Correcting a California Municipal Code Codification Error

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

As I mentioned in the last municipal code post, you should never rely on the online version of a code.  Part of that is because of my training as a Senior Technical Editor of the Santa Clara Computer & High Technology Law Journal at Santa Clara University School of Law.  For analog textual sources, we never relied on Westlaw or Nexis, we required the citation checkers to pull the original hard copy from the law library.  I once cite checked a source only available at Stanford University to ensure the citation’s accuracy.

The majority of California cities and counties use code publishers to publish their municipal codes.  This is certainly true in the County of San Bernardino, and the County of Riverside.   It has been my experience that the publisher sends a proof to the City Clerk, and then publishes codes.  I have noticed slight discrepancies between ordinances and the codified version.  Sometimes it is only a matter of style, such as “City” consistently printed as “city” despite the capitalization in the ordinance.  However, there have been cases where there are substantive problems between the ordinance text and the codification.

If this happens, and you are a municipal attorney, work with the City Clerk or the person in charge of codification to have it corrected.  This should be corrected immediately upon noticing a discrepancy.

If this happens and you are not an attorney, contact the person in charge of codification to bring it to their attention.  If you are involved in litigation, have the court take notice of the uncodified ordinance, because that is the version that will control.

Copyright 2011 Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.


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