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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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Q&A: Justice Cuéllar describes rise to California Supreme Court

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 29, 2015

California’s newest Supreme Court justice, Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, will visit Sacramento on Wednesday to participate in an evening forum with 250 prominent Latinos in the auditorium of the secretary of state’s building, 1500 11th St. The event is already full.

In an interview with The Sacramento Bee, Cuéllar discussed his journey from Matamoros, Mexico, to the White House and now California’s highest court.

As a boy, Cuéllar, 42, crossed the border to attend school in Brownsville, Texas. He graduated from Calexico High School in California’s Imperial Valley. He then graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, got his law degree from Yale Law School and his doctorate in political science from Stanford University. Though he has no previous judicial experience, he clerked for Chief Judge Mary M. Schroeder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. He has taught law at Stanford University since 2001.

Read the whole story at The Sacramento Bee

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California's Chief Justice: Every County Needs Mental Health Court

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 29, 2015

 

 

In Sacramento Superior Court's Mental Health Court, there are plenty of congratulations and plenty of cupcakes for people who used to be known as defendants but who are now known as participants. They stand before Judge Larry Brown. An attorney updates the judge on the status of a participant.

"I am happy to report his drug test was negative." Brown responds, "Great! That's terrific. Good job."

Judge Larry Brown gently reminds one of the participants in the County's mental health program that progress involves a little work, "None of this punishment. It's all about having part of a structured program, right?"

On this day, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye sits in the jury box as an observer. She  says only 27 of the 58 counties have a mental health court. 

Read the whole story at Capital Public Radio

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Barry Bonds case: Feds considering U.S. Supreme Court appeal

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 29, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Justice Department is seriously considering asking the U.S. Supreme Court to restore home run king Barry Bonds' obstruction of justice conviction, according to court papers filed on Tuesday.

San Francisco U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag urged the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to hold off on finalizing last week's ruling overturning Bonds' 2011 felony conviction to give prosecutors time to decide whether to appeal to the Supreme Court. The government has until July 22 to ask the high court to intervene, prosecutors said in court papers.

In a 10-1 ruling, the 9th Circuit wiped out what was left of the long-running prosecution of the former San Francisco Giant, concluding there was insufficient evidence to back up the charge that his rambling testimony interfered with a federal grand jury probing the BALCO steroids scandal more than a decade ago.

Read the whole story at Inside Bay Area News

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State Bar Court judge rules to disbar S.F. lawyer for taking funds

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 27, 2015

A State Bar Court judge has recommended that a San Francisco attorney be disbarred for taking $55,000 from the trust fund of a client who was in prison.

Michael Scott Keck removed the money to repay a debt to another client, lied to his imprisoned client and concealed his actions for four years, Judge Lucy Armendariz said in a ruling April 13. The bar suspended Keck from practice three days later.

Keck has practiced law since 1986 and had no previous record of misconduct.

The case stems from his representation of Harvey Hereford, an attorney who pleaded guilty in 2004 to manslaughter for a drunken-driving crash in Sonoma County that killed bicyclist Alan Liu and injured another cyclist, Jill Mason.

Read the whole story at SFGate

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New California Supreme Court surprises analysts early on

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 27, 2015

  

 

When Gov. Jerry Brown's two latest nominees joined the California Supreme Court in January, legal analysts foresaw the creation of a more liberal majority.

The first test came in March, when the seven-member court had to decide whether to reconsider a death penalty case. Justices Mariano-Florentino Cuellar and Leondra R. Kruger provided two crucial votes to give the death row inmate another chance to argue that his sentence should be overturned.

But in a case involving a law that some judges said had been inspired by homophobia, Cuellar and Kruger were on different sides.

During a closed session last week, Kruger joined the more conservative justices in refusing to revisit a decision that said adults who have consensual oral sex with minors must register as sex offenders — even though registration is not mandatory for adults who have sexual intercourse with people in the same age group.

Read the whole story at LA Times

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Kleiner Perkins Tallies $1M Bill for Ellen Pao

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 27, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO — After last month's trial win, venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is asking for almost $1 million in defense costs from plaintiff Ellen Pao.

