San Francisco Paralegal Association


  • 08/12/2017 6:04 AM | Denise Bashline (Administrator)

    The California Report 

    August 11, 2017

    By Scott Shafer


     U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson, who retires August 11, 2017.U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson, who retires August 11, 2017


    "Everybody gets their day in court, but my passion is for the underdog. That’s where I put in my extra time.’

    -Judge Thelton Henderson



    After serving 37 years on the federal district court bench in San Francisco, where some of his decisions involved hot-button issues, Judge Thelton Henderson is retiring today.


    His rulings often enraged opponents and thrilled those who agreed — often attorneys for “the little guy.”


    Henderson was born in Louisiana in 1933. But he grew up in South Central Los Angeles, where he first witnessed the impact of segregation and discrimination.


    After graduating from UC Berkeley’s law school, Henderson’s legal career got off to a bumpy start.


     In 1962, he became the first African-American to work in the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. He was sent to the South, where racial tensions were boiling over. One night he loaned his government car to the Rev. Martin Luther King, whose own car had broken down. Attorney General Robert Kennedy — worried about how it would look to Southern Democrats — gave Henderson little option but to quit.


     “(I was told) I couldn’t be sent out in the field any longer, that I’d have a desk job and that it would be best if I resigned. So I resigned,” Henderson told KQED. “But I was effectively fired. I can say that now after all these years.”


    Henderson landed on his feet — working in academia and helping to diversify law schools. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter nominated him to the federal bench.


    Of the hundreds, if not thousands, of cases he’s handled, Henderson says none was more important than his finding that overcrowding in California prisons contributed to terrible health care for inmates.


     “One prisoner was dying every six days for lack of adequate medical care,” Henderson recalls. “That’s a lot of lives. That’s no longer happening.”


     In 2006, he took control of prison health care away from the state and turned it over to an independent health care czar, forcing California to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to improve care. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fought the decision but it was eventually upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. It led to the forced reduction of the state prison population.


     “Most of the prisons now are pretty close to the level of care that we get out here outside of prison, so it’s a profound change,” Henderson says. He still visits San Quentin Prison to check on conditions there, and he says inmates still come up to him and thank him for what he did.


     Guards outside the solitary confinement facilities, known as the Security Housing Unit, at Pelican Bay State Prison.Guards outside the solitary confinement facilities, known as the Security Housing Unit, at Pelican Bay State Prison.



    Donald Specter, executive director of the Prison Law Office in Berkeley, was one of the attorneys representing inmates. A decade earlier, he also went with Henderson to see firsthand the solitary confinement facilities at the notorious Pelican Bay State Prison in Del Norte County.


    After a three-month trial in 1995, Henderson issued a 300-page ruling that completely changed conditions in the prisons.


     “The beatings stopped,” says Specter. “Prisoners who were especially vulnerable to isolation were kept out of it. His ruling was responsible in large part for reforming the use-of-force policy for the entire corrections department. So it was dramatic."


    Over the years Henderson has had his share of reversals by higher courts, none more infamous that a case involving affirmative action.


    Surprisingly, when I asked Henderson to name the cases he’s most proud of, he mentioned his ruling that tuna fishermen could no longer use nets that were killing huge numbers of dolphins. Henderson says he still gets letters from schoolkids about that one.


    But he got very different kinds of letters after California voters passed Proposition 209, banning racial preferences in public institutions like the University of California. In November 1996, Henderson blocked its implementation — enraging supporters of the measure.


    Proposition 209 backer Ward Connerly called Henderson’s ruling “the most garbage decision I have ever seen,” adding that it “will be recorded in the history of American jurisprudence as one of the most perverse.”


    Some Republicans called for Henderson’s impeachment.


    Republican Gov. Pete Wilson called Henderson’s decision “an affront to the overwhelming majority of California voters.”


    “I got death threats for that case,” Henderson recalls. “I’ve had a few since then, but that one was the most emotional case.”


    Henderson’s Proposition 209 decision was overturned by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals a few months later, and the law remains in effect today.


    Even today, 20 years after his decision, Henderson is convinced he did the right thing by blocking Proposition 209 from taking effect.


    “I felt I was following Supreme Court precedent,” Henderson says. “Of course the panel that got it on the 9th Circuit disagreed. I was never convinced I was wrong.”


    Cases like Proposition 209 led critics of Henderson to label him an “activist judge.” He rejects that but acknowledges that he’s always tried to level the playing field.


    “Everybody gets their day in court, but my passion is for the underdog,” Henderson admits. “That’s where I put in my extra time.”


    Now 83, he’ll have extra time for his two passions — fishing and poker.



  • 08/10/2017 12:36 AM | Denise Bashline (Administrator)

    Tracy Mosz talks about her experience as a litigation paralegal including handling the stress and maintaining all the necessary documents.


