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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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Judge says ‘no’ to seeking legalized prostitution in California

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 4, 2016

Americans may have a constitutional right to engage in consensual, intimate relationships, but that doesn’t mean they have a right to buy or sell sex, a Bay Area federal judge ruled Thursday in upholding California’s 144-year-old ban on prostitution.

In a lawsuit filed a year ago, the plaintiffs — three former prostitutes, a would-be client, and the Erotic Service Provider Legal, Education & Research Project, a San Francisco organization that “seeks to empower the erotic community and advance sexual privacy rights” — invoked the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling that overturned state laws against gay sexual activity. 

Read the whole story at SF Gate

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What's the California Supreme Court thinking? One justice gives us a clue

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 4, 2016

Cases the California Supreme Court declines to review may be as important as the court's full-blown rulings, especially to the litigants. But little is known about why the court rejects certain appeals.

The justices vote on which cases to accept in a closed meeting held around a large, imposing table in the chief justice's corner chambers in San Francisco. Their decisions are announced in brief orders, often no more than a paragraph. The orders give the case name and number, without any description, and do not reveal the court's reasoning.

Read the whole story at LA Times

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Unleash the Leader Within: Apply for the 2016 Barristers' Leadership Program

Posted By Paula Collis, Friday, April 1, 2016

The Santa Clara County Bar Association is seeking participants in its 2016 Barristers Leadership Program. 

This program, implemented in 1994, is designed to introduce participants to the local legal landscape, to prepare future leaders of the Bar Association, to encourage and promote diversity among the leadership, and to provide an opportunity for young and/or new attorneys to strengthen their leadership skills. All participants must be SCCBA Members who have been in practice fewer than 5 years or are under the age of 36. 

This four-month program includes formal leadership training sessions, lunch with the presiding judges, a leadership workshop, an ethics session with Judge Towery, and an intensive orientation to the SCCBA. Participants will also attend the SCCBA Board of Trustees, Finance, and Executive Committee meetings, as well as the Barristers’ Committee and other SCCBA committee meetings.

“The Barristers Leadership program provided an invaluable opportunity to meet local attorneys with different levels of experience and create new contacts,” said one past participant. “This program also allowed me to develop leadership skills that will be useful in my law practice and as a member of the Santa Clara County Bar Association.”

All interested candidates are encouraged to submit an application form here. All applications are due by April 28, 2016.

APPLY HERE


Please email sarab@sccba.com with any questions or information requests.

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Civil War Heats Up in California State Bar

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The California State Bar fired a public information officer who had close ties to ousted Bar leader Joseph Dunn, the fired press officer claims in court.

Thomas Layton claims that current chief trial counsel Jayne Kim tried to drag him into her "high-profile war against Joseph Dunn," arising out of Dunn's report that Kim had removed 269 backlogged cases from internal records to make her office appear more productive.

Dunn subsequently sued the Bar and its President Craig Holden in a whistleblower action, and that case is now in arbitration.

"Someone is off the rails at the State Bar," Layton's attorney Robert Baker told Courthouse News. "I don't know who it is, but I'm going to find out."

Layton sued the California State Bar, Kim and 20 "board defendants"on Monday in Superior Court.

Read the whole story at Courthouse News Service

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Diversity Committee News: Thank You 2016 BAMSCP Employers

Posted By Ram Fletcher, Wednesday, March 30, 2016

This entry is cross-posted from the Diversity Committee Blog.

 

We want to take this opportunity to formally acknowledge and thank each of the firms and organizations (below) that are participating in the Bay Area Minority Summer Clerkship Program this year.  Once again we have a tremendous group of employers who are "walking the walk," not just "talking that talk," when it comes to increasing diversity in the legal profession.  One of the main reasons BAMSCP continues to be a highly sought after summer clerkship program is our participating employers' genuine commitment to supporting the development of minority law students not just by hiring them, but also by offering mentoring, networking and invaluable practical experience early in their legal careers.  More often than not, our students report they forged meaningful relationships, developed professionally, and also had fun during their placement.  This is a credit to the dedication of our participating employers who continue, year after year, to make it a worthwhile experience.  We look forward to many more years of successful partnership and are deeply grateful for what all of our participating organizations have done to make BAMSCP something we should all be proud of.

