Legal Issues


UPDATED: California's Pending "Police Reform" Bills

On August 31, 2020, the California Legislature ended its 2020 legislative session. Several of the bills California’s legislators had proposed to implement “police reform” after the death in custody of George Floyd failed, while some key measures passed and are on their way to Governor Newsom’s d..

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The Case for Qualified Immunity

The national outcry to strip peace officers of partial immunity from civil liability ignores the reasons why this “qualified immunity” exists, what it does for government officials and the public on the rare occasions it applies, and the consequences of taking it away. Qualified immunity does no..

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The Road to Hell: California's Pending "Police Reform" Bills

California’s legislators have joined in a big way the national bandwagon beating the drum for “police reform” after the death in custody of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Since May 25, 2020, Senate and Assembly members have used “gut-and-amend” procedures to introduce at least nine bills..

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Social Media & Peace Officers in the Pandemic Era

In the world before COVID-19, the use of social media by probation peace officers and other public employees in California already carried many risks. The last few years have seen the Legislature, courts and probation departments impose new conditions on employee use of websites, apps, and e-mai..

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COVID-19 Presumptive Causation Laws

Compiled by Will Aitchison, Labor Relations Information System Please click on the PDF download button to view chart...

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The novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 has affected every public safety employee in California. The information available from governments, health care agencies and media about the rapidly-spreading disease changes daily as new cases and new living restrictions arise. The purpose of this Client..

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COVID-19 Update

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the workplace for probation peace officers. This Client Bulletin addresses the most recent developments at the federal, state and county level and provides links to resources your bargaining unit may find useful to obtain additional information about the..

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New California Law Supports Local Agency Peer Support Programs

By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. Peer support programs statewide have new liability and confidentiality protections thanks to the “Law Enforcement Peer Support and Crisis Referral Services Program” that became law this January. The new statute, Government Code sections 8669.1-8669.7, supports ..

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Appellate Court Upholds Minor’s Cell Phone Search Terms

By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. SCOPO General Counsel Probation conditions requiring a minor to submit his electronic devices to a warrantless search recently were upheld by the Sixth District Court of Appeal in a case involving a constitutional challenge to the probation terms. The c..

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California Supreme Court Rules Department Brady Lists May Go to Prosecutors

In yet another blow to longstanding protections in California for peace officer personnel records, the California Supreme Court ruled recently that a law enforcement agency may release its Brady list to prosecutors. (Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS) v. Superior Court (2019) 8 ..

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Legislature Amends Controversial Use of Force Bill

Responding to pressure from the State Coalition of Probation Organizations and other law enforcement groups, state legislators last week amended their controversial use of force bill to remove provisions that drastically increased civil and criminal liability for peace officers who use deadly fo..

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New Rules on Disclosure of Law Enforcement Records

By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. SCOPO General Counsel. Peace officer personnel records are subject to new disclosure requirements under amendments to Penal Code section 832.7 that took effect January 1, 2019. Senate Bill 1421, signed into law last year by Governor Brown, made significant ch..

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By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. SCOPO General Counsel The U.S. Supreme Court today overruled four decades of precedent and declared publicsector agency shop agreements unconstitutional, holding the First Amendment is violated when money is taken from nonconsenting employee for the benefit ..

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New Bill would Impose Severe Limits on Use of Deadly Force

By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. SCOPO General Counsel State lawmakers in Sacramento announced on April 3, 2013 new legislation to restrict the use of deadly force by peace officers only to those situations where deadly force isdeemed "necessary... given the totality of the circumstances" to..

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U.S. Supreme Court to Hear First Amendment Challenge to Union Agency Shop Laws

By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. SCOPO General Counsel The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument later this month in a case that attacks on First Amendment grounds the agency shop structure that sustains public employee labor unions in California and many other states. The case, Janus v..

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California Court Issues Mixed Ruling on County 37 Act Retirement Guarantees for Legacy Members

By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. SCOPO General Counsel Ruling on a challenge by employees and unions to the constitutionality of the Public Employee Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA), the First District Court of Appeal issued a lengthy decision earlier this month that may pave the way for ..

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Probation Officers Face New Requirements to Implement Proposition 63 Ban on Firearms Possession

By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. SCOPO General Counsel Buried in the sweeping gun control provisions of 2016's Proposition 63 were several requirements that added new duties for California probation officers beginning this year. The measure, which voters enacted overwhelmingly in July 2016, ..

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UPDATE: One Light, Two Lights, Red Light, Blue Light

By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. SCOPO General Counsel On Monday, September 25, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senator Toni Atkins’ SB 587, the “Blue Light Bill” sponsored by the State Coalition of Probation Organizations to allow probation peace officers to display a blue warn..

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One Light, Two Lights, Red Light, Blue Light

Legislation sponsored by the State Coalition of Probation Organizations will allow probation peace officers to display a blue warning light on authorized emergency vehicles. Senate Bill 587 (D-Atkins) would amend Vehicle Code section 25258(b) to give probation officers the same authority as most..

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules Law Enforcement May Use Evidence Found After Illegal Stop

In a 5-3 decision marked by a ferocious dissent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that officers may use evidence obtained from a search incident to arrest even when the evidence is found after an unconstitutional stop. The case, Utah v. Strieff, gives peace office..

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