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  #1  
Old 08-24-2012, 6:36 PM
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Default Anyone ever attended a Pitchess motion?

I was given notice of a Pitchess motion several weeks ago. I decided to attended it. It's the first time I've attended one; not that a lot are filed. The defense objected to me going in chambers but the judge overruled her. It was uneventful and nothing was disclosed. The judge said I was the second cop he'd seen attend a Pitchess motion in over 21 years on the bench. Anyone else been to one.
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Old 08-24-2012, 6:41 PM
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I had a few over my 30 years. Only attended one. The defense attorney got all pissed off, as he thought he could lie his way past the judge. It ended as they usually do with nothing disclosed because there was nothing to disclose.

For the record, your agency will have a representative in attendance even if you do not go. Probably a records supervisor or someone of similar status. It's good to check exactly who is your "custodian of records" and maintain a good working relationship with your POA with this person.
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Old 08-24-2012, 7:24 PM
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I have seen several in the judges chambers. Of course I was the judge's clerk so I had to be there.
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Old 08-24-2012, 8:53 PM
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Never attended one of the many I was subjected to over the years. Our department has a special unit that responds to all Pitchess Motions.
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Old 08-24-2012, 9:09 PM
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Been to a few when I was a Deputy County Counsel; also brought a couple of Pitchess motions while I was a certified law student in a Public Defender's office. Usually not a lot in the file that's relevant. File's reviewed in advance, and then brought to the judge to review in chambers. S/he will look through it. Usually nothing there. I would usually meet with one or more agency representatives before the hearing as well to review the file.
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Old 08-24-2012, 9:21 PM
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I went to the first one of the two I had against me. Uneventful and dismissed. The magistrate was surprised I showed and asked me why I did since one of our IA Sgts had my file there. I told him I had nothing to hide and wanted to see how it really played out. He chuckled and thanked me for attending.
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Old 08-24-2012, 9:22 PM
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It's generally a pointless motion that defense attorneys will file for CYA purposes. Even if there is good dirt on an officer, the witnesses that would be needed to testify re. the wrongdoing are often very sketchy characters themselves and hard to find.
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Old 08-26-2012, 6:18 AM
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Saw the notices in my mail box......tossed 'em in the trash. Not required to attend.
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Old 08-26-2012, 2:17 PM
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I've seen a number, but none were mine... I was the bailiff. I can only think of one in which anything was released to the defense.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:24 PM
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I have had many of these "fishing expeditions." Never went into chambers though. Typically its just brass and city attny
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:42 PM
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I have had one so far but did not go. I was on graves IIRC and I was not going to interrupt my beauty sleep to watch our IA guy walk in with an empty briefcase. He always goes in with a briefcase, 90% of the time it is empty. Although there is one Sgt. he has to bring a handtruck of file boxes.
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Old 08-31-2012, 4:31 PM
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I've never attended one either. The rules for a Pitchess Motion are pretty well defined. Unless there's something in your jacket of concern (and you'll know that), the other side isn't going to get anything.

A greater concern is with the impact of Brady v Maryland and Kyles v Whitely. The rules for disclosure of information under those two cases have not yet been well defined. I've had defense attorneys call me as a watch commander seeking information concerning individual LEOs claiming an entitlement to the information under Brady. My response has always been "No". Brady places a duty on the prosecutor to disclose information helpful to a defendant, and Kyles extends that duty to the LE agency, but it's the prosecutor and agency that have the prerogative to make the determination.
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Old 09-02-2012, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by RickD427 View Post
I've never attended one either. The rules for a Pitchess Motion are pretty well defined. Unless there's something in your jacket of concern (and you'll know that), the other side isn't going to get anything.

A greater concern is with the impact of Brady v Maryland and Kyles v Whitely. The rules for disclosure of information under those two cases have not yet been well defined. I've had defense attorneys call me as a watch commander seeking information concerning individual LEOs claiming an entitlement to the information under Brady. My response has always been "No". Brady places a duty on the prosecutor to disclose information helpful to a defendant, and Kyles extends that duty to the LE agency, but it's the prosecutor and agency that have the prerogative to make the determination.
Yes, this one will be huge.

Our DA's office wanted all of our officer's DOBs. They already have our names. They wanted to run our criminal histories to determine who to place on the Brady list. Our department told the DA no and are still trying to come up with a solution. The big problem is that once an officer goes on the Brady list and the DA refuses to take him off there is no appeal. The DA can essentially end an officer's career on a whim.

Our POA folks had a talk with PORAC about the issue and the PORAC attorney's brought up I beleive the El DOrado county DA's office. The DSA backed the opponent to the DA. When the DA won re-election he started looking to bang deputies. He saw that the president of the DSA had worked for an agency for three years before resigning and joining the SO. The DA said that the deputy must have been forced to resign over ethical issues therefore he was going to put him on the Brady list. This was a deputy who had worked for the county for over 25 years. The deputy had to resign because there was no appeal.
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Old 09-02-2012, 2:56 PM
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Even if there is something relevant the defense doesn't get to see the material in your file.

If there is a compliant against you and the complaint relates to the type of behavior named in the motion then the judge will release the contact info for the person that made the complaint.

Defense attorneys have increased the number of Pitchess motions filed in the last 2-3 years. I don't remember the exact details but I believe a defendant sued his attorney for not filing a Pitchess Motion in a case in which the defendant was convicted.

It varies from county to county and judge to judge on what is relevant.
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