True Stories 3: 15 Year Old Warrants in San Fernando and Van Nuys


This is a case from last month:  The client, Mark R., called me from the state of Montana, where he’d been running a several auto body shops for the past two decades.  In his younger years he’d had some issues related to substance abuse- a sick wife, life as a single dad- and he’d picked up a couple cases- one in Malibu and one in San Fernando.  His family was from San Fernando, and his parents still live there.

He didn’t know the warrants existed until he started dating a woman in Canada, and the Border Patrol alerted him to the warrants.

Both cases were at warrant, the Malibu case was a drug diversion where he had failed to show up for the final hearing (a dismissal of the charges),  the San Fernando case was an assault charge where the client had failed to submit proof of community service.

Complicating matters was the fact that the the Malibu Court House was closed some time ago, all the cases were moved to Van Nuys.  Since the client was living in Montana, I went to Van Nuys to try to clear the warrant without him.  There, the Judge said that he would not clear ANY warrant without the physical presence of the client.  I left court, called the client, and we made arrangements for him to fly out.

The next week, we went to Van Nuys- miraculously, the client still had the 15 year old proof he needed to obtain the dismissal.   We got the case dismissed, then went to San Fernando, where the Judge flipped out and threatened to throw the client in jail for failing to clear the warrant sooner.   I asked for a continuance over the weekend- mainly to give the Judge time to cool off.

We went back the next week, and the Judge agreed not to throw the client in jail.  Unlike Van Nuys, the client did not the proof of the work he was supposed to do originally, so he had to back to Montana, and after he does what he was supposed to do originally (community service, anger management class) the case will be dismissed.   I charged the client 1000- 500 for each violation.  In retrospect, I probably would have charged more, but a deal is a deal.