Category Archives: Prosecutorial Misconduct

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

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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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Sheriff Deputy Juan P. Lopez & Zain Jaffer & Matthew Graves cases.

By Michael G. Stogner

 

 

 

 

The public expects when their District Attorney”s Office criminally charges a person that the charges are accurate and truthful. What is the assurance that this is reality. It used to be reporters in the courtroom and producing articles covering the cases. San Mateo County used to have dedicated space in the 400 County Center Building for all the advertising businesses aka Newspapers Reporters to work on their stories. San Mateo County Government closed that and hired most of the reporters.

What if the District Attorney’s Office was used as a Weapon, or a Profit Center? What would it be worth to destroy a political opponent and his close loved ones and associates.

How much could one case possibly be worth to have it simply disappear after it already made its way through a Preliminary Hearing and all charges were confirmed.

What would the ordinary residents of San Mateo County do if they learned that was happening? How would they find out if that was really happening today? Would they look to the Governments website for that information. Would San Mateo County Counsel Attorney David Silberman notify the public if he was personally aware of this happening.

Would San Mateo County Sheriff Detective & Public Information Officer Rosemerry Blankswade notify the public if she had personal knowledge of this happening? Would she respond to all News Media questions or just those approved by Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos.

What would they do if they learned that Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos willfully issued a False News Release as he did on October 3, 2018 regarding the In-Custody Homicide of Chinedu Okobi?

What role do the seven English print media play in informing or not informing the public of Newsworthy events. A most recent example is the Redwood City Police Department September 14, 2019 DUI arrest of Sheriff Sergeant Lou Aquino and for refusing a breathalyzer and blood test which is a 1 year suspension of your Drivers License by DMV for almost all ordinary people. Google it to see how many SMC papers covered that story and what date did they report it.

Yesterday I drove up from Monterey County to attend Sheriff Deputy Juan P. Lopez case in SSF. San Mateo County District Attorney Jordan Boyd was to take the witness stand and explain under oath how he interviewed 49 Witnesses in this case and DID NOT RECORD any of them. After an hour delay and a lot of hem hawing the Judge announced that the District Attorney’s Office has made Juan P. Lopez a plea offer,  which included NO PRISON TIME and therefore Inspector Jordan Boyd will not be testifying under oath. What a relief for the D.A.’s Office.

For any San Mateo County resident you will recall that Sheriff Deputy Juan P. Lopez was arrested at gun point in front of his son for smuggling a cell phone and drugs to a Hells Angel member inmate at the Redwood City Jail. A reasonable person would assume that there was evidence to support those charges. There was not they were dismissed by Hon. Judge Ayoob.

There is no question that SMCDA Inspector Jordan Boyd is a Brady Officer. That is why the County Government doesn’t want him on the witness stand. Think of the Sunny Day Murder cases he worked on.

I invite any and all concerned people to join me November 6, 2019 at South San Francisco Courthouse when Juan P. Lopez and his attorneys Tony Serra and Maria Belyi announce his decision on the Plea Offer.

Matthew Graves is serving an additional 4 years in prison after he declined the District Attorneys’ plea offer. He made a phone call to a protected person a violation of the Restraining Order. That charge was added after he declined the offer to teach him a lesson. He was represented by the Private Defender Program.

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Filed under #San Mateo County, #SanMateoCountyNews, Board of Supervisors, Carlos G. Bolanos, Carole Groom, Charles Stone, Chinedu Okobi, Chris Hunter, Citizen Journalist, Citizens Oversight Committee, City of Millbrae, D.J. Wozniak, Dave Canepa, Dave Pine, David Burruto, David Silberman, Don Horsley, First Chance, Grand Jury, Hon.Judge Donald Ayoob, Jamie Draper, John Beiers, John Warren, Juan P. Lopez, Judicial Misconduct, Maria Belyi, Matthew Graves, Michael G. Stogner, Michelle Durand, Mike Callagy, Organized Crime, Prosecutorial Misconduct, R.E.A.C.T. Task Force, Rick Decker, San Mateo County District Attorney Office, San Mateo County Grand Jury, San Mateo County News, San Mateo County Superior Court, SMCSO PIO Rosemerry Blankswade, SMCSO Sergeant Lou Aquino, SMCSO Sgt. Jason Peardon, Steve Wagstaffe, Those Who Matter, Tony Serra, Victim's Advocate, Whistleblowers

San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley opposes Citizen Oversight Committee. I’m not surprised.

