A judge Monday declared Los Angeles County the winner in a spat with Sheriff Alex Villanueva in his attempt to reinstate a deputy fired over domestic violence allegations.

Villanueva’s efforts on behalf of former Deputy Caren Carl Mandoyan outraged members of the County Board of Supervisors, who filed a petition in March 2018 seeking to have Mandoyan’s rehiring declared void.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff heard arguments on the petition on Aug. 28 and Sept. 1 and took the case under submission before ruling in favor of the county Monday with a 17-page decision that was hailed by Louis “Skip” Miller, an attorney for the county.

“We think this is the right ruling, that this individual does not belong in the LASD and are pleased that justice has prevailed,” Miller said.

Mandoyan, who worked on Villanueva’s campaign, was fired in 2016 following allegations of domestic violence, stalking and harassment of a woman he dated. According to an Office of Inspector General report, the sheriff’s department also found that Mandoyan lied to Internal Affairs investigators.

Villanueva repeatedly defended bringing Mandoyan back to the department, questioning the allegations against the deputy and accusing the county’s Civil Service Commission of ignoring evidence that could have cleared Mandoyan of wrongdoing.

In August 2019, Beckloff granted a preliminary injunction, ordering Mandoyan to give up all county property in his possession, including any Sheriff’s Department-issued uniforms, badges and weapons. Mandoyan also was ordered to stop presenting himself as a Los Angeles County deputy sheriff.

In June, Beckloff denied a motion by Mandoyan’s lawyer, Gregory W. Smith, to dissolve or modify the injunction.

On March 12, Mandoyan took and passed the civil service examination, physical agility test and structured interview test for the position of deputy sheriff, then was approved and put on the county eligibility list the next day, Smith stated in his court papers.


By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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