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Commissioner & Immediate Past Federal Elections Committee Chair Ann M. Ravel Addressed Local Attorneys and Judges at SCCBA Annual Judges’ Night

Posted By Paula Collis, Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Outstanding Jurist of the Year Awarded to the Hon. Erica R. Yew, Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara


San Jose, CA (November 8, 2016) ‐ The Santa Clara County Bar Association, Silicon Valley’s largest lawyers’ association, held its annual Judges’ Night Dinner on November 9, 2016, at the Marriott in San Jose. This annual event hosted by the  Association honors both the state and federal judges in Santa Clara County and highlights the cooperative, close working relationships of attorneys and judges in advancing the administration of justice for the county’s citizens.


The Outstanding Jurist Award was awarded to the Honorable Erica R. Yew, Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara.  Governor Gray Davis appointed Yew, a San Jose native, to the Santa Clara County Superior Court on October 2, 2001.  Yew is the first Asian-American female to serve on this bench.  Yew was unanimously appointed by the California Supreme Court to the Commission on Judicial Performance (CJP) in December 2010 and is currently fulfilling her second term on the commission.  She also served for two years as Chair of the CJP, which is the state constitutional agency responsible for investigating complaints of judicial misconduct and disciplining bench officers.  From 2009 to 2012, Yew was a member of the California Judicial Council, which is the policymaking body of the California Courts.  Yew was appointed by the Chief Justice in July 2014 to the Judicial Council’s Advisory Committee on Providing Access and Fairness and to the California Commission on Access to Justice.  Yew served on the Council’s Task Force on Self-Represented Litigants for twelve years, as both an attorney and a judge, and was a member of the Council’s Judicial Recruitment and Retention Working Group.  She has served on the ABA Advisory Committee regarding Language Access.  That subcommittee’s recommendations for improving access for LEP (limited English proficiency) litigants were adopted by the ABA in February 2012 and are being implemented across the country.  


Nahal Iravani-Sani, District Attorney’s Office, County of Santa Clara, accepted the Diversity Award. This award was established to highlight  the critical importance of a diverse and representative legal profession in securing vigorous advocacy for clients and credibility to the justice system. The recipient of the Diversity Award demonstrates long-term commitment to promoting diversity in the profession.


The Pro Bono Award was presented  to to Ruth Silver Taube, Law Offices of Silver & Taube. The Pro Bono Award  each year recognizes a person or group who shows a sustained and extraordinary commitment to pro bono services to the indigent in Santa Clara County.


The Professional Lawyer of the Year Award was presented to Nora V. Frimann, Office of the City Attorney, City of San Jose. The recipient of this honor is an active, respected practitioner of the law who is chosen by their peers as an example of  unimpeachable character and who serves as an embodiment of  the standards set forth in the SCCBA Code of Professionalism and as a role model for other attorneys  practicing in Santa Clara County.


The Keynote Speaker addressing the  judges and guests was Ann M. Ravel.  Ms. Ravel is a Commissioner & the Immediate Past Chair of the Federal Election Commission, and formerly Santa Clara County Counsel. Commissioner Ann M. Ravel was nominated to the Federal Election Commission by President Barack Obama on June 21, 2013. After her appointment received the unanimous consent of the United States Senate, Ms. Ravel joined the Commission on October 25, 2013. She served as Chair of the Commission for 2015 and Vice Chair for 2014. From March 2011 until her appointment to the Commission, Ms. Ravel served as Chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), to which Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. appointed her. At the FPPC, Ms. Ravel oversaw the regulation of campaign finance, lobbyist registration and reporting, and ethics and conflicts of interest related to officeholders and public employees. During her tenure at the FPPC, Ms. Ravel was instrumental in the creation of the States’ Unified Network (SUN) Center, a web-based center for sharing information on campaign finance.

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November 4 Digest

Posted By Administration, Friday, November 4, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, November 9, 2016

'Down-Ballot' State Court Elections Now Played Up With Spending, Obama Nod

Though the U.S. Supreme Court has been a dominant issue in this year's presidential debates, state judicial races are... READ MORE »


Supreme Court Webcast, for Scalia Memorial, Will Be a First

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a first for the institution, will live stream a portion of a memorial Friday for the late... READ MORE »


Lawyer is shot at his law office; suspect's wife and son are found dead


These law schools are tops for median starting pay exceeding student debt


Did FBI's Clinton disclosure and its search of Anthony Weiner's computer violate the law?

