Wednesday, December 31, 2003
2003 IN REVIEW
END OF THE YEAR
U.S. Supreme Court Upholds State’s Three-Strikes Law...Gov. Gray Davis Appoints Judicial Appointments Secretary Burt Pines to Los Angeles Superior Court After Being Recalled...County Law Library Named for Presiding Justice Mildred Lillie
2—A man who had his murder conviction overturned after he was able to convince the trial judge that someone else did the killing can still be retried on an aider and abettor theory, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled...The California Supreme Court denied a habeas corpus petition by a Death Row inmate who claims he was framed for a 1980 stabbing murder at California Medical Facility, Vacaville. In a 5-2 decision, the justices rejected claims that fellow inmates were persuaded by a prosecutor to testify falsely, leading to Larry H. Roberts’ conviction for the murder of Charles Gardner.
3—A litigant who was not on hand in court to orally accept a settlement agreement, but later agreed to it in writing, may enforce the accord under the settlement provisions of Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 664.6, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
6—Consent is not a defense to a charge of forcible rape if the accused persists following the withdrawal of that consent, the California Supreme Court ruled in a 6-1 decision. Dissenting Justice Janice Rogers Brown agreed with her colleagues that “the clear withdrawal of consent nullifies any earlier consent and forcible persistence in what then becomes nonconsensual intercourse is rape.” But in this case the withdrawal of consent by the 17-year-old-victim—who admitted that she did not object to having her clothes removed and being fondled, and who told the offender to stop because she had to go home—was ambiguous; the offender may have “misinterpreted” her “silent and ineffectual movements” and understood her words “as requests for reassurance or demands for speed,” Brown argued...A lawsuit growing out of a 1997 air crash in Indonesia that resulted in the deaths of 97 people, including two Californians, may be tried in Los Angeles Superior Court, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled. Div. One held that Silk Air, the Singapore Airlines subsidiary that operated the flight, has sufficient California contacts to support jurisdiction...Four Los Angeles Superior Court judges began their judicial careers after winning election in November 2002. Hank Goldberg succeeded retired Judge Michael Pirosh, Paul Bacigalupo replaced retired Judge David Finkel, Richard Naranjo succeeded Judge Richard Spann, and Richard Walmark replaced Judge Reginald Dunn. Also taking the bench was Judge Lauren Weis Birnstein, who—running as Lauren Weis—defeated three opponents in the March primary, succeeded Judge Michael Kanner. Bacigalupo was a State Bar Court judge at the time of his election. The other new judges were deputy district attorneys.
7—The nominations of Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carolyn B. Kuhl to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals were resubmitted to the Senate by President Bush, as were the nominations of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge S. James Otero and Orange Superior Court Judge Cormac J. Carney to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
9—A $650,000 verdict in a personal injury action was overturned by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said the judge should have been disqualified because his brother-in-law, an associate at the law firm representing the plaintiff, sent two letters about the case to an expert witness.
10—The Commission on Judicial Appointments, meeting in Los Angeles, confirmed four Court of Appeal nominees. Justice Dennis Perluss of this district’s Div. Seven was elevated to presiding justice; Cynthia Aaron, formerly a U.S. magistrate judge, was confirmed as a member of the Fourth District’s Div. One; Jeffrey King was elevated from the San Bernardino Superior Court to the Fourth District’s Div. Two; and Raymond Ikola was elevated from the Orange Superior Court to Div. Three... A Mexican national’s conviction and six-year prison term for smuggling aliens were affirmed by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which rejected the defendant’s claim that the government denied him a fair trial by sending nine potential defense witnesses back to Mexico. Judge Alex Kozinski issued a vigorous dissent, analogizing the government’s conduct to that of a corporate defendant who whisked employees out of the country after they gave statements incriminating the company in wrongdoing. “Any corporation that tried to pull a stunt like this would finding itself indicted for obstruction of justice...,” Kozinski declared...A court order stripping California Public Utilities Commission member Henry Duque of his post for owning stock in a company he helped regulate was overturned due to an apparent statutory drafting error. While the Legislature prescribed automatic removal as the sanction for a member who involuntarily acquired stock in a regulated entity and failed to divest himself or herself of it promptly, Presiding Justice Barbara J.R. Jones of the First District’s Div. Five explained, no such penalty was prescribed when the stock was acquired voluntarily.
15— Bryan Kazarian, a former Orange County deputy district attorney who served 33 months in prison for his role in a drug-trafficking conspiracy, was ordered disbarred by the California Supreme Court...Korean nationals forced to labor for Japanese firms during World War II may sue for compensation under California law, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled. Such suits do not infringe upon the power of the federal government to make foreign policy, nor are they preempted by treaties or by federal statutes, Justice Paul Boland wrote for Div. Eight.
16—A garment and textile workers’ union cannot be held liable to 25 employees who claim the union cost them their livelihoods by driving their employer out of business, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled. The Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, or UNITE, did not violate its duty to fairly represent the employees of Sorrento Coats, a San Bernardino outerware manufacturer that went bankrupt four years ago after it lost its sole “jobber,” Senior Judge Dorothy W. Nelson concluded...The U.S. government must complete an environmental review before opening highways to trucks from Mexico, the Ninth Circuit ruled in granting a stay of President Bush’s decision to open the highways to Mexican trucks beyond the 20-mile commercial border zones where Mexican rigs transfer their cargo to U.S. trucks. The president said in November 2002 that such action was necessary to comply with the North American Free Trade Agreement.
18—Los Angeles attorney Donna D. Melby, a partner at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, was sworn in as national vice president of the American Board of Trial Advocates, putting her in line to become president-elect in 2004 and president in 2005. No woman has ever served as president of ABOTA.
21—A California law allowing persons who were forced to perform slave labor for private companies during the World War II era to sue for compensation was declared unconstitutional by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, six days after a panel of this district’s Court of Appeal reached the opposite conclusion. Civil Code Sec. 354.6 is inconsistent with the congressional power over foreign affairs, in particular the war power, Judge Stephen Reinhardt “reluctantly” concluded...The Commission on Judicial Appointments confirmed Justice Conrad Rushing as presiding justice of the Sixth District Court of Appeal, to which he was appointed last year...A suit challenging the way the Los Angeles County Bar Association evaluates judicial candidates was thrown out by this district’s Court of Appeal. Justice Fred Woods, writing for Div. Seven, said the suit by attorney Vicki M. Roberts, who lost a bid for election to the Los Angeles Superior Court in November 2000, infringed on LACBA’s free speech rights and constitutes a strategic lawsuit against public participation.
23—A woman rear-ended by a clerk who was sent home after having been possibly exposed to pest control fumes can sue the employer under a respondeat superior theory, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
24—Former Garden Grove upholsterer Fred Beere Douglas, sentenced to death in 1984 for killing two teenage girls he took to the desert on the ruse of hiring them as models, is entitled to a new penalty trial because attorney George Peters did not adequately investigate a possible mental health defense, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Longtime Covina practitioner H. Don Christian was elected a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner.
27—The California Supreme Court unanimously denied James Robert Scott’s petition for habeas corpus, ruling that Palmdale lawyer William A. Clark did not render ineffective assistance to Scott, who was sentenced to death by then-Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, now Court of Appeal Justice, Margaret Grignon. Scott claimed that Clark was deficient in failing to present a mental health defense and in advising him to waive trial by jury...The high court unanimously overturned Michael Ray Burgener’s death sentence, holding that Riverside Superior Court Judge Ronald Heumann erroneously applied a “deferential” standard in reviewing the jury’s death penalty verdict rather than sitting as a “13th juror.” The case was assigned to Heumann for resentencing after the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that the trial judge, J. William Mortland, now retired, had considered improper factors in modifying the verdict and sentencing Burgener to life imprisonment without possibility of parole...The California Highway Patrol can bar a Sacramento anti-abortion group from holding protests on freeway overpasses during rush hour, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled. But a divided panel, in a ruling the dissenting justice called “inconsistent with the law and with common sense,” stopped short of allowing a blanket ban on demonstrations on overpasses, saying the issue had to be decided on a case-by-case basis.
29—Orange Superior Court Judge James V. Selna was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
30—A Los Angeles Superior Court judge erred in granting a rare finding that an acquitted defendant was “factually innocent” of murder charges, the state Supreme Court ruled. Justice Janice Rogers Brown, writing for a unanimous court, said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge L. Jeffrey Wiatt abused his discretion in granting Jeanie Louise Adair’s petition for an exoneration that went beyond the jury’s “not guilty” verdict.
31—Court officials announced that nearly one-fourth of California’s retired judges who sit on assignment on public trials have bowed out of the paid, voluntary program, in order to work in private arbitration because of new conflict-of-interest rules...This district’s Court of Appeal ruled that a bicycle rider on an organized ride assumes the risk of being run off the road by a fellow rider and cannot sustain a personal injury suit absent a showing of recklessness or intent...A motorist suspected of driving while intoxicated need not be kept under constant eye-to-eye watch for 15 minutes prior to taking a breath test to satisfy a state regulation governing license revocation, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Keith Groneman retired.
3—The state Supreme Court ruled evidentiary hearings and findings of fact are not required to keep bail orders in place for defendants who fail to appear for sentencing after pleading guilty...The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a county public defender who established a policy of giving lie detector tests to every client and who allegedly assigned inexperienced lawyers to defend capital cases can be held liable under civil rights laws for denying defendants effective counsel...Donald J. Dunn, named last week as dean of La Verne College of Law, said he is “very enthusiastic” and “very excited” about his new post and will seek ABA accreditation for the school.
4—This district’s Court of Appeal ruled that a court may not order a drug defendant to jail for failing once or twice to report to a probation officer for a required drug test...Vending machines that dispense lottery tickets do not add any element of chance to the transaction, so they cannot be deemed illegal slot machines, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.
5—Parties seeking to prevent loss of discoverable evidence are not limited to the remedies prescribed by the Civil Discovery Act and may be entitled to injunctive relief, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled...A City Council decision to approve construction of an apartment complex in West Los Angeles despite the Planning Commission’s rejection of the project was reinstated by this district’s Court of Appeal...A woman’s admission to her husband of an affair, made shortly before her lover was killed, was properly used to convict her husband of the murder, the Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled...Stutman Treister & Glatt, a business bankruptcy law firm and specialist of financial turnarounds for troubled companies, is relocating its Mid-Wilshire office to Century City, the chair of the firm’s executive committee said.
6—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit brought against California by operators of a website that allowed people to trade promises to vote for Al Gore in one state for promises by others to back Ralph Nader in another state in the 2000 presidential race...President Bush used his first new appellate nomination of the year to tap U.S. District Court Judge Edward Prado of San Antonio for the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans...The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a claim that U.S. District Judge Alex Munson should have recused himself in a suit between two lawyers because one of them was a former law clerk and “fishing buddy” of the judge...The Raiders football team won a tax victory involving the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, lost one arising out of an eminent domain suit in their jilted hometown of Oakland, and had a third—the product of an extended flirtation with the city of Irwindale—sent back to the U.S. Tax Court by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
7—Trial courts may not shorten the statutory minimum notice period for hearing a summary judgment motion, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled in a high-profile lawsuit in which television personality Ed McMahon claims a botched repair job produced mold that killed his dog...Speaking at a dinner honoring him as the Metropolitan News-Enterprise 2002 Person of the Year, county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said the U.S. justice system makes the nation stand out from other countries and is at the core of what Americans are defending...An en banc panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will decide whether a potential employee can be compelled as a condition of employment to sign an agreement to arbitrate federal statutory claims arising from the employment relationship, the court said.
