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Contra Costa 

LAWYER Volume 28, Number 6 | November 2015

BENCH/BAR


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NOVEMBER 2015

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CCCBA MEMBERSHIP TODAY! Your membership helped us accomplish so much this year: zz In collaboration with our 19 sections, we offered more than 100 programs. This year’s events included our 4th Annual Law Practice Management Series 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 20 once again features top-notch speakers and presenters, including U.S. Congressman Mark DeSaulnier. zz Our Lawyer Referral & Information Service (LRIS) has exceeded our expectations this year, with over 5,500 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 the Family Justice Center’s Legal Incubator Project, raising over $38,000 in support of new attorneys. 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.

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CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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NOVEMBER 2015


Contra Costa  2015 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Nicholas Casper President Elva Harding President-Elect Philip Andersen Secretary James Wu Treasurer Stephen Steinberg Ex Officio Ericka Ackeret Dean Barbieri Oliver Bray Mary Carey Wendy McGuire Coats Michelle Ferber

Peter Hass Reneé Livingston David Marchiano Laura Ramsey Katherine Wenger

LAWYER Volume 28 Number 6 | November 2015

The official publication of the

FEATURES

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

CHANGING TIMES AT CONTRA COSTA SUPERIOR COURT by Hon. Steven K. Austin, Presiding Judge

CIVIL LAW PERSPECTIVE by Hon. Judith Craddick, Supervising Judge

CRIMINAL LAW PERSPECTIVE by Hon. John Kennedy, Supervising Judge

CCCBA   EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR Theresa Hurley | 925.370.2548 | thurley@cccba.org CCCBA main office 925.686.6900 | www.cccba.org

Barbara Arsedo Emily Day

LRIS Coordinator Systems Administrator and Fee Arbitration Coordinator

Dawnell Blaylock

Communications Anne Wolf Coordinator Education and Programs Coordinator

Jennifer Comages

Membership Coordinator

FAMILY LAW PERSPECTIVE by Hon. Ed Weil, Supervising Judge

JUVENILE LAW PERSPECTIVE by Hon. Thomas Maddock, Supervising Judge

PROBATE PERSPECTIVE by Hon. John H. Sugiyama, Supervising Judge

PITTSBURG COURTHOUSE by Hon. Mary Ann O’Malley, Supervising Judge

RICHMOND COURTHOUSE CONTRA COSTA LAWYER CO-EDITORS EDITORIAL BOARD Harvey Sohnen Suzanne Boucher

925.258.9300 925.933.1500 Nicole Mills Patricia Kelly 925.351.3171 925.258.9300 BOARD LIAISON David Pearson 925.287.0051 James Wu 925.658.0300 Samantha Sepehr 925.287.3540 COURT LIAISON Stephen Nash Candice Stoddard 925.942.5100 925.957.5600

PRINTING Steven’s Printing 925.681.1774

by Hon. Barbara Hinton, Supervising Judge

TRAFFIC DIVISION by Hon. Brian Haynes, Supervising Judge

GETTING TO KNOW JUDGE ANITA SANTOS by Shannon Stone, Human Resources Director

GETTING TO KNOW COMMISSIONER PETER FAGAN by Shannon Stone, Human Resources Director

THE $5 BABY: INTERVIEW WITH COMMISSIONER KATHLEEN MURPHY

8 10 11 13 15 17 19 20 26 27 28 29

by Magda Lopez, Director of Court Programs and Services

ADDRESSING CHRONIC ABSENTEEISM: NEW COURT PROCEEDINGS

31

by Hon. Rebecca Hardie

REDUCING THE INCIDENCE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: ONE PERSON AT A TIME

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by Mimi L. Zemmelman, Director, Business Planning, Information & Programs 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 Photo: Artwork piece featured in front of the Peter L. Spinetta Family Law Center in Martinez. Photo courtesy of Andrew Bach.

HOMELESS COURT by Hon. Steven K. Austin

GOT JURY? by Hon. Mary Ann O’Malley

PROPOSITION 47: A VIEW FROM THE BENCH by Hon. Terri Mockler

34 36 37

DEPARTMENTS 6

INSIDE | by Stephen H. Nash

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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE | by Nick Casper

22

2016 JUDICIAL ASSIGNMENTS

23 CENTER | BAR FUND Gala Reception [photos] MCLE Spectacular Registration 40 CALENDAR/CLASSIFIEDS

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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inside

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his issue of the Contra Costa Lawyer coincides with some welcome developments at the Contra Costa Superior Court. In October 2015, Presiding Judge Austin and I announced that the court is now able to restore some services that had been cut back in response to a series of drastic reductions in state court funding during the last few years. Services being restored include the following: • Extending Clerk’s Office hours by two hours to 3 p.m. each business day (except for Traffic, which remains open until 4 p.m.), effective November 1, 2015. • Reestablishing Traffic Night Court two evenings per month in Walnut Creek beginning in November. This provides an option for those who need to address traffic-related cases after work hours. The court intends to look for ways to extend night court to other courthouses in the county during the coming year. • Eliminating partial court closure days. Last fiscal year, due to budgetary limitations, the court was closed to the public, except for minimum-required operations, for four days. This partial closure allowed the court to furlough staff and reduce costs. This year, the Contra Costa Superior Court will remain open for all official court business days.

tions. For example, the court employed approximately 24 percent more staff in 2008 than it currently does. The initial result of these reductions were longer lines, delays and filing backlogs, as well as reduced hours, fewer public windows and consolidation of services in fewer locations—including the closing of the Concord Courthouse and various courtrooms. By reengineering ways in which the court serves the public and legal professionals, we have begun to address long lines and delays in various areas such as the Civil Clerks’ Office, and the processing of traffic infractions. Other areas of challenge remain, though, and we are now focusing attention on improving the utilization of jurors, improving jurors’ experience and reducing delays for family mediation services, among various other needs. Our court staff members have been real troopers during the funding crisis, despite having been hard pressed during the last half dozen years of downsizing, furloughs and no pay increases. However, due to our staff deficit, we now have minimal backup relief staff for positions such as courtroom clerks and court reporters. As a result, it has become much more difficult to schedule staff vacations and to cover for absences without causing courtrooms to go dark.

The court is able to take these imporDespite these concerns, the court’s emtant incremental steps as a result of ployees have been a critical ingredient much hard work by the bench, staff and Stephen H. Nash in our efforts to restore services to court management. As articles in this edition Court Executive Officer users. Instead of complaining, our staff reflect, the court is revising operations has taken on the work of revamping serand court services in various areas such as the managevices and operations with great zeal and enthusiasm. ment of court calendars, jury services, the court clerk’s But without adequate relief, staff will eventually tire. offices, the implementation of specialty courts such as Truancy Court and Laura’s Law, and the establishment We, like other courts, continue to pursue needed fiof innovative programs such as the Drug and Domestic nancial help from Sacramento. Whether, when and Violence Intensive Support programs. how much help might eventually come cannot be determined at this time. But we are not just sitting around Through reengineering of services, the implementawaiting for new funding. Instead, we are working to imtion of new technologies and the creative redeployment prove the efficiency, effectiveness and quality of service of resources, Contra Costa Superior Court is finding new provided to the public with the staff and money that we ways to provide the public access to justice as efficiently have. s and effectively as possible. These positive actions should not be understood as signaling that our court’s resource challenges are now over, though. As discussed in prior Contra Costa Lawyer articles, the Contra Costa Superior Court has experienced a drastic diminution in resources during the last few years, which have had severe impacts on court opera-

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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.


president’s message

A Legal Kvetch Nick Casper CCCBA Board President

T

here are certain trivialities in life that cause my blood pressure to spike and my teeth to clench. They are commonly referred to as “pet peeves,” but I prefer a nod to my Jewish ancestry with “kvetches.” Some arise unpredictably, but with enough regularity to rise to kvetch status, such as when a pedestrian obliviously saunters across the street with a “Don’t Walk” signal in front of my green light while immersed in his iPhone. Others arise with such precision and predictability that you could set a watch to them. When I go to CVS, I know well in advance that my purchase of three items means the printer will spit out a three-foot receipt, yet the needless waste still aggravates me. Or, as soon as I say, “Add guacamole,” my pulse quickens in anticipation of the inevitable “Guacamole is extra, is that okay?” The extra charge for guacamole is on the giant sign behind you! Also, it is 2015. We all are aware of the volatile global avocado economy and understand that guacamole is extra. My law-related kvetch falls more into the second category: It happens

almost every time, yet it still grates on my nerves. As litigators are familiar, attorneys give a common set of admonitions to the witness at the beginning of a deposition, setting out basic ground rules to ensure a smooth proceeding and a clean record. One of the common admonitions is to explain the difference between an estimate and a guess. Many of you know what’s coming … the darn table analogy! It goes something like this: “If I were to ask you to tell me the length of this conference room table, you could estimate it, correct? It is in front of you and you can see it. But if I were to ask you to tell me the length of the desk in my office, you could only guess, right? You have never been in my office and you have no basis for telling me the length.” Part of my annoyance with the table analogy is how frequently lawyers use it. Perhaps it is confirmation bias, but I feel that the use of the device is becoming more frequent, with the probability of it being used in any given deposition approaching the number one. I know it is coming, I can feel it is coming, and when it comes, aargh! It is as if the analogy is taught in law school as one of the core tenets of effective litigation practice: “Whenever distinguishing an estimate from a guess, bring up tables.”

My other issue is that it seems wholly unnecessary. A simple “Do you understand the difference between an estimate and a guess?” or better yet, “Don’t guess,” would seem to take care of the rule. We don’t provide a cute, pithy analogy for the other ground rules that are equally straightforward. Perhaps my kvetch is simply grounded in other inscrutable factors. Maybe it is the reflexive manner it is given. Maybe it is the insinuation of arrogance by the lawyer, communicating, “Not only do I have my own office, but I have a glorious desk, the length of which you could never fathom. Oh, and it is walnut with mahogany inlay.” Maybe it is that I have sat in many depositions and am searching for gripes. I recognize that this is likely a “me problem.” What are your law-related kvetches? I am sure you have some. What they are exactly, I would not deign to guess. s As an associate with Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook since 2007, Nick Casper represents injured individuals in cases involving catastrophic injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, employment discrimination/harassment and civil rights violations. Nick has been lead counsel in five civil jury trials.

