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News for, and by, our local legal community, curated and created by the Santa Clara County Bar. The opinions expressed in this blog are the authors' own and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of the Santa Clara County Bar Association, its members, its employees, or its governing board.


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October 19 Digest

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Often overlooked, state court judge races can have a big impact

A review of recent voter participation data in San Francisco confirms conventional wisdom: judicial races are some of the most obscure on the ballot, with voters more likely to skip the choice. It’s no surprise to Mindy Romero, who heads the California Civic Engagement Project at UC Davis. By Alex Emslie — KQED


Donald Trump supporters protest outside lawyer Gloria Allred’s California office

Supporters of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump staged a protest Tuesday outside the Los Angeles office of attorney Gloria Allred, who represents Summer Zervos — the Huntington Beach woman who claims she was a victim of unwanted sexual advances by Trump. Carrying signs saying “Gloria Allred exploits women” and “Make America Great Again! #MAGA,” a half-dozen protesters rallied near the entrance to Allred’s office at 6300 Wilshire Blvd., in the Miracle Mile area. By Wes Woods and Anita Bennett — Southern California News Group


A federal judge in Texas has largely rejected the Obama administration's request to narrow a nationwide injunction banning enforcement of an Education Department policy requiring public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding to their gender identity. In an order issued late Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor made some changes to the ruling he issued in August at the request of 13 states opposed to the policy, but he left the Education Department unable to bring new cases enforcing transgender students' access to access to what he termed "intimate facilities" across the nation. By Josh Gerstein — POLITICO


Justice Department officials are warning that they will be dispatching fewer specially trained election observers this year as a result of a Supreme Court opinion that gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. The reduction is likely to diminish the department's ability to detect voter intimidation and other potential problems at the polls. By Eric Tucker — NBC Los Angeles


The jogger trots down a narrow sidewalk, apparently oblivious to the slim man in black trailing a few yards behind. Early morning traffic passes as usual. By Patrick J. McDonnell — Los Angeles Times


After Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died this year, President Obama went about nominating a successor, as required by the Constitution. But Senate Republicans — including John McCain of Arizona — resisted, insisting that the vacancy should be filled by the president chosen by voters in November. — Los Angeles Times

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October 17 Digest

Posted By Paula Collis, Monday, October 17, 2016

Judge Kreep faces discipline from state judicial commission

The state judicial discipline agency has charged San Diego Superior Court Judge Gary Kreep with misconduct stemming from his 2012 campaign win, as well as for a series of remarks he has made while on the bench about women and the racial and ethnic background of others. The formal charges issued publicly Friday by the Commission on Judicial Performance accuse Kreep of willful misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice and improper action. By Greg Moran — San Diego Union-Tribune



Contra Costa: Judge jails judicial reform advocate who discussed divorce online

In a decision First Amendment experts have dubbed “outrageous,” a Contra Costa Superior Court judge jailed a San Ramon man for writing about his divorce on the internet — even though his writings were based on material publicly available in court files. The judge, Bruce C. Mills, insisted in his decision that “matters that are put into court pleadings and brought up in oral argument before the court do not become public thereby” — a position that lawyers say fundamentally misunderstands the nature of court records. By Nate Gartrell — East Bay Times


California abortion-information law upheld by court

California can require hundreds of antiabortion clinics known as “crisis pregnancy centers” to notify their patients that the state makes abortion and other reproductive health care available at little or no cost, a federal appeals court ruled Friday. The law, which took effect in January, does not violate freedom of speech or religion because it merely requires the clinics to provide accurate information about health care that the patients have a right to receive, said the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. By Bob Egelko — San Francisco Chronicle


Opening of new $555 million San Diego courthouse delayed

The opening next year of the new Superior Court building in downtown San Diego has been delayed, court officials said. The $555 million, 22-story building at the corner of Union and C streets was to be completed at the end of this year. By Greg Moran — San Jose Mercury News


