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LAPD moves to further restrict public oversight

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 Janet C. Phelan 

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 The citation of the Kusar case could be seen as paving the way for the police to operate under a mantle of complete secrecy. One could easily project into a not-so-distant future where these two legal citations, in conjunction, could be used to create a modern day “Secret Police.”

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In a startling reversal of an established transparency policy, the Los Angeles Police Department has refused a recent routine records request, citing a 1993 court case, County of Los Angeles v. Superior Court (Kusar).

The Kusar case affirmed the public’s right to view contemporaneous records and the LAPD has cited this case in its refusal to release a record which is only nine months old. Coupled with the restrictions contained in Government Code 6254, which inhibits the disclosure of issues under investigation, the PD has effectively locked down information about any and all police records. 

The specific issue surrounds a request made by this reporter on March 9, 2011 for the report pertinent to the detention of a Los Angeles resident. Jeannie Tanaka was taken into custody on June 10, 2010 upon an allegation that she had violated a Restraining Order. Tanaka was apparently released prior to being booked, after the West Los Angeles  PD discovered that there was no Restraining Order in effect.  More

Police ‘Involvement’ in Conservatorship Issues?

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Janet Phelan 

Police arrests in fragile environments, usually involving seniors, violate everything from moral sense to the UN Human Rights Declaration…

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Photo courtesy: chrisbrownlaw.com

(SAN BERNARDINO) – I stood at the Probate clerk’s window at Redlands court, craning my neck to read the top sheet of a thick stack of papers which faced away from me. The page was stamped in large, bold letters “CONFIDENTIAL.” That alone was enough to get my attention.

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And the clerk was in the back, digging through boxes to find a file I had requested, and had left me alone with the documents, albeit somewhat out of my reach. As I read upside down, I realized that this was a police notification concerning escaped “human property,” a conservatee. A conservatee is someone with no legal rights, and one had just escaped the confines of his genteel prison and was on the loose.

I read on. The conservatee in question was fifty seven years old, a bit young for dementia, I thought, and was described as wearing a baseball cap, T-shirt and shorts. An APB had been put out on the escapee.

For those who are unaware of the gaping legal loophole in “equality and justice for all,” a conservatee (in some states referred to as a ward) is someone who has been stripped of all his rights and all his assets through a legal proceeding.

Conservatorships are generally launched through an action in probate court, when there are allegations that a person may be becoming forgetful or otherwise demonstrating that they are lacking capacity. Often these are ex parte hearings and the person under scrutiny may not even be in the courtroom. More

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