The Silicon Valley firm said it will waive its $972,815 request if Pao agrees not to appeal the verdict. The sum includes $864,680 for payments to expert witnesses including Harvard Business School professor Paul Gompers, who charges $900 an hour. Kleiner Perkins scored a total victory following a monthlong sex discrimination trial that riveted Silicon Valley and prompted widespread discussion of gender disparity in the venture capital and tech industries.

Pao, a former junior partner at the firm, claimed she was refused promotions and ultimately fired because she's a woman, and as retaliation for complaining about the firm's sexually charged, boy's club culture. A jury of six men and six women in San Francisco Superior Court returned a defense verdict March 27.

Read the whole story at The Recorder

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Announcement: WiFi Access at the Santa Cruz Superior Court

Posted By Administration, Friday, April 24, 2015

Announcement from the Santa Cruz Superior Court 

 

If your practice takes you to the Santa Cruz Courthouse, you can obtain an annual subscription to courthouse WiFi through the Santa Cruz County Bar Association. 

Annual Subscription rates are based on the number of attorneys in your firm:

1.  Sole practitioners  - $60 a year 
2.  Law firms of 2 through 5 - $55 per lawyer 
3.  Law firms of 6 through 10 - $50 per lawyer
4.  Law firms of 11 or more - $45 per lawyer

(*Note:  If you are a firm of 2 or more, only pay for lawyers in your firm who will each be using the WiFi program.)

To sign up for an annual subscription, please contact the Santa Cruz County Bar Association at 831-423-5031.

Limited duration subscriptions are also available onsite at the courthouse. There are signs throughout the courthouse explaining the password process using a credit card for payment. 

WiFi access may be particularly useful come October, when the Tyler Odyssey Case Management System goes live at the courthouse. Call the Santa Cruz County Bar Association today to sign up for an annual WiFi account at 831-423-5031.

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Telling a Harasser to Back Off is Protected Conduct, Court Says

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 23, 2015

Workers who resist the sexual advances of a harasser are entitled to protection under anti-retaliation laws, a federal appeals court said Wednesday in a ruling that sets up a circuit split.

Siding with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit for the first time ruled that saying no to a harassing supervisor qualifies as protected activity under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

The three-judge panel upheld a $1.5 million jury award to four former employees of New Breed Logistics for sexual harassment and retaliation.

“Sexual harassment is without question an ‘unlawful employment practice.’ If an employee demands that his/her supervisor stop engaging in this unlawful practice—i.e., resists or confronts the supervisor’s unlawful harassment—the opposition clause’s broad language confers protection to this conduct,” Judge Keith Damon wrote for the panel, which included Chief Judge R. Guy Cole Jr. and Judge Alice Batchelder.

Read the whole story at National Law Review

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After Long Delay, Loretta Lynch Confirmed as Attorney General

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 23, 2015

Lynch, in 56-43 vote, becomes first African American woman to lead the Justice Department.

The Senate on Thursday afternoon confirmed Loretta Lynch to be the U.S. attorney general, the first African-American woman to hold the post.

Lynch’s 56-43 confirmation vote marked the end of a five-month wait marked by political wrangling over President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration and an unrelated Senate spat over federal abortion funding.

“Even Republicans who will vote against her because they disagree with the president praise her credentials and personal qualifications,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, said before an earlier vote Thursday to end debate and move to confirmation. No previous attorney general nominee has been subject to such a cloture vote, which carries with it a filibuster threat.

Obama in November nominated Lynch—who until Thursday was the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York—to succeed Eric Holder Jr., the first African-American to lead the Justice Department.

Read the whole story at The National Law Journal



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Barry Bonds’s Obstruction-of-Justice Conviction Overturned

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 23, 2015

Barry Bonds’s obstruction-of-justice conviction was reversed Wednesday by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled his meandering answer before a grand jury in 2003 wasn’t material to the government’s investigation into steroids distribution.

Bonds, baseball’s career home-run leader, was indicted in 2007 for his testimony four years earlier before the grand jury investigating the illegal distribution of performance-enhancing drugs by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative.

Following a trial that opened in March 2011, a jury deadlocked on three counts charging Bonds with making false statements when he denied receiving steroids and human growth hormone from trainerGreg Anderson and denied receiving injections from Anderson or his associates.

Read the whole story at The Wall Street Journal

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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
Golnesa MonazamfarBarrister of the Year 2017

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