August
29,
2014

A report on where
things
stand



Assembly Adds Provision to Dues Bill That Would Allow State Bar Trustees to Run for Presidency in Last Year of Term...Former Chief Judge Collins Leaves Federal Court for State Court of Appeal....Cuellar Gains Approval From Commission, Voters Will Decide if He Joins Supreme Court



Judicial Elections

Two judicial runoff elections will occur on Nov. 4:
•Office No. 61, Dayan Mathai (Gang Homicide Prosecutor) and Jacqueline H. Lewis (Superior Court Commissioner) are vying for the right to succeed Judge Michael Nash.
•Office No. 87, Andrew M. Stein (Trial Attorney) will face Tom Griego (Criminal Gang Prosecutor).
The winner will succeed Judge Rex Heeseman, who retired Aug. 25 and joined JAMS as a private judge the next day.


Judges, Lawyers Under Scrutiny

David Tamman
Suspended Attorney

Tamman, a former partner at Nixon Peabody LLP, is appealing his conviction and seven-year prison sentence for obstructing two Securities and Exchange Commission investigations.
The Santa Monica resident was convicted on Nov. 13, 2012 in U.S. District Court of all 10 counts of an indictment charging him with trying to prevent the SEC from discovering that his client was running a Ponzi scheme.
Following a two-week bench trial, Tamman was found guilty of one count of conspiring to obstruct justice, five counts of altering documents, one count of being an accessory after the fact to his client’s mail and securities fraud crimes, and three counts of aiding and abetting the client’s false testimony before the SEC.
The client, former fund manager and radio personality John Farahi, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for running the scheme, which involved false promises that investors’ money—more than $24 million was collected, prosecutors said—would be invested in corporate bonds backed by the Troubled Assets Relief Program.
Tamman, who had left the firm while the SEC was investigating, is suing Nixon Peabody, contending that he was “thrown under the bus” by the firm, so that his partners could get their hands on his $1.5 million book of business.
The firm contends that it acted properly in firing him when it learned that he was under investigation by the SEC and had not disclosed that fact to the firm, and in cooperating with the SEC.
Tamman’s interim suspension from the State Bar took effect Feb. 18 of last year. An additional suspension for not paying bar dues took effect last July 2.


Judiciary: Vacancies, Appointments




Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

There are no vacancies.

 

Judge Audrey B. Collins retired Aug. 1 to join the state Court of Appeal.




Stanford Law School professor Mariano-Florentino Cuellar was confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments Aug. 28 to succeed Justice Marvin Baxter, who announced June 18 that he will not seek retention in November’s election. If confirmed by voters on Nov. 4, he will serve a full 12-year term.
Justice Joyce L. Kennard retired April 5.


First District

There is one vacancy, resulting from the retirement of Justice Paul Haerle from Div. Two.

Second District

Justice Frank Jackson retired from Div. Seven June 30 of last year. Justice Orville Armstrong retired from Div. Five July 31 of last year.
Justice Paul Coffee retired from Div. Six Jan. 31, 2012.
Among those whose names have been sent to the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation as possible appointees to the court are Ventura Superior Court Judge Tari Cody; Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Richard Rico, John Segal, Luis Lavin, Helen Bendix, and Sanjay Kumar; and Southwestern Law School professor Christopher Cameron.

Third District

The Commission on Judicial Appointments on Aug. 28 was expected to confirm Gov. Jerry Brown’s legal affairs secretary, Jonathan Renner, for the seat that has been vacant since Tani Cantil-Sakauye became chief justice in January 2011. District voters will decide in November whether to give him a full 12-year term, which would commence Jan. 5.

Fifith District

Justice Rebecca Wiseman retired Oct. 31 of last year.

Seats in other districts are filled.

