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…

When Words Alone Constitute Severe and Pervasive Harassment

The old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” may apply in Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment cases, but it doesn’t work in FEHA harassment claims. In Augustine Caldera v. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), the Fourth Appellate District recently issued a published opinion finding…

The Ninth Circuit Reaffirms a Key Principle of §1983 Litigation – A Plaintiff Must Present Evidence That a Defendant Actually Participated in the Violation of the Plaintiff’s Rights

By Mitch Wrosch From November 2005 to August 2013, Plaintiff William King was incarcerated at Twin Towers Correctional Facility, a Los Angeles County jail, where he was held as a civil detainee while awaiting the adjudication of an involuntary commitment petition under California’s Sexually Violent Predator Act (“SVPA”).  For more than six of those years…