Murphy and Brown were never married but in 2007, Brown gave birth to their child, the now 7-year-old girl, Angel Iris. Initially, Murphy refused to acknowledge the child until a paternity test proved that he had indeed fathered the child.
Now he wants a relationship with Angel Iris and for her to live in the U.S.
Meanwhile, Brown's professional future is at stake because if she can't move with her daughter, she will be in breach of contract with her employer.
On February 28, President Barack Obama urged the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn California's same-sex marriage ban. His action is the first time a U.S. president has urged the nation's highest court to allow gays and lesbians to marry.
Specifically, the president's brief asks the U.S. Supreme Court justices to strike down California's Proposition 8 ballot measure, which currently prohibits gay marriage in the state.
Benefits Not Available to Gay Couples
While California - and seven additional states - allows same-sex civil unions, marriage is not allowed, precluding gay couples from enjoying the benefits afforded to heterosexual couples, including:
Social Security benefit.
Tax-free inheritance for the surviving spouse.
Family and medical leave.
COBRA health insurance benefits
If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Proposition 8, gay marriage will be legal in California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Rhode Island.
In 2008, the Illinois legislature enacted a law authored by state Sen. John Waterman barring most registered sex offenders from using Facebook or other social networking sites. The law was challenged and upheld by a district court in June 2012.
Displeased with that court's decision, the ACLU of Indiana filed an appeal. The 7th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in Chicago in late January overturned the lower court's decision and ruled that the Indiana law was unconstitutional.
Sen. Waterman has stated he will pursue new measures to protect children online from the dangers of sexual predators.
Sex Offenders Fight Back
Sex offenders have organized legal battles, fighting for their right to be online. They were successful in February 2012 when a federal judge in Louisiana struck down a state law barring sex offenders from using Facebook and other social media on First Amendment grounds.
Efforts to restrict sex offenders across the U.S. seem to reach the same obstacle.
In March, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on two cases that could have a profound effect on same-sex marriages in California and across the country.
Status of California's Proposition 8
One case is close to home. In 2008, Californians approved Proposition 8, which added a new provision to the State Constitution that state "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Proposition 8 was quickly appealed and the outcome of the case rests with the U.S. Supreme Court, which will issue a ruling in June. The issue in this case is whether Americans have a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
Bryan L. Salamone and Associates P.C. wrote an interesting post about expiring marriage licenses. In their post, it was noted that last year, it was reported that lawmakers in Mexico were considering legislation that would have created temporary marriage licenses as a solution to the rising number of divorces in the country. According to a Reuters report, statistics showed that in Mexico most divorce actions commenced within the first two years of marriage. In the nation's capital, Mexico City, nearly one in two marriages ended in divorce.
The idea behind the law was that the temporary marriage licenses would be granted for a period of at least two years. At the end of this trial period, the couple could either renew the license for any desired time period or they could just let the marriage expire. The law would have included provisions for how would happen to the property and children should the couple decide not to renew the license.
The primary focus of Assembly Bill 1909 ("AB 1909") is to require that a foster child's attorney and appropriate welfare representative (usually their social worker) be notified in situations where the foster child faces possible suspension or expulsion from school. This notification is in addition to parental or guardian notification. The purpose of this bill is to benefit foster youth by helping ensure that they have an adult advocate on their side during the disciplinary process. As stated by the author of the bill, "A lack of notification to parties responsible for the foster youth's welfare creates a missed opportunity to address the root causes of that youth's behavioral issues and may lead to an unnecessary disruption in the foster youth's education."
AB 1909 requires the following types of notifications to a foster child's attorney and appropriate welfare representative.
For those of you following along, Gwen Smith is at it again. Off the heels from her defeat in federal court attempting to sue the Press Democrat for defamation, she has now filed a lawsuit in federal court against her former landlord Barbara Wilt. Smith vs. Wilt.pdf
The First Circuit Court of Appeals held that section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman for the purpose of federal laws and regulations, violates the Equal Protection Clause.
The court held that the rational basis test requires an intensified scrutiny of purported justifications for legislations such as section 3, which discriminates against minorities and intrudes on matters customarily under the control of the individual states. The court concluded that none of the purported justifications for section 3 provide an adequate basis for upholding the statute.
Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act [1 U.S.C. § 7] provides that ''[i]n determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.'' (Section 2 of DOMA, which preserves a state's power not to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, was not at issue in this case.)
