Court rules to protect names of lying cops

You can’t have one without the other. The courts and the corrupt judges sitting on the bench need these lying cops to bring proceeds into their courts.   No lies, no convictions, no money to run a hugely expensive system.  The courts criminal courts have now become a self perpetuating bureaucracy.     Right or wrong does not exist only revenue does. Take a plea , pay the fine and pay the salaries of those set out to persecute you.

“The names of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies who’ve lied, stolen, falsified reports and committed other types of “moral” misconduct are confidential and cannot be handed over to prosecutors — even in pending criminal cases in which the deputies are listed as potential witnesses — a Los Angeles appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The decision by the state’s 2nd District Court of Appeal makes clear just how secret officers’ identities and personnel files are in California. The ruling is also the latest turn in the fight over a secret list compiled by Los Angeles County’s sheriff of 300 deputies whose history of misconduct could damage their credibility if they are ever called to testify in criminal cases.

“It’s a victory for cops everywhere,” said Elizabeth Gibbons, an attorney for the Assn. for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the union that represents rank-and-file deputies.

Last fall, the union sued the department over Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell’s attempt to disclose the names to the district attorney’s office. The union had argued that revealing the names to prosecutors, even in pending cases, would violate state peace officer confidentiality laws and draw unfair scrutiny of deputies whose mistakes might have happened long ago.

The appeals court agreed on the strict confidentiality of law enforcement personnel files. But it left open the possibility that names could be disclosed pursuant to a court order.

California has some of the strictest protections on law enforcement officer records in the country. Discipline hearings, personnel files and even the names of officers accused in internal affairs investigations are secret.

“Notifying an outside agency, even a prosecutor’s office, that a deputy has an administratively founded allegation of misconduct involving moral turpitude cannot be characterized as anything other than disclosing information obtained from the peace officer’s personnel file,” the court said in its opinion.

But some advocates for police transparency slammed the decision.

“There should not be greater concern for protecting officers with histories of lying, domestic abuse, evidence tampering and other immoral conduct from public scrutiny than for ensuring that individuals accused of crimes receive a fair trial,” said Melanie Ochoa, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.

The ACLU, along with other advocacy groups, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in March, asking the appeals court to reject the deputies union’s request that none of the names of problem deputies be sent to prosecutors.

Brady vs. Maryland

McDonnell’s effort to send deputies’ names to prosecutors had nothing to do with recommending that the officers be charged with crimes, the department contended. Instead it would have been a heads-up to the district attorney’s office that the deputies were potentially vulnerable to attacks on their credibility if they were ever called to testify, and that prosecutors would potentially have to alert defense attorneys about the names.

Under the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brady vs. Maryland, prosecutors are obligated to alert defendants to any evidence that could aid the defense. That evidence includes information that could undermine an officer’s credibility. Not doing so could result in wrongful convictions.

Right now, police agencies in at least a dozen counties in California regularly do precisely what McDonnell was attempting. Some departments, including those in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura, have been giving prosecutors the names of problem officers for well over a decade.

Legal experts say Tuesday’s decision could begin to change that.

Although the ruling pertains to the Sheriff’s Department, analysts say it could embolden police unions across the state to refuse a prosecutor’s request to identify problematic officers who might be called as witnesses.”

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-brady-decision-20170612-story.html

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