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Name: People v. Gutierrez
Case #: B160082
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 10/30/2003
Subsequent History: None
Summary

Pitchess procedures and Brady. Prior to appellant’s trial for forcible sex offenses, he moved for Pitchess disclosure of information in the personnel records of the arresting officers. The trial court declined to conduct a hearing, finding that appellant had failed to establish good cause. On appeal, appellant contended that the statutory Pitchess procedure conflicts with the principles expressed in Brady v. Maryland, in violation of his due process rights, because they interfere with the prosecutor’s duty to ascertain and disclose material evidence to the defense, and because it improperly places upon the defendant the burden of establishing good cause. The appellate court here rejected the argument. The Pitchess scheme doesn’t trump a defendant’s right to exculpatory evidence as delineated in Brady; the two schemes operate in tandem. The statutory Pitchess procedures implement Brady rather than undercut it, because a defendant who cannot meet the less stringent Pitchess standard cannot establish Brady materiality.