- Two California men with felony records are fighting a U.S. appeals court to revive their lawsuit for state's ban on convicted felons getting certified as emergency medical technicians, with the help of groups from across the ideological spectrum.
On Tuesday, a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel will hear oral arguments in Pasadena, on which will focus on whether plaintiffs' claim that the 2010 regulations are not justified by the state's desire to preserve public safety is sufficient to survive the state's bid to slam their lawsuit.
People convicted of multiple crimes are forbidden from being certified as EMTs for life in California, which means an individual cannot receive EMTs for ten years after the sentence comes on.
The law of slaps against Dario Gurrola and Fernando Herrera, who have two felonies on their records, violates their equal rights and due process rights under the United States Constitution, saying they cannot achieve their intended of becoming full-time firefighters because those jobs require EMT certification.
Last February, a federal judge in Sacramento expressed concern that the state's desire to preserve public safety provided a rational basis for the prohibition.
The, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Cato Institute and Pacific Legal Foundation, as well as the Cato Institute and the Pacific Legal Foundation, have joined the plaintiffs in urging the 9th Circuit to revive the case.
In amicus briefs filed in May, ACLU and other left-leaning groups discussed the ban's disproportionate impact on black and Latino residents who are more likely to have felony convictions, and the conservative groups told the court that categorical licensing restrictions for convicted felons often have no connection to the source of employment and can increase recidivism by depriving people of work opportunities.
The California Attorney General's office in an said that the case was properly dismissed because the plaintiffs didn't prove they were "similar" to EMT applicants with no criminal history.
The AG admitted that criminal laws often distinguish individuals with and without felony convictions, and no court has found this inconstitutional.
The plaintiffs were outraged that not all felony crimes are relevant to whether a person is eligible for EMT license, so it was arbitrarily required that the state to hold certification for all convicted felons.
According to them, California should help fight wildfires, but e-mails have been abused from becoming firefighters after they are freed.
Gurrola v Duncan, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, no. 21-1514, is the case.
Andrew Ward of Institute for Justice is the lawyer for plaintiffs.
Her deputy attorney general Lisa Tillman is the attorney for the state.
Louis Castoria of Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck; Wendy Motooka of Rivera Hewitt Paul of Louis Castoria of Kaufman Dolowich and Voluck