[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
69°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
August 12
1944 - Newhall Refinery on Sierra Highway destroyed by fire (then rebuilt) [watch film]
Newsreel


| Monday, Aug 19, 2019
mandoyan
At the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles, Kaitlin Robertson, Jillian Kislow and Marianne Bema attend a Friday rally calling on Sheriff Alex Villanueva to reconsider his decision to rehire officers, including Caren Mandoyan who had been fired over claims of domestic violence. | Photo: Martin Macias Jr./CNS.

 

LOS ANGELES – A California judge on Friday tentatively overturned Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s decision to reinstate Caren Mandoyan, an officer fired for domestic violence, but a final ruling is expected next week.

Before taking office, Villanueva began reinstating officer Caren Mandoyan to the force, a move that came years after a county appeals board upheld a decision to fire Mandoyan after his former partner – also a police officer – accused him in 2016 of stalking and physical abuse.

The decision to rehire Mandoyan – who was never criminally charged – triggered a March 4 lawsuit against Villanueva by the LA County Board of Supervisors, who argued the sheriff acted outside the scope of his authority.

Days later, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff declined the county’s request for an order forcing Mandoyan to return his badge and gun but ordered additional briefing on the scope of Villanueva’s authority in personnel matters.

In papers opposing the county’s preliminary injunction request, Villanueva’s attorneys said LA County Counsel Mary Wickham’s office had advised the department had authority to review disciplinary cases and that Villanueva had discretion to rehire officers.

At a hearing Friday, Villanueva’s attorney Steven Madison told Beckloff that the advice from Wickham’s office was instrumental in Mandoyan’s rehiring process and that the county cannot seek revision of its authority through the courts.

“These are not some permit office workers across a window,” Madison said regarding legal advice from county lawyers. “These are our lawyers.”

Madison told Beckloff state and county law grant Villanueva authority to handle personnel matters, including decision on rehiring “whether we or the [county supervisors] thinks it’s wise or not.”

Beckloff said that while county supervisors may not interfere with Villanueva’s “prosecutorial and investigative duties” under state law, department rehiring is subject to Civil Service Commission rules.

Mandoyan’s attorney Greg Smith told Beckloff the officer fumbled by leaning too heavily on advice from his commanders and that he would be harmed financially from an injunction.

“He is not in that food chain,” Smith said regarding advice from Mandoyan’s commanders on personnel matters. “If the injunction is granted, he’s finished.”

lasd sheriff alex villanueva - mandoyan

Louis “Skip” Miller of Miller Barondess, an attorney for the county, told Beckloff that an order overturning Mandoyan’s rehiring would be appropriate.

“We have a sheriff who is playing games and is not playing right,” Miller said. “There is a real concern from the board. [Villanueva] has discretion to run the department but there needs to be a clear order that Mandoyan is out pending trial.”

Miller told Beckloff that Villanueva’s rehiring process, including an internal review panel, is a “sham” designed to obscure the sheriff’s actions.

“It’s there so Villanueva can do what he wants when he wants regardless of county rules,” Miller said. “It’s a fraud constructed to justify the decision he made before he’d even gotten sworn in.”

Beckloff tentatively granted the county’s injunction Friday but told the parties that a final ruling will issue early next week.

It’s unclear whether Beckloff will order Mandoyan to turn in his badge and gun or, as suggested by Madison, be placed on administrative leave pending trial.

Madison, with the firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, told Beckloff that being “one sheriff down until trial” is a harm to the county’s public safety and reason to order unpaid administrative leave.

Villanueva – who was elected on a reformist platform – has argued that Mandoyan was wrongfully fired and that other systematic violations of officers’ rights targeted minority cops.

Dozens of community and civil rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union held a rally at the courthouse Friday protesting Villanueva’s rehiring of fired officers and his stance on officer gangs in the department.

Lisa Vargas, whose son Anthony Vargas was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies in 2017, told Courthouse News she was upset Beckloff will weigh potential harm to Mandoyan but won’t mention harm residents have experienced from officer gangs and police shootings.

Citing a Tuesday resolution passed by the LA County Democratic Party reprimanding Villanueva for reinstating officers, Vargas said the sheriff’s supporters are seeing his true colors.

“I believe Villanueva is not transparent whatsoever,” Vargas said. “The Democratic Party is right, they got conned into voting for him, believing there would be change in the system.”

Villanueva’s spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

— By Martin Macias Jr.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

No Comments

    Leave a Comment


    SCV NewsBreak
    LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
    Tuesday, Aug 11, 2020
    L.A. County Reaches Grim Milestone: More than 5,000 COVID-19 Deaths
    Los Angeles County reaches a somber milestone as deaths from COVID-19 surpass 5,000, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Tuesday.
    Tuesday, Aug 11, 2020
    SCV Teachers, Students Return to Virtual Classrooms
    In a back-to-school day unlike any other before it, the first group of Santa Clarita Valley K-12 students and teachers returned to the classroom via a distance learning format Tuesday.
    Tuesday, Aug 11, 2020
    Barger Releases Statement Regarding Incident Involving SCV Deputies
    Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger has released a statement regarding a recent incident involving deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station - an incident, which was recorded by bystanders, and has since gone viral.
    Keep Up With Our Facebook

    Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
    1944 - Newhall Refinery on Sierra Highway destroyed by fire (then rebuilt) [watch film]
    Newsreel
    Los Angeles County reaches a somber milestone as deaths from COVID-19 surpass 5,000, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Tuesday.
    L.A. County Reaches Grim Milestone: More than 5,000 COVID-19 Deaths
    In a back-to-school day unlike any other before it, the first group of Santa Clarita Valley K-12 students and teachers returned to the classroom via a distance learning format Tuesday.
    SCV Teachers, Students Return to Virtual Classrooms
    SAN FRANCISCO - The Pac-12 CEO Group voted unanimously to postpone all sport competitions through the end of the 2020 calendar year.
    Pac-12 Conference Postpones All Sports Through 2020
    Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger has released a statement regarding a recent incident involving deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station - an incident, which was recorded by bystanders, and has since gone viral.
    Barger Releases Statement Regarding Incident Involving SCV Deputies
    (CN) — Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden selected California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate Tuesday, upholding a debate promise to pick a woman to round out his ticket.
    Biden Taps California Senator Kamala Harris as Running Mate
    The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced the award of $38 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Recovery Assistance grants to 14 Revolving Loan Funds (RLF) grantees, including the Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA).
    L.A. County Secures $10.9M CARES Act Grant
    Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies rushed to a Canyon Country shopping center parking lot Tuesday after receiving a call from a man who said he had shot someone in a vehicle.
    Deputies Respond to Possible Shooting in Canyon Country
    Circle of Hope has announced their 16th annual signature Tea fundraiser, which will be held Saturday, Oct. 3, will feature something new and different with an internationally themed dinner and program.
    Oct. 3: Circle of Hope Semi-Virtual Tea Fundraiser
    Los Angeles County Chief Executive Officer Sachi A. Hamai, who agreed to temporarily postpone her retirement to help lead the County through the initial phase of the COVID-19 emergency, announced that she will retire at the end of August 2020.
    L.A. County CEO Announces New Retirement Date
    Children’s Bureau is now offering an online foster-adoption orientation for individuals and/or couples who are interested helping children in foster care while reunifying with birth families or to provide legal permanency by adoption.
    Children’s Bureau Foster-Adoption Orientation Available Online
    2018 - Big Oaks Lodge in Bouquet Canyon burns down [video]
    Big Oaks Lodge
    Los Angeles County Public Health on Monday confirmed 19 new deaths and 1,920 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, as officials see signs of stability in key indicators, including daily hospitalizations and deaths.
    Monday COVID-19 Roundup: L.A. County Shows ‘Signs of Stability’; SCV Cases Total 4,779
    Dr. Omar Torres has been named the new Chief Instructional Officer at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California.
    Dr. Omar Torres is New CIO at College of the Canyons
    Along with added stress for struggling businesses and a failing unemployment agency, California Governor Gavin Newsom estimated Monday it would cost the state $700 million per week to implement the president’s proposed unemployment plan.
    Newsom: Trump Unemployment Plan Will Cost California $700 Million a Week
    Two young Black men were detained at gunpoint by Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies Friday in an incident that was witnessed and videotaped by numerous residents.
    Smyth Calls for Removal of SCV Deputy Pending Investigation
    Sempra Energy reported second-quarter 2020 earnings of $2.239 billion, or $7.61 per diluted share, compared to second-quarter 2019 earnings of $354 million, or $1.26 per diluted share.
    SoCalGas Parent Sempra Energy Posts Increased Earnings in Q2 2020
    The Petco Foundation put forward a match wherein they would grant $25,000 to DACC for COVID-19 relief if another $25,000 was raised to match the award.
    Petco Matches Donations, L.A. County Animal Care Foundation Raises $50K
    The city of Santa Clarita’s Film Office has reopened, is issuing new permits, and reports that two TV productions and a still photoshoot are filming in the Santa Clarita Valley this week
    TV Productions Ramp Back Up in SCV, ‘Hollywood North’
    Amid a surge of coronavirus infections and deaths in California, Dr. Sonia Angell, the state’s top health official, announced her resignation Sunday.
    Dr. Sonia Angell, California Public Health Chief, Quits Amid COVID Data Snafu
    In an effort to assist renters with limited means affected by the COVID-19 crisis, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has provided $100 million in CARES Act funds to create a COVID-19 Rent Relief program, operated by the Los Angeles County Development Authority.
    L.A. County COVID-19 Rent Relief Program to Launch Aug. 17
    In a socially distanced, drive-thru event, a number of Santa Clarita Valley organizations came together Thursday to distribute “peace bags” to students, with the hopes of spreading joy, positivity and community engagement.
    Organizations, Volunteers Distribute ‘Peace Bags’ to SCV Students
    The William S. Hart Union High School District discussed the move of Sequoia School during its board meeting Wednesday.
    Parents Share Concern Over Sequoia School Plan
    In separate incidents, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a wanted felon and his companion on felony warrants last week and three suspects on auto theft charges Friday and over the weekend.
    SCV Deputies Nab Wanted Felon, Arrest Auto Theft Suspects
    %d bloggers like this: