We are delighted to announce that the California Supreme Court has granted review of the decision handed down by the First Appellate District on August 11, 2014 entitled People v. Superior Court (Daryl Lee Johnson) (2014) 228 Cal.App.4th 1046.
In our opinion, the Court of Appeal decision in this case was a terrible decision which essentially held that District Attorneys could directly access peace officer personnel files to review them to ascertain if there was material contained in the file which needed to be provided to the defense to comply with Brady v. Maryland (1963) 373 U.S. 83.
Writing on behalf of the PORAC Legal Defense Fund and all of its members, and the San Francisco Police Officers’ Association (the jurisdiction where this issue arose) and all of its officers, Mike Rains of RLS urged the Supreme Court to grant review of the Johnson decision, arguing that it directly contradicted an 11-year practice to the contrary which had first been decided by the Second District Court of Appeal in People v. Gutierrez (2003) 112 Cal.App.4th 1463. RLS was joined in urging the Supreme Court to grant review of this decision by Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten and by Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach.
In light of the Supreme Court’s decision granting review, the District Attorney “direct access” to peace officer personnel files to conduct Brady discovery examination permitted by Johnson is now on hold.
Mike and RLS are eagerly looking forward to appearing on behalf of PORAC LDF, San Francisco POA, and all of the individual officers represented by these organizations and arguing against the Johnson ruling, which potentially provides Deputy District Attorneys with access to peace officer background investigations, medical records, and other personal information having literally nothing whatsoever to do with issues concerning their credibility as witnesses in a criminal trial.