California High Court Denies Review of Police Transparency Law

LOS ANGELES (CN) – The California Supreme Court quietly denied a Los Angeles police union’s request Wednesday to review a lower court’s ruling that a law unsealing police misconduct records can be applied retroactively.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff ruled on Feb. 19 that a temporary seal on LA County police records be lifted March 1 and denied the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs’ injunction request.

Beckloff wrote in a 9-page order that a new police transparency law applied to all police records and said officers face “no new legal consequence” when their personnel records are released to the public.

Attorneys for unions had argued in courts across the state that the Legislature did not intend for the law to apply to records produced before the law took effect Jan. 1

But Beckloff disagreed.

“The unambiguous language demonstrates [the law’s] operation has nothing to do with the date on which a personnel record was created – it applies to all records,” Beckloff wrote in his Feb. 19 order.

The law, introduced as Senate Bill 1421 by state Sen. Nancy Skinner and signed by former Gov. Jerry Brown, requires the release of records on police shootings, excessive uses of force and confirmed cases of lying and sexual assault by on-duty officers.

The union filed a petition Tuesday seeking a review of Beckloff’s ruling and a stay order blocking implementation of the law which they argued violates officers’ constitutional rights to privacy. The state high court denied the petition and marked the case as closed.

Brian Ross, an attorney for the union, did not respond to a request for comment by Wednesday evening.

A union spokesperson also did not comment by press time on whether the union would seek another appeal. For now, the case will remain in Beckloff’s court.

The California Supreme Court decided on Jan. 2 to deny the San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies’ union’s Dec. 18 petition for emergency court action to block the new law before the new year.

%d bloggers like this: