USF School of Law Hosts California Supreme Court

Hundreds of students to observe oral arguments; event will also be broadcast live on the California Channel

The University of San Francisco School of Law, commemorating its 100th birthday and a century of providing a premiere legal education at the city's first university, will host a historic special session of the California Supreme Court on Tues., Feb. 5. The special session, the latest in a series of student outreach programs to improve public understanding of the state court system, will take place in the University of San Francisco's McLaren Conference Center (Rooms 250-251), 2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117.

The morning session will begin at 10:15 a.m. and will include introductory remarks, student questions and answers by the justices, followed by oral arguments for the following three cases:

11:00am to 12:00pm:

City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patient's Health and Wellness Center, Inc., et al. 

This case presents issues concerning preemption, under federal or state law, of local ordinances regulating or banning the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries and related activities, and standing to challenge such ordinances.

1:00pm to 2:00pm:

People v. Clancey (Wesley Cian)

This case presents the following issue:  Did the trial court's actions in this matter constitute an unlawful judicial plea bargain rather than a lawful indicated sentence?  The court will decide whether the plea and sentence were the product of the proper exercise of the trial court's sentencing discretion (as the defendant contends) or the improper intrusion of the court in the plea bargaining process (as the People contend).

2:05pm to 3:05pm:

People v. Williams (George Brett) [Automatic Appeal]

This case focuses on an automatic appeal from a judgment of death. 

To enhance understanding of the proceedings, the Supreme Court previously posted a calendar with expanded summaries of the cases to be argued, as well as links to the parties' briefing in these cases. All of this material is available on the Outreach Sessions page of the court's Web site.

"The Supreme Court justices appreciate the opportunity to combine one of our special oral argument sessions with the USF School of Law Centennial Celebration," said Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye. "The special session will provide a group of law school and local high school students with a unique opportunity to question Supreme Court justices and to experience their constitutional democracy in action, and hopefully will inspire some to a career in public service."

"We are deeply honored and grateful to host the California Supreme Court during this, our centennial year," said Jeffrey Brand, dean of the USF School of Law. "It is an exceptional learning opportunity for our students and underscores the School of Law's deep roots in the San Francisco legal community."

Hundreds of USF law students and undergraduates will be joined by local high school students from the Balboa High School Law Academy and Thurgood Marshall High School. Members of the public, the press, and the State Bar are also expected to attend the session. In addition, the event will be broadcast live on the California Channel, enabling other students and members of the public throughout the state to witness their Supreme Court's proceedings in action.

Before oral arguments begin, selected law school and high school students will have a chance to ask questions of the justices from the podium. In addition to the courtroom proceedings, as part of the visit, the Supreme Court will attend a post-argument reception with law school faculty and students.

The USF School of Law event is the Supreme Court's most recent special session, following similar events in Santa Ana, Fresno, San Jose, San Diego, Redding, Santa Barbara, Santa Rosa, Riverside, Berkeley, Fresno (second occasion), and UC Davis. The programs reflect the court's commitment to ensuring the public an opportunity to experience the work of its Supreme Court first hand and in particular to affording students an opportunity to participate in and learn from the judicial process. 

About the California Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of California is the state's highest court and its decisions are binding on all other California state courts. The court's primary role is to decide matters of statewide importance and to maintain uniformity in the law throughout California by reviewing matters from the six districts of the California Courts of Appeal and the fifty-eight county superior courts (the trial courts). Among its numerous other duties, the court also decides all capital appeals and related matters and reviews both attorney and judicial disciplinary matters.

About the University of San Francisco School of Law

The University of San Francisco School of Law is located in the heart of one of the world's most innovative and diverse cities. The law school pursues excellence in a humane, diverse, and intellectually vibrant learning community of outstanding teachers and scholars dedicated to training ethical professionals. Its diverse student body enjoys direct access to faculty, small classes, and innovative programming that educates students to be skilled and effective lawyers ready to practice law. Now celebrating its centennial year, the USF School of Law is ranked as one of the "Top 170 Law Schools" by Princeton Review and the 10th most ethnically diverse law school in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

The USF School of Law began on Sept. 18, 1912 on the corner of Market and 7th Streets in downtown San Francisco with three faculty and 39 students. Today, it has 40 influential legal scholars who teach 700 students on the USF Law School campus near Golden Gate Park. The school is proud to be one of the nation's most diverse with nearly half of its law students identifying themselves as ethnic minorities, and 53% are women.

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Journalists interested in covering the Feb. 5 session of the California Supreme Court, must register in advance by contacting Anne-Marie Devine at (415) 422-2697 or