- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 19, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - An administrative law judge says California’s firefighting agency can impose tougher penalties than were originally sought against three firefighters accused of cheating to obtain promotions.

The three were demoted in January during a scandal at the agency’s training academy in Ione, east of Sacramento. But two of the three were able to quickly receive new promotions back to their previous rank of fire captain.

The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection withdrew the initial disciplinary charges and filed new ones alleging dishonesty and willful disobedience.

Administrative law judge Douglas Purdy ruled that the new charges are not improper double jeopardy. The ruling was disclosed Wednesday in response to a public records act request.

The firefighters now will face new discipline. Firefighters’ union president Mike Lopez says the firefighters will appeal.

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