Category Archives: Attorney Generals Office

San Mateo County Sheriff Sergeant Michael E. Otte Committed Perjury, Why wasn’t he charged? Selective Prosecution.

By Michael G. Stogner

On January 4 and 5, 2017, Hon. Judge Lisa Novak heard a motion to dismiss in People v. Rachel Quintana (No. 16-SM-001677) San Mateo County Sheriff Sergeant Michael E. Otte testified under oath that he did not take a video of the arrest on his cellphone. Another SMCSO Deputy NICHOLAS P. Kostielney on February 2, 2016 Filed a supplemental report after the arrest Kostielney stated that “no cellular telephones possessed any video footage of the incident.” Filing a false police report is a crime.

As it would turn out a person at the arrest took out his cellphone and videoed Sgt. Otte videoing the arrest. Also Judge Novak’s Bailiff came up to her and reported that he had viewed the video Sgt. Otte just lied about under oath. Good Job to the bailiff.

January 20, 2017 at a Judges Meeting, Judge Lisa Novak informed the Court’s Judges that she had made a finding that SMCSO Sergeant Michael E. Otte Perjured Himself.

How many Judges attended the Judge’s Meeting and have known from that moment on that at least two San Mateo County Sheriff Employees committed perjury and did not make sure that the District Attorney’s Office Prosecute them. How many Attorneys at San Mateo County Counsel’s Office know this information. Finally how Supervisors of SMC and their staff know this information.

The D.A.’s office does in fact charge some people with perjury, 4 witnesses in the Sunny Day Murder trials as an example.

Also this relationship that Judge Novak shared should be broken up.

She noted the close relationship between the sheriffs office and the court and cited the need to have an unqualified trust relationship with this partner.

 

Judge are the safety net for the public, The public trust is at stake here they are counting on the judges to no allow Prosecutorial Misconduct, or Law Enforcement Misconduct or Misconduct by County Counsel. Why didn’t Judge Novak report Sheriff Employee to the D.A.?

Note: Michael E. Otte is no longer employed by San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under #SanMateoCountyNews, #SMCJUSTICE, Attorney Generals Office, Bill Silverfarb, Board of Supervisors, Brady List, California Bar Association, California State Bar, Carole Groom, Charles Stone, Chief Deputy District Attorney Al Serrato, Chris Hunter, Citizen Journalist, Citizens Oversight Committee, Criminal Enforcement Task Force, Dave Canepa, Dave Pine, David Burruto, David Silberman, DDA Albert Serrato, Don Horsley, Evidence Tampering, Facebook, Google, Government Hiding the Obvious, Grand Jury, Hon. Judge Lisa Novak, Jamie Draper, John Beiers, John Warren, Jordan Boyd, Judicial Misconduct, Michael G. Stogner, Michelle Durand, Mike Callagy, Organized Crime, Outrageous Government Conduct, Prosecutorial Misconduct, R.E.A.C.T. Task Force, Rick Decker, San Mateo County Grand Jury, San Mateo County News, San Mateo County Sheriff Office, San Mateo County Superior Court, San Mateo County Supervisors, Selective Prosecution, Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos, Sheriff's Public Information Officer, SMC, SMCSO Deputy Nicholas P. Kostielney, SMCSO Michael E. Otte, Steve Wagstaffe, Those Who Matter, Victim's Advocate, Warren Slocum

SMCDA Inspector Gregory Giguiere got it right. 6 Involved Parties Okobi Homicide.

By Michael G. Stogner

San Mateo County Board of Supervisors met in Closed Session yesterday Jan. 14, 2020 to discuss settling the Maureen Okobi vs. San Mateo County and 5 of its 6 Employees case.

