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The scan data gathered by automated license plate reader (ALPR) technology in this case was not subject to Cal. Gov. Code 6254(f)’s exemption for record of investigations. Petitioners filed a request under the California Public Records Act (CPRA) for all ALPR data collected during a one-week period by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. At issue before the Supreme Court was whether the requested ALPR data was exempt from disclosure as falling within the CPRA provision protecting police and state records of investigations under section 6254(f). The trial court concluded that the data came within section 6254(f)’s records of investigations exemption. The Court of Appeal affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal judgment insofar as it rendered anonymized or redacted ALPR data exempt from disclosure, holding that the ALPR scan data at issue was not subject to section 6254(f)’s exemption for records of investigations. The court remanded for further consideration of whether raw data may reasonably be anonymized or redacted such that the balance of interests would shift and disclosure of the data would be required under the CPRA. View "American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County" on Justia Law

Posted in: Constitutional Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of death imposed by the trial court in connection with Defendant’s conviction of first degree murder, holding that Defendant’s waiver of his right to a jury trial on penalty was invalid. The court also vacated as unauthorized Defendant’s sentence of death in connection with the conviction of second degree murder and directed the superior court to issue an amended judgment reflecting the appropriate sentence of fifteen years to life. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment in all other respects and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "People v. Daniels" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court of California held that, in light of the text and other indicia of the purpose associated with the relevant constitutional and statutory provisions, Cal. Const., art. XIII C, section 2 does not limit voters' power to raise taxes by statutory initiative. The court explained that a contrary conclusion would require an unreasonably broad construction of the term "local government" at the expense of the people’s constitutional right to direct democracy, undermining the longstanding and consistent view that courts should protect and liberally construe it. In this case, the California Cannabis Coalition drafted a medical marijuana initiative proposing to repeal an existing City ordinance. The Coalition subsequently petitioned for a writ of mandate when the City failed to submit the initiative to the voters at a special election. The supreme court affirmed the court of appeal's holding that article XIII C, section 2 only governs levies that are imposed by local government, and thus directed the superior court to issue a writ of mandate compelling the City to place the initiative on a special ballot in accordance with Elections Code section 9214. View "California Cannabis Coalition v. Upland" on Justia Law

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An initiative proposed to repeal an existing Upland ordinance banning medical marijuana dispensaries, to adopt regulations permitting and establishing standards for up to three dispensaries, and to require that each pay an “annual Licensing and Inspection fee” of $75,000. The petition requested a special election. The signatures of registered voters met the threshold for triggering consideration of the initiative (Elections Code 9214). The city accepted a certificate of sufficiency and was obligated to adopt the initiative without alteration, immediately order a special election, or order an agency report. It ordered a report, which concluded that the $75,000 “fee” would exceed the costs incurred from issuing licenses and annual inspections and that the excess would constitute a general tax, so the initiative could not be voted on during a special election but, under California Constitution article XIII C, had to be submitted at the next general election. The city council provided direction for submitting the initiative in November 2016, the next general election. The California Supreme Court held that that article XIII C does not constrain voters’ constitutional power to propose and adopt initiatives and that under article II, section 11 and Elections Code, the initiative should be submitted at a special election, Article XIII C does not limit voters’ “power to raise taxes by statutory initiative.” View "California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland" on Justia Law

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In 2012, plaintiff filed suit against Doe No. 1, a public entity, alleging that she was molested by defendant's employee when she was a high school student from 1993-1994. After the claim was denied, she filed this instant action against Doe No. 1 and Doe Nos. 2-20, alleging that latent memories of the sexual abuse resurfaced in early 2012, when she was about 34 years old. The Supreme Court of California held that the 2012 claim was not timely in light of Shirk v. Vista Unified School Dist. (2007) 42 Cal.4th 201. The court explained that when the Legislature amended Code Civ. Proc., 340.1 without modifying the claims requirement, and later overruled Shirk, but only prospectively, it took measured actions that protected public entities from potential liability for stale claims regarding conduct allegedly occurring before January 1, 2009, in which the public entity had no ability to do any fiscal planning, or opportunity to investigate the matter and take remedial action. View "Rubenstein v. Doe No. 1" on Justia Law