California judge salaries become bone of political contention

A minuscule pay raise for California's judges has revived a longstanding conflict over judicial pay, and a statute designed to take politics out of judges' salaries that is doing just the opposite. The Judicial Council, the rule-making body for the courts in California, sent shockwaves throughout the judiciary when it sent a memo to all the judges, telling them they would be receiving a mere 1.36 percent increase. By Maria Dinzeo — Courthouse News Service

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October 14 Digest

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 14, 2016
Updated: Monday, October 17, 2016

Plaintiffs lawyer who created fake companies, stole $605K is disbarred

The California Supreme Court has disbarred a Walnut Creek attorney for stealing more than $600,000 from his firm in a scheme involving fake companies and phony invoices. Kenneth Gerald Jones, a former partner at plaintiffs firm Bowles & Verna, will lose his law license on Oct. 19 under terms of a stipulation with the state bar that the Supreme Court approvedon WednesdayBy Cheryl Miller — The Recorder



ICE says new state law could keep dangerous immigrants in US

A new California law requiring detained immigrants to be notified of their rights before questioning by federal agents violates U.S. law and could interfere with deportation of dangerous people, a federal agency saidThursday. The state legislation, AB2792 by Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, is “in conflict with federal law,” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said. By Bob Egelko — San Francisco Chronicle


New, state-of-the-art federal courthouse officially opens in downtown L.A.

After nearly two decades of delays, the scales of justice are moving down the street in Los Angeles. Thursday marked the opening of a new federal courthouse on 1st Street, in the city’s downtown civic center. By Joel Rubin — Los Angeles Times


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October 12 Digest

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Anaheim settles discrimination lawsuit from city's first Latina attorney for $1.45 million

Anaheim and its former city attorney have reached a $1.45-million settlement to end a lawsuit over whether the longtime employee was ousted from her job in 2013 because she is Latina, officials said Tuesday. Cristina L. Talley’s suit claimed that after a 16-year career working for Anaheim’s government — the last four as its top lawyer — she was forced to resign in January 2013 by a select group of council members. By Matt Hamilton — Los Angeles Times


UC’s extraordinary legal battle with ex-Berkeley law school dean

A lawsuit filed against the University of California raises the extraordinary question of whether UC’s efforts to hold the former dean of one of the nation’s top-ranked law schools accountable for violating its sexual harassment policy are, in fact, illegal. The claim comes from Sujit Choudhry, a tenured law professor who resigned as dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law on March 10, two days after his former assistant claimed in her own lawsuit that he hugged, kissed and touched her repeatedly against her wishes in 2014 and 2015 and that campus officials did nothing to stop it. By Nanette Asimov — San Francisco Chronicle


Mistrial possible in civil rape case against NBA star Derrick Rose

A federal judge in Los Angeles is expected to consider Wednesday morning whether to declare a mistrial in the civil lawsuit accusing NBA star Derrick Rose and two friends of raping the basketball player’s former girlfriend in 2013. Rose’s attorney alleges that lawyers for the plaintiff withheld from the defense text messages the woman allegedly sent to Rose that supported the men’s account of what occurred. By Joseph Serna and Joel Rubin — Los Angeles Times


Seal Beach shootings 5 years later: Dekraai still in limbo as case rocks legal system

Two years ago, Scott Dekraai formally pleaded guilty to murdering eight people at Salon Meritage in Seal Beach, an act of mindless horror that forever injured the families involved and remains a scar on the peaceful, beachfront community. Today, exactly five years after the killings, the former tug boat operator is not in prison or on death row. By Tony Saavedra — The Orange County Register


San Diego attorney Cory Briggs challenges court ruling that slammed his conduct

Attorney Cory Briggs is asking the state appellate court to reconsider a ruling that accused him of engaging in possible “criminal conduct” in a case against the city of San Diego. In an opinion published Sept. 22, three justices of the 4th District Court of Appeal said Briggs knowingly represented a suspended corporation — San Diegans for Open Government — in a lawsuit challenging a new San Diego tax to finance the downtown San Diego Convention Center expansion. By Brad Racino — KPBS

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October 11 Digest

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Dumanis says talk of her stepping down early 'just speculation'

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis acknowledged Monday that there has been talk about the possibility of her stepping down from office before her term ends, but she said she hasn’t made any decisions about her political future. “I have not decided yet whether I’ll seek re-election in 2018,” she said in a phone interview. By Dana Littlefield — San Diego Union-Tribune


Explainer: Why and how kids end up in adult court

In 2000, Californians passed Proposition 21, a tough-on-crime measure that found success in the wake of heightened fears of a surge in youth crime in the 1990s. While that surge in crime didn’t come to pass, Proposition 21 had a big impact. By Laura Klivans — KQED


UC-Berkeley denies bias in discipline of ex-dean

The UC Regents have asked a federal judge in San Francisco to turn back a request from former UC-Berkeley law dean Sujit Choudhry to block a disciplinary investigation related to sexual harassment allegations against him. In court papers filed late Thursday evening, the school's lawyers at Munger, Tolles & Olson wrote that it would be inappropriate for U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg to interfere with the school's ongoing disciplinary proceeding, which has yet to run its course. By Ross Todd — The Recorder


If Harris wins Senate seat, Brown gets important appointment

California’s attorney general, the state’s top lawyer and law enforcer, is chosen by the voters, as provided by the state Constitution since 1849. But there’s a good chance the state’s next AG will be picked by Gov. Jerry Brown. By Bob Egelko — San Francisco Chronicle


U.S. top court to hear Apple-Samsung feud over iPhone designs

After five years of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on Tuesday in the bitter patent dispute between the world's two top smartphone manufacturers over the amount Samsung should pay Apple for copying the iPhone's distinctive look. The justices' ruling, due by the end of June, could have a long-term impact for designers and product manufacturers going forward because the Supreme Court, if it agrees with Samsung, could limit the penalties for swiping a patented design. By Andrew Chung — Reuters

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Election Results: 2017 Officers and Trustees

Posted By Paula Collis, Friday, October 7, 2016

San Jose, CA (October 7, 2016)  - The Santa Clara County Bar Association is pleased to announce the results of its election for 2017 officers and trustees. Those elected will serve with 2017 President, Kate Wilson.


KATE WILSON, as 2017 President, will focus her year on implementing the new strategic plan that has been carefully developed by the Board of Trustees over the last few years to ensure that the Association continues to thrive and serve its members and community for many years to come. She will also oversee the celebration of the SCCBA’s centennial anniversary by recognizing the SCCBA’s many accomplishments and providing opportunities for our vibrant membership to come together and share their experiences while building new relationships for the future.  Ms. Wilson intends to continue the Association’s longstanding commitment to the highest standards of professionalism in the practice of law in Santa Clara County and to expand that professionalism amongst new members and neighboring jurisdictions.


Ms. Wilson is currently the Director and Associate General Counsel of Commercial Litigation and Global Employment Law for Extreme Networks, Inc. in San Jose where her in-house practice focuses on commercial litigation, employment law, and general corporate matters.  Prior to joining Extreme, she ran her own solo law firm and, prior to that, she was a litigator and employment law associate at Berliner Cohen for approximately 7 years.


Ms. Wilson has been actively engaged with the SCCBA for much of the last decade, currently serving as the 2016 President-Elect since August 2016 when she was selected to serve a vacancy in that position.  For the eight months prior to her appointment, she served as the Association Treasurer and also served as Secretary in 2015.  Ms. Wilson began her activity with the SCCBA as chair of the Barristers’ Committee.  After also serving as chair of several other Association committees, in 2012 she was selected by her peers as the SCCBA Barrister of the Year. Ms. Wilson has served on the Association’s Executive Committee and Board of Trustees for six years, and has also served as a member of the Finance Committee.  


Ms. Wilson is a 2006 graduate of the Santa Clara University School of Law.


