Thursday, January 15, 2004
High Court to Decide if City Must Negotiate With Officers on Change to Racial Profiling Rules
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The high court unanimously voted at yesterday’s conference to grant the City of Claremont’s petition for review in Claremont Police Officers Association v. City of Claremont (2003) 112 Cal.App.4th 639.
This district’s Div. Three ruled that the policy adopted two years ago by the city affects officers’ “terms and conditions of employment” and is thus subject to the “meet-and-confer” requirements of Government Code Sec. 3505. Justice Walter Croskey wrote the opinion.
Sec. 3505 is part of the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act, which governs local government labor relations in California. The MMBA requires employers and employee representatives to discuss changes in working conditions before they are implemented, although the employer may unilaterally implement a change if the parties are unable to reach an agreement.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Conrad R. Aragon erred, Croskey said, by ruling that the policy involves “consideration of the merits, necessity, or organization of [a] service or activity provided by law or executive order,” exempting it from the meet-and-confer rule.
The policy, implemented in July 2002, requires officers to fill out a written form for each vehicle stop that does not result in an arrest or citation.
The information that each officer must collect includes the time and date of the stop, age group and gender of the driver, driver’s race or ethnicity, officer’s perception of the driver’s race or ethnicity before the stop, initial reason for the stop, initial reason for any search and type of search conducted, outcome of the stop, driver’s city of residence, general location where the infraction occurred, duration of the stop, year of the vehicle, and whether the police vehicle was equipped with a camera.
The policy replaced an earlier program, which was in effect when the union and the city negotiated their last contract, under which officers radioed in a report for each stop not resulting in arrest or citation. The only information reported, however, was the driver’s race, age, and gender.
Croskey said the implementation of the new policy represented a significant change in working conditions, rather than a fundamental policy decision, because an accusation of racial profiling could affect an officer’s prospects for promotion and relations with the public, or subject him or her to discipline.
Attorneys on appeal were Dieter C. Dammeier and Michael A. Morguess of Lackie & Dammeier for the union, and Richard M. Kreisler and Mark H. Meyerhoff of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore for the city. The ACLU Foundation of Southern California, represented by Peter Eliasberg, was among those urging the high court to take the case.
In other action taken at the conference, the justices:
•Denied review of a ruling by the Fourth District’s Div. Three that the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee can be sued in California for sending a pedophile priest here.
The archdiocese’s actions in facilitating the transfer of Father Siegfried Widera to the Orange County Diocese in 1981 amounted to “intentional conduct expressly aimed at or targeting California” which the archdiocese “knew...would cause harm in this state,” meeting the test established by the California Supreme Court for specific personal jurisdiction, the panel said in Archdiocese of Milwaukee v. Superior Court (Paino) (2003) 112 Cal.App.4th 423.
•Agreed to decide whether a genuine lapse of memory is a defense to a charge of failing to register as a sex offender. The First District’s Div. Four held in its unpublished Oct. 31 opinion in People v. Sorden that evidence in support of such a defense should have been admitted.
•Agreed to decide whether a defendant may be convicted both of auto theft and of retention of the same stolen automobile. The Sixth District held in People v. Garza (2003) 112 Cal.App.4th 655 that conviction of both offenses violated the statutory ban on multiple punishment for the same crime.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company