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August 25 Digest

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 25, 2016

Tossed death penalty may signal shift on California Supreme Court

In a ruling that could signal tougher scrutiny of capital cases by California’s highest court, Gov. Jerry Brown’s three appointees have joined a fourth justice to overturn a death sentence that a previous majority had voted to uphold. Monday’s 4-3 vote by the state Supreme Court granted a new penalty trial to Gary Grimes, to determine whether he should be resentenced to death or to life in prison without parole for his role in the murder of a 98-year-old Shasta County woman.
 -- San Francisco Chronicle


Judging the judges: Recalls may become easier, but is that better for California?

The reaction has been swift, viral and unrelenting. Shortly after Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky sentenced an ex-Stanford University swimmer to only six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, the victim’s emotional 12-page court statement appeared online, where it was read by 13 million people — including Vice President Joe Biden, Silicon Valley influencers and Hollywood stars.
 -- KQED


San Diego immigration attorney Christopher Macaraeg loses law license

San Diego immigration attorney Christopher Macaraeg has been disbarred after being accused of repeatedly missing court deadlines, prompting judges to dismiss his clients' cases, according to the State Bar of California. Macaraeg has an office in San Diego’s Gaslamp District.
 -- NBC 7 San Diego


After losing two trials, Santa Clara County DA drops assault charges against black motorist

After failing to win a conviction in two separate trials, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office on Wednesday took the uncommon step of dropping felony charges against a black motorist accused of assaulting a white sheriff's deputy by driving toward him on a narrow mountain road. It was a case that embodied both the safety concerns of law enforcement that suspects are increasingly prone to attack them, and of minority residents who feel cops disproportionately subject them to deadly force.
 -- Bay Area News Group


Should California require pro bono work for law students?

California could soon follow in New York's footsteps and become the second state to require law students to complete 50 hours of pro bono work before becoming lawyers. Sen. Marty Block of San Diego introduced the bill, which landed on Gov. Jerry Brown's desk after it passed in the state Assembly and Senate this month.
 -- KPBS

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Bay Area Minority Summer Clerkship Program (BAMSCP) seeks 2017 participating students & firms

Posted By Paula Collis, Thursday, August 25, 2016

Both student participants and mentoring firms are sought for the 2017 session of the Bay Area Minority Summer Clerkship Program (BAMSCP). BAMSCP is sponsored by the Santa Clara County Bar Association (SCCBA), Alameda County Bar Association (ACBA), and the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA).

Since its founding in 1990, BAMSCP has helped law firms and other organizations recruit over 300 minority law students into their summer clerkship programs.

The purpose of BAMSCP is to introduce talented minority first year law students who might not have been selected for a traditional summer program to the firm or corporate experience, while at the same time furthering the desire of many firms in today's marketplace to  further diversity goals and provide opportunities to young  lawyers.

First-year minority students from Boalt Hall, Hastings, Golden Gate, Santa Clara, Stanford, University of San Francisco, McGeorge, and UCDavis are invited to participate.

To find out how your organization can benefit from BAMSCP, contact Irene Cortez, BAMSCP Coordinator of the Santa Clara County Bar Association, at (408) 975-2114 or email at Complete program information and applications can be found at

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August 24 Digest

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 25, 2016

Court again upholds California's 'gay aversion' therapy ban

A federal appeals court has for the second time upheld California's first-in-the nation ban on so-called gay aversion therapy. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday tossed out a San Diego pastor's legal challenge to the counseling ban Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law in late 2012.
The Associated Press


SF court casts doubt on cockfighting as a deportable crime

Cockfighting is a crime in all 50 states, but it may not be the type of gravely immoral offense that requires deportation of any noncitizen who commits it, a federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled Tuesday. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a 2013 decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals, the nation’s top immigration court, that classified cockfighting as a crime of “moral turpitude.”
 -- San Francisco Chronicle


Illegal drugs are flowing into California's most guarded prisons — and killing death row inmates

Condemned murderer Michael Jones was acting strangely and profusely sweating when guards escorted him in chains to the San Quentin medical unit that doubles as the psych ward on death row. “Doggone, I don’t think you’re ever going to see me again,” he told a fellow inmate, Clifton Perry.
 -- Los Angeles Times


Warrant for former DA Paul Zellerbach in wiretap case

A judge issued an arrest warrant Tuesday for former Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach after he failed to appear at a court hearing to answer questions about an eavesdropping operation so vast it once accounted for nearly a fifth of all U.S. wiretaps. The warrant, however, will not be sent to law enforcement for Zellerbach to be arrested unless he does not show up for another hearing on wiretaps, now scheduled for Sept. 30.
 -- The Desert Sun and USA TODAY

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August 19 Digest

Posted By Administration, Friday, August 19, 2016
Updated: Thursday, August 25, 2016

