Appellate Judges Question Opponents of LAPD Impound Policy

Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times, August 27, 2014

Appellate judges on Wednesday grilled attorneys opposing a controversial Los Angeles Police Department policy restricting the impounding of unlicensed drivers’ cars, questioning whether the city’s police union and a taxpayer had standing to challenge the policy in the first place.

The jurists are considering an appeal by the city of a trial court ruling that the order from LAPD Chief Charlie Beck violated state law. Beck issued the policy in 2012, contending that 30-day holds on impounded vehicles disproportionately and unfairly burdened immigrants in Los Angeles who are in the country illegally and unable to get licenses.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League sued the city to challenge the impound rule, Special Order 7, arguing that it was in conflict with state law and exposed officers to civil liability.

Justice Elizabeth Grimes, part of a three-judge panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal, asked an attorney for the protective league why the union would want to challenge the order barring a practice that could “foment” discontent and confusion in the community.

“What possible harm could come to the league or to the officers from following Special Order 7? They can’t sleep at night?” she said. “Why does the league have beef with this? What’s it to you?”

Union attorney Richard Levine responded that officers have an inherent interest in making sure orders issued by the chief are in line with state law. The chief’s order goes against the intent behind state laws designed to discourage unlicensed drivers and “prevent accidents and protect the welfare and safety of Californians,” he said.


The justices also quizzed attorneys on whether the LAPD order runs contrary to the state vehicle code sections that allow, but don’t require, officers to impose a 30-day hold on the impounded vehicles of those caught driving without a license. The union and Judicial Watch contend that the law is designed to give individual officers discretion and that it is in violation of California law for Beck to order his officers not to place the hold.


James Clark, chief deputy city attorney, said it was well within the city’s right to set such policies for its police force. The order gives consistency to how and when vehicles are impounded and holds are imposed, a “really serious remedy” that affects people’s ability to work and to take their children to school, he said. The 30-day hold also comes with fines in excess of $1,000.


The city was joined in its defense of the order by a coalition of immigrants’ rights groups, represented in court by the American Civil Liberties Union. The League of California Cities and the California attorney general also filed amicus briefs siding with the city and saying the order was lawful.

[Editor’s Note: See here for the rationale behind Charlie Beck’s decision to stop impounding illegals’ cars.]


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  • KevinPhillipsBong

    All American laws disadvantage illegals. So anarchy then?

  • All laws disparately impact people who do not obey them. We call these people “criminals”.

    • Luca

      Ill let you have the thunder, you basically took the words right out of my mouth. I was going to use this one:

      Jailing bank robbers has a disproportionate effect on bank robbers.

      • Pro_Whitey

        You have described the essence of using “equality before the law” as a universal legal solvent. It takes only framing a rule as applying unequally to two different groups, no matter how eminently sensible the rule is, for all laws, traditions, mores, etc. to be destroyed by judicial fiat. Of course, I am not naïve, the whackjobs in the judiciary are good leftists and know when they want to push the “outrageous inequality” button.

    • David Ashton

      And there speaks someone who knows what he is talking about.

  • Adolf Verloc

    Interesting that the ACLU backed the city and Judicial Watch opposed it.

  • Civilization dies by a thousand cuts of the sword. Idiot judges who coddle criminals are swordsmen of the first class, killing the possibility of ever having a law abiding peaceful society again.

    BTW, a federal judge ruled today that polygamy is legal. So, now sodomites can engage in group marriage, I suppose. What a mockery of decency and family.

    • Periapsis

      Indeed it dies more often than not the death of a thousand cuts, or the death of millions of parasites sucking the life out of it.

    • Pro_Whitey

      I’ll have to look that up, but I believe you. The cultural Marxists are also working away at the age of consent, and how laws against child molestation burden child molesters (that’s not equality before the law!). As you know, those opposing homo marriage argued that the legalization of polygamy (P.C. term is polyamory) would follow, and of course the cultural Marxists scoffed, lying because they knew it was true.

      To all you libertarians out there, although the reasons might be lost in the mists of time, the laws against sodomy, fornication, miscegenation, and polygamy were put there for a reason. Think It through before you advocate doctrinaire noninterference in human relations.

      My line about homo “marriage”: Does an apple equal an orange? Only if you’re a fruit!

    • archer

      Exactly the case, the rule of law is threatened every time you make concessions for one group or another, the illegal drivers should be sent packing in the first place, they have a disproportionate number of accidents that lead to fatalities. Why obey any laws like driving under or speeding when you violated the law when you came here.

  • MindHead99

    I’m guessing most of these illegal drivers aren’t paying for auto insurance either. This is another way immigrants burden the public.

