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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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Will a Liberal Supreme Court Limit Money in Politics?

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The words “Citizens United,” especially when amplified by a vigorous Democratic presidential nomination fight, have become a potent shorthand for the influence of great wealth over American democracy. With the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the possibility of reversing the 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Committee quickly became a live issue in the election and in the shadowboxing over Justice Scalia’s replacement.

So imagine that a Democratic president’s nominee is eventually confirmed, and at the next opportunity, Citizens United is reversed. What happens next? Will money lose its hold on American politics?

Read the whole story at NY Times

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SCOTUS: Majority of Americans think Senate should vote on Merrick Garland

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Fifty-three percent of Americans think the U.S. Senate should hold a vote onSupreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, while 42 percent say the Senate should wait for the next president to nominate someone. Most Democrats (75 percent) want a vote now, but most Republicans (65 percent) think it should be held off until next year.

Senate Republican leaders have said they will not hold hearings on any Supreme Court justice nominated by President Obama because they want to wait until the next president is in office. Seventy-three percent of Americans think this is being done for political reasons, while just a quarter say it is because that's what Republican Senate leaders think is best for the country.

Read the whole story at CBS News

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Trump says he'll release list of potential Supreme Court justices

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

PALM BEACH, Fla. –  Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump says he's planning to release a list of judges that he would select from to fill Supreme Court vacancies if he's elected president in an effort to ease concerns about his picks.

"I am going to give a list of either five or 10 judges that I will pick, 100 percent pick, that I will put in for nomination. Because some of the people that are against me say: 'We don't know if he's going to pick the right judge. Supposing he picks a liberal judge or supposing he picks a pro-choice judge,'" Trump told a local gathering of Republicans in Palm Beach, Florida Sunday night.He says the list would include judges "that everybody respects, likes and totally admires" — "great conservative judges, great intellects, the people that you want."

Read the whole story at Fox News

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Law School's Grad Report Flawed, Expert Says

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The law school graduate who sued her alma mater claiming it puffed up post-graduation employment figures wrapped up her testimony Thursday in the only suit of its kind to go all the way to trial.

Anna Alaburda was cross-examined by Thomas Jefferson School of Law attorney Michael Sullivan, who focused on why she turned down a job offer from a bankruptcy law firm.

Alaburda told the jury she had consulted with lawyer friends who cautioned against working for the consumer bankruptcy firm Winterbotham Parham Teeple. The law graduate claims she came to the conclusion the firm was "predatory" and "took advantage of people who were already in a bad situation."

Sullivan poked holes in Alaburda's testimony, pointing out she did not mention her friend's advice in her 2013 deposition but instead testified that she could not afford to attend a month of training out of town and the firm would not pay her bar dues.

Alaburda said that while it wasn't in her deposition "it was still part of my decision-making process."

Read the whole story at Courthouse News Service

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Supreme Court steps into Apple v. Samsung fray

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Apple's years-long fight with Samsung Electronics over design patents will make its way to the US Supreme Court.

The nation's highest court on Monday agreed to review the case, the first time it has looked at a design patent case since the 1800s.

Samsung filed a request with the Supreme Court in December to re-examine the case after losing in court to Apple, which resulted in Samsung's requirement to pay Apple $548 million.

Apple shot back in February, calling the case "legally unexceptional" and asking the Supreme Court not to "prolong" the battle against Samsung. Apple also argued that the case didn't present a question important enough to require resolution at the top of the US judicial system.

"We welcome the court's decision to hear our case," Samsung said in a statement Monday. "The court's review of this case can lead to a fair interpretation of patent law that will support creativity and reward innovation."

Read the whole story at CNet

 

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New chief chosen to replace retiring D.C. federal judge named in sex assault case

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The District’s federal court named a new chief judge Thursday, one day after Richard W. Roberts retired, citing unspecified health issues that he said prevented him from continuing to serve.

The early retirement announcement coincided with the filing of a lawsuit by a Utah woman who accuses Roberts of sexually assaulting her decades ago when she was a 16-year-old witness in a murder trial Roberts was prosecuting. Roberts’s departure from the bench also followed the filing of a “misconduct complaint” March 7 by the Utah attorney general’s office, which investigated the woman’s allegations.

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Sexual harassment outcry at UC Berkeley Law School spreads to campus provost

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The recent sexual harassment scandal at UC Berkeley has spread to Provost Claude Steele, including concerns that he imposed lenient sanctions against the law school dean who admitted to sexual misconduct in exchange for a faculty appointment. Steele has been widely criticized for his handling of the case against Sujit Choudhry, who resigned as law school dean last week after his former assistant sued him for sexual harassment.

Read the whole story at LA Times

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DA's Office says investigator acted in self-defense in courthouse fight

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

SANTA ANA – Prosecutors on Thursday urged a judge not to remove them from an assault trial after an altercation in a courthouse hallway, saying an Orange County District Attorney’s Office investigator only struck a defense attorney in self-defense.

The fight last week between attorney James Crawford and D.A. Investigator Dillon Alley has temporarily halted the trial of 29-year-old Adrian Arroyo on the verge of jury selection.

In a motion filed on Thursday, Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Lockhart blamed Crawford for the altercation, refuting the attorneys claims that he was attacked and didn’t fight back.

“Crawford was no victim,” Lockhart wrote. “Investigator Alley responded in self-defense to Crawford’s hitting him in the face.”

Both men were involved in the Arroyo trial – Crawford as an attorney for a potential witness and Alley as an investigator assisting Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Kirk. Tensions boiled over during a routine pre-trial hearing on March 9, resulting in the physical altercation at the courthouse.

Read the whole story at OC Register

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District attorney posts harsh response to ABA president’s support for Kevin Cooper clemency

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos posted a harsh response on social media to the American Bar Association president who supports clemency for Chino Hills convicted killer Kevin Cooper.

“I am disgusted by the comments made by the president of the American Bar Association and the fact that they show no concern or respect for the victims and their families in this case,” Ramos posted on his professional Facebook page Wednesday. “Kevin Cooper committed the most horrendous crimes imaginable against the victims while they were in the sanctity of their home.”

In a letter sent to Gov. Brown on Monday, ABA president Paulette Brown cast “considerable doubt” that Cooper received due process and constitutional guarantees in his arrest, prosecution and conviction.

Cooper was found guilty of the June 1983 murders of Doug and Peggy Ryen, along with their daughter Jessica, 10, and 11-year-old Chris Hughes — a neighbor visiting the family. The Ryen’s youngest child, Joshua, 8, survived the attack.

Read the whole story at Daily Bulletin

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Eight Years, No Job, SoCal Law School Grad Says

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

SAN DIEGO (CN) - The woman who filed a landmark lawsuit against Thomas Jefferson School of Law because she's never been able to land a job in the legal field got teary-eyed Wednesday, recalling her upbringing and struggles to pay for school.
Anna Alaburda was called to the witness stand by her attorney Brian Procel to recount her path to law school and the subsequent struggles she claims she's experienced in finding full-time employment utilizing her law degree.
The law school graduate is originally from Northern California but grew up in Connecticut.
Alaburda fought back tears as she told the jury about being raised by a single mother who was a secretary and having to work full-time while attending New York University in order to afford college. She testified she had to take a couple of semesters off because she couldn't afford the costs of going to school and needed to work to save up money.
Alaburda said she graduated from NYU in 2002 and landed a job that fall at the LA County Hospital working for the University of Southern California. Three years into her job at USC, Alaburda said she did a "cost-benefit" analysis while weighing graduate school options in fields including journalism and art history before eventually settling on applying to law school.

Read the whole story at Courthouse News Service

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

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