Because yesterday was Veteran’s Day, a court holiday, the Supreme Court’s almost-weekly conference was held on Tuesday instead of Wednesday as usual, and the results were not posted until this morning.  It was a double conference, but there wasn’t much newsworthy action.  But there were some orders of note, including:

  • The court required Court of Appeal writ review of a transgender prisoner rights issue.  In In re Contreraz, after the Fifth District summarily denied a pro per habeas corpus petition, the Supreme Court granted review and transferred the case to the appellate court with directions to issue an order to show cause why relief is not warranted under the habeas petition and under Senate Bill 132.  From the Supreme Court’s docket, it looks like the case involves a transgender woman who is being housed in a men’s prison.  The prisoner has a 2015 birth certificate showing her gender identity is female, but she has been denied gender reassignment surgery by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which will not transfer her to a female prison as long as she retains male genitalia.  Effective January 1, SB 132 will require CDCR to house a prisoner in a correctional facility designated for men or women based on the individual’s preference.
  • After the Fourth District, Division One, summarily denied two writ petitions — County of Alameda v. Superior Court and County of Los Angeles v. Superior Court — that challenge orders requiring production of documents by government entities who are suing drug makers in a case regarding the opioid abuse crisis, the Supreme Court granted review and transferred the matters back to the Court of Appeal with directions to issue an order to show cause why the relief sought in the writ petitions should not be granted.  (Here and here.)  Justice Carol Corrigan was recused.  The Supreme Court has previously issued similar grant-and-transfer orders in this same litigation and in another opioid abuse case.  (Here and here.)
  • The court denied prosecution depublication requests in two cases, but Justice Corrigan dissented in both.  The dockets in both cases — People v. Liggins and People v. Ogaz — say that Justice Corrigan “is of the opinion the petition should be granted,” but there was no petition for review filed in either, so it’s unclear whether she wanted the court to depublish or to grant review on its own motion.  In Liggins, the First District, Division Four, opinion reversed a finding of a probation violation because the court admitted a hearsay statement without a showing of the witness’s unavailability.  In Ogaz, the Fourth District, Division Three, opinion reversed a conviction because the defendant did not have the opportunity to cross-examine the scientist who performed a gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis of drugs.
  • The court granted-and-held in In re K.G., where the Fourth District, Division Two, denied a habeas corpus petition seeking constructive filing of a notice of appeal.  The case is holding for In re A.R. (see here), which presents the issues:  “1. Does a parent in a juvenile dependency case have the right to challenge her counsel’s failure to file a timely notice of appeal from an order terminating her parental rights under Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.26?  (See Welf. & Inst. Code, § 317.5, subd. (a); In re Kristin H. (1996) 46 Cal.App.4th 1635 [ineffective assistance of counsel claim in dependency proceeding brought on a petition for writ of habeas corpus].)  2. If so, what are the proper procedures for raising such a claim?”
  • The court transferred three capital habeas corpus petitions to superior courts under Proposition 66.  (See here and here.)
  • There were 17 criminal case grant-and-holds:  four more holding for a decision in People v. Lewis (see here); one more holding for Lewis and People v. Lopez (see here); four more holding for People v. Esquivel (see here and here); four more holding for People v. Raybon (see here); two more holding for In re Gadlin, which was argued last month (see also here and here); one more holding for In re Vaquera (see here); and one more holding for People v. Vivar (see here).