Los Angeles Superior Court

Thirteen deputy district attorneys were elected to the court June 3 and will take office Jan. 5. Amy Carter will succeed Judge Michael Solner, who retired in February; Carol Rose will fill the seat last held by Judge Ronald Sohigian, who retired in April; Shannon L. Knight will fill the seat now held by Judge Lance Ito; Chris J. Frisco will succeed Judge Joseph DiLoreto, who retired July 31; Alison Matsumoto Estrada will replace Judge Harvey Giss; and Ann H. Park takes the seat now held by Judge Arthur M. Lew.
Also, Serena R. Murillo will fill the post now held by Judge Daniel Lopez; Teresa Pineda Magno succeeds Judge David Milton, who retired in February; Joan M. Chrostek will replace Judge Bob S. Bowers Jr.; Stacy Wiese will fill the seat last held by Judge R. Bruce Minto, who retired in March; and Carol Najera will replace Judge James B. Pierce, whom she defeated; Donna Hollingsworth Armstrong will take the seat formerly held by Judge Carlos Uranga, who retired in April; and Andrew Cooper will succeed Judge Jessica Perrin Silvers, who retired in February.
Judge Janice Croft retired Feb. 18, Judge John Meigs March 7, Judge Candace Beason April 15, and Judge Wendy L. Kohn June 6.
Vacancies created last year that have not been filled include the seats of Judge Charles W. McCoy, who retired Sept. 1, and Judge Cynthia Rayvis, who took disability retirement Aug. 22 and died Dec. 28.
There is a vacancy in a position that the Legislature authorized but has never funded, and five commissioner positions have been converted to judgeships that have not yet been filled.
Presiding Judge David Wesley said he will ask to convert seven more commissioner vacancies—resulting from the retirements of Commissioners James Endman, Anthony Jones, John Green, Carol Halowitz, and James Copeland, as well as the appointments of Joel Wallenstein and Lloyd Loomis to judgeships—to judgeships. Another commissioner, Louise Halevy, is on long-term sick leave.
Brenda Penny, a former probate attorney for the court, was elected commissioner last month and has been assigned to probate Dept. 9 at the Mosk Courthouse.
Among those whose names have been sent to the JNE Commission as possible appointees to judgeships are South Pasadena attorney Mark S. Priver; Deputy District Attorneys Kevin Stennis, Candace Foy Smith, Leonard Torrealba, Kathleen Tuttle and Brentford Ferreira; Santa Fe Springs criminal defense attorney Lillian Vega Jacobs; Court of Appeal staff attorneys Frank J. Menetrez, Kenneth E. Roberson and Kim Nguyen; Superior Court Commissioners Anthony Trendacosta, Collette Serio, Marilyn Kading Martinez, Robert Kawahara, Alan Rubin, Emma Castro, Jane Godfrey, Sharon Lewis Miller, Mark Zuckman, Dennis Mulcahy and Kenneth Taylor; State Bar Court Judge Richard Honn; Deputy County Counsels Terry Truong and Julie Ann Silva; Glendale attorney Kenneth Wright; Los Angeles attorneys Timothy Martella and Angel Navarro; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Wesley Hsu.
The name of Ed Chau was sent to the commission prior to his election to the state Assembly.


Legislation of Interest to the Legal Community

The Legislature took the following action on bills of interest to the legal community in August.

AB 655 by Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton. As amended, the bill would allow local governments to enact ordinances restricting the movements of registered sex offenders, abrogating a Court of Appeal ruling that such ordinances are preempted by the state’s sex offender registration scheme. The bill was amended Aug. 7.

AB 1607 by Assemblymember Steve Fox, D-Palmdale, which would amend procedures for release under the Sexually Violent Predator Act, including a provision for transfer of jurisdiction to the superior court in the county to which the defendant is released. The bill passed the Assembly May 23 by a vote of 75-0 and was sent to the Senate July 2. It was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee Aug. 14 by a vote of 5-0. An amendment that would postpone the operative date to Jan. 1, 2016 passed the Senate Aug. 19 but was removed on Aug. 22. The bill passed the Senate Aug. 26 by a vote of 35-0 and passed the Assembly the following day, 77-0.

AB 2171 by Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, which would grant residents of residential care facilities for the elderly many of the legal protections now given to residents of nursing homes. The bill passed the Assembly May 28 by a vote of 42-20 and was sent to the Senate, where it was amended Aug. 22 to eliminate a provision allowing current and former residents to sue for violations of the rights set forth in the statute. As amended, the bill passed the Senate Aug. 26, 34-0, and passed the Assembly Aug. 27, 59-18.

AB 2746 by the Assembly Judiciary Committee, the State Bar dues bill for next year. As amended in the Assembly, the bill increases the voluntary contribution for legal services for low-income persons. The bill passed the Assembly May 15 by a vote of 76-0. As amended in the Senate June 18, dues would have been increased by $7 in order to pay administrative costs. As subsequently amended in the Assembly, the dues increase would be eliminated, the voluntary contribution for legal services would be increased from $30 to $40, and a provision would be added allowing a State Bar trustee in the last year of his or term to run for president, in which case he or she would serve an additional year on the board, as the 20th member. The bill passed the Assembly Aug. 27 by a vote of 74-2 and now goes back to the Senate for concurrence in Assembly amendments.

SB 406 by Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, the Tribal Court Civil Judgment Act, passed the Senate Jan. 23 by a vote of 33-0, passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee June 17 by a vote of 10-0, and was re-referred to the Appropriations Committee. It was signed into law Aug. 22.

SB 1010 by Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, which would eliminate disparities in sentencing for crimes involving crack cocaine and those involving the same amount of powder cocaine. The bill passed the Senate May 28 by a vote of 21-12. It was amended in the Assembly Aug. 11 to specify that sentences for such crimes would be served in county jail rather than state prison. The bill as amended was passed by the Assembly Aug. 14, 50-19, and passed the Senate Aug. 21, 21-13.

SB 1058 by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco. The bill would expand the definition of “false evidence,” for purposes of obtaining habeas corpus relief, to include expert opinion that has been repudiated by the expert or disproven by technological advances. The bill passed the Senate in April, was amended in the Assembly June 4 to specify that it does not expand civil liability that might be imposed on any such expert beyond that which exists under present law, passed the Assembly June 23 by a vote of 61-7, and was sent to the Senate for concurrence in Assembly amendments, which came on Aug. 13 by a vote of 21-9. The bill was enrolled and sent to the governor.

SB 1272 by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, which would place an advisory question on the Nov. 4 ballot asking voters whether they favor a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) 558 U.S. 310, which permits corporations to make direct expenditures for the purpose of influencing elections. The bill became law without the governor’s signature July 22, but the Supreme Court ordered the proposal removed from the ballot Aug. 12, saying its validity was in doubt and that since it would have no immediate effect, it could be placed on a future ballot if the court upholds it.


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