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A nonprofit representing California sex workers is currently suing to overturn the state's laws against prostitution and solicitation. The organization, Erotic Service Provider Legal, Education and Research Project (ESPLER, a very unsexy acronym), argues that the state's prohibitions on sex work violates the Fourteenth Amendment.

So, is California about to go the way of Amsterdam or certain counties in Nevada and decriminalize the world's oldest profession? It's doubtful, but ESPLER thinks it's possible.

Blanket prohibitions on where registered sex offenders can live are unconstitutional, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled yesterday. The case was brought by registered sex offenders in San Diego who objected to mandatory residency restrictions in the penal code.

Sex offenders can't, for example, live within 2,000 feet of a public or private school or a park where children regularly gather. These requirements, the court said, have done more harm than good to registered sex offenders and bear "no rational relationship to advancing the state's goal of protecting children from sexual predators."

Those of us in the criminal defense community were outraged yesterday at the news that San Francisco Deputy Public Defender Jami Tillotson was arrested for preventing police from questioning or photographing her client at the San Francisco Hall of Justice.

"If you continue with this, I'll arrest you for resisting arrest," Police Sgt. Brian Stansbury paradoxically told Tillotson, who was, in fact, arrested. (After her arrest, Stansbury took photos of her client anyway, so take that!)

How can you be pre-emptively arrested for resisting arrest?

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Maryland law that allowed police to collect and store DNA from arrestees. This put a wrench in a California case called People v. Buza, centering on the validity of California's own DNA collection law.

The First District Court of Appeal decided Buza in the defendant's favor in 2011. On a petition for review, the state supreme court sent it back for reconsideration in light of King. Last week, the court of appeal reached the same conclusion: California's DNA collection law violates the state constitution.

Seasoned prosecutors and defense attorneys know that, despite what many courts have held over the years, jurors don't follow jury instructions. They just don't. And they especially don't pay attention to the admonishment that they can't take into account a defendant's failure to testify.

Yeah, right. Though Sarah Koenig may have been shocked to learn that on a previous episode of the "Serial" podcast, the rest of us know that taking the Fifth raises jurors' suspicions. (If he didn't do it, why won't he tell us his side of the story?) The California Supreme Court on Monday ruled on whether it's automatically misconduct for jurors to come to that conclusion.

Debt collectors have been accused of using shady tactics in order to collect, but a class action lawsuit filed in San Francisco this week really takes the cake. Kevin Breazeale claims that he and others received letters "threatening them with criminal prosecution unless they paid alleged debts arising from dishonored checks. The letters all bore the seal and letterhead of a county district attorney."

As it turns out, the letters didn't come from a district attorney, but from a private debt collection firm called CorrectiveSolutions. And guess what? The district attorney allowed the company to use his seal and letterhead.

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."

Cal. Supremes to Review Confidentiality of Police Personnel Files

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.

GVRO: What the Gun Violence Restraining Order Law Means

Every fearful conversation that I have heard from gun owners and conspiracy theorists has finally come true in California: The government can come seize your guns, though only if a family member claims that you are a danger to yourself or others.

Still, that's not going to assuage the fears of many gun owners out there. Assembly Bill 1014, drafted after the Santa Barbara shooting and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, creates the Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO), a set of procedures that piggybacks the current Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) system. The law will allow police officers to temporarily seize the restrained party's firearms, reports Reuters.

Here are the specifics of the legislation, which is set to take effect on January 1, 2016:

This is the second in a series about this year's California ballot propositions. Hopefully we can help sort out the wheat from the chaff when it comes to claims about what these propositions do and don't do. In case you missed it, here's our discussion of Proposition 46.

After years of brutal, "tough on crime" punishment, the United States -- and California -- has decided that maybe mandatory minimums, harsh sentences for nonviolent drug offenses, and Draconian recidivism statutes aren't the way to go after all. In 2012, the state amended its "Three Strikes" law to make the mandatory 25-to-life sentence applicable only if the third strike is a violent felony. Just this week, Gov. Brown signed a law that eliminated the crack/cocaine sentencing disparity in state law.

Now comes Proposition 47, which seeks to "ensure that prison spending is focused on violent and serious offenses." Cue the disingenuous claims that child molesters will get released directly into elementary school playgrounds in 3, 2, 1 ...