Judge rejects injunction on deputy’s rehiring

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No injunction against Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva for reinstating a sheriff’s deputy accused of domestic violence, an L.A. judge said on Wednesday. The rejection came just a few days after the county requested an overturning of the reinstatement of Deputy Caren Carl Mandoyan.

Although Judge Mitchell Beckloff said he could find no reason for an urgent court order, the county can continue to litigate the issue. He has set a hearing on the matter for June 26.

Mandoyan was fired in 2016 by then-Sheriff Jim McDonnell after allegedly grabbing a fellow deputy by the neck, trying to break into her home and harassing her via text message.

Although prosecutors investigated, they declined to file charges. A county appeals board heard evidence and upheld the dismissal.

After the dismissal, Mandoyan would play an important part in Villanueva’s election. The former deputy acted as Villanueva’s driver and pushed rank-and-file deputies to support Villanueva, long considered an unlikely winner. After his victory, Villanueva reinstated Mandoyan, which the county has challenged.

“Your reinstatement was unlawful,” Auditor-Controller John Naimo said in a letter last Thursday, demanding that Mandoyan turn in his gun and badge. Additionally, Naimo said Villanueva did not even have authority to reinstate Mandoyan.

Villanueva fired back on Sunday, characterizing the dispute as a “personnel matter” and saying it would be decided by the legal employment process.

“While the specific facts of this case are protected under the Peace Officer Bill of Rights and civil service procedures,” Villanueva wrote, “I can assure that an objective, honest, and fair assessment was conducted before reinstatement. We will let the process continue forward as we work to determine the final outcome.

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