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October 28 Digest

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 28, 2016
Updated: Monday, October 31, 2016

Judge Kreep says judicial watchdog agency targeted him, wants him to quit

San Diego Superior Court Judge Gary Kreep says the state’s judicial discipline agency has been on a “campaign of harassment and intimidation” against him in hopes he will quit the bench. By Greg Moran — San Diego Union-Tribune



Young scholar, now lawyer, says Clarence Thomas groped her in 1999

The anticipation of meeting a U.S. Supreme Court justice for the first time turned to shock and distress for a young Truman Foundation scholar in 1999 when, she says, Justice Clarence Thomas grabbed and squeezed her on the buttocks several times at a dinner party. On Oct. 7, a night dominated by the disclosure of Donald Trump’s audio-recorded boasts about grabbing women, Moira Smith posted on Facebook a memory of her encounter with Thomas. By Marcia Coyle — The National Law Journal (sub. req.)

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October 27 Digest

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 27, 2016

Why Gov. Jerry Brown is staking so much on Proposition 57 and prison sentences

Few California voters likely know much, if anything, about the state Board of Parole Hearings — from the qualifications of the 12 commissioners to their success in opening the prison gates for only those who can safely return to the streets. And yet Gov. Jerry Brown’s sweeping overhaul of prison parole, Proposition 57, is squarely a question of whether those parole officials should be given additional latitude to offer early release to potentially thousands of prisoners over the next few years. By John Myers — Los Angeles Times


California prosecutors turn to YouTube to re-argue case against convicted murderer seeking re-trial

It’s a standard line in almost any Hollywood legal drama: A prosecutor tells a herd of reporters he won’t answer a question because “I don’t want to try this case in the court of public opinion.” In real life, that premise might be changing.’ By Tony Saavedra — The Orange County Register


San Diego federal judges OK 99% of requests to cut drug sentences

New data shows federal judges in San Diego have granted all but one request in recent years to cut prison terms from inmates serving time for drug crimes. The data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission shows that since 2014, when a new sentencing rule went into effect that changed the calculation judges make when handing out sentences in certain drug cases, San Diego federal judges have granted 317 out of 318 requests for a reduced sentence. By Greg Moran — Los Angeles Times


Cruz says there’s precedent for keeping ninth Supreme Court seat empty

Speaking to reporters after a campaign rally for a Republican U.S. Senate candidate here, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said that there was “precedent” for a Supreme Court with fewer than nine justices — appearing to suggest that the blockade on nominee Merrick Garland could last past the election. “You know, I think there will be plenty of time for debate on that issue,” said Cruz, when he was asked whether a Republican-controlled Senate should hold votes on a President Hillary Clinton’s nominees. By David Weigel — The Washington Post


It’s the Supreme Court, not the Senate, that needs to do its job right now

The U.S. Supreme Court released its December calendar of oral arguments last week. Normally, the justices hear 12 or more cases during this sitting, but this year, they have scheduled only eight — a calendar court commentators have called “bare-boned” and “anemic.” By Eric J. Segall — Los Angeles Times

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October 26 Digest

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Suit: Suspending licenses of poor who can’t pay tickets illegal

California has illegally suspended the licenses of more than 600,000 drivers who can’t afford to pay their increasingly expensive traffic tickets, despite an amnesty program that was supposed to address the problem, advocates for the poor charged in a lawsuit Tuesday. Reports that millions of cash-strapped Californians had lost their licenses since 2006 prompted Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers last year to reduce fees for tickets issued before 2013 and allow many drivers back on the road.By Bob Egelko — San Francisco Chronicle


Genis pleads guilty to tax fraud, is admonished for lying to judge

It’s been an especially rough month for Darryl Genis, one of Santa Barbara County’s best known and most embattled attorneys. First, he pled guilty to multiple counts of tax fraud between the years 2005 and 2012, admitting that he shortchanged the IRS $679,958. By Nick Welsh— Santa Barbara Independent


