Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
California Court: Old Police Misconduct Records Are Public
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 5 years ago on
April 3, 2019

Share

SACRAMENTO — Law enforcement agencies in California must release police misconduct records even if the behavior occurred before a new transparency law took effect, a state court of appeals has ruled.

“These records are absolutely essential for the public to be able to see what the police departments are doing with respect to police misdoubt. These agencies have enormous power over Californians and so transparency of those agencies is absolutely essential in order to be able to hold them accountable.” — David Snyder of the First Amendment Coalition
The 1st District Court of Appeal’s decision released Friday settles for now a debate over whether records created before Jan. 1, when the law took effect, were subject to disclosure. Many police unions have sued to block the records release, while public information advocates argued the records should be disclosed.
The ruling applies to police agencies statewide, including the attorney general’s office, unless another appellate court steps in and rules differently, said David Snyder of the First Amendment Coalition.
“These records are absolutely essential for the public to be able to see what the police departments are doing with respect to police misdoubt,” said Snyder, whose group intervened in the case. “These agencies have enormous power over Californians and so transparency of those agencies is absolutely essential in order to be able to hold them accountable.”
At least one agency reversed its prior decision to deny access to old records after the ruling came in. Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said he would release records dating back five years after reading the court of appeal’s decision, the Sacramento Bee reported.
Mike Rains, an attorney for the Walnut Creek Police Officers Association and other police agencies seeking to block the disclosure, said he doesn’t see the decision as setting precedent on the merits of the case but that agencies are likely to take guidance from it unless another court rules differently.

Release of the Records Does Not Change the Legal Consequences

His clients do not have an issue with releasing records of misconduct produced after Jan. 1, Rains said, but see the release of old records as a privacy violation.

“Police officers used to have a privacy right. We don’t believe it changes the rights of privacy to those records that were created prior to Jan. 1.” — Mike Rains, an attorney for the Walnut Creek Police Officers Association
“Police officers used to have a privacy right,” he said. “We don’t believe it changes the rights of privacy to those records that were created prior to Jan. 1.”
California lawmakers voted last year to require police agencies to release records on police shootings and officer misconduct to the public. Police unions had sought to block old records, with some law enforcement agencies even destroying them. Attorney General Xavier Becerra also declined to release records from his office, saying the intent of the law need to be clarified by the courts.
The appeals court ruled on March 12 but only made the opinion public Friday.
The rulings by a panel of three justices said the old records can be released because the action triggering their release — a request for public information by reporters or others — occurs after Jan. 1. The justices also noted the release of the records does not change the legal consequences for officers already found to have engaged in misconduct.
“The new law changes only the public’s right to access peace officer records,” the justices wrote.

DON'T MISS

Dodgers’ Teoscar Hernández Wins the Home Run Derby

DON'T MISS

Border Arrests Plunge 29% in June to the Lowest of Biden’s Presidency as Asylum Halt Takes Hold

DON'T MISS

NYT: Our Reporter on Donald Trump’s V.P. Pick

DON'T MISS

LeBron James at 39 Still Is the Center of Attention for USA Basketball. That Won’t Change in Paris

DON'T MISS

A Teamsters Boss Delivers Rare Speech to RNC

DON'T MISS

Jack Black Ends Tenacious D Tour After Bandmate’s Trump Shooting Comment

DON'T MISS

JD Vance on the Issues, From Abortion to the Middle East

DON'T MISS

Local Film ‘Camp Terror’ Hits the Streaming Services

DON'T MISS

Man Dies After Rescuing His 2 Children in Mississippi River

DON'T MISS

Is Inflation Finally Corralled? Powell Says Federal Reserve Believes It’s Close

UP NEXT

Man Dies After Rescuing His 2 Children in Mississippi River

UP NEXT

Biden Says It Was a Mistake to Say He Wanted to Put Trump in a ‘Bull’s-Eye’

UP NEXT

Trump Receives Enough Delegate Votes to Officially be Republicans’ Nominee

UP NEXT

Gov. Gavin Newsom: California Leads Nation in Economic Growth and Expansion

UP NEXT

What to Know About the Attempt on Trump’s Life and Its Aftermath

UP NEXT

Steve Garvey Visited Israel, but Will It Win Over California Voters in Senate Race Against Schiff?

UP NEXT

GOP Convention Protests on Despite Shooting at Trump Rally

UP NEXT

What We Know About the Trump Rally Shooting Victims So Far

UP NEXT

CA Lawmakers’ Safety Gets New Attention After Trump Shooting

UP NEXT

Federal Judge Dismisses Trump Classified Documents Case Over Prosecutor Appointment Concerns

LeBron James at 39 Still Is the Center of Attention for USA Basketball. That Won’t Change in Paris

24 mins ago

A Teamsters Boss Delivers Rare Speech to RNC

29 mins ago

Jack Black Ends Tenacious D Tour After Bandmate’s Trump Shooting Comment

41 mins ago

JD Vance on the Issues, From Abortion to the Middle East

57 mins ago

Local Film ‘Camp Terror’ Hits the Streaming Services

4 hours ago

Man Dies After Rescuing His 2 Children in Mississippi River

14 hours ago

Is Inflation Finally Corralled? Powell Says Federal Reserve Believes It’s Close

15 hours ago

New Village Green Park Opens in Loma Vista as Clovis Community Hub

15 hours ago

Gomez Guilty of Murdering Los Hooligans Bass Player

15 hours ago

Biden Says It Was a Mistake to Say He Wanted to Put Trump in a ‘Bull’s-Eye’

15 hours ago

Dodgers’ Teoscar Hernández Wins the Home Run Derby

ARLINGTON — When Teoscar Hernández needed a moment to calm down during the Home Run Derby, the Los Angeles Dodgers slugger got a boost from ...

1 min ago

1 min ago

Dodgers’ Teoscar Hernández Wins the Home Run Derby

7 mins ago

Border Arrests Plunge 29% in June to the Lowest of Biden’s Presidency as Asylum Halt Takes Hold

12 mins ago

NYT: Our Reporter on Donald Trump’s V.P. Pick

24 mins ago

LeBron James at 39 Still Is the Center of Attention for USA Basketball. That Won’t Change in Paris

29 mins ago

A Teamsters Boss Delivers Rare Speech to RNC

41 mins ago

Jack Black Ends Tenacious D Tour After Bandmate’s Trump Shooting Comment

57 mins ago

JD Vance on the Issues, From Abortion to the Middle East

4 hours ago

Local Film ‘Camp Terror’ Hits the Streaming Services

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend