Judge Rules In Favor Of Reinstated Deputy Who Was Fired Over Domestic Violence

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A judge Wednesday rejected Los Angeles County’s request to immediately void the reinstatement of a deputy who was fired in 2016 over allegations of domestic violence.

In 2016, Deputy Sheriff Caren Carl Mandoyan was fired by then-Sheriff Jim McConnell after a fellow deputy alleged Mandoyan grabbed her by the neck, tried to break into her home twice, sent her harassing text messages and admitted to listening to her conversations, according to the Los Angeles Times. A county appeals board heard evidence in the case and upheld Mandoyan’s dismissal.

Reinstated Deputy Caren Carl Mandoyan (far right) attends the swearing-in ceremony for Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva on Dec. 3, 2018. Mandoyan was fired in 2016 over allegations of domestic abuse, but was reinstated when Villanueva took office. (CBS2)

Mandoyan was never criminally charged in the case.

Despite his firing, Mandoyan played a key role in new Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s election campaign last year in which he narrowly defeated McConnell. He served as Villanueva’s driver during the campaign and appeared on-stage at his swearing-in ceremony in December. Villanueva reinstated Mandoyan in his first weeks as sheriff.

In January, Villanueva defended the move at an L.A. County Board of Supervisors meeting in which the board passed a motion reprimanding Villanueva for reinstating Mandoyan.

“When you hear the details of the cases, you’re going to have a change of mind,” the sheriff told the supervisors at the time.

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Then last week, L.A. County Auditor-Controller John Naimo, the county’s chief accountant, issued a letter stating that Mandoyan, would no longer be paid and must turn in his gun and badge, the Times reports.

“Your reinstatement was unlawful,” stated the letter dated Feb. 28, according to the Times.

On Monday, the county filed a lawsuit in L.A. County Superior Court challenging Mandoyan’s reinstatement. Attorney Louis “Skip” Miller, on behalf of the county, asked the judge to issue a restraining order removing Mandoyan, saying Mandoyan was still carrying a gun and a badge even though the county does not consider him to be an official employee of the department.

However, Judge Mitchell Beckloff said he did not see an immediate need for a court order. He said the issue could be litigated in due course, and he set another hearing on the issue for June 26.

The judge also questioned whether the Board of Supervisors can interfere in the sheriff’s hiring decisions — saying there is a clear distinction between a fired employee being rehired or reinstated.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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