AUGUST 19, 2019 |  Matt Stiles, Maya Lau

A judge on Monday overturned Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s controversial decision to reinstate a deputy who had been fired for violating department policies on domestic violence and lying — a dispute that sparked a rare legal battle among some of L.A. County’s most powerful elected officials.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff issued a preliminary injunction that says Villanueva must remove the deputy, Caren Carl Mandoyan, from his job. Mandoyan also must return county property, including his gun and badge.

“The sheriff’s decision to overturn Mandoyan’s discharge substantially erodes public trust and confidence in the county’s law enforcement agency,” the judge wrote in a 14-page order explaining his decision. “It also undermines the county’s employment and discipline systems and creates confusion with employees and the public.”

Greg Smith, Mandoyan’s attorney, said he likely will appeal the order and suggested that new evidence at trial could result in the deputy getting his job back.


The Court’s decision in favor of the Board of Supervisors decisively halts the Sheriff’s attempt to circumvent the Civil Service Commission’s review process and rehire a deputy fired as a result of domestic violence.

This was a victory for rational due process and public safety.