February
28,
2017

A report on where
things
stand



Preliminary Hearing Set Next Month for Entertainment Attorney Accused of Sex With 14-Year-Old... New Justices Dato, Fields and Meehan Confirmed to Fill Court of Appeal Vacancies...Bill to Require Police Cooperation With Immigration Authorities in Cases of Alien Felons Introduced in Assembly



Judges, Lawyers Under Scrutiny

Edmund W. Clarke Jr.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge

Clarke, who was publicly admonished by the Commission on Judicial Performance Sept. 29 based on remarks he made to, and about, four potential jurors in a criminal case, petitioned the state Supreme Court on Dec. 27 to review the CJP decision.
The commission filed its response Feb. 14. The commission found the remarks to be “condescending,” “discourteous and intimidating,” and “manifestly...undignified.” It also found that the judge engaged in retaliatory conduct by ordering one of the four, who had complained about the courtroom clerk, to wait in the hallway after being excused.

Benjamin Lawson Adams
Entertainment Attorney

Adams, 31, is scheduled for preliminary hearing setting March 13 in Dept. 4 in Torrance. Adams pled not guilty Aug. 26 to having sex with a 14-year-old boy.
He faces three counts each of lewd acts upon a child, oral copulation of a person under 16, two counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object and one count of sodomy of a person under 16. Prosecutors, in announcing the charges last summer, said Adams sexually assaulted the victim during the months of October and September 2015, after initiating contact via a social media app and then arranging to meet in person.

Carmen Trutanich
Former Los Angeles City Attorney

A status conference has been scheduled for March 13 in State Bar Court regarding charges that Trutanich, as the deputy district attorney prosecuting a capital murder case in 1985 and 1986, suppressed evidence favorable to the defendant.
In a notice dated Feb. 9, bar prosecutors alleged that Trutanich knowingly or negligently failed to inform the defense that a prosecution witness had falsely identified another person who had witnessed the charged killing, and also failed to provide that witness’s address.
Trutanich, who served as city attorney from 2009 to 2013 and is now at Tucker Ellis LLP in Los Angeles, is also charged with allowing a police detective to testify falsely at a pretrial hearing in the same murder. Trutanich has repeatedly denied the charges, and his attorney told the MetNews he expects the case to go to trial


Judiciary: Vacancies, Appointments




Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

There are four vacancies on the 29-judge court. Judge Harry Pregerson took senior status Dec. 11, 2015; Judge Barry Silverman took senior status Oct. 11; and Judges Richard Clifton and Diarmuid O’Scannlain took senior status Dec. 31.

 

There are five vacancies. Judge Audrey B. Collins retired Aug. 1, 2014 to join the state Court of Appeal; Judge Margaret Morrow took senior status Oct. 29, 2015 and subsequently left the bench to become president and chief executive of Public Counsel; Judge Dean Pregerson took senior status Jan. 28 of last year; Judge Christina A. Snyder took senior status Nov. 23 of last year; and Judge George H. King retired Jan. 6.




There are no vacancies.


Second District

There are vacancies in Div. Two, due to the Jan. 31 retirement of Presiding Justice Roger Boren; Div. Three, due to the Oct. 5, 2015 retirement of Justice Patti S. Kitching; Div. Five, due to the retirement of Justice Richard Mosk, who left the court March 30 of last year and died 18 days later; and Div. Seven, due to the retirement of Justice Fred Woods on March 31, 2015.
Among those whose names have been sent to the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation as possible appointees to the court are Los Angeles attorneys Kent Richland and Bradley Phillips; Ventura Superior Court Judge Tari Cody; Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Gail Ruderman Feuer, Ann H. Egerton, Rita Miller, Richard Rico, Helen Bendix, Ann Jones, and Sanjay Kumar; and Southwestern Law School professor Christopher Cameron.
Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Allan Goodman has been assigned to Div. Two, Superior Court Judge Rupa Goswami to Div. Three, Judge Curtis Kin to Div. Five, Judge Michael Small to Div. Seven, and Judge Douglas Sortino to Div. Eight, all through the end of next month.

Fourth District

The Commission on Judicial Appointments, on Feb. 9, confirmed Gov. Jerry Brown’s nominations of San Diego Superior Court Judge William Dato to succeed retired Justice James McIntyre in Div. One, and Riverside Superior Court Judge Richard T. Fields to succeed retired Justice Jeffrey King in Div. Two. Justice Alex McDonald of Div. One died Sept. 8.

