Dean Mullins's blog
Dean Mullins's blog
In 1993, Luigi Ferri walked into 1001 California St., San Francisco and killed eight persons using an assault rifle with clips holding 32 rounds. In the aftermath, the Federal Assault weapon ban was passed and has since lapsed. In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which shields firearms manufacturers and dealers from civil liability in both federal and state courts.
Among the recent spate of bills passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor was SB 134, almost unnoticed by the news agencies. Why? It provides money for lawyers, specifically ‘public interest’ attorneys.
As you know, all private practice attorneys must have a client trust fund. From time to time, the interest on those funds is not claimed. Where does this money go? Those unclaimed funds are subject to escheat: the State takes the money.
As of January 1, 2016, a new restraining order will be possible. AB1014 is scheduled to be effective on that date and thus far its implementation is doubtful. The new statutes, Division 18122 of the Penal Code, will establish a means to obtain a restraining order to prevent persons from possessing or having access to firearms. Responding to the tragedy in Isla Vista, Santa Barbara California in which a disgruntled, mentally ill student killed a number of innocent persons, despite a visit by law enforcement officials days before the incident.
Turn our attention to Tort law, or civil wrongs, we find a new definition of battery in the Restatement of Torts, 2015.
SB 213 was set for hearing in the Assembly Committee for Public Safety, but its chance of passage is risky. The bill would reduce preemptory challenges in misdemeanor cases from 10 to 6 and is opposed by defense counsel and public defenders. Pushed by the Judicial Council, the courts hope to see quicker jury trials as less courtroom time is spent on jury selection, a laborious process at best.
The California State Bar Test will now be two days instead of three beginning July 2017. No, this change is not due to the miserable bar pass rate of the last two bar exams, 39.5% and 48% respectively, but has been under study for some time. According to the Committee of Bar Examiners, the experts assure the reliability of the new test will not change, although the test will still examine the same thirteen subjects, minus one essay and one performance test. Multi-choice will comprise the entire second day.