ACLU Immigration & Justice LAPD

Judge Tosses Lawsuit Against Special Order 40


Late this morning, Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu
dismissed a lawsuit aimed at getting rid of the LAPD’s Special Order 40, which prohibits officers from using immigration status to initiate investigations. It seems that two years ago, an unhappy LA resident named Harold Sturgeon filed suit to stop the city from spending public money to enforce SO 40 claiming that it was an illegal use of public funds. Attorneys for the ACLU of Southern California argued that Sturgeon had not proved Special Order 40 is illegal because he could not show that it violates federal law, and the judge agreed.

“Keeping Special Order 40 intact allows beat cops in communities affected by crime
to build cooperative relationships with residents,” said Belinda Escobosa Helzer, one of the ACLU attorneys. “Community members can report crimes without fear that a tip will lead to deportation. That’s crucial in a city where more than 40 percent of the population is foreign-born.”

This isn’t about immigration policy, people,
it’s about logic, common sense and real world practicality. Kudos to Judge Treau for being fair-minded and sane. Now can we all go back to work? Good. I’m glad we had this little talk.

The LA Times has more.

Photo by Allen J. Schaben, LA Times


  • Yes don’t harass any of those poor innocent cholos on Drew Street, we don’t want to infringe on these hard working cholos rights. You better write about this type of “harrasement” by the federal government.


    “Major takedown – targets members of Glassell Park’s Drew Street gang. In an early morning raid, more than 500 local, state and federal investigators swarm the Northeast Los Angeles neighborhood to arrest dozens of reputed members of the Avenues gang clique.”,0,7856136.story

  • So the cops admit that the Drew St. “clique” of Avenues/ skull gang engaged in extreme “witness intimidation,” making neighbors too afraid to cooperate with the cops (despite SO40) which is what opponents of the measure have been saying. It’s useless to have an order designed to encourage cooperation with the cops when people are much more afraid of the gangs, of relatiation that’s included being burned alive on Cesar Chavez Avenue. The cops also admit the gang committed “hate crimes” in so many words, targeting blacks on “their” streets.

    And the feds and cops are quoted emphasizing that the Avenues pays dues or taxes to the Mexican Mafia, some of whom are in jail — something you dismissed as a fiction spun by Tony Rafael when you blogged about this gang and its Mama “Chata” Leon a few months ago (she, the exemplary illegal immigrant who’s had 13 kids with 5 gangbanger men, raising the kids to be felons and cooperating herself, being deported and returning at least twice).

    Seems to me that LAPD is too proud to admit that maybe Bratton was too dogmatic about defending SP40 and now, can’t seem to backtrack — but, by admitting all the above, they’re being forced to side with many of its critics.

    BUT I emphasize again, it’s not fair to make Bratton/LAPD take all the heat on this order, when the Sheriff’s Dept. and the DA are in charge of the County Jails and felonies, and they haven’t taken a pro-active stance against illegal gangmembers, either. In fact, I believe Asst. DA Steve Ipsen’s allegations that Cooley actively avoids ID’ing or getting involved in the deportation of illegal felons, and even just plea-bargains them out of prison to keep things simple and uncontroversial.

    (You also don’t mention that a judge upheld the Protective League’s opposition to divulging personal financial data, which would then be available to any press and they allege, potentially to gangmembers and their attorneys during court or disciplinar proceedings against cops. I side with them on that — in this Internet age where technology has outpaced privacy laws, there’s too much personal data about ALL of us available to the public, making it no mystery why millions of us are victims of ID theft and just plain busybody snooping. IF a piece of info is written down anywhere, you know someone like The Sniper or Beth Barrett will demand it and publish it, claiming “the public’s right to know.”)

  • WBC,

    No, I didn’t say that the Avenues don’t pay dues to the EME. Nearly all the Mexican American street gangs pay dues to the EME. I have never said otherwise. Read my comments more carefully please. (And to be fussy about it, I was likely the first reporter who ever wrote about such a thing, in that in my G-Dog book, I describe the aftermath of one of the initial So Cal meetings in May of 1993, I think it was, when the whole thing got set up.) Jeeze-us.

    What I DID say is that I didn’t think the shooting spree a few months ago was about that. The street info I got suggested it was about something else. And, Tony Rafael, while very knowledgeable about certain things, tends to think everything has to do with the EME, which admittedly gets on my nerves.

  • Celeste – totally Off-Topic, here’s some neat anecdotal info on the likely President and your “quote of the day” character reference for The Boss from Barack ( via Rolling Stone and the UK Guardian):

    Many of the musicians on Obama’s iPod, such as Bruce Springsteen, are supporting his White House bid.

