L.A. Times Quotes Francisco Leal On Impounds

L.A. Times Quotes Francisco Leal On Impounds

Leal & Trejo Managing Partner Francisco Leal was featured in a Los Angeles Times article on Nov. 1, explaining the City of Huntington Park’s decision to end 30-day impounds of vehicles driven by unlicensed drivers in the city.

Francisco Leal, who serves as City Attorney for Huntington Park, told Times reporter Anna Gorman that the provision in California State Law that allows cities to impound vehicles for up to a month imposes an unfair hardship on unlicensed drivers, particularly undocumented immigrants.

“This will take away the most egregious part of the law, that is, the 30-day period,” city attorney Leal said. “There’s no way these people can afford that.”

The City of Huntington Park recently approved a resolution that allows registered owners to reclaim their vehicles immediately and avoid costly impound fees.

The Times report had this background on the case.

“The hardship on these families is just phenomenal,” said Cynthia Anderson-Barker, who filed a lawsuit against the state and several cities challenging the 30-day impounds. “When the car is gone and the family … loses their transportation, it pushes them further into poverty.”

The impound issue surfaced in August when the Los Angeles Police Department decided to halt the practice, saying it might be unconstitutional.

The LAPD’s move was partly based on a 2005 U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals case ruling that impounding a legally parked car was an unreasonable seizure of private property when there was no reasonable threat to public safety.

The city attorney’s office later determined that the impound law did not violate the constitution in most cases, and the LAPD resumed impounding in September.