Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’

Orange County: government workers were not on clear notice not to lie in court, falsify evidence

“Using taxpayer funds, government officials in Orange County have spent the last 16 years arguing the most absurd legal proposition in the entire nation: How could social workers have known it was wrong to lie, falsify records and hide exculpatory evidence in 2000 so that a judge would forcibly take two young daughters from their mother for six-and-a-half years?” The argument did not fare well as a hearing before Ninth Circuit Judge Stephen Trott: “I’m just staggered by the claim that people in the shoes of your clients wouldn’t be on notice that you can’t use perjury and false evidence to take away somebody’s children. That to me is mind boggling.” [R. Scott Moxley, OC Weekly; video]

L.A. bans criminal record inquiries in hiring, even for non-L.A. employers

“Not to be outdone by San Francisco or New York City, the City of Los Angeles has enacted the strictest ‘ban the box’ ordinance in the country, and its many requirements are detailed and onerous….Notably, the employer need not be located within the city” to be covered, provided it has “10 or more employees who perform an average of at least two hours of work each week in the City of Los Angeles.” Employers cannot ask about criminal convictions before offering jobs, and can do so afterward only by using a multi-step process — providing a rationale in writing, holding a job open for at least five days while the applicant responds, then writing another document of justification — designed to facilitate successful litigation over the withdrawal of an offer. [Karen Dinino, Christine Samsel, and Sherli Shamtoub/Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck]

Environment roundup

  • YIMBY (Yes In My Back Yard) movement in San Francisco, other cities says build more housing to tame housing costs [Alex Tabarrok] Zoning laws sometimes respond to tiny-house movement, and sometimes don’t [Curbed]
  • Federalist Society convention panel on Justice Scalia’s property rights jurisprudence with John Echeverria, James W. Ely, Jr., Roderick Hills, Jr., Adam Laxalt, Ilya Somin, Judge Allison Eid moderating;
  • Your regulated residence: “Santa Monica Moves to Make All New Homes Net-Zero Energy” [Mental Floss]
  • “King County, Washington, Caught Digging Through Residents’ Trash” [Christian Britschgi/Reason; see also on Seattle composting regulations]
  • “EPA to big cities: Stop killing rats with dry ice” [Aamer Madhani, USA Today]
  • “Policing for profit in private environmental enforcement” [Jonathan Wood; Clean Water Act citizen suits]

Police and prosecution roundup

  • “Policing in America: Understanding Public Attitudes Toward the Police. Results from a National Survey” [Emily Ekins, Cato]
  • “In ‘blistering’ ruling, court upholds recusal of entire Orange County DA’s office from murder case” [ABA Journal] Orange County scandals played role: “Prosecutorial Misconduct is Now a Felony in California” [Reason]
  • “Mistrial for Cop Who Shot Walter Scott in the Back” [Cato podcast with Matthew Feeney and Caleb Brown]
  • House Moves To Stop IRS Forfeiture Abuse [Jared Meyer] “California Enacts Asset Forfeiture Reform, Mostly Closing Lucrative Fed Loophole” [C.J. Ciaramella, Reason] “Iowa Will Pay Poker Players Robbed by Forfeiture-Hungry State Cops” [Jacob Sullum]
  • Time for the great U.K. child abuse witch hunt to close up shop [Charles Moore, Telegraph]
  • “Reining in Prosecutorial Overreach with Meaningful Mens Rea Requirements” [Trevor Burrus on Cato amicus in 11th Circuit case of U.S. v. Clay]

Guestblogger archive week: I

Over the years about thirty friends and acquaintances have contributed their talents as guestbloggers at Overlawyered, typically posting over the span of a week while I’m away from my duties. I’d like to use this week to tell what some of them are doing now, highlight a few of their contributions, and I hope at least mention the names and link the author archives of all of them.

Ron Coleman, an IP and media law attorney attorney in greater New York, writes the excellent and longstanding Likelihood of Confusion blog on trademarks, copyrights, Internet law and free speech, from which I’ve learned a lot over the years. He’s guestblogged for us twice, covering such issues as a New York male attorney’s discrimination suit against ladies’ night discounts at bars; a suit in Romania by a prison inmate purportedly against God Himself (“He has some issues, only not justiciable ones, it seems”); and a lawsuit by NBA players over depictions of their lady interests on a VH1 show called “Basketball Wives.” His full archive is here (law-oriented and personal Twitter).

