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

June 2012 Archives

Cal. Supreme Court Rejects Teachers Union Arbitration Request

Charter schools and teachers unions mix about as well as oil and water. So it's no surprise to see a teachers union oppose a plan to convert a standard public school into a charter school.

Seeing such a battle go all the way to the California Supreme Court on the question of arbitration is slightly less common.

Cal. Supreme Court Sends Air Quality Controls Back to the Future

Unlike Star Wars Day, which is a very real phenomenon, (May the 4th be with you), Wednesday’s Back to the Future Day turned out to be an elaborate, Photoshop-manufactured hoax.

In case you weren’t wasting your time on Facebook this week, the buzz on the Internet was that June 27, 2012 was the future date that Marty McFly and Doc Brown visited in Back to the Future II. That “future” however, is actually October 21, 2015, more than three years away, reports the Los Angeles Times.

For those among you who want a piece of the future today, the California Supreme Court has a solution: air quality controls.

Cal Supreme Court Demands Harsher Attorney Discipline

The California Supreme Court takes attorney discipline seriously.

Last week, the state's highest court returned 24 attorney discipline cases to the State Bar Court, after determining that proposed disciplinary actions were too lenient, reports the ABA Journal.

California Facebook Settlement Protects Right of Publicity

In California, the right of publicity isn’t reserved for “reality” stars and actual famous people: it applies to everyday types, too.

Last month, Facebook settled a claim with California residents over the company’s “Sponsored Stories.” The plaintiffs challenged the posts, arguing that using a person’s image to promote a product without the person’s consent violates the state’s right of publicity laws. This week, the terms of the Facebook settlement became public: Facebook will cough up attorneys fees and $10 million cy pres to charity.

Judge Robert Kelleher, Oldest-Serving Federal Judge, Dies at 99

Flags outside the courthouses of the United States District Court for the Central District of California will be flown at half staff in honor of Senior District Judge Robert J. Kelleher, who passed yesterday at the age of 99. Judge Kelleher was the oldest-serving federal judge, The Associated Press reports.

District Court Chief Judge Audrey B. Collins described Judge Kelleher as “a great judge,” “a dear friend,” and “a fighter until the end, enjoying life and loving his family and this court.”

California Bar Supports Law Licenses for Illegal Immigrants

In May, we told you that the California Supreme Court will consider whether illegal immigrants can be licensed as attorneys in the state. The court issued an order last month directing the California Committee of Bar Examiners to show cause why the court should grant admit an undocumented immigrant to the California State Bar, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Opening briefs in the case were due Monday, and the Committee of Bar Examiners took a rather interesting approach to its argument supporting law licenses of undocumented immigrants.

California Traffic Ticket Amnesty Program Ends June 30

The California Amnesty Program for Traffic Tickets is winding down. Speed demon attorneys and lead-footed clients only have two more weeks to get a discount on unpaid tickets.

The California courts have been offering a traffic ticket amnesty program since January 1, 2012. The program offers drivers a 50 percent discount on certain unpaid traffic tickets. But all good things come to an end, and half-price traffic violations will end Saturday, June 30.

Chief Justice Names 10 to California Judicial Council

There will soon be new blood at the California Judicial Council, the administrative policy-making body of state courts.

California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye announced ten Judicial Council appointments last week, including seven new members and three reappointments.

Can a Sidewalk be Used for Assault with a Deadly Weapon?

The sidewalk, when used improperly, can be a deadly weapon.

The Second Appellate District Court upheld a juvenile offender’s conviction for assault with a deadly weapon this week, finding that the defendant didn’t actually have to touch the sidewalk to use the sidewalk as a deadly weapon. (Here, the defendant allegedly punched, stomped, and kicked the victim’s face while the victim was lying on the sidewalk.)

Can Pro Bono Lawyers Satisfy San Fran Right to Civil Counsel?

D.C. is known for having the highest concentration of lawyers in nation -- one in every twelve D.C. residents is a lawyer -- but San Francisco's "right to civil counsel" pilot program could turn the City by the Bay into the new lawyer Mecca.

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu introduced a proposal that was approved in February to create a one-year pilot program granting parties in need a right to civil counsel, reports the San Francisco Examiner. Chiu claimed that the measure was necessary to fulfill the Pledge of Allegiance promise "that we are 'a country with liberty and justice for all."

(San Francisco is the first city to take that part of the pledge literally.)

What Will the SEC Report Mean for AB 1208, AOC?

Two weeks ago, the California Supreme Court-appointed Strategic Evaluation Committee released its over-200-page report on the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). It was not particularly favorable. The media described the Committee's evaluation as everything from "sharp" to "scathing."

The report concluded that the AOC "must refocus on providing service to the courts; that a fundamental restructuring of the organization is needed; that the AOC must be down-sized to correspond with its core functions; and that its internal processes need to be improved."

Does Compassionate Release Raise Equal Protection Concerns?

Carl Wade, a terminally-ill convicted murderer, died in a state prison in Vacaville on Thursday, reports The Associated Press.

While dying in prison isn't uncommon for someone convicted of first-degree murder, Wade's case drew media attention because he was supposed to be released last week under California's compassionate release plan.

Court Upholds Matthew Souza's Conviction, Death Sentence

Thursday, the California Supreme Court upheld the death penalty for an Oakland man convicted on multiple first degree murder counts, reports the Bay City News Service.

Matthew Souza was 18-years-old in 1993 when he began shooting revelers at an apartment party with a semi-automatic assault rifle. Matthew opened fire on the crowd in retaliation for an earlier incident in which his mother had been forcibly removed from a house party. Matthew, his brother Michael, and a third, unidentified man armed themselves with guns and drove to Regina Watchman's apartment, where five people were shot, and three of the victims, including Watchman, died.