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The Court of Appeal affirmed an order denying defendant's motion to expunge his misdemeanor conviction for possession of methamphetamine following his successful motion to reduce the felony conviction to a misdemeanor. In ruling against defendant, the trial judge stated that defendant could not establish that he had lived an honest and upright life as required by Penal Code, 1203.4a, subdivision (a) because he has been in continuous state or federal custody following his conviction. The court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by concluding that defendant has not established that he has led an honest and upright life during his state and federal custody. The court held that compliance with prison regulations in an institutional setting does not satisfy the requirement of an honest and upright life. The court explained that a custodial setting necessarily restricts an inmate's exercise of free will, whereas an honest and upright life demands more than mere compliance with prison regulations or participation in prison classes and activities. View "People v. Maya" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Retired Oakland Police Officers Association obtained a writ of mandate against the Oakland Police and Fire Retirement System directing that master police officer-terrorism pay (MPO pay) be included in the calculation of pension benefits. Under the retirement system, a retiree’s pension is a fixed percentage of the compensation currently “attached to the average rank” held by the retiree at the time of retirement. The court of appeal reversed. The trial court erred in concluding that MPO pay is “compensation attached to . . . rank” as required by the Oakland City Charter for inclusion in pension benefits. In 2009-2015, MPO pay was paid to all officers who had completed 20 years of service in the Department; maintained fully effective overall performance appraisals during the assignment; attended and completed an approved anti-terrorism/law enforcement response course; and been assigned to the patrol division. The requirement that an officer be assigned to the patrol division to receive MPO pay compels the conclusion that MPO pay is not attached to the officer’s rank. The agreement that added MPO pay did not restructure the relevant ranks or create an additional step within an existing rank. View "Retired Oakland Police Officers Association v. Oakland Police and Fire Retirement System" on Justia Law

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This case involved a divorced, elderly couple who each requested a restraining order against the other. The trial court granted both requests and ex-husband appealed. The court affirmed and held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in issuing a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) against ex-husband, because there was substantial evidence of his past acts toward ex-wife, which constituted threatening and harassing behavior; "dwelling" in Welfare and Institutions Code 15657.03, subdivision (b)(4)(B), encompasses the residence, i.e., apartment unit of the protected person, and not the entire apartment building; the trial court's issuance of the DVRO and elder abuse restraining order (EARO) did not amount to mutual restraining orders that required specific findings of fact; and, although ex-wife's attachment of a confidential custody evaluation report to her appellate belief was sanctionable conduct, the court refrained from imposing sanctions as it would create an unreasonable financial burden on her. View "Herriott v. Herriott" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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Defendant, then a minor, was directly charged and tried as an adult. Defendant's convictions and sentence were affirmed on appeal, and the matter was remanded to the trial court for the limited purpose of permitting him to make a record of information relevant to his eventual youth offender parole hearing. After the appellate opinion was filed, but before remittitur issued, voters eliminated prosecutorial discretion to file charges against certain juvenile defendants directly in a court of criminal (adult) jurisdiction. Furthermore, after the remittitur issued and proceedings on remand took place, but while the appeal following those proceedings was pending, the Legislature gave trial courts discretion to strike firearm enhancements. The Court of Appeal held that, under the unique circumstances of this case, and in light of the California Supreme Court's conclusion that Proposition 57 applies to all juveniles whose cases were filed directly in adult court and whose convictions were not final at the time of its enactment, the trial court should have entertained and granted defendant's motion for a juvenile fitness/transfer hearing. The court also held that whether defendant may receive the benefit of Senate Bill No. 620 depends on the outcome of his juvenile fitness/transfer hearing. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "People v. Hargis" on Justia Law

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This appeal focused on circumstances in which local water and irrigation districts were entitled to subvention for unfunded state mandates. The Commission on State Mandates (Commission). The Commission denied consolidated test claims for subvention by appellants Paradise Irrigation District (Paradise), South Feather Water & Power Agency (South Feather), Richvale Irrigation District (Richvale), Biggs-West Gridley Water District (Biggs), Oakdale Irrigation District (Oakdale), and Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District (Glenn-Colusa). The Commission determined the Water and Irrigation Districts had sufficient legal authority to levy fees to pay for any water service improvements mandated by the Water Conservation Act of 2009. The trial court agreed and denied a petition for writ of mandate brought by the Water and Irrigation Districts. On appeal, the Water and Irrigation Districts presented a question left open by the Court of Appeal’s decision in Connell v. Superior Court, 59 Cal.App.4th 382 (1997). Based on the statutory language, Connell held local water districts were precluded from subvention for state mandates to increase water purity levels insofar as the water districts have legal authority to recover the costs of the state-mandated program. In so holding, Connell rejected an argument by the Santa Margarita Water District and three other water districts that they did not have the “practical ability in light of surrounding economic circumstances.” This appeal considered whether the passage of Proposition 218 changed the authority of water and irrigation districts to recover costs from their ratepayers so that unfunded state mandates for water service had to be reimbursed by the state. The Court of Appeal affirmed, finding the Water and Irrigation Districts possessed statutory authority to collect fees necessary to comply with the Water Conservation Act. Thus, under Government Code section 17556(d), subvention was not available to the Water and Irrigation Districts. The Commission properly denied the reimbursement claims at issue in this case because the Water and Irrigation Districts continued to have legal authority to levy fees even if subject to majority protest of water and irrigation district customers. View "Paradise Irrigation Dist. v. Commission on State Mandates" on Justia Law

