February 2012: LAPD Chief Charlie Beck issues Special Order 7

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck issued Special Order 7, which permits unlicensed drivers who are stopped by an officer to avoid impoundment of their cars if they can provide proof of insurance and valid identification and have no prior misdemeanor convictions for driving without a license. Previously, unlicensed drivers could have their cars impounded for 30 days and often had to pay fines of more than $1,000 to reclaim them.

April 2012: Police Protective League files lawsuit against LAPD

The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents LAPD officers, sued the city of Los Angeles, claiming Special Order 7 could subject officers to civil liability claims because it conflicted with state law.

May 2012: Judicial Watch files lawsuit against LAPD over Special Order 7

Judicial Watch, a conservative Washington-based watchdog group, sued the LAPD, accusing it of “putting politics and ideology before the safety of citizens, police officers and the rule of law.”

August 2013: Judge Terry Green strikes down Special Order 7

Los Angeles Super Court Judge Judge Green struck down Special Order 7, saying it conflicted with state laws on the treatment of unlicensed drivers.

September 2013: LAPD rescinds Special Order 7

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck rescinded Special Order 7, saying he had no choice.

October 2013: California State Appeals Court reinstates Special Order 7

A panel of three judges from the California Court of Appeals set aside Judge Green’s ruling and allowed Special Order 7 to be reinstated.

October 2013: Governor signs AB60, granting driver licenses to undocumented in 2015

California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB60, granting undocumented immigrants the right to apply for driver’s licenses starting in January 2015. The Department of Motor Vehicles expects about 1.4 million drivers to apply for the special licenses between 2015 and 2018.

Yazmin Nunez is a freelance journalist. A Roosevelt High School alumni, she is one of the founding reporters of Boyle Heights Beat and enjoys writing stories on the history of her community.

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