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AMICUS FINDS HIGH COURT RECEPTION, LOW COURT REJECTION Until this month, civil appellate lawyer Jon Eisenberg had submitted same-sex marriage amicus curiae briefs to the court of appeal, California Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court, and had seen all but one accepted. This month, a San Francisco Superior Court judge made that two. Back in March, the state Supreme Court turned away Eisenberg’s amicus brief for a case weighing the legitimacy of last winter’s same-sex marriages in San Francisco. That time, the Oakland-based Horvitz & Levy partner said, he had tried to file a brief on the constitutionality of the state’s marriage laws, but the court later said it wouldn’t decide that question in the case. Last week, Eisenberg received a notice saying that Judge Richard Kramer, who’s now considering the constitutionality question at the trial court level, wouldn’t take his nine-page argument on behalf of a lesbian couple, either. “Am I whining about it, [that] he didn’t take my brief? I guess I am,” Eisenberg said. But if he were in the judge’s shoes, he added, “I would want to hear from as many people as possible because this is a very big issue.” Last month, Kramer, who has stressed the importance of both keeping the cases on track and developing a complete record at the trial level, seemed wary of opening a can of worms. As the judge was laying out a briefing schedule in court, a couple of lawyers asked for his thoughts on amicus briefs, and if he would accept them. Kramer said he wouldn’t make a blanket statement one way or the other. He didn’t want to shut people out, but added that everybody can’t just add their two cents. Commenting on his own comments, he said, “That’s about as cryptic as one could get.” Mathew Staver, a lawyer with one of the legal groups defending the laws, predicted Kramer would “reject virtually every one, if not every one.” “He has enough information from the different sides,” said Staver, referring to lawyers like himself representing advocates for the current laws, plus others for the state, the city and same-sex couples. Deputy City Attorney Sherri Sokeland Kaiser, one of the lawyers arguing that the current laws are unconstitutional, noted that a few parties, including Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, had expressed interest in supplying briefs. “We almost certainly will encourage people to save their amicus briefs for the appellate courts,” she said. — Pam Smith DOJ GIVES OUT EXTRA CREDIT Three local assistant U.S. attorneys recently received the U.S. Department of Justice’s prestigious Director’s Awards for their work on high-profile cases. Lewis Davis and Michael Li-Ming Wang were honored for prosecuting Roberto Carreno and Jose Flores, who were the first people convicted in the Northern District of California under international hostage-taking statutes, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. The defendants, who illegally transported aliens, held two boys from El Salvador during a dispute over money with the boys’ family. Davis has been with the office for more than 14 years, and Wang, more than four years. Another award went to George Bevan Jr., who’s been a federal prosecutor for more than 22 years. Based in Oakland, Bevan has led the office’s prosecution of alleged members of the Big Block and Westmob gangs out of San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood. Bevan was also recognized for his work on marijuana trafficking cases. One of those was the controversial conviction of Oakland’s Ed Rosenthal, who claimed that he distributed the drug in compliance with California’s medical marijuana law but was barred from presenting that defense at trial. Rosenthal’s appeal is pending at the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The DOJ gave out 224 Director’s Awards nationwide. — Jeff Chorney

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