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Volunteer as a scoring attorney for the 2015 Mock Trials

Posted By Mark Shem, Monday, December 14, 2015
The SCCBA Law-Related Education Committee once again cordially invites you to participate as a scoring attorney for the 2016 Santa Clara County High School Mock Trial Tournament. We expect 26 area high schools to participate. Attorney participation in the past has made this program a great success. If you are interested in participating, please sign up online at the Mock Trial Form.

This year’s case involves the death of campus security guard Lee Valdez. Defendant Jamie Hayes is accused of striking Lee Valdez in the head on May 15, 2014. Jamie Hayes will allege Lee Valdez was killing a fellow track team member, Casey Barns, and had to strike Lee Valdez in order to save Casey Barns. The pre-trial argument involves the Fifth Amendment Right against self-incrimination.

All trials will be held at the Santa Clara County Superior Court, 191 North First Street in San Jose from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., on the evenings listed in the link. Once you register, you will receive a link to the case materials. We encourage you to volunteer for more than one round. A brief orientation meeting will be conducted prior to assigning volunteers to the trials.

Volunteers who have past Mock Trial scoring experience and volunteer for one of the four preliminary rounds are eligible to score the quarterfinal rounds to be held on February 16, 2016.

If you have any questions, please contact the LRE Chair at LRE@sccba.com. Thank you for your participation in this valuable program.


Mark Shem

Mark W. Shem
BORTON PETRINI, LLP
95 South Market St., Suite 400
San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 535-0870
(408) 535-0878 FAX
mshem@bortonpetrini.com

Law Related Education Committee
2016 Santa Clara County Mock Trial Tournament
Participate as a scoring attorney. Click the link to see available dates.
VOLUNTEER ONLINE →

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Former city attorney files legal claim against Milpitas alleging he was fired out of retaliation

Posted By Administration, Thursday, December 10, 2015

Former Milpitas City Attorney Michael Ogaz announced through his attorney Tuesday that he plans to sue Milpitas for wrongfully terminating him in a retaliatory move for investigating complaints against the city manager.

In filing a California Tort Claim and receiving a "right to sue" letter from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Ogaz has begun the process for filing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the city, according to his attorney Adam J. Zapala.

"Mr. Ogaz will be seeking a finding that he was unlawfully terminated, along with all compensatory and other damages that are available under the various legal theories we are pursuing," Zapala said.

Read the whole story at San Jose Mercury News

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Death penalty overturned because of Bible quotes

Posted By Administration, Thursday, December 10, 2015

A judge has overturned the death sentence in the murder of an Oceanside housewife, finding the prosecutor committed “egregious misconduct” by telling jurors the Bible calls for murderers to be sentenced to death.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller wrote that the repeated quotations and references to biblical law in the prosecutor’s closing statements were so inflammatory that they affected the outcome of Rudolph Roybal’s 1992 trial.

“The prosecutor’s improper argument presented an intolerable danger that the jury minimized its role as fact finder and encouraged jurors to vote for death because it was God’s will, and not that the imposition of the death penalty complied with California and federal law,” Miller wrote in a 226-page opinion granting Roybal’s appeal. The opinion was filed last week.

Read the whole story at San Diego Union-Tribune

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Misgendering in trans case criticized

Posted By Administration, Thursday, December 10, 2015

Advocates for the transgender community are criticizing a San Francisco attorney's misgendering of a trans woman who was allegedly assaulted in a recent hate crime.

Deputy Public Defender Kwixuan Maloof, who's representing Dewayne Kemp, one of the people accused of attacking Samantha Hulsey in November, repeatedly referred to Hulsey as a man and used male pronouns for her during the arraignment in the case.

In an interview this week, Hulsey, 25, said the comments made her "really offended and a bit upset. I think that from a legal point of view, him saying that about me is completely pointless, because regardless of whether I am [transgender] or not," Kemp "still committed a hate crime against me based on what he perceived to be my gender or sexuality."

