Judge Koh order could impact California tech sector

November, 2012: A federal patent case has a federal judge making interesting decisions that could impact California’s tech sector.

In a 23-page order, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh seems to be restricting the issuance of injunctions in patent cases. The order follows a reported October decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversing her judgment in a related patent fight between Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.

You can find other coverage, but don’t miss the insight at Law.com, where they cite an expert predicting a path to real changes.

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Judge Teri L. Jackson ‘Zealous Woman’

You might not expect a candid, insightful interview with a California Superior Court judge from a website affiliated with a lawfirm, but that’s what you get with a profile of Judge Teri L. Jackson at the “Zealous Women” site.terijackson-1

Judge Jackson is the first African-American woman to sit on the state’s Superior Court Bench, the interview notes, and that offers a different perspective.

You know,” Judge Jackson says in the interview, “I never looked at it as being a pioneer. I looked at it as a lot of people who had come before me who should have achieved what I have. I might have been the first to accomplish it, but there were many people who laid the path for me to walk, and they carried and dragged me along the way and still do. So I guess yes, you’re right, I’m the first to achieve this, but I’m not the first to go after this. And I am the beneficiary of a lot of people and a lot of sacrifices.”

She also tells about her father’s plan that his OTHER daughter would be the lawyer, about live-work balance with her “posse” and other issues. That includes this chilling advice for lawyers in her court: “Please understand we do read your briefs… reading verbatim your brief is not well-prepared.” [Read more…]

Profile: Superior Court Judge Frank Ochoa

Since he was elected to the Santa Barbara Superior Court in 1996, Judge Frank Ochoa has made an impact on both the court system and his community. That commitment was honored in the final days of 2012 with the Santa Barbara County Bar Association’s “John T. Rickard Judicial Service Award.”ochoa

The honor is named after a former judge who also served terms as city attorney and mayor of Santa Barbara in the 1940s and 1950s.

Judge Ochoa sometimes makes national news in high-profile celebrity cases, like that controversy around Randy Quaid and his wife. But locally he is known for involvement in juvenile law programs and for handling a range of cases. He currently handles a criminal trial department with both felony and misdemeanor cases, and has handled the Juvenile Delinquency calendar for the court.

His experience has led to several state-level roles. He has served as a member of the California Judicial Council’s Trial Court Budget Commission and on the Presiding Judges’ Advisory Committee. Judge Ochoa has also served on the Executive Board of the California Judges’ Association, and has previously chaired the Association’s “Court Administration Committee.” 

He was also elected to the Executive Board of the Juvenile Court Judges of California and served on that group’s “legislative review team.”
Check out the judge’s formal bio here. Find out more about the recent award here.

Landlord/rental questions abound in the Golden State

What’s up with your rental deposit? Can a landlord deny you a one-bedroom apartment because you have a kid? What’s up with really, really late rent?

Landlord/rental questions abound in the Golden State, and one place to get down to cases is an L.A. Times blog by Martin Eichner. Granted, as director of Housing Counseling Programs for a Bay Area nonprofit, he has a renter’s POV, he’s still a voice of clarity.

You know how it’s all “it depends” on legal-ish blogs? Not here. On that “with a kid” question, he says that, because federal standards “… allow any two people to share the one bedroom, the housing provider has engaged in discrimination by deciding that a mother and son do not have the same right.”

Check it out for yourself, click here. 

California budget cuts lead to talk of closing small claims court

“Access” stories are starting to bubble up as we see the real-world impacts from dramatic budget cuts to the California system, like counties having to decide if they want to keep handling adoptions and family issues or keep their small claims court open.

Nick Monacelli of Sacramento’s Channel 10 news has a (for TV) surprisingly in-depth look at what’s happening, including flat-out closing small claims. He even quotes a judge admitting that the justice system is breaking the law.

“In Sacramento County,” writes Monacelli on the station’s website, “194 positions have been cut. If the current budget remains, another 60 or 70 will go as well. The cuts are so bad they’re talking about shutting down small claims.”

Says a judge: “If we don’t stop doing small claims, then we have to stop doing adoptions, or personal protective orders, or we have to stop arraigning criminal defendants who are in custody.”

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How. Low. Can. We. Go?

How. Low. Can. We. Go?

It’s no secret that California is cutting back, waaaay back, on its courts funding. This website is part of the reaction.

But a glimpse into the coming months of 2013 comes from a recent Wall Street Journal story.

“The number of locations handling small claims cases,” notes the WSJ, “will shrink from 26 to six, according to the court. Collections will be handled in just two places instead of 24. Under the courtroom reorganization plan, all personal injury cases will be concentrated at a single court downtown.”

Can you imagine? Malibu residents, long accustomed to local access, will have to haul themselves over to the Valley.

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