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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CHANGING TIMES Contra Costa @ Superior Court I

can’t believe my first year as presiding judge is almost over. It has been a busy year filled with new challenges and interesting issues. After years of devastating budget cuts, we’ve received slight increases in our budget allocation for the last two years. Combined with the operational efficiencies we have been able to achieve, these modest increases have given us the luxury of planning for ways to restore critical services and better meet the needs of the attorneys and litigants in our county. Determining how to manage our caseload with fewer courtrooms and bench officers has been challenging, because making changes in one area inevitably affects other areas of the court. Despite these challenges, we are making progress. I’d like to highlight some of the changes that have already happened and provide a preview of things to come. Closing the Concord location and limiting the Walnut Creek Court to all but traffic cases turned out to be an effective way to address that caseload, but the impact of transferring all of the Central County criminal misdemeanor cases to Martinez has been substantial. This influx of cases generated massive criminal calendars and overcrowded courtrooms. Earlier this year, we addressed this prob-

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work for Judge Judy Craddick and the other overburdened civil judges. To tackle this unintended consequence, we moved name changes to the Probate Department, created a new civil harassment and TRO calendar that Commissioner Lowell Richards hears every afternoon, and assigned a second clerk to help self-represented litigants.

Hon. Steven K. Austin Presiding Judge lem by moving all misdemeanor pretrial matters handled by private defense attorneys from Martinez to our Pittsburg Courthouse. This simple move has helped reduce courtroom congestion and eased the burden on attorneys and their clients. The court has had to make changes in our Civil Division as a result of eliminating Commissioner Sanders’ civil ex parte motion, civil harassment Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and name change calendars. With her departure, these matters were moved to 10 a.m. in the Complex Litigation Department in Martinez for triage and reassignment to other Civil Departments. Unfortunately, that arrangement created confusion for attorneys and litigants, and a great deal of extra

Happily, the end result provides better service to the public, and places less of a burden on our civil judges and attorneys. More changes are coming next year. Our addition of a part-time judge to the Family Law Division helped us address the worst of the impacts suffered as a result of the elimination of the court’s family law courtroom in Pittsburg, but it hasn’t been enough to begin to meet the needs of family law litigants. I’m happy to report that we have figured out a way to restore a fulltime family law courtroom in Pittsburg by January 2016. Changes are in the works for the Civil Division as well. I am pleased to announce that beginning next year, we will be able to redirect enough judicial resources to create a new department that will take on some of the civil caseload, while also allowing lengthy probate trials to be conducted without interruption, something that we couldn’t do in the past.


We are also excited about two new programs that are starting this month. Judge Rebecca Hardie will be conducting a Truancy Court targeted at changing parental behaviors when parents fail to get their kids to school. (Please see Judge Hardie’s article on page 31.)

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year in review

CIVIL LAW Perspective Hon. Judith Craddick Supervising Judge

O

ur Presiding Judge, Steven Austin, recently announced the judicial assignments for 2016. The Civil Division judges will remain the same. Judge Barry Goode will continue on the complex litigation calendar, and Judges George Spanos, Jill Fannin and I will remain hearing general civil calendars. Effective January 2016, Judge Ed Weil will divide his time between general civil and probate. This is very exciting and welcome news for all of us. We have been searching for ways to improve services and shorten time delays which, due to the governor’s budget cuts, resulted from the loss of our discovery commissioner and one civil judge. Currently, our three general civil judges are managing over 1,000 cases each (which includes law and motion matters, discovery, etc). As a consequence, litigants are experiencing increasingly long delays in scheduling hearing and trial dates. The addition of Judge Weil will assist us greatly in addressing this backlog, and we are looking forward to formulating the best plan on how to utilize his talents. Be-

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fore his appointment to the bench, Judge Weil practiced civil law for many years, so, fortunately, he does not need to “learn” the Civil Division. As civil trial judges, one of our foremost goals is to set law and motion hearings within 30 days of filing the motion, to set cases for trial as early as the litigants desire and to actually have the trials go forward when they are set. Toward that end, our bench offers a suggestion for getting smaller or less complex matters to trial quickly: Request that the case be set under the “Expedited Jury Trials Act.” This process will not only get your case to trial earlier, it is faster and is an opportunity for newer attorneys desiring to gain trial experience.

Although we do not tell you as often as we should, we are eternally grateful to the CCCBA and those attorneys who generously give their time in innovating and implementing educational and numerous court programs that benefit the entire community, your clients, the Bar Association and the court. Absent the Bar volunteers who contribute many hours settling cases by serving on our mediation, arbitration, neutral case evaluation, “day of trial” settlement mentor and discovery facilitator panels, not even the additional “one-half” judge would keep us from being up to our proverbial “eyeballs in alligators.” Your hard work, diligence and concern is a demonstration of your dedication to your clients and profession. s

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year in review

CRIMINAL LAW Perspective T

he Criminal Courts of Contra Costa County continue to thrive despite the ongoing impact of budget cuts. This is made possible only because our judges, courtroom clerks, court reporters and bailiffs, along with the entire court staff and management, have worked tirelessly, efficiently and conscientiously for years. In 2014, the District Attorney’s Office filed 4,130 felony complaints countywide, up from 3,902 in 2013. The 7,985 misdemeanors filed in 2014 was down from the whopping 10,366 misdemeanor cases filed in 2013, but was closer to the number of misdemeanor filings in 2012. The huge increase in filings in 2013 was due largely to “the bulge” of backlogged misdemeanor cases filed in the fall of that year. In 2014, we tried 137 felony jury trials, including 11 homicide cases, 33 sexual assault cases and nine gang cases. This is not just a substantial increase from the 120 felony jury trials in 2013; it is our largest number of felony trials in the last seven years. On the misdemeanor front, we tried 189 jury trials throughout the county, which again marks a return to our normal pace from last year’s unusually high 254 misdemeanor jury trials.

Judge Terri Mockler, well known for handling heavy calendars, is an ideal judge to run our criminal calendar. She performs magic every day by juggling arraignments, pretrial hearings and innumerable preand post-trial motions to keep the felonies on track to a plea or trial.

Hon. John Kennedy Supervising Judge Our calendar departments continue to do the heavy lifting of managing our cases from filing to trial. We are fortunate to have an experienced and talented group of trial judges, consisting of Judges Bruce Mills, Laurel Brady, Diana Becton, Barry Baskin, Ben Burch, Penny Scanlon, Lewis Davis and Clare Maier. Any one of these versatile judges can handle the most complex and challenging criminal cases tried in our county. They are all willing to pitch in to take on everything from misdemeanors to murders, motions to writs and sexually violent predators to Lanterman-Petris-Short Act cases.

Judge Mockler applies her wise judgment to the plea bargaining process, ensuring that cases are resolved fairly and consistently, and keeps our trial calendars manageable. Judge Trevor White is in charge of our eclectic specialty courts, supervising our Drug Courts (Proposition 36, Felony Alternative Drug Sentencing and Intensive Support Program), Behavioral Health Court, Elder Court, domestic violence cases and probation revocation cases. He applies his calm and thoughtful demeanor to these sensitive and challenging collaborative courts. Judge White also hears the bulk of the substantive post-preliminary hearing motions in felony cases, where his analytical skills are put to good use. Judge Cheryl Mills presides over our busy arraignment and misdemeanor pretrial calendar in Martinez. She sets the bail in most of our Central County felonies and misdemeanors, and in the in-custody arraignments on Pittsburg felonies.

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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Criminal Law, cont. from page 11

Judge Mills oversees the preliminary hearing calendars in Martinez and implements our new pretrial release program, applying evidence-based factors to the decisions whether to release a defendant pending trial and, if so, what conditions to place on any such release. In her spare time, Judge Mills also conducts all of the public defender pretrial hearings from Central County. Judge Bruce Mills, in addition to trying a staggering number of jury trials, handles our misdemeanor motions, felony evidentiary motions, misdemeanor probation revocations and restitution hearings in Martinez. Judge Mills’ extraordinarily efficient calendar management skills also allow him to try all of our Family Court contempt cases. We are fortunate to have the continued help of retired Commissioner Stephen Houghton in managing our parole revocation and post-release community supervision revocation hearings. These calendars were added to our workload by AB 109, which moved parole revocation hearings from the Parole Board to the courts. We also appreciate the ongoing contributions of our retired colleagues who find time to sit on assignment whenever we need them. Judges John Minney, Garrett Grant, Mike Coleman, John Allen, Joyce Cram, Peter Berger, Peter Spinetta, Barbara Zuñiga and David Flinn are regular visitors. We enjoy receiving the fruits of their vast experience, and the pleasure of seeing our former colleagues. We have instituted a number of new programs in criminal cases over the last year. When the voters passed Proposition 47, converting many of the lower level drug and theft felonies to misdemeanors, we had about 24 hours to implement these changes. In the grand tradition of cooperation among our justice partners in Contra

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Given McNeely (DUI blood draws) and Riley (cell phone searches), this technology enables us to evaluate the ever-increasing number of search warrant applications more expeditiously, which comes in handy at 4 a.m. We value our relationship with our criminal justice partners, who work with us to address any challenge brought by legislation, budget cuts or caseloads. Our District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, Alternate Defender’s Office, Criminal Conflict Panel and members of the Bar Association are always willing to find ways to work with the court to fashion solutions, improve efficiency and bring cases to just resolution. s

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Although largely invisible to the attorneys, we have moved our search warrant processing into the 21st century. We are now able to receive, review and authorize search warrants over the Internet. If you notice that a judge’s signature on a search warrant looks like the judge signed it with a large crayon, that is because we are signing with our fingers on an iPad.

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Together, we hashed out a process for addressing the most pressing cases, those in which defendants were likely entitled to immediate release from custody due to the reduction in their charges or sentences, and handling the remaining cases on a prioritized basis. Judge Terri Mockler held her first Prop. 47 calendar three days after the legislation was enacted, and has worked her way through the majority of eligible cases.

