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September 2017 Archives

Police License Plate Scans May Be Disclosed

Did you hear the one about the guy who was caught cheating when a traffic cam snapped his photo with another woman in the car?

That's not this case, but it has a cross-over issue. Los Angeles police use high-speed cameras to scan license plates and then catch drivers who are involved in crimes. They scan about 1.8 million license plates a week.

But what to do about the privacy of all those people who are not criminals? That's the question the state Supreme Court sent to a trial judge to consider.

Some things are just not okay. An Uber driver making unwanted, lewd, sexually harassing comments to riders, male or female, underage or not, just shouldn't happen. As a result of an Uber driver doing so to a 16-year-old rider, the company is now facing a lawsuit.

The teen alleges that, earlier this year, her driver pulled over on the side of a California highway and asked her if she wanted to get in the front seat. She felt pressured into saying yes. He then proceeded to ask her about her virginity, and commented on the fact that he had an erection -- even after finding out she was only sixteen. She was shocked and afraid by the questions and comments, and the lawsuit against Uber followed.

Service Animals Must Be Trained, California Court Rules

Joey Miller and his dog Roxy got kicked out of court, but it started at a fish market.

Joey, a man who had the mental capacity of a 12-year-old, walked into two seafood stores with his dog. The market employees stopped them for health and safety reasons.

Joey's stepfather was not about to have it, however, and they sued for disability discrimination. The courts turned them down again, but that's the short story.

Foie Gras Banned in California -- Again

Unless you are a specialty chef, you may not care whether the liver pate you prepare comes from a duck or a goose.

The ducks and the geese certainly don't have an opinion on the subject of "foie gras," which is the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened.

But the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals say foie gras comes from force-feeding the birds to make their livers swell up to 10 times their normal size. A federal appeals court said that's against the law in California.

If you have just hung your shingle out there as a California family lawyer, or are planning on doing so, The Rutter Group's CFLR is offering a three-day seminar that can teach you and your staff the ins and outs of California family practice: Basic Training: Family Law. Experienced practitioners and their support staff can benefit by learning the current best practices and procedures from leading experts in the field and the current Supervising Judge of the Los Angeles County Court Family Law Division. (Disclosure: The Rutter Group is FindLaw's sister company.)

The course will walk participants through a divorce, from before it even starts to after it's finished. And like real cases, the course starts from the point of a client's first contact and ends with handling post-judgment matters. CFLR is offering the course in Costa Mesa, California, in October 2017 on the 6th, 7th, and 8th, at the Westin South Coast Plaza (just a short drive from Huntington Beach and Newport Beach, so bring the family).

The Fourth District Court of Appeal for the state of California has issued a ruling that, at first blush, appears to disregard the recent ruling of the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on a nearly identical issue. At issue in the People v. Sandee case is whether a warrantless search of a probationer's cell phone is valid under the Fourth Amendment waiver that probationers consent to as a prerequisite to being granted probation.

The California appellate court explained that under California law, and precedent set by the California supreme court, probationers should expect that their Fourth Amendment waiver will allow a cell phone to be searched attendant to a probation search.

A recent lawsuit filed in the Fresno Superior Court by the National Rifle Association challenges the actual registration requirements for California assault rifle owners. The lawsuit attacks the requirements enacted by the state's department of justice in response to the legislation passed last year.

Along with the other NRA lawsuits challenging the ban on high capacity magazines and other aspects of the new gun control laws in the state, this most recent case seeks to invalidate the registration requirement on the grounds that the information sought is just overly invasive.

CA Courts Face Interpreter Shortage

An interpreter told the defendant that he was accused of a 'violacion,' which did not exactly mean 'violation' in Spanish.

"No he viole a nadie!" the distressed defendant exclaimed.

It was a disconcerting moment for the man, who was actually charged with a traffic violation. It also troubled the judge, who learned that "violacion" meant "rape."

Unfortunately, court interpreters are not always competent. What's worse, there are not enough interpreters -- especially in California where people speak more than 220 different languages.

Court: Attorney's Computers 'Necessary for Life' in Dividing Divorce Debt

In everybody's not-seriously favorite lawyer movie, Jim Carrey's movie wife explains how divorce insulated her from his personal life.

"That's the magic of divorce," she says to the chronic liar-lawyer in "Liar Liar."

If only it worked that way in real life when it comes to community debt in divorce court. Attorney Grant Brooks tried, but it was a flop in Direct Capital Corporation v. Brooks.