    Litigation paralegals are an essential cog in the trial machine, but handling this responsibility often comes with a large amount of stress. In this episode of the Paralegal Voice, host Vicki Voisin talks to Tracy Mosz about her experience as a litigation paralegal, including handling the stress and maintaining all the necessary documents for trial. Together they discuss keeping an organized trial notebook, creating demonstratives, and using technology.


    Tracy Mosz, ACP is a certified eDiscovery project manager with Brewster & De Angelis where she has been since March 2011.





  • 08/10/2017 12:19 AM | Denise Bashline (Administrator)

    Santa Rosa Press Democrat

    August 8, 2017

    By Paul Payne



    Language interpreters at Sonoma County Superior Court walked off the job Tuesday in protest of failed negotiations over pay and benefits they claim are rooted in discrimination.


    Court officials scrambled to provide translation services and some cases were postponed by the one-day strike of the half-dozen Spanish interpreters.


    It was part of a larger disagreement between state court officials and union interpreters in 15 coastal Northern California counties, whose contracts expired in September.


    Although the state is offering to boost the $76,000-a-year salaries by 21 percent over three years, interpreters claim it won’t make up for past wage stagnation and does not keep pace with raises given to federal counterparts and other court workers.


    At the same time, interpreters claim positions have gone unfilled despite money being allocated by state legislators.


    They accused court officials of placing a low priority on their work because they are mostly women and minorities who focus on helping immigrants.


    “The communities that need these services are getting short shrift in this county,” said Mary Lou Aranguren, a lead negotiator for the California Federation of Interpreters union, who stood outside the courthouse with colleagues carrying picket signs. “It’s institutional racism.”


    Sonoma County court officials referred questions about the dispute to a spokeswoman for regional negotiators at San Francisco Superior Court, who released a statement from T. Michael Yuen, the court’s executive officer.


    Yuen said one case requiring interpreters was postponed until Friday. He called what the court is offering “fair.”


    “By not embracing this salary structure and instead striking throughout the region, the interpreters’ union is actually hurting the women, minorities and non-English speakers who seek to access their right to justice in Northern California but instead see their day in court delayed because interpreters are on the picket line rather than in court providing vital interpreting services,” Yuen said in the statement.


    Cindia Martinez, assistant court executive officer in Santa Rosa, confirmed her court has a full-time staff of six interpreters who work 36 to 40 hours a week.


    Martinez said the court hires two additional contractors for Spanish translation and can bring in more for other languages.


    Meanwhile, striking interpreters said their wages have risen at less than half the rate of other court workers since court interpreters gained employment rights 14 years ago. Because they don’t receive salary “steps,” those who have worked for decades earn the same as others who are new to the profession.


    Also, interpreters claim they have suffered deeper cuts to take-home pay because of rising benefit costs.




  • 08/06/2017 6:32 PM | Denise Bashline (Administrator)


    Bryan A. Garner



    Justice Kagan sits down for an interview with Bryan A. Garner at the United States Supreme Court.


    Part 1: 



    Part 2:




    Part 3:




    Part 4:






  • 08/06/2017 6:30 PM | Denise Bashline (Administrator)

    Kellogg Biennial Lecture on Jurisprudence


    When: Monday, October 26, 2009
    Time: 1-2:30 pm
    Where: Coolidge Auditorium, Jefferson Building
    located at 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C.


    The lecture, titled "Is There Truth in Interpretation? Law, Literature and History," will focus on the philosophical aspects of the law.


    The event, which is sponsored by the Library of Congress and administered by the Law Library of Congress, is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. 




    Ronald Dworkin, professor of jurisprudence at University College London and the New York University School of Law, delivers the inaugural Frederic R. and Molly S. Kellogg Biennial Lecture on Jurisprudence in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress.

    Speaker Biography:

    Born in Worcester, Mass., Ronald Dworkin was educated at Harvard University and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar and a student of prominent British lawyer and academic Sir Rupert Cross. Dworkin attended Harvard Law School and subsequently clerked for Judge Learned Hand of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. A former professor of jurisprudence at the University of Oxford, Dworkin is widely known as one of the foremost American legal philosophers. He is the author of many articles in philosophical and legal journals and has written numerous books, as well as articles on legal and political topics in the New York Review of Books. In 2007, Dworkin was awarded the Holberg Memorial Prize in the Humanities by the Kingdom of Norway.






  • 08/06/2017 6:00 PM | Denise Bashline (Administrator)

    Santa Cruz Sentinel

    August 1, 2017

    By Michael Todd


    Santa Cruz County Superior Court interpreters and supporters gather during a strike outside the courthouse Monday in Santa Cruz. The day of action was held to protest what the workers consider unfair pay and treatment by the Judicial Council of California. (Contributed -- Mary Lou Aranguren) 


    Santa Cruz County Superior Court interpreters and supporters gather during a strike outside the courthouse Monday in Santa Cruz. The day of action was held to protest what the workers consider unfair pay and treatment by the Judicial Council of California. (Contributed -- Mary Lou Aranguren)              




    SANTA CRUZ >> Court interpreters in Santa Cruz County and 12 greater Bay Area courts engaged in a series of labor actions since last week, after a year of failed negotiations to achieve a contract that the group — mostly minority women — said would counter unfair labor practices and inadequate wage growth, according to the California Federation of Interpreters.


