LOS ANGELES -- A
new ruling by the California Supreme Court has brought a hard-won victory to
the people of Los Angeles.
court ruled that parking tickets currently under review can no longer be
finalized by private companies. While the city of Los Angeles was using private
companies in this manner for a long time due to the high ratio of parking
tickets issued by the city, it is now deemed illegal for companies handing out
parking tickets, such as Xerox, to decide guilt or innocence for any and all
parking tickets in the future.
new ruling is especially important to one person living in Los Angeles. Cody
Weiss, a man who tried to contest a parking ticket in 2012, was sent a letter
by Xerox denying his claim and saying that the parking ticket – which was
handed out due to Weiss supposedly being parked past the two-hour limit at a
parking meter – was valid and would stand as issued. Subsequently, Weiss
retained a lawyer, Caleb Marker, in 2014 and brought his case before the
state’s Court of Appeals.
to the reviews that the state legislation of California’s conducted during
Weiss’ case, the framework for the private companies reviewing parking tickets
for the city revealed that those companies, Xerox included, were only supposed
to process the tickets, not hand down a verdict of innocence of guilt to the
motorist that the ticket was issued to.
“The case is a good demonstration of the
rule of law, as it shows that the government must follow the law and can be
held accountable in courts,” Caleb Marker told the Northern California Record.
This decision ends what had effectively
become a lucrative practice for Xerox and other for-profit companies of its
kind in the city. Xerox had conducted more than 135,000 reviews of contested parking
tickets in 2013 alone, and the city of Los Angeles counts on those tickets for
revenue – $158 million in parking tickets is paid out each year in Los Angeles,
helping the city collect a huge profit from its inhabitants.
may have outsourced the process because it was more efficient or profitable,”
However, the decision handed down by the
California Supreme Court will have wider implications than Los Angeles.
“The Supreme Court did not accept
the case for review and left the Court of Appeal’s decision in published form,
so it sets precedent across California,” said Marker.
Since the ruling, the city of
Los Angeles and Xerox will now have to pay all of Weiss’ legal fees, which
total up to $721,995. This is because while Weiss and Marker were
arguing about a private matter, it was in the public interest of other people living
in the state of California.
Another major outcome
of the ruling is that now anyone issued a parking ticket who decides to contest
it will no longer have any of the private companies under contract with the
city deciding whether to approve or deny the claim. Instead, any and all
contested parking tickets in the future will be reviewed by the agencies that
issue them, not the agencies that process them.
“We hope that motorists receive a
legally legitimate review by civil servants employed by a politically
accountable entity (the city),” said Marker.