Petition Filed in Alameda County Superior Court Claims Warehousing Of Mentally Ill Criminal Defendants

The American Civil Liberties Union is a party to a Petition for Writ of Mandate filed on Wednesday, July 29, 2015 in the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda.  The plaintiffs claim California “warehouses” mentally ill criminal defendants in jails without treatment for months, often in defiance of judicial orders.  Pamela Ahlin, Director of the California Department of State Hospitals, is named as a defendant.

The Petition for Writ of Mandate filed in Stiavetti v. Ahlin, RG15779731, is available here –   stiavetti_v_ahlin_acsuperior

The Courthouse News website story about the case can be read here.

Access to petition from DomainWeb

The Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, provides the public with online access to civil case records (documents and information) through DomainWeb.  The access to many of the records are now behind a pay wall on the court’s website but Public Reports (Filings) Search  provides links to all non-confidential cases filed on any given day —  by location and case type. This search page allows you to view the initial case creation petition (filing) for free for the first 5 days from the date of the filing.  DomainWeb allows for downloading of the document to your computer.





COLD Calling California State Government Agencies

heading_otechLooking for a telephone number for a California state official or staffer?  There is a great Internet resource with the acronym – COLD (California Online Directory.)

The California Online Directory is a service provided by the California Department of Technology. The Online Directory provides access to government information and services for state employees, local government and the general public. The directory services include state employee information, state agency information, and a State Government Organization Chart, as well as a keyword search.

Need the fax number for the Director of the California Department of Motor Vehicles?  (A real question at ACLL last week.)  It is there under the “Agency Display” for the department that is accessed through the Agency Lookup page.

    Director-Jean Shiomoto 916-657-6940
    Chief Deputy Director-Hugo Lopez 916-657-6940
    Deputy Director Of Special Projects- 916-657-6940
    FAX 916-657-2096


The California government agency organization charts are a great centralized resource for those legal researchers who are trying to establish the proper hierarchy for a department.  The California Judicial Council has its own page on the site but the local county courts do not.

The California Roster, also known as the Roster of Public Officials, is a listing of California’s public officeholders, including government officials, and the Judicial branch but only the main telephone number is listed for the individual court within the county section.  It also includes a history of California’s office holders,  a listing of all state agencies, departments, boards and commissions, and information on the state officials for each state in the nation.  The California Roster can be used to locate the appropriate official to serve in an action or proceeding against a public agency.  (Government Code 53051(c))

The California Roster which has been made available exclusively online by the California Secretary of State since 2005.

Looking for a telephone number for a court official?  The most detailed directory is Daily Journal’s California Court Directory available as a paper monthly supplement with a subscription to the publication.  It is kept at the Reference Desk at ACLL.



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Traffic Court — CA Courts’ Proposed Rule – Comment Period Ends June 5, 2015

From the CA Judicial Council website:

SAN FRANCISCO—At a special open meeting via teleconference on June 8, the Judicial Council will consider adopting a proposed rule that would direct courts to allow people who have traffic tickets to appear for arraignment and trial without deposit of bail, unless certain specified exceptions apply.

The rule also states that courts must provide traffic defendants with notice of this option in any instructions or other materials provided by the court to the public.

The rule was developed on an urgency basis at the request of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye in response to recent concerns about court procedures for deposit of bail when defendants challenge infraction citations in court. The council advisory bodies that developed the rule recommend it be made effective immediately.

Text of meeting announcement and proposed rule for traffic court.

JUDICIAL COUNCIL OF CALIFORNIA MEETING is open to the public unless indicated as closed (Cal.Rules of Court, rule 10.6(a))
Monday, June 8, 2015 • 8:00 a.m. –9:45 a.m.
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Court of Appeals 1st District – Destruction of Court Records Announced

First Appellate District Announces Destruction of Court Records
 An announcement from the Court:
The Court of Appeal, First Appellate District (San Francisco), has announced its intention to destroy Criminal and Civil records, case numbers listed here, pursuant to Rule 10.1028(d) of the California Rules of Court.

