Corporate attorney Los Angeles

Petitioner attorney sought review of an order of respondent Superior Court of Ventura County (California), which held petitioner in contempt when he refused to represent an indigent defendant in a paternity action instituted by real party in interest county.

Respondent trial court held petitioner attorney in contempt for refusing to represent an indigent defendant in a paternity case. Petitioner argued that he had never handled a paternity case, and that forcing him to represent the defendant was an unconstitutional denial of his right to equal protection of the law. The court granted certiorari and ordered the trial court to vacate its orders of appointment and contempt. The court reviewed the appointment under the rational relationship test because the right to pursue a profession was not a fundamental right for the purpose of invoking the strict scrutiny test. The corporate attorney Los Angeles held that it was a denial of equal protection when the government charged the cost of a state function, conducted for the benefit of the public, to a particular class of persons. The court held that when the state prosecuted a paternity action against an indigent, it must bear the expenses necessary to comply with the provisions of the state and federal constitutions, which included the cost of counsel for the indigent defendant. Compelled representation without compensation could deprive the indigent of effective assistance of counsel.

The court granted the writ of mandate in favor of petitioner attorney and ordered respondent trial court to vacate its orders appointing petitioner as counsel and finding petitioner to be in contempt of court. The court held that to require petitioner to provide legal services without compensation was a violation of petitioner’s right to equal protection of the law.

Plaintiff licensees sought review of a judgment by the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), which denied their application for a writ of mandate to compel defendants, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Appeals Board, to set aside their decision suspending the licensees on-sale general liquor license for 15 days.

The licensees sold and furnished beer to a minor without asking for any identification. The Department charged the licensees with a violation of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code ┬ž┬ž 25658(a)-(b), 24200(b). The Department found that the charges were true and that the licensees had failed to establish the defense available pursuant to Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code ┬ž 25660 (amended 1955). The Appeals Board affirmed, and the trial court denied the licensees’ petition for a writ of mandate to require defendants to set aside their decision. On appeal, the court affirmed and held that the licensees did not establish a complete defense under ┬ž 25660 because they did not demand, nor were they shown, any evidence of the majority or identify of the minor at the time of sale, nor during any period for at least two weeks prior thereto. The fact that the minor had shown identification about two or three weeks prior to the incident did not satisfy the requirements of ┬ž 25660. The court reasoned that the words “immediately prior” were words of limitation in time, and the act of questioning the minor and seeking some proof of age two or three weeks before the sale was not “immediately prior” to the sale in question.

The court affirmed the judgment.