By Michael G. Stogner

Sup_Don_Horsley_portrait

 

The reason I said I’m not surprised is Don Horsley is dedicated to supporting Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos the employer of his son. Some readers might recall that I am the citizen that saved San Mateo County Tax Payers at least $250,000 when I encouraged Supervisor Don Horsley to get back on track and keep his political campaign promise that he reneged on which was to not accept the Supervisor salary if elected. The reason I was so interested in it was he said it several times sitting next to me when we both were campaigning for Supervisor.

When asked by Bay City News whether they supported a new citizens’ oversight body, only one of five of the county supervisors, former Sheriff Don Horsley, responded to say that he unequivocally opposed the idea. Why did the other Supervisors refuse to answer the question?

“I just don’t think that having an oversight body adds anything other than more conflict and I don’t think it would have solved anything” in Chinedu Okobi’s case, Horsley said. How would Supervisor Horsley know?

October 3, 2018 News Release: Below is a list of the names of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Personnel who were involved in the critical incident on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018. Deputy John DeMartini, Deputy Alyssa Lorenzatti, Deputy Joshua Wang, Deputy Bryan Watt, Sergeant Weidner. OMITTED from this list is the SIXTH Employee CSO Joseph Gonzales, Why?

Supervisor Don Horsley is unconcerned with Dishonest behavior by the Sheriff.

One thing Supervisor Don Horsley refuses to address is why did Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos produce this False statement on October 3, 2018. “The deputy exited his vehicle to contact the suspect and the suspect immediately assaulted the deputy.”

This subject was never mentioned over the radio, on the video, or in any reports. Where did Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos get this FALSE INFORMATION and why did he approve it and allow it to remain on the County’s website for 5 months until I asked Steve Wagstaffe about it at his March 1, 2019 Press Conference. He told me “You’ll have to ask the Sheriff Bolanos.” I have and he refuses to respond.

Horsley said that he thinks that the sheriff’s office has been transparent through the investigation and was unconcerned that it took five months for the inaccurate information to be corrected. It was not inaccurate information it was FALSE INFORMATION approved by Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos, It was a LIE.

“I think it was good of them to correct the statement,” he said.

The Sheriff’s Office did not correct the statement they simply removed it from the Website and produced another false statement dated March 1, 2019

Horsley said that in addition to the use of force policy changes, the sheriff’s office has added implicit bias training and the county has expanded its mental health outreach.

“It’s understandable why the sheriff’s deputy thought they had to stop him,” Horsley said. 

Stopping a person is one thing Killing a person and offering NO CPR for almost 10 minutes is something entirely different.

Chinedu Okobi was killed while In-Custody by SIX NOT FIVE San Mateo County Sheriff Employees.

San Mateo County Coroner’s Office ruled Chinedu Okobi’s death a Homicide.

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe at his March 1, 2019 Press Conference confirmed it was a Homicide. He said “The Coroner of this County Labeled it a Homicide.” He went on to say Homicide occurring during interaction with that individual.” That means the SIX Sheriff Employees.

Supervisor Don Horsley knows all of this information and he is Unconcerned and Uninterested.

The March 1, 2019 Lie by San Mateo County Government was Chinedu Okobi died after he was turned over to the Medics and they had him for Several Minutes, Both Sheriff Carlos G, Bolanos and Steve Wagstaffe are promoting that Lie.

I have asked Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos to identify the MEDICS, He has refused.

SMCSO Press Release #2 Okobi Oct. 3, 2018

 

 

SMCSO Press Release Okobi Oct.3. 2018

SMCSO Press Release pg.1 Okobi March 1, 2019

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SMC Sheriff Sgt. Lou Aquino Arrested for DUI, by Redwood City Police

By Michael G. Stogner

Update: 11/14/ 2019 Illegally Appointed July 12, 2016 and Legally elected Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos has still refused to respond to my request or explain why he doesn’t need to. This is a big difference from his 2 emails to me advising me that he really wanted to talk to me in person. 

Update 11/4/2019: Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos & PIO Rosemerry Blankswade refuse to respond.