Maureen Okobi is the mother Chinedu Okobi who was legally walking down the sidewalk on the Millbrae side of El Camino Real at 1:00PM on Wednesday October 3, 2018. After interacting with SIX San Mateo County Sheriff Employees for 9:10 he was completely Unresponsive. When a monitor was put on him 10 minutes later it was Flatlined. At San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office closed to the public Press Conference on March 1, 2019 Steve Wagstaffe was asked by KQED Reporter Julie Small “What was the Manner of Death?” At that point he confirmed what SMCCO Deputy Coroner Heather Diaz reported in December 2018. Chinedu Okobi’s death was ruled a Homicide.

The only San Mateo County District Attorney Employee to Include SMCSO Employee civilian CSO Joseph Gonzales was SMCDA Inspector Gregory Giguiere 80215

October 3, 2018 2:50PM

San Mateo County Sheriff Sgt. Trickett was the Incident Commander at the scene. He identified the “Involved Parties.”

Involved Parties:

Sergeant David Weidner

Deputy Joshua Wang

Deputy Alyssa Lorenzatti

Deputy John Demartini

Deputy Bryan Watt

Community Service Officer (CSO) Joseph Gonzales

So the question is Who & How many San Mateo County Employees/Elected Officials had knowledge and were involved in the False Narrative of FIVE SMCSO INVOLVED PARTIES.

It’s pretty simple if you are willing to Falsify Police Reports, and produce 3 False Sheriff News Releases (Sheriff Carlos Bolanos & PIO Rosemary Blankswade) Why should the residents of San Mateo County believe anything you say or report?

Video prepared and provided by SMCDA on March 1, 2019

7:21 mark clearly shows CSO Joseph Gonzales spraying O.C. that equals Involved.

Get involved San Mateo County Residents, you are responsible for your elected officials behavior.

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SMCDA Inspectors Jamie Draper and John Warren should be on the Brady List.

By Michael G. Stogner

A reasonable person would expect the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office Lead Investigator and his boss to provide Honest & Accurate Information at all times. In the Chinedu Okobi In-Custody Homicide Investigation involving SIX Sheriff Employees that is not the case.

Inspector Jamie Draper identifies CSO Joseph Gonzales as a Witness not a Participant. Why? He’s the one spraying the O.C. spray in the video.

The statement below was provided (Unknown date) by SMCDA Inspector Jamie Draper and approved by SMCDA John Warren.

OMMISSION: Homicide

December 31, 2018 Deputy Coroner Heather Diaz #21 

“I have determined the manner of death to be Homicide.”

CORONERS REPORT SUMMARY

On December 31, 2018 I received the Coroner’s Office Report, prepared by Coroner’s Investigator Heather Diaz. The report included redacted sections related to Decedent Chinedu Okobi’s medical treatment on October 3, 2018 as well as redacted sections related to his previous medical and mental treatments pursuant to 56.10 of the California Civil Code. The “Conclusion Report” by Coroner’s Investigator Diaz included a summary of the attempts by San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office personnel to detain Decedent Okobi and noted Okobi was found be “unresponsive” upon the arrival of paramedics and fire personnel on the scene. It should be noted that this information is contrary to what was scene upon review of the Mobile Audio Video (MAV) footage at the scene and from the statements provided by fire department paramedics who stated they had determined Decedent Okobi had a pulse and was breathing when they arrived on scene to begin treatment.

  1. prepared by Coroner’s Investigator Heather Diaz. Heather Diaz is Deputy Coroner.
  2. The “Conclusion Report” by Coroner’s Investigator Diaz. Heather Diaz is Deputy Coroner.
  3. “unresponsive” upon the arrival of paramedics and fire personnel on the scene. It should be noted that this information is contrary to what was scene upon review of the Mobile Audio Video (MAV) footage at the scene. The video provided to the public by District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe CONFIRMS Deputy Coroner Heather Diaz’s statement.
  4. and from the statements provided by fire department paramedics who stated they had determined Decedent Okobi had a pulse and was breathing when they arrived on scene to begin treatment. Jamie Draper should identify the Fire Department Paramedics by name and what time on the video did that take place, there are NO CAPTIONS and the video DOES NOT support his statement.