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year in review

FAMILY LAW Perspective W

hile this year has not been one of great changes in the Family Law Division, we have seen some new personnel and experienced a small expansion in our available resources. Happily, there is a bit more to come. In January, we welcomed Judge Leslie Landau to family law. She dug into her caseload with enthusiasm, and has proven that she is a quick study. We also received a “new” family law judge in the person of Judge Anita Santos, formerly DCSS Commissioner Santos. She was replaced as commissioner by another “new” face, former Lead Family Law Facilitator Kathleen Murphy. Both of them hit the ground running. Combined with Judge Christopher Bowen and Judge Susanne Fenstermacher’s continued service in the Family Law Division, we have a great balance of seasoned and fresh outlooks. Fortunately, we have made a modest recovery from our budgetary nadir. The Clerk’s Office has restored some of its filing hours, we will soon gain nearly half of one full-time custody recommending

Hon. Ed Weil counselor, and we have restored one assistant family law facilitator position. Due to special funding provided by the Judicial Council, we are also able to have court-provided interpreters in all family law matters, not just domestic violence cases. Thus, our ability to serve the public has made some welcome gains, at least relative to the recent past. (Sorry, but we don’t expect to see the return of court reporters in family law anytime soon.) With the assistance of the volunteer attorneys coordinated by Sharon Raab and CCCBA’s Family Law Section, we have been able to continue operating our very successful double pro-per settlement conferences. The services of these experienced volunteer attorneys has helped many parties reach agreements, and improved the process of entering judgments. I often tell litigants that they are receiving assistance from experienced attorneys who normally charge several hundred dollars an hour for their services. I ask them to thank the volunteer attorneys before they leave, whether or not they settle their case.

Supervising Judge I extend my personal thanks, and the thanks of my colleagues, to all the attorneys who take time off from their busy practices to spend an afternoon helping the court and the litigants. Looking forward, next year should bring more improvement. Presiding Judge Steve Austin has converted the current 60 percent Family Law Department (presided over by Judge Fenstermacher) to full time, bringing us to five family law judges and the AB 1058 commissioner. Next year will also see the return of a Family Law Department in the Pittsburg courthouse, ably staffed by Judge Santos. Cases will be assigned to Judge Santos based on their docket number, not based on the geographic location of the parties or counsel. As usual, there will be some changes in judicial personnel. Judge Fenstermacher and I will leave for other assignments, to be replaced by Judge John Cope and Judge Terri Mockler. Both of them have a criminal law background, and are known for

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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Family Law, cont. from page 13 their strong work ethic and sound judgment. They will bring a newcomer’s enthusiasm to the job, and are already studying hard for the new assignment. As much as I truly have enjoyed family law, I’ll be moving to a combined civil and probate assignment next year. I’ll miss the challenging issues of the Family Law Division, and the knowledge and collegiality of CCCBA’s Family Law Section. Nearly every day presents new issues ranging from the purely financial to the deeply personal. Judge Christopher Bowen will be supervising judge, and his experienced hand will keep everything running smoothly. s

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year in review

JUVENILE LAW Perspective Hon. Thomas Maddock Supervising Judge

C

ontra Costa Superior Court conducts all of the Juvenile Dependency Hearings (W&I sec. 300, et seq.) and all of the Juvenile Delinquency Hearings (W&I sec 600, et seq.) for cases arising within our jurisdiction. I am supervising judge and the other judges assigned to the Juvenile Division are: Hon. Lois Haight, Hon. Rebecca Hardie, Hon. John (Jack) Laettner and Hon. Theresa Canepa. Judges Maddock, Haight, Hardie and Laettner hear both dependency and delinquency cases in downtown Martinez. Judge Canepa hears all the delinquency cases at the Juvenile Hall, also in Martinez. Due to budget cuts, we no longer have a judicial officer hearing cases in the Richmond or Pittsburg courthouses. In January 2016, Judge Canepa will leave the Juvenile Division and Judge Susanne Fenstermacher will take over the Juvenile Hall assignment. Juvenile dependency cases are confidential, and the attorneys are required to undergo specialty training in order to practice this complex area of dependency law. The trials are all bench trials. The goal of these cases is to return the child safely to his or her family. Many times, that goal can’t be accomplished. In those instances, the court seeks the best permanent plan for the child that will provide a secure and safe family, for life. Adoption by a loving family is the first

choice for a permanent plan, followed by guardianship and finally long-term foster care. The Bureau of Children and Family Services investigates all dependency cases, and helps the parents and the child by making referrals to services that are designed to reunify the family. The court can also appoint a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) to work directly with the child to help him or her deal with the trauma and stress the child has endured. CASAs are trained and responsible adults whose efforts can be critical to the success of many children. The court encourages responsible adults to volunteer to become a CASA. Juvenile delinquency cases are usually confidential, but any case that involves a serious charge as defined in Welfare & Institutions Code Section 676 is open to the public with some limited exceptions. Delinquency petitions involve allegations that the minor committed a crime, either a misdemeanor or felony. The petitions are subject to bench trials only. If the allegations are found to be true, then the court must examine the best plan to ensure the rehabilitation of the minor. Possible outcomes include returning the minor to the custody of his or her parents with conditions of probation that may include an ankle GPS monitor, or removal of the minor from his or her parents and placement in a foster home, the Juvenile Hall or the Orin Allen Youth

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

15


Juvenile Law, cont. from page 15

Rehabilitation Facility (the Ranch). In very serious cases, the youth may be committed to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Traffic infractions are handled by the traffic commissioners. During these difficult budget times, our Probation Department has been able to keep open our county’s outstanding boys’ ranch in Brentwood, the Orin Allen Youth Rehabilitation Facility. This wonderful program provides schooling, substance abuse treatment and therapy for boys. Boys in this program also get use of the excellent library facilities and new vocational programs. This is an important resource for rehabilitation. It makes a difference in the lives of our young wards. Our Youthful Offender Treatment Program for boys (YOTP) and our Girls in Motion Program for girls (GIM) operate in separate secure units in Juvenile Hall. These programs continue to provide an important rehabilitative resource for our young wards while also protecting the community. Boys and girls in these programs receive cognitive behavioral therapy and gain other important tools so they can make the best use of a second chance to succeed. s

Carol W. Wu, Esq., CLPF Lori Hefner, MBA, MA in Gerontology & CLPF

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Joseph Morrill, Attorney Heather Hoekstra, Attorney Nathan Pastor, Attorney

16

NOVEMBER 2015

Will & Trust Litigation Financial Elder Abuse Conservatorships Estate Planning Trust Administration Probate Mediation

3220 Blume Drive, Suite 200 Richmond, CA 94806

Ruth Koller Burke, Of Counsel Vahishta Falahati, Of Counsel Nicole Morrill, Paralegal Jill Olivier, Paralegal


year in review

PROBATE Perspective Hon. John H. Sugiyama Supervising Judge

I

n January 2016, Judge Susanne Fenstermacher will leave the Probate Division for an assignment with the Juvenile Division. Judge Ed Weil will join the division on a 50 percent assignment, with the rest of his time designated for the Civil Division.

Courtroom Clerk Shannon Perry, Probate Examiners Linda Suppanich and Erica Gillies, Research Attorney Janet Li and Bailiff Melissa O’Reilley will continue as the invaluable core of the division. Let’s now turn to the future. Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has established a Commission on the Future of California’s Court System. The commission will study and recommend initiatives to serve the state’s diverse and dynamic population by focusing on: 1. Improving systems for the effective adjudication of cases. 2. Achieving sustainable fiscal stability for the branch. 3. Employing modern technology to enhance public access to court services. The commission will assess the obligations of the courts and the current manner in which they are being discharged. It will also address whether any systemic changes can ensure that those obligations are better met. The goal of the commission will be to recommend ways in which the core responsibilities of the judicial system can be achieved effectively and fairly, taking into account the demands and opportunities of the 21st century. To do so, the commission will solicit ideas from a spectrum of sources and will consider suggestions to make certain that the delivery of justice is responsive to the needs of all. In preparation for the work by the commission, the Judicial Council directed a survey on various facets of the state’s judicial system. The survey results are contained in a February 2015 document entitled “Feedback on Potential Efficiencies for the California Judicial Branch.” Among the many hundreds of comments received, some of the ones relevant to probate practice are as follows: 1. “Allowing objections to be made at the initial hearing consumes a lot of unnecessary time. Consideration should be given to separating: (1) contested cases not involving pro per participants, in which pre-hearing objections would be required to be filed so that the initial hearing could be devoted to resolution of disputed matters where feasible; and (2) cases involving pro

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

17


Probate, cont. from page 17

per participants, in which help could be provided to resolve defects in papers before the initial hearing.” 2. “Increased assistance should be provided to litigants without attorneys in Guardianship and Conservatorship cases.” 3. “Probate procedure is very difficult to understand for the nonspecialist. The ... lack of access to basic information on all aspects of managing a simple probate or will contest or trust renders the work more expensive than it should be.” 4. “Most trust/estate disputes that arise to the level of litigation are based on misunderstandings between family members that respond well to expert ... mediation. Provide information to family members for early mediation, well before hearings and outside the courthouse, with trained ... mediators whose focus and expertise is trust/estate matters and resolution within family parameters, not litigation.” 5. “If estates are above a certain amount, appointment of a non-professional trustee or executor should require the appointee to attend a brief training class ... So many trustees and executors know so little about

their duties, and this leads to problems resolving the estate matters. In matters involving trusts for disabled persons, family members who assume trustee duties often know very little about proper disbursement.” 6. “There are many pro per cases. Appearances by pro per litigants clog up the system because they use more court time than most uncontested attorney filed cases. The judges try to give enough education from the bench to move a matter forward but not keep the rest of the courtroom waiting. That is a tough line to draw.” 7. “Create some sort of statewide forms generation portal.” 8. “The California court system should have a unified e-filing system, e-service system and unified web access to court pleadings, public documents, court calendars and tentative rulings.” 9. “Hear more motions and other types of proceedings on the papers only and let judges and respective staff usher those papers and decisions through an electronic system that does not require hearing dates.”

