California Case Law - The FindLaw California Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal News & Information Blog

California Case Law - The FindLaw California Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal Opinion Summaries Blog


Leondra Who? Leondra Kruger, that's who. Kruger was nominated by Governor Jerry Brown to fill the seat vacated by Justice Joyce Kennard, who retired in April. Kennard's seat has been vacant since then, requiring various justices of the courts of appeal to sit in on cases in order to fill the seventh seat.

Kruger's nomination is a "mind blower," reported the Los Angeles Times, because, at 38, she's barely old enough to hold the position. That's not to say she's not qualified: With papers chased from Harvard and Yale, and a former boss named John Paul Stevens, she's legal eagle enough to sit on the state's highest court.

Last year, Graton Casino opened near Sonoma; you've probably seen their catchy TV commercials, featuring Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' song "Can't Hold Us." Still, that hasn't stopped opponents from trying to shut it down. (More on that in a bit.)

Separately, California voters this month defeated Proposition 48, which would have allowed two Indian tribes to build a casino near Fresno on land that wasn't traditionally theirs; instead, the land would be purchased by the federal government and held in trust for the benefit of the tribes.

Voters resoundingly rejected Prop. 48, whose opponents insisted that its approval would open the floodgates to Indian casinos built on off-reservation land.

November might not be the best month for the State Bar of California. If bar exam results go the same as every other state, we'll find out later this month that the July administration had the fewest passers in at least 10 years.

The good news for Joseph Dunn is that won't be his problem anymore. Dunn was abruptly fired from his job as executive director of the State Bar on November 7. Last week, we found out why, and the allegations are juicy and salacious.

In December 2013, Isaiah Martinez -- undoubtedly an Adorable Child (as evidenced by this photograph) -- brought some candy canes with him to his public elementary school, to be given away to his classmates as Christmas gifts. But those mean old school officials wouldn't let him. Another casualty in the War on Christmas!

Well, not quite. Each candy cane had a little paper attached containing the "candy cane legend," which described how the white part of the candy cane represents "the virgin Birth, the sinless nature of Jesus" and the red stripes represent "the blood shed by Jesus on the cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life, if only we put our faith and trust in Him."

California Penal Code Section 26820 states:

No handgun or imitation handgun, or placard advertising the sale or other transfer thereof, shall be displayed in any part of the premises where it can readily be seen from the outside.

Like guns? Hate guns? It doesn't matter, really. This is a law that seems to curtail commercial speech for no discernable reason whatsoever. Store owners can't put up signs advertising the sale of handguns, but they can advertise sales of shotguns and even "assault" rifles. And any non-dealers (think protesters) are free to post their own handgun-related signs.

It's a law that, to be fair, was passed in the 1920s. And yet, California is still trying enforce it.

They say that there is someone for everyone. If that is the case, some of the more mainstream sites may not cater to one's peculiarities. For example, there is FarmersOnly.com, a site whose tagline ("City folks just don't get it.") says it all.

SuccessfulMatch.com has its own network of niche dating sites, including Deafs.com, SeniorMatch.com, BikerKiss.com, EquestrianCupid.com, and the mother of all sites: PositiveMatch.com. That last one is for folks with incurable sexually transmitted diseases, such as herpes, HIV/AIDS, and HPV.

When users sign up for the site, assurances of anonymity are provided. However, in the site's terms, it says that it can share profiles and user data within the company's network, which includes a number of "affiliate" sites, each of which are created by third-parties for new niches.

Here we are again. In 2007, Anna Nicole Smith died from an apparent overdose of legally prescribed drugs. In 2009, Smith's domestic partner and agent Howard K. Stern was charged -- along with a Dr. Khristene Eroshevich -- with conspiracy to provide prescription drugs under false names.

Stern was convicted by a jury on two counts of conspiracy and acquitted on nine other counts. Stern moved for a new trial, which the trial court granted, and dismissed the conspiracy counts, finding that Stern used a false name to obtain prescription drugs for Smith "only to protect her privacy."

Wait, Manuel Noriega is in court and he's the plaintiff? It's more likely than you think. Apparently following on the heels of Lindsay Lohan, Noriega -- yes, the same one who was the military dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989 -- sued Activision, maker of the game "Call of Duty."

Noriega -- currently in prison in Panama -- claimed that "Call of Duty: Black Ops 2" portrayed him by name and likeness "as the culprit of numerous fictional heinous crimes" in the game. Earlier this week, though, a Los Angeles County Superior Court dismissed Noriega's case with prejudice.

A police officer's personnel file could be a gold mine for a defendant -- past misconduct, especially the really juicy stuff like beating a defendant or falsifying a police report, could destroy an officer's credibility and sway an otherwise teetering jury.

But who screens those police files to determine whether they should be turned over? The California Supreme Court unanimously voted to take up the issue in an appeal of an intermediate court's ruling that prosecutors, not police officers, should screen the files, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Ellis Act acts as a check on California's fairly tenant-friendly landlord/tenant laws. Even notwithstanding tougher locals laws (like those in Los Angeles and San Francisco), the Ellis Act allows a landlord to evict a tenant if he's getting out of the landlord business altogether.

Here's the kicker: In San Francisco, where the median market rent is now almost $3,500 for a one-bedroom apartment, landlords often find that it makes more economic sense to get out of the landlord business and sell their properties to someone else -- rather than continue to collect rent from long-term, practically unevictable tenants paying much lower than market rate.