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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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LA Superior Unveils Traffic-Ticket Kiosks

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Los Angeles County Superior Court has opened outdoor kiosks that will allow visitors to take care of traffic tickets outside five courthouses.

In an April 25 announcement, the court said that it was offering the service at the Beverly Hills, Chatsworth, Van Nuys West, Metropolitan, and West Covina courthouses. The kiosks are available seven days a week, the court said in a news release.

Court spokeswoman Mary Eckhardt Hearn said in a phone interview that along with online and automated phone services and walk-up windows, the kiosks mark another expansion of court services that will cut into wait times and lines.

Sherri Carter addressed those issues after she was appointed as executive officer and clerk in 2013, Hearn said, touring courthouses and talking personally with people waiting in line.

Read the whole story at Courthouse News Service

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Judge slams gay sex stings by Long Beach police, calling them discriminatory

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Los Angeles County judge on Friday strongly criticized the Long Beach Police Department's practice of conducting sting operations against gay men cruising for companionship, saying the department’s tactics were tantamount to discrimination.

Superior Court Judge Halim Dhanidina made the remarks in Long Beach while invalidating the 2014 arrest of Rory Moroney for lewd conduct and indecent exposure.

Moroney was ensnared by an undercover vice team that had set up a sting operation in a men’s bathroom at Recreation Park in October 2014. After receiving what he believed to be flirtatious signals from an undercover detective, Moroney was arrested for exposing himself, said Bruce Nickerson, his attorney.

Read the whole story at LA Times

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Harry Sondheim Professional Responsibility Award goes to staunch ethics advocates

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Don’t ask Brian C. Walsh whether he worries that lawyers get a bad rap.

Just think of the T-rex that feasted on the attorney in Steven Spielberg’s film “Jurassic Park” – as movie audiences cheered – and you get a sense of how far the legal profession’s image has plummeted, said Walsh, a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge.

Pasternak Goodman Walsh
Pasternak Goodman Walsh

It was difficult enough to overcome the stain that Watergate left on the shiny image of American legal advocates (think Atticus Finch). But by the 1990s, “nasty lawyer jokes were all the rage,” Walsh said. Then when an ABA study indicated that regard for lawyers had sunk to its lowest point ever, Walsh realized he needed to start rebuilding the profession from the inside. As then president of the Santa Clara County Bar Association, Walsh introduced and succeeded in getting the association to adopt its first Code of Professionalism in 1992.

As the code’s chief architect, he believed that formalizing a policy of ethics and professionalism would encourage lawyers to be more civil in their practices – and ultimately “the way to regain respect is start showing respect for each other … and to everyone we encountered,” he said.

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Dan Walters: State Bar of California’s dirty linen gets airing

Posted By Administration, Friday, April 29, 2016

Joe Dunn’s ears must have been burning Tuesday.

At 10:31 a.m., the former Orange County state senator, who is now running for a seat in Congress, dispatched a campaign news release touting his support by a school union.

At that very moment, 416 miles to the north, the Assembly Judiciary Committee was delving into dysfunction in the State Bar leading up to Dunn’s dismissal as its executive director in 2014.

The State Bar is a unique entity – a quasi-public agency that simultaneously acts as regulator of the state’s 200,000-plus attorneys and as a trade association that protects lawyers’ financial interests.

Read the whole story at SacBee

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Cruz would be a ‘great replacement’ for Scalia on Supreme Court, says GOP leader

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 27, 2016

If Senator Ted Cruz doesn’t win the Republican nomination, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has a consolation prize for him: Antonin Scalia’s Supreme Court seat.

"If he's not our nominee, I think he would be a great replacement for Scalia," Scalise said in a Fox Business interview, referencing the late Supreme Court justice who died in February.

Scalise suggested that regardless of their roles, Donald Trump and Cruz should “come together for the good of the country,” on a unity ticket or other arrangement.

"There's a role for him either way, whether he's the nominee,” Scalise said of Cruz.

Read the whole story at Miami Herald

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Prince died without a will, sister says

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Carver County, Minn., where the beloved pop icon died suddenly last week at his Paisley Park compound.

"The Decedent died intestate," Nelson said in her petition for the appointment of a special administrator to deal with Prince's estate, which has been widely reported to be valued at $300 million.