8— Laura V. Farber, a partner in the Pasadena firm of Hahn & Hahn and past chair of the ABA Young Lawyers Division, was one of six lawyers from around the country to receive the YLD’s Spirit of Excellence Awards during a luncheon at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Seattle.
10—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge S. James Otero was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a U.S. district judge for the Central District of California...A standard jury instruction on use of other sex crimes as proof of a disposition to commit similar offenses, as revised in 1999, correctly stated the law and did not deprive a defendant of a fair trial, the state Supreme Court ruled.
11—The state Supreme Court declined to review the dismissal of a suit by Los Angeles City Councilman Nate Holden against a Los Angeles County sheriff’s lieutenant and the county...The Court of Appeal for this district affirmed a sentence of 79 years to life in prison for a gang member convicted of shooting two unarmed men associated with a rival gang...A contract that AT&T tried to impose on its long-distance customers to keep them from reaching a jury cannot bind Californians because of state consumer protection laws here, the Ninth U.S. Court of Appeals ruled...The court also ruled that six former employees of a company investigated by Washington state law enforcement officers may sue the officers for allegedly holding them incommunicado and threatening them with further detention in order to gain their cooperation.
12—A sharply divided Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied en banc review to a former California State University, Hayward professor whose $622,000 racial discrimination award was overturned by a panel of the court last August...Third District Court of Appeal Justice Consuelo Maria Callahan was nominated to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
13—A securities fraud suit brought by investors against America West Airlines was reinstated by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which rejected a lower court’s ruling that misrepresentations about deferred maintenance and other issues were immaterial...Lawyers said Los Angeles County will pay $1.6 million to settle two suits brought by the operators of a long-running gun show that the county kicked off its property in 1999.
14—California’s law requiring employers to grant time off for workers caring for ill family members did not protect a man who left work to accompany his wife, an invalid with a serious heart condition, to her father’s funeral, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...The First District Court of Appeal ruled that a woman who claims she lost her virginity to her parish priest in the church’s rectory cannot recover damages for her resulting humiliation and mental distress...The Pacific Southwest Region of the Anti-Defamation League will honor Attorney General Bill Lockyer with its Distinguished Community Service Award next month, officials of the group said...The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to decide en banc whether Unocal Corporation can be held liable to Burmese citizens for human rights violations committed by its partners in a pipeline project in the plaintiffs’ homeland.
18—A public employee need not be fired or suspended for engaging in protected speech in order to bring a First Amendment claim against the employer, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...The court also ruled that ordinances banning possession of guns on local government property do not violate the U.S. Constitution.
19—This district’s Court of Appeal ruled that a convicted criminal defendant does not have to allege that he was actually innocent to press a suit against his lawyer over fees...The court also ruled that a landlord has a duty to protect tenants from foreseeable assaults by other residents...The California Supreme Court agreed to decide whether a defendant may be convicted of fetal murder where the defendant does not know the expectant mother was pregnant and the pregnancy was not apparent...The court denied review of the Commission on Judicial Performance’s order removing San Joaquin Superior Court Judge Michael Platt from the bench for fixing traffic tickets and using improper influence...Administrators at a Bay Area public high school were within their rights to censor portions of a graduation speech in which an honors student planned to urge his fellow graduates to turn to God, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
20—This district’s Court of Appeal ruled that a Pasadena immigration lawyer was entitled to the $150,000 arbitration award he won from two attorneys who abruptly left his employment to start their own firm, carrying with them their old firm’s client lists, case files, secretaries, paralegals and even a car...The court also ruled that an agreement creating an attorney’s fee lien on a cause of action need not be in writing to be enforceable...A worker is considered disabled for purposes of the Fair Employment and Housing Act when he or she has a physiological condition that “limits a major life activity,” even if that limitation is not “substantial,” the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled.
24—The Supreme Court left standing a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that unauthorized access and review of the contents of a password-protected web site does not violate the Wiretap Act...The Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that a baby in a vegetative state since allegedly being shaken by his father in late 2001 can be taken off life support...Securities lawyer William T. Quicksilver has been appointed chief operating officer of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, making him second in command on the Westside firm’s management team, the firm’s managing partner said...Real estate lawyer Thomas Harnsberger has moved from Riordan & McKinzie to the Los Angeles office of Reed Smith Crosby Heafey, the head of his new firm’s real estate practice group said...San Bernardino Superior Court District Supervisor Becky Streich said mountain courthouses rode out the 5.4 earthquake near Big Bear Feb. 22 with no damage.
25—By a 4-3 vote, the state Supreme Court agreed to review a Fourth District Court of Appeal ruling that overturned an award of $400,000 to an Orange County law firm that won a procedural challenge to the county’s approval of a large mobilehome project...An Arizona law designed to protect candidates’ ability to respond to last-minute attack ads by political action committees violates the First Amendment, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Court officials said the San Pedro Courthouse will lose its criminal caseload by mid-April and several other courthouses could soon follow suit...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Mackey retired.
26—Jack LeVan, Judicial Services Bureau chief for the Los Angeles Superior Court, said he will retire next month after working for the local trial courts for more than 39 years...Attorney General Bill Lockyer cited a decades-old consumer protection statute, Business and Professions Code Sec. 17200, to sue Trevor Law Group for abusing that very statute...Los Angeles Assistant City Attorney Anthony Saul Alperin, the city’s leading expert on municipal law and governance and one of the primary drafters of the city charter, died...Child care providers may not contract away their duty to exercise ordinary care, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
27—The Commission on Judicial Performance ordered Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Bruce Van Voorhis removed from office, saying it would not tolerate the 16-year jurist continuing to insult lawyers, staff members and jurors in open court...Due process standards adopted by the California Supreme Court for arbitration of employment discrimination claims also apply to nonstatutory wrongful termination allegations, the court ruled...The high court also ruled that police personnel records disclosed in response to a Pitchess motion and discovery order cannot be made available for use in cases other than that in which the motion was made...A 32-year-old California Supreme Court ruling permitting jurors to weigh whether a publication that identified a convicted felon is liable for invasion of privacy no longer is good law, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
27—The Senate Judiciary Committee approved by a 12-6 vote the nomination of Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee for the seat left vacant when Judge Procter Hug Jr. took senior status Jan. 1, 2002.
28—Long Beach attorney Stuart Rice was elected a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner... Judge S. James Otero, previously of the Los Angeles Superior Court, took the bench in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
3—The California Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that differences in the factual circumstances of individual class members were too great to permit certification of a class of perhaps 50,000 to 100,000 persons who might need medical monitoring as a result of exposure to contaminated water in the Redlands area. But in a case that drew three separate opinions, the justices were unanimous in concluding that there is no per se rule against class actions for medical monitoring...Homeowners who said they were victimized twice by the 1994 Northridge earthquake—once by the quake itself, then by unscrupulous insurance companies who allegedly covered up the true extent of the structural damage they sustained—had their suits reinstated by a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel that upheld a California statute extending their time to file.
4—A plaintiff cannot defeat a sanctions motion under Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 128.7 simply by agreeing to dismiss the underlying lawsuit with prejudice, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
5—The U.S. Supreme Court, in a pair of 5-4 decisions, upheld California’s Three-Strikes Law, holding that its 25-year-to-life sentences are not excessive when imposed on defendants with histories of serious criminality even if the most recent offense is comparatively minor...A parolee’s waiver of constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and seizures does not permit government agents to enter the parolee’s home without any reasonable suspicion they will find evidence of a crime, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision.
7—A San Francisco woman who claims she was forced from her management position with a cosmetics firm because she would not fire a sales associate her superior considered unattractive has a viable retaliation claim under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, the First District Court of Appeal ruled. “A male executive’s order to fire a female employee because she fails to meet the executive’s standards for sexual attractiveness is an act of sex discrimination when no similar standards are applied to men,” Justice Linda Gemello wrote for Div. Five. “A lower-level manager’s refusal to carry out that order is protected activity, and an employer may not retaliate against her for that refusal.”
8—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge J. Michael Byrne retired.
10—This district’s Court of Appeal upheld Eric Perrodin’s election as mayor of Compton in June 2001, saying it was error for Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Judith Chirlin to overturn the election and declare two-term mayor Omar Bradley the winner. The court said Chirlin was mistaken in holding that the city clerk erred in listing Perrodin first on the ballot, based on the listing order for the primary, rather than listing Bradley first on the basis of the secretary of state’s most recent random alphabet drawing. The court did not rule on the validity of Chirlin’s holding on the basis of disputed expert testimony that Bradley would have won the election had he been listed first.
13—The Los Angeles County Bar Association named pioneering attorney Walter L. Gordon Jr., 95, as recipient of the its Shattuck-Price Outstanding Lawyer Award. Admitted to the State Bar in 1937, Gordon blazed a trail as one of the first African American attorneys in Los Angeles at a time when the city’s legal establishment remained segregated...Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee was confirmed by a 74-19 Senate vote as a judge of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Both of California’s senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, voted against the nomination. Critics labeled Bybee an extremist who takes an overly limited view of federal power vis-a-vis the states and an overly narrow view of individual rights, particularly with regard to abortion. He was also castigated for a law review article in which he criticized the Supreme Court’s decision striking down Colorado’s constitutional amendment barring enactment of gay rights laws...A California Transportation Department practice of allowing individuals to place U.S. flags on freeway overpasses, but forbidding banners containing political messages, is unconstitutional, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
17—A Los Angeles man was properly sentenced to death for the rape and murder of his girlfriend’s mother, a unanimous California Supreme Court ruled. The justices rejected claims that Ernest Dwayne Jones was mentally unbalanced when he attacked Julia Miller in 1992, and that he never intended to rape or kill her. Prosecutors said Jones brutally raped and stabbed the 50-year-old woman after they argued over his treatment of her daughter, and that he stole her jewelry to support a drug habit.
18—The liberty of speech guaranteed by the California Constitution does not entitle persons seeking petition signatures to gather them outside the entrances of a grocery store located in a small shopping center, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.
