An episode of A&E’s series Longmire (“The Dog Soldier”) delved into the complicated world of Indian child fostering and adoption. The show got the law wrong, but that’s not surprising in this complicated area. Although the Supreme Court may offer some clarity in its upcoming decision on the appeal of Adoptive Couple v Baby Girl (SC 2012) 731 SE2d 550, it would take the wisdom of Solomon, invoked wistfully by Justice Kennedy, to fashion a happy outcome for one Indian child. (more…)
When the Justice Department invoked the public safety exception to the Miranda rights of the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, were you surprised? Did you know about this and other exceptions to the Miranda rule? (more…)
The following is a guest blog post by Harmony Groves Kessler, a solo practitioner assisting individuals, small businesses, and attorneys with legal issues in criminal defense, business contracts/transactions and public agency law in northern California. She is the former Mayor of Arcata, California, where she served a four-year term on the City Council.
With fashion accessories adopting weapon-like designs, has the California Penal Code fallen behind the times? (more…)
The following is a guest blog post by Jeffrey Osofsky, an attorney at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP in Los Angeles with a practice focusing on defending employers and individual managers against employment-based lawsuits. Mr. Osofsky wishes to thank Munger Tolles Partner Terry Sanchez for his assistance with this post.
California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act generally prohibits employers from basing their employment decisions on certain protected characteristics (race, sex, pregnancy, etc.). But what happens when an employer sued for discrimination can show that, despite any unlawful consideration, it would have reached the same decision about that employee anyway? (more…)
The following is a guest blog post by Frederick Hertz, an attorney and mediator based in Oakland, CA, and the author of the ABA treatise Counseling Unmarried Couples: A Guide to Effective Representation.
One of the worst forms of discrimination against same-sex couples is discrimination in the form of legal complexity. The twists and turns of same-sex partnership law over the past ten years—both in California and federally—have resulted in a morass of legal uncertainty, and the litigation flowing from these complications is just now beginning to hit the appellate courts. (more…)
As James Beck of Reed Smith puts it, “California has long gone its merry, idiosyncratic way in the Daubert/Frye wars.” That’s why it was a big surprise when the California Supreme Court cut off this legal tangent and stated that California courts must apply the same Daubert standard as their federal counterparts when it comes to admitting opinion testimony not based on a new scientific technique. (more…)
Filed under: Civil Litigation, Criminal Law, Legal Topics, Litigation Strategy, New Legal Developments | Tagged: admissibility, Daubert standard, evidence, expert testimony, expert witness, opinion testimony, trial | 1 Comment »
The much heralded California Homeowner Bill of Rights went into effect on January 1, 2013. It expands urgency legislation, enacted four years ago, that amended the trustee sale foreclosure processes to reduce foreclosures and increase workouts, loan modifications, and short sales. See Stats 2012, chs 86–87 (AB 278 and SB 900). It’s well intended, but is it actually going to reduce the foreclosure rate in the long run? (more…)
Updated January 4, 2013: The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 restores the original 3 percent phaseout of itemized deductions for income above $300,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly and $250,000 for single taxpayers. The Act also restores the 39.6 percent top rate for income above $450,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly and $400,000 for single taxpayers.
Most readers are aware that many provisions of the tax law “sunset” or expire at the end of 2012 if nothing happens before the end of the year. One little-noticed provision could help both sides move beyond the current impasse. (more…)
Filed under: Estate Planning, Legal Topics, New Legal Developments, Tax Law | Tagged: American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, fiscal cliff, high-income taxpayers, Pease phase out, tax law, tax rates | 2 Comments »
The Los Angeles Times calls it “The Green Rush,” referring to the newly-lucrative cultivation of premium marijuana to serve the “discriminating consumers who frequent medical cannabis dispensaries.” California laws permitting medical marijuana have spawned an industry that has moved from remote, clandestine locations to our city centers. But what’s become a boom for growers and sellers is causing a headache for many city regulators. (more…)
Filed under: Business, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Legal Topics, New Legal Developments, Real Property | Tagged: Compassionate Use Act, land use regulation, medical marijuana, medical marijuana dispensaries, Medical Marijuana Program Act | Leave a Comment »