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Name: People v. Kim (2024) 99 Cal.App.5th 857
Case #: B327473
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 02/16/2024

Trial court erred by denying the People’s motion to reinstate the criminal complaint because there was a rational basis for believing that each defendant committed the crime of filing a false peace officer report. During the course of a car chase that ended in a shoot-out with police, Deputy Kim and Deputy Miramontes’s patrol car collided with Martinez, who had exited the fleeing car and run away. Both deputies wrote reports about the event. After Martinez claimed that the deputies ran him over, investigators obtained residential video surveillance footage that contradicted the deputies’ reports and supported Martinez’s claim. The deputies were charged with filing false peace officer reports (Pen. Code, § 118.1). Following a preliminary hearing, the magistrate dismissed the complaint. The trial court denied the prosecution’s motion to reinstate the complaint. The People appealed. Held: Reversed. Both Deputy Kim’s report and Deputy Miramontes’s report contained false statements about their collision with Martinez and there was a rational basis for believing the deputies knew their statements were false because they had a clear view of the event. The Court of Appeal noted that there was no case law defining the term “material” in the context of a prosecution for filing a false report in violation of section 118.1 and the court determined that a statement “is material if there is a substantial likelihood that a reasonable person reviewing the statement would deem it to be an important part of the police report, and not a trivial detail.” The deputies’ statements met this materiality standard. The evidence was sufficient to meet the prosecution’s relatively low burden at the preliminary hearing.