Gun advocates sue California over open-carry restrictions

In response to a federal appeals court’s decision to uphold California’s restrictions on carrying concealed handguns, firearms advocates are suing the state for the right to carry their weapons openly in public. In California, law-abiding adults “are completely barred from exercising their right to bear arms — in any manner,” the California Rifle & Pistol Association, joined by four individual gun owners, said in a suit filed Wednesday in federal court in Los Angeles.
-- San Francisco Chronicle


California lawmakers advance bill to decriminalize prostitution for minors

A controversial bill that would decriminalize prostitution for minors squeezed out of the California Assembly on Thursday and is now headed back to the Senate for a final vote. SB 1322, authored by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), would make the crimes of solicitation and loitering with intent to commit prostitution misdemeanors inapplicable to children younger than 18.
 -- Los Angeles Times


Legalizing marijuana in California: Proposition 64 is complicated, but highly likely to pass

I know you’ve been distracted/disgusted/gobsmacked by the presidential campaign all summer. But history, polling and common sense tell us that California’s electoral votes already belong to Hillary Clinton (sorry, Donald Trump fans). So stop wasting time worrying about that, Golden State types, and turn your attention to the doorstop of a ballot that you’ll be facing when you vote Nov. 8.
 -- Los Angeles Times


Sacramento debating felony status for prosecutorial misconduct

California lawmakers are getting closer to passing a bill that would throw the book at prosecutors who withhold evidence in criminal trials. Assembly Bill 1909 (Lopez) would make prosecutorial misconduct a felony, instead of a misdemeanor, punishable by up to three years in jail.
 -- 89.3 KPCC

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August 18 Digest

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 18, 2016

Court sets California gun-carry case on path to Supreme Court

A federal appeals court rejected a challenge by gun groups Monday to California’s requirement of a license to carry a concealed handgun outside the home, clearing the way for a final test in the U.S. Supreme Court. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld the law in June, ruling 7-4 that there is no constitutional right to carry concealed weapons in public. By Bob Egelko — San Francisco Chronicle

On the offense: Transgender Californians aim to pre-empt ballot struggle

One after another they stepped to the podium telling stories of liberation through transformation. There was the man, in suit and bow tie, who once played college basketball on a women’s team. By Laurel Rosenhall— KQED News

Transgender bathroom policy comes under fire at Clovis schools meeting

The Clovis Unified school board Wednesday night revisited requests for alternative physical education coursework and bathroom facilities in response to parents concerned about a state law allowing transgender students to use the bathroom consistent with their identity. “You’ve had three years to do something about this,” Josh Fulfer said, referring to the amount of time since Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1266, which extended gender discrimination protections to transgender and gender-nonconforming students. By Razi Syed — The Fresno Bee


2015 law school graduates got fewer jobs in private practice

Last year’s law school graduates landed fewer jobs in private practice than any class in the last two decades, according to the National Association for Law Placement, which tracks developments in the legal profession. “You have to go back to 1996 to find a comparably small number of private practice jobs,” said James G. Leipold, the association’s executive director. By Elizabeth Olson — The New York Times

The ABA overrules the First Amendment

The American Bar Association represents about a third of the country’s 1.2 million lawyers. But it is more than a trade association. It also has some governmental power, which makes its latest foray into political correctness of more than passing interest. By Ron Rotunda — The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)


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August 17 Digest

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 18, 2016

9th Circuit court bars feds from prosecuting medical marijuana cases

A federal appeals court has banned the Justice Department from prosecuting medical marijuana cases that comply with state laws. A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered the DOJ to show that 10 pending cases in California and Washington violated medical marijuana laws in those states before continuing with federal criminal prosecutions. — The Associated Press


Bill to allow more felons to vote heads to Jerry Brown

California could soon restore voting rights for tens of thousands of felons who are not serving their sentences in the state prison system. The state Senate on Tuesday passed Assembly Bill 2466 by a vote of 23-13, sending it to governor’s desk for consideration. By Alexei Koseff — The Sacramento Bee

California court helps kids by healing parents' addictions

At 10 a.m. on a recent Wednesday morning, a line of parents pushing strollers filed into a conference room at the Sacramento County Courthouse in California. They sat at rows of narrow plastic tables, shushing their babies and looking up at a man in a black robe. By Jenny Gold — NPR

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August 16 Digest

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 16, 2016

California Supreme Court overturns death penalty in 1993 killings of two Target employees

The California Supreme Court decided unanimously Monday to overturn the death sentence of a man convicted of killing two former co-workers at a Target store in 1993 after he had been passed over for promotion. Sergio Dujuan Nelson was 19 when he shot and killed Robin Shirley and Lee Thompson, who had worked with him at a Target store in La Verne. By Maura Dolan — Los Angeles Times


Public defender says D.A. lied, cheated for 10 years, should be booted from 2nd murder case

