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NATIONAL
June 18, 2012 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court retreated Monday from its view that a criminal defendant's right to confront his accusers includes trial testimony from the crime lab analyst who identified him as the culprit. By a splintered 5-4 vote, the justices upheld the conviction of a Chicago rapist who was found guilty based on a DNA match done by a crime lab in Maryland. The decision in Williams v. Illinois is a victory, albeit a tentative one, for prosecutors and state lawyers. They had worried the high court was on the verge of giving defendants a right to demand testimony from all crime lab technicians whose reports were used against them.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 14, 2012 | By Alexandra Zavis and Ashley Powers, Los Angeles Times
Hands twisting nervously, Angel waited silently as the robed judicial officer scanned his file. In the last three years, the teenager had picked up two truancy tickets and one for "vandalism with a can of spray paint. " He ignored them. Then he turned 16 and learned he couldn't get a driver's license unless he showed up in a South Los Angeles courtroom and resolved what he feared could be hundreds of dollars in fines. Judicial referee Jack Furay, framed by a large court seal on the wall behind him, looked up and announced he didn't want Angel's mother paying for her son's transgressions.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 4, 2012 | By Ashley Powers, Los Angeles Times
For a sampling of what critics say are the inherent flaws in electing judges, look no further than the duel for Office No. 38 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. The incumbent is sometimes referred to derisively as the "bagel lady," a nod to the bakery she and her husband ran when she ousted a sitting judge in 2006. Her opponent has vied unsuccessfully for a trial court spot — three times — and was involved years ago in an odd dust-up over his TV appearance on the "Love Connection.
NATIONAL
May 24, 2012 | By Kim Murphy
SEATTLE -- A courtroom in Anchorage erupted in pandemonium when a suspect charged in the fatal kidnapping of popular barista Samantha Koenig broke out of his restraints and made a dash for freedom before being tasered and wrestled to the ground. Israel Keyes, a 34-year-old construction worker, was at a hearing in federal court to schedule his trial when he jumped a rail leading to the spectator gallery, according to local news reports. A dramatic audio recording posted by television station KTUU and other TV outlets captured the brief melee before U.S. marshals brought Keyes under control.
BUSINESS
May 20, 2012 | By William D'Urso, Los Angeles Times
The gig: As a kid Jamon Hicks spent many afternoons in courtrooms where his mother was a clerk. He still spends a lot of his time in courtrooms, but now Hicks, 32, is a trial attorney with the Cochran Firm in Los Angeles. Also, last month Hicks became president of the California Assn. of Black Lawyers, an organization founded in 1977 that now has more than 6,000 members, including lawyers, judges, law professors and students. Growing up in court: Hicks was raised in Inglewood and Baldwin Hills, and after day care or school he was often whisked to courtrooms where his mother was finishing her workday.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 8, 2012 | By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times
On the ground and screaming that he was "sorry," a shirtless Kelly Thomas is shown being hit again and again with fists, a baton and finally the butt of a stun gun by Fullerton police officers in a dramatic video that was shown for the first time Monday in an Orange County courtroom. The grainy black and white video of Thomas' violent encounter with police outside a bus depot is the centerpiece of the prosecutions' case against two officers accused of escalating a standard police encounter with a homeless man into a fatal beating.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 18, 2012 | By Ashley Powers and Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times
The sprawling Los Angeles County court system, which already lopped $70 million from its budget this fiscal year, will slash an additional $30 million in the coming months by laying off workers, closing courtrooms and axing a Juvenile Court program, court officials said Tuesday. The cuts comes as California's judicial budget, which has been pared back in recent years as the state struggled economically, faces the potential loss of tens of millions of dollars in 2013 if a tax measure on the November ballot fails.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 31, 2012 | Sandy Banks
When Lindsay Lohan showed up for court on Thursday, the crowd was not as large as it has been for the actress - anticipating perhaps a resolution, rather than the sort of dramatic turn that's made her five-year legal saga as compelling as any TV reality show. The 25-year-old Lohan has been in and out of jail and rehab so many times, her story line seemed to arc toward failure. She blew off therapy and community service, ticked off counselors and judges. You never knew what to expect from her in the courtroom - a tearful plea, a pout, a fingernail painted with a vulgar taunt.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 9, 2012 | By Harriet Ryan, Los Angeles Times
A "Desperate Housewives" producer drew gasps from a packed courtroom Thursday when he revealed that a major character dies in an episode airing this weekend. George Perkins, an executive producer, disclosed the plot twist under questioning by a lawyer for actress Nicollette Sheridan, who is suing the show's creator and studio for wrongful termination stemming from the elimination of her character, Edie Britt. Asked if any other character of Edie's prominence had been killed off, Perkins shifted uncomfortably in his seat before answering.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 19, 2012 | By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times
Jose Perez had dug into hundreds of backyards for his father's swimming pool business, many of them in ritzy San Marino, with its tough soil of clay and rock. One day in May 1994, he felt the shovel of his Bobcat bulldozer hit something unfamiliar. Thinking that it was perhaps decades-old trash, his father peered inside a fiberglass box and sifted through its contents, Perez recalled Wednesday in an Alhambra courtroom. His father pulled something out and held it up with the rebar.
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