murder of his half-sister, Amber Barfield, who was 13.
23—The California Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the death sentence of Charles F. Rountree who confessed to abducting a 19-year-old woman from a Bakersfield shopping mall and robbing her. Rountree and Mary Stroder were arrested in Kansas days after Diana Contreras was taken from the mall and killed. Her body was found by oil workers near Taft—she had been shot three times—and Rountree was driving her car when police spotted and stopped it. Justice Ming Chin, writing for the court, rejected claims that the trial of Rountree should have been moved out of Kern County due to prejudicial pretrial publicity.
2—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John H. Reid retired.
3—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the death sentence of a man who pled guilty to killing his ex-girlfriend’s brother-in-law and two nieces after she spurned him, then later claimed that the plea should not have been accepted because he was mentally incompetent. U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder ruled three years ago that Ronald Deere received ineffective assistance of counsel from Glenn S. Jones, then a Riverside deputy public defender. Jones, the judge said, should not have allowed Deere to plead guilty without first asking for a competency hearing. A divided Ninth Circuit panel, however, said that even if Jones was deficient in not asking for a hearing, there was no prejudice because the record shows that Deere would have been found competent.
6—The Senate confirmed President Obama’s nomination of Senior U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District of California, to serve as a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
11—The Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that a state law allowing confiscation of firearms from the dangerous mentally ill, subject to judicial review, does not violate the Second Amendment. Div. One affirmed a San Diego Superior Court judge’s order allowing San Diego police to destroy three handguns taken from the home of an elderly San Diego woman whom a county psychiatrist described as suicidal.
13—The California Supreme Court affirmed the death sentence for a man convicted of orchestrating the murder of his former girlfriend in an alley in the San Fernando Valley in 1996. Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, writing for a unanimous court, said there were no errors that would justify overturning the death sentence for Juan Manuel Lopez in the killing of Melinda “Mindy” Carmody. Lopez kidnapped and assaulted Carmody after she ended their relationship. While in jail awaiting trial on those charges, they alleged, he laid out a plan to kill her in order to prevent her from testifying. Prosecutors charged Ricardo Lopez, Juan Lopez’s brother, as the actual killer. Ricardo Lopez, then 17, emptied a gun into the girl as she tried to run away, then fired a final fatal round into her head, witnesses said.
14—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Evidence obtained pursuant to a search warrant, which was issued on the basis that the defendant was a pedophile and therefore likely to be in possession of child pornography, was properly admitted under an exception to the exclusionary rule. The three judges unanimously agreed that under Ninth Circuit precedent, U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney was required to deny Nicholas Needham’s motion to suppress evidence in the form of pornographic images found by Orange Police Department officers when they searched his iPod in June 2010.... Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George M. Dell died at the age of 88.
18—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out the fraud and money laundering convictions of a former Bay Area prosecutor who admitted taking more than $52 million from a trust. Mark J. Avery, now 54, pled guilty to a 15-count information in the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska in 2008 and was sentenced to 8.5 years in prison. But Judge Richard C. Tallman said Avery is entitled to habeas corpus relief because the conduct to which he pled guilty does not violate federal criminal statutes, under Skilling v. United States (2010) 130 S. Ct. 2896, a case arising out of the Enron scandal.
20—The state Supreme Court ruled that Los Angeles city employees have the right to arbitrate furloughs implemented as a budget-cutting measure. In a 4-3 decision, justices overruled Div. Three of this district’s Court of Appeal, which held that the arbitration clauses in the employee unions’ agreements with the city violate the city charter, which gives the mayor and City Council non-delegable power to decide whether furloughs are necessary.
25—In a historic day for gay rights, the Supreme Court gave the nation’s legally married gay couples equal federal footing with all other married Americans and also cleared the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California. In a pair of 5-4 decisions, with different alignments, the court stopped short of a sweeping ruling that would have enabled same-sex couples to marry throughout the United States. But Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court in United States v. Windsor, said an act of Congress that prevents those couples that have married from enjoying the benefits of marriage under federal law violates fundamental constitutional principles.
