Monday, January 31, 2005

Cook v. City of Buena Park (Cal. Ct. App. - January 28, 2005)

This opinon is simultaneously disturbing and refreshing. First, it's distressing to learn that a City would not only write and pass a statute that requires landlords to evict any tenant who has previously engaged in drug use on the premises (and also his fellow tenants, even if innocent!), but would draft it so crappily that it fails even the most basic requirements of procedural due process. Parenthetically, although it wasn't at issue in this case, I'm also not psyched about a somewhat similar statute passed by the Legislature that is currently being tested in parts of San Diego, Los Angeles, and Alameda counties. Scary. (The Court of Appeals doesn't mention it, but the state statute was recently saved from its scheduled sunset on January 1, 2005.)

On the upside, I was glad that Justice Aronson got it right and struck down the City of Buena Park's ordinance, albeit on limited procedural due process grounds. I was even happier to see Justice Bedsworth speak up in his concurrence and mention -- albeit briefly -- some of the (many) other problems with such statutes. Suffice it to say that I'm very much not a fan of these enactments.