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Contra Costa 

LAWYER Volume 27, Number 6 | November 2014

Bench/Bar


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NOVEMBER 2014

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Contra Costa  2014 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Stephen Steinberg President Nicholas Casper President-Elect Candice Stoddard Secretary Elva Harding Treasurer Jay Chafetz Ex Officio Philip Andersen Dean Barbieri Amanda Bevins Oliver Bray Denae Hildebrand Budde Mary Carey

Michelle Ferber Peter Hass Reneé Livingston Katherine Wenger James Wu

LAWYER Volume 27 Number 6 | November 2014

The official publication of the

B   A   R        A   S   S   O   C   I   A   T   I   O   N

FEATURES PRESIDING JUDGE PERSPECTIVE: LOOKING BACK by Hon. Barry Goode, Presiding Judge

THE WORK OF JUSTICE JAS. H. CHICHESTER by Hon. Barry Goode, Presiding Judge

CCCBA   EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR Theresa Hurley | 925.370.2548 | thurley@cccba.org

LOOKING TO NEXT YEAR

CCCBA main office 925.686.6900 | www.cccba.org

CIVIL LAW PERSPECTIVE

by Hon. Steve Austin, Assistant Presiding Judge

Barbara Arsedo Emily Day

by Hon. Judith Craddick, Supervising Judge

LRIS Coordinator Systems Administrator and Fee Arbitration Coordinator

CRIMINAL LAW PERSPECTIVE

Dawnell Blaylock

Communications Elizabeth Galliett Coordinator Education and Programs Coordinator

by Hon. John Kennedy, Supervising Judge

FAMILY LAW PERSPECTIVE

Jennifer Comages

by Hon. Jill Fannin, Supervising Judge

Membership Coordinator

JUVENILE LAW PERSPECTIVE by Hon. Lois Haight, Supervising Judge

CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

PROBATE PERSPECTIVE

CO-EDITORS EDITORIAL BOARD

by Hon. John H. Sugiyama, Supervising Judge

Harvey Sohnen Suzanne Boucher

PITTSBURG COURTHOUSE

925.258.9300 925.933.1500

Nicole Mills Elva Harding

by Hon. Brian Haynes, Supervising Judge

925.351.3171 925.215.4577 Kelly BOARD LIAISON Patricia 925.258.9300 Candice Stoddard 925.942.5100 David Pearson 925.287.0051 COURT LIAISON Samantha Sepehr Stephen Nash 925.287.3540 925.957.5600 James Wu PRINTING 925.658.0300

RICHMOND COURTHOUSE

by Hon. Leslie G. Landau, Supervising Judge

TRAFFIC DIVISION

by Hon. Thomas Maddock, Supervising Judge

INTERVIEW WITH JUDGE JOHN C. COPE

29

INTERVIEW WITH JUDGE DANIELLE DOUGLAS

30

INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS FOR AGE-OLD PROBLEMS

31 33

by Lucy Fogarty, Assistant Court Executive Officer

Steven’s Printing 925.681.1774

PHOTOGRAPHER Moya Fotografx

by Lucy Fogarty, Assistant Court Executive Officer

510.847.8523

by Magda Lopez, Director of Court Programs and Services The Contra Costa Lawyer (ISSN 1063-4444) is published 12 times a year - 6 times online-only - by the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA), 2300 Clayton Road, Suite 520, Concord, CA 94520. Annual subscription of $25 is included in the membership dues. Periodical postage paid at Concord, CA. POSTMASTER: send address change to the Contra Costa Lawyer, 2300 Clayton Road, Suite 520, Concord, CA 94520. The Lawyer welcomes and encourages articles and letters from readers. Please send them to contracostalawyer@cccba.org. The CCCBA reserves the right to edit articles and letters sent in for publication. All editorial material, including editorial comment, appearing herein represents the views of the respective authors and does not necessarily carry the endorsement of the CCCBA or the Board of Directors. Likewise, the publication of any advertisement is not to be construed as an endorsement of the product or service offered unless it is specifically stated in the ad that there is such approval or endorsement.

Cover Photos: Sample of Justice Jas. H. Chichester’s signature and his handwritten Criminal Justice Docket book circa 1910.

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WHEN TREATMENT IS NOT ENOUGH

by Mimi L. Zemmelman, Director, Business Planning, Information and Programs

DEPARTMENTS

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INSIDE | by Stephen H. Nash 2015 JUDICIAL ASSIGNMENTS

23 CENTER | Lisa Reep’s Retirement Party [photos] Bench/Bar BBQ and Softball Game [photos] MCLE Spectacular Registration 36

INNS OF COURT | by Matthew Talbot

38

COFFEE TALK | Please share a positive experience you’ve had with court staff.

40 CALENDAR/CLASSIFIEDS

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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inside

D

ear Contra Costa County Bar Members:

It is an honor to participate in the annual Bench/Bar edition of the Contra Costa Lawyer magazine. In my first year with the Contra Costa Superior Court, I have come to really appreciate the smarts and energy of our local bar members and leadership, and the role they play in supporting our court. This year has been challenging for the court. As of July 1, 2014, we have completed what we hope will be the final round of operational cuts and staff reductions. These actions leave us with 311 employees. Because these reductions did not balance our budget, the Presiding Judge was forced to announce staff furloughs and a temporary partial closure of the court during New Year’s week. While having fewer staff to support the bench and the public has had an impact on every area of the court, as you will read in this edition, the commitment of our judges and staff to serve the public is as strong as ever. Our judicial officers and employees are working hard, and the court is developing creative approaches to provide the public access to justice. In many ways, we are reinventing our operations in this new, lean world.

Stephen H. Nash

To address this situation, we installed and implemented an automatic ticket system. This system enabled us to eliminate the lines, allowing the public to sit in chairs until their number is called. The new system produced its own problems, however. We discovered that some people, typically pro pers, were taking tickets and waiting patiently, only to find out when they finally got to the window that they had the wrong form, were in the wrong line, or only needed to quickly file a document that could take less than a minute.

NOVEMBER 2014

Other areas where we are looking for improvements include jury administration, modernization of our case management systems to enable e-filing, greater access to online information and online filing for those seeking domestic violence restraining orders. We are also looking for ways to reengineer our Clerk’s Office processes so that we can enable the court to restore some public filing hours. A recent major step forward for the court was our recruitment of Heather Pettit, who has taken over as Chief Information Officer. She comes from the Sacramento Superior Court, where she held a similar position. She brings with her a long resume of implementing technologies to assist the bench, court justice partners, legal professionals and the public, in the areas of filing, case processing and access to online information.

Court Executive Officer

For example, a year ago, the public stood in long lines in our Civil Clerk’s Office and often waited more than two hours for their turn to get to a clerk’s window. Some unfortunate people sometimes waited three hours or more. While such a situation is unpleasant for all, for some, particularly the elderly, those with disabilities or people with children, the experience was beyond bearable.

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Now, as staff is available, they go into the public area of the Clerk’s Office to help ensure that people are waiting in the right line, have the correct forms, and get basic questions answered before their number is called. This allows people who can be quickly processed, to get on with the rest of their day, minimizing unnecessary waiting and crowding.

So today, we are down in terms of courtrooms, staff and public hours. We will continue to look for restoration of some of the state funding that has been cut over the last few years. Meanwhile, though, we will be moving forward with process reengineering and new technologies as a means of better serving the public and the legal professionals who come to our courts seeking justice. s Stephen Nash serves as the Executive Officer of the Superior Court of Contra Costa County. Prior to his current appointment, he served as the Executive Officer for the Superior Court of San Bernardino County, and before that, as the Chief Financial Officer for the California Administrative Office of the Courts.


2014 Looking Back

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y the time you read this, I will have less than 72 days remaining in my term as Presiding Judge. On January 1, 2015, I will celebrate the New Year by deleting “Presiding” from my title. It has been a very eventful four years: Two as Assistant Presiding Judge and two as Presiding Judge. Four years ago, we were in the depths of the Great Recession. Led by Presiding Judge Diana Becton and Court Executive Officer Kiri Torre, we made difficult decisions about how to restructure the court. First, of course, we cut everything we could. We renegotiated leases, consolidated space, minimized purchases of books, reduced the numbers of copiers and so on. But that only gets a court so far, because only about 20 percent of its budget is things. The rest is people. So then, we restructured our administrative staff, cutting it by 40 percent. We flattened our organization chart and increased the responsibilities of each of our managers. After that, to meet our diminished budget, we had to begin to reduce our operations staff. Backlogs grew, lines increased and litigants started waiting longer for services such as self-help and custody mediation. Finally, in the summer of 2012, we had to reconfigure the court

very substantially. We closed five courtrooms formerly occupied by commissioners. All family law cases venued in Pittsburg and all juvenile cases venued in Richmond and Pittsburg were brought to Martinez to save money by consolidating staff. We closed Walnut Creek to all but traffic cases. We stopped providing court reporters in family, civil and probate cases. We reduced our clerks’ window hours. We closed our child support department one day a week. We did not do any of this because we thought it was a good idea. It has been wrenching to have to reduce access to justice in our community. But massive budget cuts—and now the loss of our reserves—left us no choice. Unfortunately, the budget has not improved. In the current fiscal year, the trial courts have gotten a grand total of $66 million more; to be spread among 58 counties. But the Legislature and the executive branch also changed the law to limit the amount of operating reserves that trial courts could maintain. We need reserves for working capital, for long term-investments and as a rainy day fund. During the Great Recession, we drew down our reserves to keep the doors open a little wider. Now, we cannot even do that.

Hon. Barry Goode Presiding Judge But we are determined not to wring our hands and bemoan our fate. Our new Court Executive Officer, Stephen Nash, and our Assistant Executive Officer, Lucy Fogarty—with the help of our senior administrators—have been examining every court process to see how it might be improved. We have already re-engineered many of our operations to make them more efficient and are continuing that effort. For example, we re-engineered our Criminal Departments by integrating felony and misdemeanor trials in all court locations so we could make use of all our criminal judges and staff, wherever they might be located. We re-engineered our traffic operations so that we could do

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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Looking Back cont. from page 5

“trials-by-ticket” electronically, and so we could process the remaining tickets with fewer staff than before.

conduct workshops on Fridays, enabling them to assist more pro pers Monday through Thursday.

Our Civil Division faced incredible difficulties because of the loss of our commissioners who heard discovery matters, small claims, unlawful detainers and civil harassments. The Bar Association stepped in the breach with the creation of the Discovery Facilitators’ Program, and by volunteering to hear the small claims and unlawful detainer calendars.