27—The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death penalty for a man who strangled his 12-year-old neighbor in Riverside County in 1994. Daniel Linton, sentenced to death in 1999, claimed that a detective and a prosecutor used false promises of leniency in order to get him to admit to a sexual assault on Melissa Middleton. Middleton was killed in her home in San Jacinto, and Linton confessed the next day.
29—Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Thomas Grodin retired.
1—The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death penalty for two men convicted of shooting and killing a young couple in Harbor City in 1998. Police and prosecutors claimed William Tupua Satele and Daniel Nunez shot Edward Robinson, 22, of Wilmington and Renesha Ann Fuller, 21, of Inglewood, because the victims were African-American. Jurors found the defendants guilty of first degree murder, with a multiple-murder special circumstance. A hate-crime special circumstance was rejected, but jurors returned a death penalty verdict following trial before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Tomson T. Ong.
2—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has found a tort judgment obtained in Japan against a Japanese church and its founder may be enforced in this country without violating the First Amendment or any other fundamental public policy. Affirming a $1.2 million judgment against Yuko Yasuma and the Saints of Glory Church, the Ninth Circuit held that the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom wasn’t implicated because the enforcement of a foreign judgment isn’t “state action.”
3—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges to Proposition 14, which established the “Top Two” election system used after the 2010 elections, and the measure’s implementing legislation. Senior U.S. District Judge James G. Carr of the Northern District of Ohio, sitting by designation, said there is no constitutional impediment to requiring candidates to list themselves as preferring a qualified political party, or as having “No Party Preference,” or to be listed without any statement about party preference at all.
6—Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert W. Armstrong died at the age of 89.
8—The California Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for an Orange County man convicted of the 1989 kidnapping, rape, and murder of a 9-year-old schoolgirl. Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said there had been no showing of prejudicial error at the second trial of Richard Lucio DeHoyos, now 56. Orange Superior Court Judge Everett W. Dickey sentenced DeHoyos in 1993 for the killing of Nadia Puente. Nadia’s body was found in a plastic trash can liner in an aluminum trash can in Griffith Park.
11—The California Supreme Court upheld the statutory procedures for revoking public school charters. The high court held that county boards of education and other chartering entities may revoke those charters on the basis of evidence not presented at the statutorily mandated public hearing, as long as the school operator is apprised of the evidence and allowed to respond. The justices also rejected the argument that county boards have an incentive to revoke charters, in order to see money reallocated to other schools, and that this renders the process unfair.
12—Gov. Jerry Brown named 11 new members of superior courts around the state, including six to the Los Angeles Superior Court. Named to the local court were Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rupa S. Goswami and Curtis Kin, Superior Court Commissioners Nicole C. Bershon and Lloyd C. Loomis, Deputy Alternate Public Defender Beverly L. Bourne, and Deputy District Attorney Teresa T. Sullivan.
13—Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Patrick Larkin retired.
23—The University of California must disclose the true identities of police officers named in a report regarding the Nov. 18, 2011 incident in which students and others protesting rising college costs at the university’s Davis campus were pepper sprayed, the First District Court of Appeal ruled. Div. Four, in an opinion by Presiding Justice Ignacio Ruvolo, said the California Public Records Act does not permit redaction of the officers’ names from the report of an independent task force appointed by UC President Mark Yudof and headed by former state Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso.
24—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lawrence Mira retired.
25—The California Supreme Court affirmed the death sentence for Glen Rogers, dubbed the “Cross-Country Killer” after being captured by Kentucky state police following a high-speed chase and implicated in at least five murders. Justice Marvin Baxter, writing for a unanimous court, rejected Rogers’ claim that evidence of crimes in other states should not have been admitted at his trial for the killing of Sandra Gallagher, 33, whose strangled and badly burned corpse was found in her car near Rogers’ Van Nuys apartment. The Gallagher murder occurred on Sept. 28, 1995. Within six weeks after that, he is believed to have killed Linda Price in Jackson, Miss.; Tina Marie Cribbs in Tampa, Fla., and Andy Jiles Sutton in Bossier City , La.
