San Bernardino County Public Attorneys Association v. County of San Bernardino (PERB Case Nos. LA-CE-431-M; LA-CE-554-M)
PERB has scheduled oral argument in this consolidated case for October 30, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. at the PERB offices in Sacramento. This will be only the second oral argument heard by the current Board and only the third time oral argument has been held since 2002. The last time PERB held oral argument was in City of Lompoc v. Lompoc Police Officers Association; Lompoc Police Officers Association v. City of Lompoc (PERB Case Nos. LA-CO-100-M; LA-CE-555-M; LA-CE-564-M; LA-CE-585-M) in June of 2013.
As set forth in the notice of oral argument, the issue for oral argument on October 30th is:
Whether the County’s 2007 policy prohibiting deputy district attorneys from representing deputy public defenders in investigatory meetings was justified based on operational necessity and, if so, whether it was occasioned by circumstances beyond the employer’s control and no alternative course of action was available.
In the underlying proposed decisions, the ALJs found that the County of San Bernardino improperly refused to allow deputy district attorneys to represent deputy public defenders in investigatory meetings. The County had asserted that allowing deputy district attorneys into such meetings would implicate the attorney-client privilege, pose conflict of interest issues, and present constitutional issues. PERB has uploaded the pleadings in these cases and they can be viewed here.
- I’m co-counsel to the County in this case so I’m not going to say much at this point. However, I think everyone will agree that this case presents some really interesting issues involving the intersection of the criminal justice system and collective bargaining laws. These issues – especially the ones implicating the constitutional rights of defendants in criminal proceedings – don’t arise in the private section so it will be interesting to see how PERB harmonizes these various interests.