KEVIN HAMMON will serve as President-Elect for 2017 and will automatically assume the office of President in 2018. Mr. Hammon is currently serving as the Association Secretary. He has served as a trustee since 2011 and on the Executive Committee for four years.  Mr. Hammon has been most active with the Association’s Law Related Education Committee, which he chaired in 2010.  The Law Related Education Committee’s primary responsibility is overseeing the annual High School Mock Trial Program.  


Mr. Hammon has been uniquely qualified to support the Mock Trial Program as he was a participant in it when he was in high school in San Jose.  Mr. Hammon has been in the practice of law since 2007 and is currently a lawyer in the Santa Clara County Counsel’s Dependency Unit.  Prior to that, he was a litigation attorney with McManis Faulkner.  Mr. Hammon is a graduate of the UCLA School of Law.

GABRIEL GREGG will serve as the Association Treasurer for 2017.  Mr. Gregg is currently a trustee and has served on the Executive Committee for three years.  He was previously the chair of the Business Law & Litigation Section.  He also served a term on the SCCBA Fair Election Commission. Mr. Gregg is currently a litigation partner at Robinson & Wood, Inc. in San Jose. He previously practiced at other law firms, including Latham & Watkins in Los Angeles and San Francisco where he began his career after graduating from the UCLA School of Law and completing a federal judicial clerkship.


All members elected to the Board of Trustees will serve a two year term.

San Jose Trustees elected:  JOSHUA BORGER, LORI COSTANZO, and KATHRYN DIEMER.  They join Eugene Flemate, Bernard Greenfield, and Bruce MacLeod.

Palo Alto/Mt. View Trustee elected:  HOGENE CHOI and GOLNESA MONAZAMFAR. They join Suchitra Narayen.

Gilroy/Morgan Hill Trustee elected:  SUE SAIGN.

Tags:  Officers 

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Seeking Nominations for Professional Lawyer, Pro Bono, & Diversity Awards

Posted By Paula Collis, Friday, October 7, 2016
Updated: Thursday, October 6, 2016
Santa Clara County Bar Association is pleased to announce it is seeking nominations to honor our local legal professionals.
We encourage you to nominate individuals who qualify for each award, to be presented at the SCCBA Annual Judges Night on November 9, 2016. Please click on the links below to submit your nominations. The deadline for submitting the nomination forms is Wednesday, October 19, 2016, at 4:45 p.m.


The Selection Committee uses the following criteria to determine the recipient:

  • An active, respected practitioner;
  • Unimpeachable character;
  • Embodies standards set forth in the SCCBA Code of Professionalism.
  • The recipient should be a role model not only for the past but for the present requiring that the recipient be currently engaged in the practice of law.


Submit Nomination →


The Selection Committee uses the following criteria to determine the recipient. They may rely on any one or combination of these factors:

  • An active, respected practitioner;
  • Sustained commitment over time;
  • Extraordinary commitment of time over a continuous period;
  • Impact of the pro bono services provided;
  • Diversity of the recipients from year to year (this includes all types of diversity including practice area; individual vs. law firm; ethnicity; sexual orientation; gender; geography).


Submit Nomination →


The Selection Committee uses the following criteria to determine the recipient. They may rely on any one or combination of these factors:

  • Demonstrated long-term commitment to promoting diversity in the profession;
  • Particularly noteworthy achievement during the recent past in diversity work;
  • Outstanding personal leadership or groundbreaking achievement;
  • Any other factors the committee deems appropriate to the promotion of under-represented minority groups or women, in the legal profession.


Submit Nomination →

The deadline to receive all nominations is October 19, 2016 at 4:45pm.Thank you for supporting the recognition of the hard work put forth by members of our legal community.

