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Bonome v. City of Riverside

California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, Second Division

March 24, 2017

CAMILLO BONOME, JR., Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
CITY OF RIVERSIDE et al., Defendants and Appellants.

         APPEAL from the Superior Court of Riverside County No. RIC1314234. Sharon J. Waters, Judge. Affirmed.

          Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, J. Scott Tiedemann and Christopher S. Frederick for Defendants and Appellants.

          Law Office of Michael A. Morguess and Michael A. Morguess for Plaintiff and Respondent.

          Jones & Mayer, Martin J. Mayer and Paul R. Coble for California State Sheriffs' Association and California Police Chiefs' Association as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Defendants and Appellants.

          MILLER J.

         Defendants and appellants City of Riverside (City) and Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz appeal the grant of the petition for writ of mandate (Writ) filed by plaintiff and respondent Camillo Bonome, Jr.

         Bonome had been employed as a Riverside Police Officer since 1995. On May 21, 2013, a Memorandum of Finding was sustained against Bonome for failing to properly investigate and report an incident involving a sexually abused girl in June 2012. Chief Diaz recommended Bonome be terminated. Prior to the hearing on his termination, Bonome applied for and was granted disability retirement by CalPERS for a back injury he sustained while on duty.

         Upon his disability retirement being effective, Bonome requested his retirement identification badge and that the badge include a Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) endorsement. Bonome's request was denied because Chief Diaz and the City did not consider him to be “honorably retired” as that term is defined in Penal Code section 16690. The City and Chief Diaz stated he was not entitled to a hearing to dispute the finding. Bonome filed the Writ contending he was honorably retired and entitled to a CCW endorsement, and if the endorsement was denied for cause, he was entitled to a good cause hearing. The trial court agreed and granted the Writ.

         On appeal, the City and Chief Diaz insist the trial court erred when it determined Bonome was “honorably retired” within the meaning of Penal Code section 16690 based only on the plain language of the statute and without reviewing the legislative history. This interpretation leads to an absurd result.[1]

         We uphold the trial court's grant of the Writ. The City and Chief Diaz may deny the CCW endorsement for cause but Bonome is entitled to a good cause hearing if it is denied.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         A. INVESTIGATION OF BONOME AND RECOMMENDATION

         Bonome was hired as a police officer by the City on April 14, 1995, and was authorized to carry a concealed weapon on and off duty as a peace officer as defined in Penal Code section 830.1[2]

         According to the Memorandum of Finding prepared by the Riverside Police Department after its investigation, on June 7, 2012, Bonome was dispatched to a residence to investigate a report of sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl. Bonome had investigated claims of abuse by the same girl in 2010 but the accusations were determined to be unfounded because she would not disclose the abuse. On June 7, Bonome spoke with the girl at a friend's house. She told Bonome she was being sexually abused by her 16-year-old brother and her mother physically abused her. She did not want to return to her home because she feared they would take her to Mexico before she could receive help.

         Notwithstanding these expressed fears, Bonome took the girl back to her home. Bonome told the girl's mother that he had contacted child protective services (CPS). Bonome did not file a police report. The following day, CPS contacted Bonome's supervisor expressing concern that the girl was returned to her home. Another Riverside Police Department detective arrested the 16-year-old brother who admitted he had been sexually abusing the girl since 2010.

         On October 10, 2012, Bonome suffered an on-duty back injury.

         An internal affairs investigation was conducted regarding the June 7 incident. A Memorandum of Finding was issued on May 21, 2013, sustaining a finding that Bonome had failed ...


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