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Petitioner’s constitutional challenges to Proposition 66, the Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act of 2016, did not warrant relief. Proposition 66, which was approved by California voters in the November 2016 election, is intended to facilitate the enforcement of judgments and achieve cost savings in capital cases. Petitioner sought writ relief from the Supreme Court, arguing that Proposition 66 embraces more than one subject in violation of the California Constitution, interferes with the jurisdiction of courts to hear original petitions for habeas corpus relief, violates inmates’ equal protection rights by treating capital prisoners differently from other prisoners with respect to successive habeas corpus petitions, and violates the separation of powers doctrine by materially impairing courts’ ability to resolve capital appeals and habeas corpus petitions. The Supreme Court denied relief, holding (1) Proposition 66 is not unconstitutional; but (2) in order to avoid separation of powers problems, provisions of Proposition 66 that appear to impose strict deadlines on the resolution of judicial proceedings must be deemed directive rather than mandatory. View "Briggs v. Brown" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed Defendant’s conviction of misdemeanor battery of a peace officer, holding that the People failed to prove that the victim, a member of the City of Santa Barbara harbor patrol, was a “peace officer” within the meaning of Cal. Pen. Code 243(b). The Court of Appeal affirmed the conviction, concluding that a harbor patrol officer need not have the primary duty of law enforcement to be a peace officer. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeal to the extent it affirmed Defendant’s conviction for battery under section 243(b), holding (1) this court agrees with People v. Miller, 164 Cal. App. 4th 653, 665-668 (2008), and concludes that a harbor patrol officer must have the primary duty of law enforcement to be a peace officer; and (2) the People in this case did not prove that the primary duty of the harbor patrol officer battered by Defendant was law enforcement. View "People v. Pennington" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The interim adverse judgment rule applies when a trial court had initially denied summary judgment on the basis that a lawsuit had sufficient potential merit to proceed to trial but concluded after trial that the suit had been brought in bad faith because the claim lacked evidentiary support. In the underlying case, Plaintiffs were sued for misappropriation of trade secrets. Plaintiffs moved for summary judgment, which the trial court denied. The trial court subsequently granted judgment in favor of Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs later brought a malicious prosecution against the opposing parties’ lawyers in the trade secrets case. Defendants filed an anti-SLAPP motion, arguing that Plaintiffs could not establish a probability of success because the order denying summary judgment in the underlying trade secrets action established probable cause to prosecute that action. The trial court granted the motion to strike, concluding that the action was untimely. The court of appeal concluded that the action was timely but that the interim adverse judgment rule applied, thus barring the malicious prosecution suit. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the denial of summary judgment in the trade secrets action established probable cause to bring that action, and therefore, Plaintiffs could not establish a probability of success on their malicious prosecution claim. View "Parrish v. Latham & Watkins" on Justia Law

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In this real estate purchase transaction the Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeal’s judgment reversing the trial court’s denial of an award of attorney fees. Here Seller brought a breach of contract action against Buyers for failing to purchase the subject property. The trial court concluded that Buyers were not liable under the purchase agreement because it had been superseded by the parties’ option agreement that granted Buyers the exclusive right, but not the obligation, to purchase the property. At issue before the Supreme Court was whether Buyers were entitled to attorney fees under the attorney fees provision in the option agreement. The Supreme Court held (1) Buyers’ assertion of the option agreement as an affirmative defense did not trigger the attorney fees provision in that agreement; but (2) under the circumstances of this case Buyers were nevertheless entitled to attorney fees under the attorney fees provision in the option agreement. View "Mountain Air Enterprises, LLC v. Sundowner Towers, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Interstate Commerce Termination Act (ICCTA) preempts state regulation of rail transportation, and in this case, the application of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) would not be inconsistent with the ICCTA and its preemption clause. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal, which determined that CEQA is preempted by federal law when the project to be approved involves railroad operations. The Supreme Court held that the ICCTA is not so broadly preemptive, and under the circumstances of this case, the ICCTA does not preempt the application of CEQA to the freight rail project that was the subject of this litigation. The court remanded the matter for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. View "Friends of Eel River v. North Coast Railroad Authority" on Justia Law

Posted in: Transportation Law