A list of names of about 300 Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who have engaged in serious misconduct will remain confidential and cannot be given to prosecutors, a state appeals court panel ruled.
The decision by the 2nd District Court of Appeal panel was a victory for deputies who argued that producing the names would infringe on the confidentiality rights of peace officers.
“While the court took no action regarding internal lists created by the Sheriff’s Department or the department’s newly proposed Brady policy issued during the pendency of the case, the ruling was a clear statement that long established court procedures for outside parties to access the personnel records of deputies are constitutional and must be followed, said Ron Hernandez, president of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the union representing deputy sheriffs and district attorney investigators.
“We are pleased that the court recognized that ALADS is correct that the names of peace officers are confidential and not subject to disclosure absent a Pitchess motion when connected or linked with the officer’s discipline under Copley Press, POST, and Long Beach.”
In January, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant found that providing the list would clash with state law, but he allowed the LASD to turn over names of problem deputies who might be scheduled to testify in an upcoming criminal case.
The appellate panel’s ruling, however, blocked the revelation of any names to prosecutors.
Activist groups Dignity and Power Now and the Coalition to End Sheriff Violence in L.A. Jails blasted the court’s decision.
“Denying disclosure of the list of Los Angeles County sheriffs deputies
to the District Attorney’s Office of those who have a history of misconduct
impacts the safety of the community the county is entrusted to protect,”
according to the groups.
“We believe that under the law, prosecutors in California have an
obligation to hand over any evidence that could help the defense, even if that
evidence undermines a deputies credibility.”
Sheriff’s deputies on the list were notified by the department in October.