Supreme Court: Sheriff Can Give Prosecutors Names of Problem Cops
The California Supreme Court has overturned a ruling by the Court of Appeal that prevented L.A.’s sheriff from alerting prosecutors about officers with a history of misconduct. The Court ruled unanimously that prosecutors may be given derogatory information about deputies who could be asked to testify in a criminal case.
The L.A. deputies union previously sued to stop then Sheriff Jim McDonnell from handing over 300 names of deputies accused of lying, bribery, or other misdeeds. In a divided 2017 ruling, they won. The Court agreed such information must be kept confidential.
“In allowing police agencies to disclose the names of errant officers to prosecutors, the state high court tried to ‘harmonize’ state laws that protect police personnel records with a 1963 U.S. Supreme Court case, Brady vs. Maryland, which said suppression of evidence favorable to the defense violated due process,” the Los Angeles Times reports. “Despite strong wording in the ruling reminding police and prosecutors of their duties to disclose, Monday’s decision did not require law enforcement agencies to keep lists of problem officers so they could be readily identified to prosecutors.”
Sheriff Alex Villanueva issued the following statement: