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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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Justice Dept. grants immunity to staffer who set up Clinton email server

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 4, 2016

The Justice Department has granted immunity to a former State Department staffer, who worked on Hillary Clinton’s private email server, as part of a criminal investigation into the possible mishandling of classified information, according to a senior law enforcement official.

The official said the FBI had secured the cooperation of Bryan Pagliano, who worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign before setting up the server in her New York home in 2009.

As the FBI looks to wrap up its investigation in the coming months, agents are likely to want to interview Clinton and her senior aides about the decision to use a private server, how it was set up, and whether any of the participants knew they were sending classified information in emails, current and former officials said.

Read the whole story at Washington Post

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Women attorneys, judges gather outside courthouse for Women's History Month

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 4, 2016

City and county attorneys, federal and local judges and the county’s top prosecutor were among the almost 100 women who gathered for a photograph outside Kern County Superior Court Thursday afternoon in celebration of Women’s History Month.

All women attorneys and judges in the county were asked to take part in the photo, said organizer Alekxia Torres Stallings, president of the Women’s Lawyers Section of the Kern County Bar Association. The goal: Show what a strong presence women have in the local legal community.

District Attorney Lisa Green participated, Torres Stallings said, as did Kern County Counsel Theresa Goldner, Bakersfield City Attorney Ginny Gennaro and U.S. Magistrate Judge Jennifer L. Thurston. A number of other judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys also showed up. 

Read the whole story at Bakersfield Californian

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Twitter Adds Legal Muscle in Suit Over Surveillance Disclosures

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 4, 2016

Twitter Inc. has added firepower to its legal team in a suit challenging limits on what companies can divulge about surveillance requests in national security investigations.

Mayer Brown partner Andrew Pincus, a top appellate advocate who has argued 25 cases to the U.S. Supreme Court, entered an appearance for Twitter on Wednesday. Palo Alto partners Lee Rubin and Donald Falk will also represent the social-media company. They join a team from Perkins Coie that includes Bay Area intellectual and privacy partner James Snell; the firm's Seattle-based appellate chief, Eric Miller; and Washington, D.C.-based privacy law expert Michael Sussman.

Under the current framework, companies can provide aggregate disclosures about their compliance with federal surveillance orders. For instance, companies such as Twitter and Facebook can share the total number of customer accounts subject to orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, but only in bands of 1,000.

Read the whole story at The Recorder

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California voters could finally weigh in on 'Citizens United' in November

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 4, 2016

California voters will likely weigh in this November on the explosion of money in politics, through an advisory measure that the Legislature now has legal permission to place on the statewide ballot.

A quartet of state senators submitted language Thursday to ask voters, through a nonbinding Nov. 8 ballot measure, whether Congress should work to overturn the 2010 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Citizens United.

That controversial ruling, in favor of a conservative nonprofit group, now allows unlimited spending by corporations and unions in federal candidate campaigns — a timely topic, said the proposal's lead author.

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Marc Klaas adds voice to district attorney's group decrying Gov. Brown's crime plan

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 4, 2016

California’s district attorneys began campaigning against Gov. Jerry Brown’s initiative to reduce the state’s prison population on Wednesday with support from a national advocate for abducted children.

The Democratic governor’s plan would undermine 35 years of laws and voter initiatives designed to protect the rights of crime victims, said Marc Klaas, whose 12-year-old daughter Polly was kidnapped and murdered in 1993.

“All of that is being torn asunder. It’s like we’re being knee-capped by the executive branch,” Klaas said at a news conference with the California District Attorneys Association.

Brown wants voters in November to increase sentencing credits for adult inmates and allow earlier parole for non-violent felons.

The state Supreme Court is weighing the association’s lawsuit contending that Brown improperly amended his proposal onto an existing juvenile justice initiative.

Read the whole story at OC Register

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A Plaintiffs’ Lawyer With Eye for Big Settlements

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 4, 2016

Elizabeth Cabraser represents VW drivers after chasing Toyota, GM and BP

Elizabeth Cabraser stood before a federal judge earlier this year to briefly pitch why she should be selected to lead a massive consumer-fraud case against Volkswagen AG.

The petite class-action lawyer has made a career of suing big businesses. But rather than tout her successes, she called the San Francisco court’s attention to the nearly 600,000 drivers who bought or leased the German auto maker’s diesel vehicles touted as...

Read the whole story at Wall Street Journal

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Apple Gets Tech Industry Backing in iPhone Dispute, Despite Misgivings

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 4, 2016

It is a remarkable moment for the technology industry, with many different companies and organizations rallying around a single company — Apple — in amajor legal case against the United States government over privacy and security.

Yet behind the scenes, it took time for some of the tech companies to make the decision to support Apple. Several feared the showdown with the government was too risky and could have far-reaching implications for the tech industry if Apple lost.

Those misgivings ultimately did not win the day. About 40 companies and organizations are expected to file court briefs on Thursday backing Apple as it fights a judge’s order to help law enforcement break into an iPhone used by a gunman in the San Bernardino, Calif., terrorist attack last year.

Read the whole story at NY Times

 

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State Bar trustees review organization of other bars

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The State Bar’s Governance in the Public Interest Task Force last month heard the pros and cons of how other State Bars and regulatory agencies are organized and governed.

The meeting was the first of five in which the task force will explore changes to the bar to enhance public protection and ensure that protection of the public is the highest priority in the licensing, regulation and discipline of attorneys.

“California has long been considered a national leader in the attorney discipline arena,” Executive Director Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker said. “Even so, we can learn by taking a deep and broad look at our counterparts.”

Among the weighty questions the task force is considering is whether the unified bar structure best serves the public interest when there are real or perceived conflicts between the bar’s dual missions of protecting the public from bad lawyers and enhancing the legal profession.

Read the whole story at California Bar Journal 

 

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Interested in being added to the Court's Probate Panel for 2016?

Posted By Paula Collis, Wednesday, March 2, 2016

2016 Court Appointed Counsel Panel-Probate Conservatorships and Guardianships

Submit any new applications or applications for renewal by the end of March, 2016. 

Necessary documents can be downloaded at the link below, including:

  1. Certification of Attorney Concerning Qualifications for Court Appointment in Conservatorships and Guardianships (Initial application-GC-010)
  2. Annual Certification of Court-Appointed Attorney (GC-011)
  3. Supplemental Questionnaire (local form)to accompany either form

 

The Certifications should be mailed to:    

Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara

Probate Division

191 N. First Street

San Jose, CA  95113

Attn; Denise Dobrenz


 

Download File (ZIP)

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Federal Court Program Meant to Fast Track Immigration Cases Being Questioned

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 2, 2016

When a 52-year-old construction worker from Guadalajara faced a federal court judge last March for illegal entry, he was no stranger to the court room. Since 1998, the man had been arrested nine times for illegally entering the country.

Through a plea deal system called “Fast Track,” the man faced a two-year prison sentence for the latest offense. It was less time than he received in 2011 when the same federal court judge sentenced him to 30 months for the same crime.

Court documents show the federal court judge objected, saying “seems to me that if a guy keeps doing the same thing … one would think the penalties would go up, not down.”

Read the whole story at NBC San Diego

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