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Name: People v. C.S.A.
Case #: A122776
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 01/29/2010

Law enforcement officers do not have the authority to promise a defendant a dismissal of a criminal charge in exchange for cooperation. Defendant and police officers entered into an agreement whereby he would provide them information and in exchange his pending charges would “go away.” Based on this cooperation agreement, the trial court granted defendant’s pretrial motion to dismiss. The prosecution appealed and the appellate court reversed. Prosecutors, not police, are vested with the prosecutorial power of the state. The police power to investigate does not encompass the power to grant immunity. Since the police had no authority to make this agreement, it was unauthorized and would not be enforced. The court recognized there was a narrow exception for enforcing an unauthorized cooperation agreement on due process grounds where a defendant detrimentally relied on it and gave up a constitutional right as a result. But that was not the case here. It was defendant who offered information to police, and the information incriminated only others, not himself, so the right against self incrimination had not been implicated.