The First Circuit noted that any arguments that either presume or rest on a constitutional right to same-sex marriage are foreclosed by Baker v. Nelson [409 U.S. 810, 93 S. Ct. 37, 34 L. Ed. 2d 65 (1972)] . Baker involved an equal protection challenge to a Minnesota statute defining marriage as a union of persons of the opposite sex. The United States Supreme Court summarily dismissed, for want of a substantial federal question, an appeal of a Minnesota Supreme Court decision upholding the statute. According to the First Circuit, a Supreme Court summary dismissal ''prevent[s] lower courts from coming to opposite conclusions on the precise issues presented and necessarily decided by those actions''
I previously wrote a post about the defamation lawsuit Gwen Smith filed against the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Well that suit is over and Smith was ordered to pay the Press Democrat $30,613.50 in attorney's fees and $5,747.50 in costs. Oh, California's Anti-Slapp statutes can be a wonderful thing.
For those of you interested in the full decision please read on.
The idea that an attorney‟s work product should receive protection from discovery was first recognized by the United States Supreme Court in 1947. Today, California law provides absolute protection to writings that reflect "an attorney‟s impressions, conclusions, opinions, or legal research or theories. All other work product receives qualified protection; such material "is not discoverable unless the court determines that denial of discovery will unfairly prejudice the party seeking discovery in preparing that party‟s claim or defense or will result in an injustice."
On a 2-1 vote, the Court of Appeal (Fifth Appellate District) held that the witness statements were not protected under the attorney work product doctrine.
The CA Supreme Court was recently asked to decide if the Fifth Appellate District was correct and to determine what work product protection, if any, should be accorded two items: first, recordings of witness interviews conducted by investigators employed by defendant‟s counsel, and second, information concerning the identity of witnesses from whom defendant‟s counsel has obtained statements.
The case that has lead to this legal issues is Coito vs. The Superior Court of Stanislaus County. Coito concerns the death of Jeremy Wilson, a teenager who drowned in the Tuolumne River. His family sued various defendants, including the city of Modesto and the state Department of Water Resources. The attorney general's office sent two investigators to take recorded statements from four witnesses to the drowning.
Counsel for Wilson's family sought discovery of the recordings via Judicial Council Form Interrogatory 12.3. A trial judge denied the firm's motion to compel, but the Fifth District Court of Appeal reversed, saying that witness statements "are classic evidentiary material."
The U.S. Supreme Court may be prepared to hear a case that could potentially outlaw rent control. New York City landlord James Harmon contends the City's rent control law constitutes a physical taking of property in violation of the Fifth Amendment. The Court has not yet announced whether it will hear the case but has asked the state and city of New York to respond to Harmon's argument.
Harmon, 68, lives on Manhattan's Upper West Side in a five-story brownstone that has been in his family since his grandfather bought it in 1949. In 1969, the building became subject to New York City's Rent Stabilization Law, which caps the percentage that a landlord may raise rents each year.
By the time Harmon and his wife took full ownership of the brownstone in 2005, three of the six units were renting at rates that were 59 percent below-market to tenants that Harmon claims did not need the discount.
Harmon argues that he and his wife effectively have been financing the approximately $1500 monthly mortgage payments on the Long Island home of one of their rent stabilized tenants who pays $951.22 monthly rent. According to his petition, Harmon has spent two years and more than $30,000 in legal fees trying to recover possession of one rent-stabilized apartment for one of his grandchildren.
The U.S. Supreme Court now wants to review records on this case from two lower courts that previously rejected Harmon's petition and may decide to hear arguments some time before October of this year.
For further information on this case and on rent control in general, use the links below.
The Law Offices of James V. Sansone is located in Santa Rosa, California and litigates numerous landlord tenant disputes including evictions, contract and lease disputes, evictions after foreclosure, and problem tenants, throughout Sonoma County, Mendocino County, and Lake County, including Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Cotati, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Healdsburg, Sonoma, Kenwood, Glen Ellen, Windsor, Bodega Bay, Ukiah, Willits, Clearlake, Lakeport, and Kelseyville.
According to CAA, in the last weeks of February, California lawmakers introduced hundreds of new bills that would impact the rental housing industry, here is a look at what CAA has identified so far.
AB 1610 - Accessibility - This bill would establish notice requirements for an alleged aggrieved party to follow before bringing an action against a business for an alleged violation of access rights of a disabled individual. The bill would require that party to provide specified notice to the owner of the property, agent, or other responsible party where the alleged violation occurred. The bill would require that owner, agent, or other responsible party to respond within 30 days with a description of the improvements to be made or with a rebuttal to the allegations. If that owner, agent, or other responsible party elects to fix the alleged violation, the bill would provide 120 days to do so.