There are many more efforts like these going on behind the scenes. Some will be visible to you, some will not. All will enable us to make the maximal use of the taxpayer dollars with which we are entrusted.

More recently, we found that our two full-time commissioners could pick up some of that load in addition to their other burdens. They have started hearing these cases again. In both Civil and Family Law, we often had horrendous lines in which people fainted and fought. There were complaints that people could not go to the bathroom or tend their parking meters for fear of losing their place. Installing “Q-Matic” take-a-number devices in both locations has calmed the wait considerably.

And we are not giving up on automation. We recently upgraded our computers from an obsolete operating system to 21st-century software. That was a prerequisite to further changes. Now, we hope to acquire a modern case management system sometime in the next two years or so. With luck, that will enable us to move to e-filing and become even more effective. It has been a challenging time. But with challenges come opportunities. We have tried, and will keep trying to make the most of those opportunities—even while we continue to advocate for full funding, once again, of the judicial branch. s

In Family Law, we have re-engineered the self-help operations, so that the limited number of facilitators

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The Work of Justice Jas. H. Chichester by Hon. Barry Goode

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n my political philosophy classes at Kenyon College, many years ago, we had lively debates over the perfectibility of human nature. Sharpening their points on the whetstone writings of Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx and others, some of my classmates said the human race was capable of changing for the better; some said no. Those discussions came to mind recently, when I had a chance to browse through some century-old records of the Contra Costa Superior Court—specifically, the handwritten minutes of Jas. H. Chichester, Justice of the Peace of the Justice Court of the 10th Township, County of Contra Costa. For those who do not recall, the 10th Township was in the western part of our county.

On November 18, 1914, Justice Chichester received the case of People of the State of California v. George Edwards. The alleged miscreant was charged with “the crime of felony, ‘to wit’ Horse Stealing.” The judge duly issued a warrant and directed Constable J. E. Moitoza to serve it.

On December 8, 1914, Constable Moitoza brought into court a man who “gave his true name as W.D. Smith.” Justice Chichester lined through the name “George Edwards” and inserted “W.D. Smith.” It is one of the few inelegant entries in a minute book written in a fine hand—penmanship of the kind that has long since disappeared. Unfortunately, Justice Chichester does not say how the constable knew to bring in Mr. Smith when he was charged with arresting Mr. Edwards. But the community was smaller in those days; there being fewer than 50,000 souls in the entire county. It seems the constable was right. Justice Chichester recorded that bail was set at $1,000—which seems awfully steep for those days—and calendared a preliminary hearing for Tuesday, December 22 at San Pablo. At the appointed time, the owner of the horse and some witnesses testified that they “recognize said horse as the one claimed by plaintiff.” That was good enough for Justice Chichester, who held Mr. Smith to answer and “remitted [him] to the

Superior Court at Martinez with bail set at $1,000.” Other pages tell of batteries, threats to kill, disturbing the peace, petit larceny, burglary and other matters familiar to those of us working in the Superior Court today. At least one of the larceny cases has a quaint, historic flavor. On Wednesday, February 24, 1915, Modesto Cabrera appeared before Justice Chichester and complained “of misdemeanor ‘to wit’ petit larceny.” Mr. Cabrera accused Mary Mietlo of stealing his “purse containing [a] twenty dollar gold piece and 15 dollars in currency.” Constable Moitoza was given a warrant for Ms. Mietlo’s arrest. The constable had no trouble finding Ms. Mietlo and brought her before the Justice of the Peace that same day. He promptly set trial for Friday, February 26. The court appointed an interpreter and testimony was taken. Three witnesses “testified that the defendant, Mary Mietlo wanted to read the plaintiff’s fortune and at the same time placed her hands on

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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Justice Chichester cont. from page 7

and about the person of the plaintiff in a very suspicious manner and shortly afterwards he missed his purse. …”

sumably, the Thompsons reconciled and lived happily ever after.

The defendant testified “that she did not touch or lay her hands anywhere on the plaintiff’s person, or had not done so upon any person during her life.” Justice Chichester did not buy her story, found her “guilty as charged” and fined her $50 “in U.S. Gold Coin.”

A modern practitioner would recognize the cases of battery. Take the case that came before the good judge on March 8, 1915. A warrant having been duly issued, Constable Moitoza brought defendant John Gomez into court the following day.

Presumably, she already had the $20 gold coin. But the record is silent as to whether she was able to come up with another $30 in gold. There is no reference to victim restitution.

At 10 a.m. “it appearing that everybody interested in this case being present, the court concluded to proceed with the Case.” Manuel S. Moitoza (the constable’s brother?) was sworn as the interpreter.

One hopeful case brought to Justice Chichester’s attention in December 1915, was People of the State of California v. W. W. Thompson.

Justice Chichester recorded “the testimony as taken was considerable in favor of the plaintiff. Apparently the defendant forced the trouble upon the plaintiff and gave him considerable of a beating, before the row could be stopped.” Mr. Gomez was found guilty and fined $13. He paid on the spot. No split sentence for him.

The complaining witness was defendant’s wife, Clara Thompson. The charge was “misdemeanor, ‘to wit’ failure to provide for minor children.” Justice Chichester issued the usual warrant and Constable Moitoza was sent to find the alleged deadbeat. But that is the only entry. A couple of lines below that are written in pencil, “Case postponed indefinitely.” Pre-

The quotidian fodder of Justice Chichester was written out, in full, in elegant script. Today, we use shorthand to refer to the offenses with which he dealt: Penal Code 242, 270, 415, 422, 459 and 484/488. So where does that leave my classmates who argued for the perfectibility of human nature? I am sure at least one would point out that we no longer have people charged with horse theft. s

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2015 Looking to Next Year

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udget cuts, hiring freezes, layoffs, courtroom closures, service reductions and now furloughs. Some time I picked to sign up to be Presiding Judge!

while still operating within our fiscal limitations. I’m excited about building on these efforts over the next two years. I’m also excited about working with local attorneys and the Bar Association to develop new policies and procedures to make litigating in our court a more efficient and effective experience.

Given the hard times that the California court system has been having in recent years, I’ve been getting some interesting comments when people learn about my new assignment. “Good luck, you’re going to need it.” “Congratulations, or should I say, condolences?” And my favorite, “Why in the world would you want to do that?” While I realize it might seem a little crazy, I can think of plenty of reasons I’m looking forward to this new challenge. First on my list is to try to help make things a little better for the over 300 people who work for our court. Our employees are some of the most hardworking and dedicated people I have ever known. As the hard times have come, they have worked tirelessly to serve the public with fewer and fewer resources. As their numbers have dwindled, every single one of them has taken on new obligations and responsibilities to make sure that we can continue to provide access to justice for all court users. And they have done

Hon. Steven Austin Assistant Presiding Judge it all without a pay raise in the last five years and with the specter of furloughs on the horizon. They deserve better, and I am going to do whatever I can to help them out. I’m also looking forward to working to make our court a better place for litigants, whether or not they have lawyers. Coming to court can be a stressful and frustrating experience, even in the best of times. We have had to reduce many services due to budget cuts, so the experience has become even more difficult for the average person.

We are so fortunate to have such a great relationship between the bench and the bar in our county. During these difficult times, we could not have functioned without the unwavering support from the countless attorneys who volunteered to help keep us afloat. I hope through a new focus on technology and by a reexamination of existing procedures, we can streamline the court process and make life a little easier for attorneys who appear in our court. With any luck, we will get a budget increase next year and be able to begin the long process of rebuilding our court and restoring services. So, even in these difficult times, there are a lot of reasons why I can’t wait to get started in my new role. s

Under Presiding Judge Barry Goode’s leadership, we have worked hard to ease the burden on litigants

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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year in review

Civil Law Hon. Judith Craddick Supervising Judge

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n my 2012 Year in Review, I stated, “Just when we thought things couldn’t get worse, they did.” Unfortunately, we didn’t realize how much worse, until 2013, and this year, when the Governor and the Legislature again cut statewide court funding. A direct consequence of these reductions to litigants and their attorneys is the courthouse closure from December 29, 2014, through January 2, 2015. All civil matters set during that time will, of necessity, be reset, which will push hearings and trials out further than they already are. This reduction in service will not toll any statutes of limitations and documents must continue to be filed on time. We will have limited coverage in the Clerk’s Office for emergency filings, and all other civil filings must be deposited in the drop box at the Main Street entrance of the Taylor Building. Documents will be deemed filed on the date of deposit in the drop box. Courtroom clerks will not be here to answer phones, respond to your faxes, etc. Other direct impacts of the budget situation upon the Civil Division are: 1. We lost one judge, and we lost our long-time Commissioner Judith Sanders, who handled all discovery motions, ex partes, temporary restraining orders, name changes and numerous other miscellaneous matters, which are now handled by the four remaining civil judges. We lost other commissioners who handled unlawful detainers, temporary restraining orders and small claims hearings. These losses have extended the time between filings, hearings and trials. Trials are al-

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NOVEMBER 2014

ready being set in December 2015, and even into 2016. 2. We have lost numerous civil calendar, filing and processing clerks, which has delayed filing and processing of documents. Sometimes all the expected documents do not get into the court’s file by the time of the hearing, and lines in the Clerk’s Office can be up to three hours. Litigants are waiting up to two months to obtain copies of court documents. Judgments are similarly delayed. 3. We have lost “floater” courtroom clerks to fill in when the regular courtroom clerks are absent, sometimes requiring scheduled hearings to be continued without advance notice. 4. In the Civil Division, we have lost our court reporters. Litigants must now bring their own reporters. 5. The Concord Courthouse and all but one courtroom in the Walnut Creek Court were closed. Civil filings are down somewhat this year from 7,132 limited cases in 2013, to 3,903 through September 2014. Unlimited case filings likewise are somewhat less: 2,726 in 2013, and 1,762 through September 2014. The bright spots in our “Court World” are the remaining fantastic court staff and the tremendous effort they have made and continue to make in accomplishing all the work put before them, while maintaining positive, helpful and uncomplaining attitudes. Another bright spot is the generosity and willingness of members of our Bar Association who volunteer innu-


merable hours of their time serving on our alternative dispute resolution mediation, arbitrations, neutral case evaluation, discovery facilitator and judge pro tem programs. We are eternally grateful to all of you for your invaluable assistance in helping us serve the legal community, your clients and our citizens.

