Legal Issues

June 21, 2021

Can Probation Department Ask for Proof of Vaccine?

Acting under the emergency powers granted him by the California Emergency Services Act, Governor Newsom last Thursday ordered Cal/OSHA’s new workplace regulations on COVID-19 implemented immediately.

June 15, 2021

U.S. Supreme Court Prohibits Searches of Home Under "Community Caretaking" Doctrine

When police officers in Cranston, Rhode Island seized a suicidal homeowner’s firearms after removing him for a psychiatric evaluation, they set in motion a case that may have significant implications for nationwide changes to community policing in the post-Floyd era. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month in Caniglia v. Strom (2021) 141 S. Ct. 1596 that the officers’ entry into the home violated the Fourth Amendment and was not justified by the “community caretaking function” law enforcement officers are often asked to perform...

January 14, 2021

AB 1950 & PROBATION “REFORM”

On September 30, 2020 Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 1950, aimed by its sponsors at “changing mass supervision laws” by limiting misdemeanor probation to one year and probation for most felonies to two years. The new law took effect January 1, 2021, but some superior courts and probation departments already have begun extending the law retroactively to shorten existing terms of probation.

December 29, 2020

Public Employers Can Mandate COVID-19 Vaccination But Must Bargain Over Effects of Vaccination Policy

With the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines for mass distribution have come questions about the authority of public safety agencies to require employees to be vaccinated. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) this month issued revised guidelines addressing vaccination requirements and exemptions under federal law.

October 30, 2020

URGENT: MEET & CONFER NOW ON SB 823

The abrupt implementation of juvenile justice realignment in California under Senate Bill 823 requires an urgent response from probation peace officer associations to protect the rights, working conditions and safety of the members.

September 4, 2020

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 desk.

August 6, 2020

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.

July 30, 2020

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 calling for everything from compensation for excessive force to increased civilian oversight to a ban on the use of crowd control devices.

May 6, 2020

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-mail for social networking and work-related communications while at the same time increasing the likelihood of public exposure of employee communications and misconduct.

April 19, 2020

COVID-19 Presumptive Causation Laws

Compiled by Will Aitchison, Labor Relations Information System

March 31, 2020

COVID-19 FAQ

The purpose of this Client Bulletin is to answer some of the questions most frequently asked by public safety employees and labor associations about the effects of COVID-19 on work, family and healthcare.

March 31, 2020

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 rights and responsibilities that apply to you and your labor association during this unprecedented and difficult time.

March 10, 2020

New California Law Supports Local Agency Peer Support Programs

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 local agency peer support by providing for training in confidential communications and giving employee organizations a role in designing peer support programs.

March 9, 2020

Appellate Court Upholds Minor’s Cell Phone Search Terms

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 court held in In re Q.R. (2020) 44 Cal.App.5th 696, that the probation conditions were not constitutionally overbroad given the nature of the minor’s sex-related offenses.

December 6, 2019

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 Cal. 5th 28.) The court ruled agencies are not required to comply with Pitchess procedures before releasing the identity of officers on a Brady list when those officers are involved in a pending criminal case.

May 28, 2019

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 force.

April 18, 2019

New Rules on Disclosure of Law Enforcement Records

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 changes to the confidentiality restrictions on peace officer records that make it easier for members of the public and the media to obtain information relating to peace officer conduct and discipline.

June 27, 2018

JANUS v. AFSCME: U.S. SUPREME COURT DECLARES AGENCY SHOP AGREEMENTS UNCONSTITUTIONAL

The U.S. Supreme Court today overruled four decades of precedent and declared public sector agency shop agreements unconstitutional, holding the First Amendment is violated when money is taken from non-consenting employee for the benefit of a public employee union. The 5-4 decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, Municipal and County Employees (afscme) Means Local Agencies and public-sector unions can no longer collect union dues or agency fees without the employee's affirmative consent to pay.

May 18, 2018

New Bill would Impose Severe Limits on Use of Deadly Force

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 prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury to the peace officer or another person. AB 931 would justify the use of deadly force only when there is no reasonable alternative, including retreating from the threat. The legislation criminalizes the use of deadly force if there os a finding the officer's "gross negligence substantially contributed to making [the force] necessary."

February 24, 2018

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

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. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, was brought by Illinois state employees who argue all union activity is political speech that employees can opt out of supporting with mandatory dues. A decision for the plaintiffs is likely because the newest associate justice, Neil Gorsuch, is believed to favor doing away with agency shop.