A School Yard Lesson on the Fourth Amendment and Qualified Immunity

On September 10, 2018, in Scott v. County of San Bernardino, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed the denial of qualified immunity to a police officer who arrested a group of middle school girls accused of fighting and bullying to “prove a point” and to “teach them a lesson.”  The Court held that because…

No Longer Confidential: An Advanced Look at SB 1421

Commencing January 1, 2019, California law regarding the confidentiality of certain police records will undergo a significant change.  Records of officer-involved shootings and certain uses of force will become accessible to the general public, as will records relating to sustained findings of dishonesty or sexual assault by a police officer. Earlier this month, we presented…

Legislating Law Enforcement

Typically law enforcement agencies, with the help of their respective governing City/County/State entity, create their own policies and procedures in procedures in conformity with the Penal Code, case law, and POST guidelines.  This year, numerous bills have been proposed in the California Legislature to impose new requirements on peace officers.  While some of these proposals…

Is Your Anti-Camping Ordinance Legal?

In 2017, California had approximately 134,278 homeless individuals and 68.2% of this population was unsheltered. In response to the influx of individuals sleeping on public property, many cities created ordinances prohibiting people from camping in public spaces (anti-camping laws) and these ordinances allowed law enforcement to issue citations to homeless people for sleeping on public…

Putting the Rap in RAP Sheet: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Threatening Lyrics Against Police Are Not Protected by First Amendment

In Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Jamal Knox, Pennsylvania’s highest court upheld a rapper’s criminal conviction and ruled that his rap song that identified Pittsburgh police officers by name and made direct threats of violence against them is not protected speech under the First Amendment. This ruling highlighted that other courts, such as the Ninth Circuit,…

Could Your City be Violating the Constitution by Following the Penal Code? An Analysis of Penal Code Section 148.6 Requirements and Alternatives

by Algeria Ford California Penal Code Section 148.6 criminalizes the filing of knowingly false statements against peace officers. The Code requires law enforcement to issue advisements that must be signed by a complainant when making a complaint against an officer. In Chaker v. Crogan, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that Section 148.6 was…