Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Elija W. v. Superior Court (Cal. Ct. App. - May 8, 2013)

I had a lot to say about this opinion when it first came out in February.  Suffice it to say that I didn't especially like it, and found it -- at a minimum -- insufficiently reasoned.

Today the Court of Appeal amended the opinion after rehearing.  It reaches the same conclusion.  But it's substatively lots better.  With emphasis on the penultimate word of that sentence.

There are still lingering thoughts in my mind as to whether this is the right result.  But the opinion at least makes more sense, and concrete reasoning, than before.  So that's great.  Whether psychologists are cateogrically mandatory sex abuse reporters -- or whether there's an exception (as the Court of Appeal holds) for psychologists appointed as part of a "defense team" -- is still a tough issue.  But here's one view.  One that's now articulated reasonably well, and in a manner that, unlike the initial opinion, strikes me as a reasonable approach.

So I'm glad to see the changes.  I think the Court of Appeal's decision on rehearing is both a lot more coherent as well as more intellectually defensible.  Even though it reaches the same result.

I will say that it struck me as unusual to see the change in authors.  The panel remains the same.  But whereas Justice Woods wrote the original opinion, and remains on the panel, Justice Perluss authors the opinion on rehearing.  Maybe Justice Woods thought the original opinion was just fine.  Maybe Justice Perluss decided to do a solid and take on the editing task himself.  Whatever the reason, I'm glad the opinion got changed.

But usually it's the original author that either makes the changes (or doesn't).  Rare to see what went on here.