At its Wednesday conference today, the Supreme Court’s actions of note included:

  • As reported, the court finished off the split-California initiative.
  • The court granted review in a case raising an evidentiary issue of interest to criminal and civil practitioners alike.  In People v. Veamatahau, the court limited briefing and argument to this question:  “Did the prosecution’s expert witness relate inadmissible case-specific hearsay to the jury by using a drug database to identify the chemical composition of the drug defendant possessed?”  It’s a Sanchez issue.  (See here and here.)  The First District, Division One, Court of Appeal, in a partially published opinion, answered the question in the negative.
  • The court granted review in and held in yet another pension case.  Further action in Hipsher v. Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association is deferred pending a decision in Alameda County Deputy Sheriffs’ Assn. v. Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Assn.  In Hipsher, among other things, the Second District, Division Four, in a published opinion, upheld the constitutionality of a statute that requires partial forfeiture of pension benefits as a penalty for certain felony convictions.
  • The court ordered supplemental briefing in three pending bail cases — In re Humphrey (see here), In re White (see here), and In re Webb (see here) — regarding the “effect, if any,” on the cases of the new pretrial detention legislation that Governor Jerry Brown signed two weeks ago.  The additional briefing is not a surprise.
  • The court depublished the opinion of the First District, Division One, in Estate of Post, which held that a probate court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over life insurance proceeds.
  • The court depublished the Sixth District’s opinion in People v. Sacrite.  The appellate court there rejected the defendant’s contention that a warrantless search was illegal.
  • Using its deferential standard of review, the court approved three more gubernatorial clemency recommendation requests:  Manuel Delgado — commutation of a 25-years-to-life sentence for burglary plus two years for prior prison term enhancements; Tammy Garvin — commutation of a life-without-parole murder sentence; and William Smith — commutation of a life-without-parole murder sentence.
  • The court denied review in Tony B. v. Superior Court, but Justice Goodwin Liu recorded a vote to grant.  In an unpublished opinion in that case, the Second District, Division Two, upheld a juvenile court decision to send to criminal court the case of a teenage murder defendant.  The only reason there was an opinion in the case at all is because, after the Court of Appeal had earlier summarily denied the defendant’s writ petition, the Supreme Court granted review and transferred the case back to the Court of Appeal for a full hearing.
  • The court issued grant-and-hold orders in five criminal cases.