At its Wednesday conference yesterday, the Supreme Court cleared the way for Governor Jerry Brown to grant three pardons and it left open the possibility of unsealing records the Governor has submitted to the court in support of requests for pardon and commutation recommendations. Other conference actions of note included:

  • The court granted review in Bottini v. City of San Diego, where the Fourth District, Division One, Court of Appeal held in a published opinion that San Diego erroneously required environmental review of a single-family-home construction project. The City relied on “historical resources” and “unusual circumstances” provisions in the California Environmental Quality Act. However, the appellate court also upheld the dismissal on summary judgment of the property owners’ constitutional claims under the takings, equal protection, and due process clauses. It was the property owners whose petition for review the court granted. [Update: The Supreme Court apparently isn’t interested in the CEQA issue as much as it is in the takings issue. The case’s issue, as summarized by court staff, is this: “Does the ‘substantially advances’ formula used in Landgate, Inc. v. California Coastal Com’n (1998) 17 Cal.4th 1006 or the Penn Central Transp. Co. v. New York City (1978) 438 U.S. 104 test (see Lingle v. Chevron U.S.A. Inc. (2005) 544 U.S. 528) determine whether there has been a regulatory taking under the California Constitution?” Related: Forthcoming article indicts Supreme Court for waging an “anti-property rights holy war.”]
  • The court also granted review in National Lawyers Guild v. City of Hayward. In a published opinion, the First District, Division Three, there held a group requesting, under the California Public Records Act, police body camera videos of a demonstration protesting police violence had to pay the cost of redacting and editing the videos. (See Bob Egelko’s story in the San Francisco Chronicle about the case.)
  • A third grant of review was in In re G.C., where the Sixth District’s published opinion disagreed with a 2009 Fourth District, Division Three, decision regarding a minor’s ability to challenge — on appeal from a subsequent dispositional order — an error in failing to make an express declaration whether a taking of a vehicle without the owners consent was a felony or a misdemeanor. The Six District said the challenge was too late.
  • The court denied review in People v. Superior Court (Vasquez), but Justices Ming Chin and Carol Corrigan recorded votes to grant. The Second District, Division Seven, there concluded in a published opinion that a man’s due process rights were violated by a 17-year detainment in state hospitals while waiting for trial on whether he should be civilly committed under the Sexually Violent Predator Act. The appellate court held that even though “a substantial portion of the delay . . . resulted from the failure of individual appointed attorneys to move Vasquez’s case forward, the extraordinary length of the delay resulted from ‘a systemic “breakdown in the public defender system,”‘ and must be attributed to the state.”
  • There was one criminal case grant-and-hold and six criminal case grant-and-transfers.