 

Below is a list of our 2016 BAMSCP employers:

 

Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP

East Bay Municipal Utility District 

Fenwick & West

Hoge, Fenton, Jones & Appel 

Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood

Mlnarik Law Group, Inc.

Nixon Peabody LLP

Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP

County Counsel’s Office (Santa Clara)

District Attorney’s Office (Santa Clara County)

Public Defender’s Office (Santa Clara County)

Wells Fargo Legal Department

Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean

 

Thanks to all! 

 

Ram Fletcher/Jennifer Leung (2016 BAMSCP Co-Chairs)


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Federal Appeals Court Ruling Could Accelerate Death-Row Executions

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A contentious Justice Department policy that could speed up death-row executions is closer to taking effect, following a recent federal appeals court ruling.

Read the whole story at Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

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Quin Denvir to Gov. Jerry Brown: Commute all death row sentences

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Quin Denvir, long an opponent of the death penalty and one of the lawyers who steered Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski around probable execution, has asked Gov. Jerry Brown to commute the sentences of California’s death row prisoners.

In a letter to the governor dated March 17, Denvir said he has “been haunted by the death penalty” since 1977, when it was reinstated in California and Denvir was appointed state public defender by Brown during his first term as governor.

“I have represented several death row inmates who were able to avoid execution, and I lost one, Tom Thompson,” Denvir said in the letter. “He was very likely innocent of capital murder, and his case has been chronicled by (9th U.S. Circuit) Judge (Stephen) Reinhardt as a miscarriage of justice.

Read the whole story at SacBee

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Gov. Brown grants pardons to 59 felons

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Gov. Jerry Brown, who has handed out more pardons than any California governor in modern times, added to his record Friday by granting official forgiveness to 59 people, most of them for drug crimes and other nonviolent offenses many years ago.

Pardons are issued to those who have completed their sentences, including parole, at least a decade ago and, “have demonstrated exemplary behavior and have lived productive and law-abiding lives” ever since, Brown’s office said. Most have obtained certificates of rehabilitation from their county Superior Court.

“These pardons recognize — and even affirm — that people can turn their lives around after making mistakes and become solid members of their community,” the governor, a one time Jesuit seminarian, said in a statement.

Read the whole story at SF Gate

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The most terrifying part of my drug addiction? That my law firm would find out.

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 25, 2016

The morning before I got sober, my breakfast consisted of nearly a bottle of red wine and a few thick lines of cocaine. I got dressed, checked my teeth for lipstick and my nose for stray coke, put my laptop in its case and picked up the paper on the way out to work at my law firm. I felt sick, afraid and completely alone. I know now that I was wrong about the alone part.

A newly released study conducted by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs reports an alarming statistic: Up to 21 percent of licensed, employed lawyers qualify as problem drinkers; for lawyers under age 30, it’s 31.9 percent. By comparison, only 6.8 percent of all Americans have a drinking problem. In addition to questions related to alcohol, participants were asked about their use of licit and illicit drugs, including sedatives, marijuana, stimulants and opioids: Seventy-four percent of those who used stimulants took them weekly.

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ACLU Attorneys Say Dive Bar Bounced Them for Being Black

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 25, 2016

A dive bar had no idea it was dealing with two accomplished civil-rights attorneys when it kicked them out for what the women say was racism.

Abre’ Conner claims Fresno, California dive bar, The Brig, booted her and fellow ACLU of Northern California attorney Novella Coleman because they refused to buy more drinks as they waited to sing karaoke.

The Brig’s mandatory drinks rule, they say, seemed to apply only to them: the lone black patrons in the mullet-loaded pool hall.

Read the whole story at The Daily Beast

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