At the Supreme Court’s conference yesterday, there were no straight grants, but there were some actions of note, including:

Racial Justice Act. Chief Justice Patricia Guerrero has cited the California Racial Justice Act (here and here) as one of the “important landmark new laws” that is “impacting [the court’s] workflow.” (See here.) The court yesterday denied review and a depublication request in one case involving that legislation, Mosby v. Superior Court, which attracted significant amicus curiae interest. Apparently neither side was happy with the Fourth District, Division Two, Court of Appeal’s opinion; it was the defendant who petitioned for review, but the prosecution that asked for depublication. The defendant claimed in his writ petition that the prosecution violated the RJA by seeking the death penalty against him. Division Two concluded that establishing a prima facie case of a violation required the defendant “to present not only statistical evidence of racial disparity in the charging of the death penalty by the District Attorney but also evidence of nonminority defendants who were engaged in similar conduct and were similarly situated but charged with lesser offenses.” However, it held the defendant had made an adequate showing under that standard and overturned the superior court’s contrary ruling. A concurring justice asserted that “statistical evidence can be sufficient on its own to make a prima facie case.”

Arbitration unconscionability. The court also declined to hear Haydon v. Elegance at Dublin, where the First District, Division Three published opinion affirmed the denial of a petition to compel arbitration of an elder abuse case that alleged sexual assault by a caregiver of a woman with dementia at a residential care facility. The superior court had found the arbitration agreement was procedurally and substantively unconscionable. The denial of review came the day before the Supreme Court’s opinion in Harrod v. Country Oaks Partners to decide whether an agent operating under an advance health care directive and power of attorney for health care decisions has the authority to enter into an arbitration agreement with a nursing facility on behalf of the principal. [Update: see here about the Harrod decision.] (Related: The California Supreme Court and arbitration.)

Criminal case grant-and-holds. There were two criminal case grant-and-holds, both additional cases waiting for a decision in People v. Patton (see here).

Grant-and-hold disposals.  The court got rid of nine cases that had been on hold pending the December decision in People v. Rojas (2023) 15 Cal.5th 561 (see here). Review was dismissed in seven and the other two were returned to the Fifth District for reconsideration in light of the Rojas opinion.