High school mock trial honors LA public defender

The San Joaquin County Office of Education’s Tuesday mock trial for high school students — “People vs. Rae Concha” — was written by the Constitutional Rights Foundation.

“Rae Concha” is a fictitious character named after the late Los Angeles County Public Defender Bureau Chief Michael Concha. The real Concha was a great supporter of the foundation.

See the coverage of the high school competition today’s paper: Tuesday’s round of mock trials


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Judicial Council considers changes to trial court funding

SACRAMENTO — The state Judicial Council will meet Feb. 20 to consider recommendations to make revisions to the Workload-Based Allocation and Funding Methodology.
The Trial Court Budget Advisory Committee proposed establishing “an absolute funding floor to address unrealistically low funding for rural courts with fewer than 50 employees,” a press release says.
A live audiocast of the meeting, which will be held in Sacramento, will be on the California Courts website, and the agenda and reports also have been posted online. 
Other things they will discuss:
“Superior Court of Kings County Applies for State-Level Reserve Funding: The council will consider recommendations and options on the Superior Court of Kings County’s application for supplemental funding related to the implementation of its new case management system. $35.2 million remains of the 2 percent state level reserve set-aside in the Trial Court Trust Fund for FY 2013–2014. By statute, the Judicial Council after October 31 and before March 15 of each year may distribute the remaining funds if there has been a request from a trial court(s) for unforeseen emergencies or unanticipated expenses for existing programs. The council then allocates to all courts after March 15 a proportionate share of any unexpended funds from the 2% state-level reserve.
Funding for Criminal Justice Realignment, Court-Appointed Dependency Counsel, and Workers’ Compensation Liabilities: The council will consider a recommendation from its Trial Court Budget Advisory Committee to allocate $7.64 million in funding from the Trial Court Trust Fund and the State Trial Court Improvement and Modernization Fund for costs associated with criminal justice realignment, court-appointed dependency counsel, and the settlement of workers’ compensation tail claim liabilities.
California State Auditor Report on AOC Procurement Practices: The council will receive and discuss a reportreleased by the California State Auditor in December that is required to be performed to assess the implementation of the Judicial Branch Contract Law by the Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, Administrative Office of the Courts, and Habeas Corpus Resource Center. The Auditor reported that although these entities are generally complying with the law’s requirements and with the provisions of the Judicial Branch Contracting Manual, they need to improve certain practices.”

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Judge’s order: victim’s mother can sue the county

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Morrison England said it is likely the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office caused “profound grief” to the family of slain 16-year-old JoAnn Hobson, a suspected victim of Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog, when Sheriff Steve Moore authorized the use of heavy machinery and allowed media crews to broadcast the recovery of Hobson’s bones from a Linden well.

Click this link to view the order: ShelleyvsCounty

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Reports on the conditions at California Health Care Facility

Here is the medical receiver’s tri-annual report to the federal courts: 25th Tri-Annual Rpt – V 1-31-14 Final

Here is a report from the Prison Law Office: PrisonLawOfficeReportOnCHCF

Read our coverage of a facility tour:  

Curing ‘hiccups:’ Officials say changes under way to fix issues at prison medical facility


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Callahan Inn of Court nationally recognized

The American Inns of Court has awarded the Callahan Inn of Court the “platinum” designation as part of its “Achieving Excellence” program.

The local group received the designation at a meeting Jan. 9 at Humphreys College’s Laurence Drivon School of Law.

The honor places the Callahan Inn of Court among other elite chapters across the country and is considered its highest honor.

Recognition highlights the chapter’s practices as effective in five “core competencies” of administration, communications, programs, mentoring, and outreach.

Members of the Callahan Inn of Court received recognition Jan. 9. Photo courtesy of Michael R. Tener.

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Knife suspect had in Sunday’s officer involved shooting

This is the knife police say Donald Haynes had when he confronted officers. Haynes, the suspected in a domestic violence incident, was shot and killed by police Sunday morning.






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Search warrant documents in Weston Ranch murder




The victim’s long-time friend Bryan Cook and the victim’s girlfriend Valentine Paz have been charged in the case. View the search warrant returns filed in court by Stockton police: CookSearch1 Cooksearch2 Cooksearch3



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Retired architect watched demolition of old court plaza fountain he designed

A construction crew began to tear down the iconic water feature at the downtown Stockton court plaza Monday

Glen Mortenzen, 90, stood on a grassy mound and looked on as a construction crew tore down the iconic water fountain he designed half a century ago.

“It’s a tearful thing,” said the retired architect. “Since 1956-57. We designed it. It’s been a long time.  The plaza. The walkway. Now it’s all gone.”

The court plaza in Stockton is under demolition, soon to be replaced by a new courthouse. The old court building is outdated and unsafe, officials say.

It was emotional and nostalgic for Mortenzen to watch the water feature be removed. “It’s something that should be preserved,” he said.

(I shared with him my experience as a child. My mother used to take us shopping downtown to Newberry’s, Rosenthal’s, Kress, etc. We bought lunch and sat by the fountain. We tossed coins in the water and made wishes. Watching the water fall down from this gigantic structure was the coolest thing to me — then about 6 years old.)

“There’s a story about somebody putting an octopus in it many years ago,” Mortenzen said.  True story, he said.

“There’s a lot of things that have happened,” he said. “It’s given a lot of people joy and happiness.

“It’s tearful. When you design something like that for the community, it tugs at the heart.”

It’s not all sad news for the fountain.

A new organization — Save Downtown Stockton Foundation — is planning to preserve the tall, copper, water-spewing sphere that used to be attached to the basin.

The organization is looking for a place in Stockton where the feature can be installed, said Christina Frankel, a board member of the foundation and a local architect.

“Hopefully, it will be re-installed someplace in the city and continue on,” Mortenzen said.




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Undocumented immigrant admitted to practice law

The California Supreme Court today announced that it granted a motion filed by the State Bar of California to admit Sergio C. Garcia, an undocumented immigrant, to the state bar.

It was a unanimous decision that he may practice law based in part on a new statute passed by lawmakers in September 2013 that clearly authorizes the court to allow undocumented immigrants to be admitted into the bar in 2014.

Garcia, born in Mexico in 1977, immigrated to California with his parents a couple of times as a minor. His father became a permanent resident in 1994 and filed an immigration petition for Garcia the following year.

“But, under current federal law, the number of available immigration visas that may be issued each year is limited and is based upon an applicant’s country of origin,” said a statement from the courts. ” Because the backlog of persons of Mexican origin who are seeking immigrant visas is so large, as of the date of the court’s opinion — more than 19 years after Garcia’s visa petition was filed — a visa number still has not become available for Garcia and may not become available for many years.”

Garcia attended Butte College; California State University, Chico; and Cal Northern School of Law, where he received his law degree in May 2009.  He passed the bar examination the same year 2009.


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ID featured Stockton case

Investigation Discovery last night featured a Stockton case in its “A Stranger in my Home” series.  Robert Turner, Valerie Nessler and Allen Periman were all convicted in the brutal murder of Jeffrey Wheatley, who was beaten, shot, stabbed and burned alive in his Stockton home.

View the schedule of upcoming show: http://investigation.discovery.com/tv-shows/a-stranger-in-my-home/tv-schedule.htm

Read The Record’s story of Turner and Nessler’s sentencing: http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110824/A_NEWS09/108240307&cid=sitesearch


For more coverage on this case visit recordnet.com


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