29—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the murder conviction of a reputed gang member, saying prosecutors illegally withheld exculpatory evidence. Because the sole issue in the case of Gilbert R. Aguilar was identity, Judge William A. Fletcher wrote, the defense should have been told that a police dog that identified Aguilar’s scent on the seat of an impounded vehicle linked to the murder of John Guerrero had a history of misidentification. Aguilar was convicted of first degree murder in 2001....Attorney General Kamala Harris told the state Supreme Court that county clerks in California must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that proponents of Proposition 8 lacked standing to defend it.
30—Oscar Grant’s father can sue the Bay Area Transit District police officer who shot and killed his son on a train platform, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The panel affirmed a U.S. district judge’s denial of qualified immunity to former officer Johannes Mehserle. Judge Mary H. Murguia said there was conflicting evidence as to whether Mehserle had a “legitimate law enforcement purpose” when he shot the unarmed Grant in the back as he lay face down on the train platform.
31—Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner John W. Green retired....James Lambden retired from Div. Two of the First District Court of Appeal....Court of Appeal Justice Orville “Jack” Armstrong retired from this district’s Div. Five.
1—President Obama nominated Michelle T. Friedland and John B. Owens to serve as judges of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Both are litigation partners at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, Friedland in San Francisco and Owens in Los Angeles....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Shari K. Silver retired.
5—The California Supreme Court gave the go-ahead to completing construction of a 6.6-mile light rail system between Culver City and Santa Monica, holding that the environmental impact report—though viewed by four members as flawed—was legally sufficient.
10—Retired California Supreme Court Justice William Clark, who served on the court from 1973 to 1981, and later served as national security advisor to President Reagan and as secretary of the interior, died at age 81.
12—Trained school employees who are not licensed healthcare professionals may administer insulin shots to diabetic students if a nurse is not available, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled. Overturning a Third District Court of Appeal decision, the court said the state Department of Education was correct when it advised school districts in 2007 that the administration of insulin by non-nurses did not constitute the unauthorized practice of nursing.
14—The California Supreme Court denied a bid by sponsors of Proposition 8 to revive enforcement of the measure that blocked same-sex couples from marrying in the state from 2008 until this past June.
15—Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dewey L. Falcone, who retired this past May 8, died at the age of 82.
16—The former chief prosecutor for Arizona’s largest county, who has been disbarred for bringing baseless lawsuits and prosecutions against political enemies of the county’s high-profile sheriff, is not entitled to absolute immunity from a civil rights suit by one of his targets, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. If the allegations of Donald Stapley Jr.’s complaint are true, Judge William Fletcher wrote, the civil suit filed by Andrew Thomas against Stapley under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act “was not ‘analogous’ to a criminal prosecution,” but “was essentially a harassing public-relations ploy.” Thomas was disbarred by the state Supreme Court for having “outrageously exploited power, flagrantly fostered fear, and disgracefully misused the law” by bringing unfounded and malicious criminal and civil charges against political opponents, including judges and county supervisors.
