[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's states brief, the California Supreme Court today overturned a lower court and ordered that state voters will be given the opportunity to vote on Proposition 80 during a November 8th special election [California Secretary of State election website] to decide whether California should reregulate its power market. The Independent Energy Producers Association [website] had filed a lawsuit seeking to remove Proposition 80 from the ballot on the grounds that it was unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court ruled that the constitutional validity of Proposition 80 "need not and should not be determined prior to November 8." The ruling reversed the Court of Appeals which ordered [PDF text] the measure off the ballot. Reuters has more.
In other state legal news ...
- The California Supreme Court [official website] agreed Wednesday to review an appellate court ruling that reinstated a second-degree murder conviction for a woman whose dogs fatally mauled a neighbor. The First District Court of Appeal reinstated the conviction, ruling [PDF text] that the trial judge erred in concluding the defendant had to know the dogs would kill to sustain a murder conviction. The court ordered the decision to be analyzed under a standard of whether the defendant disregarded a known risk that the dogs presented. The trial judge had reduced the jury's murder conviction to manslaughter. AP has more.
- The Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled that the state cannot require American Indians living on reservations to register as predatory offenders because the state's predatory-offender registration law [text] is civil and regulatory in nature. The decision [text] affirmed a lower-court ruling which found Congress had limited the state's jurisdiction on reservations in Minnesota and other states to matters of criminal law. It is undecided whether the decision will be appealed to the state Supreme Court. AP has more.
- The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled [PDF text] that owners of private beaches, whether businesses or homeowners, must make some of the dry sand above the high-tide line available to the public. For the majority, Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz wrote, "The public trust doctrine requires the Atlantis [beach] property to be open to the general public at a reasonable fee for the services provided by the owner and approved by the Department of Environmental Protection." Department of Environmental Protection [official website] Commissioner Bradley Campbell said, "The ruling should send a strong signal to the towns that have fought public access that it is time to comply with the law." Over a quarter of the beaches on New Jersey's 127 miles of coastline are privately owned. New Jersey's Star-Ledger has local coverage.