Justice delayed

Jan 22, 2013

The budget cuts to California's courts are sapping the lifeblood from the system,  forcing numerous delays and crowded calendars. If justice delayed is justice denied, we have a problem.


From Greg Lucas in Capitol Weekly: "And it’ll get costlier and even more time-consuming, experts say, because of the steady diet of state budget cuts force fed to the courts in California, the nation’s largest judicial system. Since June of 2009, the state general fund’s share of the court’s $3.1 billion budget has fallen from 56 percent to 20 percent."


“Devastating,” is how Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, describes the impact of the five years of reductions totaling $1.2 billion. The chief justice echoes many of her colleagues on the bench – and those who appear before them..."


"“A lot of things are being delayed and some will have severe consequences,” said Allan Zaremberg, CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce. “And it’s those people who can least afford to have their lives disrupted that are the ones most impacted.”


 When it looked like marijuana cultivation might become a respectable -- or at least, legal -- profession, many growers signed up and provided information. Now, the feds want at those records.


From the LAT's Joe Mozingo: "Mendocino County is fighting efforts by federal prosecutors to get records on medical marijuana growers who signed up for a program intended to sanction their businesses under state law."


"The county's resistance creates a rare legal clash between local and federal authorities over conflicting marijuana laws. The U.S. Justice Department has been targeting growers and purveyors of medical cannabis, and threatening local or state officials who try to regulate the trade, saying all marijuana use is illegal under federal law."


"Last March, Mendocino County officials bowed to such threats and stopped issuing permits to grow up to 99 plants. Now county attorneys are urging a federal judge in San Francisco to quash a federal subpoena issued in October demanding a wide range of information about the cultivation program, including applications of growers seeking permits."


CalPERS, its investments buffeted by the Great Recession and its operations drawing close media scrutiny in recent years, is getting back on top.


From Bloomberg News: "The California Public Employees' Retirement System is poised to top a record $260 billion in assets, the market value it held before the global financial crisis wiped out more than a third of its wealth."


"The largest U.S. public pension, with half of its money in publicly traded equities, was worth $253.2 billion on Thursday, or about 97% of the pre-recession high set in October 2007. The fund returned 13% in 2012, about the same gain as the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index."


"A lot of the improvements in portfolio returns is simply reflective of the return of the market," Chief Investment Officer Joe Dear said. "But there is still an important lesson there, which is that when the crisis was full on, we didn't drastically reduce our equity exposure."


In redistricting, the political boundaries get moved around, and one result of that shakeup is that some people are left temporarily without representation.


From Patrick McGreevy in the LA Times: "When the legislative district maps were remade, some new districts overlapped old ones. Voters in only half of the 40 state Senate districts chose representatives last year. Some communities in the old districts were moved into new ones that will not have elections until 2014."


"That has left nearly 4 million Californians without an elected representative in the Senate for the next two years, while others temporarily have two senators."


"That happens during every redistricting. It can't be helped," said Peter Yao, former chairman of the Citizens Redistricting Commission, created by voters to redraw legislative boundaries every 10 years. "It has happened more this time around because we dramatically moved the district lines."


Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who put his action films on hold when he served as governor, is back before the camera. But his new flick, "The Last Stand," is a flop at the box office and may be aptly named, according to the Hollywood insiders who follow this stuff.. 


From Nikki Finke in Deadline Hollywood: "The big news is that washed-up Arnold Schwarzenegger flopped in 10th place playing a washed-up lawman in The Last Stand (2,913 theaters)..."


“Lionsgate should demand its money back from Arnie who clearly can’t open a movie anymore even with a ‘B’ CinemaScore from audiences. Pic made only a pathetic $6.7M for the 3-day weekend and no more than $7.7M for the 4-day holiday. I don’t think that even covers Schwarzenegger’s cigar bill. "


"The actioner featuring The Guvernator’s first solo comeback to the big screen was just one of the major releases that opened for the long Martin Luther King holiday weekend. Saturday’s business “was shockingly good,” execs told me, once again demonstrating that the theatrical business is kicking butt with audiences even if Arnold isn’t. "

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