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Name: Barnett v. Superior Court
Case #: C051311
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/05/2006
Subsequent History: 4/25/07 Review Granted: S150229

The appellate court addressed some of the issues left unresolved by In re Steele (2004) 32 Cal.4th 682 in its interpretation of Penal Code section 1054.9, which allows person subject to LWOPP or death to file a motion for postconviction discovery. The court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying most of Barnett’s requests, but did abuse its discretion in denying some. Specifically, the court concluded that the trial court abused its discretion when it denied Barnett’s request for original notes taken by the 22 out of state law enforcement officers who interviewed witnesses who testified at trial. The court concluded that: 1)the Legislature did not intent to require a defendant seeking discovery under this section to prove the existence of a good faith belief in the existence of materials in the possession of the prosecution or law enforcement before the court can order discovery; 2) the defendant does not have to provide the prosecutor with an inventory of every document or item the defendant already possesses; 3) the statute does not give the defendant a right to have the court order duplicative discovery; 4) the statute does not provide a vehicle for a defendant to enforce the prosecutor’s obligation to provide exculpatory evidence they did not possess at the time of trial; and 5) an unsworn denial of the existence of any further documents is not a valid basis for upholding the denial of a defendant’s discovery motion under this section.