Monday, October 22, 2018

People v. Bedolla (Cal. Ct. App. - Oct. 22, 2018)

The typical opinion has some terrible, tragic facts and is depressing.  Yet today's opinion actually contains some degree of happiness.  It could have been a terrible thing.  But ends up being just a frightening event that hopefully the kid gets over.

Here are the facts:

"A.D., who was then 14 years old, rode his bicycle home from school on October 31, 2014, around 12:30 p.m. He entered the house, locked the door, and went upstairs to his room. He and his 11-year-old brother were the only people at home. About 10 minutes later, A.D. heard knocking at the front door. He ignored it but it became louder so he went downstairs and looked through the front door peephole. He saw a man, later identified as Bedolla, wearing a white t-shirt. A.D. did not know the man, so he returned upstairs and looked out the window for a better view. Another man, wearing a black hoodie, was pacing between the front walkway and the sidewalk. He appeared to be acting as a lookout. Meanwhile, the banging on the front door became louder, like kicking. A.D. heard more than 30 kicks and believed someone was trying to break in. He called his father who told him to call 911.

A City of San Jose police officer arrived at the scene within 30 to 45 seconds of the emergency call. Two men were standing in the driveway of A.D.’s house. They took off running. The officer intercepted them and detained them at gunpoint. One suspect, later identified as Joseph Mariscal, was wearing a black jacket with a gray hoodie. The other, identified as Bedolla, was wearing a white t-shirt. Officers brought Bedolla and Mariscal to the sidewalk in front of A.D.’s house for an in-field identification. A.D. identified them from the upstairs window as the individuals he had seen outside his house.

The front door of A.D.’s house was closed when the officers arrived and was visibly damaged. There was white debris on the door mat and splinters from the door, which was “almost partially open.” The damage was consistent with other burglaries in which the front door had been kicked in. Shoe prints on the door matched the shoes worn by Mariscal."

You gotta love that the San Jose police officer arrived within 30 to 45 seconds after the 911 call.  An event that made all the difference here.

The defendant, Mr. Bedolla, ends up essentially getting sentenced to time served -- the 215 days he was in jail before trial (since he couldn't bond out).  Plus three years of probation.  So not a huge penalty.

Though this is not Mr. Bedolla's first run-in with the criminal justice system.  (Though he's also far from a hardened criminal.  Yet.)  We'll see whether we run into his name again in some future case.

Hopefully not.

In the meantime, let's all be thankful for the 30- to 45-second response time here.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Pagnini v. Union Bank (Cal. Ct. App. - Nov. 17, 2018)

"In September 2014, appellant filed the present action against respondents, alleging wrongful foreclosure and related causes of action arising from a July 2012 trustee’s sale of appellant’s real property. In May 2016, respondents demurred to all causes of action in appellant’s complaint. On June 10, respondents filed a notice of non-receipt of opposition to the demurrer. On July 13, the trial court sustained the demurrer without leave to amend and entered judgment in favor of respondents.

On January 12, 2017, almost six months after entry of the judgment, appellant moved for relief from the judgment under Section 473(b). He submitted a sworn declaration from his counsel in which counsel averred he attempted to file an amended complaint on June 14, 2016, shortly before the June 16 hearing on the demurrer. The court clerk declined to file the amended complaint because the statute allowing the filing of an amended complaint pending a hearing on a demurrer (§ 472) had been amended effective January 1, 2016, to require that an amended complaint be filed within the time provided for filing opposition to the demurrer (Stats. 2015, ch. 418, § 2). Appellant’s counsel averred that he was not aware of the amendment to the statute, which previously permitted the filing of an amended complaint at any point before the hearing."

Whoops.  That's, inter alia, why it's a good idea to keep up with recent legislation and cases.

Ultimately the Court of Appeal grants the plaintiff mandatory Section 473 relief.  But you've still got all the work, hassle, and embarrassment of having to file all that stuff.

