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

October 2011 Archives

California Republicans Lose Redistricting Plan Challenges

The California Supreme Court this week denied two petitions for writs of mandate challenging the validity of redistricting maps that have been certified by the Citizens Redistricting Commission. The court also denied a request for an emergency stay of the certified maps.

California Republicans contested the congressional and State Senate maps in a closed session of the State Supreme Court, alleging that some of the boundaries violated state constitutional requirements for compact, contiguous districts. Challengers also argued that the maps did not comply with the federal voting rights law governing minority representation, reports Los Angeles Times.

Are Sex Offender Halloween Laws Constitutional?

Halloween is a time for costumes, candy, and revelry, but it is also perceived as a time when children are more susceptible to sexual predators' attacks.

Perhaps that's because it's one of the only times that parents suspend the standard safety rules for their kids. While most days, kids are told to avoid talking to strangers or going to strangers' homes, all bets are off on Halloween.

Judge Bybee Received $3.2 Million in Services from L.A. Firm

Should a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judge receive millions of dollars in free services from a Los Angeles-based law firm?

According to his latest financial disclosures, George W. Bush-appointee Judge Jay Bybee has accepted more than $3.2 million in free legal services from global super-firm Latham & Watkins, reports The Wall Street Journal. The firm provided Judge Bybee legal assistance as he fought a five-year ethics inquiry by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).

Cal Court: Spite Doesn't Trump Grandparent Visitation Rights

The California Fourth Appellate District ruled this week that a surviving parent cannot use spite as a "Big Bertha" in a grandparent visitation rights dispute.

While the landmark 2000 case Troxel v. Granville commands a presumption that a surviving parent's objection to grandparent visitation rights is in the best interest of the children, the appellate court this week refused to permit a parent to use the Troxel presumption in his personal war with the grandparent.

Obama Nominates L.A. Attorney Paul Watford to the Ninth Circuit

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals isn't just a prestigious promotion for judges and law professors: Practicing attorneys can also be nominated to the bench.

President Obama nominated Los Angeles attorney Paul Watford to serve on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today.

Court Says Wall Street Journal is Local Newspaper in Los Angeles

If you ever doubt the criticism that we live in an overly-litigious society, consider this: A California appellate court issued an opinion last week in a matter questioning whether The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) was a local paper in Los Angeles.

Why should this matter come before any California court, much less an appellate court? Because official notices must be published in a local newspaper of general circulation under California law.

The WSJ is a daily newspaper published in New York City and several other cities by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Andrew P. Johnson, a manager of Dow Jones & Company, Inc., filed a petition to declare the WSJ a newspaper of general circulation for the City of Los Angeles.

iPhone Prototype Finder Brian Hogan Gets Probation

The criminal phase of the Great iPhone Prototype Caper of 2010 has come to a close.

Brian Hogan and Sage Wallower, the two men who sold the iPhone 4 prototype to Gizmodo last year, pleaded no contest on Tuesday to theft of lost property, reports the BBC. Hogan and Wallflower were sentenced to 40 hours of public service and ordered to pay $250 each in restitution to Apple.

In case you missed the iPhone prototype dustup news due to Blackberry outages, we'll recap.

Brown Vetoes SB 914 Ban on Warrantless Cell Phone Searches

Is it time to toss your cell phone? Or if not toss it, at least lock it.

Governor Jerry Brown vetoed California Senate Bill 914 (SB 914) on Sunday; the bill, sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), would have made it illegal for police to search a suspect's electronic devices during an arrest without a court-issued warrant, reports the Los Angeles Times.

In his veto statement, Gov. Brown explained that the measure, "would overturn a California Supreme Court decision that held that police officers can lawfully search the cell phones of people who they arrest," and deferred to the courts' authority in such matters.

iLook at Steve Jobs' Legal Legacy

We have a suite of Apple products at home. We use iTunes every day. We learned to program BASIC on an Apple IIE. So, next to Henry Ford, Steve Jobs has been the most notable American innovator in our life.

FindLaw even named our office mascot - a life-sized plastic goose - Jobs after the Great Steve. (Jobs the Goose is currently wearing a black neck tie in mourning.)

As we mull Jobs' impact on technology innovation over the last 35 years, we also began to consider his impact on the legal world. Everyone knows that he was a tech innovator, but what will Steve Jobs' legal legacy be? Here is just a small sampling:

Female Lawyers, Kate, and Pippa Middleton: Pantyhose Revival?

What do female lawyers have in common with Kate and Pippa Middleton? Sheer stockings.

The stretchy nylon nemesis, banished in the '90s to the corporate world, is making a comeback in the fashion universe thanks to the Duchess of Cambridge. Even the mini-Middleton, Pippa, has been spotted wearing sheer stockings. But while the Middleton sisters have become style sensations over the last year, will female lawyers enjoy a similar response by following their legwear lead?

While pantyhose are required among the women of the royal court, they are no longer necessary for female members of the bar.

Court OKs Zoning Attack on CA Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

A California Appellate Court ruled last week that a patient who relies on medical marijuana for pain management does not have standing to challenge a city’s decision to close a medical marijuana dispensary.

Plaintiff Malinda Traudt filed suit to obtain a court declaration that Dana Point (City) zoning ordinances that did not expressly recognize California medical marijuana dispensaries as permitted uses constituted a zoning ban on dispensaries and that state law, specifically the Compassionate Use Act and the Medical Marijuana Program Act, preempts cities from adopting zoning bans on dispensaries.