Category Archives: SMCSO Sgt. Irfan Zaidi

Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos on Oversight System.

By Michael G. Stogner

CarlosG.Bolanos

Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos

San Mateo County Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos told the City of San Carlos Leaders “He could not recall an issue justifying spending money on an oversight system.”

Nobody is asking for a System. Carlos G. Bolanos has a history of misleading the public.

Here is just a short list of ISSUES that come to mind.

Sandra Harmon May 05, 2020 Killed by Sheriff Deputies, Deputy Dominguez firing 5 shots at Unarmed with Hands Up above her head. He Bolanos claims she fired her 2 shot shotgun at Dominguez while he was taking cover behind his patrol car which was parked sideways. Not a mark or scratch on the patrol car of the Deputy. He claims Deputy Dominguez did not turn on his Body Worn Camera and that is why there is NO EVIDENCE provided to prove Sandra Harmon fired ANY shots.

At the 8:02-8:08 mark you will see Sandra Harmon Unarmed with hands above her head and you will hear 5 shots being fired at her.

Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos’s video

February 10, 2020 SAL Executive Director Barbara Bonilla was escorted out of her office and is being investigated for embezzlement. She was Sheriff Bolanos’s Campaign Manager in the 2018 election. She has resigned from the Sheriff’s office since Why? She she hasn’t been charged with any crime. She has been removed from State and National PAL Boards.

September 14, 2019 Redwood City Police arrested SMCSO Sergeant Luis Aquino for DUI and refusing to take both blood and breath test. Sheriff Bolanos and David Silberman refused to provide his Booking photo. San Carlos: An additional $50,000 was also approved for DUI services. 

October 3, 2018 Chinedu V. Okobi Homicide in Custody just like George Floyd, No 911 Call, just a Moorehouse Graduate and father walking on the sidewalk in the middle of the day, No crime committed before Deputy Wang got attracted to him a large Black Man he was dead minutes later.

December 31, 2018 San Mateo County Deputy Heather Diaz Coroner “I have determined the manner of Death to be Homicide.”

HOMICIDE PROTOCOL* 36 year old male involved in a physical altercation with San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputies. March 1, 2019 District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe confirmed it was a Homicide at the very end of his Press Conference where he announced no criminal charges would be filed. KQED, CBS5, and San Mateo County News.com all reported Homicide.

One ISSUE was the many False Statements provided to the Public by Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos per his News Releases dated October 3, 2018 and March 1, 2019.

June 3, 2014 Yanira Serrano killed by Deputy within 20 seconds of getting out of his patrol car. It was a non emergency 911 call for medical assistance.

2014 Lets not forget what Carlos G. Bolanos and many others have done to destroy former Sherif Deputy Juan P. Lopez since he filed to run for Sheriff of San Mateo County. Smuggling a Cellphone and Drugs to a gang member in Jail. Sure he did, 100% False Charges.

2009/10 San Mateo County Sheriff Male staff 46 of them sharing Porn and Rape video on County Computers.

April 21, 2007 Operation Dollhouse, Las Vegas Nevada

Regarding Citizen Oversight and or an Audit of his work

Sheriff Bolanos said he was open to but felt removed accountability from leaders of organizations. I have no idea what that means

“I believe they’re dysfunctional primarily because you have people who are not experts in certain fields making determination on what is appropriate or not,”

“With me as an elected official the voters have the greatest civilian oversight and can replace me with someone else.”

How would the voters ever know what he is doing or how he is doing it without an Audit.

You can’t possibly manage what you don’t measure.

 

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Supervisor Don Horsley Embarrassed and Ashamed.Why?

By Michael G. Stogner

Supervisor Don Horsley

San Mateo County Board of Supervisor meeting June 2, 2020 at the 40:10 mark, Supervisor Horsley said “My reaction as somebody who was in Law Enforcement when I saw that Murder of George Floyd I was embarrassed & ashamed.” He went on to say. “I’m not going to bash Law Enforcement.”

BOS meeting June 2, 2020

I have personally asked former School Teacher and Sheriff now Supervisor Don Horsley if he has watched the video of Chinedu V. Okobi’s Homicide by Six San Mateo County Sheriff Employees on October 3, 2018. He has refused to answer my question.

Video created by SMC Government made public 5 months after Homicide

You will notice the Government does not mention the word Homicide. They have known it was a Homicide since Deputy Coroner Heather Diaz determined the Manner of Death to be Homicide on December 31, 2018

“HOMICIDE PROTOCOL” 36-year old male involved in a physical altercation with San Mateo County Deputies.