Better not to make the mistake in the first place.  Obviously.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

E.V. v. Robinson (9th Cir. - Oct. 17, 2018)

Victim says that she was sexually assaulted by Defendant, but Defendant says it's not true.  Victim has some mental health records that Defendant wants to inspect in order to establish his defense. These records are generally privileged, but Victim waived this privilege with respect to at least two pages by including them as part of a request to her employer to be transferred.  Plus Defendant says that disclosure is constitutionally compelled anyway (since he has a right to a defense) and, also, that the crime-fraud exception to the privilege applies because Victim went to the doctor to advance a fraudulent claim against Defendant in order to help her transfer request.

Judge reviews the documents in camera and decides to produce two pages.  Judge subsequently orders other pages produced on, inter alia, crime-fraud grounds.  Victim files an appeal, but the appellate court doesn't provide any relief.

Defendant is subsequently acquitted at trial.

You'd think that what's described above is all a description of a regular old federal criminal appeal.  But it's not.  It's instead prelude to a civil lawsuit by Victim against Judge.

The Ninth Circuit's opinion (by Judge Paez) contains 32 single-spaced pages of exhaustive -- and exhausting -- detail about the intricacies of sovereign immunity.  Made even more complex by the fact that the judge here isn't an Article III judge, but is instead a military judge.  All of what went down here transpired overseas, at a military base in Japan.

It's nonetheless fairly accurate to summarize the opinion fairly succinctly.  You can't sue a judge.  They're generally immune.  They surely make mistakes sometimes.  But unless there's something truly extraordinary, if they make a wrong evidentiary call, that's the subject of an appeal.  Not a separate civil lawsuit like the one here.

Judge Paez says basically the same thing, albeit with 32 single-spaced pages of additional detail.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

People v. Yushchuk (Cal. Ct. App. - Oct. 12, 2018)

Nothing published in the Ninth Circuit or the California Court of Appeal today, so we're on our own vis-a-vis reading material.

So I thought I'd at least mention this opinion from Friday.  It's a worthwhile life lesson.

Because, yes, you can come up with an argument that you weren't actually drunk when the car you were driving hit and killed someone else, and that instead, you pounded that bottle of vodka after the collision while you were trapped in the car and in pain.  Maybe someone might believe that.

But when, as here you've got five prior drunk driving convictions, don't at all be surprised if the jury doesn't buy your story.  And instead, as here, convicts you of second degree murder.  Which in turn sends you away to prison for a long, long time.

Maybe think about that before you get in your car drunk.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Smith v. Superior Court (Cal. Superior Ct. App. Div. - Oct. 15, 2018)

You can summarize this opinion fairly easily:

Give the guy back his weed.

It's not illegal under state law, so the state can't keep (or destroy) it if he's not charged with a crime.  The fact that it's still illegal under federal law doesn't matter.

So that's 21 grams back to Mr. Smith.

P.S. - Fun fact:  You could always tell the law students with misspent youths because they were able to convert grams into ounces in their head.  I'm thinking of a former roommate in particular.  Whereas most of us have to look it up to discover that 21 grams is around three quarters of an ounce.  (Though knowing just how much an ounce of marijuana entails may itself demonstrate some prior knowledge of the subject matter.)

U.S. v. Sellers (9th Cir. - Oct. 15, 2018)

Interesting lineup in this case.  Which is the only one published by the Ninth Circuit today.

Everyone's skeptical of reverse sting stash house cases.  Everyone.  Those cases are ones in which the government recruits someone (typically, a criminal) to convince a group of other criminals (the future defendants) to raid a fake stash house and steal some drugs from some other fake criminals.  There's no real stash house, no real drugs, and no other real criminals.  But the theory is that it makes people less hesitant -- in other circumstances -- to steal from actual stash houses since there's at least some chance that they're simply being set up by the government.

