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April 16, 2013
Re "China trip of dubious value," Column, April 11 George Skelton takes a narrow, cynical view of California's recent trade mission to China. He does a disservice to the dozens of businesses and economic development groups from throughout the state that paid their own freight with the genuine purpose of showing China that California is eager to expand bilateral trade and investment. The public-private partnership that Skelton finds unseemly is a legitimate and widely used tool for funding projects that serve the public good when public dollars are tight.
April 22, 2014 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the authority of police officers to stop cars and question drivers based on anonymous tips to hotlines. In a 5-4 decision, the justices ruled that such stops do not amount to an unreasonable search or seizure, even if the arresting officer did not observe the vehicle speeding or swerving. The decision affirms a ruling of the California courts. The case began in August 2008 when a 911 dispatch team in Mendocino County received a midafternoon report that a pickup truck had forced another vehicle off the road.
April 6, 2013 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO -- When the California Supreme Court struck down a same-sex marriage ban in 2008,  the majority ruling reflected a series of decisions the court had already reached in disputes involving gay parents. Gay rights lawyers said this week that those cases were critical to the court's historic marriage ruling - later partly overturned by Proposition 8 -- and lamented the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has little experience in dealing with gay family litigation. “The U.S. Supreme Court has never decided a lesbian or gay parenting case,” said Jon W. Davidson, legal director of Lambda Legal.
March 21, 2014 | By Yifan Zhu
As Chinese tourists spill from their tour bus into the Beverly Center, Charlie Gu hands each one a sleek black envelope. Inside: a Chinese-language map of the mall and a special discount card. Gu, the center's Mandarin-speaking Chinese specialist, asks shoppers about what they're looking for and circles relevant stores on the map. "L.K. Bennett is a favorite of Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge," he advises one. "You should definitely take a look. " The personal touch is more than just the usual attempt to cozy up to well-heeled shoppers.
March 27, 2012
Imagine walking out of 2012 and into a courtroom from the pre-laptop era. Court clerks fill out dockets, then pull apart five carbon copies to hand to attorneys, who shake their heads in disgust and go back to their offices to re-enter the data in modern, usable formats. Hearings are delayed and frustrated plaintiffs, defendants and lawyers get back on the freeway after learning that the court's official paper file has been misplaced and that there is no instantly retrievable digital version, so no possibility of proceeding.
May 2, 2013 | By Ted Rall
Legislation approved by the Assembly would make California the first state to allow noncitizens to serve on juries. Naturally, the courts would have to make certain adjustments. ALSO: The power of jury duty Photo gallery: Ted Rall cartoons Kenny Smith schools Chris Broussard on inclusiveness Follow Ted Rall on Twitter @TedRall
April 9, 2013 | By Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times
California courts, reeling from years of state budget cuts, are delaying hearings and trials, allowing records to sit unprocessed for months and slashing services at public windows, a judge's committee has reported. The report by the Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee was based on a survey of all presiding judges and prepared for the Judicial Council, the policy-making body for the courts. All but 10 of the state's counties responded to the survey. The survey represented the most in-depth look yet of how California courts are faring with less money and suggested that the effect of the cuts is growing.
May 30, 2012 | By Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times
The agency that runs the California court system has become "dysfunctional" and bloated with high-salaried bureaucrats and requires a major overhaul, according to a report ordered by California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. The 300-page report, which will be presented to judicial branch leaders next month, comes as the courts are trying to stave off large budget cuts from Sacramento. Although ordered by Cantil-Sakauye and written by a committee she named, the highly critical evaluation may undermine the chief jurist's efforts to roll back projected budget cuts of about $544 million.
An Aleut teen-ager lost a critical round in her unique custody battle against her native Alaskan tribe Friday when a Canadian judge ruled that she violated international law by smuggling her infant daughter to a British Columbia couple for adoption and ordered that the child be returned to Orange County.
