The Supreme Court’s October calendar, announced today, has eight cases on it, meaning there will be eight more Court of Appeal justices appointed to temporarily fill the vacancy created over a year ago when Justice Kathryn Werdegar left the court.  (It’s been considerably longer — a remarkable 547 days — since Justice Werdegar announced her retirement, leaving Governor Jerry Brown lots of time to name her replacement even before she stepped down.)  Pro tem justices on the Supreme Court can pose an institutional problem.

This brings to 99 the number of consecutive cases to be decided with a temporary justice.  All the October pro tems are to be named later.

On October 2 and 3, in San Francisco, the court will hear the following cases (with the issue presented as summarized by court staff or stated by the court itself):

Sierra Club v. County of Fresno:  This case presents issues concerning the standard and scope of judicial review under the California Environmental Quality Act.  (CEQA; Pub. Resources Code, § 21000 et seq.)  This is an old case; the court granted review in October 2014 and the oral argument letter was sent over 10 months ago.

Avitia v. Superior Court:  Was defendant denied a “substantial right” (People v. Standish (2006) 38 Cal.4th 858, 882) by the prosecutor’s improper dismissal of a grand juror?  The court granted review in June 2017.

Dr. Leevil, LLC, v. Westlake Health Care Center:  Does Code of Civil Procedure section 1161a require a purchaser of real property at a foreclosure sale to perfect title before serving a three-day notice to quit on the occupant of the property?  The court granted review in June 2017.

Gerard v. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center:  (1) Did Senate Bill 327 constitute a change in the law or a clarification in the law?  (2) Is the Industrial Wage Commission Wage Order No. 5, section 11(D) partially invalid to the extent it authorizes health care workers to waive their second meal periods on shifts exceeding 12 hours?  (3) To what extent, if any, does the language of Labor Code section 516 regarding the “health and welfare of those workers” affect the analysis?  The court granted review in July 2017.

People v. Franco:  For the purpose of the distinction between felony and misdemeanor forgery, is the value of an uncashed forged check the face value (or stated value) of the check or only the intrinsic value of the paper it is printed on?  The court granted review in June 2016.

People v. Superior Court (Smith):  (1) Is an expert retained by the prosecution in a proceeding under the Sexually Violent Predator Act entitled to review otherwise confidential treatment information under Welfare and Institutions Case section 5328?  (2) Is the district attorney entitled to review medical and psychological treatment records or is access limited to confidential treatment information contained in an updated mental evaluation conducted under Welfare and Institutions Code section 6603, subdivision (c)(1)?  The court granted review in May 2015.  In June 2016, the court asked for supplemental briefing on four different questions.

In re B.M.:  Can a butter knife with a rounded end and a serrated edge qualify as a deadly or dangerous weapon under Penal Code section 245, subdivision (a)(1)?  The court granted review in July 2017.

People v. Johnson:  This is an automatic direct appeal from a December 1998 judgment of death.  The court’s website does not list issues for such appeals.

[September 19 updatePro tem justices named for October calendar, one for the third time in less than a year.]