At its Wednesday conference, the Supreme Court decided it would not decide a Ninth Circuit state law question it had previously decided it would decide.  The court also started the process of opening up at least some of six currently confidential gubernatorial clemency recommendation request files.  Other conference actions of note included:

  • The court granted review in Sass v. Cohen, a case involving the legal fallout from an unmarried couple’s falling out.  The court limited the issues to be briefed and argued to:  “(1) In a complaint that seeks an accounting of specified assets, is the plaintiff required to plead a specific amount of damages to support a default judgment, or is it sufficient for purposes of Code of Civil Procedure section 580 to identify the assets that are in defendant’s possession and request half of their value?  (2) Should the comparison of whether a default judgment exceeds the amount of compensatory damages demanded in the operative pleadings examine the aggregate amount of non-duplicative damages or instead proceed on a claim-by-claim or item-by-item basis?”  In a published opinion, the Second District, Division Two, Court of Appeal chose sides in an existing conflict of decisions on the first issue, holding that “actions alleging an accounting claim or otherwise involving the valuation of assets are not excused from [damage specification] limitations on default judgments.”  It also held that “the amounts of damages awarded and demanded are to be compared on an aggregate basis.”
  • The court lightened its workload (and that of its capital central staff) by exercising its discretion under Proposition 66 to transfer to superior courts around the state a whopping 79 habeas corpus petitions filed by death row inmates.  (See here.)
  • The court denied review in People v. Becerra, but Justice Goodwin Liu recorded a vote to grant.  The Sixth District, in a published opinion, dismissed the defendant’s appeal on a sentencing issue because “his claim falls within the scope of his appellate waiver in his written plea agreement, and he failed to obtain a certificate of probable cause to challenge the enforceability of the waiver.”
  • There were four criminal case grant-and-holds, and the court shed one civil case grant-and-hold.