From an early age Daniel Rodriguez knew exactly what he wanted to do.
“I knew from the sixth grade that I wanted to go to engineering school and law school,” Rodriguez said during a March 6 interview on “The Richard Beene Show.”
For Rodriguez those early dreams set the foundation for what has become one of Bakersfield’s most successful law firms — Daniel Rodriguez and Associates.
“My parents, despite the fact they didn’t have any formal education, my dad was one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met, they valued education,” said Rodriguez, who began his law practice in 1980.
Rodriguez was raised as part of a migrant farmer family that made its way to California from Texas to pick crops, but that wasn’t the life his parents wanted for him and his siblings.
“They recognized and realized that school, education, was the key to a better life,” Rodriguez said. “So they would expect us to come home with our report cards and you better have straight As.”
That expectation, along with a well-honed work ethic, led Rodriguez to Bakersfield College, engineering school at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and law school at UCLA.
“I’m here to tell you that Bakersfield College did a great job in preparing me for Cal Poly,” Rodriguez said.
In the later part of the 21-minute interview, Rodriguez touched on some of his recent cases, including a major settlement against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. In fact, Rodriguez has won a string of settlements against law enforcement agencies.
“We started off with the premise that no one is above the law,” Rodriguez said. “Are police allowed to speed down the road? The answer is no, unless there are three specific factors involved.”
Rodriguez was able to obtain a settlement in the case involving Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Kamal Jannah, who killed two people in a 2013 crash in Palmdale. Jannah was never charged but the California Highway Patrol said in its report to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office that the deputy was “grossly negligent” by driving faster than 80 miler per hour before the collision without sirens or lights.
“A reasonable person would have known that traveling at 86 miles per hour on a 50 mile-per-hour speed zone would be acting in a way that would create risk,” according to the CHP report obtained by the Los Angeles Daily News in 2015.
The case generated outrage in the high desert community because of the district attorney’s decision not to prosecute Jannah. The case was recently settled for $2 million.
Rodriguez has also settled major cases against the Kern County Sheriff’s Department and other local agencies.
Here’s the entire interview: