A California judge threw out a whistleblower lawsuit based on a ticket quota program that may be similar to the ones in Bakersfield or Mojave.
Long Beach officers Pablo Orduno and Alberto Vargas alleged that the department retaliated against them when they exposed an alleged ticket quota system. But in an 11-page opinion, Superior Court Judge Michael P. Linfield declared that the two had presented insufficient evidence for trial. Their lawyer said that the two were disappointed with the outcome and mulling their future options, which could include an appeal.
In a statement, the City Attorney’s office said it was “pleased” with the result because a “ruling at the summary judgment stage will save the city significant costs of trial.”
VC 41603 is California’s very limited ticket quota law. It states that “the number of arrests or citations issued [cannot be] the sole criterion for promotion, demotion, dismissal, or the earning of any benefit provided by the agency.” In other words, ticket “quotas” are legal as long as the system is combined with another means of evaluation, like punctuality, citizen complaints, on-the-job performance, and so on. Other departments circumvent the quota law by using terms like “incentive” or “enforcement contact” instead of quota or citation.
The number of citations can even be the dominant factor in an evaluation, with everything else being added on as window dressing. Even setups like this are legal in California. So, it is difficult to get tickets thrown out on this basis.
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