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NewsLinks is a collection of recent news items relating primarily to the California judicial branch. NewsLinks does not verify nor endorse the accuracy or fairness of the news items, and the views expressed in opinions, editorials, and commentaries are those of the writers only.

Oct 1 Bar to return to the drawing board on rules revision
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Abandoning 14 years of effort, the state Supreme Court has told the State Bar to try again to revise and update California's attorney discipline rules.
Oct 1 Judicial Profile: Mike Camacho
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) L.A. Superior Court Judge Mike Camacho, an ex-prosecutor, believes in hard work and efficiency.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Sep 30 Brown splits package of bills aimed at reducing truancy
Los Angeles Times
Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday vetoed two bills aimed at curbing truancy and absenteeism among California students.
Related: Associated Press
Sep 30 Video: Hundreds of court workers strike, superior court system paralyzed
KTVU
Over 200 employees at the San Francisco Superior Court system walked off the job Monday in a one-day strike to protest a labor contract recently imposed on them.
Related: San Francisco ChronicleNBC Bay Area, Bay City News
Sep 30 Los Angeles Superior Court Elects Three Commissioners
Met News
Presiding Judge David Wesley informed his colleagues that ballots recently sent to judges by the court had been counted, and that Superior Court Managing Research Attorney Nicole Heeseman; Terry Truong, a former court referee now at the County Counsel’s Office; and Deputy Public Defender Terrance Lewis had been elected to the subordinate judicial officer posts.
Sep 30 Judicial Profile: Lois Haight
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Lois Haight cast a sharp eye on a young father who seemed dazed as he stood before her for a status conference on reunification with his children. His estranged wife sat nearby.
Related: Superior Court of Contra Costa County
Sep 29 Former chief justice helps guide legislation to smooth out state's ballot initiative process
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) For years, former California Chief Justice Ronald George had a front row seat to the legal battles spawned by the state's ballot initiative system. When the opportunity to amend it presented itself, George said he welcomed the opportunity.
Related: Associated Press, KQED, Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, The World Post
Sep 29 Adding a civics lesson to Nov. 4 election events
Cabinet Report
With a general election on the horizon, top voter and education officials are urging public school administrators to use the event as a teachable civics moment for their students – a subject lawmakers both here and across the country want to see brought back to life in K-12 curriculum.
Related: Civic Learning Initiative
Sep 23 Could Civics Education Reduce Voter Apathy?
Wall Street Journal
When it comes to understanding how our government works a shockingly large number of Americans have very little knowledge.
Sep 29 Judicial Profile: Lisa Hart Cole
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) A surprise drew 13-year-old Lisa Cole toward the legal profession. It came in the form of her parents' female friend, a young practicing attorney.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Sep 26 Court commissioners concerned about proposed new discipline rules
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) A move to rewrite rules on how presiding judges discipline state court commissioners and referees has some worried their due process rights could be curbed.
Sep 26 Judges' censures draw criticism as too lenient
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The decision by judicial watchdogs not to seek the removal of two judges who had sex in their chambers, one with a clerk and the other with former law students, is drawing criticism from jurists who believe the punishment is too light.
Sep 26 Judicial Profile: Joel M. Wallenstein
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) LA Superior Court Judge Joel M. Wallenstein is known for getting creative in the courtroom.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Sep 25 S.C. Declines to Block Suit Over Drug Monograph
Met News
The California Supreme Court yesterday declined to block a lawsuit by a woman who claims she suffered total blindness and other deleterious effects as a result of taking an anti-epilepsy drug.
Related: California Supreme Court
Sep 21 Editorial: Endorsement: Strong reasons to retain state justices
Los Angeles Times
California voters will see the names of three state Supreme Court justices and numerous Court of Appeal justices on their Nov. 4 ballots, a result of the state's hybrid system for keeping politics to a minimum in the court system while still granting the people a measure of oversight of their judges.
Sep 24 Court: Governor not a ‘public agency’ when it comes to CEQA
Sacramento Bee
The governor is not a “public agency” subject to the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act. As of Wednesday, that is the law unless and until the state’s Supreme Court sees it differently.
