May 18, 2017

Four cases join Prop. 66 challenge on June calendar [UPDATED x 2]

The Supreme Court today announced its June calendar, the last oral argument session before September.  As known yesterday, one of the cases on the calendar is Briggs v. Brown, the writ petition challenging Proposition 66, the initiative to, among many other things, speed up automatic direct death penalty appeals in the Supreme Court.  There are four other cases to be argued in June, including — not without significance — a 16-year-old death penalty appeal.

With the lighter-than-normal late-May calendar, the court will hear only nine cases in the final two weeks before heading into the usual argument-less months of July and August.  During that same two-week period in the last three years, the court heard 19, 18, and 17 cases.  The court usually puts an extra amount of cases into the ready-for-opinion pipeline at the end of the term.  The fewer cases in the pipeline this year will free up some of the justices’ time to work on the opinion(s) in Briggs, time they didn’t have before argument because of the expedited briefing schedule.

The June calendar will be Justice Kathryn Werdegar’s last before she retires at the end of August.

On June 6, in Los Angeles, the court will hear the following cases (with the issue presented as stated on the court’s website):

Briggs v. Brown:  This case presents issues regarding the validity of the Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act of 2016 (Prop. 66, Gen. Elec. (Nov. 8, 2016)).
There are two pro tem justices for the case — Justices Andrea Hoch (Third District Court of Appeal) and Raymond Ikola (Fourth District, Division Three) — because Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and Justice Ming Chin are recused.
This case is a big deal.

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California v. Superior Court:  Does information collected by police using “automated license plate readers” – high-speed cameras that automatically scan and record the license plate numbers and time, date and location of every passing vehicle without suspicion of criminal activity – constitute law enforcement “records of . . . investigations” that are permanently exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act in accordance with Government Code section 6254, subdivision (f)?
In March, the court asked for supplemental briefing concerning whether the catchall exemption of Government Code section 6255, subdivision (a) applies to any or all of the automatic license plate reader (ALPR) data collected by real parties during the one-week period in August, 2012, that is the subject of this court’s review under the California Public Records Act. (Gov. Code, § 6250, et seq.)

Parrish v. Latham & Watkins:  (1) Does the denial of former employees’ motion for summary judgment in an action for misappropriation of trade secrets conclusively establish that their former employer had probable cause to bring the action and thus preclude the employees’ subsequent action for malicious prosecution, even if the trial court in the prior action later found that it had been brought in bad faith?  (2) Is the former employees’ malicious prosecution action against the employer’s former attorneys barred by the one-year statute of limitations in Code of Civil Procedure section 304.6?
Parrish was continued from the April calendar.

People v. Page:  Does Proposition 47 (“the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act”) apply to the offense of unlawful taking or driving a vehicle (Veh. Code, § 10851), because it is a lesser included offense of Penal Code section 487, subdivision (d), and that offense is eligible for resentencing to a misdemeanor under Penal Code sections 490.2 and 1170.18?

People v. Daniels:  This is an automatic direct appeal from a February 2001 judgment of death.  The court’s website does not list issues for such appeals.

[Same day update:  The court has already amended the June calendar, continuing the argument in People v. Page to the September calendar.]

[May 19 update:  While it’s true that the end-of-term calendars are considerably lighter than in previous years, the court is not hearing fewer cases overall.  In fact, reviewing entire-term calendars (September through June), it looks like the court will hear a total of five more cases this term than in 2015-2016.]

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