Amicus Brief by John Philipsborn
Below is a brief on its way to the US Supreme Court in which CACJ is joining
with a number of other defense counsel organizations. Their aim is to
support the Supreme Court's consideration of whether the subject of
restitution should be the subject of the Sixth Amendment right to jury
trial, and individuals who are subject to restitution should be protected
by greater formalities against the imposition of restitution.
One of CACJ's Co-Sponsored Bills, SB 411, Passed the Senate Floor.
"Alarmed that some bystanders have been detained by law enforcement
for videotaping police officers during use-of-force incidents, the state
Senate on Monday approved legislation that would clarify the right of
people to photograph officers as long as they are not interfering with
Board Member Nominations for 2016
The nomination for Board Members is an important aspect of your CACJ membership.
The nominations for the 2016 Board of Governors will shape how CACJ moves
forward and evolves in the changing climate. If you know of someone who
would be suited to this candidacy, please submit their information
here. Nominations are due May 30th, 2015
Assembly Public Safety Committee on Law Enforcement Use of Body Cameras:
Policies and Pitfalls
This morning at the State Capitol CACJ President Jeff Thoma participated
in a panel discussion regarding the use of body cameras by law enforcement.
The legislative informational hearing was convened by the Assembly Public
Safety Committee chaired by Assemblyman Bill Quirk. The hearing consisted
of testimony by a number of experts from law enforcement and civil rights
organizations. Jeff Thoma addressed a number of key legal issues involved
in the potential use of body cameras.
We Need to Talk About an Injustice
"In an engaging and personal talk — with cameo appearances from
his grandmother and Rosa Parks — human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson
shares some hard truths about America's justice system, starting with
a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country's black
male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives. These
issues, which are wrapped up in America's unexamined history, are
rarely talked about with this level of candor, insight and persuasiveness."
Brady Violations Gain Judicial Attention as well as Proposed Solutions
CACJ's President, Jeff Thoma, was recently interviewed by John Roemer
for the Daily Journal regarding
Brady Violations. They discussed a "plan to rein in prosecutors who hide
favorable evidence from the defense in criminal trials [which] could be
gaining traction." Called a
Brady colloquy, during pretrial hearings, before the defendant enters a plea,
judges could ask prosecutors a short series of questions, on-the-record,
to determine if undisclosed exculpatory evidence exists.
Jeff Thoma remarked that "Brady violations [are] also on the state
Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakayue's mind this
month," and that in "meeting with [her] he pointed out that
California is the only state that has not adopted the American Bar Association's
model rule of professional conduct 3.8 on the special responsibilities
as a prosecutor. She assured me that her staff would review it, as we
all agreed that this was an issue that needs to be addressed in some manner."
Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski supports the idea;
putting prosecutors on notice that withholding pro-defense material violates
"For Thoma, the Brady colloquy idea resonated. Jason Kreag, [a Law
Professor at the University of Arizona College of Law,] proposed that
if trial judges refuse to ask
Brady-oriented questions of the prosecutor, defense lawyers should put a statement
on the record about what material they requested and what they got in