Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cornell Saves the Oyez Project

After months of uncertainty about its future, the Oyez Project, a free repository of more than 10,000 hours of U.S. Supreme Court oral-argument audio and other court resources, has found a new home.
The project’s founder, Jerry Goldman, who is retiring soon, told The National Law Journal on Tuesday that a newly minted arrangement with Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute and Justia, the online publisher of legal information, will keep Oyez alive.
Read more:

"Orders granting pro hac vice applications and denying motions to strike pro hac vice admission are not appealable." See here.

UCI Supreme Court Program set for Bastille Day

Image result for bastille dayRegistration opens one week from today (6/1/16) for the 6th annual UCI Supreme Court Term in Review to be presented July 14, 2016 (noon to 1:30 for 1.5 mcle hours). Panelists will be Erwin Chemerinsky, Howard Bashman of How Appealing, Dahlia Lithwick, Robert Barnes, Kaaryn Gustafson, and Rick Hasen.

How to get sanctioned really fast!

We all know that you need to tread cautiously in rehearing petitions, right? Well, maybe not all of us... Calling the justices "Grandads of Anarchy"? No, not smart. How about this: “feeble-minded, nincompoops,” “corrupt, pathetic, low-life scum of human refuse,” and “three crusty, old corrupt codgers…whose only present benefit is a resounding argument for the institution of a mandatory retirement age for Justices of the Appellate Divisions.” Definitely asking for trouble...
Today's MetNews features Court of Appeal Finds Attorney in Contempt for Insults: Imposes $1,000 Fine on Lawyer Who, in Seeking Rehearing, Faulted the Court's 'Fecal Stained Opinion' Accusing Justices of Senility and Corruption. Read it all here.

Image result for grandad of anarchy
Seriously?! This is even a 'thing'?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Pro tem update

The following are currently sitting on assignment in the Second District:
  • Judge Amy D. Hogue of the Los Angeles Superior Court, will be sitting Pro-Tem in Division Three until July 31, 2016.
  • Judge Michael J. Raphael of the Los Angeles Superior Court, will be sitting Pro-Tem in Division Five until July 31, 2016.
  • Judge Stan Blumenfeld from the Los Angeles Superior Court, will be sitting Pro-Tem in Division Seven until June 10, 2016.
  • Judge Sherilyn P. Garnett from the Los Angeles Superior Court, will be sitting Pro-Tem in Division Seven beginning June 13, 2016 until July 31, 2016.

The following are currently sitting on assignment in the Fourth District:
  • Judge Ronald Prager of the San Diego Superior Court is sitting by assignment in Division One.
  • Justice Barton Gaut, retired justice of the Fourth District, Division Two is sitting in Division Two.
  • Stephen Cunnison, retired judge of the Riverside Superior Court is sitting in Division Two.

Friday, May 20, 2016

You know, that place where books live...?

Today's DJ has a great letter to the editor from Bret Christensen of the Riverside County Law Library responding to the May 18 article Bar proposes revised practice skills requirements:
Image result for what's a library
The article did not say what skills on which the State Bar wants new attorneys to focus, so might I offer a suggestion? I propose that in this 10-hour mix of "new attorney training" that the bar is proposing, law students spend at least three hours at their local county law library to see what exactly their local county law library has to offer. 

Image result for what's a libraryAll too often I'll see newly minted attorneys come into my law library with nary a clue how to find anything in print. In fact, because many new students are, sadly, never introduced or encouraged to use print resources, when they get out of law school and pass the bar, I hear the same thing over and over: "I never knew this existed!" Since they've spent countless hours using online resources but hardly any print resources, they often can't even distinguish between a table of contents and an index. And students who use online resources exclusively generally only know how to use natural language searching - which only taps about 15 percent of the full potential of online resources. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Split re anti-SLAPP fees

Image result for slapp feesOk, so plaintiff sues defendant, and defendant (of course!) responds with an anti-SLAPP motion. Before the trial court rules on the motion, plaintiff dismisses its case. We all know that when a plaintiff voluntarily dismisses in that situation, the trial court retains jurisdiction to award attorneys' fees. But does the trial court have to evaluates the merits of the anti-SLAPP motion before awarding fees? Or can the court simply assume that since the anti-SLAPP motion presumably spooked the plaintiff into dismissing, the motion was good. Coltrain v. Shewalter (1998) 66 Cal.App.4th 94 says that the defendant is the prevailing party in that situation automatically. But Tourgeman v. Nelson & Kennard (2014) 222 Cal.App.4th 1447, says the trial court must still determine the prevailing party based on the merits of the anti-SLAPP motion before awarding fees. So there's a split of authority. Today, in Egley v. Sparks, an nonpub, 4/1 sides with Tourgeman.