19—A bid for freedom by Sirhan Sirhan was denied by the California Supreme Court. The justices unanimously denied the habeas corpus petition brought by the convicted killer of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, D-N.Y. Attorney Lawrence Teeter claimed that although Sirhan was in the area of the 1968 shooting—which took place at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles—and holding a gun, he did not shoot Kennedy, but was the “`fall guy’ in an elaborate conspiracy.“... The use of juvenile adjudications, which are rendered without jury trials, as prior convictions for sentencing purposes does not violate Apprendi v. New Jersey (2000) 530 U.S. 466, which limits the ability of courts to impose sentence enhancements based on facts that have not been determined by juries, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
20—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied relief to a San Mateo County man sentenced to die after he was convicted of the murders of two women who were abducted after being lured to the defendant’s apartment. The three-judge panel rejected claims that Donald Beardslee, who testified against his co-defendants at two preliminary hearings, received ineffective assistance from the lawyer who urged him to cooperate with law enforcement.
21—Gov. Gray Davis named Deputy Attorney General Robin Miller Sloan, Deputy District Attorney Lisa Mangay Chung, and civil litigators Donna Fields Goldstein and Nancy L. Newman to the Los Angeles Superior Court.
25—The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act’s restrictions on habeas corpus petitions apply to any petition filed on or after the act’s effective date, even if a related paper such as a motion for stay of execution or for appointment of counsel was filed earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled. The justices, in a 6-3 decision, overturned a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling granting a new trial to Robert F. Garceau and sent the case back to the appeals court for reconsideration under the tightened standards of AEDPA. Garceau, from Kern County, was sentenced to death in 1987 for killing his girlfriend and her son, allegedly so they would not inform the police of his drug dealing.
26—The U.S. Supreme Court upheld state programs, such as California’s, that take interest from deposits on client funds held in lawyer’s trust accounts and use the money to pay for legal services for the poor, but left open the possibility of another constitutional challenge. In a 5-4 decision, the justices affirmed a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts programs, commonly referred to as IOLTA, do not violate clients’ right to “just compensation” for the taking of their funds as long as the program is limited to small or short-term deposits that would not otherwise be placed in an interest-bearing account...Retired California Supreme Court Justice Marcus M. Kaufman, a onetime San Bernardino lawyer, died at age 73 of complications from diabetes...Attorney Gerald Scotti shot and killed a paralegal, Barry Feldman, then killed himself, at the office of Redondo Beach attorney Carl A. “Tony” Capozzola. Capozzola, a friend of both men, said the two had a dispute over money, and that he thought they were going to agree to an amicable solution before “Jerry went crazy.”
27—Orange Superior Court Judge James V. Selna was confirmed as a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. U.S. senators voted 97-0 to confirm the 58-year-old jurist after less than two minutes of discussion.
28—The Fourth District Court of Appeal rejected a defendant’s effort to use extrinsic evidence to defeat what the court characterized as the clear and unambiguous language of the defendant’s statutory settlement offer.
1—Seven local attorneys filed papers by the 5 p.m. deadline to seek election to the State Bar Board of Governors, and another—Nancy Zamora—said she will oppose Anthony Capozzi for the State Bar presidency...Twenty-three judges were privately admonished or warned last year about inappropriate behavior ranging from making disparaging remarks about lawyers sending letters to public officials on judicial stationary regarding a personal dispute, the Commission on Judicial Performance reported...Where a prevailing party in binding arbitration failed to ask the arbitrator to award attorney fees and costs, the trial court, in affirming the award, is powerless to tack on those items, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled...Several California Supreme Court justices responded skeptically as a lawyer for a taxpayer group urged them to bar the state from paying its employees when no budget has been adopted...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Raymond Mireles retired.
2—Aaron H. Katz and Stephanie Sontag, both former presidents of the San Diego County Bar Association, were named to the San Diego Superior Court by Gov. Gray Davis...An Oregon lawyer who had his secretary place an anonymous phone call that enabled police to find the bodies of his client’s murder victims did not violate the client’s constitutional right to counsel, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...A 4-year-old injunction barring a former Intel Corporation employee from bombarding the company’s current workforce with anti-Intel e-mail messages violates free speech and wrongly expands the common law theory on which Intel’s suit was based, the ex-employee’s lawyer told the California Supreme Court.
3—Vincent J. McGraw, a former Fresno Superior Court judge and Commission on Judicial Performance member, has been censured and barred from receiving court assignments, the CJP said...California’s first openly lesbian judge, retired San Francisco Municipal Court Judge Mary C. Morgan, was appointed to the San Francisco Superior Court.
4—A defendant who commits rape or sodomy, then kills the victim to conceal the crime, may be convicted of first degree murder under the felony-murder rule, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled...The Los Angeles Superior Court Executive Committee approved a plan to furlough employees on eight days before the end of the fiscal year in June.
7—The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that states can punish Ku Klux Klansmen and others who set crosses afire, finding that a burning cross is an instrument of racial terror so threatening that it overshadows free speech concerns...The California Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that a public entity is not immune from liability for negligently locating a bus stop in a place where would-be riders face an unreasonable risk of being hit by traffic while walking to the stop...Orange Superior Court Judge—and onetime UCLA football star—Cormac J. Carney was confirmed as a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The Senate vote was unanimous.
8—A lawsuit filed by Trevor Law Group on behalf of Consumer Enforcement Watch Corp. charging more than 1,000 restaurants with violating the state’s unfair competition law was dismissed... Mark H. McGee, a retired Justice Court judge from San Bernardino County who sat on assignment in Torrance, died at age 57 of leukemia...A common-law wrongful termination suit may be dismissed if the employee has not exhausted the employer’s internal grievance procedures, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled...Participants said weekend talks involving state court officials and Sen. Joseph Dunn, D-Garden Grove, have averted court closures and mandatory employee furloughs, at least until June 30... A defendant who attacks and threatens his or her appointed lawyers may be deemed to have forfeited the right to counsel, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled, but only under narrow circumstances.
9—Gov. Gray Davis named Yolo Superior Court Executive Officer Kathleen M. White, a former Los Angeles and Pasadena lawyer, as a judge of the Yolo Superior Court...The State Supreme Court agreed unanimously to review a Third District Court of Appeal decision invalidating the California Coastal Commission’s appointment structure.
10—The Breakfast Club endorsed former Los Angeles County Bar Association President Sheldon Sloan for the District 7 seat on the State Bar Board of Governors...Gov. Grey Davis named San Francisco attorney Michael Kahn to a second term on the Commission on Judicial Performance...Several specialized prosecution units will have to be consolidated or reduced in size if the county imposes a proposed $4.6 million budget cut on his office, District Attorney Steve Cooley said...A South Los Angeles gang member who confessed to killing a Korean immigrant in the course of robbing the victim’s Hawthorne liquor store is entitled to a new trial because he was improperly denied the right to represent himself, the state Supreme Court ruled.
11—State Bar Board of Governors candidate Marguerite Downing withdrew from the race and threw her support behind former Los Angeles County Bar Association President Sheldon Sloan for the District 7 seat...Legal fees incurred in an unsuccessful effort to overturn a settlement agreement cannot be recovered in a malpractice suit against the attorneys who advised the plaintiff to settle, the First District Court of Appeal ruled... President Bush nominated local attorney and civic leader David W. Fleming to the Board of Trustees of the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation...The president also nominated San Francisco Superior Court Judge Carlos Bea to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
13—Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elisabeth E. Ziegler died at 86.
15—A California statute establishing minimum training, education, and experience requirements for sheriff candidates is constitutional, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled...The Sixth District Court of Appeal overturned a sex-crimes conviction because the alleged victim of the crime was allowed to testify with a one-way glass separating her from the defendant.
17—California Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Orange County lawyer Nadia Maria Davis will be married April 18 and are expecting a child later this summer, the attorney general’s spokesman said...A claim that the Long Beach Community College District defrauded 14 students by inducing them to take a course that turned out to be worthless because the jobs they were supposed to qualify for after completing their studies were not available to them was thrown out by this district’s Court of Appeal.
21—The California Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the death sentence imposed in a San Bernardino County case, rejecting defense contentions that a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling undermines California’s death penalty law...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Marilyn L. Hoffman said she will retire June 6...The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling invalidating the city of San Diego’s sale of land containing a 43-foot high Latin cross to a private group which is maintaining it as part of a war memorial.
23—A Sacramento Superior Court jury returned a “not guilty” verdict in the case of an 81-year-old charged with lewd conduct for allegedly grabbing his crotch while visiting his wife in a nursing home...The California Supreme Court agreed to decide whether an employee who reports an improper sexual relationship between a co-worker and a supervisor is protected from retaliation by the Fair Employment and Housing Act...The parents of two children killed by a deranged motorist who deliberately drove his Cadillac through a chain-link fence and plowed into them on the playground of their day care center have a viable negligence claim against the center and its landlord, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
24—Retired Los Angeles Municipal Court Judge Robert Wallerstein died at age 76...The state Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for a Redding man who sought to collect rewards from the sponsors of a tipster hotline for calling in the locations of three bodies over a two-year period and was later charged with killing the victims himself.
25—A city clerk has no authority to reject an initiative petition based on extrinsic evidence that election laws were violated in the manner of its circulation, the First District Court of Appeal ruled.
28—The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death sentence imposed on a Covina man for killing two women who lived in the apartments next to his...The court also ruled that a drunken individual who is temporarily detained in a local jail is a “prisoner” and cannot sue for injuries sustained as a result of being beaten by other inmates.
29—A lawsuit by six children who claim they were routinely abused in the home of a foster mother who was a friend of the former head of the county Department of Children and Family Services is timely, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled...The court also ruled that an attorney who obtains and discloses mental health records under court order cannot be held liable for the patient’s loss of privacy.
30—A former South Gate City Council candidate was properly convicted of lying about his residence in order to run, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled. Justices rejected claims by Richard Mayer that he was merely imitating the conduct of other politicians, and mistakenly believed that he could claim a residence in South Gate for political purposes even though his only connection to the place was that he received mail there and conducted political activities in the building’s carport.
1—The California Constitution guarantees that state employees will be paid for the work they do during a budget impasse, but gives them no right to receive their checks in the absence of legislative appropriations, the state Supreme Court ruled...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dale Fischer was nominated for a new seat on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, created by the Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act signed into law last year.
8—A serial rapist who admitted assaulting a Japanese exchange student, then shooting her and leaving her alone in a San Jose park, but denied he intended to kill her, was properly sentenced to death, the California Supreme Court ruled. While Gregory Calvin Smith’s expressions of remorse for the death of Ai Toyoshima and for other violent crimes may well have been sincere, Justice Ming Chin wrote for a unanimous court, the jury was entitled to find they did not outweigh the horrific nature of the assaults... AB 69, by Assemblyman Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, a bill inspired by the Trevor Law Group controversy which would put a number of restrictions on attorneys and others who file unfair competition suits under Business and Professions Code Sec. 17200, failed passage in the Assembly Judiciary Committee on a 5-6 vote.
14—Gov. Gray Davis released a revised state budget, including a $116 million cut in trial court funding, tempered in part by a $17.7 million allocation to cover rising employment expenses, including worker’s compensation insurance costs.
15—President Bush nominated Department of the Interior Solicitor William Gerry Myers III to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to confirm, Judge Thomas G. Nelson, who had previously given notice he would take senior status Nov. 14...A challenge by Attorney General Bill Lockyer and several local agencies to the restructuring of Pacific Gas & Electric Company was rejected by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission adequately considered the impact of the restructuring on local governments and other creditors of the utility.
