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Name: City of Tulare v. Superior Court
Case #: F055535
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/17/2008

A subsequent Pitchess motion filed by the defense must comply with the same notice requirements as a first properly noticed motion. The trial court granted defense counsel’s first Pitchess motion by ordering discovery of contact information of complainants and witnesses related to complaints of excessive force by the police officers involved in the case. Defense counsel later told the court that contact information had been inadequate to investigate the matter and that he would be seeking discovery of the individual complaints. The City of Tulare objected to the supplemental Pitchess request on the basis of lack of proper notice. After the court ordered disclosure of the requested material on the theory the request was an extension of the original Pitchess request, the city filed a writ of mandate. The Court of Appeal granted mandate relief. It rejected the idea that the material requested here was more than a continuation of the first motion, but rather it sought additional, previously undisclosed information based on new facts. The court noted the notice requirements for the filing of a Pitchess motion are a means of carrying out the Legislature’s intent to protect an officer’s privacy interest to the fullest extent possible while still protecting a party’s right to a fair trial. Failure to follow them would allow a party to request another level of discovery based only on an untested declaration that more information is needed.