California, United States of America
The following excerpt is from People v. Starrett, F077104 (Cal. App. 2021):
Under Pitchess, a defendant may bring a motion for disclosure of certain relevant information in the personnel files of police officers by showing good cause for discovery and how it would support a defense to the charge against him. (Warrick v. Superior Court (2005) 35 Cal.4th 1011, 10181019; 832.7, 832.8; Evid. Code, 10431045.)
When the court finds good cause and conducts an in camera review pursuant to Pitchess, the court must hold an in camera hearing, during which the custodian of records brings all documents potentially relevant' to the defendant's motion. (People v. Mooc (2001) 26 Cal.4th 1216, 1226.) Subject to statutory exceptions and limitations..., the trial court should then disclose to the defendant such information [that] is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending litigation.' (Ibid.)
The court must make a record that will permit future appellate review. (People v. Mooc, supra, 26 Cal.4th at pp. 12291230.) The court may preserve the record by either copying the documents and placing them in a confidential file, preparing a sealed list of the documents it reviewed, or simply stat[ing] for the record what documents it examined and sealing the transcript. (Id. at p. 1229.)
A trial court's decision on the discoverability of material in police personnel files is reviewable under an abuse of discretion standard. (People v. Jackson (1996) 13 Cal.4th 1164, 1220.)
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