CA Supreme Court rules defendants have the right to know of arresting officers’ bad behavior

On Monday, the California Supreme Court ruled that a defendant’s right to a fair trial outweighs the privacy of arresting officers who might have a “history of bad behavior.”

The Court held that suspects have the right to know if the officer who arrested them “has previously been accused of taking bribes, tampering with evidence or witnesses, lying or using excessive force.

The US Supreme Court rulings require prosecutors to share that background with defendants, who can then use it to argue that they were framed or otherwise harmed by rogue officers.

But California has some of the nation’s tightest privacy rules involving law enforcement officers.

A recently passed law requires public access to records relating to an officer’s behavior. The Justices sited this new law and concluded that some law enforcement officer’s records are no longer confidential.

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