22—The California Supreme Court affirmed the death sentence for a former Long Beach man who raped and strangled a 55-year-old woman during a 1986 burglary of her Los Alamitos residence. Robert Mark Edwards, who was in his 20s at the time of the crime, was arrested in 1993 and later convicted of a similar murder in Hawaii. That case, prosecutors said, provided the final bits of evidence needed to charge Edwards with the murder of Marjorie E. Deeble, a real estate agent whose daughter had dated the defendant....An Arizona law that bars a healthcare provider from treating Medicaid patients if it also provides abortion services violates the federal Medicaid Act, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The panel said Ariz. Rev. Stat. ß 35-196.05(B), also known as Bill 2800, is unenforceable because it deprives patients of the free choice of qualified provider that the federal act guarantees....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Cynthia Rayvis took disability retirement
23—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that a Northern California atheist parolee who went back to prison after refusing to participate in a religiously oriented inpatient treatment program is entitled to damages. A jury verdict awarding Barry Hazle Jr. of Redding zero damages was inconsistent with the district judge’s finding that officials violated his First Amendment rights. Hazle had served a year in prison on a drug charge. After being released in 2007, he was ordered to take part in the program but refused, saying his atheistic beliefs would not allow him to participate in a 12-step recovery program including references to “God” and to a “higher power.”
26—The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death sentences for defendants in three separate cases. In opinions running to more than 100 pages each, the justices rejected all contentions raised by Hung Thanh Mai, Bryan Maurice Jones, and Willie Leo Harris. The cases came from Orange, San Diego, and Kern counties, respectively. Mai was sentenced to death in 2000 for the 1996 slaying of California Highway Patrol Officer Don Burt Jr., who was shot 11 times following a routine traffic stop near the intersection of Nutwood and Placentia Avenues. In the Jones case, the court upheld the suspected serial killer’s death sentence for the murders of two women, along with convictions for the attempted murders of two others, and the commission of forcible rape, sodomy and oral copulation against one of the attempted murder victims. In the Harris case, the court upheld the death sentence for the 1997 murder of Alicia Corey Manning, 22, with rape and robbery special circumstances. The victim was only three weeks away from graduating from California State University, Bakersfield when she was stabbed to death in her apartment.
29—California’s version of the felony-murder rule, which permits a first degree murder conviction where a fellow perpetrator kills the victim for reasons independent of the underlying felony, is constitutional, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
30—Producers of foie gras have not established that a California law banning the delicacy violates the Due Process Clause or the Commerce Clause, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The panel affirmed U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson’s order denying the plaintiffs—New York- and Quebec-based producers and a California restaurant that wants to serve the dish—a preliminary injunction. The Court of Appeals agreed with Wilson that the plaintiffs are unlikely to prove that their interest in selling foie gras overrides the public interest in protecting animals from cruelty.
1—Former Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Charles W. “Tim” McCoy retired.
9—The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has completed evaluations of approximately 40 percent of the 1,078 cases in which prison inmates sentenced in the county under the Three-Strikes Law are asking to be resentenced, District Attorney Jackie Lacey reported.
10—Plaintiffs who claim that Google, Inc. violated state and federal laws by collecting their personal information through their Wi-Fi systems as it drove down their streets with car cameras shooting photos for its Street View mapping project may sue the company for damages, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. Google acknowledged in May 2010 that its Street View vehicles had been collecting fragments of payload data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks. The data “included emails, usernames, passwords, images, and documents,” Judge Jay Bybee noted in his opinion for the Ninth Circuit.
13—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Barry Bonds’ conviction on a charge of obstruction of justice, rejecting his challenge to the government’s interpretation of the controlling statute and the evidence used to convict him. U.S. District Judge Susan Ilston sentenced Bonds to 30 days of house arrest, two years of probation and 250 hours of community service two years ago, but the sentence was stayed pending appeal. Prosecutors had asked for a 15-month sentence on the conviction, which was on a single count of a five-count indictment; one count was dismissed by the government at the close of its case and the jury deadlocked on the other three.
15—Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert London died.
19—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the City of Alameda is not liable to investors who lost money when the city sold its recession-battered cable/Internet venture at a loss. Judge M. Margaret McKeown, writing for the panel, said District Judge Susan M. Ilston of the Northern District of California was correct in granting summary judgment to the city. The investors, she said, failed to show that the alleged violations of federal law caused their losses, while their state claims are barred by sovereign immunity.