The state Court of Appeal has handed a setback to a group of out-of-state recipients of potentially faulty Shiley Inc. heart valves who want to sue the Irvine-based firm in California, where courts have been more favorable to plaintiffs in cases of emotional distress. In a decision handed down here earlier this week, the Fourth District Court of Appeal rejected Orange County Superior Court Judge William F. Rylaarsdam's May 8, 1991, ruling that cleared the way for the cases to be heard here.
March 20, 2014 | By Louis Sahagun
A state appellate court on Thursday cleared away a legal obstacle standing in the way of plans to build a community of 60,000 residents about 35 miles north of Los Angeles. The court essentially restored a permit issued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife that granted the Newhall Land and Farming Co. permission to alter a wild river. A three-judge panel of the California 2nd District Court of Appeal overturned a Los Angeles County Superior Court ruling that set aside a 5,828-page environmental impact report.
March 17, 2014 | By Maura Dolan
California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye warned Monday that the closure of budget-strapped courts has deprived more than 2 million residents of accessible justice and left the state “on the verge of a civil rights crisis.” "A three-hour drive to the nearest courthouse can't be fair in anyone's book,” Cantil-Sakauye planned to tell state lawmakers Thursday, according to a text of her speech released in advance. California courts in the last several years have been cut by about $1 billion, and Cantil-Sakauye has been pleading with legislators to restore more funding next year.
February 24, 2014 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO - Party hosts who ask guests to pay a cover charge to defray costs may be held legally responsible if an underage drinker becomes intoxicated and hurts himself or others, the California Supreme Court decided Monday. In a unanimous ruling, the high court said a cover charge amounts to a sale of alcohol, and state law creates liability for those who sell alcohol to obviously intoxicated minors. The decision, which overturned two lower court rulings, is most likely to affect student parties, where underage drinking and cover charges are common.
February 11, 2014 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO - Justice Joyce L. Kennard, a Republican appointee who forged a largely liberal path on the California Supreme Court, announced Tuesday she will retire April 5, giving Gov. Jerry Brown another chance to put his mark on the state's highest court. Kennard, 72, is the court's longest-serving justice, with a 25-year tenure. She has been regarded as a highly independent judge, often siding with the underdog. Though she owed her place on the top court to former Gov. George Deukmejian, a law-and-order conservative, she bucked expectations and sided so often with the late liberal Justice Stanley Mosk that the pair was dubbed "the odd couple.
January 28, 2014 | By Robin Abcarian
Gotta admit, I was rooting for Stephen Glass in his quest to be admitted to the California bar. I had trouble grasping how a disgraced "wunderkind" journalist who made up or falsely embellished some 40 magazine stories in the late-1990s could not be considered rehabilitated after abjectly apologizing, undergoing 12 years of psychotherapy, attending law school, working as a law clerk, providing free legal aid to homeless clients and generally reinventing...
January 27, 2014 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO - A former journalist who fabricated magazine articles lost a years-long bid to become a lawyer Monday in a court ruling that faulted his character and a failure to atone for his prior misconduct. In a unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court said Stephen R. Glass must be denied a law license not only because he deceived readers and editors as a journalist but because he failed to be completely candid in later years about his transgressions. Glass' deceit was "motivated by professional ambition, betrayed a vicious, mean spirit and a complete lack of compassion for others, along with arrogance and prejudice against various ethnic groups," the court said in an unsigned ruling.
January 10, 2014 | By Abby Sewell
A panel of California appeals court judges found Friday that state law trumps Orange County's regulations on sex offenders that ban them from parks and beaches. The decision by the 4th District Court of Appeal reverses the conviction of Hugo Godinez, a registered sex offender who was convicted of a misdemeanor for violating the county ordinance after he went to a company picnic at Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley in 2011. Godinez had been convicted of misdemeanor sexual battery in 2010.
January 2, 2014 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that a Mexican immigrant without a green card may be licensed as a lawyer, though his employment prospects will be limited. In an opinion by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, the state's high court said a law passed late last year by the Legislature enabled the court to admit Sergio C. Garcia, 36, to the legal profession. The Legislature passed the law after the court indicated in a hearing in September that it was bound by federal restrictions to deny Garcia a license.
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