Tag Archives: First Amendment Coalition

Los Angeles Police Protective League Anti-SB1421 Case — Judge Chalfant Accepts 170.6 Motion By First Amendment Coalition And Los Angeles Times To Disqualify Him — All Scheduled Hearings Are Cancelled — Case Transferred To Judge Mitchell Beckloff

A couple weeks ago Superior Court Judge James Chalfant ruled that the ACLU, the First Amendment Coalition, the Los Angeles Times, and some other parties could join the case of the appalling petition brought by the Los Angeles Police Protective League seeking to prevent the City of Los Angeles from complying with SB1421 by releasing records relating to police misconduct occurring before January first of this year.

On January 23, 2019 these new parties, not counting the ACLU, filed a so-called 170.6 motion, asking Chalfant to disqualify himself. This is a standard move in California civil trials, authorized by the California Code of Civil Procedure at §170.6, which allows any party to move to disqualify a judge on the grounds of bias, although they don’t have to explain what bias they perceive. As long as the motion is filed on time it must be accepted and the case must be transferred.

For whatever reason the LAPPL wasn’t happy with this motion and they filed an opposition to it on January 25, essentially arguing that the deadline had passed and that the motion should be rejected because the so-called media intervenors1 already knew that Chalfant was handling the case when they asked to join, that Chalfant had already made rulings in the case, that switching judges now would mess up the case for everyone else, and so on.

The media intervenors filed a response to that opposition on January 28, basically stating that the Police Protective League’s position was full of crap and they can’t read the law or, if they can, then they didn’t summarize it correctly in their opposition. There was a hearing on this stuff on Friday2 and Chalfant accepted the motion to disqualify himself and reassigned the case to Judge Mitchell Beckloff.

His order accepting the motion is here, and the notice of reassignment is here. The most immediate effect of this is that all pending hearings are cancelled, including the one upcoming on Tuesday, February 5. I’ll let you know when and if Beckloff schedules anything. Meanwhile, if you want to browse through (most of) the paper filed already in this case you can find it here on Archive.Org.
Continue reading Los Angeles Police Protective League Anti-SB1421 Case — Judge Chalfant Accepts 170.6 Motion By First Amendment Coalition And Los Angeles Times To Disqualify Him — All Scheduled Hearings Are Cancelled — Case Transferred To Judge Mitchell Beckloff

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This Morning In The Anti-SB1421 Petition Case Brought By The Los Angeles Police Protective League — Judge James Chalfant Ruled That The ACLU Of Southern California — Representing Valerie Rivera — Could Intervene — And So Can The First Amendment Coalition And Various Newspapers — Although In A More Limited Way — Oh, And The City Of Los Angeles Did Actually File An Opposition To The LAPPL’s Position — So That’s Good

Yesterday the First Amendment Coalition filed a request to be allowed to intervene in the reprehensible petition filed on December 31 by the reprehensible Los Angeles Police Protective League seeking to bar retroactive enforcement of the monumental SB1421, which took effect on January 1 and is meant to require the release of records relating to serious cases of police misconduct.

It turns out that, unknown to me before this morning’s hearing, the ACLU of Southern California also filed a request to be allowed to intervene. They’re representing Valerie Rivera, mother of Eric Rivera, killed by the LAPD in 2017. She requested records relating to the investigation of the officer who killed her son and was denied on the basis of the LAPPL’s restraining order.

And there was a hearing this morning on these requests before James Chalfant, so off I went downtown to the good old Stanley Mosk Courthouse to see and hear what went on. Before the hearing really got going, by the way, it came out that the City of Los Angeles has actually filed an opposition to the LAPPL’s petition, although I don’t yet have a copy. This is news because in other cases like this one the governmental agencies have not all opposed the suits. I also learned that the LAPPL’s lawyer, Richard Levine, is filing scads of these cases, county by county by county. Which is interesting and, I’m sure, worth a lot of money to him.

Anyway, after a lot of discussion Chalfant decided that the ACLU could intervene in the case but that the FAC and its gaggle of newspapers could only intervene in a limited way. This is because he found that Ms. Rivera had a more compelling interest in the outcome than did the media. The FAC and the newspapers are required to file their opposition brief jointly with the ACLU so that Chalfant doesn’t have to read too much stuff,1 and they’re not allowed to seek attorney’s fees from the LAPPL. The ACLU will be allowed to seek fees.

At first Chalfant seemed inclined to postpone the upcoming February 5 hearing,2 but ultimately he did not. And here’s a copy of the minute order detailing what went on. Turn the page for a transcription.
Continue reading This Morning In The Anti-SB1421 Petition Case Brought By The Los Angeles Police Protective League — Judge James Chalfant Ruled That The ACLU Of Southern California — Representing Valerie Rivera — Could Intervene — And So Can The First Amendment Coalition And Various Newspapers — Although In A More Limited Way — Oh, And The City Of Los Angeles Did Actually File An Opposition To The LAPPL’s Position — So That’s Good

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First Amendment Coalition Files Ex Parte Application For Leave To Intervene In Los Angeles Police Protective League Anti-SB1421 Case — Joined By The L.A. Times, The California Newspaper Publishers’ Association, And Many Other Esteemed Journalistic Groups — Hearing On This Application Tomorrow Morning At 8:30 A.M. In Dept. 85 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

Today the First Amendment Coalition and a bunch of newspapers and newspaper-adjacent organizations filed an ex parte application for leave to intervene in the appalling case initiated by the Los Angeles Police Protective League seeking to prevent California’s new police transparency law, SB1421, from applying retroactively to records of police misconduct prior to 2019. This same crapola was already tried elsewhere and decisively shot down by the California Supreme Court, but, for whatever reason, in Los Angeles County the case must go on.

