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

August 2011 Archives

Beer-Worthy or Sneer-Worthy? Client Retention Tips for Lawyers

Back in our college days, we worked at a mid-sized law firm in our hometown. Since it was a fairly prominent firm, there were several crops of law school go-getters that would pass through the firm's wood-paneled halls each year as summer associates, vying for job offers.

Without the pressure of competing for one of those coveted offers - that would come later - it was interesting to observe the summer associates in their natural habitat and make mental wagers as to who would win a job.

Swifter Justice? Try Mediation and Arbitration

When was the last time you heard someone declare “I became a lawyer so I could bill for doc review?” Sadly, there are few in this world that harbor romantic notions of how highlighting and redacting can achieve justice.

Instead, most of us went into law school dreaming of how we could win a big case at trial. While it’s practically blasphemy to suggest that attorneys give up their few, glorious moments of courtroom drama, California alternative dispute resolution (California ADR) is an effective tool for securing a timely result for your client in a time of unprecedented state court budget cuts.

Puff Peace? O. C. Judge OKs Anaheim Pot Dispensary Ban

Californians approved medical marijuana in 1996, and considered legalizing pot for the general public in 2010, but some communities are hopeful that a California court decision will reign in medical marijuana dispensaries.

Last week, anti-drug activists won a challenge in Orange County Superior Court in Qualified Patients Association v. City of Anaheim. The plaintiff in the case, an Anaheim pot dispensary, questioned whether a state law enabling collective growers to sell pot through marijuana dispensaries preempts a city ban on the dispensaries.

Cal Court Clarifies Probation Terms for Beer Bottle Wielder

How specific must probation terms be to avoid the overly-broad-and-vague judicial kiss of death?

California’s Sixth Appellate District Court ruled this week that a probationer may be restricted from hanging out in a location which he knows to be, or which the probation officer informs him to be, an area of criminal, street-gang-related activity. The court also found that a restriction from loitering in areas “adjacent to any school campus” was not overly vague.

Judicial Council of California Announces New Policies

The Judicial Council of California announced changes this week that will make the Council more open and accessible to the public.

Court of Appeal Justice Douglas Miller, the newly-appointed chair of the council's Executive and Planning Committee, explained that the changes were adopted in response to Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye's request that the council take a "fresh and thorough look at every aspect of how the council operates and governs." As a result, several new procedures have been established.

Calling Juror 13: Judge Can Strike Trial Verdict in Palimony Case

The problem with maintaining a harem of female companions over the course of 30 years is that, eventually, you may grow attached to one of your companions.

Anyone who's seen Pretty Woman knows that one minute you're making a business arrangement, and the next, you're overcoming a fear of heights to climb a fire escape and proclaim your undying love.

These things happen.

Jacques Gaston Murray, a wealthy, 91-year-old business man, married three times. After his last divorce, he swore to never become emotionally involved in a relationship again. Murray is our Richard Gere/Edward Lewis character in this case.

Cal Appellate Specialist Exam Offered on October 25

Are you interested in becoming a California Appellate Specialist? You're in luck. The California Appellate Specialist exam is only offered in odd years, and the next exam will be offered on October 25, 2011.

To qualify for the exam, an applicant must demonstrate that she has been substantially involved in the practice of appellate law in the five years immediately preceding her written application. Substantial involvement includes, but is not limited to:

Lesser Included Offense? Inmates' Alcohol Charges Stand

Should California inmates fight for their right to party?

Not if a California Appellate Court will hear their grounding appeals. This week, the Second Appellate District upheld two prisoners' convictions for possessing and knowingly bringing alcohol into a prison camp.

The facts sound like a scheme that your little brother might have attempted in high school ... except in prison.

CA Appellate: No Partnership Buyout When Only 1 Partner Remains

Partnerships, like Olsen twins’ movies or Ikea furniture assembly, require two people.

This is common knowledge in business associations, but, as some people insist on bringing lawsuits without reviewing facts or statutes, it is one that a California Appellate Court was forced to enumerate this week in its ruling that there cannot be a partnership buyout if there is no longer a partnership.

Cantil-Sakauye Announces Hearing at Hastings College of Law

Want a front-row seat to one of the California Supreme Court's rare hearings outside the courthouse? If you're a law student, you're in luck.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye announced that the California Supreme Court will hold a special oral argument session on Wednesday, September 7, 2011, at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, 200 McAllister Street, San Francisco.

Cal Appeals Court Overturns DNA Collection

The California First District Court of Appeals ruled unanimously on Thursday that the state’s DNA and Forensic Identification Data Base and Data Bank Act (DNA Act) violates Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

Appellant Mark Buza challenged the law after being slapped with a misdemeanor conviction for not providing DNA evidence following an arson admission. Buza was arrested without a warrant in 2009 on suspicion of arson; he refused to provide a DNA sample on a cheek swab. He was later convicted of arson, possession of an incendiary device, vandalism and failing to provide a DNA specimen, and was sentenced to 16 months in prison, reports KTVU.

GPS Law Violates Separation of Powers

The California Penal Code states that the county’s chief probation officer shall have the “sole discretion,” consistent with the terms and conditions of probation, to decide which persons shall be supervised using a global positioning system (GPS).

A California District Court says the GPS law is unconstitutional.

In an opinion issued on Tuesday, the court ruled that the chief probation officer cannot order a person to wear a GPS device in conflict with a court order.

Supreme Court Schedules Proposition 8 Standing Hearing

The California Supreme Court on Friday announced that it will hear oral arguments in Perry v. Brown from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 6, 2011, in the Supreme Court Courtroom, Earl Warren Building at 350 McAllister Street in San Francisco.

The court is hearing arguments to decide whether the official proponents of Proposition 8 have legal standing to defend the measure in the case now pending before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.