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High court remands case of fired South Jordan police officer back to appeals court

Published January 16, 2013 3:54 pm

Court • Former South Jordan police officer Brett Perez is appealing his 2009 termination from the department.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A South Jordan police officer was within the proper time frame to appeal his job termination related to allegedly mishandling a high-speed chase, the Utah Supreme Court ruled earlier this month.

The high court's decision reverses earlier rulings that former police officer Brett Perez couldn't contest his job loss because he'd missed a time-specific window to file his appeal after being fired in 2009.

Perez, a 14-year veteran of the department was fired by the city on Nov. 12, 2009 for allegedly violating the city's high-speed chase policy during a May 2009 incident.

Perez in 2010 appealed his termination to the South Jordan City Appeal Board, which hears the cases of city employees who believe they've been wrongfully terminated. The board upheld the city's decision to fire Perez, who then appealed to the Utah Court of Appeals to reverse the city board's decision.

But questions emerged on whether Perez filed his appeal within the proper 30-day window, based on when certain documents were certified by a city recorder.

In a split decision, the Utah Court of Appeals in 2011 denied Perez's claim, citing that he needed to file his appeal within a 30-day period, which some appellate judges argued that he failed to do.

Appellate Judge Gregory K. Orme, however, disagreed with the decision that Perez missed his deadline. Orme said a city law required the board's decision to be certified with the city recorder on the date of the body's decision: June 7, 2010. The decision, however, wasn't filed with the city recorder until three days later, on June 10.

That should have made Perez's petition for review, which he filed on July 7, 2010, in compliance with the rule that stipulates he filed an appeal within 30 days of the city board's decision, Orme wrote.

The Supreme Court concurred in its opinion released on Jan. 15.

The case will now be remanded back to the appeals court, which will reconsider the merits of Perez's appeal in coming weeks.

cimaron@sltrib.com

Twitter: @CimCity

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