FAC is seeking to intervene in the case, even though they’re not parties to it. This is evidently sometimes allowed, according to the Wiki, when “a judgment in a particular case may affect the rights of nonparties, who ideally should have the right to be heard.” Here’s the pleading filed by the FAC. It’s called an ex parte application because they’re asking the judge to decide whether they should be allowed into the case without requiring the other parties to be present at the hearing, which is tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. in Department 85 of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse.

Because they aren’t parties to the case, they have to convince the judge that the interests of justice are served by allowing them to become parties. This argument is a huge part of their filing. They also argue that neither of the actual parties to the case, the PPL and the City, have any interest in ensuring that the public has access to records. In fact, they argue, it’s possible that the City may not file a response to the petition. Also, I guess to save time, they include the briefing that they’re proposing to file if the judge allows them to. It’s a powerful piece of writing, and you can find transcribed selections after the break.
Continue reading First Amendment Coalition Files Ex Parte Application For Leave To Intervene In Los Angeles Police Protective League Anti-SB1421 Case — Joined By The L.A. Times, The California Newspaper Publishers’ Association, And Many Other Esteemed Journalistic Groups — Hearing On This Application Tomorrow Morning At 8:30 A.M. In Dept. 85 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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Unidentified Business Improvement District Seeks Free CPRA Advice From First Amendment Coalition, Does Not Get Answer They Are Looking For

The First Amendment Coalition is, in their own words,

… an award-winning, nonprofit public interest organization dedicated to advancing free speech, more open and accountable government, and public participation in civic affairs.

and their mission includes the fairly forthright statement that

The Coalition is committed to the principle that government is accountable to the people, and strives through education, public advocacy, litigation, and other efforts to prevent unnecessary government secrecy and to resist censorship of all kinds.

For instance, in furtherance of this mission, the FAC is presently suing the City of Los Angeles over Tom LaBonge’s immoral and idiotic destruction of records from his time as Councilmember. They were also a friend of the court in the recent momentous California Supreme Court decision making the personal email accounts of public officials open to CPRA for material that relates to the public’s business. This is not an organization that anyone sane would expect to be sympathetic to the whiny, entitled, and clueless complaints of a business improvement district that has been asked to comply with its legal obligations under the California Public Records Act, amirite?

One of the most useful services that the FAC provides is called Asked & Answered. People can send in questions about CPRA and the Brown Act and the FAC’s attorneys from Bryan Cave will answer them publicly and for free if they might interest a wider audience. These questions are usually from people frustrated by inane, self-serving, and illegal government obstructionism in the face of CPRA requests. So imagine my surprise when, a few days ago, this little gem of a question appeared:

Q: As a Business Improvement District, we are an agency of our local gov’t and subject to PRAs. I have submitted countless reports, minutes/agendas, financials and even a record of one full year of emails. Now I have been asked to submit the email database I have developed for communicating with my business members.

I am not comfortable giving this database to the public. While I have no problem disclosing my email correspondence, I do not feel right giving my email database to someone who can then send mass emails to these businesses.

Do I have to submit the database if requested through the CPRA?

Well, given the FAC’s general orientation towards CPRA, you can probably imagine the answer, and you can also read it, with some commentary and the usual uninformed speculation, after the break.
Continue reading Unidentified Business Improvement District Seeks Free CPRA Advice From First Amendment Coalition, Does Not Get Answer They Are Looking For

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First Amendment Coalition Sues City of Los Angeles Over Tom LaBonge’s Illegal Records Destruction, Alleges Possible Felony Records Destruction, Eric Garcetti Still Not Held To Account For Similar Crimes

Current CD4 representative David Ryu, whose termed-out predecessor Tom LaBonge ordered the destruction of public records, leading to both an FAC lawsuit and a council motion to prevent this kind of thing in the future.
Current CD4 representative David Ryu, whose termed-out predecessor Tom LaBonge ordered the destruction of public records, leading to both an FAC lawsuit and a council motion to prevent this kind of thing in the future.
In January 2016 the Los Feliz Ledger broke the story that termed-out CD4 Councilmember Tom LaBonge had ordered the destruction of public records prior to his leaving office on June 30, 2015. Emily Alpert Reyes, writing in the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday that the First Amendment Coalition had filed suit against the City of Los Angeles, claiming, among other things, that the destruction of this material either violated the California Public Records Act or else the fairly draconian Government Code section 6200. Thanks to FAC director Peter Scheer I have a copy of the petition to share with you, and you can read some further commentary after the break.
Continue reading First Amendment Coalition Sues City of Los Angeles Over Tom LaBonge’s Illegal Records Destruction, Alleges Possible Felony Records Destruction, Eric Garcetti Still Not Held To Account For Similar Crimes

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