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 The law can change rapidly and information in this blog can become outdated.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.
On Friday, the EDCA filed General Order 483 with this Amended Local Rule 401 regarding shackling of defendants in criminal court proceedings, effective immediately. It's not immediately apparent how this differs from the prior rule. The notice and comment period to this amended rule ends February 11, 2010. Interested practioners can email comments directly to the court here: email comments to amended rule
In U.S. v. Brandau, (download here), the Ninth Circuit, in light of possible changes to the EDCA's official policy of shackling defendants at their initial court appearances, took the highly-unusual step of remanding two consolidated appeals challenging the policy "to a district judge outside the Eastern District of California to conduct an evidentiary hearing regarding the present shackling practice at initial appearances and to determine in the first instance whether this consolidated case is now moot."Slip Op. 11557, at 11561. The Court's opinion, authored by Judge Stephen Reinhardt, also noted that the judges of the Eastern District "may, at their discretion, decide to retain separate counsel to represent their interests at that proceedings, as the Assistant United States Attorney stated at oral argument that she does not represent the court. Similarly, on remand, the Eastern District judges may wish to intervene in the proceedings, to file an amicus brief, or to decline to participate at all, as they see fit." Slip op. 11557, at 11569.
Former Fresno AFD Robert Rainwater, now in private practice in Eugene, Oregon, argued the appeal for the defendants.