April 6, 2012

Heavy load for first May calendar

May is the only month with two separate Supreme Court oral argument calendars. And the court is not content to simply ease into the first of its calendars next month. The court will hear 16 cases over three days in San Francisco, according to the schedule released yesterday. Once again, the court is drawing mostly from its criminal cases — including four death penalty appeals — to fill the calendar.

On May 1, 2, and 3, the court will hear the following cases (with the issues presented as stated on the court’s website):

United Teachers of Los Angeles v. Los Angeles Unified School District: Can a school district be required to arbitrate disputes over the granting of a charter school petition under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement, or does Education Code section 47611.5, subdivision (e), preclude referring such a dispute to arbitration?

American Coatings Assn., Inc. v. South Coast Air Quality Management District: (1) Does Health and Safety Code section 40440, which requires an air quality district to adopt rules requiring use of the “best available retrofit control technology” for air pollution, authorize the district to require technology that does not yet exist? (2) Is technology “available” if it exists and is being used for some, but not all, applications within a particular product category?

In re Reno: The court issued an order directing petitioner Reno to show cause why the petition for writ of habeas corpus filed in this case should not be considered an abuse of the writ (In re Clark (1993) 5 Cal.4th 750, 769-770) due to the failure to allege sufficient facts to explain why the claims are cognizable and why they are not procedurally barred.

People v. Barrett: Do principles of due process or equal protection require the trial court to affirmatively advise a person facing commitment under Welfare and Institutions Code section 6500 [commitment for being a danger to oneself or others] of his or her right to a jury trial and, if so, to obtain an express waiver of that right on the record?

People v. Riccardi: [This is an automatic appeal from a September 1996 judgment of death. The court’s website does not list issues for such appeals.]

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

Magness v. Superior Court: Did defendant “enter” a home for purposes of first degree burglary when he used a remote control to open the garage door, but no part of his body or any instrument entered the garage?

People v. Favor: In order for an aider and abettor to be convicted of attempted willful, deliberate and premeditated murder by application of the natural and probable consequences doctrine, must a premeditated attempt to murder have been a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the target offense or offenses, or is it sufficient that an attempted murder would be reasonably foreseeable?

In re Ethan C.: (1) Is criminal negligence required to support dependency jurisdiction under Welfare and Institutions Code section 300, subdivision (f), on the ground a parent “caused the death of another child through abuse or neglect?” (2) What is the definition of the word “caused” in the context of dependency jurisdiction under the statute? Specifically, does it mean the sole cause or a contributing cause, and should the existence of an intervening, superseding cause be considered? (3) Does the statute require proof of a current or future risk of harm?

Gomez v. Superior Court: Does a court commissioner, acting without the consent of the parties, have authority to summarily deny a petition for writ of habeas corpus or a petition for writ of mandate?

People v. Tully: [This is an automatic appeal from a December 1992 judgment of death. The court’s website does not list issues for such appeals.]

People v. Villatoro: Was the modification of CALJIC No. 1191, which told the jurors they could consider evidence of a charged offense in determining defendant’s propensity to commit the other charged offenses (see Evid Code, section 1108), reversible error when the court also informed the jurors that all charged offenses must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt?

People v. Yarbrough: Did the Court of Appeal err in determining that an unenclosed second floor balcony “is not part of a building” such that entry onto the balcony could not constitute burglary?

People v. Stanley: Did the trial court err in awarding the victim restitution for the costs of repairing her damaged truck, when the estimated cost of the repairs was over three times the purchase price she paid 18 months earlier?

People v. Bailey: Upon finding that the prosecution introduced insufficient evidence to support defendant’s conviction for escaping from a state prison, could the Court of Appeal reduce the conviction to attempted escape, notwithstanding the trial court’s failure to instruct the jury on that offense, or would doing so violate defendant’s rights to due process and a jury trial?

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

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