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Name: Catlin v. Superior Court
Case #: S167148
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 01/27/2011

A motion for post-conviction discovery filed under Penal Code section 1054.9 does not have a timeliness requirement. Section 1054.9 allows a person subject to LWOP or death to file a motion for post-conviction discovery. The appellate court interpreted section 1054.9 to include a requirement that the motion be filed within a reasonable time. The Supreme Court granted review to decide if the statute includes such a requirement, and concluded it does not. The statute says that “on a showing that good faith efforts to obtain discovery material from trial counsel were made and were unsuccessful, the court shall … order” discovery. While the text of the statute contains a good-faith effort requirement, it has no language on timeliness. The legislative history is consistent with this conclusion. When the bill was introduced, the Attorney General expressed concern about the lack of time limits, but the Legislature chose not to address this concern in the amended bill, and instead addressed only the other concern expressed by the Department of Justice.