While the rest of the country is covered in snow, the sun is shining in the Golden State, and legal controversies and news are going at a non-stop pace. There's a lot to talk about, here are some highlights.
Justice Joyce Kennard Retiring
Justice Joyce Kennard, Associate Justice on the California Supreme Court announced that she will retire, effective April 5, 2014, giving Governor Jerry Brown a second chance to fill a seat on the California Supreme Court, reports The Sacramento Bee. The longest-serving justice, aged 72, is seen as "one of the more liberal" Justices, "often siding with the underdog," and "one of the court's most vocal members during oral arguments," reports the Los Angeles Times.
Happy Birthday Copyright Dispute
Did you know that every time the song "Happy Birthday to You" is sung in a film or television show, producers need to pay a synchronization license to Warner Chappell music licensing? Neither did we. But, apparently, they own the 1935 copyright to the song, and bring in more than $2 million per year, according to Ars Technica.
A filmmaker who made a documentary called "Happy Birthday," and paid $1,500 to Warner Chappell, sued the company in California district court in June claiming the copyright is not valid, hoping to create a class action and have licensing fees paid since mid-2009 refunded. Discovery is set to go on through September, and the parties have foregone a jury trial. Motions are expected to be filed in November, reports Ars Technica.
California Prison Overcrowding -- 2 Year Extension
Governor Jerry Brown has been seeking more time to reduce prison overcrowding in California -- and now he finally has it. Earlier this week a panel of federal judges issued an order giving California two additional years to reduce overcrowding, reports Reuters. The panel approved of the extension because California agreed to "develop comprehensive reforms" with a court-appointed compliance officer overseeing the "implementation of reforms." According to the order, California must follow a strict capacity timeline, and Governor Brown may not appeal the order for two years.
- Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye's Views on Justice, Diversity and More (FindLaw's California Case Law)
- Chief Justice Warns of Layoffs and Closures, Proposes 3-Year Plan (FindLaw's California Case Law)
- Year in Review 2013: Highlights From The Golden State (FindLaw's California Case Law)