Anyone who knows of a reason why any of the records listed should be retained, whether for historical or other reasons, should notify Diana Herbert, Clerk/Administrator. The reasons for retention should be sent in writing by June 29, 2015 to:

Diana Herbert, Clerk/Administrator
Court of Appeal, First Appellate District
350 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA  94102

Please note that records and case files for actions that result in a published opinion will be retained permanently by the California State Archives, 1020 “O” Street, Sacramento, CA  95814. The Reference Desk can be contacted at 916-653-2246. Their web address is



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Alameda County Superior Court– Interpreters In Civil Matters — ALA-INT-001

The Alameda County Law Library recently received this notice:

To attorneys and all interested persons:

The Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, recently received approval from the Chair of the Judicial Council to adopt a new local form, ALA-INT-001, to take effect as of May 1, 2015. A copy of the order authorizing the off-cycle adoption of the form is attached, as is a copy of ALA-INT-001.

The form is used for requesting an interpreter in a civil matter, and the Court will be translating the form into a number of additional languages for ease of use. The translated versions of the form will be posted on the Court’s web site as they are completed.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Chad Finke
General Counsel
Superior Court of California, County of Alameda
1225 Fallon Street Room 209
Oakland, CA 94612
510-891-6273 phone; 510-891-6276 fax

Here is a link to a file with the new form.  An image and instructions follow in this post.


ALA-INT-001 (eff  May 1 2015)_1 (3)


ALA-INT-001 (eff  May 1 2015)_Instructions (2)

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The role of traffic court fines in the poverty cycle

Not Just a Ferguson Problem
Not Just a Ferguson Problem: How the Traffic Courts Drive Inequality in California

Many have heard of the scathing March 2015 report by the U.S. Department of Justice on the police department of Ferguson, Missouri and the use of fines as a revenue source for the city — fines that are placed disproportionally on people of color via small infractions.  Unfortunately, similar methods of municipal financing is occurring in our own state.

A consortium of legal aid organizations:  The Western Center on Law and Poverty, the East Bay Community Law Center, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, have produced a report that looks at the impact on families of the policy of using traffic fines.  “Not Just a Ferguson Problem: How Traffic Courts Drive Inequality in California,” outlines how the fines have increased significantly since 2006, how the courts often impose the maximum fine and how there is little incentive not to since these fines support the courts, and how the resulting license suspension for not paying results in job loss and, therefore, further inability to pay the fines.


San Francisco has the Second Chance Legal Clinic for people who are in just such a predicament:  their license was suspended and they owe exorbitant fines.  This clinic also helps people that are barred from employment or housing due to past criminal actions.  The East Bay Community Law Center, who also helped with the above report, also has a Clean Slate Clinic.

You can find out about these and other resources at the Alameda County Law Library.









Fee Waivers Involving Guardians Conservators and Petitioners For Their Appointment

 Judicial Council of California

Invitation to Comment: Fee Waivers

Legislation effective on January 1, 2015, has changed the law governing court fee waivers involving guardians, conservators, and petitioners for their appointment. The new law clarifies that the fee waiver in such matters is in favor of the (proposed) ward or conservatee and must be based solely on his or her financial condition, but requires the fiduciary or the petitioner for the fiduciary’s appointment, or both, to participate in all court proceedings and to respond to all court orders concerning the waiver.

To implement this new law, the committee is proposing a new rule of court regarding fee waivers in guardianships and conservatorship proceedings and new versions of Judicial Council fee waiver forms for use by probate guardians and conservators, and by petitioners for their appointment. The rule would also address fee waivers in decedent estate proceedings.

Court fee waivers in decedent estates, guardianships, and conservatorships and for wards and conservatees participating in civil actions

Deadline for Comments: April 23, 2015 5:00 PM (Pacific)
Submit Comment Online or by email:


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