    Earlier this month, Dylan said he believed Obama was redefining politics in the US and could bring change to a nation in upheaval.

    “I’ve got to say, having both Dylan and Bruce Springsteen say kind words about you is pretty remarkable,” Obama said. “Those guys are icons.”

    Obama said he had not met Springsteen but that the two had talked over the phone.

    “Not only do I love Bruce’s music, I just love him as a person,” Obama said. “He is a guy who has never lost track of his roots, who knows who he is, who has never put on a front.”

    He added that, when speaking to the singer, he addressed him by his moniker the Boss. “You’ve got to,” Obama said.

  • I totally agree with you Celeste. People need to understand there are a lot of domestic violence victims who are illegal and whose husbands beat the crap out of them and the kids. They are terrified to report this type of crime for fear of deportation. Its taken a long to time try and send the message to these victims that LAPD will not ask if they’re illegal or not. LAPD already files on illegal violent gang members. Special Issue 40 protects the victims of various crimes.

  • Reg,

    EXTREMELY COOL. (But, so, how does that work? “Hi, The Boss.” You can’t really say “Hi, Boss.” It doesn’t have the same ring. Maybe we need to send Mayhill in for a few follow-up questions.)

    WBC, I wanted to post about the Romero bill and the LAPPL et al, but this has been Alan’s issue these past couple of weeks, and I know he planned to do something, so I held off. By the way, it wasn’t a judge that shot it down, it was four of the assembly committee members who got so much hysterical pressure from the unions, that they either didn’t vote at all, or they voted against it. I’ve been getting non-stop releases from all concerned, and normally would have put something up—and disagreed with the union, if you must know. But it’s an interesting issue and very much worth discussing further.

    The Daily News had an excellent editorial on it yesterday, with which I entirely agree.

    PS: The Avenues are one of the few gangs that has committed a series of documented race-based crimes.

    Look, WBC, I always welcome your arguments when you disagree with what I say. But I’m not nearly as fond of the arguments with what I’ve never said, but you suggest that I’ve said. I’m funny that way.

  • The DN’s “excellent editorial” is so wrong on so many counts, commenters are right. Since Ron Kaye was fired and Ms. Garcia took over, people have noted that it’s gone from conservative to the other extreme — Rachel Uranga especially, has written at least a half-dozen editorials posing as articles featuring young gangmembers from the Valley whose single mothers are usually illegal Latino immigrants who’ve lost control over them. One is a 15-year old dad-to-be, who joined his uncle’s gang after the uncle was murdered; the others save one were also gangmembers but, we’re given to believe, nice kids anyway. She also twisted the article on the San Fer Gang Injunction that way. (She could be your soul sister as far as how she presents these kids as “on the verge of turning their lives around,” just before tragedy struck.) All the comments on all her pieces, over a hundred, vehemently disagree with her point of view — curious to see all the flip-flops going on there.

    (Meanwhile, Mr. M and Christine Pelisek/Jill Stewart see Beth Barrett as veering from combative tormenter of the Mayor and Mirthala to sucking up to Tennie Pierce and Nahai — who have nothing in common, one being a city official, the other a city nemesis. Very odd and mystifying goings-on.)

  • I can try to look up the past threads when I have time — but I distinctly remember your taking my head off about quoting the Tines re: the Avenues/ Drew St. gang answering to EME. I’m also funny that way, when someone tells me I’m full of it I tend to remember that, if not the exact quotes and sources.

  • As someone who has worked with the disenfranchised in this city, I can tell you that the victims of crimes are far more afraid of gangsta retribution than getting reported to immigration. As long as the cops know how to use Special Order 40, fine, let it stand. But let’s not kid ourselves ratting out a gang member carries way more weight than deportation — like living to see another day.

  • Sorry if I took your head off, back then, WBC. I was probably grumpily splitting hairs on something or other related to the issue. (I’ve gotta watch that low blood sugar.)

    Layla, good point. Of course, when its a non-gang crime, then it’s a different problem.

  • I would imagine it’s hard to keep track of how many illegal immigrants report crimes – because – well, illegal immigrants don’t strike me as people likely to be forthcoming about their immigrant status. Have there been any actual studies of this, so we don’t all have to talk out of our asses? And isn’t one of the main reasons Bratton wants to keep SO 40 is because he doesn’t want the LAPD burdened with immigration issues?

  • Touche on the Daily News with the new Mecha editor Garcia. How in the world can she think its ok to print letters from people without their “real names.” Can they be that desperate for readers? If you notice sometimes the letter is signed off by an idiot name like Buckey from Pasadena. Daily News is going down the toliet and yes, I agree spinning on the wrong side.

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