View Full Version : EPA PD complaint form - discouraging complaints?
02-07-2010, 6:38 PM
In re these statements made by a certain EPA police detective, did anyone catch this in their complaint packet (http://www.ci.east-palo-alto.ca.us/police/pdf/Complaint_Policy_Packet.pdf):
It is against the law to make a complaint that you know to be false. If you make a complaint against an officer knowing that it is false, you can be prosecuted on a misdemeanor charge.
Wasn't this law (148.6) thrown out in Chaker v. Crogan? Why is EPA PD threatening penalties under a law found unconstitutional by the 9th circuit in 2005?
02-07-2010, 7:01 PM
I think you're correct.
OVERVIEW: Because the probationer was still serving his probation on the date he filed his habeas petition in federal court, the court had jurisdiction over his appeal. Because he faced the prospect of harsher punishment at a later date as a result of his conviction under 148.6, his claim continued to present a live controversy and was not moot. The court recognized that a knowingly false assertion made by a peace officer or witness in support of a peace officer during the course of a misconduct investigation, like a knowingly false complaint of misconduct, was equally at odds with the premises of democratic government. The court held that the state developed its citizen complaint procedures to promote greater accountability on the part of its line officers; however, 148.6, undermined that goal by holding only citizen complainants accountable for their knowing falsehoods, while leaving unregulated the knowingly false speech of a peace officer or witness. Because 148.6 targeted only knowingly false speech critical of peace officer conduct during the course of a complaint investigation, it impermissibly regulated speech on the basis of a speaker's viewpoint.
Unfortunately, federal appellate court case decisions are not controlling precedent in state law outside of the case the federal appellate court decides.
Kinda of like Nordyke, during its short life, wasn't binding on any state court.
02-07-2010, 7:02 PM
Very good point.
I think it behooves folks to, however, differentiate "well-founded" police reports based on good faith - as opposed to random phone calls or IA complaints saying "officer X steals drugs".
It's one thing to make accusations against a cop of, say, excessive force which was later not found to have occurred due to degree/extent/misunderstanding of necessary force concepts; quite different to make such an accusation against a cop who'd never touched you.
The first is 'invalid' claim based on good-faith belief , the latter is truly false.
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