Ccpoa v. State, No. A085064.

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtKline
Citation82 Cal.App.4th 294,98 Cal.Rptr.2d 302
PartiesCALIFORNIA CORRECTIONAL PEACE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION et al., Plaintiffs and Respondents, v. STATE OF CALIFORNIA et al., Defendants and Appellants.
Docket NumberNo. A085064.
Decision Date18 July 2000
98 Cal.Rptr.2d 302
82 Cal.App.4th 294
STATE OF CALIFORNIA et al., Defendants and Appellants.
No. A085064.
Court of Appeal, First District, Division 2.
July 18, 2000.

[98 Cal.Rptr.2d 304]

[82 Cal.App.4th 298]

Bill Lockyer, Attorney General, David P. Druliner, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Paul D. Gifford, Assistant Attorney General, Allen R. Crown, Supervising Deputy Attorney General, Morris Lenk, Supervising Deputy Attorney General, Attorneys for Appellants.

Carroll, Burdick & McDonough, Ronald Yank, Rosemary Springer, Philip A. Ginsburg, San Francisco, California Correctional Peace Officers' Association, Benjamin C. Sybesma, West Sacramento, Christopher D. Howard, Fresno, Attorneys for Respondents.

Silver, Hadden & Silver, Stephen H. Silver, William J. Hadden, Santa Monica, for Peace Officers' Research Association of California Legal Defense Fund as amicus curiae on behalf of Respondents.

Green & Shinee, Richard A. Shinee, Helen L. Schwab, Encino, for Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, as amicus curiae on behalf of Respondents.

[82 Cal.App.4th 299]


This is an appeal from an injunction constraining the manner in which the state may conduct an investigation of alleged criminal misconduct by state prison guards at a penal institution. The superior court issued a preliminary injunction against the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the California Department of Corrections (CDC), limiting their conduct in investigating alleged criminal activity by correctional officers at Corcoran state prison. The sole issue before us is the propriety of the limits placed on the investigation by the preliminary injunction. This appeal does not involve any criminal or administrative charges brought against individual correctional officers. Nor does it involve any efforts by individual officers to suppress incriminating statements made by them.

The injunction relates to an investigation of alleged criminal activity by correctional officers at Corcoran state prison. The investigation was precipitated by claims that the rape of an inmate had been "set up" by prison staff, who then endeavored to conceal their conduct. The correctional officers refused to cooperate with the investigative efforts of the local district attorney. The district attorney appeared before a joint hearing on Corcoran State Prison by the California Legislature on July 28,1998, and described his fruitless attempt to investigate claims of wrongdoing by correctional officers: "These are sworn officers. They don't have a right to not tell us

98 Cal.Rptr.2d 305

what's going on if they're just witnesses and they're not defendants. Notwithstanding that, these sworn officers refuse to cooperate with the district attorney's office and tell us what has occurred in the prison." Understandably, the CDC responded to this situation by calling for the assistance of the DOJ to investigate the allegations.

Plaintiffs are individual correctional officers interviewed by DOJ investigators at Corcoran state prison and their union, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA). Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit alleging abusive tactics in investigating the alleged criminal activity, and obtained a preliminary injunction, which was subsequently modified, setting forth procedures to be followed in conducting criminal and/or administrative investigations. Defendants DOJ and CDC appeal from the order granting the modified preliminary injunction. Plaintiffs appeal from the partial denial of their motion to broaden the injunction. Defendants claim no injunctive relief should have been granted and plaintiffs claim the relief that was granted was not broad enough.

The preliminary injunction was issued to protect plaintiffs against asserted violations of the Fifth Amendment and the Public Safety Officers Procedural

82 Cal.App.4th 300

Bill of Rights Act (the Act) as set forth in sections 3300-3311 of the Government Code.1 As explained hereafter, we conclude that the investigation violated provisions of the Act and that injunctive relief is therefore appropriate under section 3309.5 to the extent it applies to the CDC but not insofar as it applies to the DOJ.


