November 30, 2008 -- Attorneys Glen Tucker and Pam Lee defend City of Inglewood
The Court of Appeal recently upheld the City of Inglewood’s termination of a police officer who claimed to have improper notice of an interrogation hearing. The interrogation confirmed that the officer, Richard Correa, had on-duty sex with a prostitute. The case is Correa v. City of Inglewood, et al. (2008) 2nd Appellate District, Division One, Case No. B204205.
Acting as special litigation counsel for the City of Inglewood, Glen E. Tucker and Pam Lee of Aleshire & Wynder successfully defended the City against Correa, who filed a petition for a writ of mandate after the City terminated for “conduct unbecoming of an officer.” Correa alleged that the interrogation leading up to his termination violated his rights under the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act because he was notified of the interrogation on January 10, only one day before the interrogation was scheduled to take place. Moreover, Correa alleged that the late notice prevented him from obtaining counsel of his choice, John Bakhit of Lackie, Dammeier & McGill.
Representing the City at the trial court level, Aleshire & Wynder obtained a favorable ruling from Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janavs. Tucker and Lee successfully contended that although the notice itself may have been inadequate, it was not prejudicial because Correa was able to obtain counsel and the City reasonably offered to hold the interrogation hearing on different dates in order to accommodate Correa.
The Court of Appeal, in an unpublished opinion, fully agreed with the City’s position and Judge Janavs’ ruling:
“The record shows that the city attempted to take Bakhit's calendar into consideration in scheduling the five upcoming interrogations because it anticipated that Bakhit and his firm would be called upon for representation at those hearings. Although this effort failed with respect to Bakhit, the city's effort to accommodate Bakhit's schedule was reasonable. No more was required.”
“The court made the right decision to uphold the City’s firing of this police officer,” said Pam Lee, who worked mainly on the appellate portion of the case.
“This victory is undoubtedly the result of cooperation among the City, its police department, and our firm. It’s also an example of fine lawyering from the attorneys at Aleshire & Wynder,” remarked Glen Tucker, lead litigator for this case.