Tuesday, July 20, 2010

People v. Knightbent (Cal. Ct. App. - July 19, 2010)

I occasionally make fun of various appeals that concern trivial sums, particularly when the transaction costs of litigating the matter completely swamp what's at stake.

I'm glad to see the Court of Appeal make a similar mention.

Justice Raye begins the opinion by saying: "In this case, the services of an appointed counsel and a deputy attorney general, together with three justices and staff of this court, are applied to the resolution of a single issue: whether the court's order imposing a $34 fine on defendant was proper under Penal Code section 1202.5[]. Defendant argues the court erred and the fine must be reduced to $10."

I like it. Twenty four American dollars at stake. Almost enough to buy Manhattan. Definitely worth the investment of social resources.

Though I'll also mention that the Court of Appeal itself spends a lot more than $24 by deciding to publish the opinion. That's some trees, even for an 11-pager. Plus suggests that perhaps the appeal apparently concerns something that's at issue in a large number of cases and hence worthy of publication and social attention.