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Name: People v. Lewis
Case #: A120636
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 04/13/2009

A surveillance location was not material for purposes of the government-information privilege. During appellant’s trial for cocaine sale, the prosecution introduced testimony concerning what a police officer observed from a surveillance location, but declined to identify the location, citing Evidence Code section 1042, the government-information privilege. On appeal from his conviction, appellant argued that the identity of the location was material, and therefore the trial court should have stricken the officer’s testimony. The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed. The surveillance location was not material because the police officer’s testimony was corroborated by independent evidence. There was no realistic possibility that disclosing the location would have enabled appellant to raise a reasonable doubt concerning the veracity of the testimony. The test of materiality is not simply relevance; it is whether the nondisclosure might deprive the defendant of his due process right to a fair trial.