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Challenge to Governor's Authority to Impose Furloughs On Gov't Employees, Plus Criminal & Workers' Compensation Matters

By FindLaw Staff on October 05, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

People v. Camino, G041887, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for second degree murder of a fellow gang member, and jury's finding that defendant vicariously discharged a firearm within the meaning of section 12022.53(c) and (e)(1).  In affirming in part, the court held that the trial court did not err by admitting into evidence defendant's statements made in his second police interview.  The court also held that substantial evidence supports the trial court's factual finding the police did not use a deliberate two-step strategy to violate Miranda. Further, defense counsel did not render ineffective assistance.  However, the court reversed and remanded for sentencing in concluding that there is insufficient evidence to support the jury's finding defendant vicariously discharged a gun in the murder, because the victim, as the lone shooter in defendant's group, could not be a principal in his own murder.


Bigge Crane & Rigging Co. v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd., A127136, involved an injured worker's petition for additional compensation under sections 4553 and 4553.1, alleging that his injury was caused by serious and misconduct on the part of defendant-company.  In anulling the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board's judgment sustaining an award of additional compensation, the court held that the crane operator was not a "managing officer" of the defendant and therefore the award of additional compensation cannot be sustained on the basis of his conduct.  Further, defendant's general foreman, even assuming he was a "managing officer" of the company, did not engage in "serious and willful misconduct" and the award cannot be sustained on the basis of his conduct.

St. John's Well Child & Family Ctr. v. Schwarzenegger, S181760, involved a petition for writ of mandate by nonprofit network of five community health centers and six school-based clinics in medically underserved areas of Los Angeles County, and others, challenging the Governor's use of the so-called "line-item veto" under the asserted authority of article IV, section 10(e) of the California Constitution, to further reduce funding that already had been reduced by the Legislature in its midyear adjustments to the Budget Act of 2009.

In affirming the Court of Appeal's denial of the petition, the court held that, because Article IV, section 10(e) grants the Governor the limited legislative authority to eliminate or reduce "items of appropriation," and the budget reductions here at issue were "items of appropriation" within the meaning of that constitutional provision, the Governor's exercise of line-item authority to reduce those appropriations, while approving other portions of Assembly Bill 4X 1, was consistent with his constitutional powers.

Prof'l Eng'r in California Gov't v. Schwarzenegger, S183411, concerned a challenge to the trial court's conclusion that the Governor possessed the authority to impose furloughs in response to the fiscal emergency facing the state, in employee organizations' suit claiming that the Governor lacked authority to unilaterally implement an involuntary furlough of represented state employees that reduces such employees' hours and earnings by approximately 10 percent.

In affirming, the California Supreme Court held that, under existing constitutional provisions and statutes, the Governor on December 19, 2008, possessed authority to institute a mandatory furlough of represented state employees, reducing the earning of such employees, only if specifically granted such unilateral authority in an applicable memorandum of understanding entered into between the state and the employee organization representing the affected employees.  The Court also held that, even if the Governor lacked authority to institute the challenged furlough plan unilaterally, plaintiffs' challenge to the furlough plan must be rejected as in mid-February 2009 - shortly after the furlough program went into effect - the Legislature enacted, and the Governor signed, legislation reducing the appropriations for employee compensation contained in the original 2008 Budget Act by an amount that reflected the savings the Governor sought to obtain through the two-day-a-month furlough program.  Therefore, the 2009 budget legislation validated the Governor's furlough program at issue as the Legislature's 2009 enactment of the revisions to the 2008 Budget Act operated to ratify the use of the two-day-a-month furlough program as a permissible means of achieving the reduction of state employee compensation mandated by the act.

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