The first amended complaint alleged the following: The corrections staff at Corcoran state prison had been subjected to intensive investigation and legislative inquiry for a number of months concerning allegations that some officers had conspired to abuse inmates and to cover up their misconduct. On the morning of August 20, 1998, the warden convened a meeting in his office to inform CCPOA officers that the DOJ would be conducting an extensive criminal investigation. Correctional officers who were to be interviewed would not be allowed legal representation during questioning or the opportunity to consult with counsel beforehand. The warden advised CCPOA that its members would be ordered to cooperate in the DOJ criminal investigation pursuant to section 3304, subdivision (a), which provides in pertinent part: "Nothing in this section shall preclude a head of an agency from ordering a public safety officer to cooperate with other agencies involved in criminal investigations. If an officer fails to comply with such an order, the agency may officially charge him or her with insubordination." The warden explained that if DOJ investigators indicated that an officer was a "witness" and the officer thereafter refused to answer questions, he or she would be disciplined immediately with administrative time off and walked off the institution grounds. If, on the other hand, an officer were deemed a "target" and thereafter refused to be interviewed, he or she would be handcuffed and arrested.

More than 20 correctional officers were interviewed on August 20, 1998. All were told they were not free to leave the prison grounds until they met with investigators. When they reported to the warden's office, the officers were met by CDC special service agents and isolated until the commencement of individual interrogations. Officers were not informed whether they were "witnesses" or "targets" until interviews were underway, nor were they provided any advance notice of the subject matter of the investigation. They were not permitted to consult with a union lawyer or union representative prior to being interviewed. The officers were threatened with disciplinary sanctions if they did not

98 Cal.Rptr.2d 306

answer investigators' questions and otherwise cooperate. Correctional officers who wished to tape-record their interviews

82 Cal.App.4th 301

were told their cassette tapes would be seized as criminal evidence at the end of the interviews.

Declarations by correctional officers and CCPOA attorneys supported the allegations in the complaint and added the following details: The actual interviews were conducted by DOJ employees. Officers were not told whether they were "witnesses" or "targets" until interviews were underway, if at all. Miranda2 warnings generally were not given. Officers who were told they were possible "targets" were not allowed to consult counsel. One officer identified as a possible "target" was given Miranda warnings at the end of the interview. Another was told he had no Fifth Amendment right to remain silent because it was not a court proceeding. CCPOA attorneys were denied admission to the prison grounds even though they routinely provide counsel for members who are interviewed regarding criminal conduct.

The complaint, which was filed in the San Francisco Superior Court on August 24, 1998, and amended on September 9, 1998, alleged four causes of action: (1) Violation of title 42 United States Code section 1983 by denying plaintiffs' Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights to remain silent and to counsel as secured through the Fourteenth Amendment; (2) violation of the Public Safety Officers' Procedural Bill of Rights set forth in Government Code section 3300 et seq.; (3) violation of the Memorandum of Understanding between CDC and plaintiffs' bargaining unit and the "Weingarten Settlement Agreement"; and (4) violation of the right to counsel under article I, section 15 of the California Constitution.

The court issued a temporary restraining order on September 3, 1998, and a preliminary injunction on September 23, 1998. The court modified the injunction on November 10,1998, after motions by all parties. The modified order requires that before any interrogation, as defined, of any correctional officers in State Bargaining Unit 6 about "possible criminal and/or administrative conduct," the officers must be provided at least 24 hours' written notice. The notification must inform the officers of the date, time, and place of the questioning, and whether the officers are "targets" of the investigation or mere "witnesses" to any such investigation. Defendants are enjoined from interrogating any correctional officer regarding possible criminal conduct, whether he or she is a "target" or a "witness," without first affording the officer the right to consult with counsel before being questioned. The order does not, however, provide officers the right to consult with counsel during questioning, nor does it give them the right to invoke the Fifth Amendment

82 Cal.App.4th 302

without fear of reprisal from their employer. The order restrains defendants from directly or indirectly using any statement made by any employee who, as of the date of the order (Nov. 10, 1998), had been denied legal counsel.

Both parties appealed from the order granting the modified preliminary injunction. Defendants also filed a petition for writ of supersedeas to stay the preliminary injunction pending appeal, which we granted by order dated February 11, 1999. (California Correctional Peace Officers Association, et al. v. State of California, et al, A084833.)


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