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

  • The fish and the bees, an explanation what a review denial doesn’t mean, and Justice Guerrero’s first dissent.
  • ICWA. The court granted review in In re Dezi C., a dependency case raising a recurring issue about compliance with the federal Indian Child Welfare Act. The grant comes as the U.S. Supreme Court weighs whether to strike down the Act itself in Haaland v. Brackeen. In its published Dezi C. opinion, the Second District, Division Two, Court of Appeal, held to be harmless the failure by the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services to conduct a required initial inquiry whether the children at issue had American Indian heritage. Division Two reported that “California courts have staked out three different rules for assessing whether a defective initial inquiry is harmless” and then said, “we propose a fourth rule . . . and explain why we respectfully decline to adopt any of the three previously formulated rules.”
  • Compensation for the wrongly convicted. The court dumped two cases, the fully briefed Souliotes v. California Victim Compensation Board (see here) and Larsen v. California Victim Compensation Board, which was a grant-and-hold for Souliotes (see here). The Court of Appeal opinions in the cases conflicted concerning whether certain federal court findings were sufficient to require state compensation for wrongly convicted persons. The Souliotes court ruled against compensation and the Supreme Court sent the case back with directions to reconsider in light of Senate Bill No. 446 (Stats. 2021, ch. 490, § 1), which made it easier to qualify for compensation, and Senate Bill No. 632 (Stats. 2022, ch. 133, § 1(a)), which appropriated compensation for five specific individuals, including $841,820 for Mr. Souliotes. In Larsen, where the appellate court held in favor of compensation, the Supreme Court dismissed review. Horvitz & Levy was co-counsel for Mr. Souliotes in the Supreme Court.
  • Personal jurisdiction. After the Second District, Division Six, summarily denied a writ petition challenging a superior court order finding specific personal jurisdiction, the Supreme Court in Jungheinrich AG v. Superior Court ordered the appellate court to issue an alternative writ, which will require a written decision on the merits.
  • Criminal case grant-and-holds. There were six criminal case grant-and-holds:  one more waiting for the finality of the decision in People v. Tran, which filed late last month; two more waiting for People v. Lynch (see here); one more holding for People v. Delgadillo (see here), which will be argued in 11 days; one more holding for People v. Espinoza (see here); and one more holding for People v. Prudholme (see here).
  • Strong grant-and-transfers. The court granted review in five cases and transferred them back to the Courts of Appeal for reconsideration in light of last month’s decision in People v. Strong (2022) 13 Cal.5th 698.