Vol. 18 No. 20- Upland Poa V. City Of Upland

To: All Police Chiefs and Sheriffs

From: Martin J. Mayer

December 18, 2003

California Supreme Court Affirms: A Peace Officer’s Right to a Representative of His/Her Choice Under Cal. Gov’t Code § 3303(i) Must be Reasonable

We are most pleased to inform you that, on December 18, 2003, the California Supreme Court denied the Upland POA’s petition to review the Court of Appeal’s decision, as well as the POA’s request for depublication of the case of Upland POA v. City of Upland, 111 Cal. App. 4th 1294.

The issue in the Upland case involved the POA attorney calling just before a scheduled interrogation to inform the department he was unavailable. The interrogation was re-scheduled to another date, selected by the attorney. On the next date the attorney called just before the interview and stated he was, once again, unavailable. The POA attorney refused to send another member of his firm, stating that the Peace Officers Bill of Rights Act allowed the officer to specify the “representative of his or her choice,” and no other person would suffice. The Chief insisted the interview proceed.

The California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, had unanimously ruled that an officer’s “right” to a representative of his or her choice, at an I.A. interrogation, must be read to include a “reasonable requirement.” Our firm submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the California Police Chiefs’ Association (“CPCA) and California State Sheriffs’ Association (“CSSA”) supporting the Upland Police Department.

Following the Court of Appeal’s decision, and in response to Upland POA’s petition for review and subsequent request for depublication, we responded with opposition on behalf of CPCA and CSSA. (For further discussion of the facts, please refer to our previous Client Alert Vol. 18, No. 17 which can be accessed via our website.)


The California Supreme Court has affirmed the Court of Appeal’s finding that a reasonableness requirement must be read into the language provided by Cal. Gov’t Code § 3303(i). Therefore, we strongly suggest applying the standard of reasonableness in making the decision when to “draw the line” and require the interview to proceed, absent the officer’s “representative of choice.” It will be necessary to justify it, if challenged.

Once again, the influence law enforcement management can have in major court decisions has been illustrated. That influence is even greater when both chiefs and sheriffs are joined together in support or opposition of a law enforcement issue.