17—Fresno attorney Anthony P. Capozzi was elected president of the State Bar of California for 2003-2004. The 57-year-old litigator defeated Nancy Hoffmeier Zamora, of the Los Angeles firm of Hoffmeier and Zamora, in the voting.
21—Damian Trevor, Allan Hendrickson and Shane Han of the Beverly Hills-based Trevor Law Group were placed on involuntary inactive enrollment by a State Bar Court judge. The firm became the target of action by the state attorney general, as well as the State Bar, and of complaints from state legislators after it sent thousands of notices to small businesses demanding settlement of claims the businesses had violated consumer protection laws.
22—The state does not have to reimburse school districts for the added cost of complying with tougher open meeting requirements, the state Supreme Court ruled. Chief Justice Ronald M. George, writing for a unanimous court, said a change in public meeting laws, boosting the advance posting requirement for agendas from 24 hours before meeting time to 72 hours, does not compel a “higher level of service” under Proposition 4...Retired Los Angeles Municipal Court Judge Xenophon F. Lang Sr. died at age 85. Lang, who was the court’s presiding judge in 1980, was the father of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Xenophon F. Lang Jr...The U.S. Senate voted 99-0 to confirm Third District Court of Appeal Justice Consuelo Callahan as a member of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
23—David N. Eagleson, a onetime Long Beach practitioner who rose from the Los Angeles Superior Court to become a state Supreme Court justice, died in Long Beach after a brief illness. Eagleson, who served on the high court from 1987 to 1991, was 78
27—A fractured U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a police officer did not violate the Fifth Amendment rights of a gravely wounded farm worker by interrogating him at a Ventura County hospital without reading him his Miranda rights. But Oliverio Martinez may still be allowed to collect damages on grounds that his constitutional due process rights were violated by the 1997 hospital room questioning, the court said in sending the case back to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
29—A fine of over $800,000 for violations of the Political Reform Act, which has grown to more than $1.1 million with interest, was affirmed by the Third District Court of Appeal. The fine imposed by the Fair Political Practices Commission on backers of an unsuccessful 1994 effort to recall then-state Sen. David Roberti, a Los Angeles Democrat and former Senate president pro tem was upheld on the ground that the defendants should have challenged it during the administrative process or by pursuing a mandamus action after the decision, rather than waiting for the commission to bring a collection suit.
30—A lawyer whose client was sanctioned for filing a frivolous appeal is not estopped from defending his or her actions in a resulting malpractice suit by the client, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled...Former Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patrick B. Murphy, facing possible discipline by the State Bar, has asked to enter the organization’s diversion program for lawyers with substance abuse and mental health problems, and was to have appeared in State Bar Court for a status conference, according to a court document, but the conference was continued to June 3.
1—The death sentence of a Stanislaus County man was unanimously overturned by the California Supreme Court, which held that “numerous and serious errors” during the penalty phase require a new sentencing trial...The high court, citing the First Amendment, also tossed out a suit by Texas-born rock stars Edgar and Johnny Winter, who claim their likenesses and personalities were improperly utilized by a comic book publisher.
3—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 6-5 en banc ruling, said a Mexican doctor who was abducted from his office and brought to the United States without judicial process to face trial for his alleged role in the torture and killing of a Drug Enforcement Administration agent may sue the U.S. government for false arrest...The owner of a copyright may assign the right to sue for infringement while retaining other rights to the work in question, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
4—An Orange Superior Court trial in which a jury rejected an undocumented immigrant’s medical malpractice claim was tainted by apparent judicial bias and by the defense attorney’s “skewering” a plaintiff’s witness whom the lawyer’s firm was representing in another case, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
5—A habeas corpus petition by “Billionaire Boys Club” leader Joseph Hunt, trying to overturn a sentence of life in state prison without possibility of parole, was reinstated by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals...The court also dealt a double defeat to a Riverside-based electronics company that has been in litigation with one of its competitors for years, overturning a 1998 jury verdict in favor of Bourns Inc., on its antitrust claim against Raychem Corp., while upholding a judgment for $18.5 million in Raychem’s trade secrets suit against Bourns.
6—An injunction barring the California Horse Racing Board from suspending a veteran trainer whose horse tested positive for trace amounts of morphine was overturned by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals...The Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed a $350,000 judgment against a former lawyer for filing false complaints against a police officer, in the process upholding a controversial statute which allows peace officers to sue for false accusations of wrongdoing contained in official complaints...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Marilyn Hoffman retired.
9—Yuba Superior Court Judge David E. Wasilenko has been charged by the Commission on Judicial Performance with using his office to grant favors to friends and family members charged with traffic offenses, the CJP said...The Los Angeles Superior Court has begun the process of notifying vendors that they may not be paid after June 30 if the state has not adopted a budget for the 2003-2004 fiscal year, a spokesman said...Punitive damages allegedly lost through attorney negligence are not recoverable in a malpractice suit, as a matter of public policy, the California Supreme Court ruled...A private citizen who brings an action under California’s unfair competition law, claiming that the inclusion of a particular provision in a contract constitutes an unfair or illegal business practice, is bound by a forum selection clause in the contract, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
10—The Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld the constitutionality of Proposition 10, the 1998 initiative that increased tobacco taxes in order to fund anti-smoking and child development programs.
11—The California Supreme Court agreed to hear a dispute between former law partners, in which the defendants were held liable for, among other things, interfering with business relations by convincing the old firm’s employees to join their new venture...Gov. Gray Davis and other state officials acted in good faith during negotiations with California Indian tribes that preceded the adoption of Proposition 1A, the constitutional amendment that allows tribes to conduct Las Vegas-style wagering in the state, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...The California Supreme Court agreed to decide whether an executive who claims she was forced from her position because she would not fire a sales associate her superior considered unattractive has a viable retaliation claim under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
12—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Lichtman said he will seek election as assistant presiding judge of the court for 2005 and 2006, becoming the first announced candidate for the post.
13—The Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld a jury’s conclusion that a workers’ compensation insurer is liable for fraud based on an employee leasing company’s insistence that an injured worker was not its employee...Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Florence Pickard died at age 69...A woman who, along with her husband, donated genetic material that led to the birth of a child to another woman as the apparent result of a fertility clinic’s mistake is not the child’s legal mother, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled.
14—Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Herbert M. Klein died at age 71.
17—A motor vehicle manufacturer must be given at least two opportunities to repair a malfunctioning vehicle, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
18—Addressing the Italian American Lawyers Assn., Los Angeles Superior Court Assistant Presiding Judge William A. MacLaughlin said it appears that cuts in the court’s budget for the next fiscal year will not be crippling, contrary to earlier fears, and that some rehirings of persons recently lopped from the payroll might be possible...The Walt Disney Co. has restructured its legal department, a corporate spokesman said...The California Supreme Court agreed to decide whether a 32-year-old ruling allowing a publication that identified a convicted felon to be held liable for invasion of privacy is still good law.
19—The California Supreme Court overturned a Court of Appeal ruling that allowed a judge to place a defendant in a Proposition 36 drug treatment program less than five years after being released from prison pursuant to a serious or violent felony conviction...The court also unanimously affirmed a gang member’s death sentence for the murder of a man who was shot while using a pay phone at a South Los Angeles gas station.
20—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Nash and Century City attorney Rex Heinke have been named to the Judicial Council of California, the Administrative Office of the Courts announced...Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was granted permission by Attorney General Bill Lockyer to challenge the voter-approved term limits for county officers...Republicans and Democrats in the state Legislature remained deadlocked on several major budget issues, but funding for the trial courts appeared to be a settled issue, members of both parties said.
23—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Beverly Jr., presiding judge of the court’s Appellate Division, said he will retire Aug. 1 to work on a project documenting the history of the City of Los Angeles, with particular emphasis on the contributions of African Americans and other ethnic minorities...The “case-within-a-case” approach to litigating attorney negligence claims applies when the alleged malpractice relates to transactional work, the California Supreme Court ruled.
24—The Sheriff’s Department needs to do a better job of explaining its criteria for early release of inmates to the judges who hear criminal cases, Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Robert Dukes told Sheriff Leroy Baca in a letter...The operator of a website or bulletin board cannot be held liable for defamatory content provided by another party for publication, even if the operator retains the right to edit and comment on that content, a divided panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
25—The California Supreme Court agreed to review a ruling by this district’s Court of Appeal regarding the factual foundation that must be laid by a criminal defendant in order to obtain discovery of police personnel records...The U.S. government can arrest alleged drug traffickers in international waters, and may try them in federal courts without necessarily having to show that their crimes affected this country, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
26—Service of a copy of the file-stamped and dated judgment is sufficient to trigger the 15-day period in which a motion for new trial or judgment notwithstanding the verdict must be brought, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled... Los Angeles County bears no liability to a woman who claimed that she was coerced into having repeated sex with former Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George W. Trammell III after he presided over a criminal case in which she and her husband were defendants, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled in an unpublished opinion.
27—A man convicted of setting fire to his wife’s home after she obtained a restraining order against him was granted a new trial by this district’s Court of Appeal, which said the trial judge gave the appearance of being partial to the prosecution. Justice Daniel Curry, writing for Div. Four, said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Chesley N. McKay Jr. engaged in four instances of prejudicial misconduct that had the cumulative effect of depriving Grail W. Perkins of a fair trial on charges of burglary, arson, making terrorist threats, and violating a domestic violence restraining order.
30—The mass sending of e-mails critical of Intel Corp. to its employees at work did not constitute a trespass, the California Supreme Court ruled. In a 4-3 decision, the justices held that under traditional tort principles, Intel would be entitled to a remedy for trespass only if damage occurred to its computer system...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Sutton retired.
3—California’s prohibition on recording of confidential conversations without the consent of all parties applies to newsgathering activities, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled. The court also ruled, however, that the statute authorizes recovery of damages caused by the surreptitious taping, not those resulting from the subsequent dissemination of the recorded conversation...A concern for police officer safety does not justify a blanket policy of detaining and frisking drivers stopped for equipment infractions in a high crime areas at night, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
7—A homeowner who hires someone to trim a tree on his or her property is not an “employer” subject to the California Occupational Safety and Health Act, the state Supreme Court unanimously ruled. Such tree trimmers provide a “household domestic service” and are thus not protected by Cal-OSHA rules, Justice Janice Rogers Brown wrote for the court.
8—A medical malpractice plaintiff’s declaration that she awoke from pelvic surgery with persistent arm, neck and shoulder pain did not establish the elements of res ipsa loquitur, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled...An open schoolyard gate, constructed next to a heavily trafficked and non-signalized intersection, may constitute a dangerous condition of public property, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
10—The host of an all-night “rave” cannot be held liable for the actions of a driver who may have caused an accident after taking drugs at the party, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...The State Bar released election results showing that Los Angeles attorney Sheldon H. Sloan, a former Los Angeles Municipal Court judge and former president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, was elected to the State Bar Board of Governors from District 7 (Los Angeles County). Also elected to the board were Chico lawyer Richard L. Crabtree, Oakland Deputy City Attorney Demetrius Shelton, Sunnyvale lawyer Tahir J. Naim, Fresno lawyer Paul S. Hokokian, and attorney Raymond G. Aragon of Bonita...A driver who operated a vehicle with the permission of an insured, to whom the vehicle had been entrusted by its owner, was not an additional insured under the policy, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
11—An Israeli citizen whose father was Arab and whose mother was Jewish presented credible evidence of persecution by Israeli marines and was wrongly denied asylum, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The man’s lawyer said the case was the first in the Ninth Circuit, and perhaps nationwide, to support an asylum claim by an Israeli citizen from within the 1948 borders of that nation...School districts have a duty to protect their students, and in particular special education students, from being assaulted on campus during the early morning when the school is open but classes have not yet begun, the Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled.
14—A confession obtained from a youthful defendant whose repeated requests for counsel were ignored was involuntary and should not have been admitted at his murder trial, the state Supreme Court ruled...Charter cities are not exempt from state law requiring that prevailing wages be paid on public works projects, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
18—Evidence of scent identification by a trained dog matching a criminal defendant in a lineup to crime scene evidence cannot be admitted without a hearing to determine the scientific reliability of the technique, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled...Proposition 36, which mandates treatment rather than incarceration for most offenders convicted of simple drug possession, does not apply to anyone sentenced before the measure’s July 1, 2001 operative date, the state Supreme Court ruled in a 6-1 decision. Justice Janice Rogers Brown, the lone dissenter, said the majority had given an unnecessarily narrow reading of the voters’ intent.
22—Crenshaw eviction lawyer Calvin Spann died at age 78. Spann operated the Crenshaw Landlord Service, and his practice had consisted solely of eviction litigation since 1977...The Northern California man who drew national headlines, along with a three-year prison term prison term, for throwing a dog into traffic following a minor traffic accident with the animal’s owner had his conviction upheld by the Sixth District Court of Appeal...A federal law banning the sending of unsolicited advertisements by fax is constitutional, and can be enforced by private citizens through class actions in state court, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
24—An Oakland man convicted of killing a taxi driver and the owner of a convenience store was properly sentenced to death for the crimes, the state Supreme Court held in a unanimous decision. Justice Janice Rogers Brown rejected Delaney Geral Marks’ claim that he was mentally incompetent at the time of his 1994 trial for the killings...Gov. Gray Davis named Superior Court Commissioner Joseph Shiro Biderman, O’Melveney & Myers partner Holly Kendig, former State Bar Board of Governors member James D. Otto of the Long Beach firm of Altman, Otto & Kong, and Brian Yep of the Lancaster firm of Walsh, Delaney & Yep as judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court...An award of $16 million in attorney fees and nearly $700,000 in costs to more than 50 law firms in 34 coordinated class actions involving overpricing of vitamins was overturned by the First District Court of Appeal. The appellate court sent the case back to San Francisco Superior Court Judge John E. Munter with instructions to reconsider whether the fee agreed on when the cases were settled for $80 million was excessive...A council member’s law firm cannot represent the city in litigation, even if no fees are charged, the firm pays all costs, and any court-awarded fees are donated to the city’s general fund, Attorney General Bill Lockyer said. Lockyer’s opinion threw cold water on Thousand Oaks Councilman Ed Masry’s offer to have his firm represent the city in litigation to stop the Ahmanson Ranch development in Ventura County.
25—President Bush nominated California Superior Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
28—A state law requiring that all police officers be given two hours of training every two years on how to handle domestic violence cases does not impose an unfunded mandate for which local governments would be entitled to reimbursement, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
29—A San Francisco ordinance requiring city contractors to provide domestic partner benefits to their employees is not preempted by a state statute governing creation and registration of domestic partnerships, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
30—A dentist did not violate California’s medical privacy statute by reporting to the San Francisco Police Department that one of its officers, a patient of the dentist, might have a problem with prescription drugs, the First District Court of Appeal ruled...Retrial of a criminal defendant is barred by double jeopardy where the trial judge, after seating all alternates, removed a juror for bias over the objections of both parties, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled. The judge’s action did not meet the test of “legal necessity” adopted by the state Supreme Court, Justice Patricia Benke wrote for Div. One.
31—A search of a residence cannot be justified on the ground that one of the occupants was a parolee subject to a search condition that the officers had no knowledge of at the time, the California Supreme Court ruled...The U.S. Senate confirmed the appointments of Frank Montalvo and Xavier Rodriguez to federal judgeships in Texas, and of James I. Cohn, James O. Browning, and H. Brent McKnight to seats in Florida, New Mexico, and North Carolina respectively....SB 337, by Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, which would add the crime of the unauthorized practice of law to the list of offenses for which the statute of limitations does not commence until discovery of the offense, was approved by the governor.
1—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Eric Taylor was elected president of the California Judges Association for the 2003-2004 term.... A cloture vote on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals nomination of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carolyn Kuhl was called off after Senate Republican and Democratic leaders agreed to deal with other issues before going home for the summer recess.
2—Gov. Gray Davis signed a state budget bill that will hike a number of user fees in order to fund the courts.
3—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Beverly retired.
4—California law permits a “second parent” adoption in which the birth parent’s non-marital partner may adopt a child without the natural parent relinquishing parental rights, the state Supreme Court ruled.
5—The State Bar Board of Governors has named 14 new members to the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, including five from Los Angeles County, a State Bar spokesman said...This district’s Court of Appeal reversed a murder conviction in the death of an 11-month-old girl, finding prosecutors withheld evidence that could have been used to impeach the medical examiner whose testimony established the time of the child’s death.
6—Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William C. Beverly Jr. has joined JAMS as an arbitrator and mediator, the nation’s largest alternate dispute resolution provider said...U.S. District Judge Lourdes G. Baird will take senior status May 12, 2004, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts reported...An officer who waited 52 days after a drug buy to obtain and execute a search warrant for the seller’s residence could not have had an objectively reasonable belief the warrant established probable cause, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
7—Five petitions seeking to postpone California’s historic recall election or alter the composition of the Oct. 7 ballot were rejected by the California Supreme Court...Deputy Chief U.S. Attorney David A. Hoffer, lawyers Linda S. Marks and Mark Millard, and Superior Court Commissioner Salvador Sarmiento were named to the Orange Superior Court by Gov. Gray Davis...Los Angeles attorney and former Los Angeles County Bar Association President Richard Chernick became the second Californian to chair of the American Bar Association’s Dispute Resolution Section...A judgment against an insolvent insurer for breach of duty to defend is not a “loss adjustment expense” exempted from coverage by the California Insurance Guarantee Association under the Insurance Code, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
8—A malpractice judgment against a former Sonoma Superior Court judge, in a case that gained notoriety after it was disclosed that the plaintiffÌs attorney was the husband of an official who was investigating the defendant while the suit was pending, was affirmed in a reduced amount by the First District Court of Appeal...A Guatemalan who has lived in the United States since he was a year old but never obtained legal status has no constitutional or statutory right to remain here, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...A Los Angeles Superior Court judge denied a request for an injunction barring a gubernatorial recall vote until the qualifications of petition circulators have been verified...Elwyn S. Bennett, who served four terms in the state Assembly and spent 28 years as a bench officer, died at age 91.
11—Retaliatory eviction is not available as a defense to an unlawful detainer action brought by a landlord who legitimately intends to go out of the residential rental business, the state Supreme Court ruled 4-3...Citing the doctrine of “law of the case,” the Fourth District Court of Appeal said state courts must accept jurisdiction in a lawsuit by Pacific Bell Directory employees it characterized as a “procedural house of horrors.”...The Sixth District Court of Appeal has over $1 million in penalties and restitution levied against owners of two San Jose mobile home parks for evading rent control by forcing tenants into long-term leases...Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Robert I. McIntosh retired.
12—The American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal judge to postpone the recall election, arguing that it will take until March to replace punch-card voting machines the group claims would disenfranchise thousands of Californians...Gov. Gray Davis filled three Superior Court vacancies in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, appointing Craig G. Riemer to the Riverside Superior Court and Marsha G. Slough and David A. Williams to the San Bernardino Superior Court.
13—Gov. Gray Davis named Commissioner Beverly Daniels-Greenberg to the Alameda Superior Court bench and Alameda Deputy District Attorney Nancy Davis to serve as a Contra Costa Superior Court judge...Stadium-style movie theaters cannot allocate only the space in front of the first row of seats to wheelchair patrons, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
14—The life sentence permitted for “willful, deliberate, and premeditated” attempted murder can be meted out to an aider or abettor who did not personally act willfully and with deliberation and premeditation, the Supreme Court ruled...The court also ruled that future child support obligations cannot be considered in determining whether a marital settlement agreement rendered the child’s father insolvent, potentially making it fraudulent...A court ordering visitation must set a minimum level of visitation that will actually occur, and may not give children power to veto all visits, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
15—Gov. Gray Davis appointed Stephen H. Baker to the Shasta Superior Court and Francis “Fritz” Barclay to the Modoc Superior Court; both attorneys are former county local bar association presidents... Chief Justice Ronald M. George has appointed Acting Presiding Justice Richard D. Huffman the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Div. One, as acting administrative presiding justice of the Fourth Appellate District, the Administrative Office of the Courts announced...Retired Fifth District Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Hollis Best died at 77.
18—The privilege afforded by Civil Code Sec. 43.8 for communications intended to aid hospitals in evaluating doctors is qualified and may be overcome by a showing of bad faith, the state Supreme Court ruled 6-1...The court also ruled that malicious prosecution suits implicate First Amendment concerns and are subject to motions to strike under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, the anti-SLAPP statute.
19—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Judith Chirlin, on a mission to evaluate aspects of the Iraqi legal system, left a United Nations office building in Baghdad less than two hours before it was bombed, her court clerk said...A verdict of liability for a slip-and-fall is improper if the judge’s instructions permit jurors to find for the plaintiff without proof of either actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition, the Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled.
20—Burbank police did not violate the constitutional rights of woman who was charged with obstructing a police officer and trespass when she refused to leave a City Council meeting, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...The court also ruled state laws giving nearby communities veto power over bids to incorporate do not violate equal protection...Two janitors employed by a cleaning company who were present along with grocery store employees during an after-hours armed robbery constructively possessed store property, justifying robbery counts naming them as victims, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
21—A federal court settlement between Southern California Edison and state regulators that raised electricity rates for millions of California consumers by as much as 40 percent during the state’s energy crisis did not violate state law, the state Supreme Court said...The court also rejected claims its 1994 ruling requiring criminal counsel to have a “meaningful opportunity to object” before sentences are imposed should be interpreted to mandate tentative rulings in advance of sentencing hearings.
22—Urinalysis results on the three San Francisco police officers charged with assaulting a pedestrian and demanding his steak fajitas must remain confidential unless a judge rules they can be released, the First District Court of Appeal ruled...The federal evidentiary privilege for statements made by a patient to a therapist survives disclosure of the statements to protect someone threatened with harm, an en banc panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
24—Former Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge William P. Hogoboom died of heart failure at 84.