Supervisor Don Horsley has a long history of saying words that are not consistent with the truth/reality. That includes under oath, August 2, 2004 a Federal Hearing held in San Mateo, California.

The residents of San Mateo County should have the Attorney General of California give a second opinion on the Six Sheriff Employees, Homicide of Chinedu Okobi.

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“We Stand with the Black Community,” Zuckerberg

By Michael G. Stogner

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was quoted in todays LATIMES.

I have to admit, I have No Idea what that means. F.B. Headquaters is located in Menlo Park, which is in San Mateo County, California.

October 3, 2018 Chinedu V. Okobi a 36 year old black man was killed by Six San Mateo County Sheriff Employees while in Custody. December 31, 2018 The Coroners Office ruled the manner of Death to be a Homicide.

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

Deputy Coroner Heather Diaz #21 reviewed and approved 12/31/2018

HOMICIDE PROTOCOL* 36 year old male involved in a physical altercation with San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputies

March 1, 2019 two months later District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe held a closed to the public Press Conference which I attended. He gave a 26 minute presentation on why he was not charging any of the Five not Six Sheriff Employees in the tragic death of Chinedu Okobi. Who had committed no crime before the deputy decided to engage him. He was tased 7 times, struck with baton, Sprayed in face with O.C. spray and dog piled by SIX Sheriff Employees. After he stopped breathing he was sat up on El Camino Real and ignored for about 9 minutes to make sure he was dead before AMR and Fire Paramedics could get to him.

District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe Never mentions the word Homicide in his presentation it’s only at the very end (47:30) of the Question and Answer period when he was asked by KQED Reporter Julie Small “Do you know the Manner of Death?”

A reasonable person would ask since it was determined a Homicide, How is it that no criminal charges were filed against the Six County Employees?

Last week the world saw George Floyd being Murdered by four Police Officers, The United States is Protesting today during a Pandemic because a Citizen was brave enough to try and stop it but also videoed it. The body camera and audio has not been released yet Why?

Yesterday Mark Zuckerberg said “We stand with the Black Community.”

I do not recall Mark Zuckerberg saying One Word about Chinedu Okobi’s Homicide in his own backyard.

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True in SMC Homicide of Chinedu Okobi 10/03/2018

By Michael G. Stogner

This photo was taken at a protest for George Floyd’s Murder. When I saw the Kill Now Lie Later I couldn’t help but think about Chinedu Okobi being killed by six San Mateo County Sheriff Employees and ALL the Lies that followed. The Lie Later could be minutes or hours as evidenced by SMC Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos two News Releases.

Omitting the 6th Sheriff Employee CSO Gonzales
Sherif Carlos G.Bolanos created this lie

Chinedu Okobi was not running in and out of traffic, and did not immediately assault the deputy. Sheriff Bolanos left both of these false statements on the County’s website for 5 months.

The Lie could be 19 days later as example Sgt. Irfan Zaidi “I directed Deputy Lorenzatti to remove the metal handcuffs from the subject, which she did, and the subject was placed on his back.

This is a 100% fabrication by a SMC Sergeant 19 days after the Homicide. Zaidi was NOT involved in the Homicide but filed a false report.

March 1, 2019 60 days after Deputy Coroner Heather Diaz determined the manner of death to be a Homicide, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe and his top management team held this closed to the public Press Conference which I attended.

The Lie later could also be 5 months later and 2 months after it was determined to be a Homicide.

SMC COUNTY D.A. Provides public his highly edited video and reports.

They don’t mention the Homicide. Why?

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San Mateo County Sheriff Video How not to Arrest a Pedestrian.

sheriffsoffice.

By Michael G. Stogner

This Video should be used Nationwide to all Law Enforcement Agencies. The Unarmed Pedestrian was not drunk, had no Drugs in his system and had committed no crime when the SMCSO Deputy first noticed him and made a U turn.

Sheriff’s Office has No Plan on how to detain a large Black man for jaywalking.

Before you start the video notice the Five names listed. CSO Joesph Gonzales not listed. You’ll notice at the 7:18 mark there are SIX SMC Sheriff Employees involved including CSO using O.C. Spray.

Warning to viewer, this video is of the Homicide of Chinedu V. Okobi by SIX Sheriff Employees October 3, 2018 in the middle of the afternoon.

Government Video made public March 1, 2019

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“Unqualified trust relationship with this partner.” Hon. Judge Lisa Novak

By Michael G. Stogner

CarlosG.Bolanos

Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos

In a response to the Commission on Judicial Performance .