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In 2012, the County of Amador (County) certified a final environmental impact report (EIR) and approved the Newman Ridge Project (Project), an aggregate quarry and related facilities near Ione owned by real parties in interest Newman Minerals and others (Applicants). Ione Valley Land, Air, and Water Defense Alliance, LLC (LAWDA) filed a petition for writ of mandate under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) challenging the certification and approval. The trial court granted the petition as to traffic impacts because the 2012 draft EIR did not accurately portray the data from the traffic impact study and did not disclose traffic information in a manner reasonably calculated to inform the public and decision-makers. The errors required correction and recirculation of the EIR as to traffic issues only. As to all other issues, the petition was denied. After the County issued a partially recirculated draft EIR in 2014, certified the partially recirculated EIR, and again approved the Project, LAWDA again filed a petition for writ of mandate. The trial court denied the petition, and LAWDA appealed, contending the trial court erred by denying the petition: (1) as to impacts other than traffic impacts; and (2) as to traffic impacts. After review, the Court of Appeal concluded: (1) the arguments relating to impacts other than traffic impacts were precluded by res judicata; and (2) LAWDA failed to establish that CEQA statutes and guidelines required reversal as to traffic impacts. View "Ione Valley Land, Air, and Water etc. v. County of Amador" on Justia Law

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Defendants Silva and Medina, members of the Headhunters gang, appealed their convictions for four counts of attempted murder and four counts of assault with a firearm. Medina also appealed his sentence. In the published portion of the opinion, the Court of Appeal held that the kill zone instruction is not appropriate in the absence of evidence indicating the defendant had a primary target, and the specific intent to kill everyone in the kill zone around the primary target to ensure the target's death. In this case, it was error to instruct the jury on a kill zone theory where there was no evidence that defendants had a primary target. However, the error was harmless because it was not reasonably probable that the jury would have reached a result more favorable to defendants had the kill zone instruction not been given. View "People v. Medina" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Jarvis Properties, a limited partnership, owns a parcel of land. Its general partners, Todd and James (brothers), each own a 50 percent interest in the partnership, which is less than the majority consent required to act on behalf of the partnership (Corp. Code, 15904.06(a)). The brothers cannot agree on what to do about the parcel. Their partnership agreement does not address decision-making deadlocks. James sought partition by sale, naming Todd and Jarvis Properties as defendants. Todd hired his own lawyer and hired a separate lawyer, Roscoe, to represent the partnership. James objected to having Roscoe represent the partnership and moved to disqualify Roscoe. James argued that Roscoe was not authorized to act by the requisite majority of the general partners and that Roscoe, who took the position that he was not subject to the direction of either partner and was being paid by Todd, was not acting in the best interests of the partnership and would run up unnecessary litigation costs and deplete the partnership’s limited assets. The court of appeal affirmed an order disqualifying Roscoe. James had a sufficient interest to challenge Roscoe’s authority, having demonstrated a risk that Roscoe's representation may advance Todd’s interests and may not be in the Partnership's best interests. On remand, the court may wish to explore options for resolving deadlock at the entity level and consider appointing a receiver or other neutral. View "Jarvis v. Jarvis" on Justia Law

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After plaintiff was injured at a frat party, she filed suit against Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity for negligence. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment for the fraternity, holding that the fraternity owed no duty to protect plaintiff from the actions of the local chapter because there was no special relationship between the fraternity and the local chapter and there was no special relationship between the fraternity and plaintiff. The court also held that the negligent undertaking doctrine was inapplicable in this case. Finally, the court held that the fraternity was not vicariously liable for the local chapter's conduct View "Barenborg v. Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Appellant C.T. (Mother) appealed an order changing primary physical custody of her minor son, A.B. to A.B.’s father, respondent R.B. (Father), in Arkansas. A.B. lived with Mother since his birth in 2006; Mother and Father separated in 2007. The trial court entered a final child custody order in 2010, with Mother’s home ordered A.B.’s primary residence. In 2011, Father moved from California to Arkansas and lived with his parents. In 2017, Mother and Father both requested sole physical custody of A.B. Mother contended Father failed to meet his burden of establishing that moving A.B. to Arkansas would not cause detriment to A.B., and that the change in physical custody was in A.B.’s best interests. After review of the specific facts of this case, the Court of Appeal agreed and reversed the child custody order awarding Father primary physical custody. View "In re the Marriage of C.T. and R.B." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law