On March 1, 2019 San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe held a private Press Conference announcing his decision not to charge the Five Sheriff Employees with any criminal charges. During his 26 minute presentation he Omitted the SIXTH Sheriff Employee CSO Joseph Gonzales and Omitted the word Homicide. That only popped out at the 47:40 mark when KQED Reporter Julie Small asked what was the manner of Death?

That doesn’t seem very Honest does it?

Steve Wagstaffe also stated:“From that point on” approaching the 9 minute mark on the video.” “The Sheriff Office and our review of their conduct is done. Sheriff Office turned him over to AMR.”

The video that Mr. Wagstaffe provided the public does NOT SUPPORT that statement, it shows AMR people at 17:54 mark. not approaching the 9 minute mark. That is a 9 minute difference, not a couple of seconds.

Video By SMC Government

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Political Prosecution Case of former Sheriff Deputy Juan P. Lopez.

By Michael G. Stogner

Outrageous Government Conduct

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Juan P. Lopez

Update: Next Court Date is Jan 9, 2020 9:00AM S.S.F.

Update: Next court date is November 18, 2019 2:00 P.M. Courtroom 8-C Redwood City.

The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office is not to be Political or used as a Weapon. Tell that to San Mateo County District Attorney Senior Inspector William Massey.

A reasonable person would think that the Five Supervisors (Carole Groom, Don Horsley, Warren Slocum, Dave Pine, David Canepa) of San Mateo County would do everything in their power to assure the PUBLIC that this could NEVER happen on their watch.

A reasonable person would think that San Mateo County Counsel John Beiers and David Silberman would do everything in their power to assure the PUBLIC that this could NEVER happen on their watch.

A reasonable person would think that San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy would do everything in his power to assure the PUBLIC that this could NEVER happen on his watch.

I know for a fact that all of the above mentioned San Mateo County Leaders are very aware because for the last 20 years I have been keeping them informed. Public comments at the Board of Supervisor meetings, sending them copies of my articles from SMCN.com. This is a Five year case finally soon to be heard by a Jury.

Next Court Date is November 12, 2019, 9:00 AM, 400 County Center Redwood City.

All concerned citizens are welcome to attend as these motions will be heard.

 

Motion to dismiss for Break of Chain of Custody 

Motion to dismiss for Discovery Violations 

Motion of Brady Violations 

Motion of Outrageous Govt. Conduct

 

 

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Filed under #SanMateoCountyNews, #SMCJUSTICE, Attorney Generals Office, Bill Silverfarb, Board of Supervisors, Brady List, Carole Groom, Charles Stone, Chris Hunter, Citizen Journalist, Citizens Oversight Committee, Criminal Enforcement Task Force, D.J. Wozniak, Dave Canepa, Dave Pine, David Burruto, David Silberman, Don Horsley, Grand Jury, Hon.Judge Donald Ayoob, Illegal Search of Cellphone, Jamie Draper, John Beiers, John Warren, Jon Mays, Jordan Boyd, Juan P. Lopez, Judicial Misconduct, Kevin Mullins, Maria Belyi, Marshall Wilson, Matthew Graves, Michael G. Stogner, Mike Callagy, Organized Crime, Outrageous Government Conduct, Prosecutorial Misconduct, R.E.A.C.T. Task Force, Rick Decker, RICO, San Mateo County District Attorney Office, San Mateo County Grand Jury, San Mateo County News, San Mateo County Sheriff Lt. Andrew Armando, San Mateo County Sheriff Office, San Mateo County Superior Court, San Mateo County Supervisors, Senator Jerry Hill, Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos, Sheriff Munks, Silicon Valley, SMCSO Sgt. Jason Peardon, Steve Wagstaffe, Those Who Matter, Tony Serra, Victim's Advocate, Whistleblowers

The public expects criminal charges filed are Accurate and Honest, Juan P. Lopez case proves that is not true in San Mateo County.