EIKENBERRY LAW FIRM 1470 Maria Lane Suite 440 Walnut Creek, CA 94596 Phone: (925) 933-2161 www.EikenberryLawFirm.com

FORECLOSURE JUDGMENTS & JUDGMENT LIENS REAL PROPERTY CIVIL LITIGATION MEDIATION SERVICES Kevin S. Eikenberry Attorney & Mediator

18

NOVEMBER 2015

Ann C. Eikenberry Director of Administration

10. “Change the law regarding publishing notice of probate to allow notice to be published online, so that any creditor or other interested person may easily look up whether a probate petition has been filed for a particular decedent.” 11. “Can greater use of videoconferencing be employed for hearings?” 12. “All counties should scan their documents so that files may be reviewed online and printed without further assistance by court clerks.” 13. “Access to probate case information should be facilitated through the creation of an automated, centralized statewide database.” Do any of these matters affect your practice? Can you think of additional matters that may be of concern to others? What will probate practice be like for you 15 to 20 years from now? Perhaps we could begin a conversation now. s


year in review

PITTSBURG COURT The Arnason Justice Center Hon. Mary Ann O’Malley Supervising Judge

A

fter many years of presiding over felony trials in Martinez, I am thrilled to be supervising in our relatively new and beautiful Richard E. Arnason Justice Center. I remember attending the groundbreaking on December 12, 2008. I was proud to preside over the grand opening ceremony in 2010 when I was the presiding judge, and I still have the gold shovel and hard hat from that event in my chambers. We had many dignitaries attend the ceremony, including Pittsburg City Council members, the mayor of Pittsburg, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Ronald George, and most importantly, Judge Richard Arnason himself. It was a wonderful day for Judge Arnason as well as our legal community. I have known and respected Judge Arnason all my legal life and I am honored to be here. Currently the following judges are assigned to Pittsburg: Hon. Mary Ann O’Malley, Hon. Steve Treat, Hon. Brian Haynes, Hon. Judy

Johnson, Hon. John Cope and Commissioner Lowell Richards. Lisa Swafford is our court administrator assisted by Court Manager Suzi Dailey. Both do a wonderful job ensuring everything runs smoothly. Sergeant Garibay oversees our court security and ranger staff. He and his staff keep us safe and do an excellent job handling our in-custody defendants. Our Court Probation Officer is David LeDee, one of the best probation officers I have ever worked with. In all, we have 19 clerical staff who handle the public business at the windows, the behind the scenes work (which is endless), and all the courtroom duties. I am constantly amazed at how they are able to get all the work done before the day’s end. Plus, they are so courteous and professional in doing so. This is especially true even after we volunteered to take on all the private counsel pretrials from Martinez. I am repeatedly told by private coun-

sel how appreciative they are for all the help they receive from our bailiffs and court staff. Cases heard in Pittsburg include: Misdemeanor and felony criminal cases from arraignment through jury trial; domestic violence and civil harassment restraining order hearings; small claims; unlawful detainer cases and traffic cases. During Fiscal Year 2014-2015, the Pittsburg Court received over 4,500 new filings in the Felony/Misdemeanor Criminal Division alone. These numbers represent a slight decrease from the year before. Even though Commissioner Lowell Richards is only in Pittsburg for the morning calendar, he was responsible for hearing 22,500 traffic cases, 1,740 unlawful detainer cases and 936 small claims cases. s

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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year in review

RICHMOND COURT The George D. Carroll Courthouse Hon. Barbara Hinton Supervising Judge

when he was reassigned to preside over matters in Martinez, and we welcomed Commissioner Peter Fagan, who handles the traffic, unlawful detainer and small claims calendars.

T

he George D. Carroll Courthouse currently has five judges and one commissioner. The judges include Hon. Danielle Douglas, Comm. Peter Fagan, Hon. Joni Hiramoto, Hon. Nancy Stark and myself. We also have a vacant judicial position to which a visiting judge is assigned each week. We have been very fortunate to have many wonderful and talented retired judicial officers who have readily and effortlessly conducted trials and preliminary hearings, and handled heavy arraignment calendars. In mid-April, we bid Commissioner Lowell Richards a fond farewell

20

NOVEMBER 2015

While we miss Comm. Richards’ presence, we are quite pleased with Comm. Fagan’s smooth and seamless transition into his new assignment. Comm. Fagan has vast experience in several areas of the law. Special thanks is extended to the amazing volunteer attorneys who sit pro tem when needed; and to Tom Cain and other volunteer mediators from the Congress of Neutrals who dedicate their time and expertise in resolving many unlawful detainer, small claims and civil harassment matters. In late May of this year, Barbara Richmond, the court services administrator, retired after 23 years with the court. Richmond had worked in each courthouse during her tenure, and returned to the George D. Carroll Courthouse in November 2014.

Richmond was a stalwart leader, and was greatly admired for her extensive knowledge of the court system and her compassion towards those lucky enough to work with her. Karen Cardinale succeeded Richmond as the new court services administrator, and is performing exceptionally well in her new role. This courthouse continues to be busy. Since January 18, 2015, one felony and 47 misdemeanor trials have taken place. Multiple trials have been assigned out but did not conclude due to subsequent resolution both prior to and after a jury being sworn. The Arraignments Department is traditionally a bustling place, and continues to have the heaviest calendars. While there seems to be a comparable amount of new criminal filings this year, the number of preliminary hearings that are heard has significantly decreased. The reduction in preliminary hearings may be attributed to the advent of Prop. 47 (with certain previous felonies now being filed


as misdemeanors), and the early resolution of cases. This sharp decline was noted beginning in early March of this year. Due in part to the reduction of preliminary hearings, the staffing in the courthouse will be reduced from five to four judges effective mid-January 2016. Judge Nancy Stark will be transferring to the Richard E. Arnason Justice Center. Judge Stark will be missed, as she has made a valuable contribution to the administration of trials and preliminary hearings over these last three years. We will continue to have visiting retired judges covering the vacant seat until the highly-anticipated and long-awaited appointment occurs.

Certain changes have been made to modernize the courthouse. To address the long lines that form at the Clerk’s Office filing windows, the Qmatic number assignment system was implemented in mid-September to help reduce the wait time and streamline the filing process. This system, which has already been running at three other courthouses in the county, is an efficient means of providing services to consumers. Plans are underway to install kiosks in Jury Services to expedite the check-in process. A big screen television has recently been mounted in the Jury Services room, and an updated DVD will be played providing guidance in navigating though jury duty.

Work on the courthouse facility, initiated by Hon. Leslie Landau, continued this year. The windows have now been treated and properly sealed, the interior of the courthouse was recently painted and the parking lot has been slightly modified to better demarcate parking for courthouse staff and the public. I am looking forward to another year at the George D. Carroll Courthouse. I have been impressed with the wonderful staff that makes this courthouse a very special place to work. Despite the unrelenting number of cases that are filed, and the accompanying large workload, staff members are professional, collegial and delightful. s

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

YOUNGMAN & ERICSSON 1981 N. Broadway, Suite 300 | Walnut Creek, CA 94596 (925) 930-6000 | Youngman.com

Walter C. Youngman, Jr., Attorney-CPA Jay Suen, MBT, CPA (inactive)

Dani Altes, Paralegal Lisa Salvetti, Paralegal Maudie Sullivan, Certified Tax Preparer

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

21


Superior Court of Contra Costa County

2016 JUDICIAL ASSIGNMENTS Steven K. Austin Presiding Judge

Jill Fannin

Assistant Presiding Judge

MARTINEZ Family Law Criminal Trials (Martinez)

(Martinez)

Supervising Judge: John W. Kennedy

Supervising Judge: Christopher R. Bowen

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

ŠŠ Judge Christopher R. Bowen ŠŠ Judge John C. Cope ŠŠ Judge Leslie G. Landau ŠŠ Judge Terri Mockler ŠŠ Commissioner Kathleen Murphy (DCSS)

Juvenile

ŠŠ Judge Theresa J. Canepa (Specialty Courts) ŠŠ Judge Bruce C. Mills (Wakefield Taylor Bldg.) ŠŠ Judge Cheryl Mills (Calendar) ŠŠ Judge Patricia Scanlon (Calendar)

Supervising Judge: Thomas M. Maddock

Civil

Probate

(Martinez)

22

(Martinez)

ŠŠ Judge Susanne Fenstermacher (Juvenile Hall) ŠŠ Judge Lois Haight ŠŠ Judge Rebecca Hardie ŠŠ Judge John Laettner ŠŠ Judge Thomas M. Maddock

(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 Edward G. Weil (50%)

ŠŠ Judge John H. Sugiyama ŠŠ Judge Edward G. Weil (50%)

NOVEMBER 2015

Supervising Judge: Mary Ann O’Malley ŠŠ Judge Brian Haynes ŠŠ Judge Judy Johnson ŠŠ Judge Mary Ann O’Malley ŠŠ Judge Anita Santos (Family) ŠŠ Judge Nancy Davis Stark ŠŠ Judge Charles “Steve” Treat

RICHMOND Supervising Judge: Barbara C. Hinton

Criminal Calendars (Martinez)

PITTSBURG

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

Traffic Supervising Judge: Brian Haynes ŠŠ Commissioner Peter Fagan (Walnut Creek/ Richmond) ŠŠ Commissioner Lowell Richards (Pittsburg/ Martinez)


A L A

Thursday, October 1, 2015

G CEPTION RE

Lafayette Park Hotel

e

ER'S T N E CE C I T ject US o J r P Y IL ator b u FAM c l In Lega port in sup

of th

Stephanie Meyer, Renee Haase and Roxanne Ayala

Susun Kim, Executive Director, Family Justice Center

Ora Prochovnick and Mika Domingo

Jeffrey Thayer and Nick Casper

Comm. Josanna Berkow (Ret.)

Martin Johnson and Hon. David Hunter (Ret.) Hon. Richard Flier (Ret.)