Related: San Francisco Chronicle, Met News
Sep 25 New assistant presiding judges picked in SF, Santa Clara counties
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Teri L. Jackson will be the next assistant presiding judge of San Francisco County Superior Court, the first black woman to assume that role.
Related: Superior Court of San Francisco County, Superior Court of Santa Clara County
Sep 25 Judicial Profile: Douglas W. Sortino
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Before Judge Douglas Sortino was appointed to the bench, he was known as an aggressive deputy district attorney, assigned to prosecute some of highest profile crimes in Los Angeles County.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Sep 24 Santa Clara County reduces court hours for public
San Jose Mercury News
Santa Clara County is closing its courthouses for public business an hour earlier daily, the latest fallout from statewide budgets cuts for the judiciary.
Related: Superior Court of Santa Clara County, The Recorder, InFocus: Judicial Branch Budget Crisis
Sep 24 California Gov. Jerry Brown signs bill to curb frivolous behavior in court
Sacramento Business Journal
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill that authorizes trial courts to award legal expenses to a party if the lawyer on the other side is acting like a jerk.
Sep 24 Video: California voters weigh 'radical' changes to justice system as prisons fill up
Fox News
California weighs measure to overhaul justice system.
Sep 24 Judicial Elections 101: Everything Californians Need to Know for November
IVN.us - Independent Voter Network
Shockingly, only about 58 percent of the public vote in judicial elections. It turns out that voters simply don’t turn to the back of the ballot (the judicial elections section) because they don’t know how the state judicial system works or where to find neutral information about the judges.
Sep 24 Judicial Profile: Teresa T. Sullivan
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Sullivan employs empathy and understanding in presiding over a juvenile dependency court.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Sep 23 El Dorado County looking at future of courthouse building
Sacramento Business Journal
As land negotiations get underway for a new El Dorado County courthouse site, the discussion is already beginning over what to do with the current building.
Related: New Placerville Courthouse
Sep 23 Judicial delegation tours SD's incubator programs
San Diego Daily Transcript
(Subscription required) San Diego's innovative attorney incubator projects have received some very special visitors. A delegation led by California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu toured California Western School of Law's Access to Law Initiative and Thomas Jefferson School of Law's Center for Solo Practitioners.
Sep 23 Jonathan Lippman: A Crusader for the Poor and Drug-Addicted
Governing
New York's top judge is the brain behind many ideas that have upended the court system nationwide including legal aid for the poor, drug courts and foreclosure protections.
Sep 23 Judicial Profile: Richard C. Livermore
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Judge is passionate about parties' success in drug court, often leaving the bench to chat with defendants.
Related: Superior Court of San Mateo County
Sep 22 Court authorities warn public of phone scam
U-T San Diego
San Diego Superior Court officials are warning the public to be aware of scammers posing on the phone as members of the court or law enforcement.
Related: Jury Scam Alert
Sep 22 Brown Names Three to Northern California Superior Courts
Met News
Gov. Jerry Brown Friday named three court commissioners, all of whom were elected judges in June, to fill the vacancies to which they were elected.
Related: Daily Journal
Sep 22 Opinion: Informed voters ensure fair courts
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) California voters this November will have the opportunity to choose to retain two sitting state Supreme Court justices and one confirmed Supreme Court justice, as well as dozens of sitting Court of Appeal justices.
Sep 22 Editorial: Endorsements: Third District Court of Appeal justices deserve retention
Sacramento Bee
California appellate court justices don’t run in contested elections. They don’t hold news conferences or campaign.
Sep 22 Another pro-arbitration ruling challenged at state Supreme Court
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Major employment and consumer groups are challenging an appellate court decision giving an arbitrator the authority to determine the enforceability of the very arbitration provision challenged as unfair.
Sep 21 Editorial: NM justices rule in favor of political opportunism
Albuquerque Journal
It is discouraging to realize the New Mexico Supreme Court not only failed to adopt the sound, clear logic and reasoning of the California Supreme Court regarding non-binding ballot questions, but that it has given the green light for politicians in power at the local level to manipulate the ballot for purely political purposes.