    • David Ashton

      “We are all guilty” – except criminals.

    • The greaseritos can’t afford auto insurance because they’re too busy sending US$ 20 billion each year in untaxed remittances back to Mexico. The fact that this creates higher insurance rates for everyone who obeys the law is a feature, not a bug.

  • David Ashton

    Insanity on stilts.

  • willbest

    I thought the whole point of the license was to demonstrate that you have an understanding of the Rules of the Road and the ability to follow them while participating in an activity with substantial opportunity for injury to self or others.

    Apparently, its just some sort of formality for squares and fuddy-duddies

  • GeneticsareDestiny

    Sometimes the things that happen in California sound like they’re coming from a parallel universe. I just cannot comprehend why any American would be upset that illegals who drive without licenses (and usually without insurance) tend to get their cars impounded.

    They’re not supposed to be driving here.

    They’re not supposed to even be here.

    • Bon, From the Land of Babble

      A state with Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsome, Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi has no chance of survival

      • You forgot Dianne Feinstein.

        • Periapsis

          Oh yes, that vedma Diane Fienstien whose husband is a merchant of death, literally. Anything that aids and abets genocide against whites anywhere in the world is something she wholeheartedly supports. She not only wants white Americans to be swamped with armed illegal alien invaders, but she is actively working to leave US defenseless, dispossessed then dead in that order.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Under the terms of Special Order 7, if police stopped an unlicensed driver who met several requirements — including having auto insurance, valid identification and no previous citations for unlicensed driving.

    Over a quarter of the drivers on California’s roads are uninsured

    “What possible harm could come to the league or to the officers from following Special Order 7? They can’t sleep at night?” she said. “Why does the league have beef with this? What’s it to you?”

    Geez, lady, maybe the officers are concerned about unlicensed drivers because….

    “According to a new Department of Motor Vehicles study (August 2014), drivers who are unlicensed or have a suspended or revoked license are nearly three times more likely to cause a fatal crash.

    But it’s even more dangerous to be an unlicensed driver rather than drive with a suspended or revoked license. Compared with the average legal driver, such drivers are 2.6 to 2.73 times more likely to cause a fatal crash.”

    Unlicensed, uninsured drivers should have their unregistered cars confiscated immediately and the cars sold off.

    Beck should be fired for violating state law and giving special rights to illegal immigrants over and above American citizens.

    • Mary

      My first post-college job was as an auto claims adjuster for a high-risk insurance company. Although all of my contact was over the phone, I had to deal with many, many of these people (and the people they collided with.) Absolutely unbelievable.
      Many of the illegals would obtain insurance under various loopholes. Many would buy policies and then allow them to cancel almost immediately, due to non-payment of premium. Many would allow random friends and relatives to drive their vehicles, often unlicensed and drunk. The police often would not come to the accident scene, especially in California, where we did the most business. Often someone who was involved in an accident with one of our alleged insureds, would call us after being provided a name such as Jose Gomez Martinez Ramirez (and no other info) and expect us to locate this person in Los Angeles. It was sheer, utter insanity. At the time I left the company, I remember stating that I would rather dig ditches with my bare hands than deal with that anymore.

      • Bon, From the Land of Babble

        Woe be to any California citizen who doesn’t have uninsured driver as a part of his car insurance package.

        • Alexandra1973

          I have uninsured/underinsured driver as part of mine, and I’m in Ohio.

          Got the greaseritos here too.

          • Periapsis

            They are everywhere in Alabama, and twice they nearly killed me in head-on crashes. Only quick action on my part prevented me from dying or being maimed by a drunk Hispanic who veered into my lane and gunned the engine straight at me. One wrecked my car, then fled the scene…..I still want to chop him off at the knees, literally. The police never caught him of course. They should either confiscate the cars of illegals and sell them, or feed them to the shredder and then throw the book at them.

          • Mary

            An incredibly high percentage of hit-and-runs that are caught are illegal Hispanics. I would actually even say most. And most are bad and reckless drivers in general. A good and solid reason (along with the other thousand or so) why they should be deported. But our government would rather pander to and coddle these huge public safety hazards, who injure and kill many Americans every year.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    “What possible harm could come to the league or to the officers from following Special Order 7? They can’t sleep at night?” she said. “Why does the league have beef with this? What’s it to you?”

    Why don’t we ask Don Rosenberg about “what’s it to you?”

    “On the evening of Nov. 16, 2010, Rosenberg and his wife got horrible news about their 25-year-old son. Drew Rosenberg, a second-year law student, was riding his motorcycle when he was struck and killed by an unlicensed driver.