Nelson said her brother left no surviving spouse, no children and no parents.  Besides Nelson, his full sister, he is survived by half-brothers and half-sisters, whom Nelson names in her petition as "interested parties" to the Prince estate to her knowledge thus far.

Read the whole story at USA Today

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New $65M courthouse to open by end of 2019

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 27, 2016

State officials are working with architectural consultants on final designs for a new, $65 million courthouse in Tuolumne County that’s slated for completion in late-2019.

Donald Segerstrom, presiding judge for Tuolumne County Superior Court, has met with state officials and architects multiple times over the past year to provide input on preliminary plans that were approved by the state Public Works Board in January.

“They have consultants, architects and will ultimately have a construction contractor, but the state involves the local court in all levels of construction,” he said. “We meet regularly with them.”

The 61,000-square-foot building will be built on a 4.3 acre parcel at the county’s future Law and Justice Center off Old Wards Ferry Road in Sonora, which is also set to include the new jail and a juvenile hall that’s already under construction and expected to open by the end of this year.

As all trial courts in California are under state jurisdiction, funding for the project comes from a 2008 law that set aside up to $5 billion in lease-revenue bonds to finance new courthouse construction and renovation projects throughout the state. 

Read the whole story at The Union Democrat

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Lawsuit claims divorce court is a racket

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A long-shot federal lawsuit that accuses judges, lawyers and other professionals in San Diego County family court of engaging in a wide-ranging racketeering scheme to run up legal fees and court charges was dismissed but will get a review by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case was filed three years ago by the California Coalition for Families and Children, a San Diego group that accused family court participants of conspiring to delay cases and impose orders that drive up costs in divorce and custody fights.

“The divorce industry nationwide has been taking advantage of families and children for decades through encouraging harmful conflict and needless over-lawyering, fraudulent psychology and conflict-inducing ‘appointed counsel,’” coalition executive director Colbern Stuart said in a news release.

Read the whole story at San Diego Union-Tribune

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Lawmakers Bring Pitchforks to Bar Hearing

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Lawmakers on Tuesday took aim at the State Bar of California, comparing the agency to a sinking ship and equating bar leaders' repeated promises of change to the cartoon character Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown once again.

"I'm convinced this year that the state bar is the Titanic," Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, told colleagues on the Judiciary Committee. Chiu, a former civil rights attorney, called the bar's new roster of executives "well-meaning" but said the "organization is too far gone at this point" to avoid significant changes by the Legislature.

The committee was discussing the annual bar dues bill, which, in its current draft, keeps dues at their current levels for active and inactive members. But the discussion quickly turned to a debate currently engulfing the bar—whether the agency should be split into two new organizations, one focusing primarily on admissions and lawyer discipline and the other dealing with advocacy for the profession. Tuesday's conversation was fueled by a 19-page committee analysis detailing the bar's recent history of missteps, from securing a San Francisco building loan with members' future dues—without the Legislature's knowledge—to failing to act on hundreds of consumer complaints about the unauthorized practice of law.


Read the whole story at The Recorder

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In Trump University Case, Donald Trump’s Attorneys Argue No Trial is Needed

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 27, 2016

There is no need for a trial now; that’s what Donald Trump’s California-based legal teams have told the U.S. District Court in San Diego, hearing a federal class-action lawsuit against Trump University.

Two different lawsuits allege Trump’s school engaged in deceptive practices and scammed thousands of students who enrolled in response to claims the school would make them rich in the real estate market.

Click here to read more about the Trump University lawsuits.

According to the newly-filed court documents, Trump’s attorney claims enough “undisputed facts” have been submitted so the “causes of action” in the case can be decided. In the documents, they are asking for either a full or partial summary judgment.

Read the whole story at NBC San Diego

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more Calendar

4/26/2018
Diversity Happy Hour

5/2/2018
Fourth Annual Law Day Mixer

5/3/2018
How the DA Office's Real Estate Fraud Unit Prosecutes and Can Clear Title on Forged Instrument Cases

Recent Recognitions
Hon. Julie A. Emede2017 Outstanding Jurist of the Year
Golnesa MonazamfarBarrister of the Year 2017

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