Sep 21 California’s need for court reporters on the rise
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
The nation’s growing demand for court reporters will soon lead to a shortage and California will have the most job openings, according to a report released last week.
Sep 20 Watchdog: Overtime spike boosts court paychecks
Orange County Register
The Orange County Superior Court boosted employee paychecks with more overtime last year than almost the rest of the California court system combined, according to a Register analysis of state payroll data.
Sep 19 Retired Judge Steven Howell brought changes to Butte County courts
Oroville Mercury Register
At Oroville High School in the late 1960s, Steven Howell made his mark as an athlete and scholar. Decades later, he retired as one of the longest-sitting judges in Butte County.
Sep 19 Pair of Brawley Union High School students share civic learning practices at 10th annual Constitution Day Conference
Imperial Valley Press
As a follow-up to earning the Civic Learning Award of Distinction earlier this year, Brawley Union High School administration, staff members and students were invited to attend the 10th annual Constitution Day Conference at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library last week
Related: Civic Learning Award: Brawley Union High School
Sep 19 S.C. to Hear Privacy Challenge to Prescription Database Statute
Met News
The California Supreme Court has agreed to determine whether healthcare regulators violated the state Constitution’s privacy clause when they accessed a local doctor’s prescribing records as part of an investigation into claims of unprofessional conduct.
Related: California Supreme Court
Sep 18 100-year-old Solano County Courthouse reopens doors
The Reporter
The 100-year-old Solano County Courthouse has been spruced up and will likely last another 100 years, officials proclaimed Thursday.
Related: Old Solano Courthouse Renovation; Daily Republic
Sep 19 Appellate lawyers renew call for tentative rulings
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Appellate practitioners are pressing state appellate justices to issue tentative opinions before oral arguments, reigniting an age-old debate about the practice.
Sep 19 Courts near and far tire of incivility
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) In recent years, judges and bar associations have begun to lose their patience with uncivil attorneys.
Sep 19 Judicial Profile: Lori E. Pegg
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Since joining the bench in October, Santa Clara County Superior Judge Lori E. Pegg has had to get up to speed quickly. Just a few months into her tenure, the judge currently assigned to the misdemeanor calendar had a rush of defendants early this year who sought to go to trial under deadlines provided by state law.
Related: Superior Court of Santa Clara County
Sep 18 Only 36 percent of Americans can name the three branches of government
The Washington Post
Wednesday marked national Constitution Day, the 227th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. But only 36 percent of Americans can actually name the three branches of government the Constitution created.
Sep 18 Video: Behind the scenes: Constructing Stockton's tallest building
KCRA
Stockton's new courthouse is under construction -- and when finished, it will be the tallest building in San Joaquin County.
Related: New Stockton Courthouse
Sep 18 Judicial Profile: Michael J. Popkins
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) A native of Norristown, Penn., Popkins grew up in the Philadelphia area. After graduating from Villanova University in 1973 with a degree in business administration, Popkins enrolled in the University of San Diego School of Law. From the start, Popkins said he had no doubt about the type of law he would practice.
Related: Superior Court of San Diego County
Sep 17 Alameda County officials break ground on new East County courthouse
Contra Costa Times
It took more than a decade to come to fruition, but Alameda County officials, along with judges and local dignitaries, finally broke ground Wednesday on the $147.7 million East County Hall of Justice.
Related: New East County Hall of Justice, PleasantonWeekly.com
Sep 17 Mental illness program could transform L.A. County justice system
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles officials announced Wednesday the launch of an alternative sentencing program aimed at diverting mentally ill, low-level offenders from jail into treatment, a project they hope will signal a dramatic shift for the county's criminal justice system.
Sep 17 Santa Barbara County juvenile court closure protested
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Youth advocates are protesting the pending closure of Santa Barbara County Superior Court's Hollister Avenue juvenile courthouse and a plan to move operations to a jury assembly room in a downtown courthouse.
