May
29,
2015

A report on where
things
stand



Brown Nominates Three, Including Former Justice Elwood Lui, to Court of Appeal...Rozella Oliver Named U.S. Magistrate Judge...Former Nixon Peabody Partner Seeks En Banc Rehearing After Ninth Circuit Panel Affirms Conviction for Obstructing SEC Probe of Client


Judicial Elections

The campaign for judicial offices on the June 2016 ballot received an early start in January when Deputy District Attorneys Debra Archuleta, David Berger, Steven Ipson, and Taly Peretz filed paperwork in order to begin raising campaign funds. They have since been joined by business litigator Aaron Weissman.


Judges, Lawyers Under Scrutiny

David Tamman
Suspended Attorney

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this month granted Tamman, a former partner of Nixon Peabody LLP, until June 18 to file a petition for rehearing or rehearing en banc, following the April 3 affirmance of his Nov. 13, 2012 conviction.
The panel upheld Tamman’s seven-year prison sentence on 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 his client’s false testimony before the SEC.
The panel rejected arguments that Tamman’s jury waiver should not have been accepted because he was under the influence of several psychotropic drugs at the time, that the guidelines sentencing range was erroneously calculated, and that hearsay evidence was improperly admitted at trial.
Tamman’s 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. The scheme largely targeted members of Los Angeles’ Iranian-American Jewish community.
A case management conference in Tamman’s suit against Nixon Peabody LLP, where he used to be a partner, has been scheduled for June 11, continued from May 20. Tamman, who left the firm while under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, contends in his complaint that he was ìthrown under the bus” so that his partners could get their hands on his $1.5 million book of business.
The firm contends it acted properly in cooperating with the agency’s investigation into charges against a Tamman client, and ultimately against the attorney himself.
Tamman’s interim suspension from the State Bar took effect Feb. 18, 2013. An additional suspension for not paying bar dues took effect July 2, 2013.


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.
Rozella Oliver, an assistant U.S. attorney in the district for the past 10 years, and in the District of Columbia for three years before that, was appointed and sworn in May 1 as a magistrate judge.




There are no vacancies.


Second District

Gov. Jerry Brown last month nominated three candidates to fill vacancies on the court.
Former Justice Elwood Lui was nominated to fill a vacancy that exists in Div. One as a result of the elevation of Frances Rothschild to presiding justice. White House attorney LaMar Baker was nominated to Div. Five, where he would succeed Justice Orville Armstrong, who retired July 31, 2013 and died Dec. 22 of last year.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John L. Segal was nominated to succeed Justice Frank Jackson, who retired from Div. Seven June 30, 2013.
Vacancies remain in Div. Three, as a result of the death of Justice Walter Croskey Aug. 29; Div. Seven, due to the March 31 retirement of Justice Fred Woods; and Div. Six, from which Justice Paul Coffee retired Jan. 31, 2012.
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 Rita Miller, Russell Kussman, Richard Rico, Luis Lavin, Helen Bendix and Sanjay Kumar; and Southwestern Law School professor Christopher Cameron.
The following Los Angeles Superior Court judges have been assigned to the court: Helen Bendix to Div. One through June; Anne Harwood Egerton to Div. Three through June; Richard H. Kirschner to Div. Five through July; Bruce G. Iwasaki through June; and Mary H. Strobel to Div. Seven through August.

Seats in other districts are filled.

Los Angeles Superior Court

There are vacancies as a result of the retirements last year of Judges Antonio Barreto Jr. Sept. 5, Steven Ogden Sept. 24, James Steele Sept. 30, and Leslie A. Dunn Nov. 10; the elevations of Judge Brian Hoffstadt on Aug. 28 of last year and Judge Lee Edmon on Jan. 5 of this year to the Court of Appeal; and this year’s retirements of Judges Thomas White Feb. 19; Ronald Rose March 20; and Patrick Hegarty and Patricia Schnegg March 31, Arthur Jean, Owen Kwong, and Ronald Skyers April 30, and Leland Harris May 8.
Among those whose names have been sent to the JNE Commission as possible appointees to judgeships are Los Angeles attorney Lisa Mattern, Deputy Public Defender David Hazami, Century City lawyer Josh Wayser, Superior Court counsel Brett Bianco; Beverly Hills attorney Edward Tabash; Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Songhai Miguda-Armsted; Los Angeles attorney Timothy Dillon; South Pasadena attorney Mark S. Priver; Deputy District Attorneys Karen Borzakian, Candace Foy Smith, Leonard Torrealba, Kathleen Tuttle and Brentford Ferreira; Court of Appeal staff attorneys Kenneth E. Roberson and Kim Nguyen; Superior Court Commissioners 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; Los Angeles attorneys Timothy Martella and Angel Navarro; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Wesley Hsu.
Commissioner Marshall Rieger retired March 28. Commissioner Loren DiFrank retired Feb. 28.
Commissioner John Murphy is retiring June 17 and Commissioner David Bianchi is retiring July 1


