Posts Tagged: courts

News

Inside the Capitol: Letters to the Journal

The state Capitol in Sacramento, home of the Senate and Assembly. (Photo: Kit Leong, via Shutterstock)

One way to help figure out the legislative intent behind a particular measure is a letter written by the bill’s author that is published in the Assembly Daily Journal or the Senate Daily Journal.

News

Mental health courts cut costs, inmates, but lack oversight, data

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Brown. (Photo: Steinberg Institute)

San Francisco attorney Jennifer Johnson views her life and legal trajectory as “life before and life after” a devastating 2016 homicide case that forever changed her view of how the courts treat defendants who are mentally ill. The case in San Francisco Superior Court involved an 85-year-old defendant, Don Rebello, who suffered from severe dementia.  Suddenly and for no apparent reason, he stabbed and killed his beloved friend and longtime roommate, Erik Kleins, 83 – two of three elderly men who had long shared a San Francisco home.

News

Facing possible loss of House seat, California awaits census

Los Angeles, California's largest city and part of its most populous county, at dusk. (Photo: ESB Professional, via Shutterstock)

As California’s population growth flattens out, the state could lose a congressional seat for the first time in its history. The state’s most recent demographic report shows that California added only 186,807 residents last year, showing a growth rate of .47 percent, the slowest ever.

News

Brown signs no-money bail bill

An inmate sits on his cell bunk. (Photo: Peppinuzzo,via Shutterstock)

Gov. Brown on Tuesday signed landmark legislation to eliminate money bail for many California defendants, replacing it instead with a system based on a person’s flight risk and other factors. “Today, California reforms its bail system so that rich and poor alike are treated fairly,” Brown said.

News

Overhaul urged for California court fines

A photo illustration of court finances. (Rusian Grumble, Shutterstock)

California’s courts impose hundreds of millions of dollars of “excessive and disproportionate” fines each year for common infractions, then use much of the money to support their own operations. A blue-ribbon panel examining the system said the fines should be collected by the executive branch — not the courts themselves — to avoid conflicts.

News

Life without parole: Reforms target youthful offenders

Photo illustration: A young woman in custody clings to a chain-link fence. (Shutterstock)

New legislation to overhaul California’s youth criminal justice system includes a key provision that bars life-without-parole sentences for juvenile offenders. Currently, the United States is the only country in the world to impose life-without-parole sentences on minors. Throughout the past decade, the U.S. Supreme Court has handed down decisions that have begun to reverse the trend.

News

Veterans Treatment Courts play crucial role

They’re called Veterans Treatment Courts, a little-known part of the judicial system that deals specifically with military veterans crippled by stress, drugs and the memories of war. The specialized courts can be found around the country. But only 12 of California’s 58 counties have this service for veterans.

News

Brown vetoes hospital merger bill

As a deadline loomed, Gov. Brown struck down legislation to grant state Attorney General Kamala Harris more authority over nonprofit hospital mergers. The attorney general — a position he once held — already has sufficient authority, he said Monday in his veto message.

News

CalSTRS: Stratospheric price tags for full funding

The total spending increase needed to get CalSTRS, brought low by mismanagement, back to full funding may be the biggest-dollar scenarios ever presented to a California legislative committee. Legislators were told last week an additional $181.7 billion would be needed for full funding in 20 years. If payments are spread out to ease the budget bite, the additional amount needed to reach full funding in 60 years is a staggering $618 billion.

News

State gets two-year grace period to cut inmate population

California won a two-year extension to meet a federal court order to cut its prison population, but a three-judge panel made clear Monday that it has doubts about the state’s handling of prison overcrowding. A three-judge federal panel accepted Gov. Jerry Brown’s new plan to reduce the population, but reprimanded the state for its delay in finding what they described as a “durable” solution to the prison crisis. The state has put inmates in out-of-state prisons and private custody.

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