Related: Superior Court of Santa Barbara County
Sep 17 Judicial Profile: Alan H. Friedenthal
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Los Angeles Commissioner Alan Friedenthal is winning praise following a public admonishment.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Sep 16 Competition for National Civics Program
The Desert Review
Torlakson, as part of his Civic Education Initiative, teamed up with California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye last year to convene a California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning.
Related: Civic Learning Initiative
Sep 16 Live streaming Supreme Court arguments: we’re not in Kansas
At the Lectern
Rick Hasen’s Election Law Blog yesterday reported that this morning’s Kansas Supreme Court argument in a significant election law case would be webcast live, as are all of that court’s arguments. The broadcasting of every argument puts Kansas ahead of California.
Sep 16 Video: Dog helps comfort victims, witnesses at courthouse in San Francisco
ABC7 News
San Francisco has a new friend to help witnesses and victims who are uncomfortable in the criminal justice system. He's a professional who has received extensive training.
Sep 16 Commission on future of the courts plans wide-ranging, practical approach
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Unveiling "a nuts and bolts internal review of the California courts," leaders of the state judiciary's new Blue Ribbon Commission on the Future of the Courts held their first public meeting Saturday.
Related: News Release
Sep 16 Bar head seeks broad view of public protection
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The State Bar should be not merely a regulator but also a smart policymaker, Craig Holden declared in a speech after being sworn in as the new president of the bar on Saturday.
Sep 16 State Bar considers selling SF building, moving from city
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The California Bar has listed its headquarters for sale, hoping to capitalize on the hot real estate market in San Francisco's South of Market district.
Sep 16 Judicial Profile: James F. Rigali
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Santa Barbara County Judge James Rigali has sought help when in unfamiliar legal territory.
Related: Superior Court of Santa Barbara County
Sep 15 Fresno charter school awarded for civic learning
The Business Journal
Students and staff from the Academy for Civic and Entrepreneurial Leadership (ACEL) were honored over the weekend with the Civic Learning Award of Distinction at the Reagan Library in Southern California. The award, co-sponsored by Chief Justice of California Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, went to 13 high schools in the state this year to recognize exemplary civic learning and service.
Related: Civics Learning Initiative
Sep 15 Blue ribbon committee for courthouse
Mountain Democrat
(Subscriptions required) At the Sept. 9 meeting, the Placerville City Council voted unanimously to coordinate with El Dorado County to form a blue ribbon committee of city and county stakeholders to explore potential uses for the historic courthouse on Main Street.
Sep 15 County takes first step on future of the courthouse
Mountain Democrat
(Subscription required) One day, perhaps as soon as 2020, the old courthouse on Main Street in Placerville will be vacated by the Superior Court of El Dorado County.
Related: New Placerville Courthouse
Sep 14 Budget cuts force closure of Portola courthouse
Plumas County News
Just four years after it opened, the Plumas-Sierra regional courthouse in Portola is scheduled to close Nov. 3.
Related: Plumas/Sierra Courthouse
Sep 14 Joanne Garvey, respected tax lawyer and women's mentor, dies
San Francisco Chronicle
Veteran Bay Area attorney Joanne Garvey, a pioneer among female lawyers in California, died of cancer Friday at her home in Kensington. She was 79.
Related: Daily Journal, Met News
Sep 12 California Attorney General report reveals racial divide in truancy rate
Associated Press
African-American elementary students in California were chronically truant at nearly four times the rate of all students during the last school year, according to a state report released Friday.
Related: Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court Summit, About Truancy & School Discipline, UT San Diego
Sep 12 Supreme Court Agrees to Rule on Taxpayer Standing Limits
Met News
The California Supreme Court yesterday agreed to decide whether payment of real property taxes is a mandatory prerequisite to the filing of a taxpayer suit against a local government.
Related: California Supreme Court
Sep 12 Appellate justices get mixed results at state Supreme Court
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) It was a good year for 2nd District Court of Appeal Justice Patti S. Kitching. The state Supreme Court heard four of her opinions on appeal, affirming every one. In total, the state high court heard 47 non-death and non-State Bar appeals in its 2013-14 term, which ended in August, culling cases from appellate courts around the state.
