LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles Police Department policy that makes it easier for unlicensed drivers to keep their cars instead of having them impounded after police stops will be temporarily allowed while a state court examines its merits.
The 2nd District Court of Appeal granted the temporary stay Thursday after Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Terry Green sided with the police union's challenge of the policy and agreed in August that its violates the state's vehicle code.
City Attorney Mike Feuer hailed the appeals court decision and said in a statement that the city believes the policy is lawful.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck issued the directive known as Special Order 7 that went into effect last year. It allows some unlicensed drivers who are stopped to produce a vehicle's registration and proof of insurance to avoid having their cars impounded for 30 days.
The policy was supported by immigrant rights groups and the mayor, who said the old impound policy was especially unfair to immigrants who cannot obtain a driver's license.
After the lower court ruling, Beck quietly rescinded the policy. But in a statement Thursday he said it would be reinstated immediately. He also praised the appeals court decision, which he said would allow the department to return to "thoughtful impound protocols."
The Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents more than 9,900 sworn Los Angeles police officers, sued last year arguing the policy subjected officers to "professional and legal conflict, as well as civil liabilities" when enforcing uniform impoundment regulations.