All of us appreciate the help, patience and understanding of the Bar Association. Hopefully, the report next year will be rosier, and we will have received needed funding which will allow us to provide the services we would like to offer, and which you deserve. s

Changes in 2015 in the Civil Division: I have been the Supervising Civil Division Judge and have been handling the complex litigation calendar. Commencing in January 2015, Judge Barry Goode is returning to the Civil Division and the complex litigation calendar. I will move to Judge Austin’s courtroom, assume handling his caseload and calendar and continue to act as Supervising Civil Division Judge. Judge Spanos will continue with his same Civil caseload, and Judge Laurel Brady will move to the Criminal Division. We welcome Judge Jill Fannin to assume handling Judge Brady’s cases.

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CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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year in review

Criminal Law Hon. John Kennedy Supervising Judge

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usiness is booming in the criminal courts. Over the last year, we have taken the concept of “doing more with less” to new levels.

The felony jury trials included 10 homicide cases and 27 sexual assault cases. This year, we have tried 99 felony jury trials to date, a pace that may exceed last year’s total.

During calendar year 2013, we tried more criminal jury trials than we have in at least the last five years, all with our funding and staffing slashed to historic lows.

The misdemeanor filings and trials surged last year due largely to the District Attorney’s concerted effort to eliminate a backlog of misdemeanor complaints. While “The Bulge” had the potential of swamping all of our respective resources, this challenge brought out the best in our county’s justice partners.

For 2014, we are at a pace to try at least as many felony trials. We owe it to the hard working judges and staff who have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep up with the workload despite our budget cuts. In calendar year 2013, the District Attorney (countywide) filed 3,902 felony complaints—a slight drop from 2012—and 10,366 misdemeanor complaints—a huge increase from the 7,139 misdemeanor complaints filed in 2012. We tried 120 felony jury trials, an increase of 18 percent from 2012, and 254 misdemeanor jury trials, up a whopping 38 percent from the prior year. This constitutes the second highest number of felony trials and the highest number of misdemeanor trials in the last five years.

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In a spirit of extraordinary cooperation and pragmatism, the District Attorney, the Public Defender, and the Superior Court worked together to formulate a plan to absorb and quickly resolve the bulge of 1,200-plus additional filings. The “Battle of the Bulge” turned out to be a model of collaboration. We set up a system to arraign, plea bargain and try these added cases as efficiently as possible. Each of our justice partners dedicated the resources—and sometimes added resources—to work our way through the caseload. We completed disposition of all of these added cases in a period of less than six months.

We demonstrated that we can all improve our efficiency and harness our limited resources most effectively when we work together. Our team of experienced trial judges has accomplished this exceptional trial record through sheer hard work. Each judge tries cases back-to-back with little or no down time. What little time we have between trials is spent on preliminary hearings, motions and other criminal matters. At present, our trial team in Martinez consists of Judges Mary Ann O’Malley, Diana Becton, Theresa Canepa, Ben Burch, Penny Scanlon, Lewis Davis and Clare Maier. Each of our trial judges brings many years of criminal trial experience, a strong work ethic and a tremendous willingness to pitch in when needed. In addition to her day job as a trial judge, Judge O’Malley has served with distinction on the California Judicial Council, the court system’s statewide governing body, and on an ever-increasing number of influential council committees. Judge Becton sat for much of the last year as a visiting judge with the


First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco. We have lost fully one-third of our staff to budget cuts, leaving us woefully understaffed for our normal workload. Together with our judges, our wonderful courtroom clerks, Clerk’s Office staff, court reporters and bailiffs, we have performed admirably under daunting conditions. As criminal filings rose and the number of trials ballooned, our staff has kept pace and worked hard to enable us to stay on top of the caseload. We cannot overstate our appreciation for their dedication and professionalism. Our criminal calendar departments carry staggering caseloads in order to move the cases from charging to trial and beyond. Judge Terri Mockler conducts all of our felony pre-trial hearings, resolving the vast majority of our felony cases through negotiated dispositions. She also handles a dizzying array of pre- and post-trial motions. Judge Mockler combines her many years of criminal experience with her innate fairness to craft just dispositions. Her uncanny ability to juggle multiple highvolume calendars makes her ideal for this heavy and important calendar assignment. Judge Barry Baskin supervises our eclectic collaborative courts, including domestic violence, FADS (Felony Alternative Drug Sentencing) and Proposition 36 cases, Behavioral Health Court, Elder Court, probation revocations and revocations of post-release community supervision. Some of these calendars can be overwhelming, with upwards of 100 cases on a single probation revocation calendar. Judge Baskin also presides over the bulk of our post-Preliminary Hearing felony motions. Judge Baskin is able to handle this huge load by a combination of unwavering diligence, constant preparation and adept calendar management. He has instituted a number of procedural changes that already have made these calendars more manageable. Judge Bruce Mills continues to do yeoman’s work in our arraignment and misdemeanor pretrial calendar. He handles all of the bench warrants, felony and misdemeanor arraign-

ments, and misdemeanor pre-trial conferences from Central County, plus the in-custody arraignments on Pittsburg felonies. He also oversees our preliminary hearing calendars in Martinez. The misdemeanor pre-trials alone can number 80 to 100 per day. Judge Mills is a master at moving highvolume calendars quickly, a skill essential to his assignment. We continued to carry multiple judicial vacancies throughout the year. With the retirement of veteran Judge Barbara Zúñiga, we have lost one of our most experienced judges. We appreciate the help of our retired alumni who sit regularly as assigned judges: Judges John Minney, Garrett Grant, Mike Coleman, John Allen, Joyce Cram, Peter Berger, Peter Spinetta, and now David Flinn and Barbara Zúñiga. We are also grateful to have retired Commissioner Stephen Houghton hearing parole violation cases under AB 109. Each year we are hopeful that our funding will improve so we can rebuild our staff, restore public services and enhance access to justice. We have yet to see our funding significantly restored. Our criminal courts have kept up with the caseload and absorbed the influx of additional cases by working harder and smarter. We could not survive without the extraordinary efforts of our staff, the cooperation of our justice partners and the dedication of our judges. We will continue to work with the District Attorney, the Public Defender, the Alternate Defender, conflicts counsel and the Bar Association to provide a fair and efficient system for handling criminal cases in our county. s

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CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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year in review

Family Law Hon. Jill Fannin Supervising Judge

B

elieve it or not, the Family Law Division experienced a relatively calm, uneventful year. That’s the way we like it!

The Division was made up exclusively of family-seasoned bench officers. Judges Christopher Bowen, Ed Weil and Barbara Hinton masterfully managed their heavy, full-time family caseloads while Judge Susanne Fenstermacher expertly juggled both family and probate matters. Commissioner Anita Santos efficiently and compassionately ran her AB 1058 department. The year was unfortunately routine in that we continued to struggle with inadequate resources despite the best efforts of court administration. Family Court Services wait times have once again crept up because of staffing shortages. A new bilingual custody counselor joined the ranks at the end of September. Once she is trained, we hope to whittle away at the backlog. The Family Court Services operating system, RHONDA, has now officially died and our IT Department is scrambling for a fix. In the meantime, please be patient with our already overworked staff as they try to manually calendar appointments and send out letters and reports. All court staff must be commended for their daily herculean efforts to keep the Peter L. Spinetta Family Law Center functioning despite remarkable attrition. There have been a few bright spots. After the terrifying backlog in filings, use of limited overtime funding helped bring us back to more normal levels. We were also authorized to extend the operation of the filing windows from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Family Law Facilitator

14

NOVEMBER 2014

Magda Lopez’s article (pg. 31) addresses numerous other changes to workshops and the Help Desk. One real highlight has been the success of the John F. Kennedy University College of Law settlement workshops created by our own Commissioner Josanna Berkow (Ret.) in 2013. The goal is to have attorneys and law students prepare self-represented litigants for mandatory settlement conferences and trials. The workshops took off in 2014 and now frequently results in partial settlements even before the parties appear for their mandatory settlement conferences. Thank you to all the volunteers who have made this program such a success. Your good work flows to the unselfish attorney volunteers who staff our double pro per settlement conferences. The judges truly appreciate the time and talents of the selfless volunteers who staff all the workshops and conferences each month. Next year, we will welcome Judges Leslie Landau and Brian Haynes, and say farewell to Judge Hinton who so graciously devoted herself to the families of Contra Costa and will take on a new assignment in the Richmond Courthouse. I, too, will say goodbye and leave you in good hands with Judge Ed Weil as Supervising Judge, as I take on a new assignment. I want to thank the entire family law bar for your hard work, volunteerism and dedication to your difficult profession. It has been my pleasure to work with you. Here’s hoping that Judge Ed Weil gets another (relatively) easy year! s


year in review

Juvenile Law Hon. Lois Haight Supervising Judge

I

n writing the Juvenile Court report for the year 2014, I am reminded of all the many changes the budget reductions have brought about. We have lost our Juvenile Drug Court and our juvenile courts in Richmond and Pittsburg. We have lost our juvenile commissioner and numerous clerical and support staff, plus there are reduced hours for the probation and social service court officers. Further, our court operations now require

L A W

strict adherence to the 4:30 p.m. closure of court business.

other in a spare moment and they deserve our sincere appreciation.

Because clerical staff has been significantly reduced, the increased workload and pressure on our court clerks has caused health issues.

Our Juvenile Court has some great judges (author excluded of course). Judge John Minney has been holding down the fort in juvenile hall this past year and doing a wonderful job. Judge Theresa Canepa will be replacing him in January.

These changes have been very difficult for everyone; however, the miracle of the spirit of those working here in our courts is that you seldom hear a complaint. The staff has been remarkable by digging in and getting things done and done well. They all chip in to help each

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Judges Rebecca Hardie, Thomas Maddock, John Laettner and Lois Haight are in Martinez and handling both dependency and delinquency cases, and will continue through 2015. I can say without reservation that we all love our work and are proud and honored to be in Juvenile Court. We also still have the support of our terrific CASA volunteers and outstanding juvenile attorneys, probation officers and social workers. Our goal remains the same: To reunite children with families when possible, to find new permanent or adoptive families when not possible and to rehabilitate young delinquents and help them find a wonderful future—crime and drug free. s

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

15


year in review

Probate Division Hon. John H. Sugiyama Supervising Judge

T

he members of the Probate Section of the Contra Costa County Bar Association have heard repeatedly about the ongoing financial constraints imposed on the court system.

ers Linda Suppanich and Erica Gillies, Research Attorney Janet Li and Principal Bailiff Deputy Sheriff Melissa O’Reilley. As a remarkably capable and helpful team, they well serve the Probate Section.

Despite those burdens, Presiding Judge Barry Goode, Assistant Presiding Judge Steven Austin and Court Executive Officer Stephen Nash have provided strong support to the Probate Division. The current level of resources available to the Probate Division will be maintained throughout the remainder of this fiscal year, with the result being that no structural changes will be necessary.

As I have in the past, I will again present updates on newly-enacted legislation and recent appellate decisions at the Annual Probate Section Luncheon early in the calendar year. For your immediate attention, however, please take note of the local rules, which will take effect in a different format on January 1, 2015.

Judge Susanne Fenstermacher will continue in a split assignment between the Family Law and Probate divisions. As before, she will be available principally to handle selected long cause probate, guardianship, conservatorship and mental health (LPS) trials. Her grace, good humor and superb skills as a jurist will always be welcome. The strength of the Probate Division will continue to center in the capable hands of Courtroom Clerk Shannon Perry, Probate Examin16

NOVEMBER 2014

The new rules, substantially revised and entirely reformatted, will more closely follow the structure of the California Rules of Court. The probate rules, elevated from appendix status, will be set forth in Title 7. Turning from these administrative matters to more general observations, I have on other occasions commented about how impressed I am with the members of the distinguished Probate Section. I once heard an opposing attorney (in a non-probate case) introduce himself to the court by saying that he was “just a country lawyer.”

The presiding justice remarked that he was familiar with the “country folk” of Danville. The members of the Probate Section do not need to seek refuge through false humility. They know they are good. And they repeatedly show it. They must be, and are, well versed in every facet of their practice regardless of the interests that they may be asked to serve in a particular proceeding. In criminal litigation, a major chasm separates prosecutors from public defenders or defense attorneys. In civil litigation, the division seems to be between plaintiffs’ attorneys and insurance defense attorneys. In labor law, the division is even more clear. But in probate practice, no such separation is evident or meaningful. Probate attorneys represent trustees, trust beneficiaries and interested persons. They represent settlors, estate beneficiaries and interested persons. They represent guardians, objectors and minors. They represent conservators, objectors and conservatees. In one proceeding they may rep-


resent one kind of interest and in another, an opposing interest. The attorney representing the trustee subject to challenge by beneficiaries in one matter may well serve the beneficiaries seeking removal of the trustee in the next. For probate attorneys, divisions based on the kinds of interests at stake do not exist. This results in a particular kind of courtroom dynamic in which attorneys are forced to think creatively and strategically, not just tactically. Opposing attorneys in one proceeding may well become aligned in another. They are not constrained by an artificial sense of “zero-sum” negotiation or litigation. Thus, they are free, as they do in proceeding after proceeding, to work imaginatively and effectively toward achieving remarkably equitable results for all. For this, the members of the Probate Section of our Bar Association have earned my unqualified admiration. s

AND

MEDIATION CENTER

“A unique and effective style a great mediator” Candice Stoddard     Ron Mullin

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CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

17


year in review

Pittsburg Court The Arnason Justice Center Hon. Brian Haynes Supervising Judge

T

he Richard E. Arnason Justice Center’s current bench officers include Judges Brian Haynes, Judy Johnson, Cheryl Mills, Charles (Steve) Treat, John Cope and Commissioner Lowell Richards (morning hours only). Judge Cope was sworn in as a Superior Court Judge on February 10, 2014, and we are pleased that his first assignment is with the Pittsburg Court. Our staff is led by Court Administrator Barbara Richmond. Every year, the staff seems to do more work with less resources, and I remain grateful for their efficiency and professionalism.

MONDAY A.M.: Jury Trials, In Custody Pretrials, Arraignments, Traffic, Small Claims, Unlawful Detainer P.M.: Jury Trials, Law and Motion, Arraignments TUESDAY A.M.: Jury Trials, Preliminary Hearings, Traffic, Small Claims, Unlawful Detainer P.M.: Jury Trials, Preliminary Hearings WEDNESDAY

Cases heard in the Pittsburg Court include: Misdemeanor and felony criminal cases from arraignment through jury trial stage, domestic violence and civil harassment restraining order hearings, small claims, unlawful detainer cases and traffic cases.

A.M.: Jury Trials, Preliminary Hearings, Traffic, Small Claims, Unlawful Detainer

During the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the Pittsburg Court received over 5,000 new filings in the Felony/Misdemeanor Criminal Division alone. These numbers represent a significant increase over the previous fiscal year.

THURSDAY

Even though Commissioner Richards is only in Pittsburg for the morning calendar, he was responsible for 22,216 traffic cases, 1,815 unlawful detainer cases and 936 small claims cases filed during the 2013-2014 fiscal year. A summary of the calendar matrix is as follows:

P.M.: Jury Trials, Preliminary Hearings, Misdemeanor Pretrials

A.M.: Jury Trials, Arraignments, Private Counsel Pretrials, Traffic, Small Claims, Unlawful Detainer P.M.: Jury Trials, Law and Motion, Domestic Violence and Civil Harassment Restraining Orders FRIDAY A.M.: Jury Trials, Pretrials, Probation Review, Traffic, Small Claims, Unlawful Detainer P.M.: Jury Trials, Small Claims De Novo Trials s

18

NOVEMBER 2014


year in review

Richmond Court The George D. Carroll Courthouse Hon. Leslie G. Landau Supervising Judge

T

he George D. Carroll Courthouse in Richmond is a busy place. In the first eight months of 2014, over 1,500 new criminal cases were filed in Richmond: 944 felonies and 562 misdemeanors. In that same period, 52 jury trials were completed in Richmond—15 felonies and 37 misdemeanors.

Judge Douglas comes to us from the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. She has deep roots in Contra Costa County, having been an Assistant District Attorney here for over a decade. She was assigned to the Richmond Courthouse and hit the ground running in September, presiding over two trials in her first two weeks.

In the annual reassignment of judges in January, we bade a fond farewell to Judges Terri Mockler and Patricia Scanlon, and welcomed Judges Nancy Davis Stark and Trevor White to Richmond. A fifth bench officer seat was open for most of the year.

Commissioner Richards continues to handle Richmond’s traffic, unlawful detainer and small claims cases every afternoon. Again this year, we are grateful for the assistance of Tom Cain and all the great volunteer mediators from the Congress of Neutrals, who come every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to help parties resolve small claims, unlawful detainer and civil harassment restraining order matters. We could not have handled the volume of cases without them.

We were fortunate to have many excellent retired judicial officers sitting as assigned judges, including some veterans of our own bench, Judges Peter Berger and Garrett Grant. The Governor recently appointed a wonderful new judge to fill the open seat, Danielle Douglas.

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CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

19


Richmond Court cont. from page 19

who took time out of their practices to sit pro tem when Commissioner Richards was out. Several new programs have been implemented this year in the criminal arraignment department. The Arraignment Court Early Resolution (ACER) program identifies felony cases that are candidates for disposition before preliminary hearing, and representatives from the offices of the Public Defender and District Attorney have worked well together to reach early resolution of many lower-level felony matters. The Probation Department has begun a Pre-Trial Evaluation process, which uses an evidence-based approach to evaluating the risks of, and appropriate terms for, pretrial release of felony defendants

who are in custody on non-violent charges. Together, the two programs have helped resolve cases and reduce the time non-violent defendants remain in custody. In the past few years, all requests for domestic violence temporary restraining orders had to be filed in Martinez. The Richmond branch has now begun accepting requests for domestic violence temporary restraining orders in a limited category of cases. Contra Costa County residents who live in the Richmond area, and who are not married and do not have children together, can now seek temporary restraining orders in Richmond. The court takes filings from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. We hope Richmond’s domestic vio-

lence services will expand further in the next year. The Clerk’s Offices in Richmond are staffed with consummate professionals, who have been flexible and creative in the face of a serious budget crisis in the courts. They have done what it takes to provide essential services to the public and ensure that files are current and that cases can be resolved. Churchill must have had our team of optimistic staff in mind when he said “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Many may have noticed the work being done at the Richmond Courthouse. After years of deferred maintenance, we are finally seeing some long-awaited attention to the building. In the next few months, work will be completed on a new roof, siding, climate control and installation of energy efficient windows. Public spaces will see some new paint. Parking signage and security will be updated. The improvements should make the building more pleasant for everyone who works or has cases in Richmond. After the first of the year, Judge White and I will be leaving Richmond for new assignments in Martinez. Judge Barbara Hinton will return to Richmond to serve as Supervising Judge. Richmond is currently slated to again have one of the open seats, which will again be covered by visiting judges until a new appointment is made. I have enjoyed my time sitting in Richmond and will miss the fine staff and attorneys in the Richmond Court.s

20

NOVEMBER 2014


YOUNGMAN & ERICSSON is pleased to announce that

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His office is centrally located and ample conference room space is readily available. Call or email to make arrangements for your mediation. Dean A. Christopherson D awe & C hristopherson LLp 1350 Treat Boulevard, Suite 420 Walnut Creek, CA 94597 telephone: (925) 256-6677 email: mediate@calaw.com

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

21


Superior Court of Contra Costa County

2015 JUDICIAL ASSIGNMENTS Steven K. Austin Presiding Judge

Jill Fannin

Assistant Presiding Judge

MARTINEZ Family Law Criminal Trials (Martinez)

Supervising Judge: John W. Kennedy

Supervising Judge: Edward G. Weil

ŠŠ Judge Diana Becton ŠŠ Judge Charles “Ben” Burch ŠŠ Judge Barry Baskin ŠŠ Judge Lewis A. Davis ŠŠ Judge John W. Kennedy ŠŠ Judge Clare Maier ŠŠ Judge Laurel S. Brady ŠŠ Judge Patricia Scanlon

ŠŠ Judge Christopher R. Bowen ŠŠ Judge Susanne Fenstermacher (60%) ŠŠ Judge Brian Haynes ŠŠ Judge Leslie G. Landau ŠŠ Commissioner Anita Santos (DCSS) ŠŠ Judge Edward G. Weil

Criminal Calendars (Martinez)

ŠŠ Judge Bruce C. Mills (Wakefield Taylor Bldg.) ŠŠ Judge Terri Mockler (Calendar) ŠŠ Judge Cheryl Mills (Calendar) ŠŠ Judge Trevor White (Specialty Courts)

Civil

(Martinez)

22

(Martinez)

Supervising Judge: Mary Ann O’Malley ŠŠ Judge John C. Cope ŠŠ Judge Judy Johnson ŠŠ Judge Mary Ann O’Malley ŠŠ Judge Charles “Steve” Treat ŠŠ Vacant (D6)

RICHMOND Supervising Judge: Barbara C. Hinton

Juvenile (Martinez)

ŠŠ Judge Danielle Douglas ŠŠ Judge Barbara C. Hinton ŠŠ Judge Joni T. Hiramoto ŠŠ Judge Nancy Davis Stark ŠŠ Vacant (D2)

Supervising Judge: Lois Haight ŠŠ Judge Theresa J. Canepa (Juvenile Hall) ŠŠ Judge Lois Haight ŠŠ Judge Rebecca Hardie ŠŠ Judge John Laettner ŠŠ Judge Thomas M. Maddock

Probate (Martinez)

Supervising Judge: Judith Craddick

Supervising Judge: John H. Sugiyama

ŠŠ Judge Judith Craddick ŠŠ Judge Jill Fannin ŠŠ Judge Barry P. Goode (Complex Lit.) ŠŠ Judge George V. Spanos

ŠŠ Judge John H. Sugiyama ŠŠ Judge Susanne Fenstermacher (40%)

NOVEMBER 2014

PITTSBURG

Traffic Supervising Judge: Thomas M. Maddock ŠŠ Commissioner Ronald Creighton (Walnut Creek/Martinez) ŠŠ Commissioner Lowell Richards (Pittsburg/Richmond)


For more photos, visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/CCCBA!

