Friday, February 22, 2019

Mastagni Holstedt and Berry Wilkinson Challenge SB 1421's Retroactive Application In Supreme Court Amicus Brief

Mastagni Holstedt and the Berry Wilkinson Law Group were honored to file an amicus brief in the California Supreme Court on behalf of PORAC and the PORAC Legal Defense Fund.  The highly anticipated brief informs the Court on SB 1421's impact on the commonly referred  "Brady Tip Case" People v. Superior Court (Johnson)(2015).  As discussed at length in the Brief, pre-2019  Brady material contained in personnel files should only be disclosed through the Pitchess process.

You can access the entire brief here

The brief also highlights that there is no evidence that SB 1421 was ever meant to apply retroactively.  The fact that  complying with a request for pre-2019 records would be impossibly arduous, coupled with the State Legislature's silence on the issue,  is clear evidence that Legislators  did not intend to have SB 1421 apply retroactively. In fact, subjecting pre-2019 records to disclosure potentially violates crime victims' Constitutional rights. 

The case, Association for Los Angeles District Deputy Sheriffs v. Superior Court, is almost fully briefed and a decision should be forthcoming in the first half of the this year.  We are hopeful for a quick determination as to whether pre-2019 records must be disclosed pursuant to SB 1421, thereby avoiding the patchwork litigation throughout the state on retroactivity.  A Supreme Court determination in this appeal will also protect law enforcement unions and there members from further exposure to attorney fee liability to requesters, such as the ACLU and media organizations. (See,  Pasadena Police Officers Association v. City of Pasadena (2018), holding the POA and 2 members liable for the requester's fees in unsuccessfully opposing the disclosure of an after-action shooting report.)

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Former President of Contra Costa County Firefighters Local 1230 Appointed to PERB Board.

Mastagni Holstedt is pleased to congratulate Lou Paulson on his recent appointment to the Board of the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB).  Mr. Paulson has spent decades advocating for firefighters and first responders throughout California. As a former Fire Captain and President of Contra Costa County Firefighters Local 1230 he worked tirelessly to advance labor rights.

Vince Wells, president of the United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County, Local 1230, as well as, 4th District vice president for the California Professional Firefighters claims “Lou’s knowledge, background, and character, will be a tremendous asset to PERB and to all Californians.” The entire Mastagni Law Firm and Local 1230 congratulate him on his appointment and wish him success at PERB.

Read Governor Newsom’s appointment announcement here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Listen to the PORAC Podcast on the Future of AB 931

On this episode of On the Job with PORAC Brian Marvel, Damon Kurtz, Randy Perry (Aaron Read & Associates), and David E. Mastagni (Mastagni Holstedt, A Professional Corporation) dive into the future of use-of-force legislation, compared to last year’s AB931. As we’ve heard in previous podcasts, this type of legislation will have considerable impacts on law enforcement officers; therefore, it is critical that we have a seat at the table in getting it right. This is one of the biggest fights the law enforcement community will face this year, so it’s important to understand what’s at stake and what to expect as the legislative session ramps up. Tune in to learn more about our approach here at PORAC and how we’ll all need to work together to see that measures as drastic and dangerous as AB931 don’t become law.

Listen to the PORAC Podcast here.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra Refuses to Apply SB 1421 Retroactively

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has declined to release pre-2019 police records requested pursuant to SB 1421 until the court adjudicate whether the new law applies retroactively. “We have a couple of cases where courts are about to weigh in on how to interpret that state law, and we want to make sure that we remain consistent,” Becerra told KQED in an interview.

Mark Beckington, California’s supervising deputy attorney general, is quoted in the ABA Journal stating, “Therefore, until the legal question of retroactive application of the statute is resolved by the courts, the public interest in accessing these records is clearly outweighed by the public’s interest in protecting privacy rights.”