No one on the panel especially likes those cases.  They disproportionately target minorities.  They "set up" crimes that wouldn't otherwise happen.  Lots of other reasons as well.  All of which are explored at length in the various opinions.

But the different panel members nonetheless have different takes.

Judge Reinhardt was originally on the panel, but died three weeks after the oral argument.  Just from knowing the guy, you've got a pretty good sense of where he almost certainly stood on this stuff.  To the left, for sure.  No doubt.

Judge Nguyen writes the majority opinion.  Plus she writes a lengthy concurrence to her own opinion.  She's crystal clear on where she stands as well.  Doesn't like these kinds of cases.  For a plethora of reasons.  Her majority opinion makes it clear that it's hard to bring selective enforcement claims in these types of cases -- claims that argue that minorities are unfairly targeted -- but follows opinions from the Third and Seventh Circuits that says that the correct standard for permissible discovery over such claims is different from the Ninth Circuit's standard for bringing selective prosecution claims, so remands for application of the correct test.  Sounds right to me.

Judge Graber dissents.  She was drawn to replace Judge Reinhardt.  She doesn't say that Judge Nguyen's necessarily wrong that a different standard applies -- though she doesn't say she's right, either.  Judge Graber simply doesn't want to decide the issue one way or another, arguing that the defendant's evidence in the present case indisputably doesn't satisfy any standard since it only consists of statistics, which Judge Graber believes are categorically "irrelevant" under controlling Supreme Court precedent.

Personally, I'm not sure what harm it does to reverse and remand for application of the correct legal standard.  Even if, on remand, the defendant's statistics may not be sufficient to meet the new test.

But Judge Graber thinks we're deciding something that we don't need to decide.  Ergo the dissent.

The subtext of Judge Graber's argument is essentially that there's no way that a defendant will ever be able to prove selective enforcement/prosecution.  Which, as a practical matter, may be correct.  If you take the view that statistics are entirely irrelevant, short of the government putting pen to paper and saying "Make sure you target minorities for these sorts of things" -- which ain't gonna happen -- you are pretty much always going to come up short.  No proof, and probably no discovery even either.

But Judge Nguyen thinks it still makes sense to articulate the correct standard, and let the district court decide whether that standard is met here.  That is how we usually -- but by no means always -- do things in the Court of Appeals.

Just a little fight here about which type of adjudication is most appropriate in the present case. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

U.S. v. Gonzalez (9th Cir. - Oct. 10, 2018)

Things you never thought you'd have to actually say:

Don't beat a shackled prisoner.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Doe v. Regents (Cal. Ct. App. - Oct. 9, 2018)

I know we're still fresh off the Judge (now Justice) Kavanaugh stuff, and nerves of some on this issue may well still be raw.

But ponder for a moment what you thought of the allegations in that matter.  Then read this opinion.  About sexual assault allegations against a particular UCSB student.

Foreshadowing:  The Court of Appeal says that there was not "even a semblance of due process" in UCSB's decision to suspend the student for two years.

Whatchathink?

People v. Guiterrez (Cal. Ct. App. - Oct. 10, 2018)

I initially thought that this was a case the California Supreme Court might want to take up, but as I get older -- it's now a couple hours since I read it -- I'm starting to think otherwise.  Maybe this is instead one of those rare cases where the Court of Appeal refuses to follow what a higher tribunal has said and yet we should actually let the thing stand.

Justice Ramirez explains at length why the defendant here was permissibly impeached by the facts of his prior felony conviction; namely, the fact that he had previously been convicted of driving a stolen vehicle.  That was relevant to impeach his testimony, in his present trial for carjacking, that the only thing he did was "ask" the purported victim to borrow his car.  You can be impeached by a prior felony conviction, after all.

But there's one big problem with this holding:  a California Supreme Court case that's not even two years old that squarely says:  "Under California law, the right to cross-examine or impeach the credibility of a witness concerning a felony conviction does not extend to the facts underlying the offense. [Citations.]”  People v. Casares (2016) 62 Cal.4th 808, 830.  Under that principle, you're not allowed to adduce the facts; only the conviction itself.  Directly contrary to the Court of Appeal's holding here.