Read the whole story at Bay Area Reporter

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Company founder gets prison for scheme to defraud distressed homeowners

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Following the housing crash last decade, 21st Century Legal Services Inc. offered homeowners facing foreclosure what seemed like a lifeline.

All they had to do was pay fees to the Rancho Cucamonga firm, which promised to get their loans modified so their payments would be affordable. In the meantime, they were told they could stop paying their mortgage and communicating with their lenders.

But it was all part of a fraud that ended disastrously for thousands of customers, according to the U.S. attorney's office, with many still losing their homes after paying fees for services that "were never provided."

Federal prosecutors charged that 21st Century repeatedly pocketed those fees, cheating 4,000 plus homeowners out of more than $7 million in a nationwide scam.

Read the whole story at LA Times

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In California tax dispute, Supreme Court ponders when one state can be sued in another's courts

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Supreme Court took up a bitter dispute Monday between the state of California and an inventor it says moved to Nevada in the early 1990s to avoid paying taxes.

But rather than focus on who is right or how much is owed, the justices debated a question that has been unsettled throughout American history: Can one state be sued in the courts of another state?

The case began when California tax collectors pursued inventor Gilbert Hyatt for millions in unpaid taxes from 1991 in the months before he resettled in Las Vegas. Hyatt was awarded a patent for a microchip that was seen as crucial to the first microprocessors, and he stood to gain huge amounts from royalties.

Read the whole story at LA Times

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California death penalty agency gets new chief

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Longtime California state Public Defender Michael Hersek has been named chief of the state agency that leads defense of California's death row inmates in the appellate courts.

In a move announced on Friday, Hersek replaces Michael Laurence, who stepped down as director of the state Habeas Corpus Resource Center this fall after heading the agency since its creation in 1998. Hersek already has been heavily involved in death penalty law for many years as head of the state defender's office since 2004, but now takes over a staff of about 30 attorneys that works only on the late, crucial stages of trying to contest death sentences in the California Supreme Court and federal courts.

Read the whole story at Mercury News

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Hospital in Redding denies 2 more women tubal ligation

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Northern California Catholic hospital that refused to let a woman’s doctor sterilize her after childbirth, then changed course after being threatened with a sex-discrimination lawsuit, has denied tubal ligations to two more pregnant women, citing religious principles.

Mercy Medical Center in Redding, owned by Dignity Health of San Francisco, is again facing a possible lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the two women, joined this time by a nationwide group, Physicians for Reproductive Health.

Read the whole story at SF Gate

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California's Strict Gun Laws Failed to Stop Mass Shooting

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The deadly shooting in San Bernardino happened in a state with some of the nation's toughest gun laws: California bars assault weapons, blocks the sale of large-capacity magazines and requires universal background checks for all gun purchases.

Authorities say they believe attackers Syed Rizwan Farook and wife Tashfeen Malik had legally obtained two handguns and that two rifles were also legally purchased in California. Federal officials say the attackers had large-capacity magazines that violate California law in their SUV.

Since the attack Wednesday at a social service center in Southern California, the state's strict laws and the apparent legal purchase of the weapons have set off a debate over the effectiveness of gun measures and whether getting tougher would help prevent more violence.

Read the whole story at ABC News

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Tulare County judge removed from office for misconduct

Posted By Administration, Thursday, December 3, 2015

Tulare County Superior Court Judge Valeriano Saucedo, a judge for more than 14 years, was ordered removed from office Tuesday for having an improper relationship with a court clerk and lying about it.

His removal by the Commission on Judicial Performance was immediate. The action becomes final in 30 days unless Saucedo files a petition with the California Supreme Court to review the case.

Reached by phone, Saucedo said he had no comment.

Removal from office is rare. Only six judges have been removed from office in the past 10 years, according to commission statistics.

Saucedo violated judicial ethics in how he handled himself during the relationship with his clerk between mid-September and mid-November 2013, the commission said in its 60-page decision.

Read the whole story at Fresno Bee

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