Court Rulings
POLICE "OFFICIAL DUTIES" RULE CRITICIZED BY COURT THEN USES IT TO BAR FIRST AMENDMENT RETALIATION CLAIM E-mail
Written by by Michael P. Stone, Muna Busailah and Robert Rabe   

Dahlia v Rodriguez, filed August 7, 2012 United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit: Courts almost always write opinions that articulate the soundness of the rule they are applying.  In Dahlia v Rodriguez, 2012 DJDAR 10898, the Court made it clear that it did not agree with the rule it was using to decide the case.

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NO EXPERT REQUIRED IN POLICE EXCESSIVE FORCE CASE E-mail
Written by Muna Busailah and Robert Rabe   

Allgoewer v. City of Tracy, et al, filed July 5, 2012: California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District

In a case of “first impression” in California, the Court of Appeal has ruled that a plaintiff in a case alleging excessive force by a police officer does not have to present expert testimony on “what force a reasonable law enforcement officer would have used under the same or similar circumstances.”  The trial court granted nonsuit on the ground that the plaintiff could not prevail without offering expert testimony.  The Court of Appeal reversed, stating that the trial court had erred when it concluded that expert testimony was required in the case.

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Police officer who tasered and punched compliant suspect not entitled to qualified immunity E-mail
Written by Muna Busailah and Robert Rabe   

The case is Mendoza v. City of West Covina: David Mendoza died of asphyxiation in March  2007, while in police custody at a hospital after he was repeatedly tasered and punched by West Covina police officer Enrique Macias, and then pinned to the ground and handcuffed by Macias and three other police officers.  A jury awarded compensation to the family of Mendoza. Mendoza had walked into the backyard of a home, tried to open a window, and asked to use a telephone.  The home’s owner called the police, who found Mendoza seated on a curb. 

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Officer firing ruled justified by Court E-mail
Written by Michael P. Stone and Melanie C. Smith   

Disciplinary settlement agreements are a common, wholesome, and important part of the internal discipline process for peace officers.  An officer may, for example, agree to accept the misconduct charges against him in exchange for a reduced penalty.  In some cases, language is added to the agreement providing that if the officer is found to have repeated the misconduct or committed other serious misconduct, a certain result will occur, such as termination.

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COURT OF APPEAL RULES NAMES OF PEACE OFFICERS INVOLVED IN SHOOTINGS ARE NOT CONFIDENTIAL E-mail
Written by Melanie C. Smith   

On February 7, 2012, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District issued an opinion holding that the names of peace officers involved in shootings are not confidential as “personnel records.”  The case is Long Beach Police Officers Association v. City of Long Beach, case no. B231245.

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Auditor says trust fund is a problem E-mail
Written by Mark Nichols   

With pension funds under a full-scale attack by powerful special-interest groups, setting up a trust fund to protect police pensions seems like a good idea.
Unfortunately, a Minnesota State auditor says a Minneapolis police pension funds efforts to create a $10 million trust fund is likely illegal. According to State Auditor Rebecca Otto, the proposal before the Minneapolis police pension board to set aside $10 million before the police pension fund merges with a state fund will face legal hurdles.

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Arizona loses lawsuit, will appeal E-mail
Written by Mark Nichols   

A federal judge has tossed out Arizona's lawsuit against the federal government over its failure to maintain control of the Mexican border and enforce immigration laws. According to a report from the International Business Times, Arizona's lawsuit was filed in response to the U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit seeking to stop the implementation of SB-1070, the state's harsh anti-immigration law. Arizona lodged five counterclaims against the U.S. in federal court.

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Officer who testified based on false lab report was not entitled to qualified immunity E-mail
Written by Michael P. Stone and Melanie C. Smith   

In a decision issued October 4, 2011 - Kerkeles v. City of San Jose (2011) 199 Cal. App. 4th 1001 - the California Court of Appeal for the Sixth District held that an officer who testified against a criminal defendant based on a false “ruse” lab report was not immune from suit for constitutional rights violations

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"Stolen Valor" case to go before USSC E-mail

Wannabes are everywhere. You can't swing a dead cat these days without hitting some loud-talking guy talking about how he used to run SWAT in Los Angeles, won Purple Hearts in both WWI and WWII, or was a member of Seal Team 6 that got the Bin Laden kill shot.


Due to the sheer volume of individuals trying to pass themselves off as law enforcement, counter-terrorism experts, and military heroes, the US Supreme Court will decide soon whether a law making it a crime to lie about having received military medals is constitutional.


The justices say they will hear arguments and consider the validity of the "Stolen Valor Act."
That law passed Congress with overwhelming support in 2006, but a federal appeals court in California struck down the law on free speech grounds.

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Supreme Court to look at "Stolen Valor" case E-mail
Written by APB Staff   
Wannabes are everywhere. You can't swing a dead cat these days without hitting some loud-talking guy talking about how he used to run SWAT in Los Angeles, won Purple Hearts in both WWI and WWII, or was a member of Seal Team 6 that got the Bin Laden kill shot.

Due to the sheer volume of individuals trying to pass themselves off as law enforcement, counter-terrorism experts, and military heroes, the US Supreme Court will decide soon whether a law making it a crime to lie about having received military medals is constitutional.

The justices say they will hear arguments and consider the validity of the "Stolen Valor Act."

That law passed Congress with overwhelming support in 2006, but a federal appeals court in California struck down the law on free speech grounds.

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Cop fights to get job back E-mail
Written by APB Staff   

According to a recent article in the Dallas Morning News, a judge has dismissed charges against a fired Dallas police officer. The officer in question, Daniel Babb, was accused of shoving a man to the ground and lying in a police report about the man's August 2009 arrest. Babb, 33, had faced one felony count of official oppression and a misdemeanor count of tampering with a government document. He had been scheduled to go to trial.

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