Posts Tagged: courts

News

From prison to wildfires: Inmate program gathers momentum

Inmate firefighters head to the Colleen Fire in the Santa Teresa Foothills near San Jose. (Photo: Jaden Schaul, via Shutterstock)

The law that offers wildfire-fighting inmates a chance to clean up their records in hopes of civilian careers got off to a slow start last year as administrators crafted rules for the procedure, but now, with those rules in place, the prison-to-profession pipeline is starting to take shape.

Opinion

Smart land use planning, not courts, key to wildfire safety

The 2018 Woolsey Fire, which ultimately burned nearly 95,000 acres, seen from the Hollywood Hills. (Photo: Jeff Pinette, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: Record-setting wildfires, fueled by the climate crisis and uncontrolled sprawl, are burning at all times of the year. Yet local officials continue to greenlight hillside projects as if these land-use decisions aren’t linked to the never-ending fire season.

News

Letters of intent: A bill’s author gets short shrift from the courts

The state Capitol in Sacramento. (Photo: Kit Leong, via Shutterstock)

ANALYSIS: One of the long-running points of contention when California courts examine what’s known as  “legislative intent” is the judiciary’s general disdain for statements made by the authors of legislation. Those clear-language statements accompanying bills, common in the Capitol, seek to offer guidance and state the purpose and intention of an author’s legislation.

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.

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