Phoenix Law Enforcement Association

Arizona Court of Appeals Issues Ruling in Goldwater Release Time Lawsuit

On Tuesday August 11, 2015 Division 1 of the Arizona State Court of Appeals issued its decision in the case of the Goldwater Institute’s lawsuit against PLEA and the City of Phoenix with regard to the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association’s  full time release positions.  The decision rendered by the court was bifurcated in that neither side can claim a complete victory.  This will be readily apparent for whomever reads the court’s ruling despite Goldwater’s claim that full time release has been ruled unconstitutional.  This is blatantly false. Paragraph 25 on page 12 of the court’s opinion states the following:    “(‘To the extent possible, [the court avoids] deciding constitutional issues if the case can be resolved on non-constitutional grounds.’) We leave the constitutionality of such an MOU or other release time agreement for another day.”

The court limited its ruling to the full time release provisions in the 2012-2014 contract.  The court also said that the obligations for PLEA were inadequately spelled out and went on to say that release time is allowable for purposes of adequate consideration in exchange for the release time if obligations are included in the contract.

In other words, contrary to granting Goldwater’s wishes to have release time ruled unconstitutional, the court essentially stated release time is permissible as long as there are very clear parameters in place outlining the Association’s obligations in exchange for said release time.

CLICK HERE to view a copy of the Appeals court decision

CLICK HERE to view a copy of the PLEA press release