In order to provide legal defense benefits to a member of PLEA, the Executive Board of PLEA hereby adopt adopts the following policy:
1. All members of PLEA who are in need of legal defense may apply to the Executive Board. The Executive Board will investigate immediately to determine the following:
A. That the applicant is an active member in good standing and was a member in good standing on the date of the incident;
B. That the applicant did not violate any provisions of the Constitution or By-Laws of the Association;
C. That the activity which makes legal defense necessary for the applicant is the direct and proximate result of law enforcement activity and that the applicant acted in a sober and prudent manner, with good faith, and was not willfully guilty of any personal or professional misconduct that would discredit the Association;
D. That the applicant has, or is about to be, denied or deprived of his/her legal rights in relation to job tenure, wages, pension or other benefits or privileges accruing to him or her as a result of his or her employment;
E. That the applicant is the subject of a criminal prosecution arising out of the performance of the member's law enforcement function. (SEE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND, LDF)
2. Upon conclusion of the investigation, the President will decide whether the applicant is entitled to legal defense. The applicant shall be notified of the President's decision as soon as possible, by either registered mail or personal contact.
3. The Executive Board may set a limit on the amount of funds to be spent for the applicant for each matter. In fixing the amount of funds available, the Executive Board shall consider the nature of the accusations, the current hourly rate of the attorneys in the Miami-Dade County area, and the anticipated expense involved in the representation and litigation of the action. In addition, the Executive Board may limit the amount of costs expended in connection with any Public Records Request or other costs necessary to the case. Once this limit has been established, any costs beyond this limit will be the responsibility of the member.
4. In the case of a request for criminal defense, the President shall ensure that the member contact LDF via toll-free number. A criminal defense attorney after conferring with the general counsel of the Association to determine the propriety of the request for legal defense. In the defense of any criminal action, the Association will monitor LDF in ensuring the member's rights to legal representation.
5. If the President rules against an applicant's request for assistance, or if the applicant feels that the amount of funds allocated is insufficient, the applicant shall have the right to appeal to the Executive Board. The applicant wishing to appeal such a ruling shall notify the Association's Vice President, in writing, within ten (10) days prior to the next regularly scheduled Board of Advisor's meeting. If in the opinion of the president, the matter cannot wait until the next scheduled meeting, he or she may call for a special Board of Advisors meeting to hear the appeal, provided however, that the Board is given at least three (3) days prior notice.
6. The applicant appealing a President's ruling shall appear at a meeting and present his or her defense and reasons to support a reversal of the ruling denying legal defense. Upon completion of the applicant's presentation along with any other evidence, the Board shall vote to sustain or reverse the President's ruling, by a majority vote of the members of the Board of Directors.
7. The president of the Association shall have the authority to expend up to $500.00 for the legal defense of a member during the period of time that the member's application for legal defense is being processed.
8. The member must accept the services of the Association's attorney, if the Association is to pay, unless the acquisition of other outside legal service has previously been approved by the Executive Board. Failure on the part of an applicant to abide by the instructions of the appointed attorney or intentionally disregarding mandates issued by the courts will result in the forfeiture of future legal assistance provided by PLEA. Further, retaining services of another non-approved attorney shall be basis for PLEA to deny legal defense benefits.
9. If in the event a request for legal defense is taken through an appeal, a hearing, or a trial, the PLEA Legal Counsel will in every case attempt to recover the legal defense costs from the courts. If this fails, a member who has been suspended or discharged from employment, and who during the course of the appeal or trial obtains other employment, and prevails in the appeal with back pay, that member agrees to pay back such money earned from other employment, to the Association in order to offset the cost of the legal defense.
10. Consideration for payment of legal defense funds does not begin until the member's Application for Membership has been received by the PLEA office and has been accepted and processed into the dues deduction process. LEGAL ASSISTANCE WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, FOR ANY OCCURRENCE OR SITUATION THAT WAS INITIATED PRIOR TO THE APPLICANT'S APPLICATION BEING SUBMITTED AND ACCEPTED.
By continuing to complete this application and submitting it, you affirm that you have read the above legal defense policy and understand and agree to the contents.
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