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

March 2013 Archives

DIG v. Standing? Prop 8 Outcome Would Be the Same

In November 2011, the California Supreme Court decided that ProtectMarriage, the conservative coalition that sponsored Proposition 8, had standing to defend the ballot initiative in the federal appellate process.

The answer wasn’t obvious to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals — which had certified the standing question to the state court — but Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and the gang concluded that individual citizens have the right to defend ballot initiatives when public officials refuse to do so.

Maybe SCOTUS thinks the Supreme Court of California got it wrong. Maybe the Justices are just using standing as an excuse to avoid the greater issue of marriage equality. The only thing that is certain is that standing isn’t certain in the Hollingsworth v. Perry.

Cal. Supreme Court Affirms SVPA Psychotherapist-Patient Privilege

The Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA) allows the state to keep sexually violent predators (SVPs) locked up even after they complete their prison sentences. It’s not an automatic lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key ordeal, but it’s pretty close. SVPs get a civil commitment trial, but the evidence suggesting a likelihood of recidivism is always strong. Nationwide, there’s a high commitment rate for SVPs.

That commitment rate could be even higher if courts waived the psychotherapist-patient privilege during SVPA trials based on the dangerous patient exception.

Last week, however, the California Supreme Court upheld the privilege in an SVPA appeal.

5 Things to Know About FBI National Security Letters

Here at FindLaw, we understand the pressures of being a legal professional -- most of us are recovering lawyers -- so we want to help by tossing you that preferred life preserver of the legal profession, the short list. Today's offering: National Security Letters.

National Security Letters are the "Fight Club" of legal documents. The first rule of National Security Letters is: Do not talk about National Security Letters. But that's changing. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco ordered the government to stop issuing NSLs, though she tempered that order with a 90-day stay to give the feds a chance to appeal, Wired reports.

Before the appeal happens, here are five things you should know about NSLs:

Mixed Motive Discrimination Upends 'Price is Right' Model's Win

This week, a ‘Price is Right’ model’s $7.7 million discrimination judgment slipped from her grasp like the elusive $1.00 mark on the show’s famous Big Wheel. But just like the contestant vying for a spot in the Showcase Showdown, Brandi Cochran will get a second spin in court, The Hollywood Reporter reports.

If you’ve never seen the ‘Price is Right,’ then clearly you have never stayed home from school or work for a sick day. Fear not, we’ll take this opportunity to enlighten you.

Women Rule at Oakland Courthouse

Beyoncé lives in an alternate reality filled with couture and yachts and talent and fabulousness. Most lawyers -- and judges -- do not share that world.

But at the federal courthouse in Oakland, Queen B's words about girls running the world ring true. All six judges at the federal courthouse in Oakland are proud members of the XX-chromosome club, according to The California Report.

Cal Supreme Court Upholds Marsy's Law Parole Delays

California voters approved Proposition 9, the Victim's Bill of Rights Act, in 2008. Better known as Marsy's Law, the Act expanded the rights of victims to be notified of parole hearings, present information to the Board of Parole Hearings, and to require the Board to consider the "entire and uninterrupted" statements of victims, their families and their representatives. It also amended California Penal Code §3041.5 to increase the period of time between parole hearings, while still allowing for earlier hearings if a change in circumstances or new information subsequently established that there was a reasonable probability a prisoner was suitable for parole.

California applied Marsy's Law uniformly to prisoners incarcerated before and after the initiative was approved, but prisoners like Michael Vicks question whether the law is fair.

L.A. Really Wants to Take Stuff from Homeless People

Los Angeles is firmly committed to seizing stuff from the city’s homeless population.

After losing in both a district court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the city has filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court, asking the Court to overturn an injunction that stops the city from clearing unattended belongings off the streets, Reuters reports.

According to the Ninth Circuit, “The Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments protect homeless persons from government seizure and summary destruction of their unabandoned, but momentarily unattended, personal property.” But there’s more than just property at stake: City Attorney Carmen Trutanich says that the city is trying to prevent a public health crisis, such as the tuberculosis outbreak that has affected an estimated 4,500 people on Skid Row.