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Superior Court Judge Refuses To Dismiss Lawsuit Challenging Impound Order

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Superior Court Judge Friday refused to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the LAPD’s controversial Special Order 7.

That order allows the LAPD to waive the law that says police must impound a car of an unlicensed driver for as long as a month.

The judge — Terry Green — said he was uncomfortable ruling without having more information.

Allowing the lawsuit to go forward is a setback for supporters of the order including undocumented immigrants rights groups, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU.) They have argued that impounding the car of an undocumented immigrant, for example, creates a financial hardship.

Lucy Chavero, of the ACLU, said,  “I’m a bit disappointed. Special Order 7 is lawful and consistent with the vehicle code.”

The LA Police Protective League and Judicial Watch are challenging the order.

Special Order 7 allows LAPD officers to stop impounding cars of undocumented immigrants as outlined by the state — unless those drivers have prior convictions, no proof of insurance or the driver has caused an accident.

Critics argue the order violates state law. They also say the order puts officers and the public at risk by allowing unlicensed drivers back on the roads.

Paul Orfanedes, of Judicial Watch, says, “If there to be any change that needs to be done, it should be in Sacramento. It can’t be done through the police commission.”

Critics of the order have reason to be encouraged. The judge said the impound policy appears to violate state codes. Supporters argue the mandatory impound laws lead to discrimination and foster mistrust between police and the undocumented community.

As CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Cristy Fajardo reports, both sides will have the chance to make their case again when a case challenging the order goes to trial in September.

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