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October 2013 Archives

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Allows Tech VC to Close Beach Access

For decades, if you wanted to surf Martin's Beach, just south of Half Moon Bay, there was only one way to get there: the private access road. The landowners charged a few bucks, opened up a store along the way, and no one really minded because they could get to the picturesque beach, which is surrounded on two sides by cliffs.

Now, if you want to get to the beach, you're going to need a boat. Two LLCs, Martins Beach 1 and 2, purchased the land in 2008, and shortly thereafter, closed the access road, and hired security guards to keep the beach bums away. The man behind the LLCs is believed to be Vinod Khosla, a Silicon Valley billionaire who paid $37.5 million for the property and for 45 leased cabins along the cliffs, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

Arbitration Not Compelled in Nursing Home Sexual Assault Case

The facts of this case are tragic. The victim, a 90-year-old stroke survivor, told her daughter that she needed to be removed from her nursing home, Monterey Pines Skilled Nursing Facility (now known as Cypress Ridge Care Center after a transfer of ownership). Despite her limited ability to communicate, she told her daughter that her catheter had been removed, the nurse call button had been disabled, and her clothing had been taken off by someone the night before.

She remembers her assailant stating, "This is why I love my job."

The victim had bruising on her inner thighs and pelvic region and complained of increased pain in the area. It was later discovered that she contracted genital herpes. Her sole sexual partner, her husband of nearly 70 years, tested negative.

Recently, Scott Shafer, host of KQED's The California Report, interviewed California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye about some issues facing the California justice system.

For California lawyers without the time to listen to the full discussion, here are some of her thoughts as expressed in the interview.

UC Davis Pepper Spray Cop Gets Bigger Settlement Than Protestors

Remember Lt. John Pike? Back in 2011, when he was still employed by the University of California at Davis, he turned a bottle of non-sanctioned pepper spray on a group of peacefully-protesting students who were blocking the sidewalk in the middle of campus's large, grassy quad, and ordered a second officer to join the fun, reports the Davis Enterprise.

Now, he's going to cash a massive settlement check, and receive retirement benefits from the university due to the "trauma" he suffered after traumatizing a dozen or so students.

There are no words to express the ludicrousness of the situation, other than, "Go Aggies!"

Police Must Now Record Interrogations of Juvenile Murder Suspects

False confessions may be a recurring problem in our criminal justice system, but the problem is especially pronounced in interrogations of juvenile suspects. In a series of studies cited by State Sen. Ted W. Lieu, the author of Senate Bill 569, research showed the following:

  • Out of 125 false confessions in one study, 33 percent were from juveniles, most of whom confessed to murder;
  • In a review of exonerations between 1989 and 2004, 42 percent of juvenile exonorees' cases involved false confessions (compared with 13 percent of adults);
  • Among the youngest of those exonerees, ages 12 to 15, 69 percent confessed to homicides and sexual assaults that they did not commit.

California often leads the charge on social issues, but sometimes it's ahead of its time; that may have been the case with the attempt to legalize marijuana.

In November 2010, Proposition 19, a ballot measure to legalize marijuana was defeated by a slim margin of 53.5% of voters voting "no," reports the San Jose Mercury News. Attempts to legalize marijuana in Colorado and Washington last year were successful, and these victories at the poll have renewed efforts in California to do the same.

The Gun Bills: What Gov. Brown Vetoed

Friday could have been doomsday for California gun owners. A package of bills, restricting everything from grandfathered high capacity magazines to so-called assault rifles, would have taken California's gun laws, which are amongst the nation's most stringent, and made them, hands-down, the most restrictive.

And while the signed bills banned lead ammo for hunting, banned high capacity magazine "repair" kits, and beefed up safety and storage requirements, for most gun owners, nothing will truly change after Gov. Brown vetoed the vast majority of the legislation.

The Gun Bills: What Gov. Brown Signed

You can't please everyone, but you sure can tick 'em all off. On Friday, Governor Jerry Brown finally addressed that stack of anti-gun legislation that has been sitting on his desk. And in true middle-of-the-road fashion, he signed some, while sending others to the round file.

What are the new gun laws that have some calling for recall efforts? Read on to find out.

While 2013 appears to be "the year of doing nothing" in Washington, D.C., the California Immigrant Policy Center has lauded it "the 'year of the immigrant' in California, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Governor Brown stated: "While Washington waffles on immigration, California's forging ahead ... I'm not waiting." And forging he is, signing eight bills making sweeping changes to immigration laws in California.

Navarette v. California: Big Case for Traffic Stops, 4th Amendment

The California Highway Patrol received a call from a concerned citizen. That person had just been run off the road by a silver Ford F-150 pickup truck, license plate number 8D94925. Dispatchers passed the message to two CHP officers who were in the area. Each located the truck, followed it to verify the details relayed in the tip, and pulled it over.

When the officers approached the truck, they smelled marijuana, and after a search of the truck bed, found four large bags. Thought the officers verified the non-criminal details of the tip before pulling over the truck (i.e. color, plate number, etc.), they did not witness any illegal behavior or reckless driving before stopping the truck.

What Will the Fourth Amendment Mean After Fernandez?

Sometimes, when you draw enough fine lines, you box yourself in. If the Supreme Court hasn't done that yet with their co-tenant consent to search jurisprudence, they very well could do so after Fernandez.

We covered the Fernandez case, and the California Court of Appeals' decision in depth when certiorari was granted back in May. With oral arguments set for mid-November, we'll preview the case which should finally determine the limits of co-tenant consent under Georgia v. Randolph.

On Tuesday, California became the second state in the nation to criminalize the new phenomenon terrorizing ex-lovers -- revenge porn, reports Bloomberg.

For those not familiar with the internet trend, revenge porn is the posting of nude photos of an ex-lover after a bad breakup. The law has been murky because the person in the photo gave consent to having the photos taken in much happier times, but didn't consent to the publication of such photos. Though California allows victims to bring civil actions, a very costly prospect, now the act of publishing the photos has been criminalized, reports The Associated Press.

AB 556: A Budget-Busting Nail in the Judiciary's Coffin?

Last year, Governor Brown announced $544 million in budget cuts for the California court system. This was in addition to $650 million in cuts imposed over the three preceding years. Every court in the state had to make compromises, including shuttering a number of courthouses in Los Angeles County.

In Placerville, the local court found a quick way to save $60,000. They would cut their permanent ten-person court reporting staff and replace it with private contractors. Obviously, no one was happy about the job cuts, but the court administrators argued that it was a matter of necessity. Unions told Courthouse News Service that they had offered to cut salaries by 32 percent, and offered other concessions, which would have eliminated the cost disparity.