Reversible Error to Deny D’s Motion for DA to Run Cop’s Rap Sheet!!!

Dear Judge Thomas Maddock, your ass just got reversed!!!

This one straight outta the trenches of Contra Costa County.   Wohooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here are the highlights:

“The trial court . . . denied appellant’s discovery motion to the extent it sought Officer Stonebreaker’s birth date and rap sheet.

….As a matter of due process, a defendant is entitled to discovery of all material exculpatory evidence, including impeachment evidence. (Strickler v. Greene (1999) 527 U.S. 263, 280-281; Brady, supra, 373 U.S. 83; People v. Superior Court (Barrett) (2000) 80 Cal.App.4th 1305, 1314.) Such exculpatory evidence includes any misdemeanor misconduct involving moral turpitude disclosed in a witness’s rap sheet, as well as information relating to whether the witness has pending criminal charges and whether he is on probation. (People v. Santos (1994) 30 Cal.App.4th 169, 178-179 (Santos); Hayes, supra, 3 Cal.App.4th at p. 1244.) Additionally, Penal Code section 1054.1 provides “The prosecuting attorney shall disclose to the defendant or his or her attorney all of the following materials and information, if it is in the possession of the prosecuting attorney or if the prosecuting attorney knows it to be in the possession of the investigating agencies: [¶] . . . [¶] (d) The existence of a felony conviction of any material witness whose credibility is likely to be critical to the outcome of the trial.

The People correctly note rap sheets themselves are not discoverable. (People v. Roberts (1992) 2 Cal.4th 271, 308 (Roberts); Hill v. Superior Court (1974) 10 Cal.3d 812, 821.) While the prosecution need not disclose Officer Stonebreaker’s actual rap sheet, it must disclose the record of a felony conviction and any misdemeanor conviction involving moral turpitude. (Santos, supra, 30 Cal.App.4th at pp. 178-179 [applying People v. Wheeler (1992) 4 Cal.4th 284, 295-296, and concluding misdemeanor misconduct involving moral turpitude must be disclosed “when such information is requested by the defendant and is in the prosecutor‟s possession”]; Roberts, at p. 308 [court erred as a matter of state procedural law by failing to order disclosure of all felony convictions to the defense].) The People concede as much when they state “appellant did have the right to information relating to [Officer Stonebreaker’s] convictions of any felon[ies] or misdemeanors involving moral turpitude” if the information was “ reasonably accessible‟ to the prosecutor.”

Here, “[n]ot only does the prosecutor have reasonable access to rap sheets, he is the assigned doorkeeper. Since the prosecutor has reasonable access to rap sheets, and he has “possession” under [In re Littlefield (1993) 5 Cal.4th 122], . . . a prosecutor shall on a standard discovery request inquire of „the existence of a felony conviction of any material witness whose credibility is likely to be critical to the outcome of the trial.‟ ” (People v. Little (1997) 59 Cal.App.4th 426, 432-433, quoting Pen. Code, § 1054.1, subd. (d)].) In addition, “the birth date of a police officer is covered by Penal Code section 832.8 and can be discovered only by means of a Pitchess motion. (Fletcher v. Superior Court (2002) 100 Cal.App.4th 386, 401-402.)”

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