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Name: People v. Acevedo et al.
Case #: B220081
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 10/03/2012
Summary

Court may refuse to compel discovery of unredacted portions of documentation supporting wiretap authorization. Appellants were arrested for drug trafficking charges based on the seizures of large amounts of cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, firearms, and cash, resulting from investigations involving court-authorized wiretaps. Following the filing of the complaint, counsel were provided with copies of the wiretaps’ supporting affidavits and reports, but those documents were heavily redacted to conceal portions of what law enforcement agencies believed to be privileged information. The defendants moved for discovery of the unredacted wiretap documentation. Following an in camera hearing under the authority of Evidence Code section 1042, subdivision (d), and People v. Hobbs (1994) 7 Cal.4th 948, the trial court denied the motion to provide all the unredacted documents, but ordered that certain documents should be provided. On appeal from their subsequent guilty pleas, appellants argued that the procedures of Evidence Code section 1042 and Hobbs apply only to search warrants, and that no California court has approved their application to wiretaps. They argued that because the supporting evidence was not disclosed, the wiretaps should have been suppressed. The appellate court rejected these arguments, finding that the trial court correctly applied the procedures outlined in Hobbs, and that the record supported the refusal to require disclosure of the sealed wiretap documentation or to suppress the wiretap evidence. The trial court properly ruled that the privileges and procedures of Evidence Code sections 1040 through 1042 apply to wiretap authorization affidavits. Further, the procedures that the Hobbs decision sets forth apply equally to a challenge to wiretaps.