Justice Ramirez says that statement in Casares was dicta.  And that's perhaps right.  Nonetheless, we regularly follow dicta from the Supreme Court.  Because when the Supreme Court says that the law is X, rarely does the Court of Appeal properly hold that that law is actually Y, not X.  So it's a bold move to say that the California Supreme Court said something that was (1) wrong, that (2) we're going to refuse to follow it because it's dicta.  To be clear:  The Court of Appeal has the power to do that, if it's indeed dicta.  But my general view in such cases is that the California Supreme Court will likely want to grant review in such cases.  And either (1) make it clear that the law is indeed X, not Y, and that the Court of Appeal was wrong -- and the California Supreme Court right -- in a new holding that is unambiguously not dicta, or (2) admit that it made a mistake and in fact change the law.  That way, other lower court tribunals won't be led astray by the relevant dicta, which the Supreme Court will (upon granting review) now have an opportunity to clarify.

That was my initial thought about this case.  That Judge Ramirez may well be right.  But that the California Supreme Court should nonetheless grant review.  Because it's for that tribunal to say that the Supreme Court got it wrong, not the Court of Appeal.

I still somewhat hold to that view.  Somewhat.

But upon reflection, maybe it might also be fine just to leave things be.

The prior California Supreme Court case did indeed say what it said.  And Judge Ramirez does a good job explaining why that statement is purportedly wrong.  At least these days.  Maybe back in the old days you couldn't adduce the underlying facts of the conviction, and maybe in that case the facts were irrelevant, but the law changed over time, and in this case, arguably, the underlying facts of the conviction are indeed relevant.  Also, although Justice Ramirez doesn't have the heart to say so, the stark reality is that the statement from Casares at issue was not only probably dicta, but it was also buried deep in a hugely lengthy death penalty case -- a tiny little subissue of a larger whole.  If the author of that opinion (Justice Werdegar)

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Doe v. University of So. Cal. (Cal. Ct. App. - Oct. 9, 2018)

Justice Perluss is exactly right in today's opinion.  Not a single word or idea is wrong, in my view.

Indeed, I'll go even further than he did.

Not only is there "substantial evidence" that "John Doe" cheated on the exam -- which is the relevant legal standard at issue -- but in my view, John Doe did indeed pretty clearly cheat.

Of course, I know nothing more than what's in the opinion.  But given the evidence below, I'd be a ton of money that, yeah, Doe helped "Student B" cheat.  Here's how the Court of Appeal summarizes that evidence:

"Doe and Student B sat next to each other and had the same version of the multiple choice examination although two versions with shuffled questions were usually distributed in a manner intended to ensure that adjacent students would receive different versions. Doe’s and Student B’s Scantron® answer sheets had identical answers for 46 of the 50 questions, the greatest number of identical answers of all 8,002 pairs of students who took the same version of the examination. Both Doe and Student B wrote proposed answers in large letters in the left margin of the examination booklets that would have been visible to the student seated next to each of them; Student B had written proposed answers for all 50 questions; Doe for 33 questions. Comparison of the proposed answers to the students’ Scantron® answers indicated a pattern of sharing answers: On all but one question where Doe wrote a proposed answer in the margin, Student B filled in the Scantron® with that answer. Only two of Doe’s answers on his Scantron® sheet differed from Student B’s proposed answers for those questions for which Doe did not write a proposed answer in the margin. Student B outperformed his historical average (a “C”) by answering 40 of the questions correctly; Doe maintained his performance level, answering 42 questions correctly."

Sure, Doe and Student B asserted an ostensible reason for writing in big letters (!) their proposed answers -- that way, they could "go back" and "check" them.  But not only could someone reasonable nonetheless conclude that they had instead cheated, but that's in fact exactly what I believe.  And I've given plenty of exams, and had plenty of students circle or write things next to the questions.  Very big writing, such that the person next to you can read it, is very different than what you normally see on exams.