When he guestblogged for us, Will Baude was a student at the University of Chicago Law School. He’s now on its faculty, teaching federal courts and constitutional law, after doing things like clerking for appellate judge Michael McConnell and Chief Justice John Roberts. Last week he was a guestblogger at Volokh Conspiracy about his work on the law of interpretation, statutory and otherwise; sample posts here and here. During his guest week at Overlawyered he covered a dispute over whether a California city should sue over a reference to its citizens as “white trash” on a popular TV show, “The O.C.”, and wrote on popular schemes (popular in philosophical circles, at least) “to extend the right to vote to children of any age.” Full archive here (Twitter).

Pasadena attorney George M. Wallace wrote the excellent insurance law blog Declarations and Exclusions through 2013, and continues to blog on non-legal subjects at A Fool in the Forest. In his time with us he covered an advisory in the L.A. city attorney’s office on “how they should recognize a newsworthy legal case. Public safety? Important public issue at stake? Nah, this is L.A. Number one is any case involving a celebrity — ‘no matter how minor’ — followed closely by a politician. Death, mutilation, child molestation or animal cruelty are also sure bets.” And he wrote — this nearly ten years ago — about the legal showdown between TV personality Rosie O’Donnell and Donald Trump. Full archive here (Twitter).

Because I’m expecting some down time in my own blogging in coming months, I invite volunteers (and of course repeat volunteers) who might like to guestblog in this space this summer and fall. Email editor – (at) – overlawyered – (dot) – com.

Wage and hour roundup

  • Los Angeles hotel workers catching on to real intent of city ordinance carving out sub-minimum wage at unionized employers [Scott Shackford, Reason, earlier] “Why Sports Authority is throwing in the towel and closing all of its stores” [Kevin Smith, San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Pasadena Star-News]
  • “France might pass a law that makes it illegal to send after-hours work emails” [Washington Post]
  • Boiled at slightly lower temperature: DoL considering knocking down salary threshold a bit, $47,000 rather than $50,440, for its awful upcoming overtime mandate [Jon Hyman; video from Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity, group critical of regs; earlier here, etc.]
  • “Eleventh Circuit Reins in NLRB’s Mischaracterization of Independent Contractors as ‘Employees'” [John Park, Washington Legal Foundation]
  • “Relax Everyone: NELP’s New Report Says The Minimum Wage Doesn’t Cost Jobs” [Tim Worstall] “The Economic Denialism of a $15 Minimum Wage” [John McGinnis; Chris Edwards/Cato] David Henderson scrutinizes work by left-wing Berkeley economist Michael Reich backing $15 minimum [EconLog]
  • Idea of abolishing the tip system, pushed by some labor activists and eyed as a fallback by businesses tied up in wage law knots, meets with huge resistance from restaurant staff in U.S. [NPR]
  • “Hillary Clinton Just Turned the Democratic Party Into the Party of the $15 an Hour Minimum Wage” [Peter Suderman]

Can a city deny Donald Trump a rally permit?

The other day 34-year-old Mayor Lindsey Horvath of West Hollywood, Calif. said Republican presidential contender Donald Trump and his campaign were “not welcome” in her city. She also “instructed City staff that they are able to refuse to issue special events permits to Trump should he attempt to schedule a rally,” reported Gabby Morrongiello in the Washington Examiner. “Horvath has also called on the other 87 mayors in Los Angeles County to follow suit and block the billionaire from campaigning in their cities.”

Those comments might have set her community up for a costly lawsuit, since her position is plainly unconstitutional. Courts in the United States have made it clear that cities are not free to turn down a permit for one candidate that they would have approved for another simply because they disapprove of the first candidate’s viewpoint. Yet when contacted by law professor/blogger and First Amendment specialist Eugene Volokh, Horvath stuck by her position.

However, city attorney Michael Jenkins, evidently better informed, gave a response that directly contradicted the mayor’s when Volokh contacted him for a follow-up: “The City would consider an application from the Trump campaign no differently than from any other campaign.” Notes Volokh: “The city attorney’s position is consistent with First Amendment law; the mayor’s is not.”

There is no indication that Trump has planned any rallies for West Hollywood, notwithstanding a tweet in February by author Bret Easton Ellis that raised some eyebrows about the possibility that the billionaire might have an untapped constituency there.

