Two big changes in the Local Rules of Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento will have a big impact on prerogative writs – including writs of mandate – in 2014.
First, The Honorable Shelleyanne W. L. Chang has been assigned as a writ judge. Judge Chang had previously handled Law and Motion and had only recently been assigned to Civil Trials. Judge Chang was appointed by Gov. Gray Davis to the bench in 2002. She previously served as a Chief Deputy for the Governor’s Office and as a Deputy Attorney General. Judge Chang replaces The Honorable Eugene L. Balonon as a writ judge.
Second, Sacramento County has solidified its briefing schedule and brief page limits. Previously, the Court had a rarely enforced briefing schedule and page-limit. According to the rules, it was 45 days for the opening brief, 25 days for the opposition, and 15 days for the reply, from the date of the hearing on the merits.That schedule has now been formalized in the local rules. Furthermore, instead of limiting the points and authorities, generally to 50 pages or less, the briefs are now limited to 30 for opening and opposition, 20 for the reply.
With a new writ judge, it remains to be seen how strictly the above rules will be enforced. However with the judge having a background in law-and-motion, our best guess will be strict enforcement.