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Rick Gore v. Yolo County District Attorney's Office et al

February 28, 2013

RICK GORE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
YOLO COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE ET AL., DEFENDANTS AND APPELLANTS.



APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Yolo County, Daniel P. Maguire, Judge. (Super. Ct. No. CV PT10-2554)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Blease , Acting P. J.

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

Reversed.

Yolo County District Attorney (DA) Jeff Reisig and the Yolo County DA's Office appeal the order of the trial court issuing a peremptory writ of mandate directing them to afford respondent Rick Gore a hearing to determine if there is good cause to deny issuing Gore an identification certificate authorizing him to carry a concealed and loaded firearm. An amici curiae brief has been filed in support of the appeal by the California State Sheriffs' Association, California Police Chiefs' Association, California District Attorneys' Association, and the California Peace Officers' Association. Respondent Gore has not filed a respondent's brief.

The resolution of the case depends on whether Gore is an "honorable retired peace officer" pursuant to former section 12027 of the Penal Code.*fn1 If he is not, he has no right to a CCW (carry concealed weapons) identification certificate.

Gore was employed by the Yolo County DA's Office as an investigator. Gore resigned from the DA's office in 2009 pursuant to a settlement agreement. The settlement agreement was entered into following Gore's appeal of the DA's decision to terminate him for off-duty misconduct and insubordination. The next year, Gore began collecting his retirement from California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS).

We shall conclude that a person is not "honorably retired" as defined by former section 12027 unless the person has honorably retired from active duty as a peace officer. We shall reverse the judgment.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Gore began working as an investigator in the DA's office in 1997. As an investigator, Gore was a peace officer within the meaning of section 830.1 and was authorized to carry a firearm. In 2008, Gore disseminated a letter containing false accusations concerning the Yolo County DA's Office and several individuals, including the DA. The letter made its way onto internet blog websites and into the newspapers, resulting in substantial harm to the reputation of the DA's office.

Yolo County hired an independent attorney to investigate the allegations Gore made in his letter, and the DA tasked officers to conduct an administrative investigation within the DA's office. The investigations concluded that Gore had violated several county office policies, primarily substantial off-duty misconduct reasonably and directly related to the employee's public duties, and insubordination. Based on the investigatory findings, the DA terminated Gore in December 2008.

Gore appealed his termination, and an arbitration was held before an independent arbitrator. The arbitrator found that the charges of unethical conduct Gore made against the DA and others in the DA's office were unfounded, and that Gore knew or should have known they were unfounded. The arbitrator affirmed that Gore had violated county and office policies by making public false accusations. However, the arbitrator reduced the discipline to a long suspension, ordering Gore's reinstatement on the condition Gore retract publicly and in writing the false accusations he had made.

Gore and the DA's office entered into a settlement that reduced the disciplinary suspension in exchange for Gore's signature retracting his untrue allegations and his immediate resignation.

In May 2010, Gore began collecting his retirement from CalPERS. Gore made a request for a CCW identification certificate, but ...


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