Sep 12 Judicial Profile: Richard A. Kramer
Daily Journal
 (Subscription required) Superior Court Judge Richard A. Kramer mused recently that he might not make a more culturally influential decision than his 2005 ruling that held California must recognize same sex marriage.
Related: Superior Court of San Francisco County
Sep 11 Chief Justice of California Addresses UCSD Alumni
East County Magazine
California Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Tani Cantil-Sakauye addressed UCSD alumni at the Symphony Towers in downtown San Diego today. She emphasized the need to teach civics to students.
Related: Civic Learning Initiative
Sep 11 CA chief justice touts local self-help workshop
The Daily Transcript
(Subscription required) California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye had high praise Thursday for San Diego's new civil appellate self-help workshop series.
Related: California Chief Justice, Superior Court of San Diego County
Sep 11 New presiding judge named for Yolo Superior Court
Daily Democrat
The next two top jurists for Yolo County are women, possibly for the first time in the court's history.
Related: Superior Court of Yolo County
Sep 11 Catherine D. Purcell Appointed Presiding Judge of State Bar Court
Met News
Catherine D. Purcell has been appointed presiding judge of the State Bar Court, the court said yesterday.
Related: News Release, Daily Journal
Sep 11 New State Bar president wants mentors for new lawyers
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Craig E. Holden speaks often about the mentors who gave him training and guidance on his way to becoming a successful business litigator. But today, many new lawyers are going into business alone and unaided, "without any benefit of experience, training or mentoring," he said. "When I was young, it wasn't sink or swim."
Sep 11 Retired state judges lose battle over pension benefits
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The state Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal brought by a group of retired judges and their heirs who claim they were collectively shortchanged $100 million in pension benefits.
Related: California Supreme Court
Sep 11 Kuhl, Buckley to Lead Superior Court for Next Two Years
Met News
Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Carolyn Kuhl and Daniel J. Buckley will be the presiding judge and assistant presiding judge of the court in 2015 and 2016, Presiding Judge David Wesley informed the bench yesterday.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Daily Journal
Sep 11 Judicial Profile: Frederick P. Horn
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Lawyers describe Frederick P. Horn as someone who is fair and friendly, who reads their papers, listens to their arguments and doesn't interfere.
Related: Superior Court of Orange County
Sep 10 California Supreme Court to decide who gets to sue government
San Francisco Chronicle
Taking up a Marin County case, the state Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to decide whether a 105-year-old California law, allowing taxpayers to file suits challenging state and local government policies, applies to all residents or just to property owners.
Sep 10 Next up: the Cantil-Sakauye high court
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The California Supreme Court - identified in a 2008 study as the most influential state supreme court in the nation - is in the process of a major transformation. Assuming Gov. Jerry Brown makes an appointment to Justice Joyce Kennard's presently vacant seat.
Related: California Supreme Court
Sep 10 Shasta County satellite courthouse to close as cutbacks continue around the state
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Former Shasta County Judge Steven E. Jahr said the Burney closure is “a reflection on how damaging the budget has been to some courts.” Residents of Shasta County will see their last satellite courthouse close this month, leaving just a main facility in Redding to serve litigants who live in the sprawling, hilly region.
Related: Superior Court of Shasta County
Sep 10 Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven Ogden to Retire
Met News
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven D. Ogden is retiring this month, the judge said yesterday.
Related: Superior Court of Los Angeles County
Sep 9 Court hears arguments over gay marriage's impact
Associated Press
A federal appeals court in San Francisco waded again into the debate over the constitutionality of gay marriage, with attorneys for both sides arguing over whether legalizing it would harm children.
Related: The Recorder, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle
Sep 9 Judicial Profile: Sunil R. Kulkarni
Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Throughout his legal career, Sunil Kulkarni has had a desire for public service. Now, as a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge, he gets to fulfill that every day of the week.
Related: Superior Court of Santa Clara County
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