Federal Courts District Update – November 2023

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For more federal courts content, please see the Quarterly Federal Courts Committee Newsletter. This quarter’s newsletter includes an Interview with Judge Sunshine Sykes of the Central District of California.

We are looking for three new members to join our Federal Courts Committee. If you are interested, please apply at or email Committee Chair Jenn French for more information.

Southern District of California

The Southern District amended its Criminal Justice Plan Act to add a non-discrimination statement approved by the Judicial Council for the Ninth Circuit. (CJO 106.)

New CJA Advisory Committee Chair. The Southern District appointed Adam Doyle as the new chair of the CJA Criminal Defense Advisory Committee and CJA Panel Representative. It also appointed three new members to the CJA Criminal Defense Advisory Committee. (GO 634-F.)

Protocols for Sentencing Relief. The Southern District adopted protocols for processing applications for relief under U.S. Sentencing Commission Guidelines Amendment 821. (GO 755.)

Central District of California

Veterans Day Closure: On Friday, Nov. 10, 2023, the District Court and the Probation and Pretrial Services Office, in the Western, Eastern, and Southern Divisions, will be closed in recognition of Veterans Day. (Notice.)

Patent Program Termination: The Central District’s Patent Program will be terminated, effective March 30, 2024. Judges participating in the Patent Program will continue to accept transfers of patent cases until March 30, 2024. After termination, patent cases will be assigned randomly without the option to transfer to the Patent Program. (Notice).

Fee Schedule Changes: The Central District has approved several changes to the district court miscellaneous fee schedule, effective December 1, 2023. (Notice).

Eastern District of California

Applications for a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Sacramento: The Judicial Conference authorized the appointment of a full-time Magistrate Judge in Sacramento to fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Magistrate Judge Deborah Barnes. (Notice.)

To apply, submit 1) a letter of interest, 2) a chronological resume, and 3) a completed “Application for the Position of United States Magistrate Judge” form found on the “Careers” page of the internet website of the Eastern District of California. Applications may only be submitted by applicants on their own behalf (i.e., the nomination of another person will not be accepted).

The application packet must be received by no later than Monday, November 20, 2023 as a PDF file sent to email address:

Retroactive Application of Sentencing Guidelines 2023 Amendments: General Order 670 addresses the process by which the Federal Defender’s Office, the U.S. Probation Office, the Court Clerk’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office will address inquiries, motions or petitions for Sentencing Guidelines amendments to U.S.S.G. §§ 1B1.13 and 1B1.10 concerning status and zero Criminal History points. (GO 670.)

Appointment of Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representatives: the Court appointed Cecilia Han and Karen Lynch to serve as Lawyer Representatives to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference for a three year term, commencing January 1, 2024.

Adoption of Criminal Justice Act Plan: The Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Plan 2023 was adopted by the judges of the Eastern District of California and approved by the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit on October 11, 2023. (GO 671.)

Northern District of California

Judges: The Honorable Edward J. Davila announced his intention to take senior status upon confirmation of his successor. (Notice.)

Local Rules: The judges of the Northern District of California have approved amendments to the Patent Local Rules. The proposed revisions can be found here. The amendments seek to achieve the following goals:

  • Require the party asserting infringement to produce all licenses that may be relevant without worrying about “comparability” or limitation to licenses that might be relevant to hypothetical license negotiations, because such agreements are relevant for other purposes, and relevance is in the eye of the beholder;
  • Require greater specificity regarding damages theories, and then hold the disclosing party to their disclosed theories absent leave of court; and
  • Require a meeting between counsel and clients to discuss settlement shortly after service of the damages contentions, with a written certification that the meeting occurred.

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