5930cc0f6e151.image

Update November 6, 2019 Juan P. Lopez Declined the D.A.’s Offer & said “Lets go to Trial.” Next Court Date:November 12, 2019 Time: 9:00 AM 400 County Center Redwood City these Motions will be heard.

Motion to dismiss for Break of Chain of Custody

Motion to dismiss for Discovery Violations

Motion of Brady Violations

Motion of Outrageous Govt. Conduct

This Letter to the Editor was not published, That’s 84,000 San Mateo County Residents who won’t see this information. Jon Mays has decided this is not Newsworthy.

Michael Stogner <michaelgstogner@yahoo.com>

To: Editor San Mateo Daily Journal Nov 2 at 6:58 AM

The public expects criminal charges filed are accurate and honest, Juan P. Lopez case proves that is not true in San Mateo County

Editor

November 6, 2019 SSF Court 1:30 PM

X Deputy Juan P. Lopez will inform the court of his response to the District Attorneys Office Offer of No Prison Time if he accepts the deal.

Everyone in San Mateo County remembers Five years ago he was arrested at gun point in front of his son for Smuggling a Cellphone and Drugs to a Hells Angel Inmate at the Redwood City Jail. Big press conference by D. A. Wagstaffe at the time, It was also reported he embezzled up to $400,000 of campaign donations. One small problem with that was he only raised about $400.00. Those charges were all dismissed because of Prosecutorial Misconduct. He is now being offered a deal to plead guilty to charges that came from the BACKPACK that was stolen from his car which was parked at his condo in Redwood City. That theft happened shortly after he filed papers as a Write In Candidate for Sheriff. A search warrant was then created looking for what they already had “Documents that were stolen” Mortgage Fraud the owner occupied box had a check mark in it. The lender never filed a complaint.

Any concerned citizens/residents are invited to join us in court November 6, 2019

Michael G. Stogner

Monterey County

I first met Sheriff Deputy Juan P. Lopez right after he announced he was going to be a candidate for Sheriff in San Mateo County in 2014. I thanked him for giving the residents a choice for Sheriff. I was on the phone with him when he got arrested at gun point at one of his homes. I was with him when the Sheriff’s Office served him with legal papers at his home, I opened the door and greeted the 2 Sheriff Deputies. I was with him and another concerned citizen Lamont Phemister when the Sheriff’s Office ordered him to be at the Gun Range to receive more legal papers. The first time they gave him 90 minutes notice, the second time 4 day notice.

Sheriff Deputy Juan P. Lopez was charged with 14 Felony Counts 5 years ago. The District Attorney’s Office, The Sheriff’s Office and County Counsel’s Office have done everything possible to cause harm to him and those close to him. He has lost 5 years of Income, his last year he earned about $250,000. He has hired 2 Law Firms you can guess that cost is over $200,000.

Now Five Years later the District Attorneys Office Offers a Plea Bargain the day It’s lead Investigator Jordan Boyd was to take the Witness stand. Tomorrow he and his attorneys will inform the Court and all of San Mateo County his response.

I personally think that is Newsworthy I might be wrong.

By Michael G. Stogner

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Filed under #SanMateoCountyNews, #SMCJUSTICE, Associated Press, Attorney Generals Office, Bill Silverfarb, Board of Supervisors, California State Bar, Carole Groom, Charles Stone, Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti, Chris Hunter, Citizen Journalist, Citizens Oversight Committee, D.J. Wozniak, Dave Canepa, Dave Pine, David Burruto, David Silberman, DDA Al Serato, DDA Bryan Abanto, DOJ, Don Horsley, Evidence Tampering, Excessive & Unnecessary Use of Force, Factual Innocence Ruling., Grand Jury, Hon.Judge Donald Ayoob, Illegal Search of Cellphone, Jamie Draper, John Beiers, John Warren, Jon Mays, Jordan Boyd, Juan P. Lopez, Judicial Misconduct, Kevin Mullins, Maria Belyi, Mark Church, Marshall Wilson, Matthew Graves, Michael G. Stogner, Mike Callagy, Organized Crime, Prosecutorial Misconduct, R.E.A.C.T. Task Force, Rick Decker, RICO, San Mateo County District Attorney Office, San Mateo County Elections Office, San Mateo County Grand Jury, San Mateo County News, San Mateo County Sheriff Office, San Mateo County Superior Court, San Mateo Daily Journal, Secret/Hidden Search Warrants, Senator Jerry Hill, Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos, Sheriff Munks, Steve Wagstaffe, Those Who Matter, Tony Serra, Victim's Advocate, Whistleblowers

