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Name: In re De Leon
Case #: B167727
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 03/30/2004
Subsequent History: Modified 4/21/04 & 5/13/04

A defendant is entitled to a new trial where he was unable to cross-examine arresting officers on crucial factual issues. The defendant was convicted of assault on a peace officer and possession of a controlled substance. After testimony in the proceedings regarding the Rampart scandal indicated that the arresting officers might have used excessive force in arresting the defendant for drug possession, the trial court in a subsequent writ proceeding set aside the drug conviction. The court of appeal held that the defendant was entitled to a new trial on the assault on a peace officer charge, as well, because the evidence in the case came down to his credibility versus the credibility of the officers, and he was unable to cross-examine those officers on crucial elements of their testimony due to the evidence that was not discovered until after the trial. The court rejected, however, the defendant’s argument that the two offenses were improperly joined, holding that the issue was not a matter of “spillover prejudice” but a simple question of due process.