Stephen A. McEwen
Partner - Orange County
Stephen A. McEwen joined Burke in 2003 and currently serves as the Assistant City Attorney for the cities of Atascadero and Buellton, and served previously as the City Attorney for Laguna Woods and Assistant City Attorney for Stanton. In these roles, Mr. McEwen has drafted numerous ordinances and resolutions and has advised cities on a wide range of legal issues with a special emphasis on the Public Records Act, the Brown Act, and code enforcement. Mr. McEwen has also utilized his extensive constitutional law background to advise municipal clients on First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment issues.
Mr. McEwen is responsible for supervising code enforcement efforts for Burke’s municipal clients. In this capacity, he utilizes the full range of code enforcement tools, including informal office conferences, inspection warrants, administrative hearings, civil nuisance actions, and misdemeanor prosecutions. Although his emphasis in this area is on resolving code violations without the need for judicial intervention, Mr. McEwen has successfully prosecuted numerous code enforcement cases to completion. Mr. McEwen obtained a guilty verdict from a jury on all counts against a property owner for maintaining multiple building code and property maintenance violations. He obtained guilty verdicts against two defendants for operating an unpermitted nightclub. He has also obtained preliminary and permanent injunctions in multiple code enforcement matters involving zoning violations, public nuisance conditions, and medical marijuana dispensaries. Mr. McEwen advises municipal clients throughout the state on issues related to medical marijuana.
In addition to his code enforcement prosecution experience, Mr. McEwen has handled a broad array of litigation for the firm's municipal and governmental clients, including disputes involving eminent domain, inverse condemnation, tort liability, construction defects, construction contract disputes, CEQA, and the Federal Civil Rights Act. He served as co-counsel in a successful bench trial regarding a client's right to take property through eminent domain. Mr. McEwen successfully defended the City of East Palo Alto in a trial involving alleged Brown Act and Due Process violations. He has also represented a variety of private clients in litigation involving construction projects, insurance coverage, contractual disputes, and tort liability.
After law school graduation, Mr. McEwen clerked for Judge Arthur L. Alarcon on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He later served as a Deputy Attorney General in the Criminal Division of the California Department of Justice. As a prosecutor, Mr. McEwen represented the state in two successful trial-level prosecutions, over seventy felony criminal appeals in the California Court of Appeal, and over eighty habeas corpus proceedings in federal district court and the Ninth Circuit. In November 2002, Mr. McEwen represented the California Department of Corrections successfully in an evidentiary hearing in Federal District Court in a case involving allegations of prosecutorial misconduct against the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
- East Palo Alto Merchants Association v. City of East Palo Alto Planning Com
- People of State of California and City of Industry v. True Health Cooperati
- People of the State of California and City of Stanton v. Alternative Tomato
- April 2013 Public Law Update, April 2013
- March 2013 Public Law Update, March 2013
- The California Homemade Food Act: Cottage Food Operations Arrive in California, January 2013
Public Law Update