Thursday, January 3, 2019

The California Supreme Court Requests Supplemental Briefing Regarding the Impact of SB 1421 on Brady Tips

On January 2, 2019, the California Supreme Court denied Petitions for Writ of Mandate and Requests for Stay filed by Crime Victims United of California and the Sacramento Police Officers Association challenging the the scope of the S.B. 1421 and by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Employees’ Benefit Association challenging its retroactive application.  The Court's denial of the writs did not address the merits of the challenges; Rather, the Court merely declined to decide the issues directly without a lower court record.  As a result, the application and scope of S.B. 1421 will be adjudicated piecemeal in trial courts throughout California.

However, the Supreme Court did order supplemental briefing regarding the scope of S.B. 1421 in Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs v. Superior Court (2017), a case currently pending before the Court.  The court of appeal had ruled that law enforcement agencies cannot provide a so-called "Brady Tip" to the District Attorney advising which officers' personnel files contain sustained allegations of misconduct involving moral turpitude.  The Court granted review on October 11, 2017.  Today's Supreme Court order stated: "The parties are directed to serve and file supplemental briefs addressing the following question: What bearing, if any, does SB 1421, signed into law on September 30, 2018, have on this court's examination of the question presented for review in the above-titled case?"

Presumably, the Court is examining the interplay between S.B. 1421's designation of certain sustained allegations of misconduct involving work-related dishonesty as subject to disclosure under the CPRA with the Brady disclosure obligations pertaining to credibility.