Lisa Reep’s Retirement Party September 19, 2014

Lisa Reep Judge Jill Fannin and Comm. Jim Libbey (ret.)

Lisa, Scott and Alex Reep Craig Livingston, Malcolm Sher, Heidi Timken and Renee Livingston

Kristen Thall Peters and Robin Pearson

Photos courtesy of Michael Moya, Moya fotografx Angelo Costanza, Oliver Bray, Heidi Coad-Hermelin, Jenny Jenny and Richard Jenny

Deborah and Paul Wilhelmus

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

23


2nd Annual Bench/Bar BBQ & Softball Game! September 27, 2014

For more photos, visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/CCCBA!

Judge Steve Austin

Dan Pocklington and David Arietta

Dan Ryan, his daughter and Theresa Hurley

24

NOVEMBER 2014


MCLE Spectacular!

Creative Writing: Making Your Brief a Best Seller

CONCURRENT   MORNING  SEMINARS

9:45 – 11:45 am | Registration 8 – 9:45 am  SEMINAR #1 1.5 Hours General and 0.5 Hours Ethics MCLE Credit

SEMINAR #2 2 Hours Appellate Specialization MCLE Credit

SEMINAR #3 1 Hour Bankruptcy Specialization and 1 Hour Tax Specialization MCLE Credit

SEMINAR #4 2 Hours General MCLE Credit

Mediation is a Process, Not an Event: Creating a Strategic Plan for Success that Works co-sponsored by CCCBA & its ADR Section Speakers: Malcolm Sher Esq., Law Offices of Malcolm Sher Kelly Balamuth Esq., Balamuth Law Denae Budde Esq., Alborg Martin & Budde, LLP Matthew Talbot Esq., Mullin Law Firm

2 hours General MCLE Credit

CONCURRENT   AFTERNOON  SEMINARS Ethics in the Law Office and on the Web sponsored by ADR Services Speakers: Hon. Kevin Murphy (Ret.), ADR Services Hon. James Lambden (Ret.), ADR Services

California: A SLAPP Happy State for Litigants co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Appellate Section Speakers: Justice James A. Richman, CA Court of Appeal, Division 2 Gary A. Watt, Partner, Archer Norris Don Willenburg, Partner, Gordon & Rees

The Tax Man Cometh: Dealing with Tax Notices and Audits; Using Litigation and Bankruptcy to Your Advantage co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Bankruptcy Law and Taxation Sections | Speakers: Jason Galek Esq., Galek Law Virginia Peiser Esq., Archer Norris Warren Peterson Esq., Law Office of W.R. Peterson Eric Nixdorf Esq., Intelligent Legal Solutions, PC David Arietta Esq., Law Office of David A. Arietta Moderator: Christina Ortega Esq., Youngman & Ericsson, LLP

Undue Influence: When Capacity is Only Part of the Story co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Elder Law Section  Speakers: Steven Riess Esq., Law Offices of Steven Riess Patrick Fitzsimmons MD, Adult & Geriatric Psychiatrist Joseph Morrill Esq., Morrill Law Firm Moderator: Michael LaMay Esq., Law Office of Michael I. LaMay

Civility in the Civil Court: A Panel Discussion

1.5 Hours Ethics and 0.5 Hours General MCLE Credit

co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Litigation Section Speakers: Hon. Steven K. Austin, Contra Costa Superior Court Jerome Fishkin Esq., Fishkin Slatter, LLP Moderator: Geoffrey Steele Esq., Steele George Schofield & Ramos

1 Hour Ethics and 1 Hour General MCLE Credit

co-sponsored by CCCBA & its Women’s Section  Speakers: Claudia Hagadus Long, Attorney/Mediator Wendy McGuire Coats, McGuire Coats, LLP

SEMINAR #7

1:45 – 3:45 pm | Registration 8 am – 1:45 pm 

SEMINAR #5

SEMINAR #6

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2014 WALNUT CREEK MARRIOTT

Running a Law Firm: Tips and Tricks for Solos and Small Firms co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Solo/Small Firm Section Speakers: Heidi Coad-Hermelin Esq. | Ann M. Dalsin Esq. William A. Hickey Esq. | Andrew J. McCall Esq. David S. Pearson Esq.

Two Entrepreneurs Walk into a Bar Legal Issues that Startups Face co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Business Law & Corporate Counsel Section | Speakers: Roger J. Brothers Esq., Buchman Provine Brothers Smith D. Benjamin Borson Ph.D., Borson Law Group, PC Kent C. Parr Esq., Law Office of Kent C. Parr

Kids for Cash

SEMINAR #8 2 Hours Ethics MCLE Credit

SEMINAR #9 1.5 Hours General and 0.5 Hours Ethics MCLE Credit

SEMINAR #10

co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Criminal Law and Juvenile Sections | Speakers: Hon. Lois Haight, Superior Court Contra Costa County, Juvenile Division Karen J. Moghtader, Assistant Public Defender, Contra Costa County, Supervising Attorney, Juvenile Division Daniel J. Cabral, Assistant District Attorney, Contra Costa County, Former Supervising Attorney, Juvenile Division Kiki Ingram, Deputy Probation Officer, Contra Costa County, Juvenile Court Officer Nöel C. Plummer, Deputy County Counsel, Contra Costa County, Dependency Division

Movie: 2 hours during PM session Panel: 1 hour during Plenary Session

Ethics in Social Media and Information

SEMINAR #11

co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Employment Section  Speakers: Andrew I. Dilworth, Cooper, White & Cooper, LLP Sarah J. Banola, Cooper, White & Cooper, LLP

Estate Planning for the Blended Family co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Estate Planning & Probate Section Speaker: Harry B. Maring, Attorney at Law, Adjunct Professor at Golden Gate University School of Law and Hastings Law School

ADA Compliance for Businesses and Recent Trends in Litigation: Are You in Compliance? co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Real Estate Section  Speakers: Bassam Altwal ass. AIA, CASp, Certified Access Specialist Jason G. Gong Esq., Law Office of Jason G. Gong

3 Hours General MCLE Credit

2 Hours Ethics MCLE Credit

SEMINAR #12 1.5 Hours General and 0.5 Hours Ethics MCLE Credit SEMINAR #13 1 Hour Elimination of Bias and 1 Hour General MCLE Credit

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

25


REGISTRATION FOR 11/21/2014 MCLE SPECTACULAR Online

Visit the event calendar on our website, www.cccba.org, and download the interactive PDF registration form. You can email the completed form to Elizabeth Galliett at lgalliett@cccba.org.

Fax Mail

Complete the form below (one for each attendee) and fax to (925) 686-9867. Complete the form below (one for each attendee) and mail to CCCBA, 2300 Clayton Rd., Ste. 520, Concord, CA 94520

To enjoy special pricing, Register before November 7 For Day of Event registrations, please add $25 for each full-day package, or $10 per seminar

Full-Day Package

Fee

after 11/7

Includes breakfast, lunch, choice of one morning and one afternoon seminar, afternoon plenary session, plus all workshop materials and a Self-Study MCLE article on a take-home flash drive.

$195 CCCBA & ACBA Members

$210

$110 CCCBA Student Members

$125

Your morning seminar choice:

#_________

$295 Non-Members

$310

Your afternoon seminar choice:

#_________

Fee

After 11/7

Your Lunch Choice:

NY Strip Steak

Salmon

Total $ Credits

Vegetarian

Individual Seminars & Rates AM Seminars (9:45 - 11:45 am) - Choose One #1 Mediation is a Process, Not an Event

2

#2 California: A SLAPP-Happy State

2

#3 The Tax Man Cometh

2

#4 Undue Influence

2

#5 Civility in the Civil Court

2

#6 Running a Law Firm: Tips & Tricks for Solos

2

#7 Creative Writing: Making Your Brief a Best Seller

PM Seminars (1:45 - 3:45 pm) - Choose One #8 Ethics in the Law Office and on the Web

Each Seminar: $65 for CCCBA & ACBA Members $20 for CCCBA Student Members $85 for Non-Members

Each Seminar: $75 $30 $95

2

#9 Two Entrepreneurs Walk into a Bar

2

#10 Kids for Cash: Choose 2 hour (PM Session only) OR 3 hour (during PM & Plenary Sessions)

2 or 3

#11 Ethics in Social Media and Information

2

#12 Estate Planning for the Blended Family

2

#13 ADA Compliance for Businesses

2

Breakfast Buffet Kickoff Only Luncheon Only

NY Strip Steak

Salmon

Vegetarian

Afternoon Plenary Session Only

$45 members | $55 non-members

$55 | $65

1

$55 members | $80 non-members

$65 | $90

1

$35 members | $40 non-members

$45 | $50

1

PLEASE PRINT (Each attendee must submit a registration form): Name:

Total ACBA Member

Email: Phone: You will receive an email confirmation. Please note: Event materials will be available online, not at the event. State Bar #:

Please let us know if you have special needs:

Please charge to my

VISA     

MC    

AmEx     

Discover #

Signature:

Exp. Date: Check Enclosed

Cancellations must be received by November 14 or registrants will be subject to full charge. Substitutions permitted at any time. For further information, contact Elizabeth Galliett at (925) 370-2540 | lgalliett@cccba.org | fax (925) 686-9867 The Contra Costa County Bar Association is a State Bar of California MCLE approved provider. (Provider #393)

26

2

NOVEMBER 2014


CCCBA Has Gone

Elder Law is

MOBILE!

Check out our new mobile-friendly website! Now you can access the CCCBA from anywhere (on your phone, tablet or desktop) and connect to the resources that you want, at the touch of your fingers! Visit www.cccba.org

The average survival rate is eight years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s — some live as few as three years after diagnosis, while others live as long as 20. Most people with Alzheimer’s don’t die from the disease itself, but from pneumonia, a urinary tract infection or complications from a fall. Until there’s a cure, people with the disease will need caregiving and legal advice. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately one in ten families has a relative with this disease. Of the four million people living in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s disease, the majority live at home — often receiving care from family members.

If the diagnosis is Alzheimer’s, call elder law attorney

Michael J. Young

Estate Planning, Disability, Medi-Cal, Long-term Care & VA Planning Protect your loved ones, home and independence.

Alzheimer’s Planning

n

925.256.0298 www.YoungElderLaw.com 1931 San Miguel Drive, Suite 220 Walnut Creek, California 94596

Tax & Estate Attorneys Individual & Business Tax Issues Tax Preparation • Tax Planning • Tax Controversy Sophisticated Estate Planning • Estate Administration Trust & Estate Litigation • Probate

When Quality Matters, We Have the Right Team for the Job Walter C. Youngman, Jr., Attorney-CPA Jean Claude B. Mallein, Jr., MBA, LL.M-Taxation State Bar Certified Specialist-Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Current President of Tri-Valley EPC

Christina P. Ortega, LL.M-Taxation

Current Chairperson of the Tax Section of CCCBA

YOUNGMAN & ERICSSON

1981 N. Broadway, Suite 300 | Walnut Creek, CA 94596 | (925) 930-6000 youngman.com

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

27


year in review

Traffic Division Hon. Thomas Maddock Supervising Judge

W

here we once had four commissioners hearing traffic cases, we now have just two. We used to have a traffic court in Concord, but it has been closed.

We have Commissioner Richards who hears traffic cases in the Pittsburg Courthouse in the mornings and in the Richmond Courthouse in the afternoons, five days a week. We have Commissioner Creighton who hears traffic cases five days a week in the Walnut Creek Court, covering what used to be the Walnut Creek area, but now includes all Concord traffic caseloads as well. We have centralized traffic citation processing, created a traffic call center and standardized call procedures. If not for the hard work and increased efficiencies that our remaining staff has put in place, we would not be able to operate. They have reduced the time to trial by months, increased the access for traffic defendants to pay fines over the Internet and via the phone, and have ended the practice of issuing bench warrants for drivers who fail to appear after signing a written promise to appear. In place of the bench warrants, we now issue a Civil Assessment and place a hold on their driver’s license with the Department of Motor Vehicles. This has resulted in more traffic

28

NOVEMBER 2014

litigants actually coming to court to resolve their cases. We are scrupulously observing notice requirements to all such litigants. Finally, we have extended the traffic clerk window hours until 4 p.m., so litigants have an opportunity to handle all traffic matters at our Pittsburg, Walnut Creek and Richmond Court locations. s

Since 1949 Rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell

Bray & Bray Oliver W. Bray*

Over 25 years in practice

736 Ferry Street Martinez, CA 94553 925-228-2550 925-370-8558 (fax) braylaw@outlook.com

• Probate, Trust & Estate litigation and administration • Elder Abuse Litigation • Conservatorship establishment and litigation • Fiduciary court accountings • Estate Planning Free case evaluations for referring attorneys *Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law – State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization *Selected to Northern California Super Lawyers each year since 2006


Interview with Judge John C. Cope

J

ohn C. Cope is a Judge of the Contra Costa Superior Court. He was appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on December 27, 2013, after more than 20 years as a Deputy District Attorney in Contra Costa County. He prosecuted many murder cases, but is best known for the successful conviction, and subsequent death penalty, of the Trailside Killer in 2006. In addition, he secured the conviction of the two main defendants in the 2009 Richmond gang rape case. Judge Cope is currently working a criminal trial assignment at the Richard E. Arnason Justice Center in Pittsburg. The youngest of six children, Judge Cope grew up in a small farming community in central California called Hanford. His father was a school teacher and his mother was a teacher’s aide.

make any sense to him, he changed his major to history. He then went on to get his Juris Doctor at Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School. Judge Cope has been married for 28 years and has six children. He has one grandchild, a girl, for whom he has handcrafted a wooden crib. He plans to make one crib for each of his children’s families. Growing up in the same hometown, Judge Cope and his wife went to school together and attended the same church. It was not until they were in college at Brigham Young University that they got married. At college, he was a water polo enthusiast and continues to swim as a hobby. Judge Cope is looking forward to continuing his criminal assignment in Pittsburg in 2015. s

He got his first job at 11 years old working a paper route on his bicycle. At age 14, he worked digging ditches and saved up enough money to pay for his own moped. No driver’s license was required at that time!

Lucy Fogarty is the Assistant Executive Officer of the Superior Court and has worked for the court for the last 12 by Lucy Fogarty years in various roles. She currently oversees Financial Services, Facilities Management & Custodial Services, Business Planning, Jury Services, and Court In order to pay his way through college, Judge Cope Records. She previously worked at the Lord Chancelgot a job at a cabinet shop and learned how to make furlor’s Department in the United Kingdom and has a niture. This has become a hobby for him, and he handbachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University crafted much of the furniture in his home himself. He of Bristol, UK. also likes to make wooden knick-knacks as holiday gifts. When Judge Cope started college at Brigham Young University, he thought his future career would be in corporate business. However, as accounting just did not

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Interview with Judge Danielle Douglas by Lucy Fogarty

D

anielle K. Douglas is a Judge of the Contra Costa Superior Court. She was appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on July 16, 2014.

vice president of a bank. She achieved this after successfully raising three children, with very few tools provided to her on how to be a good mother.

She was a Deputy District Attorney in Contra Costa County from 2000 to 2013 and was most recently an Assistant District Attorney at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. She successfully prosecuted an Antioch gang member, who received a life sentence without the possibility of parole, for the shooting of a 16-year-old boy at an Antioch house party in 2011.

Judge Douglas followed suit and, after having her first child at age 17, worked her way through college and law school. She was appointed as a judge at age 40. Judge Douglas now has three girls ages 23, 14 and 4.

Judge Douglas grew up in Redwood City. Her mother was a bank teller and her father was a clerk in a grocery store. Very few of her family members attended college, so growing up, her role models were the Huxtables of “The Cosby Show.” Heathcliff was in the medical profession and Clair was an attorney. Judge Douglas ultimately decided to take the legal route, as her mother told her she was good at arguing. Her mom was a huge inspiration for Judge Douglas. With only a high school diploma, her mother is now a

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Food is one of Judge Douglas’ passions. If she had to pick a favorite, it would be cheese. She started cooking at age 12 and would love to own a small restaurant or a food truck. She hopes to take a month off sometime to travel to Paris to attend cooking school. An avid watcher of cooking programs, she enjoys “Iron Chef,” “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Masterchef,” to name a few. Judge Douglas’ favorite quote is the Serenity Prayer, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” s


s n o i t u l o S s e m e v i l t b a o v r P o n d l In o eg A for

by Madga Lopez

T

he Superior Court has embarked upon a courtwide systematic reassessment of our existing processes with the goal of implementing programs that will increase efficiency and modernize operations. Two such programs are the planned addition of an online program for domestic violence cases and the streamlining of the workflow of family law facilitators (court attorneys). The online program for domestic violence will modernize the court’s processes by using technology to increase access to justice for one of our most vulnerable populations: Victims of domestic violence. An online questionnaire asks simple questions and then uses the answers to automatically populate the judicial council forms needed to apply for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order.

This is a dramatic improvement over the previous paper-based system, where victims were handed a 40-page packet (and a second packet with additional forms if children were involved) and expected to sift through the materials to determine which forms were informational only, which must be completed, and how to complete them. The domestic violence program will be implemented in two phases. During the first phase, the completed judicial council forms generated by the online program will need to be printed and hard copies filed with the court. The second phase will allow victims to click a button on the website to submit their completed forms directly to the courthouse. An online questionnaire and automatic filing will also be available for litigants accused of domestic violence.

With this automated system, parties in domestic violence cases will be able to pick up their paperwork at the Martinez, Richmond or Pittsburg courthouses without regard to their city of residence. Superior Courts in San Bernardino and Riverside have extensive experience with this program. Court staff in those counties report that the legibility and completeness of domestic violence applications has greatly increased, with a corresponding decrease in the amount of staff time needed to correct errors and obtain additional information. Here in Contra Costa, agencies serving victims of domestic violence such as Bay Area Legal Aid, STAND! For Families Free of Violence, Children and Family Services, and the Family Justice Centers have worked with the court to review and tailor the software for our specific needs.

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Innovative Solutions

workshop. Understandably, these litigants were often frustrated at the prospect of taking yet another day off from work.

cont. from page 31

They have expressed support for this program, noting that it will allow parties to complete and submit domestic violence paperwork 24 hours a day from any location in the county. It will also reduce the number of visits to the courthouse for victims seeking protection. Another recent change is a pilot project that streamlines operations at the family law Help Desk. The Help Desk is staffed by facilitators who assist self-represented litigants in identifying and completing the forms required to get their issues before a judge. Prior to the pilot, litigants tended to see a facilitator three times to complete a transaction: 1. To get a list of the necessary forms; 2. To have the facilitator highlight the portions that needed to be completed; and 3. To have the completed forms reviewed before filing. This system required each facilitator to spend a lot of unproductive time with litigants, often performing the same highlighting repeatedly during the course of a day for different litigants. Litigants needing assistance on a topic covered at a workshop were told that they had to obtain the forms and come back another day for the

In order to determine how best to increase efficiency, the facilitators examined their overall workflow and identified drop-in assistance at the Help Desk as critical to the smooth operation of the entire family law system. They also decided workshops that were poorly attended should be discontinued. As part of the search for new approaches, the group considered information from Self-Help centers in other courts. The pilot project that is currently in place is the result of this process. The goals of the pilot project are to allow the facilitators to continue to assist the same number of customers, and to reduce wait times, in spite of the loss of one full-time facilitator position. Under the pilot project, facilitators at the Help Desk meet with each litigant to answer questions and inform them as to what forms they must complete in order to obtain the relief they seek. Pre-highlighted packets of forms with instructions were created so that facilitators no longer need to highlight forms. Whenever possible, litigants are referred to a separate workshop room to have their forms reviewed prior to filing. Having this workshop room allows one facilitator to work with several litigants at the same time and diverts the more time-consuming transactions away from the Help Desk.

