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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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Crowdfunding can be a great way to finance your case--or destroy it

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Hollywood directors use it to bankroll movies. Musicians do it to finance records. A man named Zack Danger Brown raised $55,000 this way to make potato salad.

We’re talking about crowdfunding. The concept of crowdfunding is thought to have been invented in 2006, but has quickly become a popular way for people to raise money for a cause or to finance a project or business.

And those projects now include litigation. A litigation crowdfunding website or application lets anyone in need of backing for a legal matter raise money from anywhere in the world. And typically, when people invest in a matter, they are given a stake in the claim they have funded.

“I looked at litigation financing and couldn’t understand why more people weren’t investing,” says Jay Greenberg, CEO and co-founder of LexShares, a legal crowdfunding company. “I think the biggest gap is education or understanding the process. The crowdfunding mechanism makes investing more transparent and accessible to more people.”

Read the whole story at ABA Journal

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Texas Sends Thousands Of Kids To Court And Fines Them For Missing School. That's About To Change.

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 26, 2015

In a state proud of its reputation for "hang 'em high" Texas justice, closing the school-to-prison pipeline has long seemed next to impossible.

For years, Texas prosecuted more kids for missing school than all other states combined. In 2013, prosecutors charged more than 115,000 kids with truancy in adult criminal courts, where the minors were denied access to lawyers, fined thousands of dollars, and saddled with criminal records, despite evidence that such punitive measures didn't incentivize kids to come to school.

But now Texas is changing course.

As students in Texas return to school this month, a sweeping reform of the state's truancy laws will go into effect, eliminating the use of adult courts for truancy cases and requiring schools to operate truancy prevention programs. Instead of automatically handing off truant kids to the criminal justice system, schools will be forced to deal directly with minors who skip school, and to delve further than ever before into the reasons that individual students miss school.

Read the whole story at Huffington Post

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The Con Man, Wood Chipper And Plot To Assassinate A Federal Judge In California

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Even before he allegedly plotted to kidnap, torture and murder U.S. District Court Judge Andrew J. Guilford with a wood chipper machine, Orange County's John Arthur Walthall personified the type of twisted villain Hollywood scriptwriters crave for crime fictions.

Audacious beyond belief, Walthall is a gifted con artist, who in 2007-2008 tricked wealthy investors out of $5.5 million to supposedly extract gold from old, abandoned mines in Nevada, Imperial Valley and Brazil.

He instead diverted funds into more than 30 bank accounts to mask his financial crimes, which included using investor's money to send a son to the New York Film Academy, make child support to an ex-wife, secure a premium personal ad on eHarmony, buy gifts for a girlfriend, pay off credit card debts and loans for three Ford pickup trucks, and purchase a Fortius 420 Hyperbaric Chamber.

Read the whole story at The OC Weekly

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Immigration lawyer who leaked to McClatchy is sentenced to community service, ethics classes

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The lawyer who leaked to McClatchy confidential documents on a family detention agreement was shown leniency in a hearing Monday that could have ended his legal career.

Bryan Johnson, a New York lawyer, is a former consultant to immigration attorneys negotiating with government officials over the fate of detained mothers and children. He was ordered to appear in court by U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee of the Central District of California after Johnson had allegedly violated a confidentiality agreement for a second time.

Gee had threatened to hold Johnson, 30, in contempt and report him to the State Bar of New York, which could have disbarred him. Instead, she sentenced Johnson to 75 hours of community service with a certified public institution as well as completing two legal ethics courses within the next six months.

Read the whole story at McClatchy DC

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Prosecutors ask court to keep Modesto defense attorney, 4 co-defendants in jail

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Prosecutors are asking a judge to deny bail to a Modesto defense attorney and four co-defendants when they return Tuesday for their continued arraignment. They argue that releasing the five charged with murder would give them the opportunity to carry out threats against witnesses.

Defense attorney Frank Carson is accused of orchestrating a criminal conspiracy that resulted in the death of Korey Kauffman, 26, and the cover-up of his murder.

Attorneys for the defendants call this a case of malicious prosecution: an attempt to eliminate a successful criminal defense attorney who has been a staunch critic of the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office. Carson unsuccessfully ran for district attorney last year, directing voters’ attention to what he called public corruption in police agencies throughout the county.

Read the whole story at The Modesto Bee

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3 Judges appointed by Democrats will hear California death penalty appeal

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The constitutionality of California’s death penalty system will be reviewed next week by a panel of three Democratic appointees on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Judges Susan P. Graber and Johnnie B. Rawlinson, Clinton appointees, and Paul J. Watford, an Obama appointee, were randomly assigned Monday to hear an appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that struck down the state’s death penalty law as unconstitutional.

Graber is a former Oregon Supreme Court justice. After joining the federal appeals court, she was once asked to recuse herself from a death penalty case out of Arizona because her father was killed in a carjacking nearly 40 years earlier.

Read the whole story at LA Times

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Obama will leave legacy with Bay Area federal court appointees

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 24, 2015

For the next decade or longer, President Barack Obama's political legacy in the Bay Area may be easiest to detect inside federal courthouses in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose.

Over the past six years, Obama has overhauled the Bay Area's roster of federal judges in unprecedented numbers, appointing 11 of the 14 full-time judges -- the most dramatic transformation of a federal district court bench in the nation during his administration.

By comparison, former President George W. Bush appointed just one Bay Area federal judge, Jeffrey White, in his two terms -- for the most part because the district's Clinton and Carter appointees did not want to relinquish their seats during a Republican administration.

Read the whole story at Mercury News

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Ky. Clerk, Couples Clash in Appeals Court Over Marriage Licenses

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 24, 2015

A federal appeals court that upheld same-sex marriage bans is poised to weigh in on a new dispute over whether clerks can deny licenses altogether on religious grounds.

Lawyers for four same- and opposite sex couples on Sunday urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to reject a Kentucky county clerk's argument that she would suffer a "searing" injury to her religious liberty if the appeals court did not block a trial judge who ordered her to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses by the end of the month.

The couples want to force Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to comply with Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear's July 2 mandate that clerks must issue same-sex marriage licenses pursuant to the Supreme Court's ruling that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional.

Davis, resisting the mandate, shut down all licensing services.

Read the whole story at The National Law Journal

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Legal case tests religious hospitals’ right to deny procedures

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 24, 2015

Rachel Miller, due to have her second child in late September, agreed with her husband that this would be her last pregnancy and decided she would be sterilized by tubal ligation after giving birth. But her hospital in Redding, owned by Dignity Health in San Francisco, refused to allow her doctor to perform the procedure, saying tubal ligation violates the ethical principles of Catholic health care facilities.

Read the whole story at SF Chronicle

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Chris Christie makes a Supreme Court promise

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 24, 2015

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday pledged that if elected president, his first Supreme Court nominee would not be a Harvard Law or Yale Law School graduate.

"I think you can be pretty sure of that fact," he promised radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt.

In an interview with Hewitt, Christie argued that Americans were tired of the "education establishment" and implied that success was not limited to those who hold an Ivy League education. Five of the current Supreme Court justices are Harvard Law graduates, while three are Yale graduates. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg received her law degree from Columbia Law School.

Read the whole story at CBS News

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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
Steven B. Haley2017 Professional Lawyer of the Year

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