In re Warm Sands Cases
Lambda Legal filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of Riverside County asking the Court to reverse several convictions from an anti-gay sting operation in the Warm Sands neighborhood of Palm Springs because the arrests were the result of discriminatory enforcement of the laws. Although the police also learned of lewd conduct by different-sex couples at a local water park and parking garage, they failed to respond in a similar fashion as they did in Warm Sands, which included the use of covert surveillance.
The operation used undercover male police officers, who approached male suspects and attempted to elicit conduct for which a punishment of lifetime sex offender registration could be imposed. During the operation, police officers used derogatory, anti-gay language. After the operation, the police made a special request that prosecutors not show the defendants any leniency and instead prosecute them for indecent exposure, which would require lifetime sex offender registration. A total of nineteen men were arrested. After details of the operation became public, the chief of police retired amid controversy, and the city agreed to adopt new police practices. However, the district attorney continued to prosecute the defendants.
- April 2012 Lambda Legal files amicus brief with the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of Riverside County asking the court to reverse the convictions of several gay men resulting from a police sting operation in the Warm Sands neighborhood of Palm Springs.
January 2013 The Appellate Division affirms the trial court ruling.
Jon W. Davidson
Peter C. Renn