Fired Orange County Police Sergeant Loses Federal Lawsuit
A Westminster Police Department (WPD) sergeant fired in 2009 after the city accused him of repeated misuse of a law enforcement database and later for repeated acts of domestic violence has lost his federal lawsuit.
William Arganda claimed city officials violated government rules by unfairly thwarting his due process rights after he was convicted of two misdemeanors in a 2010 plea deal where prosecutors dropped seven other charges, including two felonies.
Westminster officials argued that Arganda's criminal convictions ended any need for an appeal hearing and claimed that the fired cop's civil lawyer, Robin Sergi of the former law firm of Lackie, Dameier & McGill, waived an appeal in writing after the guilty plea.
Arganda, who was hired by the city as a police officer in 1991, asserted in his lawsuit inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse that Sergi waived the appeal without his permission and at a point when the attorney was not authorized to represent him.
U.S. District Court Judge George H. Wu accepted the findings of U.S. Magistrate Judge Victor B. Kenton, who declared Arganda's appeal rights were "extinguished" by his guilty plea because an appeal hearing "would necessarily imply the invalidity of [Arganda's] criminal convictions."
Arganda, who served as his own legal representative in the lawsuit, had hoped that his successful completion of probation, his punishment from the criminal case, could restore his right to posses a gun and thus allow him to seek future policing employment.
But Kenton wasn't impressed by that argument either.
In September 2009, then-Police Chief Andrew E. Hall notified Arganda of his termination for improperly accessing the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS) 96 times to collect information on 15 people, mostly women, for "non-law enforcement purposes."
In May 2010, then-Police Chief J. Mitchell Waller sent the already fired Arganda another termination notice that detailed six pages of claims of injury-inducing, domestic violence acts against several women as well as assertions he tried to procure lies to mask his conduct.
Arganda claimed in his lawsuit that he became a target with the 2007 breakup of his marriage to Cynthia Sanders, Westminster's risk manager, and that their divorce "became contentious in the extreme and impacted the workings within WPD."
He also stated his belief that city and police officials conducted a disingenuous public relations campaign to smear his reputation.