California cities charge citizens massive prosecutions fees for minor violations


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Fascist California: Two California cities fine citizens for minor offenses, then force them to pay the exorbitant bills of the lawyers who prosecuted them.

The cities of Indio and Coachella partnered up with a private law firm, Silver & Wright, to prosecute citizens in criminal court for violations of city ordinances that call for nothing more than small fines—things like having a mess in your yard or selling food without a business license.

Those cited for these violations fix the problems and pay the fines, a typical code enforcement story. The kicker comes a few weeks or months later when citizens get a bill in the mail for thousands of dollars from the law firm that prosecuted them. They are forcing citizens to pay for the private lawyers used to take them to court in the first place. So a fine for a couple of hundred dollars suddenly becomes a bill for $3,000 or $20,000 or even more.

In Coachella, a man was fined $900 for expanding his living room without getting a permit. He paid his fine. Then more than a year later he got a bill in the mail from Silver & Wright for $26,000. They told him that he had to pay the cost of prosecuting him, and if he didn’t, they could put a lien on his house and the city could sell it against his will. When he appealed the bill they charged him even more for the cost of defending against the appeal. The bill went from $26,000 to $31,000.

There’s more, including the fact that when challenged it appeared that the officials of one of theses cities were actually proud of what they are doing.

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11 comments

  • ken anthony

    This is why we don’t currently speak Latin… and the result will be the same.

  • pzatchok

    Coachella has grown almost 200% in the last 20 years. Almost all of it Hispanic laborers. They have almost 20 unregulated trailer parks and they are spending millions on cheap housing for even more.

    It looks like the city is trying to force poor home owners off of their ever increasingly valued property for someones else’s private profit.

    Push a few poor people off of their acres and you could put up a government subsidized housing project pretty quick.

    i wonder if these lawyers are also representing the builders?

    Politically they are just doing this to help the poor farm workers and new immigrants.

  • mike shupp

    Hmm… looking at Wikipedia, these two cities are in Riverside County in California. Heavily Republican-voting Riverside County. Coachella has about 41,000 residents, nearly 40,000 of them Hispanic, 28% roughly below the Federal poverty line. Indio has 76.000 residents., about two thirds of them Hispanic, with about 21% of the population under the poverty line.

    Contrary to pztchok, I don’t see this as “push[ing] a few poor people off of their acres” (in their unregulated trailer parks?) so builders can put up “government subsidized housing projects.” This is a desert area. Land is cheap. Knocking off this goofball resident and that doesn’t really provide the connected space needed for housing projects.

    What it actually looks like is the sort of municipal government mindset that decides city payrolls can’t be funded by routine property taxes, so cities have to be creative and fund more and more of their expenses by hitting people with fines. Sounds like Ferguson, Missouri, doesn’t it? Except for being in California. Can we say HISPANIC LIVES MATTER?

  • pzatchok

    There is nothing wrong with sub contracting out these small cases to private law firms.

    As long as the fees are set and the city pays the law firms.

    This is the result of not having set fees and allowing the law firms to bill the residents directly. If they billed the city this much a judge would toss them out of court.

    The law firm new exactly what it was doing. It would wait to deliver the bill until one day after the window for appeals ran out on the original case. Thus the home owner does not get a free court day and judge. Now the home owner has to hire a lawyer at their own expense and take the law firm to court. And even if they win, the law firm is allowed to re-bill the home owner for the new time in court.

  • ken anthony

    I was in S.Cal. a few years back and the desert is sprouting casinos like weeds after a big rain.

  • wayne

    “Two-States of California”
    Victor Davis Hanson at American Freedom Alliance
    August 2017
    https://youtu.be/v1eNcuGcPW4
    (37:40)

  • Cotour

    Stupid and getting more stupider:

    http://dailycaller.com/2017/11/26/france-set-to-make-gender-based-insults-illegal/

    “Let’s seal a pact of equality between men and women,” Macron said. “It is essential that shame changes camp. Gender-based insults will be punishable by law. Offenders will face a deterrent fine.”

    And when a fine is not enough then we will jail you, and when the fear of jail does not work…………..then………..we will see. Unless of course you are an adherent of Islam.

    The Left and its politically correct thinking, whether in the United States or in France really is offensive on so many levels.

  • Rodney

    Isn’t it interesting that in the late 16th Century William Shakespeare had a 15th Century character, Dick the Butcher, utter those famous lines that still ring true today in the 21st Century?

  • John Smith

    Seems similar to forcing your family to pay for the bullet used to execute you.

  • wayne

    Who can we get on Case…

    Ozzy Osbourne
    “Perry Mason”
    Ozzmosis 1995
    https://youtu.be/ZTBPVD8b7zk
    4:32

  • Phill O

    Is there anyone here who would not like to see the Clintons pay for their prosecution rather than the taxpayer?

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