And here's a nice thematic intro from 1/2's Justice Richman:
Disputes between neighbors can be among the most prolonged, petty, and downright nasty of all litigation. (See, e.g., Griffin v. Northridge (1944) 67 Cal.App.2d 69, 71–73.) Such disputes can become notoriously bitter, sometimes even providing the
motive for murder. (See People v. Garcia (2005) 36 Cal.4th 777, 782–783.) There was
no murder here. But it sure was petty and nasty—at least on the part of [plaintiff/appellant].

Storytelling tips

In today's Recorder, David Dolkas offers Five Steps for Telling the Story of Your Complex Case.
Story is the most powerful form of persuasion—as confirmed by every trial advocacy course and book on the art and practice of persuasion. Lawyers are not trained to think like storytellers. Lawyers are trained to think, write, and speak in a logical and orderly manner—which doesn't make for great storytelling. Lawyers also become mired in the detail of a complex case and lose the ability to tell a compelling and cogent story. But the audience wants to know to know "the story" because audiences love a good story—especially if told by a storyteller who is prepared, engaged, and passionate about telling it. This article discusses five basic storytelling principles to help you tell the story of your complex case.
Image result for storytelling
Step 1: Understand, embrace, and use the persuasive power of storytelling.
Step 2: Begin determining how the story ends and the transformation you want your audience to experience.
Step 3: Determine the theme of the story of the complex case.
Step 4: Consider and apply one or more of the essential C's of screenwriting. (Character, Conflict, Change)
Step 5: Transform features to benefits.

OCBA Forms Criminal Law Section

Today's DJ reports on yesterday's "first meeting of the Criminal Law Section of the Orange County BarAssociation, an unprecedented group of judges, private practice attorneys, deputy district attorneys and public defenders from the state and federal level." The group "plans to meet six times a year - next in July - with brown bag lunch discussions and presentations aimed at fostering better relationships in a system strained by allegations of prosecutor misconduct and overreaching conspiracy theories by public defenders."

Sounds good; but why is this of appellate interest?
Image result for ocbaWilliam W. Bedsworth, Associate Justice
Well, Justice Bedsworth gave the keynote address, making the following comments: "You should be drinking beers and watching ball games with [each other]. We did 45 years ago, and the smart ones among us still do." "If you can't do it because it makes your life better because these are such wonderful people, do it because it will make your life better professionally."
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OCBA? Beer? Sounds great!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Federal Judiciary posts video on Appellate Courts

Judges Offer Inside Look at Appellate Courts

The role of federal Courts of Appeals in protecting the rights of Americans in criminal and civil cases is the focus of a U.S. Courts educational video featuring two appellate judges, a clerk of court, and an appellate court administrative specialist.
Image result for us courts logoThe panel discussion, titled “Knowledge Seminar: an Inside Look at the Appellate Courts,” was held March 31 in Washington, D.C. Panelists included Judge Roger L. Gregory, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals; Judge N. Randy Smith, Ninth Circuit; Margaret Carter, Clerk of Court, First Circuit; and Leeann Yufanyi, Deputy Chief, Court Services Office at the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The video of the question-and-answer session also includes a brief educational summary of the Courts of Appeals’ structure and function.
Watch the video (72 minutes).

Also of note: Q&A: Judge Posner on Writing, Law School and Cat Videos ("I think there is no need for terminological complexity in law. I think everything we do, the judges do, can be expressed in ordinary English. And I would think it very desirable for opinions to be written in a way that everybody can read it.") And see Posner Slam Confusing Jargon (“Judicial opinions are littered with stale, opaque, confusing jargon. There is no need for jargon, stale or fresh. Everything judges do can be explained in straightforward language—and should be.”)

Read more:

Today is the day, in 1896, when SCOTUS upheld the constitutionality of 'separate but equal' in Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537. An article on this anniversary is here. If you're lucky enough to find yourself in the French Quarter of New Orleans, put down that hurricane and head over to the Louisiana Supreme Court building. On the first floor is a museum displaying original documents from Plessy.

Photo by your humble SCAN correspondent taken April 28, 2016.
And since we're sharing photos from NOLA, here are a few more taken last month. (We're dropping "California" from this blog's name just for purposes of this post, making it Southern Appellate News...)

Outside the entrance to the LA SC (that's Louisiana Supreme Court!).
No photos (or guns!) allowed inside. 1st floor museum; 2d floor library;
3d floor Court of Appeal for the Parish; 4th floor Supreme Court.

Inside the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals:
Flags of the three 5th Cir. states plus the 5th Cir.'s flag.
5th Circuit hallway.
5th Cir. Attorney waiting room.
Note how the screen shows which case is being argued,
so you can enter the courtroom when you case is being called.
One of the three courtrooms.