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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    26

    Default Discovery Runaround - Los Angeles County California

    My question is about traffic court in California, LA County to be specific. The cite was issued in Granada Hills for a 22349 violation.

    An informal discovery request for officers notes and traffic survey data was submitted by mail to the citing officer's LAPD station address and the DA at:

    District Attorney's Office
    County of Los Angeles
    210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000
    Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210

    About 9 days into the 20 day time limit, the DA responded with a 2-page letter citing some case-law and other legalease. The last paragraph states "Based on decisions in Carlucci, Daggett and Kottmeier, the Los Angeles County District Attorney adopted a policy of not appearing on traffic infraction matters. Consequently, we are not the proper party to process your discovery request. Instead, we suggest you send your request to the issuing agency."

    No surprise there, that was expected.

    At 19 days into the limit the citing agency's chief of police sent a letter saying "Your request was forwarded to my office from the Los Angeles Police Dept's Valley Traffic Division. ... I am unable to comply with your request. In accordance with Penal Code Section 1054, pre-trial discovery must be requested from the prosecutor. Therefore, your request has been forwarded to the City of Los Angeles, Office of the City Attorney, Pre-Trial Discovery Unit, at the address listed below. They are the entity that processes all requests for pre-trial discovery information related to this case."

    So, it's more than 20 days since the discovery request was sent, and none of the information requested has been received. About 25 days remain before a decision on plea is due. One extension request was made already.

    "Fight your ticket and win in California" has a section for a motion to preclude the officer's use of notes and traffic survey data when the information is not provided within the 20 day limit (for mailed requests, 15 for hand delivered). I'm not sure this situation falls into that category.

    What are the next steps?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    1,628

    Default Re: Discovery Runaround - La County California

    How funny!!! The cop is right!! But, the boneheaded DA incorrectly cites the case law. I have seen this before. These cases simply say that the absence of a prosecutor does not violate the defendant's right to due process. They say NOTHING about relieving the prosecutor of ANY statutory responsibility. So, the proecutor says ask the cops, the cops say ask the prosecutor. Hillarious.

    I'd send both letters to the court along with a motion to compel the prosecutor as he is the one required by law to provide the discovery. When the court ignores it (and they will), you show up to court with all of it and ask very loudly, "who in the government is actually responsible for anything???"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Discovery Runaround - La County California

    EWYLTJ, thank you. I saw your reply in the other thread about discovery as well... regarding 1054, and who is the prosecutor.

    This shuffling of responsibility appears to be used to frustrate the citizen. It's working.

    There is an example of a very thorough "Motion to Preclude/Compel" in "the book" which appears to be the correct one to use. Can a Trial by Written Declaration still be used IF a motion is filed? It's unclear since a hearing appears to be required when filing a motion.

    One would prefer to have their cake and eat it too... TBD with possibility of a Trial de Novo as well. Can motions be filed without giving up the right to a TBD?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Discovery Runaround - La County California

    At this point you'd be entirely justified in making a motion to dismiss for failure to comply with discovery. If that's denied, then proceed ahead with motions to compel discovery. It's all up to the judge, but there an okay chance they'll dismiss the case rather than waste court time and money in fixing the prosecution of such a minor matter.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    1,628

    Default Re: Discovery Runaround - La County California

    Quote Quoting HonkingAntelope
    View Post
    At this point you'd be entirely justified in making a motion to dismiss for failure to comply with discovery. If that's denied, then proceed ahead with motions to compel discovery. It's all up to the judge, but there an okay chance they'll dismiss the case rather than waste court time and money in fixing the prosecution of such a minor matter.
    The problem is that the penal code does not give dismissal as a remedy for failure to provide discovery. However, you could move for dismissal based on failure to prosecute. If that fails, then move to have all materials asked for in discovery disallowed into evidence.

    Make no mistake about it... California RELIES on the ignorance, apathy, and the frustration of the public to pad its coffers in fines from illegal convictions. Don't let them get away with it. Go forward and zealously represent yourself.

    The TBWD doesn't preclued anything. You will probably be found guilty in that, so if you are, just go get a copy of the cop's statement for use in the trial de novo.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Discovery Runaround - La County California

    That's where judicial discretion comes in. The law doesn't require courts to dismiss all cases where the cop doesn't show up. In practice, almost all courts will routinely dismiss all such cases for failure to prosecute unless the offense is particularly egregious.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    1,628

    Default Re: Discovery Runaround - Los Angeles County California

    Well, I certainly agree that it doesn't hurt to ask!!!

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