    At Santa Cruz County Superior Court, all seven interpreters walked off the job Monday and plan to do so again at a future date if no contract is reached with the state judiciary.


    Tuesday, the interpreters returned to work.


    Santa Cruz County Superior Court Administrator Tim Newman declined to comment on the strike but said the courts were able to maintain operations despite the walkout.


    “We do have other bilingual staff that can be deployed,” Newman said.


    Other court workers negotiate by county. Interpreters work under a region, known as Region 2 in coastal Northern California. The 12 counties of Region 2, which includes Santa Cruz County Superior Court interpreters, include Alameda, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Sonoma counties.


    Mary Lou Aranguren, the California Federation of Interpreters bargaining coordinator, said negotiations occur between interpreters and the Judicial Council of California in San Francisco. Friday, discussions with the council and the federation failed to reach a contract.


    “The money is there,” Aranguren said. “They’re willing to spend more on contractors than to pay interpreters a fair wage. It really feels like union busting and discrimination.”


    Santa Cruz County Superior Court interpreter Maria Mattioli said there will be future actions if no deal is reached with the region.


    “It will be more than just one day,” Mattioli said.


    Camille Taiara, an interpreter who lives in Oakland, also serves as a spokeswoman for the federation.


    “It’s on,” Taiara said of the strike. “We’re all connected because what happens to one of us happens to all of us. It easily takes up to a decade to get the kind of fluency it takes to be an interpreter.”


    The interpreters have worked without a contract for 10 months and have been in negotiations for a year, Taiara said.


    “When people wonder what institutional racism means, this is what it looks like,” Taiara said.


    The Judicial Council of California was working to provide a comment but did not do so by press time.


    County court interpreters in Northern California earn from $70,000 to $80,000 per year. County interpreters say that is less than the $100,000 salaries paid to court interpreters in federal courts and more than the $80,000 salaries paid to county court reporters.


    “This is a stark example of how the system for setting interpreter compensation keeps interpreters separate and unequal,” Aranguren said. “Interpreter wages have generally grown at less than half the rate of other employees across the region because of the courts’ disparate treatment of interpreters.”






  • 08/06/2017 9:00 AM | Denise Bashline (Administrator)



    Posted Thu, August 3rd, 2017 2:35 pm



    This past term, while the Supreme Court was on its winter break, First Mondays released a special two-episode series called “101 First Street.” The series is designed to serve as an introduction to how the Supreme Court works for nonexperts and nonlawyers. The first episode, “Ser-shee-or-RARE-eye,” walks listeners through the Supreme Court’s case-selection process — including such minutiae as the difference between “relists” and “reschedules” and how to pronounce “certiorari” — as well as the court’s process for resolving merits cases up to and including the briefing stage. The second episode, “The Most Exciting Parts,” picks up where the first episode left off, and describes the oral-argument process and the rest of the court’s decision making, including its issuance of written opinions.





  • 08/04/2017 9:00 AM | Denise Bashline (Administrator)

    ABA Journal

    The Modern Law Library


    Soul of the First Amendment



    The rights to free speech and freedom of the press were guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. But when it was first passed—and for its first hundred or so years—the First Amendment was not the robust defense we think of today. Legendary civil rights attorney Floyd Abrams joins the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles to discuss his book The Soul of the First Amendment in this episode of the Modern Law Library. Abrams shares how First Amendment jurisprudence changed over time, and what dangers he sees ahead for free speech in the era of fake news and a presidential administration that is hostile to the press.




    In This Podcast:

    <p>Floyd Abrams</p>

    Floyd Abrams


    Floyd Abrams is senior counsel at Cahill Gordon & Reindel. Abrams has a national trial and appellate practice and extensive experience in high-visibility matters, often involving First Amendment, securities litigation, intellectual property, public policy and regulatory issues. He has argued frequently in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, most recently on behalf of Sen. Mitch McConnell as amicus curiae in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.






  • 08/01/2017 6:00 AM | Denise Bashline (Administrator)

    July 30, 2017


    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. She spoke at the Resnick Aspen Action Forum in Aspen, Colorado on Sunday.








  • 07/30/2017 12:00 AM | Denise Bashline (Administrator)

    New York City Bar Association


    May 8, 2017


    Patricia Bell-Scott, Author and Professor Emerita of Women's Studies and Human Development and Family Science, University of Georgia delivers the Annual Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Distinguished Lecture on Women and the Law.

    Welcome by: John S. Kiernan, President, New York City Bar

    Introduction by: Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court of the United States




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