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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 17, 2014 | By Maura Dolan
California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye told the Legislature on 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 one-way, three-hour trip to a courthouse can't be fair in anyone's book," Cantil-Sakauye said in her annual address to state lawmakers. California court budgets 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.
ARTICLES BY DATE
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 9, 2014 | By Ryan Menezes and Joel Rubin
A Los Angeles police officer was sentenced Wednesday to community labor and three years' probation for falsely testifying about the details of a 2008 drug arrest. Officer Manuel Bernardo Ortiz, who was convicted of one count each of perjury and conspiracy, must perform 900 hours of graffiti removal or work for the California Department of Transportation. Ortiz, 40, was one of three LAPD officers convicted in connection with the arrest of Guillermo Alarcon Jr. Former officers Evan Samuel and Richard Amio were convicted of multiple counts of perjury for testifying falsely during different court proceedings.
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OPINION
November 10, 2011
Michael Nash, the presiding judge of Los Angeles Juvenile Court, has long lobbied for legislation that would allow the public greater access to the work of California's dependency courts, where the fates of children in foster care are decided. Twice, bills have been introduced in Sacramento to achieve that important objective, only to be stymied by well-meaning but misguided objections from child welfare advocates and self-interested protests from public employee groups whose members would face greater scrutiny.
OPINION
April 6, 2014
Re "Even more money in politics?," Editorial, April 3 As an attorney, any remaining illusion I had that our highest judicial body decides cases on a nonpartisan basis is gone after reading the Supreme Court's decision in McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission. First, the tortured Citizens United finding in 2010 - that corporations have 1st Amendment rights similar to those of individuals - opened the floodgates for those who want to buy the government. After that, the Shelby County case gutted the Voting Rights Act, resulting in gleeful red states passing laws that prevent poor people and minorities from voting.
NEWS
January 15, 2012 | By Alana Semuels
Detailing the histories of the nation's founding fathers and belief in God, Newt Gingrich took an anti-secular message to 1,200 worshipers Sunday at the Cathedral of Praise church in Charleston, a church Rick Santorum had visited the day before. Both are courting evangelical voters as each tries to pull ahead as the clear conservative alternative to Mitt Romney in the days before South Carolina's primary. Standing on a stage with a giant screen picturing a hawk on a blue and red backdrop dotted with white stars, Gingrich pledged to defeat secularism and the “elites,” a group he referred to repeatedly in his speech.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 11, 2013 | By Paige St. John
California's chief justice said she was "encouraged" that the budget deal worked out between Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature would end a pattern of funding cuts for courts and restore at least some money lost previously. Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said in a prepared statement Tuesday morning the state spending plan hammered out the day before "is an initial step forward" to rebuild "the kind of access to justice the public deserves. " It now falls to the Judicial Council and a newly created Trial Court Budget Advisory Committee to work on how that money is allocated to trial and appellate courts.
OPINION
January 24, 2012
California government has cut and must keep cutting, even though at this point all cuts are substantive and they hurt. But there are some things that need to be protected when everything else is taking a hit. Courts have taken as much slashing as they can bear, and then some. After imposing some $350 million in cuts in the current budget year, Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed leaving the courts alone in the coming year — unless, of course, expected revenues fail to materialize. In that case, an automatic "trigger" would be pulled and courts would be in the sights.
NATIONAL
March 1, 2012 | By Matt Pearce, Reporting from Kansas City, Mo
The markets can't solve everything: Billionaire brothers and libertarian icons Charles and David Koch are taking to the courts to solve an ownership dispute involving the Cato Institute. The president of the institute, a longtime pillar of free-market thinking in Washington -- calls the move an attempt “to transform Cato from an independent, nonpartisan research organization into a political entity” with a “partisan agenda.” The oil-rich Kochs -  champions for the business-minded right and reviled by the left - have donated hundreds of millions to charitable causes but are better known for backing tea party groups and influencing battles over climate change and federal regulation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 10, 1999
Re "The Great Judicial Stall," Opinion, Sept. 5: David M. O'Brien states that the courts have been turned into an arena of ideological combat. Actually, it is the courts that have thrust themselves into the arena of political combat. They have done this by the self-expansion of their powers from Alexander Hamilton's time, when litigation issues were over who owned the cow, to today, when a single person in black routinely overturns the democratic process and thwarts the will of millions of voters or when a court reinvents the Constitution to mean whatever it thinks it should have said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 6, 2014 | By Gale Holland
It was billed as a guided tour for downtown residents, church and business groups and elected officials to see skid row for themselves. As the group headed out on foot from L.A.'s Midnight Mission, it was confronted by demonstrators whistling, drumming and chanting: "You're not welcome here!" and "You're the problem!" That was in June 2011. A year later, Deborah Burton, a community organizer who was once homeless, was charged with misdemeanor assault and battery on two tour leaders.
