Year in Review 2013: Highlights From The Golden State

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on January 10, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

California is ahead of the curve, and because of its leftward leanings, is often highlighted in the news. And where California leads, other states follow. We've seen this when it comes to gay marriage, medicinal marijuana and revenge porn. That said, it's kind of funny that lawyers (who can be lawyers, and how the job is defined) can be such hot topics in California.

California Lawyers

California has a pretty bad rep when it comes to its bar passage rate, and 2013 was no different. Last year, only 55.8 percent of students passed the bar exam -- the highest pass rate since 2009. But once one passes the California bar exam, things get easier. Last year, Governor Brown signed a law that allows undocumented immigrants to practice law, and on January 2, 2014, Sergio Garcia was admitted to the California Bar. California also is considering adding a new category of people who could give legal advice -- legal technicians.

Let the legal tech jokes begin.

Cases Headed to SCOTUS

Of the many cases making their way to SCOTUS this term, two California cases require the Court to examine its Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. In Fernandez v. California, the Court will determine if a defendant must be personally present and objecting when consent is sought from a co-tenant. In Navarette v. California, the Supreme Court will decide whether an officer must corroborate dangerous driving, before stopping a vehicle, when the officer previously received an anonymous tip regarding drunk, or reckless, driving.

And then there was the back and forth with Governor Brown requesting extensions for dealing with prison overcrowding, which the Supreme Court denied.

Cases That Make You Go Hmmmmm .....

Um, just in case you were wondering, California's incest laws don't violate a person's right to liberty under the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause. Whew, glad the California appellate court cleared that one up.

On the flip side, a law crafted in 1872 and not updated since then, may help someone get away with rape. And then of course, there was Larry Hagman's adverse possession claim from the grave.

We love the Golden State.

What were some of your favorite California cases from 2013? Let us know on Facebook at FindLaw for Legal Professionals.

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