Tony Saavedra The Orange County Register

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. — The union representing Orange County sheriff’s deputies won a court stay Thursday blocking the release of disciplinary files under a state police transparency law that took effect Jan. 1.

Superior Court Judge Nathan Scott granted the temporary order and scheduled a full hearing for Feb. 7.

The Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, following a trend by other police unions in California, contends the law should not be enforced retroactively — meaning documents relating to events before 2019 would remain secret.

At least five unions, including one representing San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies, have obtained or are seeking court action to stop police departments from complying retroactively with the statute, which was intended to break more than 40 years of police secrecy.

Authored by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, the law allows the release of personnel records and disciplinary files for police officers involved in the use of deadly force, sustained sexual assault and sustained dishonesty, such as evidence tampering. The statute, however, is silent on whether it should be enforced retroactively.

Attorney Jacob A. Kalinsky, representing the Orange County union, argued in court papers that the law would have addressed retroactivity if that’s what the Legislature wanted.

“Senate Bill 1421 does not contain any express provision or language requiring retroactivity or any clear indication that the Legislature intended the statute to operate retroactively … with respect to peace officer personnel records and information which arose out of incidents involving peace officer conduct occurring prior to January 1, 2019,” Kalinsky wrote.

After the ruling, Kalinsky said it was “the responsible thing for the court to do.”

The union’s effort to block compliance is being opposed by the county of Orange and attorneys for Voice of OC, the Los Angeles Times and Southern California Public Radio.

Attorney Kelly Aviles, representing the three news media organizations, accused the union in court of trying to do “an improper end run around the procedures in the Public Records Act.”

The Orange County Register is one of 11 organizations that are seeking records from the Sheriff’s Department under the new law, which replaces protections set in the mid-1970s to keep police disciplinary records secret out of fear they would damage criminal cases and encourage lawsuits.

———

©2019 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)

Your Account

Create or login to your account to enjoy discounts and rewards.

Wishlist
Shares
Share This
0
    0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop
      Calculate Shipping
      Apply Coupon
      Available Coupons
      admin20 Get $20.00 off $20 off your cart total.
      adminpromo Get 100% off Free item offered by the administrator
      Unavailable Coupons
      adminsubscriptionretiredfirstpayment Get $120.00 off First payment of retired subscription when paid and added manually.
      cabinfree2days Get $90.00 off Get 2 free nights at the cabin.
      cabinfreeweek Get $315.00 off A free week (7 days) at the associated cabin in one contiguous stay at the time of your choice.
      freebassentry Get 100% off
      golfsponsor Get 100% off Free admission to the tournament with a golf sponsorship.
      jh$25 Get $25.00 off Jonathon Hall reimbursement for shirt he purchased that was too small.
      ldf1month Get $13.00 off Prorate an LDF membership for 1 month discount
      ntcvendorcomp Get 100% off This coupon entitles the user to a free vendor table at the NTC conference.
      retired10 Get $10.00 off
      retired60 Get $60.00 off This discounts your current year renewal $60 since you already pre-paid $60 towards your renewal for this year.
      spmtc Get 20% off Special 20% Off all Motor T's for a limited time!