25—A Web site operator can be enjoined from posting source code for a DVD decryption program on his site if he has reason to know the code includes improperly obtained trade secrets, the state Supreme Court ruled.
26—Making a citizen’s arrest is not protected activity for the purpose of the anti-SLAPP law, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled...Gov. Gray Davis appointed Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Laurie Zelon and Madeleine Flier to this district’s Court of Appeal...Davis governor also named Justice Judith McConnell of Div. One of the Fourth District Court of Appeal to serve as the division’s presiding justice; San Diego Superior Court Judge Joan Irion replace McConnell; Merced Superior Court Judge Betty L. Dawson to the Fifth District Court of Appeal; Santa Cruz Superior Court Judge Richard J. McAdams to the Sixth District Court of Appeal; and Santa Barbara Superior Court Commissioner Arthur A. Garcia and former Santa Barbara and Ventura Assistant District Attorney George C. Eskin to the Santa Barbara Superior Court.
27—The state Supreme Court agreed to decide whether a claim of imperfect self-defense to a murder charge can be asserted based on the unreasonable but sincere belief the victim posed a lethal threat to another person...A community college is not immune from liability in a negligence action by a rival baseball player struck in the head by one of its pitchers during a game, a divided panel of this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
28—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Floyd Baxter was injured in a car crash on his way to work at the Santa Clarita Court...The state Supreme Court overturned a death sentence, saying since-retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard P. Kalustian mishandled voir dire and wrongly excused a potential juror based on his qualms about the death penalty.
2—A U.S. Supreme Court ruling that requires juries, rather than judges, to decide sentencing issues in death penalty cases must be applied retroactively, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
3—A business owner has a duty to protect customers and others with whom he has a special relationship once violence breaks out on the premises, even if the violence was unforeseeable, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
4—The State Bar of California opened its 76th Annual Meeting in Anaheim. Among the events was the presentation of an award to the Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco offices of Latham & Watkins for their pro bono efforts in the wake of Sept. 11...The convictions of 11 defendants affiliated with the Mexican Mafia on charges of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act were affirmed yesterday by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
5—The Conference of Delegates of California Bar Associations kicked off its Anaheim meeting by rejecting a bid to call for an investigation into President George Bush’s prosecution of the Iraq war. Conference officials ruled the resolution, filed as an emergency late-filed measure, did not meet technical requirements to be considered. Instead the conference—this year for the first time independent of the State Bar of California—spent most of its first afternoon plowing through a series of resolutions calling for changes in laws governing civil procedure...Woodland Hills sole practitioner Dennis Mulcahy and Riverside Superior Court Commissioner Gretchen W. Taylor were elected commissioners of the Los Angeles Superior Court.
6—California’s chief justice called for federal legislation to allow the state to intercept the federal refunds of taxpayers who owe delinquent state court fines. Delivering his annual “State of the Judiciary” address at the State Bar Annual Meeting, Chief Justice Ronald M. George said the system already in place for seizing refunds to satisfy back child support should be expanded to apply to fines. He estimated the amount of uncollected court-ordered penalties nationwide at $5 billion or more—possibly, he added, “quite a bit” more...AB 1708, authorizing the State Bar to continue collecting its current level of annual dues, a maximum of $390, in 2004, and making changes to the dues “scaling” provisions for lower-income lawyers in order to raise more money for State Bar operations, was signed by the governor.
12—The drug testing provisions of the 1991 Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act do not preempt a state-law tort action by an airline employee against a laboratory which negligently performed her urine drug test, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...A gay doctor’s suit over benefits he was asked to repay after being discharged from the Air Force under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy should not have been dismissed, the Ninth Circuit ruled.
15—Kevin D. Traster, who used his position as the first computer administrator for a Long Beach law firm in an attempt to steal money intended to be used for software licenses, was properly convicted of theft crimes, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
17—A lawyer will not be subject to retrial on federal charges of threatening opposing counsel because a judge improperly declared a mistrial soon after his trial began, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The court said Senior U.S. District Judge Robert M. Takasugi of the Central District of California failed to make a record adequate to support his finding of “manifest necessity” to dismiss the jury empaneled to try Cash Joseph Bonas. Takasugi ordered a mistrial the morning after jury selection was completed because four of the jurors were not being paid by their employers while serving...A defendant who claims that police actually planted the evidence they claim to have seized from the accused’s person has standing to challenge the search, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
23—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a unanimous en banc decision, said the state of California could proceed with an Oct. 7 election to determine whether Gov. Gray Davis should be removed from office and to decide the fate of two ballot measures. A three-judge panel had earlier ruled that the election should be postpone to March, when all counties would have up-to-date voter equipment...The Commission on Judicial Performance ordered Alameda Superior Court Judge D. Ronald Hyde removed from office for making improper sexually explicit comments, manipulating a court docket to benefit a family member, and other misconduct Deputy Alternate Public Defender Drew E. Edwards and Frederick C. Shaller, a partner in Shaller, McMillan & Wright, were named to the Los Angeles Superior Court by Gov. Gray Davis.
25—Four women were unanimously confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments to fill Court of Appeal seats in the two Southern California districts. Following hearings and confirmation votes at the Ronald Reagan Building in Los Angeles, Justice Judith McConnell of the Fourth District’s Div. One was sworn in as presiding justice of that division, Joan Irion as an associate justice of that division, Laurie Zelon as a justice of this district’s Div. Seven, and Madeleine Flier as a justice of this district’s Div. Eight. Irion was elevated from the San Diego Superior Court, Zelon and Flier from the Los Angeles Superior Court.
26—Betty L. Dawson and Richard J. McAdams were unanimously confirmed to the appellate bench by the Commission on Judicial Appointments in San Francisco. Dawson was elevated from the Merced Superior Court, where she was the presiding judge, to the Fifth District Court of Appeal. McAdams moved up from the Santa Cruz Superior Court to the Sixth District Court of Appeal...The First District Court of Appeal ordered that a $26.5 million jury verdict in a lifelong smoker’s suit against a tobacco company be reduced to $10.5 million unless the plaintiff agrees to a new trial on damages.
29—Judge Carlos T. Bea, who had served on the San Francisco Superior Court since 1990, was confirmed as a judge of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Senators backed the nomination by a vote of 86-0.
30—A rolling sickout of sheriff’s deputies entering its second week hit the Los Angeles Superior Court hard, with about a quarter of all courtroom deputies not showing up for work, causing delays and brief court closures as county supervisors voted to seek an injunction which would bar deputies from continuing the protest over stalled contract negotiations... The U.S. Supreme Court said it will decide whether sovereign immunity laws bar a Los Angeles trial against Austria over the Nazi-era theft of priceless artwork... Agreements requiring workers to arbitrate employment discrimination claims do not violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in an 8-3 en banc decision...A stipulated judgment in a suit brought by the state requires a Los Angeles immigration consulting firm, Immigration World Wide Services, to close in December, Attorney General Bill Lockyer said...Lockyer also said he has joined with attorneys general from 44 other states, as well as District of Columbia and Puerto Rican officials, in support of the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call program... American LegalNet, Inc. will become the official publisher of California Judicial Council forms beginning Jan. 1, replace West as publisher of the forms and will Access Law as provider of interactive forms, the Administrative Office of the Courts announced.
1—A sickout of sheriff’s deputies kept five Los Angeles Superior Court courthouses shuttered and delayed the opening of two others, as a judge agreed to order the deputies’ union not to encourage or influence deputies to call in sick...Gov. Gray Davis named Nevada Superior Court Judge M. Kathleen Butz to the Third District Court of Appeal...The Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee can be sued in California for sending a pedophile priest here, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled...The California Supreme Court declined to review a lower court ruling rejecting a Los Angeles physician’s attempt to sue a local television station for damages that he claims resulted from its surreptitious taping of conversations with a prospective patient.
2—Faced with a temporary restraining order, courtroom deputies ended a sickout that severely disrupted Los Angeles Superior Court operations for two days...Magistrate Judge John A. Houston and Assistant U.S. Attorney William Q. Hayes were confirmed by the U.S. Senate as U.S. district judges for the Southern District of California...The Fourth Amendment prohibits forced extraction of parolees’ blood for DNA testing absent individualized suspicion that the extraction will produce evidence of a crime, a divided panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
3—Gov. Gray Davis named Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach partner William S. Dato and Deputy District Attorney George “Woody” Clarke to the San Diego Superior Court...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John L. Martinez retired...Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Sherman W. Smith Sr. died at 81...The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted en banc review of a panel’s ruling that a defendant could not claim that a gun used in a series of robberies was an “antique” after a previous jury ruled against him on the issue...The court also ruled that the police officer who spearheaded an investigation that led to later discredited sex abuse charges against dozens of parents and foster parents in Wenatchee, Wash. is entitled to qualified immunity in suits by two of those accused...A school district may ban teachers from wearing union buttons during the school day, unless agreed otherwise through collective bargaining, the Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled.
6—The Palmdale courthouse will close Dec. 1, the Los Angeles Superior Court announced...Gov. Gray Davis named Linda L. Lofthus to the San Joaquin Superior Court, Donald J. Sullivan to the San Francisco Superior Court and Thomas DeSantos to the Kings Superior Court...The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a February ruling in which the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected imposition of arbitration agreements on the company’s California long distance customers...Discovery of drugs in a search of a probationer’s residence was not inevitable where officers failed to comply with “knock-notice” requirements of the federal Constitution and California case law, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
7—A resumption of a sickout by courtroom deputies caused delays at two San Gabriel Valley courthouses, sheriff’s and court officials said...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Warren G. Greene, 54, died after a battle with leukemia...The Legislature acted within its constitutional authority two years ago in withdrawing legislation it had passed allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers’ licenses, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.
8—Some 170 deputies called in sick amid a contract stalemate with the county, prompting the Board of Supervisors to declare a state of emergency and authorize the sheriff to dock or discipline deputies for absenteeism...A district court judge did not abuse his discretion when he declined a defendant’s request, joined by prosecutors and probation officials, for the maximum sentence on firearms charges, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Gov. Gray Davis named Janet M. Frangie of the Sherman Oaks firm of Narvid Scott Schwartz & Frangie and sole practitioner Bryan F. Foster to the San Bernardino Superior Court, Commissioner Bernard J. Schwartz to the Riverside Superior Court, and James E. Oakley to the Madera Superior Court.
9—A police department that adopted a policy of tracking the race of each person stopped while driving violated state labor law by not negotiating the new procedures with the union representing the officers, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...Gov. Gray Davis named attorneys Philip H. Pennypacker and Vincent J. Chiarello to the Santa Clara Superior Court and lawyer David Nelson to the Mendocino Superior Court...A portion of California’s sex offender registration law, dealing with offenders who lack a fixed abode, was held unconstitutionally vague by the First District Court of Appeal...Rules establishing a statewide system for photographing and fingerprinting those who apply for and receive government assistance, as a means of preventing fraud, were upheld by the Third District Court of Appeal.
