PLF asks California Supreme Court to hear due process case against Coastal Commission

January 22, 2017 | By TONY FRANCOIS

PLF recently filed a friend of the court letter with the California Supreme Court, encouraging the justices to grant review in an important due process challenge against the California Coastal Commission.

The Coastal Commission brought a highly questionable enforcement action against our friends at Drakes Bay Oyster Company, accusing the company of operating their oyster farm without a permit. Without the permit, that is, for which the company applied years before but the Commission never acted on.

The Coastal Commission is required under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution to serve as a neutral decision maker on enforcement actions. But in Drakes Bay’s lawsuit against the Commission challenging the enforcement action, the supposedly neutral Commission turned over the defense of the lawsuit to its decidedly biased enforcement staff. Now, when the case returns to the Commission for further proceedings, the Commission’s neutrality will have been permanently compromised by months of confidential closed session briefings from their own prosecution staff. This violates the Due Process Clause, and PLF and several other friends of the Court think that the California Supreme Court should accept the case to require the Coastal Commission to abide by the Constitution.