That rationale comes because the Court found that California sheriffs act as state, rather than county, officers while performing state law enforcement duties such as investigating possible criminal activity. Had they acted as county officials, the would not be entitled to sovereign immunity.
The Court further held that the County and Sheriff could be liable under Civil Code Section 52.1, which is a state action that allows a civil action for equitable or injunctive relief “if a person interferes, or attempts to interfere, by threats, intimidation, or coercion, with the exercise of the constitutional or statutory rights of any individual or individuals.” See: Venegas v. County of Los Angeles, 32 Cal. 4th 820 (Cal. 2004).
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Related legal case
Venegas v. County of Los Angeles
|Cite||32 Cal. 4th 820 (Cal. 2004)|
|Level||State Court of Appeals|