Judicial Watch Takes on Illegal Alien Drivers

Judicial Watch Takes on Illegal Alien Drivers

On Thursday, Judicial Watch, which successfully challenged a Los Angeles law that said the cars of unlicensed drivers could be released and not impounded, announced it had filed an answer brief after the City of Los Angeles appealed the decision. 

The Superior Court had ruled Special Order 7 to be unlawful.  Special Order 7 requires the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) regulation to release the cars driven by unlicensed drivers to be released instead of being impounded for 30 days.

The Superior Court ruled in August 2013 that Special Order 7 violated the California Constitution and the California Vehicle Code despite lobbying from the illegal alien community.

Under Section 14602.6 of the California Vehicle Code, police can arrest a driver and impound the vehicle for 30 days if the driver has never been issued a license or is driving on a suspended or revoked license.  Section 14607.6 adds that officers are required to impound a vehicle if a driver is unlicensed or driving on a suspended or revoked license and has a history of unlawful driving.

Judicial Watch noted that in its “Combined Answer Brief” that Special Order 7 “has re-written laws enacted by the Legislature,” which renders Special Order 7 “unlawful, ultra vires, and void.” The “Combined Answer Brief,” was filed on behalf of Los Angeles resident and taxpayer Harold Sturgeon. Los Angeles’ police union and the Los Angeles Police Protection League also filed a lawsuit challenging Special Order 7. 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lent advocates for illegal aliens to help the City argue for Special Order 7. Last October the California Court of Appeals gave the city a temporary stay allowing Special Order 7 to remain in place during the appeals process.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, “The Appeals Court should uphold the Superior Court’s decision and protect and defend California’s Constitution against LAPD regulation. Special Order 7 is illegal and dangerous.  Unlicensed drivers – whether they are illegal aliens or not – are a menace to public safety.  Los Angeles should not put immigration politics above the public safety.”

Judicial Watch has previously sued the LAPD over Special Order 40, but was stymied by the state’s courts, which would not let the suit come to trial. Special Order 40 prohibits police officers from initiating “police action with he objective of discovering the alien status of a person.”