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

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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MCLE Spectacular! CONCURRENT   MORNING  SEMINARS

CONCURRENT   AFTERNOON  SEMINARS

9:45 – 11:45 am | Registration 8 – 9:45 am 

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

SEMINAR #1 2 Hours General MCLE Credit Co-sponsored by CCCBA and its ADR and Litigation Sections

SEMINAR #2 2 Hours Appellate Specialization MCLE Credit Co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Appellate Section

SEMINAR #3 2 Hours General MCLE Credit Co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Bankruptcy Law Section

SEMINAR #4 2 Hours General MCLE Credit Co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Family Law Section

SEMINAR #5 1 Hour Ethics and 1 Hour General MCLE Credit Co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Solo/ Small Firm Section

SEMINAR #6 2 Hours General MCLE Credit Co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Women’s Section

24

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2015 WALNUT CREEK MARRIOTT

Last Dance, Last Chance: Using the “Settlement-Mentor” Program to Settle Cases on the Eve of Trial Speakers: Hon. Laurel Brady, Contra Costa Superior Court John Cavin, Esq., Hoge Fenton Jones & Appel Beth Mora, Esq., Mora Employment Law Malcolm Sher, Esq., 4 Mediated Solutions

Perfecting (and Imperfecting) the Record at Trial: Anticipating the Appeal Speakers: Justice Mark B. Simons, First District Court of Appeal, Division 5 Gary A. Watt, Partner/Certified Appellate Specialist, Archer Norris Don Willenburg, Partner, Gordon & Rees, LLP

Slamming the Brakes: Dealing with a Bankruptcy Filing Speakers: David A. Arietta, Esq., Law Office of David A. Arietta Scott Jordan, Dunning Law Firm M. Jeffrey Micklas, Law Offices of M. Jeffrey Micklas Leo Spanos, Staff Attorney, Office of Martha G. Brontsky, Chapter 13 Trustee

Premarital Agreements: What to Cover, Uncover, Protect & Provide Speakers: Terence Daniel Doyle, Esq., Doyle Quane Family Law Group Virginia Palmer, Esq., Wendel Rosen Black & Dean, LLP Diana E. Richmond, Esq., Sideman & Bancroft, LLP Moderator: Anne Freeman, Esq., Sideman & Bancroft, LLP

How to Open a Law Firm: Tips and Tricks for Solos and Small Firms Speakers: Heidi Coad-Hermelin, Esq. Ann M. Dalsin, Esq. William A. Hickey, Esq. Andrew J. McCall, Esq. David S. Pearson, Esq.

Secrets Revealed by Plaintiff’s Attorneys, Defense Attorneys and Mediators: Tips on How to Make Mediation Successful Speakers: Hon. Lynn Duryee (Ret.), JAMS Mary E. Alexander, Mary Alexander and Associates, PC Sarah F. Burke, Burke ADR Wilma J. Gray, McNamara, Ney, Beatty, Slattery, Borges & Ambacher, LLP Jordan M. Rojas, Berding & Weil, LLP Moderator: Gina D. Boer, Haapala, Thompson & Abern, LLP

NOVEMBER 2015

The Sequel: Your Brief as a Best Selling Novel Speakers: Claudia Hagadus Long, Attorney/Mediator Wendy McGuire Coats, McGuire Coats, LLP

Restorative Justice and Non-violent Communication: Powerful ADR Models for Settling Conflicts in Law and Life Speakers: Hon. Rebecca Hardie, Contra Costa Superior Court Fania Davis, J.D., Ph.D., Co-Founder/Executive Director, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth Kiki Ingram, Probation Supervisor, Contra Costa County Miki Kashtan, Co-Founder/Lead Facilitator, Bay Area Nonviolent Communication Moderator: Barbara Bryant, Esq.

Two Entrepreneurs Walk Out of a Bar Speakers: D. Benjamin Borson, Ph.D., Borson Law Group, PC Roger J. Brothers, Esq., Buchman Provine Brothers Smith, LLP Chris Covington, Covington Business Law Michelle Ferber, Ferber Law, APC Kent C. Parr, Esq., Law Office of Kent C. Parr

Elder Law: Civil vs. Probate ... Deciding the Proper Forum Speakers: Hon. Joyce Cram (Ret.) Maria I. Lawless, Evans, Latham & Campisi Jon Vaught, Vaught & Boutris, LLP

A Judge’s Perspective on What Convinces Juries and Judges in Employment Cases Speaker: Hon. Harold Kahn, San Francisco Superior Court Moderator: Jessica Braverman, Braverman Mediation & Consulting

Hashing Out the Details: Taxes, Real Estate and Cannabis in California Speakers: Fredrick A. Hagen, Berding & Weil, LLP Matthew Kumin, The Law Offices of Matthew Kumin

SEMINAR #7 2 hours General MCLE Credit Sponsored by CCCBA

SEMINAR #8 2 hours General MCLE Credit Co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Alternative Dispute Resolution, Criminal Law and Juvenile Law Sections

SEMINAR #9 1.5 Hours General and 0.5 Hours Elimination of Bias MCLE Credit Co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Business Law Section

SEMINAR #10 2 hours General MCLE Credit Co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Elder Law, Estate Planning & Probate and Litigation Sections

SEMINAR #11 2 hours General MCLE Credit Co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Employment Section

SEMINAR #12 2 hours General MCLE Credit Co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Taxation and Real Estate Sections


REGISTRATION FOR THE 11/20/2015 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 Anne Wolf at awolf@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 6 For Day of Event registrations, please add $25 for each full-day package or $10 per seminar to the "After 11/6" pricing.

Full-Day Package

Fee

after 11/6

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

$220

$110 CCCBA Student Members

$125

Your morning seminar choice:

#_________

$295 Non-Members

$320

Your afternoon seminar choice:

#_________

Fee

After 11/6

Your Lunch Choice:

NY Strip Steak

Salmon

Total $ Credits

Vegetarian

Individual Seminars & Rates AM Seminars (9:45 - 11:45 am) - Choose One #1 Using the "Settlement-Mentor" Program

2

#2 Perfecting (and Imperfecting) the Record at Trial

2

#3 Slamming the Brakes: Dealing with a Bankruptcy Filing

2

#4 Premarital Agreements

2

#5 How to Open a Law Firm: Tips and Tricks for Solos

2

#6 Tips on How to Make Mediation Successful

2

PM Seminars (1:45 - 3:45 pm) - Choose One #7 The Sequel: Your Brief as a Best Selling Novel #8 Restorative Justice and Non-violent Communication

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

Each Seminar: $75 $30 $95

2 2

#9 Two Entrepreneurs Walk Out of a Bar

2

#10 Elder Law: Civil vs. Probate

2

#11 A Judge's Perspective on What Convinces Juries/Judges

2

#12 Taxes, Real Estate and Cannabis

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:

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Check Enclosed Cancellations must be received by November 13 or registrants will be subject to full charge. Substitutions permitted at any time. For further information, contact Anne Wolf at (925) 370-2540 | awolf@cccba.org | fax (925) 686-9867 The Contra Costa County Bar Association is a State Bar of California MCLE approved provider. (Provider #393)

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

25


year in review

TRAFFIC Division hold on their driver’s license will be released. Also, if defendants are deemed to be in good standing on a current payment plan, they can have their license reinstated immediately.

Hon. Brian Haynes Supervising Judge

I

n 2015, we said goodbye to Commissioner Ronald Creighton (retired), and hello to Commissioner Peter Fagan, who is assigned to the Walnut Creek Court in the morning, and the Richmond Court in the afternoon. Comm. Richards now hears Pittsburg cases in the morning. His afternoon calendar in Martinez is an eclectic mix that includes name changes, small claims and unlawful detainers. Traffic matters changed at the state level. The Judicial Council recently adopted California Rule of Court 4.105(c), which outlines when a defendant is required to deposit bail prior to a court appearance. Immediately thereafter, our court made necessary changes to ensure compliance with this Rule. The court is currently in the first few months of a legislatively-required statewide Amnesty Program, which offers to those that meet specific criteria, a 50 to 80 percent reduction in outstanding fines and fees. The intent of this program is to provide relief to individuals who qualify and have found themselves in default of a court-ordered debt obligation. One important difference between this Amnesty Program and the one in 2012 is that defendants may now set up a payment plan for the reduced amnesty total, and any

26

NOVEMBER 2015

Another continuing area of focus for the Traffic Division is helping defendants better understand their options once they have received a citation. We have modified our courtesy notices to add options such as how to set up a payment plan. We also explain what will occur should no action be taken by the defendant on their citation. The court has also updated the self-help website related to traffic matters. We are pleased to report that the Centralized Traffic Unit is staying current on citations entered into the case management system once the notice is received by police agencies. This has decreased the long lines at each of our Traffic Court locations, and has significantly lowered the number of phone calls received at our call center.

While I remain the Supervising Judge of the Traffic Division, the most important work is performed by our dedicated staff members. This year brought with it the most signifi— — cant changes in traffic-related law Will/Estate Contests in many years, and I would be lost Conservatorships without the professional and creYou handle the estate, we do the contest. ative input of Kate Bieker, our depCases, except conservatorships, often uty executive officer.

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Bieker and all of the Traffic Unit staff have worked tirelessly to implement recent changes mandated by the Judicial Council and the legislature. I am confident these changes will result in better access to justice for all members of our community. s


Getting to Know Judge Anita

SANTOS by Shannon Stone

A

nita Santos is a judge of the Contra Costa Superior Court. She was appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on December 12, 2014, after serving for two years as the court’s child support commissioner. Judge Santos’ grandparents immigrated to the United States from the Cape Verde Islands, which are located in the central Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Western Africa. Residents of these islands have both Portuguese and African roots.