Chinedu Okobi SMC Sheriff In-Custody Death Lawsuit filed. Key Defendant not included, Why?

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Chinedu Valentine Okobi

Attorney John Burris filed a lawsuit Friday May 31, 2019 representing Maureen Okobi mother of Chinedu V. Okobi who died in Millbrae, October 3, 2018 In-Custody of SIX San Mateo County Sheriff Employees. Four Deputies, one Sergeant and one Civilian. The Civilian CSO Joseph Gonzales was very involved in the physical take down of Chinedu Okobi and can be clearly seen in the District Attorney’s video at the 7:18 mark dispensing O.C. Spray. You will also notice on the Government’s Video they don’t mention CSO Joseph Gonzales either. So he was not investigated period, Why? The D.A.’s Office treated him as a Witness.

Lawsuit 

District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe’s Video

March 1, 2019 Steve Wagstaffe held a private Press Conference for select media, public not welcome. At around 8 minutes into the presentation he stated the Cause of Death by the pathologist to be “Cardiac Arrest”. Reporter Julie Small of KQED asked about 40 minutes later “Do you know the manor of death?” Wagstaffe responded “The Coroner of this County labeled it Homicide.” Why didn’t he say that at the beginning? He went on to say “Homicide occurring during Interaction with that Individual.” That means with the Six Employees.

KQED reported that Dr. Rogers determined the cause of Death to be Homicide. I reported that Deputy Coroner Heather Diaz #21 determined cause of Death to be Homicide.

By Michael G. Stogner

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Filed under #Blacklivesmatter, #SanMateoCountyNews, #SMCJUSTICE, 911, Attorney Generals Office, Board of Supervisors, Chief Deputy District Attorney Al Serrato, Chris Hunter, Citizen Journalist, Citizens Oversight Committee, City of Millbrae, Community Service Officer Joseph Gonzales, CSO Joseph Gonzales, D.J. Wozniak, Dave Canepa, Dave Pine, David Burruto, David Silberman, DDA Albert Serrato, Deputy Alyssa Lorenzatti, Deputy Bryan Watt, Deputy John DeMartini, Deputy Joshua Wang, DOJ, Excessive & Unnecessary Use of Force, Google, Grand Jury, Jamie Draper, John Beiers, John Burris, John Warren, Marshall Wilson, Matthew Graves, Michael G. Stogner, Michelle Durand, Mike Callagy, Millbrae City Manager Tom Williams, NAACP, Organized Crime, Positional Asphyxia, Prosecutorial Misconduct, Rick Decker, San Mateo County District Attorney Office, San Mateo County Sheriff Office, Sergeant David Weidner, Sgt. Bob Pronske, Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos, Silicon Valley, SMC, SMCSO Captain Paul Kunkel, SMCSO Sgt. Weidner, Steve Wagstaffe, Those Who Matter, Victim's Advocate, Warren Slocum, Yahoo

SMC Sheriff Sgt. Irfan Zaidi Qualifies as a Brady Officer. Is He on the List? Who controls the list? Is there even a List?

The law enforcement profession requires integrity and trust and an officer who lies violates that trust and tarnishes the integrity of the profession.

