ALADS v. County of Los Angeles

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 08-12-2011
  • Case #: 08-56283
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Pregerson for the Court; Circuit Judge D. Nelson; Circuit Judge Ikuta partially concurring and dissenting
  • Full Text Opinion

A constitutionally protected property interest requiring due process does not change or halt when felony charges are alleged against law enforcement officers.

Four former or current Los Angeles County deputy sheriffs were each charged with felonies, and appealed the due process requirements provided when law enforcement officers are charged with felonies and suspended without pay. O’Donoghue was charged with two counts of falsifying a police report, one count of perjury, one count of false imprisonment, and three counts of accessory after the fact to possession of narcotics for sale. Debs was charged with felony drunk driving. Sherr was charged with seven counts of workers’ compensation insurance fraud, grand theft, and perjury. Wilkinson was charged with nine felony counts of falsifying police reports. All were reinstated, and then later discharged partly because of allegations of the criminal charges. Wilkinson and Sherr were moved to retired employee status and thus the Commission did not have jurisdiction over their post-suspension hearings. The Commission found Debs allegations were untrue and she was reinstated without back pay. O’Donoghue was reinstated without back pay as well. These officers brought a claim alleging violation of their 14th Amendment due process rights. The Court held that the deputies had a constitutionally protected property interest in continued employment. The deputies were afforded limited pre-suspension process, but should be afforded post-suspension process too. The deputies’ property interests do not end with a felony charge, and they should be afforded more process. The Court found that the deputies adequately alleged a constitutional rights violation. The case was remanded to the district court for further proceedings on a Monell claim. AFFIRMED in part; REVERSED and REMANDED in part.

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