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office, a year after being booted from the trial of mass killer Scott Dekraai because of prosecutorial missteps, is facing removal from another murder case involving allegations of falsifying evidence. A hearing is scheduled to begin today on whether local prosecutors knowingly used doctored reports from the California Highway Patrol to convict a man charged with murder in the 2006 traffic death of an off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy. By Tony Saavedra — The Orange County Register

Orange County defense lawyer files $10 million lawsuit after courthouse beating

James Crawford—a successful, Santa Ana-based criminal defense lawyer who claims Orange County district attorney's office (OCDA) investigator Dillon Alley "brutally" assaulted him in the courthouse last March—filed a lawsuit today seeking $10 million in damages. The incident received nationwide attention because Crawford's work aided in unraveling District Attorney Tony Rackauckas' ongoing jailhouse snitch scandal and the attack occurred days after he'd convinced a California Superior Court judge that one of his homicide case clients, Henry Rodriguez, deserved a new trial after being victimized by OCDA misconduct. By R. Scott Moxley — OC Weekly

Oakdale attorney disbarred for 'serious nature and extent' of misconduct

Richard Carroll Sinclair, an attorney who practices in Oakdale, was disbarred on March 18 due to engaging in a fraudulent real estate scheme, seeking and obtaining loans on false pretenses, skimming off loan proceeds, rental income, tenant deposits and other fees and making misrepresentations to courts to conceal and further the scheme to defraud, according to the State Bar of California. The official State Bar of California document also explained that Sinclair caused an altered trial exhibit to be submitted in a civil matter and failed to obey a court order by not paying $1,150 in sanctions in a civil matter and did not report those sanctions to the State Bar. By Kerry Goff — Northern California Record

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August 15 Digest

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Marijuana vote: Judge splits ruling on Prop. 64 lawsuits, both sides to change ballot arguments

Both advocates and opponents of California’s marijuana legalization measure are claiming victory after a judge determined Friday that they each made misleading statements in arguments to be included in official ballot pamphlets for the Nov. 8election. Pro- and anti- Proposition 64 groups sued each other last week in Sacramento County Superior Court, challenging comments submitted to the Secretary of State concerning how the initiative might affect pot advertising and minors, among other things. By Brooke Edwards Staggs — The Orange County Register

Race, class collide in prosecuting theft of Scott Wiener’s phone

When a thief snatched San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener’s cell phone in December, the towering, Harvard-educated former deputy city attorney responded quickly and coolly under pressure. He negotiated with the suspect to accompany him to a Wells Fargo ATM near the 16th Street Mission BART Station and participate in a swap of $200 for the return of his iPhone 6. By Karen de Sá — San Francisco Chronicle

Strike over: Court clerks in Santa Clara County vote to return to work

Normal court operations will resume Monday after employees Sunday voted to end Santa Clara County's first court strike in 14 years by approving the administration's latest contract offer. The walkout by more than 300 clerks, janitors, mediators and researchers lasted for eight work days, disrupting court operations and closing clerks' offices since it began Aug. 3. By Tracey Kaplan and Tracy Seipel — San Jose Mercury News

No ‘Queen for a Day’ among counties pleading for courthouse bucks

Back in the black-and-white days of television, a popular show called “Queen for a Day” pitted female contestants who moved audiences with their stories of financial and emotional hardships. The winner, determined by an audience applause meter, found herself draped in a robe, a tiara placed on her head, a bouquet of roses in her hand and lavished in prizes ranging from vacations to appliances, often a washer and a dryer set. By Jeff Jardine — The Modesto Bee

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Santa Clara County Court's Response to Tentative Agreement Ratification

Posted By Paula Collis, Monday, August 15, 2016

SAN JOSÉ, Calif. (August 14, 2016): The Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara will resume standard operations on Monday, August 15, 2016, and issues the following statement in response to ratification of the Tentative Agreement:


"We are pleased that a mutually agreeable resolution has been achieved. The Court is eager to move forward together and welcomes the returning of employees tomorrow and the resuming of our regular operations."

Tags:  Santa Clara County Court 

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Santa Clara County Court: Labor Agreement Reached

Posted By Paula Collis, Monday, August 15, 2016

SAN JOSÉ, California (August 12, 2016): The Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara issues the following statement:


“We are pleased to announce that the parties have come together to reach an agreement.  We understand that the SCPEA bargaining team is recommending ratification of this agreement to its membership, and it will be voted on over the weekend.  If ratified, we expect our employees will return to work on Monday and normal court operations will resume.”

Tags:  Santa Clara County Court 

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How to Draft a Custody Order

Diversity Happy Hour

Fourth Annual Law Day Mixer

Recent Recognitions
Steven B. Haley2017 Professional Lawyer of the Year
Hon. Edward J. Davila2017 Diversity of the Year

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