In Richardson v. City and County of San Francisco (ord. pub. March 15, 2013), the Court of Appeal held a criminal investigation tolls the one year statute of limitations until the DA declines charges. The case is about a San Francisco fraud investigator who was fired for CLETS violations, check fraud, and resisting arrest. After the IAs were sustained, she filed a lawsuit claiming her Department did not discipline her within the one-year statute of limitations for discipline under POBR.
POBR’s one year statute of limitations has several exceptions. One of the exceptions applies when, a “criminal investigation... is pending.” Richardson argued POBR’s statute of limitations expired because the criminal investigation had to be an “actual and active investigation or prosecution” and the DA had stopped actively investigating the case against her more than a year before she was fired. However, the Court decided the “active and actual” requirement is unworkable because it would be hard to prove how “active” a criminal investigation is at any point. Instead, the Court said the investigation ended when the DA declined charges. As a result, the Court upheld the discipline.