LA County

Fired Deputy Who Was Rehired by Sheriff Villanueva is Ordered to Give Up His Badge and Gun

The ruling is at the center of a legal dispute between Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Los Angeles County over who has the ultimate authority to hire and fire deputies

A former Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy reinstated by Sheriff Alex Villanueva was ordered by a judge Monday to surrender his badge, uniform, and gun, and not to, "hold himself out as a Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff."

LA Superior Court Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff rejected requests from Villanueva to allow former deputy Caren "Carl" Mandoyan to be placed on administrative leave or delay the imposition of the order. It takes effect immediately.

"The County of Los Angeles is obviously pleased with this order," said attorney Louis "Skip" Miller, who represents the County. "We think it's the right thing and we hope this whole controversy can be resolved."

The ruling is at the center of a legal dispute between Villanueva and Los Angeles County, over who has the ultimate authority to hire and fire deputy sheriffs. Villanueva and his attorneys have argued the Sheriff, as an elected official with broad powers, may set aside or review County employment decisions.

Judge Beckloff's order will remain in effect until that underlying legal question is resolved, likely at a trial in civil court. LA County attorneys have argued in court and in written filings that only the County's civil service process governs employment decisions and that Villanueva cannot unilaterally reverse them.

Gregory Smith, an attorney representing Mandoyan, said he and the attorneys for Villanueva disagreed with the judge's decision and were reviewing their options to challenge the ruling.

Mandoyan was terminated in 2016 after the Civil Service Commission found he wasn't telling the truth about incidents in an investigation of alleged domestic violence between him and another deputy. Sheriff Villanueva has said publicly he thought the Civil Service process was unfair to Mandoyan, and began efforts to reinstate Mandoyan as soon as he was sworn-in.

LA County sued Villanueva in early 2019 after it was revealed Mandoyan's termination had been set aside by the new Sheriff's administration.

Mandoyan, who worked as a key volunteer in Villanueva's campaign for Sheriff, has denied he attacked the deputy who made the domestic violence complaint, and told NBC4's I-Team in March that he didn't deserve to be fired.

"My character has been assassinated. It's not who I am," he said.

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