Materials

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Panel 1 | Race, Justice and the Federal Bail System

In the life of a criminal case, the bail hearing is often the first contested proceeding. The denial of bail can have significant impacts on conviction rates and sentence lengths and may also reverberate well beyond a particular prosecution into critical aspects of a defendant’s life, such as housing, employment and family relationships. Federal bail outcomes reflect a complex set of factors, including prosecutorial decisions, and a defendant’s history, characteristics and family resources. This panel will explore the consequences of the denial of bail and will also examine the impact of race on federal bail decisions. Representing all aspects of the bail process, from bench and pretrial services to prosecution and defense, as well as the academic perspective, the panelists will discuss bail practices and statistics from our District and will propose best practices.

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Panel 2 | Class Actions After Spokeo v. Robins: Supreme Court Jurisprudence, Article III Standing and Practical Implications for the Bench and Practitioners

This panel will discuss the jurisprudence leading up to the Supreme Court’s Spokeo decision, as well as where the high court may go with respect to its future impact on class actions. The panel will also review the various federal court decisions emerging from the Spokeo decision (with a focus on the Ninth Circuit) and discuss practical implications of Spokeo on pleading and case management strategies for the Court and the plaintiffs’ and defense bar.

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Panel 3 | Conduct Unbecoming: How the Legal Profession Can Fight Gender Bias Against Women Litigators

Gender bias against women litigators remains a pervasive problem both in the courtroom and out. Women litigators face discrimination, disrespectful conduct, stereotyping, sexist or other unprofessional comments and even outright bullying. Last year, Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal sanctioned an attorney for saying it wasn’t “becoming of a woman” to raise her voice during a deposition, explaining: “When an attorney makes these kinds of comments, ‘it reflects not only on the attorney’s lack of professionalism, but also tarnishes the image of the entire legal profession and disgraces our system of justice.’” Claypole v. County of Monterey, 2016 WL 145557, at *5 (N.D. Cal.) (internal citation omitted). The panel discussion will address this timely topic and offer strategies for the bench and bar to combat gender discrimination.

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Panel 4 | The Year in Review and the Future of the Supreme Court

Join Professor Pam Karlan (Stanford Law School) and Dean Erwin Chemerinsky (University of California, Irvine School of Law) for not only an entertaining and enlightening look at the “hot” cases on the United States Supreme Court docket, but also their insights and predictions as to how President Trump’s Supreme Court Justice nominee will impact the Court and constitutional jurisprudence in the years to come.

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Panel 5 | Civil Breakout Session – Adventures in Case Management: A Discussion on Innovative Approaches to Managing Litigation

Efficient case management is a concern of judges and attorneys alike, yet we often find ourselves reluctant to stray from convention. Judge Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr. and our panel of experienced litigators will discuss recent procedural innovations designed to streamline the path to resolution, including court reactions to the 2015 proportionality amendments to Rule 26, proposed alterations to class action settlements under Rule 23 and results from the Federal Judicial Center’s pilot project on initial discovery protocols in employment cases. We encourage active participation from the audience to share thoughts and suggestions for reducing headaches while giving everyone their day in court.

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Panel 6 | Criminal Breakout Session – An Oxford-Style Debate on the Merits of Returning to a Mandatory Sentencing Guideline System

The federal sentencing guidelines were originally intended to alleviate disparity in sentencing. From 1987 through 2004, the guidelines were mandatory. In 2005, United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), held that the federal mandatory sentencing guidelines system was unconstitutional and the guidelines became advisory. After the Booker decision, there have been intermittent proposals to reinstitute mandatory guidelines. Generally, these proposals attempt to address the constitutional issues by requiring that the facts upon which the guidelines are based be charged and proven to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. Recently, the Honorable William H. Pryor, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals Judge for the Eleventh Circuit and Acting Chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, proposed a new legislative framework for presumptive guidelines, which would bind judges except in extraordinary circumstances. Unlike the pre-Booker regime, the new system would include fewer and wider ranges and require that aggravating facts be charged in an indictment and proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt or admitted by the defendant.

This will be an Oxford-style debate. Jonathan J. Wroblewski, the Director of the Office of Policy and Legislation in the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice (and the Department’s ex-officio member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission), will argue for the proposition that Judge Pryor’s presumptive guideline scheme should be adopted. David Patton, the Executive Director of the Federal Defenders of New York, will argue against the proposition. Judge Vince Chhabria will moderate. After brief introductory arguments, the audience will be invited to submit questions to Judge Chhabria for the debaters.

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Panel 7 | Bankruptcy Breakout Session – Happy Trails? The Changing Landscape for Bankruptcy Lawyers, Courts and Clients

This panel will open a roundtable discussion on forging the path through current times. Practitioners with substantial experience in business and personal cases in Chapter 7, 11 and 13 matters, with Judge Hannah L. Blumenstiel moderating, will explore key legal, economic and practical changes dramatically impacting the outcomes and options for the wide range of cases in Northern California. Reduced caseloads, the resulting contraction of the number of judges, disruption of long-standing big law firm bankruptcy groups and pressures on all bankruptcy lawyers, among other challenges, caused seismic shifts. The creative and successful panelists will discuss their observations on important developments and approaches for successfully addressing issues, protecting clients and navigating business essentials.

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Panel 8 | Impact of the 2016 Election on the Regulatory Landscape

This panel will examine the impact that the outcome of the recent Presidential and Congressional elections is likely to have upon the federal regulatory and enforcement landscape and how the federal courts will be affected by those changes. Panelists from key federal agencies and a consumer advocacy organization will present historical and current perspectives regarding what occurs in federal agencies when executive power shifts to a different party; explain how major regulatory changes occur and the legal constraints upon such changes; outline some of the key legislative, regulatory and executive developments that have already occurred; and discuss how these developments may affect the kinds of cases we will see in the federal courts.

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Presentation 9 | The Prosecution of the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing

On September 15, 1963, a bomb exploded at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young girls. It was one of the deadliest crimes of the civil rights era but remained unsolved for decades. In 1977, the Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley successfully tried and convicted the first of the Klan members responsible for the deadly attack. More than 20 years later as U.S. Attorney for Alabama’s Northern District, Doug Jones led the prosecution team that convicted two more aging Klansmen. This is their story.

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