The youngest of three children, Judge Santos was born at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines, where her father was stationed. As a child, she lived in the Philippines, Japan and later in the Midwestern United States. She ultimately settled in Fairfield, California, where she lives with her husband of 20 years, Mitch Celaya, and their four children. Given her nomadic childhood, Judge Santos is adaptable and has performed various roles in her career. After she completed her Juris Doctor at Hastings College of Law, Judge Santos worked as a police officer with the City of Concord. She then moved on to become a deputy district attorney in Contra Costa County, where she served

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for 11 years. In 2012, Judge Santos joined the Contra Costa Superior Court as child support commissioner. When asked about the difference between serving as a judge and court commissioner, she noted that while there are many similarities between the two, the responsibilities of a judge are much greater. As a family law judge, her assignment is broader and she has more cases. Serving as a judge also provides her both the opportunity and responsibility to participate in court leadership and community outreach. Judge Santos spends her free time with her family, requiring her to keep an “insane pace.” This includes travelling, attending activities with her children, caring for elderly parents and building a new house with an in-law unit for her mother. Judge Santos looks forward to beginning her assignment as the family law judge assigned to the Pittsburg Court. s Shannon Stone is the Human Resources Director of the Superior Court. She originally joined the court in 2012 as a legal research attorney. She previously worked as an attorney practicing general civil litigation and family law.

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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Getting to Know Commissioner Peter

FAGAN by Shannon Stone

P

eter L. Fagan is a commissioner with the Contra Costa Superior Court. He joined the court in April 2015 and is presiding over the traffic, small claims and unlawful detainer calendars in Walnut Creek and Richmond. Beginning in November 2015, he will also be presiding over the court’s new Traffic Night Court calendar two evenings per month in Walnut Creek. Comm. Fagan was born in Key West, Florida, where his father worked for Westinghouse and his mother was a homemaker. He calls Bloomington, Indiana, his hometown, which is where he attended high school and completed his undergraduate degree in business. Comm. Fagan had known since grade school that he wanted to be a lawyer and, shortly after graduating from Indiana University, he enrolled in the University of San Diego School of Law. After graduation, he joined the Navy and its Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG). He was initially stationed in the Philippines and quickly learned everything from criminal defense to international law. He also had the opportunity to meet and negotiate deals with U.S. and foreign officials—included among these was

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his pelota partner, Fidel V. Ramos, who later became the 12th president of the Philippines. He next served on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Constellation. As the ship’s only attorney, he was asked to work on assignments ranging from criminal investigations to war planning. He also served as general counsel for the ship’s commander. One case that Comm. Fagan finds memorable is when he was asked to defend the commander of the aircraft carrier off the coast of Oman in an international criminal case arising out of an accident between the carrier and a Bangladeshi freighter. The commander was acquitted. Years later, while serving as the vice chair of naval affairs, the former commander hired Comm. Fagan to serve as his general counsel. Comm. Fagan also served as legal and legislative counsel for two different secretaries of the Navy, and attended the National War College, earning a Master of Science in national security strategy. He later moved to San Diego and was assigned to serve as the head of the Joint Legal Services Office, which provided criminal defense and general legal assistance for local Navy and Marine service members.

His final assignment was as the supervising judge for the Navy and Marine Corps Trial Judiciary, where he presided over misdemeanor and felony trials. During his tenure, Comm. Fagan was designated a national security judge. Although he retired before any tribunals were convened, he had been screened to preside over military tribunals in Guantanamo Bay. After retiring from the Navy, Comm. Fagan opened a private practice in San Diego, advising defense contractors on State Department regulations and practiced in real estate and family law mediation. In 2003, he also began working with the San Diego Superior Court as a pro tem judge in small claims, juvenile and traffic cases as well as family law settlements. Comm. Fagan has been married for 38 years and has six children and three grandchildren. s Shannon Stone is the Human Resources Director of the Superior Court. She originally joined the court in 2012 as a legal research attorney. She previously worked as an attorney practicing general civil litigation and family law.


THE $5 BABY Interview with Commissioner Kathleen Murphy by Magda Lopez

I

recently had the pleasure of sitting down with our Child Support Commissioner, Kathleen Murphy, to ask her a few questions. I hope you will enjoy her answers as much as I did.

Tell me a little bit about your past—where were you born?

My dad was in the Navy and my mom is from Berkeley. I was born at the Naval Hospital in Oakland. My mother keeps reminding me that I was a $5 baby—and then they got a $2.50 refund when I left the hospital. My family moved east when I was about two years old. I lived in central New Jersey, where I attended a Polish grammar school (I can say my prayers in Polish). When I was starting my sophomore year in high school, my dad was hired as the administrator of the new hospital being built in Saranac Lake, New York (in the Adirondacks near Lake Placid), so I finished high school in that very small town.

I understand you were a nurse before you became a lawyer. Actually, I didn’t start out to be a nurse. I went to college at Fordham. After my freshman year, I worked at an emergency room and decided I really enjoyed the work. I then transferred over to Mt. Sinai and graduated with a B.S. in nursing.

What was your first job out of college? I worked for The Visiting Nurse Service of New York in the early 1970s. I was assigned to work in Harlem and the South Bronx. Among other things, I taught diabetics how to inject themselves (this was back in the day when you had to boil your needles). I visited new moms and taught them how to bathe their babies, gave people vitamin B-12 ESTATE PLANNER: WANT TO RETIRE? shots and changed colostomy bags. I really liked workLeading Estate Planning Law Firm desires ing with the people, but I had to give it up when I started having kids.

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After my fourth child, I went to work at an oncology ward in New Jersey. Then I had my fifth and last kid and moved to Massachusetts. At that point I got into selling real estate. The things you have to do to sell a house; suffice it to say that there are lots of Kathleen Murphy memorial chandeliers in Massachusetts.

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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The $5 Baby, cont. from page 29

Have any interesting stories from those days? Well I do remember meeting a couple from California who said they wanted “an older home.” I showed them some lovely homes from the 1700s. Turns out what they meant was that they wanted a tract house from the 1950s!

At some point you must have switched to law? One day I was driving around with my real estate business partner—we were arguing about something—and in the middle of our discussion, he looked at me and said, “You should have been a lawyer.” This was the exact same thing my parents always said to me, so I thought “maybe he’s right.” He drove me to Northeastern University and we got the LSAT paperwork that same day.

I ultimately decided that family law was the perfect fit for me: Real estate issues, one-on-one work with people and lots of problem-solving.

to record it and watch afterwards. Otherwise, I get so involved in the game that my heart starts pounding too hard.

After graduation, I accepted a job with Peter Lowenstein’s firm. He was very pleased to learn that before I could start work, I would have to serve as a juror in a three-week murder trial in Judge (now Justice) Mark Simon’s department.

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?

I was elected foreperson of that jury and learned more about criminal law in those three weeks than I ever did in law school. I got my bar exam results during the trial and everyone on the jury was very happy for me—it was sweet.

Rumor has it that you’re a sports fan. I love watching the Warriors and the Oakland A’s. Harrison Barnes is my favorite player because he is such a decent guy. Much as I love basketball, though, if I am not watching it at the arena, I have

I watch “The Walking Dead.”

What is one thing that most people don’t know about you? My sisters and I used to sing. We were known as “The Murphy Sisters” and sang folk and pop—back then I even played guitar. s Madga Lopez joined the Contra Costa Superior Court after 20+ years in civil practice. As the Director of Court Programs and Services, her responsibilities include supervision of all aspects of family law, the legal research attorneys, alternative dispute resolution programs and the interpreters.

How was law school? During my first year of law school, my husband got a job in California. He moved in the middle of the year while I went to school, took care of the kids and sold the house. When I finally got to Concord, it was 104 degrees the day we moved in. Shortly thereafter, I took BART to the University of San Francisco, where it was 55 degrees—nothing can prepare you for that!

You made it through law school—and then what led you to family law? I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do—med mal? Real estate? Insurance defense? At some point, I took a community property class that I thought was really interesting. Then I found an internship at a family law firm in Walnut Creek (thank you, John Manoogian).

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Addressing Chronic Absenteeism: New Court Proceedings by Hon. Rebecca Hardie

I

n December 2013, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Attorney General Kamala Harris and leaders of other organizations convened a statewide summit to address the issue of chronic absenteeism and truancy in California public schools. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye called on every county’s superior court to designate one juvenile court judge to attend and be responsible for convening a local working group to combat the problem. I agreed to represent the Contra Costa Court, and joined representatives from the District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, Contra Costa County Office of Education, Probation Department and other contributors to the juvenile justice system in Contra Costa County. While presiding over juvenile delinquency and dependency matters since January 2013, I have learned firsthand how devastating it is when children do not succeed at school. In juvenile dependency cases, I encounter children of all ages who come from homes with issues of substance abuse and domestic violence. Lacking consistent schedules around bedtime, someone to help with homework and someone to get them to and from school, these children often fend for themselves. As a result, these children typically have high rates of absenteeism, truancy and behavioral issues. I have noticed many of the same issues of poor school attendance. These children are often truants, have extensive school disciplinary records, lag far behind in school credits and turn to drugs and alcohol. Students learn to read by the third grade. Experts tell us, however, that students who are chronically absent (missing 10 percent or more of school for any reason, ex-

cused or unexcused) in kindergarten and first grade are less likely to read proficiently by the third grade. As they get older, these students often have lower sixth-grade test scores, are less likely to be literate, to be chronically absent and have disciplinary issues at school. Chronic absence in the sixth grade is the most predictive indicator that a student will not graduate from high school. According to statistics provided at the summit, Contra Costa County ranked fourth in the state, out of 58 counties, in elementary school truancy rates. The summit brought the issues of chronic absenteeism in our county into sharper focus for all of us who care about juvenile justice.

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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Chronic Absenteeism, cont. from page 31

Since the summit, we have formed a local workgroup that includes representatives from community service organizations, various school districts, the County Office of Education, the District Attorney’s Office and Probation. This group has formulated a more comprehensive and holistic plan to address chronic absenteeism and truancy for children enrolled in kindergarten through seventh or eighth grade. Currently, there is only one court proceeding a month to address habitual truancy. This court proceeding is a School Attendance Review Board (SARB), which the student (regardless of his or her age) and a parent are required to attend. Starting in October 2015, the court added a bimonthly truancy court calendar for parents charged by the District Attorney’s Office for failing to ensure their child’s regular attendance in school. This process is modeled after Alameda County’s Parent Truancy Court.

