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Dave Singh v. Jeff Davi

October 24, 2012

DAVE SINGH, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
JEFF DAVI, AS REAL ESTATE COMMISSIONER, ETC., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. 34201080000451CUWMGDS)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Duarte , J.

Singh v. Davi CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Jeff Davi, as Commissioner of the Department of Real Estate (DRE) (Commissioner) denied Dave Singh's application for a real estate broker's license based on the "dishonest nature" of his prior conviction for theft by false pretenses and the concern that it would not be in the public interest to issue Singh a license. Singh petitioned for a writ of administrative mandamus (Code Civ. Proc., § 1094.5), to set aside the Commissioner's decision, contending that he was entitled to a broker's license because he had met all criteria for rehabilitation. Finding the Commissioner failed to proceed in the manner required by law, the trial court granted the petition and issued the writ of mandate.

The Commissioner appeals. He contends the trial court erred in interpreting his decision as finding that Singh met all criteria of rehabilitation. He further contends there is substantial evidence that Singh has not demonstrated a sufficient change in attitude because he fails to take full responsibility for his crime. We agree with the trial court that, based on the findings set forth in the decision, the Commissioner's decision to deny Singh a broker's license was improperly based solely on the nature of his prior crime, rather than his inadequate rehabilitation. Accordingly, we shall affirm.

BACKGROUND

Singh's Crime

Singh was born in India and became a naturalized American citizen in 1986, when he was 21 years old.*fn1 From 1997 until 2004, he was a police officer, who received numerous commendations. The last four years he was a detective.

Prior to his police work, Singh worked with the FBI in counterintelligence.

In 2001, Singh lived with his extended family, including his wife and children, his father and mother, his brother Jasmer, and Jasmer's wife and children. Singh is fluent in both English and Punjabi and translated for his family, many of whom did not speak English. Singh's father Sarbjit was 70 years old and disabled. Jasmer is mentally handicapped and has problems with numbers; his wife estimated his mental capacity as that of a five or 10 year old.

Singh learned that IHSS (In Home Supportive Services) provided services that allowed disabled persons to remain in their home with family members providing assistance. Singh's wife initiated the process to obtain these benefits for Sarbjit. IHSS made payments to Sarbjit, who, in turn, paid Jasmer to provide him assistance with bathing, dressing and other needs.

In October of 2001, Sarbjit and his wife went to India and ended up staying three months after Sarbjit suffered a stroke. Sarbjit continued to receive IHSS payments during that time period.

After a fraud investigation, Singh, Sarbjit, and Jasmer were charged with presentation of a fraudulent claim (Pen. Code, § 72) and grand theft by false pretenses (Pen. Code, § 487, subd. (b)). The jury convicted Singh of grand theft, but acquitted him of presenting a fraudulent claim.*fn2 The trial court reduced the offense to a misdemeanor and granted Singh three years of probation. Singh lost his job as a police officer as a result of the conviction.

Singh appealed his conviction, raising insufficient evidence, instructional error, and other errors. The Fifth Appellate District affirmed the conviction.

Singh's probation was terminated in January 2007. His conviction was subsequently expunged under ...


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