October 3, 2018 at 1:00 PM Millbrae, California, Chinedu Okoki a 36 year old man was walking down the sidewalk on El Camino Real. Within 10 minutes he was Tasered 7 times, sprayed in the face with O.C. spray as six San Mateo County Sheriff Employees were on top of him. He was completely limp, unconscious, and never made a sound again. He died there on the spot in the Custody of the Sheriff’s Office.

San Mateo County Sheriff Sergeant Zaidi was not one of the Six Sheriff Employees involved in the In-Custody Death of Chinedu Okobi. Nineteen days later, On October 22, 2018 he filed an Official Report with the District Attorney’s Office making knowingly false statements.

” I directed Deputy Lorenzatti to remove the metal handcuffs from the suspect which she did, and the suspect was placed on his back. The Fire Department and AMR promptly began CPR.”

District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe on March 1, 2019 provided a video that he and his Team produced for the public it can be found on his website. The placing Chinedu Okobi on his back and CPR starts at the 18:50 mark. The video shows Deputy Lorenzatti did Not remove the handcuffs.

SMCSO Deputy Lorenzatti made an official statement on 10/04/2018 3:50 PM. to Inspector Eric Suzuki.

“They were like, well let’s get him on his back and start CPR, So then I, you know helped em, bring him to his back.

Question? “Okay and were his Handcuffs off at that point?”

Answer: No they were still on.

Eng. #37 Mazza Statement: “When decedent was lifted onto the gurney, a police officer cadet or trainee removed the Handcuffs from the decedents wrists.”

AMR #94 Retanubun Statement: “They put the decedent on to a “Mega Mover” when noticed the decedent still had handcuffs on.” “Saw police cadet nearby who assisted them with the removal of the Handcuffs.”

AMR #37 Uhland: “So they laid the decedent on his back with the Handcuffs still on his wrists.”

AMR #94 Pham: “Decedent was on his back with Handcuffs on when he arrived.”

AMR #37 Holman: “When they rolled the decedent over to remove the Handcuffs, she noticed several scrapes on his hands and a few small abrasion on his back.” “She was unsure if the injuries were there prior or if caused by the CPR application.”

According to Wagstaffe’ Video, Chinedu Okobi was placed on his back at 18:26 mark.

CPR starts at 18:50 mark with Handcuffs On and Hands behind his back.

Handcuffs Removed at 28:47 mark after almost 10 minutes of Chest Compressions.

What caused Sheriff Sgt. Zaidi to file this Bizarre False Official Statement?

District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe’s Video and Data made public March 1, 2019

LATIMES Article June 6, 2019

Note: 300 Deputies on the list. Sheriff Alex Villanueva, has called the Brady list a “fake list” and says it was the result of corrupt investigations designed to retaliate against certain deputies.

Should deputies’ misconduct be disclosed to D.A.?

