April 7, 2011

Big early-May calendar for still short-handed Supreme Court

The Supreme Court announced its early-May calendar. Even though the court is still short-handed (it’s been over 90 days since Carlos Moreno announced his retirement from the Supreme Court and, thus, over 90 days without Governor Brown appointing a successor) and even though May is the only month in which the court has two calendars (during the first and last full weeks of the month), the early-May calendar is a really big one.

The court will hear arguments in 16 cases over three days. Seven of the cases are either automatic appeals or habeas corpus petitions after death sentences.

The early-May cases (and the issues presented, as stated on the court’s website) are:

Stark v. Superior Court: (1) Does the offense of falsification of accounts or misappropriation of public funds by a public officer or employee in violation of Penal Code section 424 require intentional violation of a known legal duty or is it a general intent crime? (2) Does Government Code section 3060, authorizing an accusation for willful or corrupt misconduct in office, require a knowing and purposeful refusal to follow the law or does general intent suffice? (3) Can a defendant move to set aside an indictment under Penal Code section 995, subdivision (a)(1)(B), or object to the sufficiency of an accusation pursuant to Government Code section 3066 on the ground the grand jury was misinstructed on the required mental state? (4) What is the standard for assessing a district attorney’s alleged conflict of interest when the issue is raised on a motion under Penal Code section 995?

People v. Skiles: Are faxed copies of certified court records admissible to establish that a prior conviction qualifies as a serious or violent felony for purposes of the three strikes law?

In re K. C.: What injury must a parent show in order to have standing to contest the denial of a petition for modification seeking placement of a child with a relative when the petition is brought after termination of reunification services but before the selection and implementation hearing?

People v. Virgil: [This is an automatic appeal from a June 1995 judgment of death. The court’s website does not list issues for such appeals.]

People v. Bivert: [This is an automatic appeal from a July 2001 judgment of death. The court’s website does not list issues for such appeals.]

People v. Maikhio: (1) Do Fish and Game Code sections 1006 and 2012 authorize a warden to make a traffic stop when there is reasonable suspicion to believe the driver has been fishing? (2) Must the warden suspect illegal activity in order to make such a stop? (3) Are hunting and fishing inspections without suspicion of illegal activity justified as “special needs” searches or authorized by implied consent?

Brown v. Mortensen: Does the Federal Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. section 1681 et seq.) preempt causes of action for improper disclosure of medical information to credit reporting agencies under California’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (Civ. Code, section 56 et seq.)?

In re Crew on Habeas Corpus: Is petitioner entitled to relief from the judgment of death on the ground that trial counsel failed to adequately investigate and present mitigating evidence at the penalty phase of petitioner’s trial?

People v. Loy: [This is an automatic appeal from a January 1999 judgment of death. The court’s website does not list issues for such appeals.]

Save the Plastic Bag Coalition v. City of Manhattan Beach: (1) Did an association of plastic bag manufacturers have standing to challenge a local ordinance banning the use of plastic bags? (2) Did the trial court err in ruling the ordinance invalid for the failure to prepare an environmental impact report?

Shalant v. Girardi: If a vexatious litigant subject to a prefiling order files a lawsuit while represented by counsel, but counsel substitutes out or is otherwise relieved, may the litigant proceed in propria persona without first obtaining the approval of the presiding judge under Code of Civil Procedure section 391.7?

People v. Murphy: Was defendant’s conviction under Penal Code section 115 preempted by Vehicle Code sections 20 and 10501, subdivision (a)?

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

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

People v. Famalaro: [This is an automatic appeal from a September 1997 judgment of death. The court’s website does not list issues for such appeals.]

California Grocers Assn. v. City of Los Angeles: Do California food safety laws preempt a local ordinance that requires a grocery store, after a change of ownership, to retain the employees of the former owner for a 90-day transition period? Do federal labor laws do so?

The oldest non-capital case being argued is Stark v. Superior Court. Review was granted over four years ago, in September 2006.

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