Secret L.A. County List Has 300 Deputies With Misconduct

A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department list now includes about 300 deputies with histories of dishonesty and similar misconduct, the Los Angeles Times reports. The list is so tightly controlled that it can be seen by only a handful of high-ranking sheriff’s officials. Not even prosecutors can access it. Amid growing public scrutiny over police misconduct, Sheriff Jim McDonnell wants to give the names on the list to prosecutors.

A secret Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department list now includes about 300 deputies with histories of dishonesty and similar misconduct, the Los Angeles Times reports. The list is so tightly controlled that it can be seen by only a handful of high-ranking sheriff’s officials. Not even prosecutors can access it. Amid growing public scrutiny over police misconduct, Sheriff Jim McDonnell wants to give the names on the list to prosecutors, who are required by law to tell criminal defendants about evidence that would damage the credibility of an officer called as a witness. McDonnell’s efforts have ignited a fierce legal battle with the union for rank-and-file deputies. The dispute, which the California Supreme Court is expected to decide next year, is playing out in a state with some of the nation’s strictest secrecy laws on police misconduct. California is among 22 states that keep officer discipline from the public, but it is the only one that blocks prosecutors from seeing entire police personnel files.

The Sheriff’s Department’s roster was compiled in 2014 to keep track of officers with histories of misconduct that might affect their credibility in court. Times reporters reviewed a version of the roster, dated 2014, and scoured court and law enforcement records for details of how deputies landed on it. The documents reviewed by The Times offer the first public glimpse of officers whose misconduct the Sheriff’s Department has decided should be reported to the courts. The deputies have been identified as potential witnesses in more than 62,000 felony cases since 2000, according to a Times analysis of district attorney records. In many of those cases, the deputies’ misconduct would probably have been relevant in assessing their credibility.

from https://thecrimereport.org