Friday, March 21, 2008

In Re R.K. (Cal. Ct. App. - March 21, 2008)

It may be a holiday (Good Friday) here at my Catholic employer, the University of San Diego. As well as at a variety of other private and public institutions. But no such luck for our relentless judicial officers. Who even today continue to crank out published opinions.

Fortunately, Justice Robie understands that today is a lazy day for many us. And hence begins this opinion in a style that I very much like: by making things clear, simple, and easy to understand at the outset. Here's the very first paragraph of the opinion:

"A deputy sheriff finds an intoxicated minor in a woodshed located 10 to 15 feet from the side of a house. The minor complies with the deputy’s requests to come out of the shed and to the street. A juvenile court finds true an allegation that the minor violated Penal Code section 647, subdivision (f) (section 647(f)) for being “found in any public place under the influence of intoxicating liquor.” Can the true finding stand, either because the woodshed was a “public place” or because the minor ended up in a “public place” when he complied with the deputy’s requests to come out of the shed and to the street? The answer to these questions is “no.” We therefore reverse the judgment against the minor R. K."

How crystal clear is that, my friends? I love it. You can read on if you like -- as I happily did. Or simply stop there. Either way, you know the scoop -- either the basics or the basics plus additional details.

I'm not saying that every opinion needs to be written like that, or contain a summary at the outset. But it's nice -- very nice -- at least once in a while.

Thanks, Justice Robie. And have a wonderful, lazy weekend.