Petition for Factual Innocence California

"In any case where a person has been arrested, and an accusatory pleading has been filed, but where no conviction has occurred, the defendant may, at any time after dismissal of the action, petition the court that dismissed the action for a finding that the defendant is factually innocent of the charges for which the arrest was made." ( 851.8, subd. (c).) If the court finds the arrestee factually innocent, it shall order the appropriate law enforcement agency to seal the arrest records for three years, and then destroy them. ( 851.8, subd. (b).) At the hearing, the parties may offer "declarations, affidavits, police reports, or any other evidence . . . which is material, relevant and reliable." ( 851.8, subd. (b).) They may rely even upon evidence that was or should have been suppressed. (Ibid.) and the court is not limited to reviewing the state of the record as it existed at the time of arrest. "[F]acts subsequently disclosed may establish the defendant's innocence." (People v. Adair (2003) 29 Cal.4th 895, 905, fn. 4 (Adair).) To prevail on the petition, the arrestee bears the burden to show "no reasonable cause exists to believe that the arrestee committed the offense for which the arrest was made." ( 851.8, subd. (b).) "'"'Reasonable cause'"' is a well-established legal standard, '"defined as that state of facts as would lead a man of ordinary care and prudence to believe and conscientiously entertain an honest and strong suspicion that the person is guilty of a crime."'" (Adair, supra, 29 Cal.4th at p. 904.) "To be entitled to relief under section 851.8, '[t]he arrestee [or defendant] thus must establish that facts exist which would lead no person of ordinary care and prudence to believe or conscientiously entertain any honest and strong suspicion that the person arrested [or acquitted] is guilty of the crimes charged.'" (Ibid.) Thus, "the record must exonerate, not merely raise a substantial question as to guilt." (Adair, supra, 29 Cal.4th at p. 909.) In People v. Adair, the court explained a trial court might find "not simply that the defendant succeeded in raising a reasonable doubt as to the victim's veracity but that, in fact, she was lying, and on that basis make a finding of factual innocence that would be binding on review if supported by substantial evidence." (Adair, supra, 29 Cal.4th at p. 906.)