BUSINESS
April 6, 2014 | By Donie Vanitzian
Question: Our manager refuses owner requests for documents, causing our association to be sued several times a year. Each time she comes to court as a defendant, she brings her so-called evidence and answers, "Your honor, see Exhibit X. " She overloads on exhibits, most of which are contrived for the purpose of that hearing. Her main strategy includes putting on big exhibit head notes supposedly explaining what each exhibit consists of, but when the exhibits are scrutinized and read, they have little or nothing to do with what is head-noted.
OPINION
April 3, 2014 | By Jessica A. Levinson
Thank you, Supreme Court. Before your decision Wednesday in McCutcheon vs. FEC, Americans were confined to giving a measly total of $48,600 in campaign contributions to federal candidates (enough for about nine candidates) and a total of $74,600 to political action committees. That means individuals were subject to aggregate contributions limits totaling a mere $123,200. Of course, individuals could, and still can, give unlimited sums to independent groups, such as so-called super PACs and other nonprofit corporations.
OPINION
April 3, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
On Wednesday, conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court continued their project of undermining reasonable attempts by Congress to limit the corrupting influence of money in election campaigns. The same 5-4 majority that lifted limits on corporate political spending in the Citizens United decision struck down long-standing limits on the total amount a citizen can donate during an election cycle. As in Citizens United, the majority held that the restrictions violated 1st Amendment protections for political speech.
NATIONAL
April 3, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court's decision to lift the cap on the amount donors can contribute in a congressional election cycle promises to shift power to the political party's established leaders, who had lost ground to outside groups. With the demise of the $123,200 limit for the two-year election cycle, party stalwarts such as House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will be able to raise multimillion-dollar checks from wealthy contributors for new campaign committees.
BUSINESS
April 2, 2014 | By Evan Halper
WASHINGTON - Airline customers complain about being mistreated daily, but Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg took his grievance all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Unfortunately for Ginsberg, the court sided Wednesday with Northwest Airlines Inc., now merged into Delta Air Lines Inc., in a case that had put carriers on edge. The ruling strengthens the industry's hand when fighting litigation filed by disgruntled passengers by bolstering a 36-year-old federal law that limits its exposure to such claims.
OPINION
July 3, 2007
Re "A plot both wide and thick," Column One, May 24 This story used the word "predatory" to describe the actions of Al Hill III in his dealings and in litigation with Benjamin Coates Sr.'s holdings and Theodate Coates. I never used that word or any words having that meaning in my discussion with a Times reporter regarding those matters. Hill has initiated litigation and is seeking a judicial resolution of his claims.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 8, 1998
Re "Judge to Rule on Prosecutors' Effort to Close Medical Cannabis Center," Feb. 27. The people of California have cast their vote in favor of medical marijuana. It is the job of our government officials to carry out that ruling. I say take marijuana out of the courts. The only ones getting rich are the attorneys and the drug dealers. We waste billions of tax dollars tying up the courts and building more jails. This is the millennium. The days of "reefer madness" are as outdated and impractical as Prohibition.
NATIONAL
April 2, 2014 | By David G. Savage and David Lauter
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court struck another major blow against long-standing restrictions on campaign money Wednesday, freeing wealthy donors to each give a total of $3.6 million this year to the slate of candidates running for Congress. Rejecting the restriction as a violation of free speech, the 5-4 ruling struck down a Watergate-era limit that Congress wrote to prevent a single donor from writing a large check to buy influence on Capitol Hill. It was the latest sign that the court's conservative majority intends to continue dismantling funding limits created over the last four decades.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 2, 2014 | By Victoria Kim
After Maria de Jesus Arroyo was pronounced dead of cardiac arrest in the summer of 2010, her husband and children said their goodbyes and left her in the hands of hospital staff. When they saw her next at the funeral, her nose was broken and she had gashes and bruises on her face - injuries too severe to be covered up, despite the morticians' best efforts. The outraged family sued the hospital, White Memorial Medical Center in Boyle Heights, believing the hospital had mishandled the 80-year-old woman's body.
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