23—The U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed President Obama’s nomination of Ann Ravel, chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission and a former chair of the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, to the Federal Elections Commission.
25—The Court of Appeal for this district affirmed the dismissal of a consumer’s suit claiming products labeled as “spreadable butter with” canola or olive oil are being improperly sold in California supermarkets. Presiding Justice Norman Epstein, writing for Div. Four, said Mary L. Simpson’s claims against The Kroger Corporation and Challenge Dairy Products, Inc. are partially preempted by federal law, and that to the extent preemption does not apply, her claims fail because she “failed to demonstrate that a reasonable consumer would be misled by the labels on the products.”...Retired Fifth District Court of Appeal Justice George N. Zenovich died at age 91. Zenovich was a state legislator for 16 years prior to his appointment to the bench.
2—The Court of Appeal for this district upheld Los Angeles County’s 4.5 percent utility users tax, approved by 63 percent of voters in the county’s unincorporated areas in November 2008. Div. Three, in an opinion by Justice Patti S. Kitching, rejected claims that the ballot materials for the election were misleading.
7—A Sudanese national who claims he spent five years in captivity in Pakistan and Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay, and that he was mistreated by the U.S. government despite his innocence of terrorism accusations, cannot sue in American courts, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. Adel Hassan Hamad, a Sudanese national who allegedly worked for a Saudi-based medical charity, claims that he was detained in Pakistan in 2002 at the direction of “an unknown American official,” then subsequently transferred to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan and then to Guantanamo. The panel, in an opinion by Judge Sandra Ikuta, ordered that it be dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction... Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Nancy M. Brown died at the age of 77.
8—An Arizona law that makes it a crime for certain persons to harbor or transport unauthorized aliens is unconstitutional, and its enforcement was properly enjoined by a lower court, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. “We conclude that the statute as written is void for vagueness under the Due Process Clause because one of its key elements—being ‘in violation of a criminal offense’—is unintelligible,” Judge Richard Paez wrote for the court.
11—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a five-year prison sentence for a well-known Sacramento businessman who pled guilty to wire fraud. The panel rejected contentions that the sentence imposed on Collins Max “Collie” Christensen Sr., now 55, was excessive, even though it exceeded the top of the guidelines range, which was 41 months, and the 33-month term recommended by prosecutors as part of a plea bargain. Christensen, a prominent and seemingly successful real estate speculator and member of Sacramento society, admitted that he obtained about $2.4 million from 14 investors.
21—The Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld the constitutionality of California’s ban on assault weapons. Div. One affirmed William Zondarak’s conviction for violation of the Assault Weapons Control Act. A San Diego Superior Court judge found him guilty and sentenced him to the two days in jail he had already served, after he stipulated that he “knowingly possessed an operable semi-automatic CN Romarm AK series rifle” and waived his right to jury trial.
22—A statute barring a public official from voting on a matter involving someone who gave the official a “gift” or “income” of more than $250 in the previous 12 months does not apply where the donor merely gave a campaign contribution in such an amount, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
23—The California Supreme Court left standing a ruling that prominent litigator Martin Singer cannot be sued on allegations he threatened to expose a potential defendant’s sexual liaisons with an unnamed retired judge if the defendant did not settle a dispute with Singer’s client. Div. Four of this district’s Court of Appeal ruled that Malin’s suit was barred by the anti-SLAPP law. The panel reversed Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary Strobel’s ruling that the plaintiff had presented sufficient evidence of “extortion as a matter of law” to survive an anti-SLAPP motion. Singer, who has been described in the press as a “pitbull” litigator and whose clients have included former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger—who was accused of molesting women he worked with in the film industry before entering politics—was sued along with his client, Shereene Arazm.
28—Washington, D.C. appellate lawyer Edward DuMont will be California’s solicitor general, beginning in January, Attorney General Kamala Harris said.
