June 28, 2013

SAN DIEGO CRIMINAL DEFENSE: LA Sheriff's Broke Law During Public Housing Patrol, Says Justice Department

From the LA Times:

Los Angeles Times | June 28, 2013 | 12:48 PM

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department engaged in "stops, searches, and seizures and excessive force in violation of the Constitution and federal law" in its patrolling of public housing in the Antelope Valley, the U.S. Justice Department said today in announcing the conclusion of a two-year civil rights investigation into the department.

Residents have complained of surprise inspections of government-subsidized housing intended to ensure residents are meeting the terms of their assistance. The checks often involved armed sheriff's deputies, they said.

The Justice Department also found a "pattern or practice of discrimination against African Americans in its enforcement of the Housing Choice Voucher Program in violation of the Fair Housing Act," according to a statement released today.

August 18, 2011

CALIFORNIA POLICE MISCONDUCT: RIGHT TO PITCHESS DISCOVERY OF COMPLAINTS MADE AFTER THE ARREST

YES, WE DO HAVE THE RIGHT TO POLICE MISCONDUCT DISCOVERY OF COMPLAINTS MADE AFTER THE ARREST

The defendant was convicted. He appealed and eventually got federal habeas relief. Back in the trial court, the defendant moved for Pitchess (11 Cal.3d 531) discovery against the officers.

The trial court granted the motion, but denied any discovery of complaints made against the officers after the date of the defendant's arrest. Why on this earth judges consistently make up rules to protect the police is beyond me. Yes, I know they all run on "Law Enforcement's Choice" tickets for re-election. But a fourth grader would have enough sense to have granted this public defender's request. I mean, C'mon.

The California Court of Appeal says this is wrong. The defense is entitled to discovery of such complaints, on a showing of good cause.

Blumberg v. Superior Court
; 2011 DJ DAR 11477; DJ, 8/1/11; C/A 2nd,
Div. 5

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March 8, 2011

CALIFORNIA POLICE MISCONDUCT: SUPPLYING THE SEALED PITCHESS MATERIAL TO THE COURT OF APPEAL

SUPPLYING THE SEALED PITCHESS MATERIAL TO THE COURT OF APPEAL

This case exists because the California Court of Appeal was annoyed at appellate counsel. Criminal defense lawyers want the Court of Appeal to review the Pitchess (11 Cal.3d 531) ruling in the trial court. But do we make sure that the appellate court HAS the sealed Pitchess proceedings? No.

The Court of Appeal says that all we have to do is make a motion under Rule 8.320 in the trial court to have the sealed stuff sent to the Court of Appeal, and then they get it. So it's super secret stuff but in order to be entitled to relief, we still have to make a
motion to have the super secret sealed stuff sent. But won't the ruling on our Rule
8.320 motion also be sealed? Isn't this crazy?

People v. Rodriguez; 2011 DJ DAR 3515; DJ, 3/8/11; C/A 4th, Div. 1

July 23, 2010

CALIFORNIA CRIMINAL DEFENSE: DEFENDANTS HAVE THE RIGHT TO PRE-PRELIMINARY HEARING PITCHESS DISCOVERY

WE DO GET PITCHESS DISCOVERY PRIOR TO THE PRELIMINARY HEARING

This is the case on whether sefense attorney can get Pitchess discovery (11 CAL.3d 531) prior to the preliminary hearing; and whether defense attorneys can get ANY discovery prior to the prelim.

The California Supreme Courtsay that Pitchess discovery wouldn't have made any difference here, so they uphold the denial in this case. But they expressly say that Pitchess discovery is available prior to the prelim. Their point is that there's no express legislative ban on Pitchess discovery prior to the prelim. The only express ban regarding discovery at prelim is found in PC 866, which only bans USING the prelim itself for discovery.

The reasoning here supports us getting ALL discovery pre-prelim, since nothing expressly bars it.

The court notes that nothing changes the previous practice of pre-prelim Pitchess Besides the fact that Galindo himself lost here, the only bad thing is that we don't have a right to continuances to pursue Pitchess discovery. But if we make a sufficient showing for the need for Pitchess at the prelim stage, the magistrate MUST grant the Pitchess motion, and CAN grant a continuance. Even if the magistrate is going to deny the continuance, we are still entitled to the discovery, so we can at least speed up investigating a case by making a pre-prelim Pitchess motion.

Galindo v. Superior Court; 2010 DJ DAR 11347; DJ, 7/23/10; Cal. Supremes


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December 19, 2008

WHAT'S THE

NOTICE OF MOTION REQUIREMENT FOR SUPPLEMENTAL PITCHESS MOTIONS?

Pitchess (11 Cal.3d 531) discovery motions must comply with the notice of motion provisions in California Evidence Code sec. 1043 and California Code of Civil Procedure sec. 1005. You have to give 16 court days' notice of your motion, and you have to add 5 calendar days if you
serve by mail.

OK, your motion is granted. You investigate and now need to file a supplemental Pitchess motion to get the actual complaints. What time limit applies? This Court of Appeal says the same 16 and 5 day requirements apply to supplemental discovery motions.

