Paralyzed Student Fights to Take Bar Exam

She just wants to be a lawyer

A paralyzed University of California law school graduate is pressing her court case aimed at forcing the State Bar of California to allow her to take the bar exam on Tuesday.

Sara Granda said a "ridiculous snafu" is preventing her from taking the exam now because her fee was paid by check instead of credit card online. 

A federal court judge on Friday denied the 29-year-old UC Davis law school graduate's request for a restraining order prohibiting the State Bar from preventing her from taking the test.

Stewart Katz, a Sacramento attorney representing Granda, said he'll ask the state Supreme Court on Monday to order the Bar to test Granda. 

Failure there would force Granda to wait until February to take the exam.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement Saturday urging the State Bar to allow Granda to take the test Tuesday, saying it was "outrageous that someone who has overcome so much in life is penalized by a bureaucratic error....

"Government should work for the people, not against them," Schwarzenegger added.

Granda, who is paralyzed from the neck down because of a car crash, said her failure to qualify to take the exam occurred because the state paid her $600 registration fee by check instead of her paying online with a credit card.

The state is paying because Granda is disabled. Her only source of income is an $870 a month state disability payment. She doesn't have a credit card.

Robert Hawley, the State Bar's deputy executive director, said there are always a handful of people who miss the deadline to file for the exam because of "very compelling reasons."

"It's a high-tech progress, and people need to maneuver it successfully," Hawley said. "We can't be in the business of helping any one person out with it. That takes us down a path that ends up in a place we don't want to be.

"How do you choose which ones to help and which you don't?" contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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