    The driver, Robert Galo, was a Honduran native who was in the United States on temporary protective status, meaning that he was eligible to get a driver’s license. But he hadn’t done so. Moreover, just five months before killing Drew Rosenberg, Galo had been cited for driving without a license or insurance and heading the wrong way on a one-way street.

    In that first incident, Galo’s car was seized, but under a San Francisco policy similar to one now in place in Los Angeles, an acquaintance was allowed to retrieve it the next day. Galo paid a fine for driving the wrong way on a one-way street, but the other violations — driving without a license or insurance — were dropped. He went on driving, without a license, until the day he took Drew Rosenberg’s life, for which he was convicted of manslaughter and served six weeks in jail before his release.”

    That’s why, idiot.

    • exlib93

      I sure hope these bereaved families can make the state accountable financially. Perhaps this will be the only incentive to enforce the laws.

  • none of your business

    Does this mean that I can get drunk, blow through a red light in a car that hasn’t been registered for 2 years, with a couple thousand dollars worth of parking tickets that went to warrant, and smash into a street light and my car gets impounded because I am a White American but if I am an illegal alien under a deportation order with felony warrants out the car won’t be impounded.?

  • none of your business

    “Many of the illegals would obtain insurance under various loopholes. Many would buy policies and then allow them to cancel almost immediately, due to non-payment of premium.”

    That’s standard practice, pay for the first month, get the card to show police and the DMV then don’t pay anymore. I think that is the fault of the insurance companies for allowing monthly payments. I first heard about the monthly payments years ago when I went to insure a new car. I actually had to practically force the sales man to accept the check for 6 months. But with the population of poverty stricken hispanics ever increasing I guess that one month at a time is all the insurance companies can expect.

    Very few illegal alien women get tickets or their cars impounded. I have met a few illegal alien woman who have driven in Los Angeles for more than 20 years without a license. I’ve asked them how they do it and they answer, “drive very , very, carefully.”
    It’s not right to have illegal women driving around with no licenses but they learn how to drive, follow the rules and take extra care not to draw the attention of the police.

  • none of your business

    Shaving unfairly punishes men and causes economic hardship because of the cost of razors and foam.

    • Dimwits like the late Michael “Gibs Me Dem Ceegars” Brown are unfairly burdened by their inability to make responsible decisions. Well, hmmmm… he still isn’t able to make responsible decisions, but this is no longer a burden to him. Maybe that one needs some work.

      Left-handed people are unfairly burdened by the need to hold their pens with their wrists twisted around when writing, so as to avoid dragging their hands through fresh ink, smearing it.

      The Second Law of Thermodynamics unfairly burdens anyone who wishes to generate unlimited amounts of power for free. This law clearly needs to be repealed.

      Everyone has an “unfair” burden.

  • Brian

    Should we decriminalize insider trading since such laws unfairly disadvantage white people?

  • Fighting_Northern_Spirit

    Illegals are above the law. That’s what it all boils down to. Tyranny for the law abiding, anarchy for the Red Guards.

  • gregCall

    Just enforce the Law equally, If they can’t impound the cars of illegals they shouldn’t be able to impound any and we can all just stop bothering to get licenses.

    This reminds me of when I was a younger man in Florida. Illegals were basically exempt from most laws as immigration wouldn’t pick up any illegals unless they were arrested for a serious felony charge. I remember watching an older illegal drive up on one of those landscape islands in a Walmart parking lot right in the view of a police officer in his cruiser and get his car stuck. The officer approached the car and the driver opened his door and collapsed on the spot. The officer asked him if he had been drinking and he said yes, he then asked if he was a US citizen and he said no, the officer allowed some other illegals at the scene to help him push his car of the island and told the drunk to go home.
    An older lady was standing about ten feet down the sidewalk from me also watching and looking disproving, the officer walked up to her and asked her if she “had anything she wanted to say”.

    I went and spoke to the City Marshal about this incident and got the run around with answers like “I’ll look into it” and “I hadn’t heard anything about it”.

    I mentioned it to my brother who was a Deputy in our County and he explained why it happened, it seemed that law enforcement had stopped arresting illegals for just about anything because short of a murder or armed robbery, immigration would not pick them up and after a while they would just be released anyway. Prior to Bush signing a treaty with Mexico that allowed us to prosecute Mexican citizens on US soil, illegals had it made. A legal Mexican American being stopped for drunk driving would be arrested, lose his license, face fines and jail time, but illegals only faced deportation and since immigration would only pick up perpetrators of major crimes, police just ignored and refused to arrest illegals who found themselves, in effect, above the law.