Michael Stogner <michaelgstogner@yahoo.com>
Booking Photo of Sergeant Lou Aquino DUI arrest
To:SHERIFFS_PIO
Cc:Dave Pine,David CanepaDon HorsleyCarole Groom,Warren Slocum and 1 more…
Oct 28 at 7:27 AM
Hello Rosemerry,
Could you please provide me with that photo or an explanation as to why the Sheriff’s Office does not think they need to.
Can you confirm his Driver’s License has been suspended for refusing the chemical test?
Is he on Administrative Leave or is he on his normal duty?
Thank You
Michael G. Stogner
San Mateo County News.com

Update: 10/24/2019 Congratulations to the Palo Alto Daily Post for their Front Page Story on Sheriff Sergeant Lou Aquino’s DUI Arrest on September 14, 2019. They are the only one of 7 Print Media in San Mateo County to inform the public. The San Mateo Daily Journal placed it on the Website version I asked Jon Mays if he published it in print copy he has not responded. Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos and PIO Rosemary Blankswade refuse to even respond to my request for his Booking Photo.

Update 10/21/2019 There is no blood alcohol result because he refused to submit to a chemical test as required by law. This means for the ordinary resident your Drivers License is suspended for 1 year.

Update: 10/17/2019 Sheriff Bolanos and PIO Rosemerry refuse to even respond to my e-mail request for Booking Photo. Why? It’s public information.

Update: 10/02/2019 9:40PM The court appearance date is October 23, 2019

I know when you read the date below you are going to think this is old News and you are correct. I will say that I am the first News Media to inform the public about it, this is an example of a Those Who Matter case. Special Treatment, What the public doesn’t know won’t hurt them etc. No statement from Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos, No statement and even more important No Charges by District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, Why?

Steve Wagstaffe informed me this morning 10/02/2019 that his office has not received the case from Redwood City Police Department and that would explain why No Charges if it were true, so I sent RWCP an e-mail. Gary Kirk responded RCPD filed the case with the DA’s Office on September 23rd. On September 27th, we received a request for additional information for prosecution from the issuing DA. You may want to call them back to clarify the information they provided. The DA’s case number is 0811082.

September 14, 2019 The Redwood City Police Department arrested San Mateo County Sheriff Sergeant Luis Dejesus Aquino for DUI last week after he crashed a car (not his) the car belonged to San Mateo County Sheriff Lieutenant Victoria A. O’Brian.  Location of arrest was Broadway/Arguello St, which just happens to be where the DSA building is located. The arresting Officers transported him to First Chance in Burlingame where he was refused acceptance reason being he was to “Belligerent”. He was than transported to Maguire Jail where he was booked. He had attended a retirement celebration at the Deputy Sheriff Association (DSA) Building on Broadway Street Redwood City, prior to being arrested. So much for “Friends don’t let Friends Drive Drunk.” or “Let me call an UBER, Lyft or a Cab for you.” Better yet “I’ll drive you home.”

His attorney is Josh Bentley. You might ask why do you need an attorney if No Criminal charges are filed?

San Mateo County Sheriff Office has not responded to my Booking Photo Request.

Redwood City Police did respond to my inquiry of the DUI Arrest of Sergeant Lou Aquino and confirmed it. Thank you RWCPD.

SMC Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos has refused to provide me with the Booking photo. He has remained Silent on Sheriff Sergeant Lou Aquinos’ arrest. Here is what he was saying just two weeks before the arrest.

“Labor Day should be a time for friends and family to come together to enjoy the last days of summer,” said Sheriff Carlos Bolanos. “We need commitment from our community members that they’ll keep the streets free of drunk drivers so that everyone can have a safe holiday. This is a campaign to get the message out that drunk driving is illegal and it takes lives. Help us put an end to this senseless behavior,” he said. 

The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and NHTSA are reminding citizens of the many resources available to get them home safely. “Drunk driving is not acceptable behavior,” said Sheriff Carlos Bolanos. “It is essential to plan a sober ride home before you ever leave for the party. That’s why, during the Labor Day holiday, we will make zero exceptions for drunk driving. There are just no excuses,” he said. 

San Mateo County Sheriff Det. Rosemerry Blankswade Press Release 2 weeks before Sgt. Aquino’s Arrest.

 

 

 

 

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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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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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