LAPD Whistle-blower Prison Sentence Overturned; Court’s Decision Fails to Remedy Abuse of Protective Orders

The 9th circuit federal appeals court overturned the sentence of Los Angeles Police Department whistle-blower Bob Mullally this week. Mullally was facing a 6-month prison sentence for contempt of court after leaking documents to the media that exposed brutal domestic violence felonies committed by LAPD officers. The Court of Appeals directed that Mullally be re-sentenced, and recommended that he be given probation instead of a prison sentence. In doing so, the 9th Circuit upheld Mullally’s violation of the protective order, but found that the sentence should be overturned because the language in the order was vague, and because the convicting judge erroneously stated that Mullally was motivated by ego. Mullally’s efforts, along with pressure from the National Center for Women & Policing and the Feminist Majority Foundation, led to a major investigation into and reform of the LAPD’s disciplinary procedures for officers who commit domestic violence. Katherine Spillar, Executive Vice President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, was pleased with the court’s refusal to endorse a prison sentence for Mullally, but disheartened to see that the court was unwilling to take a stronger stance against the use of protective orders to conceal felonies. “From day one, I’ve said that it’s a tragedy that Bob Mullally is the one being punished here, when none of the criminal officers he exposed were ever prosecuted, or even arrested.”


Los Angeles Times, 10/30/02

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