Arrest Record Request to Prove Police Misconduct In California

The County of Los Angeles v. Superior Court (1993) 18 Cal. App. 4th 588 22 Cal. Rptr. 2d 409 (Kusar) court, after reviewing the statute's legislative history, concluded that "the records to be disclosed under section 6254, subdivision (f)(1) and (2), are limited to current information and records of the matters described in the statute and which pertain to contemporaneous police activity." (Kusar, supra, 18 Cal. App. 4th at p. 601.) In reaching its conclusion, the court noted that although Kusar's "request was phrased as a request for arrest information, not as one for information regarding complaints against police officers, there could be little doubt the ultimate purpose of the request was to discover indirectly information of the kind governed by these statutes (Pen. Code, 832.5, 832.7 and 832.8, together with 1043 through 1046 of the Evid. Code)" which regulate the maintenance and disclosure of historical information of the kind sought by Kusar. (Id. at pp. 599-600.) The court then noted that these statutes "set forth detailed and careful procedures to assure that the sensitive information contained in records relating to allegations of police misconduct will be disclosed only upon a showing of manifest necessity." (Kusar, supra, at p. 600.) The court concluded that "such procedures would be nullified if, as Kusar argues, the same information, or information leading to it, could be obtained as a matter of right through the California Public Records Act. Obviously, we cannot construe section 6254, subdivision (f) to require such a result." (Ibid.) Kusar holds that section 6254, subdivision (f) may not be interpreted in a way that would allow a California Public Records Act requestor to obtain documents which, if disclosed, would nullify Evidence Code sections enacted to protect against disclosure of confidential peace officer information. (Kusar, supra, 18 Cal. App. 4th at p. 600.) To allow such a construction would, according to the Kusar court, "authorize the circumvention of rulings of a court made pursuant to important discovery statutes." (Ibid..) Consistent with the holding in Kusar is City of Richmond v. Superior Court (1995) 32 Cal. App. 4th 1430 38 Cal. Rptr. 2d 632. There, a newspaper sought information from investigations on citizens' complaints filed with a police department. (Id. at p. 1432.) The court, accepting the reasoning of Kusar, stated: "Unlike the secretary in Kusar, the newspaper is not conducting an end run around the procedures set forth in Evidence Code sections 1043 and 1046. the newspaper, through its investigative reporter, made a legitimate public record request, to which California Public Records Act procedures apply." (Id. at p. 1440.)