The final change has been to modify drop-in Help Desk hours to offer 24 hours of service within four days (Monday through Thursday) rather than 25 hours of service within 5 days. By Colleagues: closing the Help Desk on Fridays, the facilitators have been able to inI am retiring at the end of the year. crease the number of appointments to finalize judgments—with a correIt has been an honor to work in a profession sponding increase in the number of with such wonderful friends. cases concluded each month. The court will continue to experiment with new and innovative programs in the coming months, so keep an eye out for changes and please let us know how we can continue to improve your experience at our court. s Madga Lopez joined the Superior Court of Contra Costa County after Palmer Madden 20+ years in civil practice. As the 925.838.8593 • www.adrservices.com Director of Court Programs and SerSometimes it takes both knowledge and determination. vices, her responsibilities include Over 25 years experience as an ADR neutral supervision of all aspects of family 1000+ mediations over the last Palmer 35 yearsMadden — law, the legal research attorneys, alternative dispute resolution proExperience and Success without Administrative Fees 925.838.8593 • www.adrservices.com grams and the interpreters.

Over 25 years’ experience as an ADR neutral

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NOVEMBER 2014

1000+ mediations over the last 35 years – Experience and Success without Administrative Fees


When Treatment is Not Enough by Mimi L. Zemmelman

Drug Court: A specially designed court calendar or docket, the purposes of which are to achieve a reduction in recidivism and substance abuse among nonviolent substance abusing offenders and to increase the offender’s likelihood of successful habilitation through early, continuous, and intense judicially supervised treatment, mandatory periodic drug testing, community supervision, and use of appropriate sanctions and other rehabilitation services (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2005).

T

hanks to recent funding from the Judicial Council of California and the federal Bureau of Justice Administration, the Contra Costa Superior Court launched the Intensive Support Drug Court in May 2014. This program is for individuals convicted of felony drug offenses who are at medium- to high-risk of reoffending. Program participants are drawn from those assigned to the current Felony Adult Drug Sentencing (FADS) calendar. To be eligible, participants must have failed at least two treatment placements—thereby demonstrating that, at least for them, treatment alone is not enough. Participation is strictly voluntary. As appropriate, program participants will have their matters heard and their successes celebrated during the regular FADS drug court calendar. Individuals who choose to enroll in the Intensive Support program do so in order to get access to services beyond drug treatment that can

address tangible and specific needs related to housing, job training, education or other issues.

After studying the extensive body of research on drug courts, the NADCP reports that:

Those who agree to enter this program begin by working with the Superior Court’s case coordinator to develop a Statement of Personal Goals and an Individual Service Plan to address their non-treatment needs.

• Drug courts reduce crime as much as 35 percent compared to the alternatives, and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded drug courts significantly reduce crime (2005).

As the program progresses, participants maintain their sobriety, pursue service referrals, build relationships in sober settings and accumulate a network of individuals who agree to support them in their efforts. Program graduates may, at the discretion of the court, have their charges reduced or dismissed. According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, (NADCP), drug court programs like this one are remarkably successful. The NADCP has been able to show that when a judge supervises their progress, substance abusing/addicted offenders are six times more likely to stay in treatment long enough for them to get better.

• National averages for recidivism were only 16 percent in the first year after leaving a drug court program, and 27 percent after the second year. This compares very favorably to recidivism rates on conventional probation, in which (nationally) 46 percent commit a new offense and over 60 percent commit a probation violation. • Reductions in crime lasted at least 3 years. The Intensive Support Drug Court program consists of four phases, and is expected to last at least six months after completing a residen-

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When Treatment is Not Enough cont. from page 33

tial treatment program if one has been ordered, or from six months to a year if participants are in (or have completed) an outpatient treatment program. We are pleased to note that so far, the grant has funded residential drug treatment for seven individuals. The court has also awarded a contract to Men and Women of Purpose who will assign individual mentors to support each program participant. For more information on these programs generally, visit: http://www.nadcp.org. For more information about our local program, send Mimi an email at mzemm@ contracosta.courts.ca.gov or call (925) 957-5675. s Mimi Lyster Zemmelman joined the Contra Costa Superior Court in 2001 as the ADR program director. Today, she is the Director of Business Planning, Information and Programs, and the court’s Public Information Officer. Ms. Zemmelman’s department oversees development of local court rules; strategic and business planning; the Virtual Self-Help Law Center website; contracts, grants, and procurements; and collaborative justice courts.

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NOVEMBER 2014

Fee Arbitration Rules Update The Fee Mediation/Arbitration Committee submitted changes to the “Rules of Procedure for the Hearing of Fee Arbitrations & Mediations by the Contra Costa County Bar Association” which were approved by the State Bar Board of Trustees on July 19, 2014, and went into effect August 2014. There was some housecleaning done, such as changing the 184 instances of “shall” to “will”; as well as incorporating minor text changes and section headings from the State Bar Model Rules. Complete information about the Fee Mediation/ Arbitration Program is available on our website at: www.cccba.org/attorney/assistance-services/ fee-dispute.php. If you have any questions, please contact Emily Day, Fee Arbitration Coordinator at (925) 370-2541 or eday@cccba.org.


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inns of court

Attorney-client Privilege by Matthew Talbot

O

n September 11, 2014, Judge Cope’s group (starring Jennifer Navalle, Matthew Mraule, Nicholas Casper, Nicholas Jay, Patrick Perez, Janine Ogando, Scott Reep, Laureen Bethards and John Warnlof) provided their presentation on various contexts in which attorneyclient privilege can arise. This is such an important topic for attorneys, because you do not want to violate a privilege. To help us better understand how privilege can work, Judge Cope’s group started off with a vignette. You can’t go wrong with a vignette. Matthew Mraule and Nicholas Jay were the sons of a woman who created a trust for her $2 million estate. Initially, Nicholas was the trustee (i.e., manager) of the trust, but Matthew isolated mom from Nicholas and convinced her to amend her trust and make him the trustee. Also, Matthew got mom to essentially cut Nicholas out of the trust. Matthew is not a very nice guy! Nicholas brings a petition to invalidate that Trust Amendment and removes Matthew as trustee. He was successful with this and Nicholas once again became the trustee.

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NOVEMBER 2014

The question is, then, who holds the attorney-client privilege covering communications between Matthew as trustee and Matthew’s lawyer—Matthew (the former trustee) or Nicholas (the new trustee)? Pursuant to Moeller v. Superior Court (1997) 16 Cal 4th 1124, the trustee (in our case, Nicholas) holds the privilege for all previous trustees. Keep that in mind if you are ever a trustee! To avoid a future trustee getting access to all of your private attorney communications, you would have to retain your own attorney to counsel you and use your own personal funds to pay the attorney. If you are using trust funds to pay for your attorney, then you do not hold the ultimate right to confidentiality, the “trustee” does. Next up, Judge Cope’s group discussed cloud computing. Nick Casper provided a significant amount of information regarding the privilege and confidentiality of

legal documents stored in the cloud. The cloud is online software that can hold your documents even though it is not installed directly on your computer. It can be extremely convenient, because you can have access to your documents anywhere you have access to the Internet. However, as we’ve seen with recent well-publicized iCloud hacks, the cloud may not be very secure. This is why I just changed my password from “password” to “Drowssap.” Now, that’s secure! An attorney has to take reasonable care and do due diligence to determine the policies and procedures of their cloud vendor. They have to ensure that these policies comply with the attorney’s duty of confidentiality. Not every attorney is a technological whiz kid. In fact, many times it seems like many attorneys take a “Hey you kids, get off my lawn” approach to technology. For example,

Candice E. Stoddard Personal Injury Real Estate Litigation Trust and Estate Disputes Mediation

n

Law Offices of Candice E. Stoddard 1350 Treat Blvd., Suite 420 Walnut Creek, CA 94597

925.942.5100   •   fax 925.933.3801 cstoddard@stoddardlaw.com Practicing law in the East Bay for over 25 years


$

I write all these articles on my mimeograph machine!

However, even the biggest Luddites out there need to make sure that they are not breaching their client’s confidentiality by using a weakly secured cloud.

Then, Janine Ogando spoke regarding electronic communications and privilege. The laws here remain unsettled as we’ve embarked upon a brave new world. Plus, there are assuredly new forms of electronic communication on the horizon. Is it privileged if you tweet at your client? Snapchat? “Upvote” opposing counsel’s discovery request?

The ABA has issued a Formal Opinion noting that an attorney has a duty to warn his client about the risk of sending or receiving electronic communications if a third party (your 4,000 followers) may have access to the communication. There may not be a reasonable expectation of privacy if your attorney-client communication is retweeted a few dozen times. Finally, Judge Cope, Patrick Perez and Scott Reep talked about attorney-client privilege in the criminal law setting. Here, the discussion related to when people overhear discussions between defendants and experts in criminal proceedings.

Can the privilege be breached in that instance? They discussed various cases which were all over the board. For example, if the prosecutor specifically attempts to eavesdrop or get somebody to eavesdrop, then the court may dismiss the entire proceeding immediately. If it is inadvertent, then that is entirely different.

Judge Cope’s group took an interesting tack on explaining privilege to use. Makes me think twice before uploading all my attorney-work product to Facebook! The next Inns of Court event will be held on November 6, 2014. If you are interested in applying for RGMAIOC membership, please contact Patricia Kelly at patriciakelly@ pacbell.net. s

Congratulations to This Year’s BAR FUND Recipient

We are proud to announce that the CCCBA has been able to donate $50,000 to this year’s BAR FUND recipient: Bay Area Legal Aid’s Homeless Youth Project! This donation was comprised of $27,000 from last year’s Cy Pres Award, $11,300 from our sections and $11,700 from member donations to the Bar Fund. Your generosity will enable this incredible program to continue making a very positive impact on the most vulnerable residents of Contra Costa County—homeless youths. About Bay Area Legal Aid’s Homeless Youth Project:

Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal) started its Homeless Youth Project (HYP) in Alameda County in 2011 to better reach disconnected youths who were fleeing abuse, abandonment, and neglect. HYP partners work with youths to access immediate safety and security through emergency shelter and benefits. BayLegal HYP attorneys then develop case plans with youths to help support long-term stability and reunification with parents, permanency or foster care as a last resort.