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If the parent successfully participates in the process and demonstrates that he or she is able to guarantee daily attendance, the case will be dismissed.

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Elder Law is

In this court, parents are referred for services that can help the family to remove barriers to their children’s regular school attendance. These parents are then required to return to court every four to six weeks so that the court may monitor their children’s attendance.

Every child in California has the right to an education. Recognizing our role in ensuring that each child has the opportunity to succeed and reach his or her potential, the Contra Costa County bench is committed to addressing the issue of chronic absenteeism and truancy in our jurisdiction. s

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Reducing the Incidence of Domestic Violence: One Person at a Time

by Mimi L. Zemmelman

T

he Contra Costa Superior Court is pleased to announce that we have formally launched a second Intensive Support Program (ISP) for felony and misdemeanor domestic violence offenders who have been assessed at medium to high risk of reoffending. The success of the Domestic Violence Intensive Support Program (DV ISP) is due, in large part, to the leadership of Hon. Trevor White, the dedication of our extraordinary partners in the Public Defender’s Office, District Attorney’s Office, and County Probation departments, and our new court Case Coordinator, Katherine Webster. This new program is funded by a two-year grant from the Judicial Council’s Recidivism Reduction Grant Program. The goal of this program is to help stop domestic violence by enhancing available treatment programs, assigning mentors who will provide participants with one-on-one support and making appropriate referrals to public and community programs that can meet offenders’ additional service needs. Participation in this new program is voluntary. At their first meeting, Webster talks with DV ISP participants about issues they may have regarding their living, working or family life situation, and helps each person develop a statement of personal goals and an individual service plan to address their needs.

As participants progress in their treatment program, pursue service referrals and accumulate a network of individuals who agree to support them in their efforts, they can receive transit passes to help them make their various appointments, and tangible acknowledgment for their success in moving through program phases in the form of small vouchers that include food, clothing and essential household items. In the event participants do not follow their individual service plans or reoffend, they can face sanctions such as performing community service or serving brief periods of time in custody. The DV ISP is modeled on proven program models established by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP). The NADCP has been able to show, through rigorous program evaluation nationwide, that when a judge supervises their progress, abusive/addicted offenders are six times more likely to stay in treatment long enough for them to get better. Implementation of these models in any court, therefore, rely on a set of core components including: 1. Regular Court Review: Parolees or probationers are required to report to the Friday DV court calendar as appropriate to their individual circumstances and progress in the program. 2. Supervision by a Probation Officer: DV court probation offi-

cers monitor compliance of the terms of probation. 3. Batterer’s Intervention Program Attendance: Tailored to address high-risk offenders, attendees complete a court-ordered 52week batterer’s intervention program. 4. Individualized Services: All offenders are linked to other supportive services such as alcohol and substance abuse counseling, mental health treatment, employment assistance, health care services and other ancillary services to address individual offender needs. 5. Sanctions and Rewards: A schedule of sanctions and incentives are used to increase accountability and compliance. 6. Successful Completion or Termination: The criteria for completion includes a requirement for completion of treatment and reduced risk as measured at treatment completion. For more information on these programs in general, visit: http:// www.nadcp.org/. For more information about our local program, contact Katherine Webster at kwebs@contracosta.courts.ca.gov or (925) 957-5642. s Mimi Lyster Zemmelman is the Director of Business Planning, Information and Programs, and the court’s Public Information Officer.

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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Photo courtesy of the Contra Costa Homeless Program.

Homeless Court Hon. Steven K. Austin Presiding Judge

F

or the last eight years, on the second Thursday of each month, I pack up my robe and nameplate. Then, my clerk, Annie Young, my bailiff, Patrick Snider, and I all head over to the Homeless Shelter on Arnold Industrial Way in Concord to conduct the Contra Costa Community Homeless Court. If you’ve never been to the shelter before, you might miss it in an area of light industrial buildings on the north side of Highway 4. Like the shelter on Brookside in Richmond, this shelter has the capacity to serve over 160 men and women. Over the course of a year, these buildings provide shelter and services for all too many residents of our county. As I walk through the parking lot outside the shelter, I’m almost always greeted warmly by residents. Often, somebody breaks into a rendition of “Here comes the judge! Here comes the judge!” Once we get into the building, it’s a short walk to the courtroom past some donated couches where people sleep. This courtroom looks a little different from the one I usually sit in. Most of the time, it serves as the shelter cafeteria. My bench is a little folding table at one end of the room next to the formica counter in front of the open kitchen. By the time we get there, the room is already packed with anxious court participants, each of whom has been individually recommended by a counselor, case manager or social worker who has witnessed that person’s constant endeavors to break out of homelessness. Almost every participant I encounter has spent hundreds of hours doing whatever it takes to get back on their feet. They have completed lengthy drug or alcohol treatment programs, job training classes, anger manage-

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ment courses and mental health counseling sessions. By sticking with their programs and maintaining their diligent efforts, these men and women have made it to a point where they can once again live a normal life with a home, a job and a family. One big barrier stands in the way, however. While living on the street, people who are homeless are often cited for minor infractions such as panhandling, jaywalking and drinking in public. If they have a car, they often get tickets for driving without a license or failing to maintain insurance. If these tickets aren’t addressed right away, penalty fines and civil assessments are added to the initial bail amount. Having just a few of these tickets can quickly result in thousands of dollars of debt. When the debt isn’t paid, driver’s licenses get suspended, and it can become impossible to secure housing and other benefits. Homeless Court can play a vital role in these individuals’ lives, because the significant time people have spent in their treatment programs can be recognized as an offset towards their outstanding debt, thereby validating their hard work and determination to improve their lives. In most cases, all of a person’s outstanding ticket debt can be satisfied. Once the fines are no longer due, participants can often get their driver’s licenses renewed and get on track for a new job and a new home. People are so thankful for having the weight of this debt lifted, and for the freedom to get on with their lives. Most of them have lived with this burden for years. They often don’t believe it really happened. Sometimes they shed a few tears. Sometimes the judge does too. s


CONGRATULATIONS

to This Year’s BAR FUND Recipient: Family Justice Center’s Legal Incubator Project Thanks to the generous sponsors, Gala Reception attendees, silent auction winners and other donors, the CCCBA was able to raise $38,500 for the Contra Costa Family Justice Center’s Legal Incubator Project. Your generosity will enable the FJC to support new attorneys in getting their practices off the ground while they give pro bono time to the clients of the Family Justice Center. Mentors are still needed for the Legal Incubator Project in various practice areas. To get involved, please contact Susun Kim at (510) 965-4949.

Thank you to the sponsors of this project: PLATINUM SPONSORS

GOLD SPONSORS

Acuña, Regli & Klein, LLP Buchman Provine Brothers Smith, LLP Miller Starr Regalia

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SILVER SPONSORS

Bramson, Plutzik, Mahler & Birkhaeuser, LLP Brown, Church & Gee, LLP Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook Horner & Singer, LLP JAMS LexisNexis Littler Mendelson, PC McNamara, Ney, Beatty, Slattery, Borges & Ambacher

The Mullin Law Firm Rains Lucia Stern, PC Robert Half Legal Steele, George, Schofield & Ramos, LLP Vasquez, Benisek & Lindgren, LLP Whipple, Mercado & Associates, LLP Whiting, Fallon, Ross & Abel, LLP

CONTRIBUTORS

$500 - $1,999 Alternative Dispute Resolution Section* Business Law Section Criminal Law Section Elder Law Section Employment Section Family Law Section Litigation Section Real Estate Section

$100 - $499 Appellate Section Bankruptcy Law Section Sharon and David Braz Law Office of Mary P. Carey Hon. Judith Craddick (in memory of Howard Maccabee, PhD, MD) Intellectual Property Section Judicate West Juvenile Law Section

Robert Sallander Solo Practice & Small Firm Section Taxation Section West County Section

*All sections listed are CCCBA sections unless otherwise noted.

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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GOT JURY? Hon. Mary Ann O’Malley Supervising Judge Pittsburg’s TV will finally be fixed. We have also ordered new chairs with plugs for electronic devices that are on the way.

A

s chair of the court’s Jury Committee, I have important information to share about exciting changes we are making to improve jurors’ experience in Contra Costa County. First, we are in the process of migrating our computer-based juror management system to the web. Soon, jurors will be able to access more information online and, in turn, give us more information regarding their service, allowing our court staff to work more efficiently and to move us closer to a paperless process. In addition to saving us time and money, it will enable staff to focus on providing better service for our jurors and helping trial departments with their jury needs. This system will also allow us to keep accurate statistics so that we can assess the needs of our jurors and continue to improve our system in the future. Second, our jury assembly rooms are getting a much needed facelift. Three new large TVs have already been installed in Martinez. Richmond will soon have a new TV and

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When jurors report for duty in any of our court locations, they will find that the check-in process is much faster when they use one of the new airport-style kiosks, and they will be treated to an inspiring video about our CASA program, which will hopefully enlist future volunteers. Once they are installed this fall, these kiosks will reduce long lines and allow jurors needing assistance to be helped quickly. Lastly, we are changing the manner in which we summon jurors. Instead of sending out a long document with a portion to be separated and mailed back to the court, we will be using a postcard. The postcard will direct jurors how to respond online or, if need be,

by phone. This change will reduce costs to the court and make it much easier for jurors to report for duty. We will also be shortening the time it takes to get jurors to the courtroom by updating and improving our general questionnaires, and asking jurors to complete their questionnaires online rather than in the jury room or hallway of the courthouse. Jury staff can then send the completed questionnaires electronically to the appropriate courtroom clerk once the juror has been assigned to a department, and provide counsel with a copy of the completed questionnaire that they can actually read. The major highlights I have pointed out here are only a few of the improvements you can expect to see over the coming months. I know how excited you must be to receive your jury summons in the mail! See you in court. s

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Proposition 47:

A View from the Bench by Hon. Terri Mockler

L

ast November, California voters passed Proposition 47—the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act—which amended numerous statutes that define various theft-related and drug possession offenses. For example, Proposition 47 converted straight possession of drugs (regardless of the type of drug) and various theft-related offenses involving a loss under $950 to misdemeanors. Additionally, the Proposition created a process for recalling and resentencing people who had either served or were presently serving a sentence for an offense now deemed to be a misdemeanor. This part of the Proposition is codified in a new statute, Penal Code section 1170.18. Typically, a proposition that involves substantial changes to the law includes a provision that the

changes are prospective and do not go into effect until a defined future date. That period, usually a few months, is used by courts and agencies affected by the changes to develop and implement the procedures and protocols necessary to effectively address changes in the law. There was no such provision included in Proposition 47. Instead, all of the changes became effective on November 5, 2014—the day after the Proposition passed. Contra Costa Superior Court did its best to develop and institute procedures necessary to implement the legal changes, and held the first Proposition 47 calendar on November 7, 2014, just two days after the law became effective. I was designated to preside over the first Proposition 47 resentencing calendar, and continue to preside over a weekly calendar hearing these cases.

