Cases & Deals

Working with Los Angeles Community Action Network, Jones Day wins appeal for pro bono client

Clients Los Angeles Community Action Network

Dan Lynch appeared in the Appellate Division of the Los Angeles Superior Court for oral argument on an appeal from a traffic citation issued to a client in connection with Jones Day's support of and work for the Los Angeles Community Action network ("LA CAN"). At trial the prosecution failed to introduce any evidence required to prove an essential element of the crime. During our closing argument, upon pointing out the deficiency of the prosecution's case, the judge took judicial notice of the missing element of the charged offense. On appeal we argued that an essential element of the infraction had not been proven by the prosecution; the appellate panel agreed.

Since 2010, a team of more than 10 Los Angeles associates (led by Kate Wallace, Los Angeles) have defended over 100 indigent clients accused of "quality of life offenses", such as jaywalking or littering, in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Jones Day's representation of these clients is part of its collaboration with the Los Angeles Community Action Network ("LA CAN") and other non-profit legal organizations such as LAFLA and Public Counsel.

Specifically, in association with the LA CAN, Jones Day has the unique opportunity to provide citation defense to the homeless, those at risk of homelessness, the disabled, and other extremely low-income individuals residing in downtown Los Angeles. These marginalized citizens frequently encounter significant legal impediments and hurdles in their everyday lives which, if left unaddressed, may serve to prevent them from obtaining housing, employment, supportive services, and improve the quality of their lives. Among the most prevalent of the legal problems encountered by the poor of the Skid Row area are citations issued by the Los Angeles Police Department for minor infractions such as jaywalking, littering and blocking the sidewalk.

In order to address this serious issue, the citation defense program seeks to provide residents of Skid Row with a pro bono defense of their citations as a means of eliminating critical obstacles to obtaining and keeping housing and employment. The citation defense program provides one of the keys to breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness in Los Angeles.