P.S. In comments, Chris Bray notes that under West Hollywood’s system of governance, which delegates executive power to a city manager while a largely ceremonial position as mayor rotates among city councilpersons, it appears Horvath could not order city staff to adopt any policy on her own.

Police and prosecution roundup

  • Amid multiple scandals, why won’t office of Orange County, Calif. District Attorney Tony Rackauckas confirm name of county investigator alleged to have beaten defense attorney in courtroom hallway? [R. Scott Moxley/OC Weekly via Radley Balko, Voice of OC]
  • And from February: “former Los Angeles sheriff Lee Baca announced that he would plead guilty to criminal charges related to systemic misconduct in his department, specifically to a charge of lying to investigators in an effort to cover up that wrongdoing.” [Kevin Williamson]
  • Post-Ferguson investigation: problems with small-town municipal courts go way beyond North St. Louis County into outstate Missouri [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
  • Judge throws out mountain of tickets from Chicago traffic and speed cameras [TimeOut, Timothy Geigner/TechDirt, earlier]
  • Britain: following collapse of lengthy Operation Midland law enforcement inquiry into a fantasist’s wild tales of abuse (did senior Tories murder rentboys for fun?) vindicated officials and their families wonder where to turn to get their reputations back [Dan Hodges/Telegraph (citing Metropolitan Police commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe’s favorable reference to a second official’s statement that “The presumption that a victim should always be believed should be institutionalized”); Matthew Scott/Barrister Blogger, Richard Bartholomew]
  • Supreme Court nominee: “In Criminal Rulings, [Chief Judge Merrick] Garland Has Usually Sided With Law Enforcement” [New York Times; more on Garland’s D.C. Circuit rulings]

February 17 roundup

  • Cross-examination of Mr. Hot Yoga left jury steamed, especially when it came to explaining the luxury cars [Lowering the Bar; more on Bikram Choudhury litigation]
  • Forty-nine (!) Georgia corrections officers accused of taking bribes, drug trafficking [WXIA Atlanta; compare Baltimore jail guards scandal]
  • More reactions to Justice Scalia’s death: Lee Liberman Otis, Joseph Bottum, Emily Zanotti, David Wagner/Ninomania. His legacy on the Fourth Amendment [Jonathan Blanks, Cato] On canines in the curtilage and the Bill of Rights more generally [Jacob Sullum] Labor and employment law bloggers on his passing [Jon Hyman] Immune to internationalist argle-bargle, Scalia was actually one of SCOTUS’s more cosmopolitan members [Julian Ku/Opinio Juris]
  • Los Angeles joins San Francisco and Boston in banning chewing tobacco in Dodger Stadium and every other park and stadium in the city, because it can [Curbed LA]
  • “They are both highly educated attorneys” which means they should have known better than to launch that lurid plot to plant drugs on the rival PTA mom [Washington Post]
  • To get a cosmetology license in Ohio, you’ll need to undergo training in spotting signs of human trafficking [Elizabeth Nolan Brown/Reason; earlier on hair and beauty professionals as informants]
  • “British teenager creates robot lawyer to help people with their legal queries” [Mashable]

Environment roundup

  • Remembering William Tucker, author of books on many subjects including the 1982 classic on environmentalism, Progress and Privilege, and a valued friend of long standing [RealClearEnergy, where he was founding editor]
  • Scalia took lead in defending property rights vs. regulatory takings, but mostly not by deploying originalist analysis. A missed opportunity, thinks Ilya Somin;
  • What? Children in parts of Saginaw, Grand Rapids, Muskegon, etc. have higher blood lead levels than in Flint [Detroit News] Flint water department didn’t use standard $150/day neutralizing treatment. Why not? [Nolan Finley, Detroit News] Children in Michigan generally ten years ago had higher prevalence of lead in blood at concern thresholds than children in Flint today [David Mastio, USA Today] Earlier here and here;
  • On eminent domain, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz seem to be “talking past each other, about two different things” [Gideon Kanner]
  • Saboteurs going after Canadian pipelines [CBC]
  • “Mission or Craftsman style” was insisted on, but the resulting vacant lot doesn’t seem to be either: south L.A. grocery scheme dies after decade-long urban-planning fight [Los Angeles Times]
  • As prices plunge: “Where Have All the Peak Oilers Gone?” [Ronald Bailey, Reason]