The emphasis was on providing immediate relief under the new law to folks then in custody. The Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office all worked hard to ensure that as many people as possible who were eligible for a reduction in charges and were in custody would get the benefit of this new law. There were many happy people that day. However, after the euphoria of those first few days dissipated, the challenges the court would face implementing the new law became all too apparent. For example, the texts of the Proposition and of Penal Code section 1170.18 do not address, or even contemplate, some of the complexities that have since arisen. In addition, the language provides no guidance to the courts in how to determine the value of a loss in theft matters, or whether the law required reductions and resen-

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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Proposition 47, cont. from page 37 tencing on a single count when the defendant was convicted of other counts not eligible for relief on the same pleading.

While many of these issues were eventually decided by the appellate courts, those decisions did not start coming until nearly the end of April 2015—six months after the law’s effective date and after hundreds of petitions for reductions had been granted.

Further, the new law makes no reference to plea bargained dispositions for a reduction of serious charges in exchange for a state prison sentence on a lesser charge—including the very offenses intended to be ineligible for reduction (like robbery, residential burglary, carjacking and possession for sale of drugs).

When the appellate courts disagreed with the trial court’s decisions on these unsettled issues, the cases had to be heard all over again. There could be yet more rehearings if the California Supreme Court modifies those intermediate appellate decisions.

That omission is particularly problematic since the majority of criminal matters are resolved through these negotiated dispositions, which are entered into after victims of the criminal conduct have had an opportunity to provide their input on the proposed disposition.

As I look back on the first 10 months in a post-Proposition 47 world, I am struck by how ill-suited the Proposition system is to addressing complex criminal justice issues, and how difficult it is for judges to tease from ambiguous words, si-

lence and lofty goals, the practical rules they must apply. However unintended some of the consequences, the Act did accomplish some of what it set out to do, releasing hundreds of people from prisons and jails. The Act as stated in the voter’s pamphlet, shows what people wanted: “The people enact the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act to ensure that prison spending is focused on violent and serious offenses, to maximize alternatives for nonserious, nonviolent crime and to invest the savings generated from this act into prevention and support programs in K-12 schools, victim services, and mental health and drug treatment. This act ensures that sentences for people convicted of dangerous crimes like rape, murder and child molestation are not changed.” The primary purpose of the Proposition was to divert money from corrections to schools and mental health services, which is a laudable goal.

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In addition, the Proposition remedied inequities in drug possession cases by treating straight possession of drugs, like cocaine and heroin, the same as possession of methamphetamine. This change was long overdue. To be clear, I do hope our schools and mental health providers receive more funding they desperately need as a result of Proposition 47. But the fallout from the gaps in Proposition 47, and the resulting burdens on the courts, which now must overturn judgments and negotiated dispositions, despite promises originally made to crime victims, means the diversion of funds from corrections to schools and mental health services is coming at a price. Occasionally, as we have learned, that price can be very high. s


A Heartfelt Thank You to Our Amazing

2015 Section Leaders! They plan your breakfasts, lunches and dinners. They help you mix, forum, summit, brown bag and discuss. They make sure you are updated, certified, workshopped, overviewed, seminared, programmed, networked and informed. It is safe to say that by the end of 2015, because of their fearless and creative leadership, you, the members of the CCCBA, have had an incredible year of learning, growth and fun! THANK YOU Section Leaders for taking time out from your busy practices to keep your CCCBA vibrant, current and fabulous!

2015 Section Leaders: ADR: John Cavin APPELLATE: Gary A. Watt BANKRUPTCY LAW: David Arietta BARRISTERS: Konstantine Demiris BUSINESS LAW: Kent Parr CRIMINAL LAW: Mary Carey ELDER LAW: Joseph Morrill EMPLOYMENT: Jessica Braverman ESTATE PLANNING & PROBATE: Virginia George FAMILY LAW: Marcia Keefe INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: Stuart J. West JUVENILE LAW: Rhonda Wilson-Rice LAW STUDENT: Eliza Jasinska / Jennifer Navalle LITIGATION: Justin Schnitzler / Geoffrey Steele REAL ESTATE: Chad Gallagher SOLO/SMALL FIRM: Andrew McCall TAXATION: Christina Weed WEST COUNTY: Adrienne Haddad / Karen Juster Hecht WOMEN: Marta Vanegas

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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CALENDAR UPCOMING EVENTS | OVERVIEW November 5 | Diversity Committee

Judicial Appointments Workshop more details on page 41 November 10 | Barristers/Young Lawyers Section

CCCBA and CalCPA Mixer more details on page 41 November 19 | Estate Planning & Probate Section

Estate Planning & Probate Mentoring Group Meeting more details on page 41

December 3 | Barristers/Young Lawyers Section

Barristers Holiday Party more details on page 41 December 10 | Estate Planning & Probate Section

Estate Planning & Probate Mentoring Group Meeting more details on page 41 December 17 | CCCBA

CCCBA Holiday Party more details on page 41

November 20 | CCCBA

21st Annual MCLE Spectacular more details on page 25

For up-to-date information on programs, visit www.cccba.org/attorney/calendar and/or subscribe to our weekly “Events & News” email. To subscribe, text CCCBA to 22828.

to t e g r o f don’t w your rene ba ccc rship e b m e m

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NOVEMBER 2015


November 5 | Diversity Committee

Judicial Appointments Workshop Sponsored by CCCBA’s Diversity Committee, the National Association of Women Judges and the State Bar Council on Access and Fairness. A panel of judges and the Chair of the JNE Commission will discuss how judges are appointed. Panelists will help demystify the judicial appointments process by providing tips for completing the online application and describing the JNE review process.

November 10 | Barristers/Young Lawyers Section

November 19 | Estate Planning & Probate Section

CCCBA and CalCPA Mixer

Estate Planning & Probate Mentoring Group Meeting

Join the CalCPA East Bay Chapter Emerging Professionals Group and the CCCBA’s Barristers Section for their second joint Emerging Professionals ABC Night. This is an opportunity for emerging attorneys, bankers, CPAs and other financial professionals to grow their professional network. Registration includes one drink ticket and appetizers. Cash bar available.

Speakers: Hon. Anita Santos Hon. Diana Becton Hon. John Cope Hon. Marguerite Downing Robin Pearson Kimberly Knill | Patricia Lee

Time: 5:30 pm – 8 pm

Time: 5:30 pm – 8 pm

Registration: Online at www.calcpa.org

Location: 1515 Restaurant & Lounge, 1515 N. Main St., Walnut Creek Cost: $15 for advanced registration, $20 at the door

Location: CCCBA Office, 5th Floor Conference Room, 2300 Clayton Rd., Concord

December 3 | Barristers/Young Lawyers Section

December 10 | Estate Planning & Probate Section

Barristers Holiday Party

Estate Planning & Probate Mentoring Group Meeting

Location: Blu42 Sports Bar, 1251 Arroyo Way, Walnut Creek More information coming soon.

Please bring your brown bag lunch. Time: 12 pm – 1:15 pm Location: CCC District Attorney’s Office Community Room, 900 Ward St., Martinez

More Info: Contact Anne Wolf at (925) 370-2540 or awolf@cccba.org

Registration: Online at www.cccba.org/attorney/calendar

Time: 5:30 pm – 8 pm

Each month we will focus primarily on one or more announced topics, with freedom to roam into related topics if there is sufficient interest. November’s topic: Introductions and General Practice Area Issues.

Registration: Online at www.cccba.org/attorney/calendar

Cost: $10 for CCCBA members, $25 for non-members

SAVE THE DATE!

This is the first of a monthly series of open-discussion meetings where those new to the estates and trusts practice area, or those interested in making the switch to this area, can pose questions and engage in lively discussion with several experienced practitioners from the section.

On the second Thursday of every month, the section will hold its monthly mentoring group open-discussion meetings where those new to the estates and trusts practice area, or those interested in making the switch to this area, can pose questions and engage in lively discussion with several experienced practitioners from the section. Each month we will focus primarily on one or more announced topics, with freedom to roam into related topics if there is sufficient interest. December’s topic: Estate Planning Software Pros and Cons. Please bring your brown bag lunch.

December 17 | CCCBA

CCCBA Holiday Party Join us in celebrating the holiday season! 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 23rd Annual Toy Drive for homeless children, sponsored by the CCCBA’s Juvenile Law Section. Time: 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm Location: CCCBA Office, 5th Floor Conference Room, 2300 Clayton Rd., Concord Registration: Online at www.cccba.org/attorney/calendar More Info: Contact Anne Wolf at (925) 370-2540 or awolf@cccba.org

Time: 12 pm – 1:15 pm Location: CCC District Attorney’s Office Community Room, 900 Ward St., Martinez Registration: Online at www.cccba.org/attorney/calendar

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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NOVEMBER 2015

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CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER

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NOVEMBER 2015

Profile for CCCBA - Contra Costa Lawyer

Contra Costa Lawyer, November 2015  

Bench/Bar edition

Contra Costa Lawyer, November 2015  

Bench/Bar edition

Profile for cccba