Morales v. The City of Indio

This complaint alleges that the cities of Indio and Coachella outsourced the prosecution of some municipal code violations to a private law firm, Silver and Wright LLP. The firm criminally prosecuted individuals and charged them thousands of dollars for the prosecution. The firm has been designated as the deputy city prosecutor and is funded by the prosecution fees imposed on individuals. The City attorney recommended hiring Silver and Wright because the firm promised to recover 100% of the cities’ costs. Individuals were even billed for time spent discussing their cases with the firm. The plaintiffs allege that the defendants violated their due process and equal protection rights because the prosecutors had a financial interest in the outcome of the case.


Pending before the Superior Court of the State of California, Riverside County. It should be noted that legislation was later enacted eliminating the ability of cities to charge defendants for the cost of prosecuting violations of local ordinances.

You can find a detailed summary and related case documents here, as well as a video about the case created by the Institute for Justice.


42 USC § 1983 (alleging due process and equal protection violations)
RC 1803060
February 2018
Institute for Justice and O’Melveny & Myers, LLP