29—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a man convicted of killing his estranged wife and her friend, an off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, is entitled to have those convictions set aside. Reuben Kenneth Lujan wasn’t fully advised of his legal rights before he confessed to the 1998 killings. Lujan had been sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for killing his estranged wife, Monica Lujan, 26, and her friend, Sheriff’s Deputy Gilbert Madrigal, 45, by smashing their heads with a concrete block. The ruling requires that Lujan be retried or released, unless state courts determine that the conviction may be reduced to one of a lesser crime.
30—Fifth District Court of Appeal Justice Rebecca A. Wiseman retired.
1—Police are entitled to a broad shield of qualified immunity, protecting them from liability in a case which alleged Fourth Amendment privacy violations stemming from faulty search warrants, the Ninth U.S. Court of Appeals ruled. The court ordered dismissal of an Alaska man’s suit charging police officers with illegally eavesdropping on his phone calls, pursuant to an invalid warrant, and using the illegally obtained evidence to justify his arrest and further searches.
4—A police officer in San Diego County did not violate clearly established law by entering an enclosed residential yard without a warrant while pursuing a suspect wanted on a misdemeanor charge, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled. The court said the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was wrong to deny the La Mesa officer, Mike Stanton, qualified immunity in a suit by local resident Drendolyn Sims.
13—The California Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge by a gun owner’s group to local ordinances prohibiting possession of guns and other dangerous weapons in public parks and recreational areas. The justices, voted 6-1 to leave standing the First District Court of Appeal ruling in Calguns Foundation, Inc. v. County of San Mateo (2013) 218 Cal. App. 4th 661. The court rejected a challenge by Calguns Foundations and its amicus, the National Rifle Association, to a San Mateo County ordinance, which the panel noted was similar to ordinances in other localities, including Los Angeles County.
16—Myrna Raeder, a member of the Southwestern Law School faculty for nearly 35 years, died at the age of 66.
18—A statute prohibiting persons convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from possessing firearms for life does not violate the Second Amendment, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. The court rejected defendant Daniel E. Chovan’s claim that 118 U.S.C. ß922(g)(9) violated his individual and fundamental right to bear arms. The court also disagreed with Chovan’s argument that he fell under a statutory exception to ß922, which states that the lifetime ban on firearm possession will not apply to an offender who has been pardoned or has had civil rights restored.
21—A trial judge overseeing a DUI case properly excluded expert testimony that challenged the overall reliability of breath-alcohol testing machines, the California Supreme Court ruled. The court held that a defendant can argue that a particular breathalyzer machine used to convict him was faulty, but an expert witness cannot challenge the overall reliability of such devices since the Legislature determined as a matter of policy that they are reliable for purposes of evidential use in a criminal prosecution.
22-The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that evidence seized from a residence in a drug case should have been suppressed following a warrantless search from DEA agents who asked a visiting house guest if they could enter the premises. The panel reversed a Riverside man’s conviction for possession of a controlled substance. Agents had approached the home of Omar Arreguin to conduct a “knock and talk” investigation where law enforcement officials approach the front door of a residence and seek to speak to an occupant for the purpose of gathering evidence.
25—Court of Appeal Justice Steven C. Suzukawa said he intends to retire from this district’s Div. Four in February 2014.
27—The number of hate crimes reported in California declined about 12 percent last year and has dropped by more than one-third over the last decade, the state attorney general’s office said.
2—The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death sentence for a man convicted of two Monterey County murders. The justices unanimously agreed that Joseph Kekoa Manibusan failed to show error with respect to the jury verdict finding him guilty of the 1998 killings of Priya Matthews and Francis Olivo, or to the death sentence imposed for those crimes. The court also upheld, by a vote of 5-2, Manibusan’s conviction for aggravated mayhem as to a third victim, who survived despite being shot twice at close range. Prosecutors charged Manibusan and Norman Willover with first degree murder in the death of Matthews and with aggravated mayhem, attempted murder and attempted robbery in the shooting of Jennifer Aninger. The victims were students at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and were shot to death late at night at a municipal wharf.
