Topic: Legal Climate
Aug. 31, 2017

The 5-2 decision, upholding an appellate court ruling, was that the taxing constraints on local governments in the state constitution don’t apply to voter-generated ballot measures that raise taxes.

It was immediately interpreted by anti-tax and pro-tax forces as allowing initiatives for “special taxes” – those for specific purposes – to be approved by voters via simple majorities, rather than the two-thirds margins required for special taxes proposed by governments themselves.

Aug. 31, 2017

Scott came to the job amid escalating criticism from city residents about filth and crime in San Francisco’s streets. He spoke as newly released figures revealed that victims had reported 17,970 vehicle break-ins across San Francisco through the end of July, a 28 percent jump from the same period last year.

At this rate, the city will far exceed the 25,899 burglaries in 2015, which the civil grand jury said cost victims at least $19 million. In 2010, less than 10,000 vehicle break-ins were reported the entire year.

Magnifying the problem, guns taken in car burglaries have been used in a number of killings in the city, including the July 2015 shooting of Kate Steinle on Pier 14.

The civil grand jury report, released in June 2016, said gangs were responsible for up to 80 percent of the burglaries, but that police made arrests in fewer than 2 percent of cases.

Aug. 30, 2017

In the case of California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland, the court by a 5 – 2 majority held that statutes proposed by voter initiative need not be held to the same procedural standards as statutes proposed by local government agencies.

The opinion by Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar held that Proposition 218 does not limit voters’ ‘power to raise taxes by statutory initiative.’ A contrary conclusion would require an unreasonably broad construction of the term ‘local government’ at the expense of the people’s constitutional right to direct democracy, undermining our longstanding and consistent view that courts should protect and liberally construe it.


Crime in California, 2016 presents an overview of the criminal justice system in California. Current year statistics are presented for reported crimes, arrests, dispositions of adult felony arrests, adult probation, criminal justice personnel, citizens’ complaints against peace officers, domestic violence- related calls for assistance, and law enforcement officers killed or assaulted. In addition, statistics for preceding years are provided for historical context.

Aug. 23, 2017

The state’s prison population has declined by more than one-fourth to comply with federal court orders, in part by diverting low-level felons into local jails via “realignment.”

Law enforcement officials and prosecutors generally opposed the new leniency, warning that putting fewer miscreants behind bars would inevitably increase crime. And the latest state crime report may point in that direction.

While property crimes such as burglary and car theft have continued to decline, down 1.9 percent between 2011 and 2016, violent crimes have spiked, up 7.4 percent during that period, with “aggravated assault” seeing the biggest jump.

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