John Balazs is an attorney in Sacramento, California, specializing in criminal defense, including appeals, habeas corpus, pardons, expungements, and civil forfeiture actions. After graduating from UCLA Law School in 1989, he clerked for Judge Harry Pregerson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. John was an Assistant Federal Defender in Fresno and Sacramento from 1992-2001. He currently serves as an adjunct professor in clinical trial advocacy at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law. Please email EDCA items of interest to Balazslaw@gmail.com. Follow me on twitter @balazslaw.
This blog is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this blog should be construed as legal advice. The law can change rapidly and information in this blog can become outdated. Do your own research or consult with an attorney.
In Tavares v. Whitehead, the Ninth Circuit affirmed Judge Nunley's dismissal of a habeas petition for lack of jurisdiction brought by former members of the United Auburn tribal members under the Indian Civil Rights Act. In her partial dissent, Judge Berzon found that Jessica Tavares's 10-year banishment order constitutes "detention" warranting habeas jurisdiction under the Act. Here is the Sac Bee's summary:
A federal appeals court Tuesday rejected a challenge by former United Auburn tribal chairwoman Jessica Tavares and other dissident members who charged they were illegally banished and denied their shares of profits from the lucrative Thunder Valley Casino near Lincoln.
The ruling by the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, responding to a bitter 2013 clash in one of California’s wealthiest casino tribes and ensuing litigation, effectively rejected claims that the tribe “imposed unlawful restraints” on the “liberty” of Tavares and three other members by cutting off their income and banning them from United Auburn properties.
In October, 2013, Tavares and the other members brought legal action, filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento as a writ of habeas corpus under the 1968 Indian Civil Rights Act. She charged that the tribal council for the United Auburn Indian Community wrongly denied her $40,000 a month in benefits and bonuses, based on casino profits, and illegally banished her for 10 years.
Amidst reports that Trump asked U.S. Attorneys to resign last week, some have wondered about the status of our EDCA U.S. Attorney, Phil Talbert. Phil took over when the Obama-appointed U.S. Attorney, Ben Wagner, resigned before the election. Here's the highly-technical scoop:
Phil became the Acting U.S. Attorney without any appointment on May 1, 2016. But there's a limit to how long one can be an "Acting" U.S. Attorney. So when that time ran out in November, then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch appointed Phil to be the EDCA U.S. Attorney.
Federal law also restricts how long a person can hold the position on an AG appointment. Later this month, the district court, at the request of the Department of Justice, is expected to appoint Phil as the U.S. Attorney. There's no time limit on a court-appointed U.S. Attorney, so he'll probably serve as EDCA U.S. Attorney until the President appoints a new one. At that time, if Phil is still in the office, he will revert to once again being an Assistant U.S. Attorney because he'll be a court, not a Presidential, appointee. A Presidentially-appointed U.S. Attorney, whether they were an AUSA beforehand or not, does not become an AUSA when a new Presidential appointee arrives and instead must leave the office.
According to news reports, the U.S. Attorneys who had been appointed by President Obama and still remained in the position were asked to resign (other than the U.S. Attorney from Maryland, who is nominated to be Deputy AG, and the U.S. Attorney from EDVA, who is currently Acting Deputy AG). Presidentially-appointed U.S. Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President without civil service protection. The rest of the court and AG appointed U.S. Attorneys and the Acting U.S. Attorneys enjoy civil service protection and were left in place.
At least that's how it works under current law, though the law can change.
After a 4-day jury trial, a Fresno jury returned a guilty verdict Friday on all counts in a foreclosure rescue fraud case before Judge O'Neill in United States v. Calzada, No. 1:15-CR-0355-LJO. The defendant was remanded into custody after the verdict.
A federal judge in Sacramento on Tuesday rejected an effort by scam artist Lee Loomis to withdraw a guilty plea he entered a year ago – one that could send him to prison for 18 years.
After a 45-minute hearing, U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez told the former financial adviser that he saw no evidence to support Loomis’ claims that he was under duress at the time he accepted a plea agreement and pleaded guilty in January 2016 to a single count of wire fraud.
Gun owners' rights advocates are free to publish the home addresses and telephone numbers of California state lawmakers who voted for firearms restrictions, a federal judge decided Monday.
It is the second time in a week that judges decided that California lawmakers went too far in protecting the private information of public figures.
U.S. Chief District Judge Lawrence O'Neill of Fresno issued a preliminary injunction Monday blocking a state law that lets public officials demand that their private information be removed from the internet if they fear for their safety or the safety of their families.
O'Neill ruled that the state law is too broad and violates the advocates' free speech rights. Publishing the lawmakers' personal information "is a form of political protest," he said in a 38-page opinion.
Sac Bee, 2/27/17. Here is Judge O'Neill's ruling from the Washington Post. For more background, see Dan Morain's opinion on the ruling and the blogger who published the addresses of 40 state legislators who voted in favor of legislation requiring people who buy bullets to go through brief background checks first.