Fifth District

The Commission on Judicial Appointments, on Feb. 9, confirmed Gov. Jerry Brown’s nomination of Fresno Superior Court Judge Kathleen Meehan to succeed retired Justice Dennis Cornell.

Seats in other districts are filled.

Los Angeles Superior Court

Judge Lloyd Nash is retiring March 3 and Judge David Minning on April 6.
Judge Soussan Bruguera retired Dec. 15. Vacancies were created earlier last year by the retirements of Judge Steven Van Sicklen Nov. 1, Judge John Henning Sept. 8, Judge Peter Espinoza May 31, Judge Jane Johnson May 23, Judge Emilie Elias May 9, Judge Robert Willett March 9, and Judge Russell Kussman Feb. 18, and by the death of Judge Daniel Brenner Feb. 15.
Vacancies remaining to be filled from 2015 occurred as a result of the retirement of Judge Tia Fisher Aug. 1 and the resignation of Judge Jeffrey Winikow Dec. 4.
The MetNews learned this month that the names of Manhattan Beach attorney Decio Cedric Rangel Jr., Deputy Public Defender Neetu Singh Badhan-Smith, and West Los Angeles attorney Mark DiMaria have been sent to the JNE Commission as possible appointees to the court.
Among those whose names have previously been sent to the governor are Deputy Alternate Public Defender Tracee May-Brewster; Altadena attorney Cynthia Cannady; Deputy Public Defenders Jose Colon and Lisa Brackelmanns; Bakersfield attorney Bernard Barrman Jr.; Century City attorney Jonathan Rosenbloom; Deputy District Attorneys Kerry White, Candace Foy Smith, Leonard Torrealba, and Kathleen Tuttle; retired Deputy District Attorney Brentford Ferreira; Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney—and former city attorney candidate—Michael Amerian; attorney/mediator Michael Diliberto; former Superior Court Referee Stephanie Davis; Los Angeles attorneys Angel Navarro and Lisa Mattern; Superior Court counsel Brett Bianco; Beverly Hills attorney Edward Tabash; South Pasadena attorney Mark S. Priver; Court of Appeal staff attorney Kenneth E. Roberson; Superior Court Commissioners Karin Borzakian, Timothy Martella, Pamela Davis, Collette Serio, Marilyn Kading Martinez, Robert Kawahara, Alan Rubin, Emma Castro, Jane Godfrey, Sharon Lewis Miller, Mark Zuckman, Dennis Mulcahy, Terry Truong and Kenneth Taylor; State Bar Court Judge Richard Honn; Deputy County Counsel Julie Ann Silva; Glendale attorney Kenneth Wright; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Wesley Hsu.
Commissioner Harold J. Mulville is retiring March 30.


Legislation of Interest to the Legal Community

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

AB 3 by Assemblymember Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, which would appropriate an as-yet unspecified amount to provide expanded legal assistance to immigrants, including unaccompanied minors. The bill was amended in the Assembly Feb. 17.

AB 42 by Assemblymember Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, which would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to safely reduce the number of people detained pretrial, while addressing racial and economic disparities in the pretrial system, to ensure that people are not held in pretrial detention simply because of their inability to afford money bail. As amended in the Assembly Feb. 14, the bill would require that the court release a defendant being held for a misdemeanor offense on his or her own recognizance absent an additional finding that there is no condition or combination of conditions that would reasonably ensure public safety and the appearance of the defendant if the defendant is released.

AB 298 by Assemblymember James Gallagher, R-Chico, which would require a local law enforcement official to cooperate with federal immigration officials by detaining an individual convicted of a felony on the basis of an immigration hold for up to 48 hours after the person becomes eligible for release from custody if continued detention on the basis of the immigration hold would not violate federal law, with costs to be reimbursed by the state if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill would impose an unfunded mandated on the local agencies. The bill was introduced Feb. 6.

SB 6 bby Sen. Ben Hueso, D-El Centro, which would create the Due Process for All Act, and would, among other things, appropriate funds to pay lawyers to represent immigrants facing removal from the United States. On Jan. 31, the Judiciary Committee passed the bill by a vote of 5-2, sending it to the Committee on Human services, which on Feb. 14 passed it by a voe of 3-1. The bill was amended Feb. 15 and sent to the Committee on Appropriations.

SB 8 by Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, which would expand mental health diversion, currently available only to misdemeanor defendants, to those charged with low-level felonies. As amended Feb. 21, the bill says the court may consider police reports, preliminary hearing transcripts, witness statements, statements by the defendant’s mental health treatment provider, medical records, or records by qualified medical experts,†among other evidence, to determine whether the defendant’s mental issues substantially contributed to the alleged criminal conduct.


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