A ruling was issued in the court battle between the city of Fontana, Calif., and the Inland Empire Alarm Association (IEAA). The good news? The ruling, while not necessarily final (the city of Fontana can appeal), is in favor of the alarm industry.
“We are very pleased with the court’s ruling,” said Les Gold, the California Alarm Association (CAA)’s legal counsel and partner in the law firm Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp, which represented the IEAA.
Presiding Judge Joseph Brisco's ruling, among other things, stated that “the ordinance, on its face, creates an unconstitutional, irrefutable presumption regarding false burglary, robbery and panic alarms which violates procedural due process."
Brisco also stated that the new alarm ordinance violated federal and state constitutional provisions against excessive fines when a false alarm fine is imposed; the ordinance violated substantive due process when a false alarm fine is imposed for the non-wrongful conduct of an alarm company; and the definition of "false alarm" in the ordinance needed to be "severed" from the ordinance because it was unconstitutional.
The ruling is the latest development in the case dating back to 2008, when the IEAA challenged the City of Fontana's new burglar alarm ordinance. Ordinance 1580, announced in a letter to citizens from the police department and implemented without input from the city council or the Fontana citizens, authorized the police department's use of verified response to alarms (SDM December 2008, p.17) .