AB 1726 - Pools - This bill would require an apartment building with a swimming pool to employ at least one qualified pool operator, as defined, and to maintain and conspicuously post a current certificate of each qualified pool operator employed by the swimming pool owner. This bill would require originals or copies of the certificate or documentation of each qualified pool operator employed by the site to be available onsite for inspection by a local enforcement agency. It also would require every pool operator of a public swimming pool to be a qualified pool operator, and to take a pool operator training course and examination, as specified, approved by a local enforcement agency. This bill would require a pool operator training course to be registered and approved by a local enforcement agency, and would allow the enforcement agency to charge a registration fee, as specified.
According to an e-mail update issued by the NACBA, NACBA's Principal Paydown Plan to help underwater homeowners in chapter 13 bankruptcy avoid foreclosure, has been endorsed by a substantial number of Members of Congress who in turn have pushed for action by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to implement the plan. In a series of private meetings and in letters to FHFA, Senators and Members of Congress have asked the FHFA to use its authority over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to require them to agree to the Principal Paydown Plan when proposed by a homeowner trying to save a home in chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Despite FHFA Director DeMarco's initial positive comments about the Principal Paydown Plan, which he said struck him as "being responsible," and a "credible way to address the crisis while recognizing various interests mortgaged properties," he recently wrote to Congress informing them that the agency would not be implementing the Principal Paydown Plan. FHFA concluded that few GSE borrowers have filed for chapter 13 bankruptcy and are underwater and therefore the proposal would not be all that helpful. They did, however, commit to doing what they can to help eligible borrowers in bankruptcy get the HAMP modifications they qualify for.
While the FHFA response is disappointing and inadequate, and we believe wrong, we are gratified that the many Members of Congress who have pushed for this solution continue to be engaged and are looking for ways to get the Principal Paydown Plan implemented despite the FHFA's position. These Members of Congress recognize, as so many of us do, that the foreclosure crisis is not going away anytime soon and so long as it continues, the nation will not enjoy the kind of recovery that is needed to stabilize the economy and get people back to work.
In US vs. Jones, the US Supreme Court was asked to decide whether the attachment of a Global Positioning-System (GPS) tracking device to an individual's vehicle, and subsequent use of that device to monitor the vehicle's movements on public streets, constitutes a search or seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.
The Fourth Amendment provides in relevant part that "[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated."
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that police cannot attach a GPS device to a criminal suspect's car to track their movements without first obtaining a search warrant.
While the Government contended that no "search" occurred, the Court thought differently. It is beyond dispute that a vehicle is an "effect" as that term is used in the Amendment. United States v. Chadwick, 433 U. S. 1, 12 (1977). Based on this, the Court reasoned that the Government's installation of a GPS device on a target's vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle's movements, constitutes a "search."
Associate Justice Antonin Scalia said that the government's installation of a GPS device, and its use to monitor a vehicle's movements, constitutes a search, meaning that a warrant is required.
"By attaching the device to the Jeep" that Jones was using, "officers encroached on a protected area," Scalia wrote.
This is probably not the end of these types of cases making their way to the US Supreme Court because the court did not rule on whether the exact search was reasonable, which means even if the Fourth Amendment applies in cases like this, it's possible that the use of GPS devices may be considered acceptable in some circumstances.
On September 26,2009,plaintiff Cynthia Dempsey's pickup truck was struck by a CHP patrol vehicle on Highway 12 westbound,just east of Santa Rosa Avenue in Santa Rosa,causing the pickup to flip onto a guardrail,bounce off and skid along Highway 12 on its roof for approximately 100 feet.
The officer had received a call that a group of approximately 25-30 people,some dressed in baggy clothing,had gathered at the Santa Rosa DMV parking lot. He entered his vehicle and began a code three emergency response. Between Farmers Lane and the Maple Avenue on-ramp,the officer reached speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour.
A Sonoma County jury awarded plaintiff more than $1.2 million against the State of California for the injuries she suffered in a collision with a CHP officer. The State denied liability, contending that the officer was properly responding to an emergency and that a motorcycle driver was the primary cause of the accident. The jury found the officer to be negligent and apportioned 99.5% of the liability to the State.
As it turned out, the call ended up being a false alarm. However, do you think the result should have been different if the call ended up being valid and a gang fight was actually happening?
The Law Office of James V. Sansone was founded with the goal of providing individuals and local business owners with a meaningful and cost-efficient alternative to large law firms. We are pleased to offer experienced legal representation, while still offering reasonable rates that are favorable to what clients might expect in a large law firm setting.