People v. LofchieAnnotate this Case
Defendant, a member of the University of California faculty, was prosecuted under Government Code section 1090 for participating in a decision to hire his wife as a program assistant for a four-week summer study abroad course. The trial court dismissed the information under Penal Code section 995. The district attorney, on behalf of the People, argued that defendant committed a felony under section 1090 because he was "financially interested" in a contract made by him in his official capacity to hire his wife. Finding no grounds for forfeiture, the court concluded on the merits that neither the plain language nor the legislative history of section 1090 reflect an intent to include the University and its employees within the ambit of the statute; there is no case law applying section 1090 to the University; and the Williamson rule does not apply in this case. The court further concluded that this contract does not involve a matter of statewide concern and its application impinges upon exclusively internal University affairs and municipal home rule cases do not apply. Allowing the People to prosecute defendant under section 1090 would impair the Regents' ability to govern and would contravene article IX section 9 of the California Constitution. Accordingly, the court affirmed the order dismissing the information.