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

  • The court granted review in Natarajan v. Dignity Health, a physician’s action challenging the revocation of his hospital staff privileges.  The appeal — which attracted five amicus briefs in the Court of Appeal — concerns a procedural issue.  The Third District Court of Appeal’s published-on-request opinion rejected the physician’s claim of financial bias by the hearing officer whom the hospital president chose to preside at a medical staff proceeding that led to the privileges revocation and who was described as “a semiretired attorney whose income consisted entirely of acting as a hearing officer in [hospital] peer reviews.”  The appellate court applied a “fair procedure”/”actual bias” rule rather than a stricter “constitutional due process”/”appearance of bias” rule.  In doing so, it “express[ly] repudiat[ed]” a 2004 Sixth District decision as “a deviation from the strong current of precedent and therefore ‘ “ ‘a derelict on the waters of the law.’ ” ‘ ”  It held the hearing officer’s “mere possible interest in future employment as an adjudicator” was not enough to overturn the medical staff decision.
  • The court denied review in People v. Howell, but it depublished the Fifth District’s opinion that rejected retroactive application of legislation that reduced the period during which criminal defendants who have been found incompetent to stand trial can be committed for purposes of restoring their competency.  The appellate court concluded the retroactivity rule for criminal statutes was inapposite because “[s]tatutes addressing mental competency proceedings are curative and protective measures aimed at restoring competency, not punishment for commission of a crime.”
  • The court denied a pro per’s habeas corpus petition in In re Devore, but Justice Goodwin Liu recorded a vote to grant as to the petition’s first issue, whatever that is.
  • The court used its Proposition 66 discretion to transfer to superior courts seven capital habeas corpus petitions that were filed before the initiative’s effective date.  (See here and here.)
  • There were six criminal case grant-and-holds:  two more holding for a decision in People v. Frahs (see here); two more for People v. Lopez (see here); one more for People v. Stamps (see here); and one more for People v. McKenzie (see here), which was decided today (see here).  The court also dismissed review in one previous criminal case grant-and-hold, which had been holding for People v. Arredondo, which was decided last December.