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Name: People v. Hill
Case #: B176701
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 08/09/2005
Summary

Appellant was charged with attempted voluntary manslaughter of two police officers, after firing a gun in the direction of the officers’ vehicle. Prior to trial, appellant filed a Pitchess motion seeking discovery of police records of the officers. The motion was supported by a declaration by defense counsel describing the shootings and characterizing the police report as false, and denying appellant’s involvement in the shootings. Appellant contended on appeal that the trial court erred in denying his Pitchess motion without conducting an in-camera review of the officers’ personnel files. The appellate court held that the trial court was correct in denying the motion because appellant did not demonstrate a specific factual scenario of officer misconduct which was plausible in light of the pertinent documents. Evidence of appellant’s involvement in the shootings came from civilian witnesses, not directly from the officers. Appellant’s showing was insufficient to satisfy the materiality aspect of Pitchess. Nor did it meet the test of specificity in that there was no connection between the officers’ conduct and the civilians’ statements which identified appellant’s role in the charged offense. Further, the trial court did not err when it refused to instruct on self-defense, as there was no substantial evidence to support the theory at trial. The uncontroverted evidence showed that it was appellant who sought out the officers. There was no evidence of any apprehension of danger by appellant. The giving of instructions on unreasonable self-defense did not compel instructions on perfect self-defense. Finally, appellant’s Blakely argument concerning his upper term and consecutive sentences was waived for failure to raise it in the trial court. Even if it had not been forfeited, the Supreme Court recently rejected appellant’s arguments in People v. Black.