Legal Issues

03-Sep-2015

California Supreme Court Decision Limiting Firefighter Access To Personnel Records Will Affect Similar Rights for Peace Officers

By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. SCOPO General Counsel A new decision from the California Supreme Court limiting employee access to supervisor files under the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights Act likely will place the same limits on public safety officers. The case, Poole v. Orange Co..

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21-Jul-2015

Court Rejects PORBA Defense by LAPD  Officer Convicted of Murder

By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. SCOPO General Counsel Convicted in 2012 of the 1986 murder of her lover's wife, former Los Angeles Police Department detective Stephanie Lazarus asked an appellate court to overturn her conviction on the basis a statement was taken from her in violation of ..

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21-Jul-2015

Court Rejects PORBA Defense by LAPD Officer Convicted of Murder

Department detective Stephanie Lazarus asked an appellate court to overturn her conviction on the basis a statement was taken from her in violation of her rights under the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act (POBRA). (Gov. Code $$3300 et seq.) The Second District Court of Appeal..

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12-Jun-2015

Court of Appeal Identifies Realignment Loophole Preventing Dismissal of Juvenile Records

By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. SCOPO General Counsel The Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled last week that minors who successfully complete a term of confinement at the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) are no longer entitled automatically to release from all penalties and disabil..

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19-May-2015

PERB Expands Scope of Union Representation Rights in Cases Involving ADA Accommodation

By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. SCOPO General Counsel Overturning its own precedent, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) ruled recently that an employee has the right to union representation in meetings with the employer to determine whether a reasonable accommodation is availabl..

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27-Apr-2015

PERB Upholds Union’s Disciplinary Action Against Member Who Advocated Decertification

By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. SCOPO General Counsel A recent decision by the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) upheld disciplinary procedures used by the California Association of Professional Scientists to remove a member alleged to have advocated for the union’s decertification..

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02-Jan-2015

California Supreme Court Holds Arbitrators Have Authority to Rule on Pitchess Motions during Administrative Appeals

By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. SCOPO General Counsel Expanding yet again the scope of access to confidential peace officer personnel records, the California Supreme Court has ruled that arbitrators in administrative appeals from disciplinary action have the authority to review peace offic..

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30-Dec-2014

Ninth Circuit Sustains Claims of Retaliation by Union Official

By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. SCOPO General Counsel A recent decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will allow a First Amendment retaliation claim by a dispatch supervisor and her union to proceed against Riverside County. Wendy Thomas, a dispatch supervisor for the Riverside Cou..

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26-Dec-2014

Court Rejects POBRA Appeals from Involuntary “Fresh Start” Transfers

By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. SCOPO General Counsel In a decision interpreting the punitive transfer provisions of the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act (POBRA), the Second District Court of Appeal rejected the claims of two officers that involuntary transfers not affect..

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24-Nov-2014

Third District Court of Appeal Holds Proposed Discipline Must Be Personally Served within One Year Statute of Limitations

By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. SCOPO General Counsel Fundamental to the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act is a “statute of limitations” that requires law enforcement agencies to investigate and propose discipline within one year of the date a person authorize..

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10-Nov-2014

First District Court of Appeal Issues Ruling on Brady and Personnel Records

By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. SCOPO General Counsel A new appellate court decision in California would greatly expand prosecution access to peace officer personnel records under Brady v. Maryland by allowing prosecutors to review those records before seeking disclosure through a Pitchess..

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18-Aug-2014

PERB Rules City of Palo Alto Failed to Meet and Consult Over Impasse Procedure Modification

On August 6, 2014, PERB issued a decision in City of Palo Alto. This ruling is significant for public employees for two reasons. First, the decision confirms that meet and consult obligations underGovernment Code section 3507 the same as the meet and confer obligations under section 3505. Second..

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14-Aug-2014

Court Rules No Qualified Immunity for Officer Accused of Deleting Video

On August 5, 2014, a U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California held in Crago v. Leonard that an officer was not entitled to qualified immunity in a First Amendment lawsuit. The plaintiff, a probationer, alleged the officer violated her First Amendment rights when he did not allo..

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11-Aug-2014

Ventura County Pension Initiative Barred from November Ballot

On August 4, 2014, Ventura County Superior Court Judge Kent Kellegrew tentatively decided to issue an injunction barring the initiative to phase out Ventura County's pension system from appearing on the November 2014 ballot. The ruling has significant statewide implications for counties that par..

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21-Jul-2014

California Public Safety Labor Blog - July 2014

PERB: "Economic Exigency" Not Enough to Declare Impasse Posted: 21 Jul 2014 10:00 AM PDT In Selma Firefighters Association, IAFF, Local 3716 v. City of Selma, the Public Employment Relations Board ("PERB") took a hard line against employers’ citing economic exigency to declare i..

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20-Jun-2014

US Supreme Court: Public Employee Testimony Protected By First Amendment

On June 19, 2014, in Lane v. Franks , the U.S. Supreme Court ruled an employee’s testimony was protected by the First Amendment because it was a citizen’s speech on a matter of public concern. Edward Lane directed a program for underprivileged youth at Central Alabama Community..

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06-Jun-2014

PERB Rules County Rushed to Declare Impasse

In SEIU Local 721 v. County of Riverside , the Public Employment Relations Board ("PERB") took a hard line against employers that rush to declare impasse. SEIU and Riverside County started negotiations over a new MOU in late March 2009. The existing MOU was set to expire on June 30, 2009. T..

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03-Jun-2014

Court of Appeal Denies Workers' Compensation Benefits for Officer's Injury During "Hold Over" Shift Commute

On May 19, 2014, the California Court of Appeal in Lanz v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board ruled an officer's family was not entitled to workers' compensation benefits because an employee's commute after a "hold over" shift fell outside his ordinary course of employment. In Lanz , a Pl..

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02-Jun-2014

PERB Holds Factfinding Applies to Single-Issue Disputes

On April 26, 2014, PERB held factfinding applies to single-issue disputes as well as negotiations for memorandums of understanding ("MOU") in County of Contra Costa. This important point of contention will likely be resolved by appellate courts in other recent cases considering the same issue. ..

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30-May-2014

California Supreme Court Rules CPRA Requires "Particularized Showing" to Prevent Disclosure of Officers' Names After Shooting

On May 29, 2014 in Long Beach Police Officers Association v. City of Long Beach , the California Supreme Court held the California Public Records Act ("CPRA") requires a "particularized showing" of officer safety concerns to prevent disclosure of an officer's name after a shooting. In this case,..

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