Legislation of Interest to the Legal Community

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

AB 60 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, which would permit attorneys to charge fees for assisting immigrants in obtaining relief from deportation under President Obama’s recent executive order. Existing law prohibits such fees from being charged in the absence of federal legislation authorizing such relief. As amended, the bill applies to ìany future executive action or order that authorizes an undocumented immigrant who either entered the United States without inspection or who did not depart after the expiration of a nonimmigrant visa, to attain a lawful status under federal law.” The bill passed the Assembly as an urgency measure April 13 by a vote of 77-0 and was sent to the Senate, where it passed the Judiciary Committee May 6 by a vote of 7-0, but was re-referred to the Appropriations Committee.

AB 182 by Assemblymember Luis Alejo, D-Salinas, which would broaden the scope of the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 by allowing courts to create a remedy for racially polarized voting within local government districts, as well as within jurisdictions that vote at-large. The bill passed the Assembly May 11 by a vote of 53-25 and was sent to the Senate, where it was referred to the Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments.

AB 202 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, which would grant employee status to cheerleaders for professional sports teams. The bill passed the Appropriations Committee May 6 by a vote of 12-5.

AB 249 by Assemblymember Jay Obernolte, R-Big Bear Lake, which would bar a criminal defendant from bringing an appeal based solely on an assessment of fines, fees, or other monetary exactions, unless the issue was first raised in the trial court, by post-sentencing motion if necessary. As amended, the bill would permit the motion to be made informally, in writing, and would also permit informal, written motions to correct errors in the calculation of sentencing credits. An amendment specifying that the trial court retains jurisdiction to correct errors in the calculation of monetary assessments after an appeal has been taken was approved April 13. The bill passed the Assembly April 23 by a vote of 78-0 and was sent to the Senate, where it was assigned to the Public Safety Committee May 7.

AB 256 by Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, which would extend the criminal statute regarding falsification of evidence to cover the destruction or concealment of an electronic record for the purpose of keeping it from being used in court. The bill passed the Assembly May 11 by a vote of 79-0 and was sent to the Senate, where it was referred to the Public Safety Committee May 21.

AB 691 by Assemblymember Ian Calderon, D-Industry, which would establish a process, under probate court supervision, by which an individual may determine how much of his or her electronically stored personal information will be made public after his or her death. The bill passed the Assembly 78-0 on May 11 and was sent to the Senate, where it was assigned to the Judiciary Committee.

AB 1026 by Assemblymember Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, which would eliminate the prohibition against the administration of oaths and affirmations by former judges who retired due to disability. As amended, all former judges—unless removed from office by the Commission on Judicial Performance—would be allowed to administer oaths after obtaining a certificate from the CJP declaring the ex-judge does not suffer from an impairment affecting the ability to administer oaths. The bill unanimously passed the Judiciary Committee May 12 and the Appropriations Committee May 27, and was placed on the consent calendar.

SB 134 by Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles, which would grant the State Bar explicit authority to collect voluntary payments to support a student loan repayment program for public interest lawyers. The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee May 12 by a vote of 7-0, was amended the next day, and was re-referred to the Appropriations Committee where it was placed on the suspense file Tuesday and was set to be heard yesterday.

SB 227 by Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, which, as amended, would bar the use of the grand jury to investigate killings by police officers, except where the investigation is instigated by a grand jury member, rather than the district attorney. The bill passed the Senate in May 7 by a vote of 23-12 and was sent to the Assembly, where it was referred to the Public Safety Committee May 22.

SB 504 by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Los Angeles, which would ease requirements for the sealing of juvenile records. The bill was set to be heard in the Appropriations Committee yesterday.

SB 588 by Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin DeLeon, D-Los Angeles, which would permit the Labor Commissioner to enforce orders for payment of wages as if they were civil judgments. The bill was placed on the Appropriations suspense file May 11 and was set to be heard yesterday.

SB 682 by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, which would limit the authority of trial courts to privatize services previously performed by employees. As amended May 5, the bill would apply only to a new contract, not the renewal or extension of an existing one. The bill was subsequently placed on the Appropriations suspense file and was set to be heard yesterday.

SB 711 by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Vacaville, which would authorize county law libraries to charge for ìspecial services” such as photocopying and admission to special events. The bill passed the Senate May 22 by a vote of 38-0..


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