Posts Tagged ‘supreme court’

Take the usual agony of an adoption dispute. Add in the disgraceful U.S. history of ripping Indian children from their Native American families. Mix in a dose of initial fatherly abandonment. And there you have it — a poisonous and painful legal cocktail that went before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, according to an article in KQED’s Public Media for Northern California on April 16, 2013.

The article which can be read here, tells about the adoption of a 2 year old girl whose biological father is a Native American, albeit, only 2% Native American, and his invoking the Indian Child Welfare Act upon learning that the biological mother had given the child up for an open adoption to a non Native American couple.

The biological father in this case had given up his parental rights but changed his mind after finding out that the mother was unable to raise the child and ripped the child from the adoptive parents custody at the age of 2.  He stated in his objection to the adoption that “I just figured the best interest would be … for [Christy] (the biological mother) to have the full custody of her, but for me to still be in the picture — be able to come visit and stuff.”

This is a sad story and one that I hope the Supreme Court recognizes the best interests of the child caught in the middle of this and does the right thing.  I will be watching for the ruling on this one.



Remember Judge Adams, who was given a suspension last November from the bench while being investigated for abusing his daughter when she posted a YouTube video?  The State Commission in Arkansas gave him a public warning this past week.

His daughter, who was videotaped when she was a teen being beaten by a belt by Judge Adams, says she is angry her father received only a public warning from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Adams declined to comment on Thursday’s sanction, which found the video cast doubt on his ability to be impartial. It also warned the judge against a pattern of demeaning behavior toward attorneys in his court.

Although police and prosecutors reviewed the Adams video, they did not pursue criminal charges, citing statutes of limitation. A grass-roots petition drive to unseat the judge fizzled.

The judge’s daughter, Hillary Adams, now 24, said she was angered by the decision because it won’t remove her father from the bench. She said it’s unacceptable for a family law judge to beat his daughter, but she said she didn’t want to direct her anger at the commission, and she’s glad the warning publicly acknowledged the judge’s behavior.

“They’re doing their job,” she said. “Really, I guess I should direct my anger at the law system for allowing this to continue and basically paying someone a yearlong vacation for beating his child.”

Commission Director Seana Willing said in an email that Adams now must petition the Supreme Court to have the suspension lifted. Judicial ethics expert Lillian Hardwick said that step is largely procedural and the court likely will lift the suspension.

For more on Judge Adams, you can read more in my previous article here and here.


Californians are honoring several justices for 50 years of service. While the percentage of black justices in California seems low to me, (at only 5.9%), I am proud to be born in a state that recognizes people for who they are, what they have accomplished, rather than the color of their skin.

I personally would like to thank each and every one of the honorees for their service to our state! Thank you all!

Amplify’d from

Fifty years ago, the first African-American justice on the California Court of Appeal was appointed by Gov. Edmund “Pat” Brown.

The justice was Edwin Jefferson, a then-Los Angeles County Superior Court judge who had become the state’s first black trial judge 20 years earlier. He took his seat on the Court of Appeal in Los Angeles on Oct. 1, 1961.

Since then, 13 other African-American justices have been appointed to Courts of Appeal based in San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Riverside.

Three have been appointed to the California Supreme Court, including two from Oakland: Wiley Manuel, who served on the high court from 1977 to 1981, and Allen Broussard, who was a Supreme Court justice from 1981 to 1991.

On Monday, the California Legislature will celebrate the 50 years of service by African-American justices on the appeals courts and Supreme Court.

The Senate and Assembly are expected to pass resolutions honoring the justices and both houses will hold ceremonies at noon.

Manuel, the first African-American on the California Supreme Court, was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 1977, during Brown’s first term as governor.

He had previously served for 23 years in the state attorney general’s office, rising to become the chief assistant attorney general, and also served one year as an Alameda County Superior Court judge. His term on the Supreme Court was cut short by his untimely death at age 53 in 1981.

The Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse of Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland is named after him, as are the State Bar’s Wiley W. Manuel Award for volunteer legal services and Wiley W. Manuel Bar Association of Sacramento County (formerly the Sacramento Association of Black Attorneys).

Broussard, also appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, served on the high court for 10 years until his retirement in 1991.

The third African-American on the California Supreme Court was Janice Rogers Brown, a former Court of Appeal justice in Sacramento and former legal affairs secretary to Gov. Pete Wilson.

She was appointed by Wilson in 1996 and served until she left the court to become a federal appeals court judge in Washington, D.C., in 2005. Brown was appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush.

While Broussard became the state Supreme Court’s leading liberal after Chief Justice Rose Bird and fellow liberal Justices Cruz Reynoso and Joseph Grodin were denied renewed terms by state voters in 1986, Brown was one of the court’s most conservative justices.

Four African-American justices have served on the Court of Appeal in San Francisco.

Henry Needham, a former Alameda County Superior Court judge, and Martin Jenkins, a former federal judge, are currently on the court. Both are from Oakland and both were appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Clinton White of Oakland served on the appeals court from 1978 to 1994 and former Assemblyman John Miller of Berkeley was on the appellate from 1978 to 1985.

Miller, a former assembly minority leader, was the first Californian African-American justice who had been a member of the Legislature.

The Legislature’s celebrations on Monday will also commemorate the 70th anniversary of Jefferson’s appointment as a Los Angeles County Municipal Court judge by Gov. Cuthbert Olson in 1941.

Jefferson was not only California’s first black trial judge but also the first west of the Mississippi River. He was elevated to Los Angeles Superior Court by Gov. Earl Warren in 1949.

Representation of African-Americans has continued in the state’s trial courts. (California’s Municipal and Superior Court systems have now been consolidated and all trial judges are now Superior Court jurists.)

Ninety, or 5.7 percent, of the state’s 1,588 Superior Court judges identified themselves as black or African-American in 2010, according to statistics collected by the state Administrative Office of the Courts.



As a grandmother, I have witnessed some of the games mentioned in this article and agree that some of them are violent. Do I want to be the grandma run down in the street by the wild teenager in the car? Of course I don’t. (You know what I am talking about if you have ever seen or played Grand Theft Auto). Do I want the government telling me what my grandchild can or can’t rent or buy? No, I don’t. I think as adults it is our duty to teach our children and grandchildren the difference between real life and video games. My grandson loves Grand Theft Auto, or at least he used to. He got bored with it pretty quickly. I also watched him play it and we talked about him running grandma over in the game and what would happen if he did that in real life. Grandma doesn’t get back up and wait for the next car to come and run her over in real life, lol. I don’t worry that my grandson will grow up to be a violent man because he played these games. I worry more about the gangs in his school and the violence he witnesses in real life more. How about you?

Amplify’d from
If the Supreme Court renders justice in a case it heard this month, Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association, it will strike down a California law barring the sale or rental of violent video games to anyone under 18. That would end a violation of free expression — but not prevent the states from finding other ways to support parents who do not want their children to play violent games.
Restricting the content of games, however, would mean adding to the short list of expression excluded from the First Amendment’s protection. Just last April, the court said the Constitution does not permit the government to impose a restriction “simply on the basis that some speech is not worth it.”
But in an opinion from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturning the California law, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said that the 1968 ruling dealt with “a sub-category of obscenity — obscenity as to minors.” It “did not create an entirely new category of expression excepted from First Amendment protection.”

“We do not have a tradition in this country of telling children they should watch people actively hitting schoolgirls over the head with a shovel so they’ll beg for mercy,” he said. He concluded sternly, “We protect children from that.”

He is right, society can protect children from that. Narrowing the First Amendment is not the way.