There's additional (and more detailed) evidence later on in the opinion that supports this conclusion.  For example, this wasn't Doe's first sanction for alleged cheating:  "During the fall 2014 semester Doe had received a zero on a chemistry assignment after he submitted a lab report that used another student’s data and calculations. After initially denying the misconduct, Doe eventually signed a form acknowledging his actions had violated the Student Conduct Code."  Doe also stated that he and Student B hadn't studied together, whereas Student B said otherwise.

Then there are the answers to particular questions.  "Doe wrote a single letter in the margin for 29 questions; Student B marked 28 of his answers to those questions, all but number 10, with the same letter. On question 10, Doe wrote a “D” in the margin of his examination booklet; Student B wrote a large “C” in his margin; both Doe and Student B marked “C” on their Scantron® answer sheets."  Plus, "Significantly, for at least six questions Doe and Student B marked the same incorrect answer."

Pretty persuasive evidence, in my view.  Fully justifying the sanction that USC imposed -- an F in the class and a two-semester suspension.

Nonetheless, the practical significance of today's opinion is difficult to gauge.  The lower court told USC to give Doe his diploma, and the Court of Appeal didn't impose a stay.  So Doe not only has his diploma -- and it's now been years since he graduated -- and Doe said he was going to go to medical school, so I imagine he might be there already at this point.  The Court of Appeal remands the case to USC to decide what to do given the circumstances, and I suspect that USC may indeed make the guy retake the class in order to graduate (since it was a prerequisite for his major).  But from a practical perspective, if the guy's already in medical school, that's not like it's going to change things much.  Not of much real world significance.

Nonetheless, the Court of Appeal gets it right.  Clearly right, in my view.

Don't cheat.  Don't help others cheat.  A good principle to follow.

Particularly before medical school.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Ruiz v. Musclewood Inv. Prop. (Cal. Ct. App. - Oct. 5, 2018)

Columbus Day today.  Nothing from the Ninth Circuit today or Friday.  Nothing from the California Court of Appeal today, and only one published opinion on Friday.  Tough to do a blog on days the courts aren't publishing much.  I guess everyone was preoccupied with the Kavanaugh fight.  One that's over now.  So I expect to see a lot from the judiciary in California tomorrow.  Right?

Meanwhile, the single opinion published on Friday is an unusual fact pattern.  More accurately, it's a very common fact pattern.  But unusual that it gives rise to a lawsuit.

It's about a dog.  Not a dog bite; that'd be too easy.  But a dog -- a guard dog, in this case -- that barks at pedestrians and (allegedly) sometimes runs out of hassles them.

That presumably happens a lot.  Doesn't typically lead to a lawsuit.  More typically thought of as something merely rude and inconsiderate.

But in this case, not only does the dog hassle pedestrians, but it hassles one particular pedestrian -- a blind pedestrian -- as well as that pedestrian's guide dog.  So he sues.  Claiming a violation of the California Disabled Person's Act.  Which expressly says that blind people have the same rights as everyone else to use sidewalks etc.

The trial court thought there wasn't a violation because the dog admittedly hassled everyone, the blind and non-blind alike.  But the Court of Appeal reverses.  Justice Kim goes through the words of the statute and says that the plaintiff's claim properly asserts that he was denied the "enjoyment" of the sidewalk because his guide dog was hassled and distracted.  End of story.






Thursday, October 04, 2018

Hawkins v. Kroeger (9th Cir. - Oct. 4, 2018)

The FDA says that on the "Nutrition Label" that's attached to food packaging, you've got to round down.  So if there's less than 0.5 grams of trans fat, you put "0" grams in the box.  Okay.

But the Ninth Circuit says it might still violate California false advertising law to thereafter say "No Trans Fat" on the packaging -- outside the box -- when the food does indeed contain trans fat.