The Commission on Judicial Performance, established in 1960, is the independent state agency responsible for investigating complaints of judicial misconduct and judicial incapacity and for disciplining judges, pursuant to article VI, section 18 of the California Constitution.

Somebody filed a complaint against Judge Novak because she notified all the Judges present at the June 20, 2017 Judges Meeting, She had made a finding that SMCSO Sergeant Michael E. Otte Perjured Himself in her courtroom.

The person or persons who filed the complaint was not concerned at all by the fact that a SMC Sheriff Sergeant would lie under oath in her court, the person and the CJP was only concerned that she informed all the Judges who attended.

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.

Lets look at this unqualified trust relationship with the Sheriff’s Office under the leadership of Carlos G. Bolanos.

In-Custody Homicide of Chinedu Okobi three False News Releases. Omitting 6th Sheriff Employee for starters.

San Mateo County Sheriff Sergeant Lou Aquino DUI arrested by RWCPD September 14, 2019 Sheriff Bolanos refuses to release the Booking Photo. Why?

San Mateo County former Sheriff Deputy Juan P. Lopez criminal case going for more than 5 years with the sole purpose to cause harm to him mentally and financially. The public might recall the big Press Conference claiming Nobody is above the law in San Mateo County and Charging Deputy Lopez with Smuggling a Cellphone and Drugs to a Hells Angel member in Jail. Sheriff Carlos Bolanos knew there was No Evidence to support those charges.

These are just three current examples unqualified trust relationship with the Sheriff’s Office under the leadership of Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos.

An older example when Carlos G. Bolanos was Undersheriff 2010 the Brave Female Deputy reporting the 46 San Mateo County Sheriff Male Employees receiving and sharing Porn and Rape Video on County Computers.

It is my experience that Judges in San Mateo County have allowed Sheriff Employees and District Attorney Employees and County Counsel Employees to lie/file false instruments and give False Testimony on a daily basis, this is the Norm it shouldn’t be.

I say you can’t possibly manage what you don’t measure.

Lets find out exactly what happened after Hon. Judge Lisa Novak made a finding that SMCSO Sergeant Michael E. Otte Perjured Himself in her courtroom.

Commission on Judicial Performance Report

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Chinedu Okobi In-Custody Homicide. SMCDA Inspector Gregory Giguiere got it right. 6 Involved Parties

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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San Mateo County News.com Names Deputy Coroner Heather Diaz Employee of the Year.

By Sarah Navratil & Michael G. Stogner

December 27, 2018 and signed off on December 31, 2018, Became public on March 1, 2019 after the San Mateo County District Attorney made it available on their website. District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe held a Private Press Conference where he gave a 26 minute presentation of the Investigation of the In-Custody Homicide of Chinedu Okobi. HOMICIDE was never mentioned.

We at San Mateo County News.com can just imagine the pressure she must have felt for simply doing the job she was hired to do. The amount of other SMC Employees who had knowledge of her Homicide ruling and Omitted that word is shocking.

Congratulations Heather Diaz.

San Mateo County Deputy Coroner Heather Diaz # 21 stated: “Upon arrival of Paramedics and Fire Personnel Chinedu Okobi was assessed and found to be unresponsive.”

“As the death was the result of multiple measures to subdue Chinedu Okobi by law enforcement, and based on the information contained in the Coroner’s Investigation Report, Toxicology Report, medical records, and multiple videos, 

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

March 1, 2019 SMCDA’s Work Product made public.

You will notice the District Attorney and Sheriff’s Office only names five names. There were SIX Everybody knows that.

The only San Mateo County District Attorney Employee to Include 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

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Filed under #Blacklivesmatter, #SanMateoCountyNews, AXON, Bill Silverfarb, Board of Supervisors, Brady List, California State Bar, Carole Groom, Chief Deputy District Attorney Al Serrato, Chinedu Okobi, 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 Coroner Heather Diaz, Deputy John DeMartini, Deputy Joshua Wang, DOJ, Don Horsley, Excessive & Unnecessary Use of Force, Jamie Draper, John Beiers, John Warren, Jordan Boyd, Kevin Mullins, Marshall Wilson, Michael G. Stogner, Mike Callagy, Prosecutorial Misconduct, Rick Decker, Sean Gallagher, Senator Jerry Hill, Sgt. Bob Pronske, Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos, SMC, SMCSO PIO Rosemerry Blankswade, SMCSO Sgt. Irfan Zaidi, SMCSO Sgt. Jason Peardon, SMCSO Sgt. Weidner, Steve Wagstaffe, Those Who Matter, Victim's Advocate, Warren Slocum

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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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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