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Wednesday
Feb292012

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles Police Commission, approval, easing of vehicle impound rules for unlicensed drivers....

* Daily News:  "L.A. Police Commission OKs controversial plan to exempt some unlicensed drivers from vehicle impound" - From the DN:

  The Los Angeles Police Commission on Tuesday approved the department's controversial plan to exempt some unlicensed drivers from costly 30-day impounds of their vehicles.

   Under the new policy, which has been hotly debated since last year, unlicensed drivers who have valid identification, car registration and proof of insurance will still be cited, but their vehicles can be released when another licensed driver or the registered owner is available, instead of being held for 30 days.

   Police Chief Charlie Beck pushed for the change, calling the mandatory 30-day impounds unfair to illegal immigrants, who are not allowed to apply for drivers licenses.

   ****

   The commission voted 4-1 to approve the new policy, with Commissioner Alan Skobin casting the only dissenting vote, citing public safety concerns.

   ****

   The approval came despite an opinion from the state Legislature's legal counsel that declared the proposal illegal. The Office of Legislative Counsel said state law requires agencies to impound a vehicle driven by an unlicensed motorist for 30 days and that LAPD does not have the authority to release the vehicle earlier. But the L.A. City Attorney's Office issued its own opinion Tuesday that disagreed with the state, saying that LAPD has the discretion in determining how long an unlicensed driver's car can be impounded.

   ****

   The approval could now be up for review by the City Council, which would have to vote to take up the issue...........

 

***ALSO:

* Los Angeles Times:  "Los Angeles Police Commission approves easing of car impound rules" - "The panel backs Police Chief Charlie Beck's plan to limit cases in which unlicensed drivers' vehicles can be impounded, calling it an act of 'humanity' towards city's illegal immigrants."

* LA Weekly:  "Illegal Immigrants Can Now Drive in L.A. Without Fear of Having Cars Taking by Police"