3—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district judge’s denial of former Orange County Sheriff Michael Carona’s bid for a reduction of his 66-month-prison sentence on corruption charges. Carona was once dubbed “America’s Sheriff” by the media and was talked about as a potential statewide candidate before he was charged with multiple counts of corruption in 2008. He was acquitted of most of the charges, but found guilty of attempting to persuade then-Assistant Sheriff Donald Haidl—who died last year—to withhold testimony at a grand jury proceeding.
5—Gov. Jerry Brown named 16 new superior court judges, including eight to the Los Angeles Superior Court. Tapped for positions here were Deborah S. Brazil, Carl H. Moor, Connie R. Quinones, Armen Tamzarian, Sergio C. Tapia, Lee W. Tsao, Frank M. Tavelman and Joel Wallenstein.
9—A California law extending the time in which a person who claims ownership to a stolen art work may sue a museum to recover the item is not preempted by federal primacy over foreign affairs, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The panel reinstated claims by members of the Cassirer family, whose ancestors were wealthy and prominent German Jews before the rise of Nazism, to the ownership of a painting by Camille Pissarro that now belongs to a Spanish museum.
11—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 does not preempt the City of Huntington Beach from requiring a company to obtain voter approval before constructing a mobile telephone antenna on its city-owned park property. Residents of Huntington Beach passed Measure C, a charter amendment, in 1990. It bars any structure costing more than $100,000 from being built in any park or beach without prior approval from a majority of voters and city council members.
12—The death sentence may be imposed in a case where the sole special circumstance is that the defendant killed his victim during the course of a robbery, the California Supreme Court ruled. Justice Marvin Baxter, writing for a unanimous court, rejected all contentions of error raised by George Lopez Contreras, sentenced to death in 1996 for the murder of Saleh Ben Hassan in the market that Hassan and his wife owned near Visalia. Among those was an argument that imposition of a death sentence based on the robbery-murder special circumstance violates the Eighth Amendment because it may result in the execution of someone who had no intent to kill. Hassan was found shot to death, with two blasts from a shotgun, in late December 1995. His wallet and handgun were missing....The California Supreme Court ruled that the California Education Code ß 56041, which assigns responsibilities for public schools to provide special education instruction to qualifying students between the ages of 18 to 22, applies to such students who are incarcerated in county jail.
19—A seven-year delay in bringing a death penalty defendant to trial did not violate his statutory and constitutional rights to a speedy trial, the California Supreme Court ruled. Justice Goodwin H. Liu, writing for the high court, said it was “clear that the lion’s share of delay” in bringing Robert Lee Williams Jr. to trial “resulted from defense counsel’s lack of progress in preparing this case for trial.” That delay may be the longest in any California death penalty case, the justice said, but must be attributed to the defendant, in the absence of what the U.S. Supreme Court has called a “systemic breakdown of the public defender system.” Williams, now 46 and formerly of Moreno Valley, was sentenced to death by Riverside Superior Court Judge Dennis McConaghy in 2003 for the murders of Roscoe Williams, 54, and Gary Williams, 28. The defendant is not related to the victims, who were father and son.
24—A Los Angeles city ordinance that allows police officers to inspect hotel registration records without a warrant is unconstitutional on its face, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
26—Former Los Angeles County Bar Association John J. Collins died at 77. Collins was a leading figure among tort litigators on the defense side, and was a former chair of the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, and a former member of the Judicial Council and the State Bar Board of Governors. He was a MetNews Person of the Year for 2004.
27—Gov. Jerry Brown appointed 16 judges, including four to the Los Angeles Superior Court. The four were Deputy Alternate Public Defender Mark K. Hanasono, state Administrative Law Judge Daniel Juarez, Shelley L. Kaufman of Geragos and Geragos, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Dorothy C. Kim.
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