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October 6 Digest

Posted By Paula Collis, Thursday, October 6, 2016

Harsher penalties for prosecutors in state who withhold evidence

California lawmakers and the State Bar are taking steps to crack down on prosecutors who withhold evidence that might have helped a criminal defendant. Until now, prosecutors who have broken the rules in California have rarely been punished. By Bob Egelko — San Francisco Chronicle



Uninsured hospital charges may be ‘unconscionable’

In a potentially significant victory for the uninsured, the high out-of-pocket charges imposed on self-pay patients for emergency room treatment may be “unconscionable” and thus illegal, a California appeals court heldWednesday. The Fourth District Court of Appeal reinstated the class action case of Gene Moran saying he had raised sufficient evidence that out-of-pocket hospital charges by Prime Healthcare Services Inc. in Huntington Beach for self-pay patients may be unconscionable. By Pamela A. MacLean — Trial Insider


Monrovia attorney disbarred for multiple professional conduct violations

Nicholas Hrant Lambajian, who practiced law in Monrovia, was disbarred May 28 and ordered to comply with the California Rules of Court. Lambajian was disbarred after his default was entered for failing to appear at his disciplinary trial for failing to comply with the terms of his disciplinary probation. By Kerry Goff — Northern California Record


Marin judicial candidates reach final stretch after long slog

Since surviving a nine-way primary in June, the two remaining candidates for an open Marin judgeship have been raking the county for endorsements and contributions. By that measure, Sheila Lichtblau, a deputy county counsel, has the edge over Michael Coffino, a deputy public defender, heading into the Nov. 8 election. By Gary Klien — Marin Independent Journal

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SCCBA Seeks Candidates for the SCCBA ABA Delegate Position

Posted By Paula Collis, Thursday, October 6, 2016

DESCRIPTION:  As a bar association with at least 2,000 members, the SCCBA is entitled to send a delegate to the ABA House of Delegates to represent the SCCBA. The ABA House of Delegates, in its role as the policy-making body of the Association, meets at the Midyear Meeting in February and the Annual Meeting in August. At each meeting, the House considers and adopts new policy resolutions on a broad range of issues related to the legal profession. Once resolutions are adopted as official ABA policy, the Governmental Affairs Office coordinates implementation of the policies and serves as the focal point for the Association's advocacy efforts before Congress, the Executive Branch and other governmental entities. For more information:

The delegate attends the ABA’s annual and mid-year meetings, represents the SCCBA’s interests, votes on the SCCBA’s behalf, and reports back to the SCCBA Board of Trustees.  The delegate serves a two-year term and receives a $1,500 annual stipend from the SCCBA to partially reimburse his or her expenses. For the last 16 years, the ABA delegate position has been ably filled by Bob Weeks. Bob has decided to pass the baton, thus, the Board of Trustees is looking to fill the vacancy. 

CRITERIA:  The Board will fill the vacancy if a suitable candidate can be identified.  Some of the criteria the Board will look to, but are not exclusive, are as follows.

  • Be an Active Member of the SCCBA and the ABA;
  • A member who is well regarded in the legal community locally, statewide and/or nationally;
  • Must be enthusiastic about serving as ABA delegate;
  • Be a member and/or active on one or more House of Delegates Committees;
  • Will engage actively with the Board to plan for the ABA meetings; identify and discuss potential initiatives of interest to the SCCBA and planned votes;
  • Report to the Board at the first Board meeting after the ABA mid-year and annual meetings in person and/or in writing.

APPLICATION: If you are interested in applying for the vacancy, please contact SCCBA CEO Chris Burdick at to request an application.  In addition to the application, you will be requested to submit a resume and statement of interest.

Deadline for submission of the application is October 25, 2016 at 4:45 pm.

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Pro Tem Judges sought by Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara

Posted By Paula Collis, Wednesday, October 5, 2016
The Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara is seeking additional volunteers for the Temporary Judge program.  Under California Rules of Court, qualified and experienced attorneys may volunteer their time to serve as part of the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara's Temporary Judges' Program. Temporary judges are appointed and serve at the discretion of the Court. Attorneys must have been members of the California State Bar for at least ten years, must be a member of the State Bar in good standing, must not have pled guilty or no contest to a felony, and must satisfy the education and training requirements

Go to  the Temporary Judge Web Page for more information; 
To contact the Temporary Judge Administrator with questions or for general information, please email

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Nora V. Frimann2016 Professional Lawyer of the Year
Mariel BlockBarrister of the Year 2016

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