Is Santa Claus a Criminal?

This is a guest post by Dave Owens.

It’s Christmas season and we all know what that means: Santa Claus will once again engage in various criminal activities.Santa Claus criminal

Poet and transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Good men must not obey the laws too well.”

While that is an interesting philosophical and moral argument, it is not a legal one.

Santa Claus, though well intentioned, may technically be committing several crimes every Christmas Eve.

Here are just a few of the crimes he is potentially committing:

Burglary

[Read more…]

California State Assembly Passes SB 1178; Bill Would Equalize Anti-Deficiency Protections for Homeowners Who Have Refinanced

Under California law, if a homeowner defaults on a mortgage used to purchase a home, the mortgage lender may not sue the homeowner for the lender’s losses; the lender may only foreclose on the property itself.  However, homeowners who have refinanced the original purchase debt (as many homeowners have done over the past five years), lost the anti-recourse protections enjoyed by those who hadn’t refinanced. 

As a result, homeowners who have refinanced have found themselves in a very different position from those who never refinanced if they have run out of money to pay their mortgage.  [Read more…]

California Appellate Court Continues Uncertainty for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

The Fourth District California Court of Appeal yesterday unanimously voted to remand a case back to the trial court to consider whether cities can ban medical marijuana dispensaries within their city limits.   The Court of Appeal said the lower court hadn’t addressed if local laws could trump the state’s provisions.

The ruling failed to decide whether the City of Anaheim’s local ordinance could preempt the state’s Medical Marijuana Program Act (MMPA). The ruling states that because Proposition 215 and the MMPA “do not mandate conduct that federal law prohibits, nor pose an obstacle to federal enforcement of federal law, the enactments’ decriminalization provisions are not preempted by federal law.”
[Read more…]

L.A. Times Editorial Calls for California to Pass Bill Forcing Lenders to Notify Borrowers About Loan Modification Programs

The L.A. Times has published an editorial in support of SB 1275 (Leno), a bill which would require mortgage lenders to make a good-faith effort to notify defaulting borrowers about the availability of any loan modification programs.

The editorial calls for the State Assembly to join the Senate in passing the bill, which would prevent banks from foreclosing on homeowners who are in the midst of trying to modify their loan.

The L.A. Times writes:

Nothing in the bill would compel lenders to give troubled homeowners a break if it wasn’t in the lenders’ financial interest to do so. It simply tries to stop overwhelmed banks from forcing borrowers out of their homes before making sure they’re not qualified for one of the loan modification programs.

If SB 1275 is signed into law, it would mean [Read more…]

Judge Orders Gay Marriages to Resume Wednesday, Aug. 18th

Judge Vaughn R. Walker

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker followed up his ruling last week that California’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional with an additional order today declining to continue a stay of his ruling.  Today’s order means same-sex marriages will resume in California a week from yesterday, on Wednesday, August 18th, 2010, unless the Ninth Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court issues a stay pending appeal.

Today’s order granted a request by the City and County of San Francisco to allow the marriages to continue.  The request by San Francisco was also supported by Governor Schwarzenegger (who has received some criticism for his change in stance on the issue of gay marriages) and Attorney General Jerry Brown.

Proponents of Proposition 8 have already filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Approximately 18,000 same-sex couples were married in California after the California Supreme Court ruled in May 2008 that a ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

You can find a copy of today’s order here.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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Plastiras & Terrizzi Announces Addition of Two New Associates

SAN RAFAEL, CA – Plastiras & Terrizzi, a San Rafael-based general civil law firm, has announced the expansion of its existing operations with the addition of two new attorneys with deep ties in the San Francisco Bay Area, Thane Schultz and John Corcoran.

“We’re thrilled with the addition of both Thane and John,” said managing partner Basil Plastiras.  “They are a great addition to the firm, and will allow us to expand into new practice areas, including family law and estate planning.”

A long-time resident of Marin County, Schultz has been practicing law since 2003, with a focus primarily on family law and general civil litigation. He also has experience working in construction defect, insurance defense, contract and real estate litigation, and medical malpractice.  Schultz also has extensive experience in business, having spent two years helping to run his family’s real estate development business in Australia.  Schultz is a graduate of the Santa Clara University School of Law and the University of San Francisco.

Corcoran joins Plastiras & Terrizzi after working for a law firm in Silicon Valley, where he focused on general civil litigation, small business representation, estate planning, employment law, and real estate law.  He previously worked as a public affairs consultant, working with various clients including as a consultant to the County of Marin on the successful effort to establish the Marin Energy Authority.

Earlier in his career, Corcoran served in the White House during the Clinton Administration as a Writer in the Office of Presidential Letters and Messages and as a Speechwriter and Press Aide in the Office of the Governor in Sacramento.  Corcoran is a graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Law and UC Santa Barbara, and he currently serves as a Planning Commissioner for the Town of Tiburon.