Daugherty v. City & County of San FranciscoAnnotate this Case
Under the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act (Gov. Code 3300), no punitive action may be taken against a public safety officer for any alleged act unless the investigation is completed within one year of “the public agency’s discovery by a person authorized to initiate an investigation,” subject to exceptions. One exception tolls the time period while the act is also the “subject” of a pending criminal investigation or prosecution. A criminal corruption investigation of SFPD officers began in 2011; search warrants of cellphone records led to the discovery in December 2012 of racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic text messages among SFPD officers. Two were convicted for conspiracy to commit theft, conspiracy against civil rights and wire fraud. Three days later (December 8, 2014), the texts were released to SFPD’s Internal Affairs Division (IAD-Admin). After IAD-Admin completed its investigation, the chief of police issued disciplinary charges against respondents in April 2015. The trial court concluded the limitations period began in December 2012 when the misconduct was discovered. The court of appeal reversed, concluding the limitations period did not begin until the text messages were released to IAD-Admin; before then, the alleged misconduct could not be discovered by the “person[s] authorized to initiate an investigation” under section 3304(d)(1). The limitations period was also tolled until the verdict in the criminal corruption case because the text messages were the “subject” of the criminal investigation under section 3304.