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

Recently in Civil Rights Law Category

Court Agrees Not to Suspend Licenses of Drivers Too Poor to Pay Traffic Fines

Traffic tickets may not seem like a civil rights matter, but they were important enough for civil liberties groups to take action in Northern California.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and others sued the Solano County Superior Court last year for suspending driver's licenses of people too poor to pay traffic tickets. After a year of litigation and negotiation, the parties have settled the issue.

"We were able to work with the court to find a system that will provide notice to people about their rights and ability to pay," said Raegan Joern, a staff attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid.

Court: Medical Board's Right to Records Outweighs Patients' Privacy Rights

The California Supreme Court said the state medical board did not need a warrant or subpoena to obtain a doctor's prescription history for his patients.

In Lewis v. Superior Court, the court said that the board's interest in protecting the public outweighed any privacy rights. The board acquired the patient information through the state's Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System, "CURES."

"[W]e find that the balance tips in favor of the Board's interests in protecting the public from unlawful use and diversion of a particularly dangerous class of prescription drugs and protecting patients from negligent or incompetent physicians," Justice Goodwin Liu wrote.

Oakland Settles Police Sex Scandal

The Oakland City Council approved a settlement to pay nearly $1 million to a former prostitute who alleged that a parade of police officers used her for sex, including times when she was a minor.

Jasmine Absulin, formerly known as Celeste Guap, said that police in Oakland, Richmond, Livermore, and San Francisco, as well as Alameda and Contra Costa counties, were involved. She has filed claims for civil rights violations against the police agencies.

"Officers are supposed to protect young girls like this, not take advantage of them," her attorney John Burris said. "They were like wild rats that went from one department to the next department to the next department."

In the summer of 2014, Brandon Duncan and Aaron Harvey were arrested in connection to their rap lyrics and social media posts and were accused of violating an obscure California law making it illegal to promote gang activity. They were kept in detention for months, before their charges were ultimately dismissed.

Now the two are suing, alleging that their arrests violated their First and Fourth Amendment rights.

IMDb, the internet movie database, can tell you virtually every role an actor has played, what projects an actress has in the pipeline, and even your favorite celebrity's height. It can also tell you an actor's age and birthday, at least for now.

A new California law, signed by Governor Brown this September, seeks to deter age discrimination in the entertainment industry by requiring websites like IMDB to remove actors' ages on request. Now, IMDb is suing, alleging that the law violates its First Amendment rights.

Will California's Concealed-Carry Gun Restrictions Go Before SCOTUS?

Few states top California when it comes to a general anti-gun stance -- with possible exceptions in New Jersey and New York.

Now, it appears that the state's "good cause" statute, whose legitimacy has been bouncing around in the courts for some time, is finally on its way to be scrutinized by the highest court in the land. Even after a request was made of 28 of the Ninth Circuit's judges, no majority granting a rehearing of last June's contentious case could be met.

CA Revenge Porn Case Criminalizes Disclosure of Private Facts

There's a disturbing trend playing itself out in California courtrooms according to Eugene Volokh. The trend potentially criminalizes disclosure of private facts, even if the content disclosed isn't actually revenge porn.

Court applications of the Cal. Pen. Code sec. 530(a) should chill the public. Since when did the disclosure of some private facts of another become a full fledged crime?

CA Passes 3D Gun Bill Into Law, Requires Registration

It was going to happen sooner or later, and it looks like it happened sooner. California passed a law last week that, according to the NRA, would "effectively end the practice of personally manufacturing firearms in California."

How does one manufacture a gun at home without heavy machinery and tools? Easy. Go to your local Best Buy and get a 3D printer.

Inventor of 'Bullet Button' Skirts Spirit of New CA Gun Laws

Whenever state gun laws tighten restrictions on firearms, a demand is created for devices that will skirt the new restrictions. And that's just what has happened with the recent release of the "Bullet Button Patriot Mag Release," which defies California's new gun laws.

Days after Jerry Brown signed into law new language that made quick release of magazines more difficult, a company softened the sting for gun lovers by introducing a device that helps speed up reloading after the gun has been partially disassembled. No doubt demand is white hot.

Christian Dating Site Ordered to Allow LGBT Singles Access

A Superior Court in California has just penned off on a settlement that requires Christian Mingle to accommodate LGBT singles who use the site. Now, people visiting ChristianMingle.com aren't restricted to searching for a partner of the opposite sex; they can now search for same-sex matches. This will surely not be the last word on what will become part of the "religious freedom" movement.