10—A Jewish organization could not have reasonably foreseen that a white supremacist would shoot a child on its premises, and cannot be held liable for the child’s injuries, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled... William G. Myers III, nominated by President Bush to succeed Judge Thomas G. Nelson on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals resigned as solicitor of the Department of the Interior to return to his home in Boise, Idaho.
12—A bill that would have prohibited employers from requiring workers to agree to arbitrate discrimination claims as a condition of employment was vetoed by Gov. Gray Davis... H. Keith Byram, who served for 23 years as a Los Angeles Municipal Court commissioner and Newhall Municipal Court judge, died at age 77.
13—Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Robert A. Dukes backtracked from a new policy banning the use of cell phone cameras in courthouses which had drawn fire from news media lawyers, saying the policy was only a proposal which remains subject to review.
14—A judge in Orange County issued a preliminary injunction barring continuation of the sickout by Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies as a predicted intensification of the work action did not materialize...All appellate opinions published in California since it became a state in 1850 are now available online without charge at the state courts’ website, the state Supreme Court announced...Seven grocery union locals sued Albertsons and Ralphs for locking out employees immediately after their colleagues went on strike against Vons Oct. 11, claiming the lockout violates California’s Mass Layoff Notification Law...The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a constitutional challenge by pornographer/casino operator/gubernatorial also-ran Larry Flynt to the Indian gaming monopoly granted by California’s Proposition 1A...The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles presented its Maynard Toll Award for Distinguished Public Service to Munger, Tolles & Olson litigator Vilma Martinez.
15—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Karl Jaeger retired...The state Supreme Court declined to review a July decision by the First District Court of Appeal requiring retroactive application of the high court’s 1997 ruling requiring all compensation paid in cash to county employees to be included in calculating pension benefits...A sickout by sheriff’s deputies resumed, delaying the opening of four Los Angeles Superior Court courthouses and slowing transportation of prisoners to court hearings, officials said...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Marcus O. Tucker said he will not seek re-election, setting up the first open seat on the March 2004 judicial ballot...A recent federal law that immunizes users of interactive computer services from liability for content authored by others does not abrogate traditional liability for republication of material that one knows or reasonably should know to be false and defamatory, the First District Court of Appeal ruled.
16—Deputy District Attorney Edward Nison took out papers to run for the open seat on the Los Angeles Superior Court created by the decision of Judge Marcus O. Tucker not to seek re-election, joining Superior Court referee Mildred Escobedo as a candidate for that seat.
17—Two Los Angeles city councilmen who sit on the Metropolitan Transit Authority board filed suit seeking an order compelling the MTA to permit them to participate in efforts to end the transit strike...The Congressional Black Caucus came out in strong opposition to the confirmation of California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, calling her a conservative activist with a “disdain for legal precedent.”
20—A Los Angeles Superior Court judge declined to order the Metropolitan Transit Authority to allow two city councilmen who sit on its board to vote on transit strike issues, but set a Nov. 7 hearing on their request for a preliminary injunction...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard C. Hubbell said he will not run for re-election, creating a second open seat on the March 2 ballot, and Deputy District Patrick David Campbell became the first candidate to take out papers for Hubbell’s seat.
21—The Judicial Council of California relaxed the goal of fast-track rules, dropping the percentage of cases to be disposed of within one year from 90 percent to 75 percent...Two candidates who lost close run-off contests for the Los Angeles Superior Court last year, Deputy District Attorney Craig Renetzky and Workers’ Compensation Judge John Gutierrez, took out papers to run again...A judge in Santa Ana set a Dec. 8 trial date for 10 Beverly Hills courthouse deputies who may be charged with contempt for calling in sick Oct. 15.
22—The state Supreme Court named Orange Superior Court Presiding Judge Frederick P. Horn to the Commission on Judicial Performance...A new judge assigned to a criminal case after a mistrial may reconsider his predecessor’s ruling on a suppression motion, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
23—A Pico Rivera pastor and members of his church did not have a constitutional right to continue picketing in front of an adult entertainment business located in a local strip mall, particularly after the protests turned violent, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved President Bush’s nomination of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dale S. Fischer to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California...Deputy District Attorney Daniel Feldstern became the latest candidate to throw his hat in the ring for a Los Angeles Superior Court seat.
24—A lawyer who agrees to represent a criminal defendant only at the preliminary hearing stage cannot be required to make a formal motion to withdraw as counsel when the client is arraigned, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled...Deputy District Attorney Judith L. Meyer said she would seek the seat of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James L. Wright, who she said she has been assured is not planning to run for re-election.
27—The U.S. Senate confirmed Los Angeles Superior Court Dale S. Fischer to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California...San Bernardino’s legal community scrambled to operate in the wake of the region’s devastating fires and to provide assistance to attorneys displaced by evacuation of the mountain communities...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rosemary H. Shumsky said she will not run for re-election.
28—Former California Attorney General Dan Lungren formally announced his candidacy for a Sacramento-area congressional seat...Prior convictions introduced to impeach a criminal defendant’s testimony may be used at a second trial at which the defendant does not testify, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled...San Bernardino County courts will continue to operate under an emergency order because of wildfires, giving priority to time-sensitive cases and matters involving juveniles or safety issues, Presiding Judge J. Michael Welch said, as San Diego County courts were to remain closed for a third day...The use of touchscreen voting systems that lack a paper trial for audit purposes does not violate the due process or equal protection rights of individual voters, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dale Fischer was confirmed by an 86-0 vote of the U.S. Senate, as a Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
29—The company that publishes the Los Angeles Times is entitled to recover attorney fees from Los Angeles County in connection with litigation that resulted in a finding that county supervisors had violated the state’s open meetings law, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled...The state Supreme Court agreed, by a 5-2 vote, to decide when a premises owner may be liable for injuries sustained by the employee of an independent contractor due to a dangerous condition on the owner’s property...An injunction that bars a disgruntled ex-client from picketing Johnnie L. Cochran or from talking about the famed attorney in any public forum does not violate the defendant’s First Amendment rights, the Court of Appeal for this district said in an unpublished opinion...The unions representing striking Southern California grocery workers filed suit in U.S. District Court to compel Ralphs, Vons and Albertson’s to continue making payments into the fund which pays for worker health care benefits.
30—R.J Reynolds Tobacco Company was properly ordered to pay more than $14.8 million in penalties for violating state law by distributing free cigarettes at various public events, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled...The Glendale Galleria violated the California free speech rights of union employees of the American Broadcasting Company when it barred them from leafleting in front of the mall’s Disney Store in 1997, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...A prosecutor engaged in “outrageous misconduct” when he told a judge he intended to violate the judge’s order limiting his closing argument, and proceeded to do so, the Fourth District Court of Appeal said, but the actions do not entitle the defendant to a new trial on drug charges.
31—San Fernando Valley attorney Gerald E. Curry was shot by a gunman upset over a probate matter as lawyer left a Van Nuys courthouse. The shooter, identified by police as William Strier, 60, walked away and was tackled by an off-duty sheriff’s reserve officer. The attorney was treated at the hospital and released.
4—Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the only lawyer on the board, was named “person of the year” for 2003 by the Metropolitan News-Enterprise...The Third District Court of Appeal certified for publication an earlier opinion holding that a criminal defendant who was not present when police served a search warrant at his home cannot object to use of the evidence discovered on the basis that the officers did not wait long enough before concluding they had been refused entry.
5—Ramona Ripston resigned her seat as a public member of the Commission on Judicial Performance. Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson is to appoint her successor.
6—Members of the Los Angeles legal community gathered for a ceremony renaming the county’s main law library building for the late Mildred Lillie, who served on state courts for 55 years and was presiding justice of Div. Seven of this district’s Court of Appeal at the time of her death in October 2002.
7—A state law barring members of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority from voting on contracts if they have received campaign contributions from an interested party does not apply to labor contracts, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janavs ruled as she ordered the board to allow four of its members, including Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn and two city councilmen, to participate in efforts to end a transit strike...Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner John Ladner retired.
12—Burt Pines, judicial appointments secretary to Gov. Gray Davis, was named to the Los Angeles Superior Court as Davis faced his last days in office after becoming the first recalled governor in state history, and only the second in the history of the country. The lame-duck governor also named Deputy District Attorneys Michael D. Carter and Michael A. Latin and lawyers Wendy L. Kohn, Jan G. Levine and Michael P. Linfield to the court.
13—Efforts by the Senate Republican leadership to cut off debate on the nominations of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carolyn Kuhl to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit were rejected by near party-line votes.
17—Third District Court of Appeal Justice Daniel Kolkey resigned Nov. 17 to return to private practice.
18—The operator of an on-board communication system in a motor vehicle may be compelled to assist law enforcement in monitoring conversations within the vehicle, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. But a divided panel said a district judge went too far in allowing the FBI to disable such a system in order to facilitate surveillance of the owner.
19—California’s new standards for neutral arbitrators are inapplicable to securities industry arbitrations to the extent they conflict with industry rules approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled. The Div. Seven panel rejected broader preemption arguments, however, saying the rules do not violate the Federal Arbitration Act.
20—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit that seeks to hold gun makers and a distributor responsible for the 1999 shootings by white supremacist Buford Furrow in the San Fernando Valley. Those defendants may be held liable for negligence and for creating a public nuisance if the plaintiffs can prove that they knew their products were being sold in the “secondary market” to persons who had no legal right to own them, and took no steps to prevent this, or that they deliberately oversaturated the legal market with the knowledge that an illegal secondary market would thereby be created, Judge Richard A. Paez wrote for the Ninth Circuit...An employee has no constitutional or statutory protection from being fired for dating a subordinate in violation of company policy, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
21—The State Bar released the results of the July 2003 general California bar exam. A total of 7,788 applicants—the highest number to sit for the exam since 1980—took the test and 4,192, or 49.4 percent, passed. The rate was down from last year’s 50.5 percent rate, and was the lowest since 1986 for the exam given following spring graduation.
24—Former Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patrick B. Murphy should be disbarred for taking extended sick leave when he was perfectly capable of working and for lying to his presiding judge about the matter, a State Bar Court judge said. Murphy engaged in “egregious” misconduct, collecting a full judicial paycheck while pursuing other interests—including teaching law, attending a Caribbean medical school, serving as an instructor at a citizen’s police academy, and taking science courses at a Los Angeles chiropractic college—Hearing Judge Robert Talcott said in his decision.
25—The Fifth District Court of Appeal overturned a $290 million punitive damage award against the Ford Motor Company in an automobile rollover case, giving the plaintiffs their choice of a reduction to $23.7 million or a new trial limited to that issue. The court, which had previously upheld the award, said the remittitur was required by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co. v. Campbell (2003) 123 S. Ct. 1513.
