SEPTEMBER 24, 2013
Controversial LAPD Program Benefited Dangerous, Unlicensed Drivers
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that California Superior Court Judge Terry A. Green struck down a controversial Los Angeles Police Department policy, Special Order 7, which regulated the impounding of vehicles driven by unlicensed drivers. Judicial Watch, on behalf of a Los Angeles taxpayer, was joined in the legal challenge by the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents LAPD officers in Los Angeles Police Protective League v. City of Los Angeles, Case No. BC483052.
The court had ruled on August 12 that the non-enforcement policy was contrary to California state law that required the impoundment of vehicles by unlicensed drivers. Today, over the objections of the City of Los Angeles and lawyers for the ACLU, Judge Green issued an order immediately enjoining Los Angeles from continuing to follow Special Order 7.
Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton issued the following statement reacting to today’s ruling:
“This is a great victory for the rule of law and the taxpayers of Los Angeles. As a result of this ruling, the residents of LA are safer today.”
Judicial Watch sought to stop the use of taxpayer funds to enforce Special Order 7, which limited LAPD officers’ discretion to impound vehicles for 30 days if the vehicles are driven by unlicensed drivers. In the lawsuit, Judicial Watch argued that the City, Chief Beck, and the Police Commission lacked authority to enact Special Order 7 because vehicle impounds are governed by state law, not local regulations, and state law gives police officer wide discretion to impound vehicles. Advocates for illegal aliens represented by the ACLU intervened in the court fight to try to protect the City’s effort to water down state law.
Judge Terry Green called the Special Order 7 “a real game changer” that conflicted with what the California state legislature intended when it enacted provisions within the state vehicle code.