I grew up religiously reading Herb Caen’s daily column in the San Francisco Chronicle. With much to report, this borrows his unique writing structure — dubbed “three dot journalism.”
Herring Law Group continues to proudly support Santa Barbara’s Casa Serena as our “signature” non-profit. Its mission is to “help women manage their mental health and achieve long-term sobriety so they are able to properly care for their families.” Its philosophy is, “We are a unique program placing focus on specific issues to women in recovery, including mothers who are facing hard issues their disease has brought upon their children and families.” For over 60 years, Casa Serena has given thousands a firm foundation on which to begin their recoveries from addiction and abuse.
Our Executive Director and CDC Certified Divorce Coach©, Erin Schaden, has generously donated hundreds of hours to Casa Serena and remains on its Board of Directors (having recently served as president). HLG continues as a solid donor, and we encourage all to consider making a year-end gift: www.casaserena.org/donate.
My recent article, The Further Expansion of — and Assertion of “Guardrails” to – California’s Notions of “Domestic Violence” in Family Law, focused in part on the Court of Appeal’s July 27, 2021 Opinion in In re Marriage of L.R. and K.A, which the Court of Appeal certified for publication. The Opinion reversed the trial court’s findings of domestic violence, holding that, “although demonstrating poor co-parenting, [the mother’s behavior] did not rise to the level of destroying [f]ather’s mental and emotional calm to constitute abuse within the meaning of the Domestic Violence Prevention Act ….”
Publication would have made the Opinion citable as binding precedent (with narrow exceptions, California Rules of Court, Rule 8.1115 provides that unpublished appellate opinions must not be cited or relied on by a court or a party in any other action). The Opinion’s opponents were concerned that it represented undue interference by the Appellate Court into the trial court’s subjective determination of facts and findings of “domestic violence” following an evidentiary trial. Its supporters, however, applauded the manner in which it addresses “… the systemic issue courts see regarding domestic violence restraining orders used as a tool for control against the opposing party, rather than actual protection as is intended.” The California Supreme Court received extensive lobbying both for and against publication.
On November 10, 2021, the Supreme Court opted to de-publish the Opinion and did not grant review. A prominent former Superior Court judge speculated that “… the de-publication was motivated by many factors, including the optics of reversing a trial court for granting a restraining order on [particular] facts — there is a reason we have a substantial evidence rule.” (The substantial evidence rule is a principle that a reviewing court should uphold a trial court’s ruling if it is supported by evidence on which the trial court could reasonably base its decision.) The upshot is that the Opinion may not be cited or relied on by a court or a party in any other action.
With all the changes brought by the pandemic through the present, we found our website substantially out of date. I have always wanted it to reflect our mission, priorities, and people as family law leaders in “the 805” and beyond. I want it to be a dynamic resource for both our legal community and potential clients – with articles, family law “essentials,” my ongoing blog, and a list of pertinent upcoming events. The good news is that we have now accomplished a major overhaul – and it’s great! Check it out at www.theherringlawgroup.com.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, happy holidays, and all the best from Herring Law Group. We are looking forward to a productive and successful 2022!