Lomita, California

Lomita is a small city south of Torrance and north of Palos Verdes.  Lomita is often misunderstood as just a community within the City of Torrance, but it is not.  It was incorporated as its own city in 1964.

Lomita has a long, rich history that stretches back to its earliest known inhabitants, the Gabrielino Indians.  Such native Americans lived in what is modern-day Lomita when, in 1542, Juan Dominguez Cabrillo from Spain first sailed into what it now the Port of Los Angeles.

Over the next few centuries, as more and more settlers moved into the Rancho Dominguez area and raising cattle became more prevalent, Lomita acquired several large farms where cattle were raised and sold.  However, a significant portion of the now-city remained farmland.

In 1907, the first plowed roads in Lomita were established.  Farmer M.M. Eshelman, which Eshelman Avenue is named after, led the plowing efforts.  In 1909, Lomita’s first church was established.

In 1921, heirs of Nathaniel Narbonne donated land in the Lomita area and Fleming Middle School was established on Walnut Street.  At the time, Narbonne High School was across the street.  In 1958, Narbonne High School moved to its present location on Western Avenue.

During the 1920’s and 1930’s, Lomita remained largely agricultural in character, even earning the nickname, “Celery Capital of the World,” and later, “Strawberry Capital of the World.”  However, like the rest of the county, it enjoyed more cultural development.  The Lomita Theatre, for example, on Narbonne Avenue, witnessed the debut of Judy Garland, who would later move on to worldwide fame.

Lomita originally was seven square miles, but is now only 1.87 square miles.  It is bordered to the south by Pacific Coast Highway, to the west by Crenshaw Boulevard, to the north by Lomita Boulevard and to the east by Western Avenue.  Its population is only 20,256 according to the 2010 census.  Of this population, approximately 50% is Caucasian, 30% is Hispanic and 10% is Asian.

Of most interest perhaps to the reader, as this city profile is on a criminal defense website, is a little bit about the Lomita Sheriffs.  The Lomita Sheriffs patrol Lomita, as well as Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates.  The Lomita Sheriffs have about 67 officers (known as Deputy Sheriffs).  No police car there has a video camera to record Field Sobriety Tests except Officer Knox's vehicle.  His car records sound, too.  Each arrestee gets three phone calls.  The maximum detention there of a juvenile is six hours.  The maximum detention of an adult without an arraignment is 48 hours on business days (Sat, Sun and holidays are excluded).  The jail there can hold 4 females and 28 males.  They have 67 officers (deputy sheriffs).  They have about thirty police cars and four unmarked vehicles. Two of the unmarked vehicles are a light blue minivan, one is an SUV and one is a maroon Astrovan.

Our office represents a great number of cases arising out of City of Lomita.  Mostly, these are domestic violence matters, as well as possession of drugs.  There are a fair number of DUI’s, as well, mostly from arrests along Pacific Coast Highway.  Increasingly, our office has started handling prostitution matters arising out of the many Lomita massage parlors, with the arrests coming as part of police sting operation.

Misdemeanor offenses arising in Lomita are prosecuted mostly by the Torrance City Prosecutor’s office and handled, first in Department 3 with Judge George F. Bird, Jr., and then next door in Department 5 with Judge Nicole Bershon.  The two Torrance City Prosecutors handling such cases, currently Gillian Studwell and Jean Marie Litwin, are fair and good listeners.

Felony matters arising out of Lomita are handled by the Torrance District Attorney’s office.  Such cases usually start in Department 4 with Judge Thomas Sokolov and his calendar DA, Candace Foy Smith, who is also quite fair and willing to listen.

For more information about common cases that one might face if arrested in this city, click on the following articles:
  1. What Punishment Do I Face for a First Time DUI?
  2. What Punishment Do I Face for Domestic Violence?
  3. What is Vandalism and Graffiti (Penal Code § 594)?
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