At the end of 2013, BayLegal expanded HYP to include Contra Costa County, where it works closely with Calli House Youth Shelter and other local partners. In less than six months, HYP in Contra Costa has recovered over $75,000 in entitlements for homeless youths. HYP is dedicated to working collaboratively with community based organizations and public systems in Contra Costa County to promote systems change to eradicate youth homelessness and to ensure that every young person is connected to appropriate supports. To learn more about HYP, visit BayLegal’s website at : www.baylegal.org.

Thank you to the following CCCBA Sections for their generous donations: $100-$300 • Appellate • Bankruptcy • Intellectual Property • Juvenile • Pro Bono • Solo • Taxation • West County

$500-$1,000 • ADR • Business Law/ Corporate Counsel • Criminal • Elder Law • Employment • Family Law

$1,000-$3,500 • Estate Planning & Probate • Litigation • Real Estate

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COFFEETALK!

Please share a positive experience you’ve had with court staff.

Recently I made my first appearance before the ... Probate Court in Martinez. [The judge] was deliberate and clear, and friendly but focused on the issues. At the end of the hearing he took the time to compliment me based on my work provided while appearing in front of him. As a professional I truly appreciated this extension of professional esteem from the bench. It made me want to do even better next time.

Cyrus J. Johnson, Esq. It is easier to say I’ve never had a negative experience!

Martha G. McQuarrie Law Office of Martha G. McQuarrie

It’s a pleasure to work with all of the probate department staff. From the examiners to the court staff to the filing clerks, we are fortunate in this county to have people who really know what they are doing. It makes it easier for everybody and keeps our cases moving smoothly.

Dess A. Benedetto Family TLC, Inc.

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After over four years of being a deputy public defender in different counties where I worked closely with the court staff and had a great rapport with them, it was difficult for me to not know anyone in the Contra Costa courtrooms when I moved to the Bay Area a few months ago. The court staff ... embraced me from the very first day and made me feel at home. [Their] organizational skills and professional attitude has made my day on many occasions and I am truly grateful for [the] court staff’s hard work and professionalism.

Arezou Bakhtjou

I am so appreciative of the Contra Costa Probate examiners every time I read their comments in advance of my hearing. Most county probate staffs provide their comments only a day or so before the hearing, and there is often not sufficient time to respond to their questions. In Contra Costa, the comments are available more than a week in advance of the hearing. This additional time increases the likelihood that the attorneys can prepare adequate responses, and it reduces the number of matters that are continued in order to provide supplemental information. Thank you to the Probate Department for making my job easier for my clients.

I have nothing but positive interaction with the court staff. All of them. Despite cutbacks and pressure on available time, I think the staff in the Contra Costa courts maintain a level of friendly civility and helpfulness I do not always see elsewhere.

J. Virginia Peiser

Wayne Smith

Anonymous

Law Office of Wayne Smith

Archer Norris

The probate examiners ... are the most helpful, kind and patient people in the world.


Thank you to our 2014

Section Leaders!

Our Section Leaders are very hard-working volunteers. In addition to their busy practices, they plan and organize MCLE and social programs, act as an information conduit and promote networking opportunities for their members. It is thanks to these dedicated leaders that CCCBA is able to provide such a wide array of events to our members. ADR: Peter Mankin APPELLATE: Gary A. Watt BANKRUPTCY LAW: David Arietta BARRISTERS: Marta R. Vanegas BLCC: Kent Parr CRIMINAL LAW: Mary Carey ELDER LAW: Joseph Morrill EMPLOYMENT: Michele Lane ESTATE PLANNING & PROBATE: Mark Frisbie FAMILY LAW: Paul Bonnar INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: Stuart J. West JUVENILE LAW: Rhonda Wilson-Rice LAW STUDENT: Rebecca Harris and Jennifer Navalle LITIGATION: Marissa Nebenzahl and Geoffrey Steele PRO BONO: Samantha Sepehr and Peggy Bristol-Wright REAL ESTATE: Mike Durkee SOLO/SMALL FIRM: Andrew McCall TAXATION: Christina Ortega WEST COUNTY: Doris E. Mitchell WOMEN: Crystal Van Der Putten

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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CALENDAR UPCOMING EVENTS | OVERVIEW November 12 | CCCBA

Interprofessional Mixer - Novemberfest more details on page 41 November 13 | Barristers Section

NOVEMBER 2014

Barristers Holiday Party more details on page 41 December 18 | CCCBA

Emerging Professionals ABC Night

CCCBA Holiday Party

more details on page 41

more details on page 41

November 21 | CCCBA

January 15 | Employment Law Section

20th Annual MCLE Spectacular

2015 Employment Law Update

more details on page 25

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December 4 | Barristers Section

more details on page 41


November 12 | CCCBA

November 13 | Barristers Section

December 4 | Barristers Section

Interprofessional Mixer Novemberfest

Emerging Professionals ABC Night

Barristers Holiday Party

Join the CalCPA East Bay Chapter Emerging Professionals Group and the Barrister Board of the CCCBA for their first joint event. Registration includes one drink ticket and appetizers. Cash bar available.

Please join the Contra Costa Barristers at our Speakeasy Party for a swell evening of holiday cheer! Admission price includes food and sodas. Tickets for well drinks or hooch are available at $5 each. This night will be the bee’s knees!

Limited capacity; if paying at door, please provide cash or check payable to CalCPA.

Delicious hors d’oeuvres and small bites will be served.

Time: 5:30 pm – 8 pm

Time: 5:30 pm – 9 pm

Location: 1515 Restaurant & Lounge 1515 N. Main St., Walnut Creek

Location: Blu 42 Lounge 1251 Arroyo Way, Walnut Creek

Cost: Advanced Registration: $15 for CCCBA members and non-members, $20 at the door

Cost: $10 for section members and law student members, $15 for CCCBA members, $20 for non-members

Please join us as we bring our professional community together for an informal networking event. We are excited to have our friends and neighbors join us, along with the CCCBA, as we reunite old friends and make new ones. We will buy the appetizers and you buy the drinks. We should have great weather and a good time while getting some business done. Please pass the word to other professionals in the East Bay community. Time: 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm Location: Pyramid Alehouse 1410 Locust St., Walnut Creek Registration: Online at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/fallfestinterprofessional-happy-hour-tickets13397513323

Registration and Information: Online at www.calcpa.org/EBEPABC

Registration: Online at www.cccba.org/attorney/calendar More Info: Contact Elizabeth Galliett at (925) 370-2540

More Info: email EBhappyhour@gmail.com

December 18 | CCCBA

January 13 | Employment Law Section

CCCBA Holiday Party

2015 Employment Law Update

Join us in celebrating the holiday season!

This program will cover the new employment laws, cases and developments for 2015.

To gain admittance to our Holiday Party, please bring a non-perishable food item (or more) for donation to the Contra Costa Food Bank and/or toy(s) for donation to the 22nd Annual Toy Drive for homeless children, sponsored by the Juvenile Section of the CCCBA. Time: 4:30 pm – 7 pm Location: CCCBA Office 2300 Clayton Rd., Ste. 520, Concord Registration: Online at www.cccba.org/attorney/calendar More Info: Contact Elizabeth Galliett at (925) 370-2540

Speakers: JoAnna Brooks, Shareholder, Littler Mendelson Phyllis Cheng, Esq., Partner, DLA Piper Time: 11:45 am – 1:30 pm Location: Scott’s Seafood Restaurant 1333 N. California Blvd., Walnut Creek MCLE: 1.5 hours general MCLE credit Cost: $40 for section members, $35 for law student members, $45 for CCCBA members, $50 for non-members Registration: Online at www.cccba.org/attorney/calendar More Info: Contact Elizabeth Galliett at (925) 370-2540

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Michael J. Young . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

CLASSIFIEDS ONLINE: $50/ month flat fee. In addition to text, you may submit photos or graphics to be posted along with your classified ad at no additional charge. Call Dawnell Blaylock at (925) 370-2542 or email dblaylock@cccba.org.

Youngman & Ericsson . . . . . . . . . . . 21, 27 Zandonella Reporting Service . . . . . 34


YOUR MEMBERSHIP HELPED US ACCOMPLISH SO MUCH THIS YEAR! zz In collaboration with our 20 sections, we offered more than 100 programs. This year’s events included our 3rd Annual Law Practice Management Series and the new Barristers Trial Series program, along with numerous networking mixers and other social events. zz In addition, we offered self-study opportunities to earn legal education credits and worked with our partner organizations to offer member discounts to outside MCLE events. Our annual MCLE Spectacular on November 21 once again features top-notch speakers and presenters, including Professor Jesse Choper. zz Our Lawyer Referral & Information Service (LRIS) exceeded our mark of generating almost $2 million in attorney fees last year, with over 5,000 calls resulting in client consultations. zz With your help, we offered unmatched support to our community with hundreds of free legal clinics and workshops. We continued to raise money for the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano through our annual Food from the Bar competition and with the help of our generous donors, we supported Bay Area Legal Aid’s Homeless Youth Project, raising $50,000 in support of homeless youth.

We are proud of our successes in 2014. We couldn’t have done it without you!

RENEW YOUR CCCBA MEMBERSHIP TODAY. With your support, we can offer even more opportunities for personal and professional development to members like you, and give back to the community in meaningful and rewarding ways.

RENEW ONLINE - IT’S FAST & EASY! 1

Renew your membership online at www.cccba.org/attorney.

Renew early and you could win!

2

Click the “Renew” link in the top right corner.

3

Log in to your personal membership profile.

If you renew online and pay by November 30, you’ll be entered into a drawing to WIN A FREE 2015

4

Review your current membership information and make any necessary changes.

5

Complete the secure payment section using a major credit card, click “Submit Form” and you are renewed!

CCCBA MEMBERSHIP PACKAGE! Don’t miss this chance to get a refund of your membership dues—up to a $270 value!

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

43


DIABLO VALLEY REPORTING SERVICES Certified Shorthand Reporters

Serving the entire Bay Area • Deposition Reporting • Experienced Professional Reporters • Computerized Transcription • Deposition Suites Available • Expeditious Delivery • BART Accessible

2121 N. California Blvd.  Suite 290 Walnut Creek, CA 94596

925.930.7388 fax

925.935.6957

dvrs2121@yahoo.com

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NOVEMBER 2014

Profile for CCCBA - Contra Costa Lawyer

Contra Costa Lawyer November 2014  

Bench/Bar Edition

Contra Costa Lawyer November 2014  

Bench/Bar Edition

Profile for cccba