Fair enough as well.  No preemption, since it's (literally) outside the box.

The strangest thing out this opinion is timing.  It's a lawsuit that was filed in 2015 and resolved on a 12(b)(6) motion.  You wouldn't necessarily think it'd take three-plus years to get dismissed and then finished in the Ninth Circuit.  Yet it does.

Justice grinds relatively slowly sometimes.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Martinez v. EatLite One (Cal. Ct. App. - Oct. 3, 2018)

What's weird about this opinion is that I thought this was already totally obvious.  Indeed, I teach the same thing to the law students in my Pretrial Practice class, and never thought for a second that there was any dispute at all about it.  Yet here you have a trial court holding otherwise.

Okay.  Guess it's not so clear after all.

Though ultimately, the Court of Appeal's opinion seems spot on.  So at least it's clear now.

It's a pretty simple fact pattern.  Plaintiff sues for discrimination.  Defendant makes a 998 offer for $12,001.  The offer's silent on costs and fees, which automatically means they're added to the offer.  (In other words, if Plaintiff accepts, she gets $12,001 plus her recoverable costs and fees.)

Plaintiff doesn't accept, and the case goes to trial, at which the jury awards her $11,490.  Less than the $12,001 offer.

Leading to a flurry of competing cost and fee motions.

The trial court thought that the $12,001 offer was LESS than the $11,490 award because Plaintiff was entitled to costs and fees in addition to the jury's award.  But the Court of Appeal rightly sorts things out in a way that's consistent with how I've always thought (correctly, as it turns out) you calculate these things.  (Mind you, the Court of Appeal's way of explaining this is slightly different than how I teach it to my students, but the essential substantive attributes are the same.)

Here's the deal:  Defendant offered (essentially) $12,001 plus costs and fees.  Plaintiff didn't do better than that at trial; she only got $11,490 plus costs and fees.  Essentially, she should have taken the 998 offer.  You just have to compare the $12,001 to the $11,490, since Plaintiff's pre-offer costs and fees are recoverable under both.  Since the $11,490 award is smaller than the $12,001 offer, Plaintiff is subject to cost-shifting even though she's the "prevailing party" at trial (since he didn't "prevail" as contrasted to the 998 offer).

So we give her (1) the jury's award -- $11,490, (2) plus her pre-998 offer costs and fees (since she was forced to incur and hence should recover those whether she accepted the 998 offer or not), but (3) don't give her any post-998 offer costs and fees (since she should have accepted the offer), and (4) give the Defendant its post-offer costs (since it should have never had to incur those since Plaintiff should have accepted the better 998 offer) and, in the court's discretion, any post-offer expert fees.

Exactly right.  Exactly as the Court of Appeal holds.

Justice Ikola suggests at the end of this opinion that "Having reached this disposition, we nonetheless believe the bench and bar would be well served if the Legislature amended section 998 to clarify how costs and fees should be addressed in a 998 offer."  Not as far as I'm concerned.  Wouldn't hurt, of course.  But today's opinion -- and what some of us already teach our law students anyway -- already seems pretty darn clear to me.  Let the Legislature deal with bigger fish.  The thing seems fairly well settled already in my book.

If only as a result of today's opinion.  Which, I think, reaffirmed what most of us -- though, admittedly, not the trial court below -- already knew.

In Re EasySaver Rewards Program (9th Cir. - Oct. 3, 2018)

There were no published Ninth Circuit opinions yesterday.  But there was definitely one today that piqued my interest:  Whether the district court properly approved a class action settlement that will result in a $3 million cy pres award "to San Diego State University, the University of California at San Diego, and the University of San Diego School of Law 'for a chair, professorship, fellowship, lectureship, seminar series or similar funding, gift, or donation program . . . regarding internet privacy or internet data security.'”

To be clear:  That money isn't going to me.  My field isn't internet privacy and data security.

