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Twittet v. USA Case Heats up in Oakland Court

A California federal district court took a little and gave a little in the Twitter versus government surveillance fight. The court agreed completely with a federal government argument that Twitter's complaint did not allege that information was not properly classified by the feds. However, the district judge did not concede to the government's change in venue request.

Twitter has about twenty days to amend its complaint to address concerns noted by the federal judge.

CA's Orange County Jailhouse Snitching Program Continues

Law enforcement continues to get battered in the court of public opinion. In general, law enforcement could really use a boost of good press.

Well, don't look to California. As if the state didn't have enough of its plate already, the now infamous Orange County jailhouse informant scandal threatens to shake law enforcement even more. So much for good press.

Quality School Education Is Not a Fundamental Right in CA

California's State Constitution does not guarantee children a minimum quality K-12 education, according to the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco. The decision was reached amidst broad attention being directed towards the K-12 spending debate.

The disappointed plaintiffs have announced that they will appeal to the California Supreme Court.

L.A. County Seal Is Unconstitutional, Rules Federal Judge

According to federal district judge Christina A. Snyder, the County of Los Angeles' Official Seal is unconstitutional. Controversy began when a group of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim congregation leaders represented by the ACLU sued the LA County Board in 2014, alleging that the addition of a tiny cross in the seal's imagery violated the Establishment Clause.

Warrantless Searches of Electronics OK for Probation Condition, CA Court Rules

A California appeals court recently affirmed a juvenile court's probation order that conditioned a young man's probationary status on warrantless searches of his "electronics including passwords." The decision relies on a broad court reading of a 1975 California case called People v. Lent and its stance on Fourth Amendment rights.

Under the applicable law, conditions of probation need to be pretty darn broad in order to be invalidated.

Apple Files Challenge to FBI's Court Order to Create Back-Door

The clock is ticking for Apple, which has resolutely made it clear again and again that it has no plans to comply with a recent California Magistrate's court order to assist the FBI into breaking into San Bernadino Syed Farook's iPhone. Apple had until tomorrow to either comply with the order or formally submit a challenge in court. Today, Apple submitted its formal opposition to the federal court order.

FBI director James Comey has been near the epicenter of what can be called a privacy-debate hurricane. He recently let slip that the outcome of the highly contested court order would "be instructive for other courts" when determining how far companies and other parties must go in order to help government hack into their products in the name of national security.

Andy Lopez's Friends Can Sue Cops for Abuse

Federal district judge William Orrick trimmed a civil rights lawsuit down to size by dismissing charges against several defendants with prejudice. But the judge let stand claims against two Sonoma County Sheriff's officers for some rather egregious conduct.

So what got them in trouble? The suit involves complaints of an officer jumping out of a patrol car, pointing a gun at children, and telling them to "get [their] f***ing hands up now!"

Right-To-Die Lawsuit Rejected by California Appeals Court

The Associated Press reported yesterday that a California appeals court rejected a lawsuit brought by Christy O'Donnell and two other terminally ill patients who sought to legalize the procedure for doctors to prescribe them fatal medication.

The court ruled that current law would criminalize physicians who helped patients commit suicide. The news comes as a blow to the patients in light of this month's signing of the California's physician-assisted suicide law. This is ironic because O'Donnell's face has become synonymous with California's freshly legalized right to drug-assisted suicide.

California will strictly limit its use of solitary confinement in prisons, the state announced on Tuesday. The changes are expected to greatly reduce the number of inmates held in isolation. Currently, inmates are often kept in small, windowless cells for 22 hours a day, often suffering severe psychological distress as a result.

The changes come as part of a settlement to a landmark class action lawsuit brought by prisoners. Those prisoners had been held in solitary confinement for 10 years or longer in Pelican Bay State Prison, near the Oregon border.

California may soon be getting rid of the religious and personal exemptions that let parents opt out of vaccinating their children before enrolling them in school, daycares or nurseries. A new bill imposing more robust child vaccination requirements has been approved by the state Senate and is well on its way to becoming law.

The law comes largely as a response to an outbreak of measles in Disneyland this winter, which spread to over 100 individuals across state and even national lines. Measles, like many diseases, is preventable through immunization, but California has some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with more than a quarter of schools having immunization rates below levels recommended by the C.D.C.