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Walker v. Dunham

Supreme Court of Arizona

April 12, 1955

James E. WALKER, Jerry I. Hill and Bruce Whitaker, Appellants,
v.
H. L. DUNHAM, Howard W. Gibbons, and J. H. McNeill, composing the Civil Service Board of the City of Phoenix, and LeRoy Brenneman, Secretary of the Civil Service Board of the City of Phoenix, Appellees.

Page 126

Croaff & Croaff, and W. T. Choisser, Phoenix, for appellants.

William C. Eliot, City Atty., and Fred F. Bockmon, Asst. City Atty., Phoenix, for appellees.

[78 Ariz. 420] WINDES, Justice.

Appellants, James E. Walker, Jerry I. Hill and Bruce Whitaker, were police officers of the city of Phoenix. On December 15, 1951, Walker and Hill received separation notices stating:

'* * * That you have violated the following provisions of Rule VIII of the Civil Service Rules of the City of Phoenix:

'Rule VIII(b) That you have been offensive in your conduct toward the public, and a ward of the City of Phoenix.

'Rule VIII(d) That you have violated a lawful and official regulation and failed to obey the lawful and reasonable direction given to you by your superior officer, which amounts to a serious breach of discipline and which may reasonably be expected to result in lower morale in the organization and to result in injury to the City and the public.

'Rule VIII(i) In that you have been guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer or employee of the City of Phoenix.'

On the same day Whitaker received a suspension notice charging:

'* * * That you have violated the following provisions of Rule VIII of the Civil Service Rules of the City of Phoenix:

'Rule VIII(a) That you have been incompetent and inefficient in the performance of your duties.

'Rule VIII(d) That you have violated a lawful and official regulation and failed to obey the lawful and reasonable direction given you by your superior officer, which amounts to a serious breach of discipline and which may reasonably be expected to result in lower morale in the organization and to result in injury to the City and the public.'

The aforesaid officers made written answer to the charges and appealed to the Civil Service Board of Phoenix. After hearing and the receipt of evidence concerning the charges, the board sustained the dismissal of officers Walker and Hill and the suspension of officer Whitaker. The officers brought the matter to the superior court of Maricopa County by writ of certiorari. Return was made by the civil service board of the record including a transcript of evidence. After hearing had thereon, the lower court rendered judgment affirming the action of the board. Appellants are here claiming the superior [78 Ariz. 421] court erred because (1) the civil service board was without jurisdiction to proceed with the hearing and (2) the evidence did not sustain the findings of the board that the officers were guilty of the charges set forth in the notices.

Page 127

Rule VIII referred to in the aforementioned notices sets forth various causes upon which an officer may be removed or ...


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