Marilyn Monroe and the 50-Year Hitch: Star’s Heirs Bound to New York

It’s hard to argue that a decedent who died at home was a resident of somewhere else, but the estate of Marilyn Monroe, who was found dead in her Brentwood home in 1962, has always maintained that she was a domiciliary of New York. The estate’s executor took that position in probate proceedings and in dealings with California tax authorities, which found that most of Monroe’s assets were exempt from state inheritance taxes. But now Monroe’s heirs are claiming she was domiciled in California because they prefer California law on the right of publicity. Continue reading

Logging Your Exhibits Without Getting Logjammed

Not only is an exhibit log an invaluable trial organizational tool for you, but you’ll score points with the court clerk if you provide him or her with one. Here’s how to create an impressive exhibit log. Continue reading

New Procedural Rules for Habeas Corpus Petitions

To address a problem that threatens “to undermine the efficacy of the system for adjudicating petitions for collateral relief in cases involving the death penalty,” the California Supreme Court used the case of In re Reno (Aug. 30, 2012, S124660) to establish new “ground rules” when exhaustion of state remedies requires the petitioner to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in its court. Continue reading

It’s All in the Execution: 4 Keys to Executing a Settlement Agreement

After you’ve settled a case and prepared the final settlement papers memorializing the agreement, all that’s left for the parties to do is execute that agreement. You’re close to the finish line—don’t slack off yet! Continue reading

Sentencing Batterers

Sentencing across states in domestic violence cases sometimes seems almost random, or at least flawed. Famous cases of apparent sentencing favoritism, as with boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr’s lenient sentence in Las Vegas, can hurt the integrity of the system. But California has a domestic violence sentencing scheme that is not arbitrary; instead, it is aimed at fairness, with clear direction for judges. Continue reading

Nice to Meet You: Getting Your First Client Contact Right

A good start is crucial in most things, not the least of which is your first contact with a prospective client. This initial contact is your big chance to identify the client’s needs, get the information you need, and nail down another case. Continue reading

Don’t Forget Any Settlement Terms

Congratulations, you’ve reached a settlement! Now you need to set it out in the final settlement documents. You need to include all the terms on which the parties have agreed, as well as terms to make it enforceable. To help make sure you don’t miss anything, here’s a checklist of 14 common settlement terms. Continue reading

Employees on Lease

You know about leasing cars, but do you know about leasing employees? It’s generally the same idea: you get the benefits without a lot of the downsides, for a price. Continue reading

Blinding Them with Science

The courts are often asked to consider evidence based on cutting edge science and technology, but how is a court to know whether the evidence is sufficiently reliable to make it admissible? That’s where the 3-pronged Kelly rule comes into play. When a novel scientific technique is potentially being used as evidence in your case, gear up for a Kelly hearing. Continue reading

Don’t Fence Me In: Protecting California’s Open-Space Land

Lucky for those of us who want room to roam, California law recognizes the importance and value of open-space land. In fact, all local governments have to designate land within their boundaries as open space. If you (or your client) care about preserving open-space land, you need to understand the processes local governmental entities use to establish open-space land and get involved! Continue reading