LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Superior Court judge Monday struck down a controversial policy that in certain cases allowed police to release the impounded cars of unlicensed drivers.

KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports LAPD Special Order 7, which was implemented last year, allowed some drivers to avoid 30-day car impounds upon being stopped for a moving violation.

Judge Terry Green ruled that Special Order 7 (PDF) was invalid, adding that it hampered officers’ abilities to enforce certain sections of the state Vehicle Code aimed at reducing the number of accidents caused by people driving without a valid license.

The policy, which had been challenged by the Police Protective League and the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, is expected to officially remain in place until the judge’s ruling is put in writing and he determines whether to grant a stay of his decision pending an appeal by the city.

Despite the ruling, Deputy City Attorney Gerald Sato said he is still convinced that Special Order 7 merely gave guidance and discretion to officers on impounds and did not hamper their work.

“We’re just as confident that Special Order 7 is valid, so at this point, an appeal is a real possibility,” Sato said.

Green indicated he would likely uphold a stay of his ruling pending an appellate court review. He also called on city lawmakers to work with the state legislature to bring LAPD impound policies in line with the state vehicle code.

Special Order 7 officially went into effect in April 2012 following a lawsuit filed by the Police Protective League after the Police Commission approved the policy in February of last year.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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