But that multi-million dollar award still hits awfully close to home.

Fortunately -- for people around me, at least -- the Ninth Circuit affirms that cy pres portion of the settlement.  Even as it vacates and remands other parts of the settlement, which gave a $20 credit (which the Ninth Circuit viewed as a "coupon" under CAFA) to various class members to buy other products from the defendants' website.

Judge Friedland gives some helpful insight into the nature of both fee awards in "coupon" cases as well as the permissibility of particular cy pres awards.  Required reading for any class action counsel in the Ninth Circuit.

Or even just anyone who want to see how these things work.


Monday, October 01, 2018

Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin (9th Cir. - Sept. 28, 2018)

I did not know that there was a dispute about whether Led Zeppelin ripped off "Stairway to Heaven" from a different artist.  Apparently there is.  And, after this opinion, it's a dispute that's about to go to trial.  Again.  The first jury decided in favor of Led Zeppelin.  But various errors at trial require a remand.

So Round II will presumably commence in 2019.

As someone who became of age in the '80s, the origin of "Stairway to Heaven" matters to me.  It was a song often played at the end of early '80s high school dances.  I remember it well.  Fondly, even.

This may explain why I cared enough to listen to the original song -- Taurus, by Spirit -- to come to my own conclusion about whether the first jury's conclusion seemed right.  I think it's fairly clear from the evidence at trial that Led Zeppelin had access to "Taurus," and the Ninth Circuit seems right to me that this is pretty relevant on retrial.  And the notes beginning at the 48 second mark (or so) of Taurus are indeed chillingly similar to Stairway to Heaven, as are some later notes.

But if you read the comments to the Spirit song -- all 11,381 of them (!) -- maybe the first jury got it right that those few notes are fairly common.  Not sure.

In the end, the district court seems to have gotten it right by sending the case to the jury, and if a jury says it infringes (or doesn't), okay.  Either conclusion seems reasonable.  That's why we have juries.

And the next time, they'll be instructed accurately.

I agreed with the Ninth Circuit on two ancillary points as well.  First, come on, play the song for the jury.  It may well be only the "sheet music" that's protected by the relevant statute, but when Jimmy Page gets cross-examined, the jury should hear the song.  Glad that'll happen on remand.

Second, the strict time limit of 10 hours for trial per side (per Judge Klausner) is silly.  Glad the Ninth Circuit was skeptical of that as well.  This is a big deal.  Ostensible "efficiency" has its costs.  There's no need for the trial to take five weeks.  But 10 hours is silly.  Get reasonable.

In the end, I like the Spirit song.  Wouldn't have otherwise known about it.

But I like "Stairway of Heaven" more.  If only for sentimental reasons.

In re Marriage of Morton (Cal. Ct. App. - Sept. 26, 2018)

I generally don't all that much like opinions that look as if they're unedited bench memos from the clerks or staff attorneys.  You know the type of the things I'm talking about.  Opinions that are very highly structured, introduce the standards and contentions in an artificial manner, etc.  I'll admit that I can't authoritatively define the characteristics of what I'll call bench-memos-quickly-turned-into-published-opinions in detail.  But I definitely know 'em when I see 'em.

That said, I gotta admit, if I was the judge, and had to go through every little picayune contention in this child-and-spousal-support case and anything like the resulting 61-page opinion, I might well be driven to drink.  Or worse.

So I'll similarly excuse anyone from just making some edits to the thing and sending it out.  As well as praise the people in chambers who actually struggled through the thing to craft all 61 pages.  There are things in life that are fun, but that's not one of 'em.

For similar reasons, I'll overlook -- but briefly mention -- the "track changes" edit that was erroneously left in on page 49.  Sure, it's a strikeout, and even in red.  You should probably have caught that before hitting the "publish" button.

But I bet your eyes started go glaze over at around page 40 as you edited the thing for the third or fourth time.  Maybe not surprising that you missed the little red struck-out "d".

Better than drinking.