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

February 2014 Archives

It's not only award season for actors, but also for attorneys.

Earlier this week we announced that InsideCounsel's Transformative Leadership Awards are accepting nominations, and now we want to let you know that the State Bar of California is now accepting nominations for outstanding lawyers.

The purpose of the awards is to "honor[] members of the legal community who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the profession." Here is a breakdown of some of the awards that are open for nominations.

Something is Rotten in the Orange County D.A.'s Office

Brady violations. Massiah mishaps. Perjury. And snitches. Nobody likes snitches.

Except the Orange County District Attorney's Office. Actually, we'd venture a guess that all D.A.'s offices like snitches, since they make prosecutors' jobs easier. But the utility of a snitch is limited by Massiah, which prohibits the government from eliciting incriminating statements from a defendant after the right to counsel attaches.

And if the Orange County Public Defender's Office's motions are to be believed, that's exactly what the D.A's office was doing -- sending snitches to buddy-up to post-arraignment defendants who were in custody awaiting trial.

SF Court Enforces Staff Dress Code; Protests, Labor Dispute Follow

Union disputes. Protests with picket signs. A labor complaint filed with the state. This has to be something big, some terrible labor law violation, right?

Nope. The San Francisco Superior Court simply decided to enforce its long-standing, laxly enforced 1996 dress code. No flip flops, no beach attire, and no gym clothes. Guys in ties, gals in something business-y.

Is a website a place? That's basically the question that a panel of Ninth Circuit judges needs guidance on, and has certified to the California Supreme Court.


Earlier this month, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard a case involving California law. The case was initiated by the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness ("GLAD") against CNN, for its lack of closed captioning on its online videos. GLAD brought its claims under California's Unruh Civil Rights Act ("Unruh") and the California Disabled Persons Act ("DPA") and sought damages, declaratory, and injunctive relief.

Cal. Supremes to Hear Handgun Ammo 'Void for Vagueness' Appeal

A 2010 law that would have placed a number of restrictions (fingerprinting purchasers, sales tracking, and a ban on online and mail-order sales) on ammunition that is "principally for use" in handguns, has twice been shot down by California courts as "void for vagueness." Now, the law will get its last chance at life from the state's high court.

The California Supreme Court yesterday agreed unanimously to hear an appeal in the case, reports the Metropolitan News-Enterprise. Possible issues could include the vagueness of the statute itself or the standard to be applied in facial challenges to laws.

While the rest of the country is covered in snow, the sun is shining in the Golden State, and legal controversies and news are going at a non-stop pace. There's a lot to talk about, here are some highlights.

Justice Joyce Kennard Retiring

Justice Joyce Kennard, Associate Justice on the California Supreme Court announced that she will retire, effective April 5, 2014, giving Governor Jerry Brown a second chance to fill a seat on the California Supreme Court, reports The Sacramento Bee. The longest-serving justice, aged 72, is seen as "one of the more liberal" Justices, "often siding with the underdog," and "one of the court's most vocal members during oral arguments," reports the Los Angeles Times.

This Day in Legal History: Gay Marriages Begin at SF City Hall

Happy 10th Anniversary!

On February 12, 2004, then-Mayor (now Lieutenant Governor) Gavin Newsom decided to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, calling it a "fundamental right." According to The Associated Press, 4,000 couples were married over the following month before the California Supreme Court stepped in and voided the marriages.

It took another nine years before gay marriage would be legal in California, but those 4,000 marriages were an important step towards the present day, when it seems every week, another state is joining the marriage equality movement.

Second Raiderette Joins Wage and Hour Lawsuit

We recently went over the story of Lacy T., a Raiderette who is suing the Oakland Raiders Club for violation of California labor laws. Well, the lawsuit is picking up steam as a second Raiderette joined the suit.

Twenty-nine-year-old Sarah G. (last names aren't disclosed for safety reasons) spent four seasons with the Raiders as a cheerleader but joined the lawsuit, claiming their contract with the Club was rife with illegal provisions.

For all you employment attorneys out there, check out this laundry list of alleged violations:

With so many legal issues brewing in the state of California, it's hard to settle on just one. Between the ongoing drought and water shortage in California, new civil rights lawsuits and federal challenges to state laws, there's a lot to talk about. So let's get to it and see what all the headlines are about.

Voting Rights of Ex-Felons

On Tuesday, the ACLU filed a lawsuit in Superior Court in Alameda County seeking declaratory injunctive relief on behalf of ex-felons that fall under new categories of low-level felons under realignment, according to KQED.

Missouri Not Eggstatic About California's Egg Law

Useless piece of trivia: one-third of all eggs produced in Missouri are sold in California.

Why are we tossing such eggstremely useless statistics at you? Well, that little nugget of trivia is at the heart of a lawsuit filed by the "Show Me State" against the "Golden State." The lawsuit also pits two stereotypes against each other: Missouri farmers fighting California regulators.

And as an added bonus, the central issue is a somewhat rare interstate commerce clause argument.

No Prejudice From Delayed Prosecution of Millionaire's Murder

An older millionaire. A sexy divorcee, who lived with him. And her former NFL linebacker boyfriend.

You know what happened next. Linebacker murdered the millionaire, she ripped off the estate, and they nearly got away with it, until they didn't. It's the subject of a true crime novel, and the plot line of many made-for-television movies.

It's also the subject of an unpublished appeals court decision due to the long delay between the murder and the charging and prosecution of the case.