Notable Supreme Court actions at its conference yesterday included:

  • Supreme Court might order anti-tax initiative off the ballot.
  • Intra-division split on bail forfeiture. The court granted review in People v. North River Insurance Company, where the Second District, Division Eight, Court of Appeal’s published opinion reversed a bail forfeiture order. The bail agent had detained the fugitive defendant in Mexico, but, when time arrived for the forfeiture to become final, the prosecution hadn’t decided whether to extradite the defendant. Disagreeing with a different Division Eight panel’s decision in People v. Tingcungco (2015) 237 Cal.App.4th 249 and a portion of the Fourth District, Division Three, decision in People v. Ranger Ins. Co. (2007) 150 Cal.App.4th 638, Division Eight held, “The law required the [trial] court either to insist that the prosecution make an extradition decision or to grant the continuance so the prosecution had time to decide.” The Supreme Court denied review in Tingcungco. There was no petition for review in the Ranger Ins. case.
  • Still another ICWA intra-division split grant-and-hold. In re L.J. is yet another grant-and-hold for In re Ja.O. (see here), which is expected to decide whether the duty of a child welfare agency to inquire of extended family members and others about a child’s potential Indian ancestry applies to children who are taken into custody under a protective custody warrant. The Ja.O. decision will resolve a multi-case split in the Fourth District, Division Two, on the issue. (See herehere, and here.) In L.J., a 2-1 Division Two unpublished opinion recognized the “split of authority in this court” and found “no ICWA inquiry error.” The dissent said the distinction made by the majority “does not make sense and is not what the Legislature intended.”
  • PAGA intervention grant-and-hold. Accurso v. In-N-Out Burgers is another grant-and-hold for Turrieta v. Lyft, Inc. (see here), where the court limited the issue to: “Does a plaintiff in a representative action filed under the Private Attorneys General Act (Lab. Code, § 2698, et seq.) (PAGA) have the right to intervene, or object to, or move to vacate, a judgment in a related action that purports to settle the claims that plaintiff has brought on behalf of the State?” (Horvitz & Levy is Lyft’s appellate counsel in Turrieta.) In Accurso, the First District, Division Four, published opinion vacated an intervention denial order, finding mandatory intervention was not required, but also concluding the denial of permissive intervention was an abuse of discretion and needed reevaluation by the superior court. It disagreed with the Second District, Division Four, decision in Turrieta and stood by its opinion in Moniz v. Adecco USA, Inc. (2021) 72 Cal.App.5th 56, which had also taken issue with Turrieta. There was no petition for review in Moniz.
  • Suppression motion dissenting vote. The court denied review in People v. Jones, but Justice Kelli Evans recorded a vote to grant. A 2-1 Third District unpublished opinion upheld the denial of a motion to suppress evidence the defendant claimed was obtained from his car in excess of consent he had given. The majority held “there is sufficient evidence to uphold the trial court’s determination that defendant gave [an officer] consent to search the [entire] vehicle,” where a gun was found that supported the charge of defendant being a felon in possession of a firearm. The dissent called for an independent review (which the dissent said “is not the equivalent of de novo review”) of the relevant dash cam video and, under that standard, concluded “the scope of defendant’s consent was limited to searching his backpack that was in his car to determine the amount of marijuana inside,” marijuana the defendant had told the officer about.
  • COVID delay in service of complaint. The court denied review in Navellier v. Putnam, another case on the pandemic docket. The unpublished opinion by the First District, Division Five, affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit for failure to timely serve the complaint and summons. As summarized by Division Five, the plaintiffs claimed “the trial court erred . . . because the three-year statutory period for service was tolled when the COVID-19 pandemic made service impossible and impracticable, and when the Judicial Council of California’s . . . emergency orders and rules stayed prosecution of the action.” The appellate court concluded that, “[e]ven assuming personal service was impossible or impracticable during part of the three-year service period in this case [i.e., during the early days of the pandemic], the Navellier Plaintiffs could have used a far simpler [service] method” — service on the nonresident defendant by mail. Division Five also held the Judicial Council orders and rules didn’t apply to service of process, but “merely extended the time for filing documents with the court” and “only suspended the running of the limitations period for initiating an action.” Often when Judicial Council actions are involved, the Chief Justice and the associate justice who are members of the Council (Cal. Const. art. VI, sec. 6(a)) recuse themselves (see, e.g., here, here, here, and here), but Council members Chief Justice Patricia Guerrero and Justice Carol Corrigan were not recused.
  • False or newly discovered evidence. On the pro per habeas corpus petition in In re Ramsey, the court issued an order to show cause, returnable in the superior court, to determine “why relief should not be granted on the claim the victim’s posttrial recantation of his trial testimony establishes false evidence was presented against petitioner at trial and/or constitutes newly discovered evidence as set forth in Penal Code section 1473.” (Related: Supreme Court follows Legislature’s lead, grants habeas relief it had previously denied.)
  • Criminal case grant-and-holds. There were four criminal case grant-and-holds:  one more waiting for decisions in two death penalty appeals — People v. Bankston and People v. Hin (see here), one more holding for the finality of last week’s opinion in People v. Salazar, one more waiting for People v. Patton (see here), and one more on hold for People v. Fletcher (see here).