Justices seem split on ruling that bars sheriff from giving officers’ names to prosecutors.
By Maura Dolan and Maya Lau
The California Supreme Court appeared divided Wednesday over a ruling that barred the Los Angeles County sheriff from giving prosecutors the names of deputies who have committed misconduct.
During a hearing, the state high court weighed an appeal of a decision that prohibited the sheriff from giving the district attorney the names of deputies with a history of bad behavior, including lying, taking bribes, tampering with evidence, using unreasonable force or engaging in domestic violence.
By law, prosecutors are required to disclose to defendants exculpatory evidence, including information that could diminish the credibility of police officers who worked on a case.
Several justices suggested Wednesday that prosecutors need the information to fulfill their constitutional duty to disclose potentially exonerating information.
That position has been endorsed by defense lawyers, prosecutors and the California attorney general.
Justice Goodwin Liu noted that prosecutors ultimately bear liability for failing to disclose favorable evidence.
If the prosecution is unaware that such evidence exists, convictions — even valid convictions — may eventually be overturned because of a failure to disclose, he said.
“The prosecution can’t take an ostrich-like approach to this very important duty,” Liu said.
But Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye suggested that the Legislature, not the court, might want to take steps to ensure that exonerating information is disclosed to the defense.
She said one possible remedy was to give trial judges sealed lists of law enforcement officers who have a history of misconduct. The judges could review those lists privately in chambers to determine whether the officers’ records were relevant in the case and should be disclosed.
“Doesn’t delivering the list directly to the court under seal … meet the problem without intruding overtly on the officers’ privacy?” she asked.
Justice Ming W. Chin also repeatedly asked whether that path, if carved out by the Legislature or by the court in a future case, could resolve the problem.
The case before the court stems from a lawsuit filed by the L.A. deputies union to prevent former Sheriff Jim McDonnell from turning over to the district attorney about 300 names of deputies with a history of misconduct.
A divided, Los Angeles-based court of appeal ruled in 2017 that the list must be kept secret, even in pending criminal cases in which errant deputies were expected to testify.
The state high court’s decision, due in 90 days, would affect law enforcement agencies throughout the state.
The case pits the privacy rights of law enforcement officers against the constitutional duty of prosecutors to give the defense evidence that might cast doubt on a defendant’s guilt, reduce a potential sentence or diminish the credibility of prosecution witnesses.
That duty stems from a landmark 1963 U.S. Supreme Court case, Brady vs. Maryland, which said suppression of evidence favorable to the defense violated due process.
At issue is only whether the names can be turned over to prosecutors, not whether they would become public.
But the presence of the names on a list means deputies could be one step closer to having their disciplinary files scrutinized by a judge and their police work called into question during a court proceeding.
Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuellar noted that the constitutional duty to disclose evidence favorable to the defense trumps state law intended to protect the privacy of law enforcement officers. He suggested the court could “harmonize” the laws.
He called the case “very challenging,” but also noted that “the Brady responsibility is on the state.”
Justice Joshua P. Groban expressed skepticism about the union’s legal arguments.
“You are saying as long as we can bar the door and keep the law enforcement agency from sharing that with the prosecution, then there is no Brady violation?” he asked the lawyer for the union.
Justice Carol A. Corrigan noted that officers whose names were on a list would have less privacy protection than others.
But she also said that a state law intended to protect officer privacy while allowing some disclosures may be hindering the release of information a criminal defendant is entitled to under the Constitution.
Under the system in place for four decades, defense attorneys and prosecutors may ask a trial judge to review an officer’s personnel file to determine whether there is evidence that must be disclosed.
But without knowing an officer’s history, a defense lawyer may not be able to persuade the judge to undertake a review.
“There are cases in which legitimate and material evidence is eluding their review,” Corrigan said.
Justice Leondra R. Kruger asked whether there were legal safeguards that could be imposed to protect officer privacy after the names were disclosed to prosecutors.
Aimee Feinberg, representing the state attorney general, said courts could issue protective orders to ensure the officers’ names were shielded from the public.
Geoffrey S. Sheldon, who argued for Los Angeles County, said he felt “good” about how the hearing went.
“I’m cautiously optimistic that we will prevail in the case,” he said.
Judith Posner, representing the union, said she couldn’t predict the outcome.
“There were a lot of interesting and probing questions on both sides,” she said.
Police departments in at least a dozen counties, including San Francisco, Sacramento and Ventura, have had a regular practice of sending prosecutors the names of so-called Brady list officers.
California’s strict laws protecting officer personnel files — which underpinned the appellate court’s ruling for the deputies union — were dramatically altered by a new transparency law that opened up records of confirmed cases of lying and sexual misconduct by officers, as well as shootings and serious uses of force.
SB 1421, which went into effect Jan. 1, allows the public to see many of the documents at issue in the L.A. County sheriff’s case.
But the new law does not apply to the broader range of misconduct that could put an officer on a Brady list, including domestic abuse, sexual harassment, racial discrimination and bribery.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who ousted McDonnell in a stunning upset last fall, has called the Brady list a “fake list” and says it was the result of corrupt investigations designed to retaliate against certain deputies.

By Michael G. Stogner

 

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