California high court eases secrecy limits on police records
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s Supreme Court is expanding 40-year-old rules for telling suspects when they’ve been arrested by a bad cop.
The justices ruled unanimously Monday that police agencies’ obligation to make sure suspects get a fair trial outweighs the privacy rights of officers who have a history of bad behavior.
They rejected a lower court ruling that blocked the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department from giving prosecutors the names of deputies who previously took bribes, tampered with evidence, lied, or used excessive force.
Prosecutors are required to share that background with defendants, who can then use it to argue that they were framed or otherwise harmed by rogue officers.
The justices also noted that a new law requiring more public disclosure of police misconduct means some police records are no longer confidential.