COMMENTARY: So, this now begs the question....Why should be have to go back, spend more time and money, just to get basic complaint reports because the courts refuse to provide that relevant information in the first place? I find it ridiculous that courts refuse to provide us that actual complaints unless and until we can't get what we need from the initial discovery (which is usually only the names and telephone numbers of the complaining witnesses). Of course, there is no statute authorizing just this limited discovery in the first place. But our fraidy-cat judges are so scared that the cops won't back them in their next re-election, they are willing to violate the Constitute rather than go against the police legal advisors. Now do you know why I just sue cops?

Tulare v. Superior Court; 2008 DJ DAR 18492; DJ, 12/19/08; C/A 5th

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June 12, 2008

SAN DIEGO CITY ATTORNEY MIKE AGUIRRE, AND DEPUTY CITY ATTORNEY DAVID STOTLAND REVERSED - AGAIN - IN POLICE MISCONDUCT CASE

PITCHESS DISCOVERY WIN

The trial court denied this Pitchess (11 C3d 531) motion in a misdemeanor case. The City Attorney argues that the facts are essentially agreed upon, and that the defense justification for
discovery is really just about differences in perceptions.

The Fourth District, Division One, Court of Appeal disagrees, saying the allegations in the defense affidavit that the police beat up the defendant and that the defendant never did a lot of the stuff the police claimed weren't just a difference in perception.

Matt Braner, San Diego PD, was successful appellate counsel. City Attorney Mike Aguirre and his incompetent hatchetman, David Stotland, lost - again. Perhaps they should think about protecting the public from the bad cops?

Uybungco v. Superior Court; 2008 DJ DAR 8444; DJ, 6/11/08; C/A 4th

police%20miscondcut.jpg

August 20, 2007

CALIFORNIA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS MAY FILE SEALED DECLARATIONS IN PITCHESS DISCOVERY MOTIONS

CALIFORNIA CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER NEWS

This is a long awaited win by Orange County Deputy Public Defender Don Landis in which the Supreme Court agreed that defense attorneys are entitled to file Pitchess (11 Cal.3d 531) declarations under seal. California criminal defense attorneys have been waiting with baited breath for this decision.

The court restates Warrick (35 Cal.4th 1011) stating the showing is sufficient if defense counsel articulates that the police misconduct might or could have occurred. The
court says that in light of Warrick, defense counsel won't need to disclose
privileged information. All defense counsel has to do is to simply deny the events claimed by the police.

This greatly aids defense attorneys in our efforts to prevail on Pitchess motions because the courts now are reiterating just how minimal our showing needs to be. If defense counsel decides to disclose privileged information, it can be filed it under seal and
then the court rules on it. The court disapproves Davenport (96 CA4th 255),
and rules that the City Attorney, representing the police officer, is NOT
to get an unredacted copy of the affidavit.

Thisa is a long-awaited and much needed win for California criminal defense lawyers.

Garcia v. Superior Court; 2007 DJ DAR; DJ, 8/10/07; Cal. Supreme Court.

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May 8, 2007

CALIFORNIA SENATE BILL MAY END POLICE SECRECY

Below is the text of California Senate Bill 1019 which would allow public access to disciplinary hearings regarding police officer misconduct investigations. Such information would be made available upon request by any citizen pursuant to the California Public Records Act (Government Code sec. 6250 et seq).

Note: On the face of it, the bill purports to open police officer disciplinary proceedings to the public. However, a close reading reveals that this bill is permissive, rather than mandatory. Police officer associations will surely be gunning to kill the bill. A vote is expected in July.

police%20miscondcut.jpg

Ask yourselves: Why should evidence and investigation into police officer discipline be more protected than disciplinary hearings regarding any other paid civil servant's misconduct? Sustained disciplinary actions of state legislators, doctors, lawyers and teachers are all open to public review. So it should be for the boys in blue who carry guns and are sworn to uphold the law.

------------------------------------------------------------
|SENATE RULES COMMITTEE SB 1019
|Office of Senate Floor Analyses
|1020 N Street, Suite 524
|(916) 651-1520 Fax: (916) 327-4478
------------------------------------------------------------
THIRD READING

Bill No: SB 1019
Author: Romero (D)
Amended: 3/26/07
Vote: 21

SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE : 3-2, 4/17/07
AYES: Romero, Cedillo, Ridley-Thomas
NOES: Cogdill, Margett

SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE : Senate Rule 28.8
SUBJECT : Peace officer records
SOURCE : Author

DIGEST : This bill (1) provides that public disclosure of
investigations or proceedings concerning the conduct of
peace officers or custodial officers will extend to those
conducted by a civilian review board, personnel board,
police commission, or civil service commission, expressly
abrogating the decision of the California Supreme Court in
Copley Press v. Superior Court , 39 Cal.4th 1271 (2006), (2)
provides that any charter city may elect, as specified, to
follow the practices it followed before the Copley Press
decision with respect to the release of limited information
regarding certain personnel investigations, (3) permits
departments or agencies employing peace officers or
custodial officers to release specified information with
respect to disciplinary matters, as specified, (4) permits,
in cases in which a governmental body outside the
department or agency makes a find adverse to an officer, as
specified, and the finding is overturned or the
recommendation is not followed by the department or agency
that employs the peace officer, the department or agency,
in its discretion, to release any information already
released by the outside body, as well as a summary of the
grounds for overturning the outside body's findings or not
following its recommendation, and (5) provides that
information disclosable pursuant to this section shall be
made available pursuant to the Public Records Act.

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