California’s death penalty is beyond repair and should be repealed

Almost 40 years ago, I wrote California’s current death penalty law. I attempted to write a constitutionally sound law that would be fair and equitable. By Donald Heller — The Sacramento Bee


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October 21 Digest

Posted By Paula Collis, Friday, October 21, 2016 goes on attack against Kamala Harris over prosecution

The operators of the classified ad website have asked a Sacramento County judge to dismiss criminal charges filed by state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, who accused them of conspiring to profit off the prostitution and trafficking of women and girls. In a motion filed Wednesday, attorneys for Backpage Chief Executive Carl Ferrer and the site’s two former owners, James Larkin and Michael Lacey, contend that federal law and the 1st Amendment shield the publisher from prosecution over the content of ads posted by customers. By Matt Hamilton — Los Angeles Times


How did California man who slit his throat sneak razor blade into court?

When Jeffrey Scott Jones slashed his neck with a standard-issue razor blade Wednesday in an Orange County courtroom following a child sex-assault conviction, he became the latest statistic in a growing safety problem within the nation’s judicial system, according to a security expert. Violence in U.S. courtrooms is on the rise despite efforts by many states, including California, to implement more stringent security measures, said Nathan Hall, a senior consultant for the National Center for State Courts, in Denver. By Scott Schwebke and Alma Fausto — The Orange County Register


Clarence Thomas enters his second quarter-century on the Supreme Court next week much like he began his first — in dissent. The high court has changed, however, and that gives the nation's second African-American justice a new role to play. By Richard Wolf — USA Today


The lawyer who allegedly posed as a judge has been indicted on criminal charges, the latest fallout from the scandal that began when the judicial hopeful from the South Side put on a black robe and presided over three traffic cases, her lawyer said Thursday. Despite the charges, she intends to remain on the ballot in her Cook County judicial election on Nov. 8. By Steve Mills and Todd Lighty — Chicago Tribune


Although Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump discussed the Supreme Court at the debate Wednesday, they didn’t convey how crucial filling its vacancies will be for our constitutional rights. Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat will almost certainly be left for the next president to fill. By Erwin Chemerinsky — Los Angeles Times

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October 20 Digest

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 20, 2016

California investigates whether Wells Fargo committed criminal identity theft

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has launched an investigation into allegations that Wells Fargo & Co. engaged in criminal identity theft when the bank created millions of accounts without customer consent, according to the Los Angeles Times. The report is based on a search warrant, served on Oct. 5 and first obtained by the Times, in which Harris' office demands the identities and account information of California customers who had "any accounts, credit cards, life insurance, or other product or service" created without the customer's authorization. By Richard Gonzales — NPR



Alameda County traffic commissioner accused of bad behavior, misconduct

A longtime Alameda County court traffic commissioner could be removed from the bench if allegations of mistreating defendants, making inappropriate comments to female clerks, and other misconduct are proven at an upcoming hearing. The state Commission on Judicial Performance announced Wednesdaythat it’s launched a formal inquiry into alleged judicial misconduct by 70-year-old Taylor Culver, an Alameda County Superior Court Commissioner since 2005. By Malaika Fraley — East Bay Times



California promised public employees generous retirements. Will the courts give government a way out?

California’s generous public employee pensions, shielded for decades by the state’s courts, may soon no longer be sacrosanct. In a potentially huge win for advocates of cutting government pensions, an appeals court in August declared that public retirement plans were not “immutable” and could be reduced. By Maura Dolan — Los Angeles Times


California man sentenced to 30 years for conspiring to support Islamic State

A Southern California man convicted of conspiring to provide support to the terrorist organization Islamic State was sentenced to 30 years in prison Wednesday by a federal judge in Santa Ana, Calif. Muhanad Badawi, a 26-year-old resident of Anaheim, in Orange County, was convicted in connection with his efforts to help his co-defendant in the criminal case, 26-year-old Nader Salem Elhuzayel, get to Syria to fight for Islamic State, also known as ISIL. By John Emshwiller — The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)

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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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more Calendar

How to Draft a Custody Order

Diversity Happy Hour

Fourth Annual Law Day Mixer

Recent Recognitions
Hon. Edward J. Davila2017 Diversity of the Year
Hon. Julie A. Emede2017 Outstanding Jurist of the Year

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