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SENTENCES COMMUTED FOR FEDERAL TRANSFER The California Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to recommend the commutation of the life sentences of five imprisoned gang members so they could be placed in federal custody at separate high-security prisons for the rest of their lives. The commutation request came from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a bid to “dismantle” the leadership of Nuestra Familia, a notorious prison gang that from behind bars has orchestrated “multiple acts of violence and murder” on California streets. “These men are not rehabilitated. They have not demonstrated good conduct,” Schwarzenegger stated in a July letter to the court. “Rather, I make this request because the considered judgment of public safety professionals is that removing these men from the California prison system, and remanding them to maximum security federal custody, will enhance public safety and California prison security.” The five inmates � Joseph and Tex Hernandez, Jimmy Morado, Gerald Rubalcaba and Cornelio Tristan � have been serving indeterminate life sentences in state prisons for murder. All five were top Nuestra Familia leaders, the governor’s letter said, and had pleaded guilty to premeditated murder and drug trafficking, which are violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Schwarzenegger said the inmates’ state terms had to be commuted so they could be placed in federal custody and shipped to separate federal institutions around the country. In response, Chief Justice Ronald George recommended that “in light of the unusual circumstances” Schwarzenegger commute the sentences. He agreed with the governor, however, that if any of the five are released from federal prison for any reason, their state sentences would be immediately reinstated. � Mike McKee MOFO PARTNER TAKES LEAP TO BOUTIQUE Morrison & Foerster partner Arne Wagner has jumped to boutique litigation firm Calvo and Clark, joining former colleague Kathleen Fisher. He joined the San Francisco office of the Guam-based firm as of counsel last week. Prior to joining MoFo in 1999, Wagner spent 14 years at Bank of America, where he became worldwide director of litigation. Fisher, who until last year was a partner at MoFo, helped recruit Wagner from BofA. She opened Calvo and Clark’s San Francisco office nine months ago. Joining Calvo and Clark is “a good opportunity to continue the type of class action practice I’ve done the past 25 years, but in a smaller firm in a cross-border context,” Wagner said. Calvo and Clark has seven attorneys in its Guam and Saipan offices and five in its San Francisco outpost with the addition of Wagner. The firm handles litigation and transactions for companies across the Pacific Rim. Wagner’s practice focuses on financial services, class actions, international litigation, unfair trade practices and lender liability. While at MoFo Wagner was lead counsel for Japanese companies in 15 class actions; plaintiffs sought reparations for allied soldiers imprisoned during WWII. The cases were dismissed in federal and state courts. Among other cases, Wagner won summary judgment for BofA in an environmental liability case and favorable settlements in a series of lender liability suits. � Brenda Sandburg 5TH CIRCUIT COURTHOUSE IN NEW ORLEANS CLOSED DALLAS � As Hurricane Katrina and growing floodwaters have turned the New Orleans business district into a legal ghost town, officials at the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals are making plans to relocate the court. Several breaks in the levees that surround the city have caused water to rise around the marble walls of the John Minor Wisdom Courthouse, which houses the Fifth Circuit. The city’s electricity is expected to be out for a month or more. “We can’t return to the building anytime soon,” says Carolyn Dineen King, chief judge of the Fifth Circuit. “So we have to have an alternative site. The question is where?” Houston, where King’s chambers are based, may be a logical choice, but a decision won’t be made until Friday. “There’s a natural inclination on the part of our employees to want to be near New Orleans. And so that’s what we’re trying to look at,” says King, who adds that the court employs about 200 people at its base in New Orleans. King says she is not sure when the court will resume its regular operations. But in the meantime, filing deadlines have been extended. And lawyers have been instructed not to send any filings to the New Orleans courthouse. Further instructions about where to direct emergency matters can be found at www.ca5.uscourts.gov. � Texas Lawyer LAW FIRMS PICK UP PIECES AFTER KATRINA ATLANTA � No one at Fisher & Phillips has seen what Hurricane Katrina did to its New Orleans office. But Roger Quillen, the managing partner of the Atlanta-based firm, received some indication from photographs of the nearby Hyatt Regency that showed scores of shattered windows with curtains fluttering in the wind. Quillen said he learned Tuesday that the office, on the 37th floor of a building in the city’s flooded central business district, will stay closed until at least Sept. 15. Quillen added that the labor and employment firm’s immediate goal is helping its 28 New Orleans attorneys and staffers live and work as best they can during a prolonged absence from home. The New Orleans employees were choosing temporary offices at Fisher & Phillips’ 15 other locations around the country, where attorneys have offered rooms in their homes as free lodging. Employees learned how to obtain remote access to the firm’s electronic files. E-mail service was restored, clients were contacted and informal office donation drives were organized. Another firm, Balch & Bingham, has an 18-lawyer office in Gulfport, Miss., which suffered � according to a fire chief quoted in national news reports � “complete devastation.” Balch & Bingham was awaiting news about its Gulfport office, said Nora Yardley, a spokeswoman for the firm in Birmingham, Ala. “It is too early to tell about damage,” Yardley said. News photos showed nearby buildings still standing in Gulfport, she said, but some of those structures are newer than the firm’s “very old” building. � Fulton County Daily Report

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