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

  • The court granted the San Diego District Attorney’s petition for review in People v. Superior Court (Jones).  The Fourth District, Division One, Court of Appeal’s published opinion there held the prosecution’s jury selection notes were not protected by the work product privilege and were discoverable by a death row inmate’s habeas corpus counsel, because they were relevant to an allegation of Batson/Wheeler racial discrimination in peremptory challenges of prospective jurors.  The appellate court also concluded the district attorney waived any work product protections by referencing the notes during a Batson/Wheeler hearing.  Batson/Wheeler issues often divide the Supreme Court’s justices who usually see things eye-to-eye.  (E.g., here.)  In fact, the court’s decision affirming this particular prisoner’s death sentence was one of three in which Justice Goodwin Liu filed concurring opinions, criticizing the court’s “Batson jurisprudence . . . [as] noticeably out of step with principles set forth by the United States Supreme Court.”
  • The court granted review in In re Caden C., and is fast-tracking the case, telling the parties that, because of the statutory priority for dependency cases, it “does not contemplate entertaining requests for extensions of time to file briefs.”  It also limited the issues, to:  “(1) what standard governs appellate review of the beneficial parental relationship exception to adoption; and (2) whether a showing that a parent has made progress in addressing the issues that led to dependency is necessary to meet the beneficial parental relationship exception.”  In a published opinion, the First District, Division One, reported a split of authority on the first issue, and then opted to review for substantial evidence the factual issue of the existence of a beneficial parental relationship, but used an abuse of discretion standard to review the superior court’s determination whether the relationship provides a compelling reason for finding that termination would be detrimental to the child.  The appellate court found an abuse of discretion, holding, “no reasonable court could have concluded that a compelling justification had been made for forgoing adoption.”
  • The court depublished the Fourth District, Division One’s opinion in People v. Novoa.  Although the appellate court affirmed an order vacating the defendant’s conviction based on a finding his attorney didn’t adequately explain the adverse immigration consequences of a plea deal, it was the UC Irvine School of Law’s Immigrant Rights Clinic — on behalf of itself and numerous others, including the ACLU of Southern California and Public Counsel — that filed a depublication request.  The prosecution did not petition for review.
  • There were six criminal case grant-and-holds.