26—Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Robert Dukes released the court assignment list for 2004. The list includes five new supervising judges—Thomas R. White, who replaces Steven D. Ogden in the North Valley District; Coleman A. Swart, who takes over for Mary Thornton House as supervising judge of both the North Central and Northeast Districts; Peter Espinoza, who takes over for Chris Conway in the Southeast District; Mark S. Arnold, who replaces Eric Taylor in the Southwest District; and Linda K. Lefkowitz, who will replace West District Supervising Judge Alan Haber.....Dr. Betty Wyman resigned as a public member of the Commission on Judicial Performance. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is to appoint her successor.
1—Deputy District Attorney Patrick David Campbell became the second of four potential candidates to complete the qualifying process for the post now held by Judge Marcus O. Tucker...The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from last December that the Second Amendment affords Americans no personal right to own firearms...The court also agreed to decide whether a Mexican doctor who was abducted from his office and brought to the United States without judicial process to face trial for his alleged role in the torture and killing of a Drug Enforcement Administration agent may sue the U.S. government for false arrest.
2—A Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel appeared perplexed as the judges questioned attorneys on the limits of prosecutorial immunity from civil rights lawsuits...The Eastern Division of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Riverside will pilot a program in which civil cases are directly assigned to a magistrate judge for their entirety, Judge Virginia Phillips said.
3—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied en banc review of a divided panel’s ruling that a 1996 law makes the operator of a website or bulletin board immune from liability for defamatory content provided by another party for publication even if the defendant retained the right to edit the content...An attorney who contacted two managerial employees of a corporation that was suing his client, without notifying the corporation’s attorney, did not violate State Bar ethics rules, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
4—Retired Deputy District Attorney Anthony Patchett, a former aide to District Attorney Steve Cooley, said he plans to challenge his ex-boss in the March 2 primary...Sitting judges should not be challenged because of “disagreements over good-faith administrative decisions,” the California Judges Association said, in statement that made unmistakable references to the ongoing efforts of some prosecutors to oust Los Angeles Superior Court Judges David Wesley and Daniel Oki.
5—Several candidates who filed declarations of intent to challenge the re-election of Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Dan Oki and David Wesley did not return nomination documents by the deadline, as only two of three potential opponents to Wesley, and only three of six to Oki, finalized their candidacies...The State Bar Court Review Department released an opinion concluding that former civil rights lawyer A. Thomas Hunt, who resigned from the State Bar with ethics charges pending more than 10 years ago, has been rehabilitated and should be reinstated...The Judicial Council of California, meeting in Los Angeles, voted to give its annual awards to 10 court programs—including the Los Angeles court’s Teachers’ Courthouse Seminar, operated by the Los Angeles Superior Court—and seven individuals... Some 30 state laws designed to benefit women, including those providing financial support for battered women’s shelters, do not unconstitutionally discriminate against men, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled.
8—Deputy District Attorney Patrick David Campbell, one of four candidates for the seat being vacated by Judge Marcus O. Tucker, asked the registrar’s office to cancel the ballot designation of one of his opponents in the March 2 primary, Superior Court Referee Mildred Escobedo, who is seeking to describe herself as “Judicial Officer.”...The conviction of James Herman Davis, a once-prominent personal injury lawyer from Los Angeles who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for stealing more than $2.5 million from his clients, was affirmed by this district’s Court of Appeal in an unpublished opinion.
9—An agreement under which the purchaser of a vehicle would have to pay at least $10,000 to arbitrate a dispute, and which contained no provision for a fee waiver, was unconscionable, the First District Court of Appeal ruled...The Court of Appeal for this district ruled that a Superior Court judge’s order establishing visitation rights for a stepfather violates the parents’ constitutional right to custody.
10—County officials said they are reviewing a Los Angeles Superior Court candidate Eugene Salute’s ballot designation—“Attorney/Temporary Judge—as well as his claim that he is indigent and unable to afford a candidate statement...The California Supreme Court declined review of a lower court ruling that the state’s plan to borrow nearly $2 billion to pay for employee pensions, part of the more than $15 billion in borrowing lawmakers relied on to balance the budget, is unconstitutional...Attorney General Bill Lockyer convened the first meeting of a 24-member statewide task force that will study the effectiveness of how local criminal justice agencies respond to and deal with domestic violence issues...The fact that an alleged elder abuse victim was competent at the time he gave videotaped testimony is an inadequate foundation for admission under a special hearsay exception enacted in 1999, the First District Court of Appeal ruled.
11—Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Richard Novak resigned in order to enter private practice...An instruction that could have allowed jurors to find a Sacramento man guilty of attempting to distributing harmful matter over the Internet with intent to seduce a minor based on evidence of chat room and e-mail efforts to get policemen posing as juveniles to masturbate was reversible error, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled.
12—A taxpayer is not entitled to deduct from his income, as an adjustment attributable to a reimbursed employee expense, fees paid to his lawyer by his former employer in settling a wrongful termination claim, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled...The Court of Appeal for this district ruled that the public has no right to access to proceedings related to the grand jury investigation of allegations of sexual abuse by priests in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles...Encino lawyer Eugene Salute, one of three candidates challenging Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dan Oki, said he will fight to win the right to be designated on the March 2 ballot as “Attorney/Temporary Judge”—a designation county election officials have allowed, but which is being challenged in court by Oki...The Metropolitan News Company received notice that a Los Angeles Superior Court judge has denied a motion by the Daily Journal Corporation to modify the 1952 judgment entitling the newspaper to publish legal advertisements—a motion that, if successful, would have slashed the number of legal notices that the Metropolitan News-Enterprise is eligible to publish.
15—Presiding Justice Charles S. Vogel of Div. Four of this district’s Court of Appeal said he will retire at the end of January 2004...Deputy District Attorney Daniel Feldstern, running for Los Angeles Superior Court judge in the March 2 primary, faxed a letter to elections officials challenging the plan of fellow prosecutor and election opponent Pat Campbell to be designated as “Criminal Prosecutor/Professor” on the ballot.
16—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary Thornton House, supervising judge of the court’s North Central and Northeast districts, said she will be a candidate for assistant presiding judge next year...A spokesperson for county elections officials said Deputy District Attorney Patrick David Campbell will be designated as “Criminal Prosecutor/Professor” on the March 2 primary ballot, explaining that objections to the designation by fellow prosecutor and election opponent Daniel Feldstern should have been brought in Superior Court during the public inspection period...Veteran criminal defense lawyer H. Elizabeth Harris was the top-ranked candidate for Superior Court commissioner...Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Steven Ipsen, president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys and a member of the State Bar Board of Governors, deliberately presented inconsistent arguments at the separate trials of two men charged with a San Fernando Valley murder, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge concluded in findings filed with the state Supreme Court...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dan Oki, who faces three challengers in the March 2 primary, said he regrets his decision to order felony arraignments halted at 4:30 p.m. on May 28 but never anticipated it would result in the release of criminal suspects...A complaint that the clerk did not accept for filing because the filing fee check was $3 short of the amount required was untimely filed and the action time-barred, the First District Court of Appeal ruled.
17—The Los Angeles Superior Court Executive Committee voted to terminate the existing list of candidates for Superior Court commissioner, Assistant Presiding Judge William MacLaughlin said, with the result that two existing commissioner vacancies, along with future vacancies as they arise, will be filled from a new list of 35 candidates chosen by a court selection panel.
18—The Ninth and Second U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals ruled that the U.S. military cannot indefinitely hold prisoners without access to lawyers or the American courts... Three candidates for Los Angeles Superior Court judge who claimed to be indigent in order to avoid prepayment of the cost of printing and distributing a candidate statement—Los Angeles Police Dept. Sgt. Kevin Burke, Deputy District Attorney Hilary Rhonan, and Encino business lawyer Eugene Salute—have had those claims rejected, a county official said.
19—The Los Angeles Superior Court named 35 finalists for court commissioner positions, a list headed by veteran criminal defense lawyer H. Elizabeth Harris, Morrison & Foerster partner Maren E. Nelson, Ventura sole practioner Robert A. McSorley, Referee Brian Petraborg, San Fernando Valley Neighborhood Legal Services attorney Harvey A. Silberman, Referee Anthony Trendacosta, and at Munger, Tolles & Olson staff counsel Anthony B. Drewry...Deputy Attorney General Robert Henry, who is running for Los Angeles Superior Court judge, brought suit in federal court challenging the requirement that candidates pay $65,000 to place a statement of qualifications in the official ballot pamphlet...A clause in a contract cannot override statutory provisions determining where venue is appropriate, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled.
20—Arne Sigfrid Lindgren, a former chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Trust and Probate Section and for 25 years a partner at Latham & Watkins in Los Angeles, died in Carlsbad at 71.
22—The defenses of “sentence entrapment” and “sentence manipulation” recognized by some federal courts do not apply in California, the state Supreme Court ruled...The court also said the time in which a plaintiff injured by the republication of a defamatory statement in a book may sue begins to run when the work is distributed, rather than when the plaintiff first read it or learned of its contents...The court also announced new rules under which California judicial candidates are no longer precluded from making statements that “appear to commit the candidate with respect to cases, controversies, or issues that could come before the courts.”...The San Luis Obispo Superior Court closed in the wake of an earthquake.
23—Presiding Justice Roger W. Boren of Div. Two was named by Chief Justice Ronald M. George to replace Presiding Justice Charles S. Vogel of Div. Four as administrative presiding justice of this district’s Court of Appeal.
24—An Orange Superior Court judge ruled that Encino attorney Eugene M. Salute, who is challenging Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Daniel T. Oki in the March 2 primary, may not be designated on the ballot as “Attorney/Temporary Judge.”...A Sacramento Superior Court judge ordered the name of Pasadena lawyer Harry Frank Scolinos of Scolinos Sbeldon & Nevell to be placed on the March 2 primary ballot for Congress despite a ruling by elections officials that his nominating papers did not have sufficient valid signatures...The “reasonable expenses” that may be awarded as sanctions for presenting an improper affidavit as part of a summary judgment motion do not include attorney fees, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.
29—The Commission on Judicial Performance announced it has instituted formal proceedings against Placer Superior Court Judge Joseph W. O’Flaherty for telling prospective jurors in two cases to make up excuses to avoid serving if they felt racial bias against defendants...Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Yaffe has scheduled Jan. 8 hearings on two challenges to judicial candidates’ ballot designations, an attorney for one of the candidates said. Deputy District Attorney Patrick David Campbell is challenging Superior Court Referee Mildred Escobedo’s right to run as “Temporary Judge,” the designation accepted by the registrar of voters after her original choice, “Judicial Officer,” was rejected, while Escobedo has challenged Campbell’s designation of “Criminal Prosecutor/Professor.”...The Court of Appeal for this district ruled there is no evidentiary privilege in California for communications between a union member and a union representative.
30—Legislation that extended the statue of limitations for sex crimes against children—struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court for crimes as to which the limitations period had already expired—is constitutional for crimes as to which time was still running when the law took effect, the First District Court of Appeal ruled… Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Nancy M. Brown will retire Jan. 31, a court spokesperson said…This district’s Court of Appeal ruled that an action for malicious prosecution may be maintained where the plaintiff in the underlying litigation lacked probable cause for most of the amount claimed, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled.
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