Enhancing Accountability: Improving the Law Enforcement Officer Discipline Process
On Thursday, February 25, 2021 from 9:00-10:30 a.m., the Los Angeles County Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission hosted a conference entitled Enhancing Accountability: Improving the Law Enforcement Officer Discipline Process. This virtual conference brought together community partners, elected officials, law enforcement professionals & members of the public to discuss law enforcement misconduct, discipline & the potential for accountability reform.
Welcome & Opening Remarks:
- Lael Rubin, Commission Chair & Former Deputy District Attorney
- Robert Bonner, Commissioner, Attorney and former U.S. District Judge and DEA Administrator
Civilian Oversight Commission Chair
Former Deputy District Attorney
Lael R. Rubin, a former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney for 34 years, tried complex cases and, as a manager for 12 years, she worked with community and law enforcement groups to develop policies which improved the criminal justice system. In addition to drafting and implementing the District Attorney’s Three Strikes policy, Lael worked with Stanford Law School and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to change the Three Strikes law statewide. She worked collaboratively to create the voter initiative, Proposition 36, in 2012, which was enacted as law. This law required that the third offense, in most instances, be serious or violent, thereby eliminating the onerous result of sentencing someone to 25 years to life for a minor offense.
Lael is also an expert on discovery and Brady matters. She led a task force of prosecutors, defense counsel and attorneys representing law enforcement to draft and implement methods of obtaining material in the possession of law enforcement. This material, complying with state and federal law, would then be provided to defense counsel in criminal cases in order for a defendant to have a fair trial. She developed policy and training on a number of issues, including forensic sciences and DNA. From 2005 until 2009, Lael supervised the Appellate Division which included oversight of habeas corpus litigation and claims of wrongful conviction. She also argued cases in the Appellate and California Supreme Courts. Lael is a skilled consensus builder and continues to work to improve the criminal justice system.
Following her retirement from the District Attorney’s Office in 2013, Lael volunteered with Public Counsel to assist veterans with criminal justice issues and served as a resource on immigration and domestic violence issues. Lael is currently vice chair of the Santa Monica Airport Commission. The Airport Commission acts in an advisory capacity to the City Council on matters relating to the Airport and aviation matters generally as they affect the City. The Commission also considers and recommends rules and regulations for the management and operation of the Airport. Lael received her B.A. degree with honors from the University of Michigan and her J.D. degree from the University of West Los Angeles School of Law. She is admitted to practice in California State Courts, U.S. District Court for the Central District and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Civilian Oversight Commissioner
Attorney and former U.S. District Judge and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator
Robert C. Bonner is a former United States District Judge and a former United States Attorney for the Central District of California. He served on the seven-member Citizens Commission on Jail Violence (CCJV) that examined the use of unnecessary and excessive force within the Los Angeles County Jail System, and he is the former Chair of the California Commission on Judicial Performance. Aside from his public service, Bonner was a practicing lawyer in Los Angeles, engaged in both civil litigation and criminal defense.
Judge Bonner is currently engaged in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and serves as both a neutral mediator and arbitrator of disputes. Judge Bonner is affiliated with Phillips ADR‘s distinguished panel of neutrals, is a member of the American Arbitration Association’s Master Mediation Panel, and is a member of FedArb, a panel of former federal judges who function as arbitrators and mediators. Judge Bonner is a retired former partner of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
Besides serving as a federal judge, Bonner’s government service includes heading several federal agencies, including his service as the Commissioner of U.S. Customs Service and, following the homeland security reorganization, as the first Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an agency of the Department of Homeland Security. Earlier in his career, Bonner was the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Judge Bonner is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He is also a member of Caltech’s Board of Trustees and Chair of its Audit and Compliance Committee. He has served on several committees of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, including the CBP Integrity Advisory Panel that evaluated use of force, transparency and other issues.
Judge Bonner received his B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Maryland and his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.
California Assemblymember the 54th Assembly District
Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles) represents the 54th Assembly District, encompassing Baldwin Hills, the Crenshaw community, all of Culver City, Ladera Heights, Leimert Park, Mar Vista, Mid-City Los Angeles, Palms, Pico-Union, Westwood and Windsor Hills.
In 2020, Kamlager passed AB 1950, the most transformative probation reform legislation in the country. The bill set maximum terms of two years for felony offenses and one year for misdemeanor offenses. Prior law authorized courts to enforce misdemeanor probation terms for a maximum of three years. Felony probation may have been enforced for as long as the maximum possible prison sentence for the offense. Reforms created by the legislation will save millions in taxpayer dollars and help many thousands of Californians exit the criminal justice system and stay out of the system. In 2019, Kamlager guided six of her eight bills into law.
As Chair of the Select Committee on Incarcerated Women, Kamlager is focused on reviewing and reforming policies to support the health, dignity and rehabilitation of women in prison. She also sits on the Assembly Public Safety Committee and Speaker Rendon's Select Committee on Police Reform. She also serves on Governor Newsom's Penal Code Revision Committee, which studies and recommends ways to simplify and rationalize the substance and procedure of criminal law in California.
Kamlager also is committed to advocating for environmental justice, funding for the arts and equity in our education system.
Born and raised in Chicago, Kamlager moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in political science and joined Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. She earned her Master’s degree in arts management and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
Kamlager lives in View Park with her husband, Austin Dove, her two step-children, their dog, Kush and cat Kisi Whitepaws.
LAPD Protective League Attorney
Retired from LAPD in 1995. Member of the bar since 1978. Independent Counsel for the Los Angeles Police Protective League since 1995. Involved in defense of police officers since 1975 in interview representations, Skelly responses, Boards of Rights, arbitrations, writs, appellate cases, and negotiations. Roll out attorney for uses of force since 1995.
Director of Police Practices/Senior Staff Attorney
Peter Bibring is the Director of Police Practices and a senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Southern California, where he works on a wide range of police-related issues, including use of force, race and bias in policing, gang injunctions, surveillance, search and seizure, excessive force, national security, transparency in public records on police activity, and civilian oversight.
He has litigated cases challenging unconstitutional policies and practices by police, including racial profiling, religious discrimination, gang enforcement, and detention based on First Amendment activity. He has also helped lead the ACLU’s work with grassroots and community organizations to pass landmark legislation on policing in California, including on racial profiling and stop-data collection, public access to information on police internal investigations, and standards for police use of deadly force.