Private Church Camps Prepare To House ‘Border Kids’

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that “…. operators of two private camps in Ellis and Rockwall counties are scrambling to get ready for the arrival of at least 800 young immigrants from Central America, part of a recent surge crossing illegally into the U.S. from Mexico.”
Citing government sources, the paper says that about 300 immigrants — ages 12 to 18 — are expected to arrive at Sabine Creek Ranch next week for temporary shelter, and at least 500 children age 17 and under will stay at Lakeview Camp and Retreat Center near Waxahachie and could get there as early as Friday, officials in Ellis County said. At least one camp is run by a religious group.
Immigration detainment, especially of children, has been a controversial issue for months since an inflx of “Border Kids” began showing up on the U.S. border. Typically, they are not “caught” but turn themselves in and request asylum.  Read more here.

In L.A., Student Tickets Give Way To Counseling, Other Intervention

According to a 11/3/15 LA Times Report, "L.A. Unified sees success in counseling rather than arresting truants and kids who fight."

According to a 11/3/15 LA Times Report, “L.A. Unified sees success in counseling rather than arresting truants and kids who fight.”

The Los Angeles Times is following up on measures taken last year to reform an out-of-control truancy system. The shift actually began under pressure from civil rights groups and was approved back in 2012 when the LAT reported that: “Under the old policy, a student who received a truancy ticket had to appear in court with a parent. A judge would issue a fine and order the student to be on time for the next 60 days or face more legal trouble. Both the parent and student had to return two months later for a follow-up, causing the student to miss school time and the parent to lose wages.”

The update offered this background that the shift involves: “… 405 sworn L.A. Unified police officers who, along with more than 125 safety officers, make up the nation’s largest independent school police force. Across the nation, campus officers are facing criticism that they’re pushing children into a “school-to-prison pipeline” with citations, arrests and excessive force for issues that could be resolved by other means. National studies show that one arrest doubles a student’s odds of dropping out.”

The student truancy policies were also seen as a path to criminal records. While the initial “tickets” were treated as civil cases, failing to comply with the results, like paying fines or doing community work, led to criminal arrests.

Read the excellent Times coverage here.

Govt. Adding More Beds To Handle ‘Border Kids’

The new surge in unaccompanied children showing up at U.S. borders seeking asylum has prompted the federal government to move toward two new shelters, the New York Times is reporting. The paper says that the government is moving toward “two shelters in Texas and one in California this month, adding at least 1,400 beds to handle the increased flow, senior Obama administration officials said Monday.”
According to a 12/7/15 NYT report, "A United States Border Patrol vehicle at the border wall near Abram, Tex., last month. Credit Delcia Lopez/The Monitor, via Associated Press"

According to a 12/7/15 NYT report, “A United States Border Patrol vehicle at the border wall near Abram, Tex., last month. Credit Delcia Lopez/The Monitor, via Associated Press”

Family detention centers and the unaccompanied youth centers have been controversial and a federal judge has ordered the family shelters closed, although officials hope to work around that order. The Times also notes that “… on Monday, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of health and human services, asked the Pentagon to also prepare tentative plans to provide shelter for 5,000 more youths. Those beds are not needed at this time, officials said, but the health department, which runs the shelters, would give the Department of Defense 30 days’ notice to get them ready if the numbers of young border crossers continue to rise.”
Immigration cases are often incorrectly seen as criminal court issues. The “courts” are actually a function of the U.S. Justice Department and those facing actions are classified as civil court participants. One effect of that is they do not have the same rights to counsel as if they were criminally charged.

WSJ Report Outlines Delays For Federal Civil Court Dockets

Detailing the case of a man awaiting his day in court since 2007, the Wall Street Journal notes that the example is only one of “… more than 330,000 such cases” and that “… thee number of cases awaiting resolution for three years or more exceeded 30,000 for the fifth time in the past decade.”
The report gives reasons, and makes the case that the civil justice system slows when the criminal justice system gets busy: “… the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to a jury trial in civil cases. But the Sixth Amendment gives people in criminal cases the right to a “speedy” trial. The upshot: Criminal cases often displace and delay civil disputes, creating a backlog.”
It also says that “… federal court for California’s Eastern District [where the example case is located] has a particularly deep backlog. The number of cases filed per judge, 974 last year, is almost twice the national average. More than 14% of civil cases in that district have been pending for three years or more.” The report outlines the political challenges to fixing the tardy system. Read the WSJ story here: In Federal Courts, the Civil Cases Pile Up

Patent Cases Jump In Front of New Rules

Fortune Magazine is reporting a surge in patent cases, mostly in East Texas, as new rules that will “raise the bar” for what a patent owner must state in a lawsuit. The report says that “… while the new pleading standards are intended to make patent complaints more like other federal lawsuits, some complained that requiring specific facts for each lawsuit will make it more expensive for patent owners to assert their rights.”
The new record is 257 cases filed in a single day.

San Bernadino and Savannah

Our hearts and prayers are with the families and communities of the mass shootings in San Bernadino, CA and Savannah, GA. <3

In-depth Analysis of Silver Conviction Implications

CCM publisher, Sara Warner, writes an in-depth analysis of the Sheldon Silver conviction implications in her latest Huffington Post blog. Take a look!

IVP Conference: CA Courts Filling With Out-of-State Cases

A recent conference hosted by the Independent Voter Project in California hit upon an issue we’ve been reporting on repeatedly here at CCM. California courts are filling with a backlog of out-of-state cases, as class action lawsuits fill the courts. This, in turn, is buckling the limited resources of the court system, leaving California residents either without nearby courts, or pushing their cases to the back of the line. 

The conference focused on business interests, specifically, but a recent blog they posted noted that businesses are being impacted, alongside residents:

“The fairly recent development of mass-action lawsuits conglomerate residents of multiple states into one lawsuit. Usually it is filed in California due to plaintiff-friendly court policies. Consequently, California courts are filling up with lawsuits where many plaintiffs are not CA residents and don’t receive adequate legal representation.”

Read more here.