Man Beats City Hall Parking Ticket — Big Time

Man Beats City Hall Parking Ticket — Big Time
Albert Valles/L.A. Weekly Flickr pool

You've fantasized about winning the lottery and driving by the home of your ex in a $1.5 millon LaFerrari. We all know that one. And there's the one where you're hangin' on the yacht with DiCaprio. 

But the fantasy that really makes you the king of the world is the one where you beat City Hall in a battle over an unjust parking ticket.

Friends, J. David Sackman has lived the dream. He beat a bad ticket recently, and it was sweet.

Sackman, a lawyer and resident of the Westside, went out of town in September 2014 for three days. He parked his Toyota Sienna on the street. Bad move. When he and his wife returned, the minivan was gone — towed away by the city.

City Hall has a standing law that says you can't leave a car on the street for more than 72 hours (sometimes less, depending on the zone). The city claims that this is the law regardless of whether or not there are signs reminding you so. After all, you shouldn't be able to leave your ride in one spot forever, right?

Lawyers for Los Angeles City Hall have argued that courts have upheld the right of the municipality to tow cars that violate the 72-hour rule regardless of signage.

But Sackman looked closely at the law and discovered that the city can't take your property like this without warning you via signs. He argues that there are no exceptions. Here's what he says:

The reason the ticket was overturned was that it did not comply with the requirement of Vehicle Code section 22507 that such time restrictions be posted before they can be enforced. There was no such posting here, and the City has admitted in other proceedings that there is no such posting anywhere in the City of Los Angeles.

Woo-hoo!

However, Sackman does not get back the $274.20 he paid to get his car from the tow yard, he told us. The Superior Court judge's ruling only applies to the ticket, not to the towing. And, sadly, it does not set a precedent.

But the judge in the case, Mark Borenstein, "is currently assigned to hear all parking citation appeals in the Central Division of the Los Angeles Superior Court," Sackman said.

Woo-hoo! again.

In the meantime, the attorney is separately challenging the 72-hour rule in front of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and says he'll take it to the Supreme Court if necessary. He says the city is denying citizens due process when it takes property without allowing a hearing before a judge and jury.

He says there is no avenue for the city to appeal the local Superior Court decision, so this is a win. For now.

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