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Name: People v. Medlin
Case #: B209614
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 10/29/2009

Absent a finding by the court that reasonable cause exists to believe that the person arrested committed the offense for which the arrest was made, the person is not entitled to a finding of factual innocence under Penal Code section 851.8. Under Penal Code section 851.8, an acquitted defendant may petition the court for the sealing and destruction of any arrest records relating to the charge. The court then holds a hearing at which petitioner has the initial burden of proof to show that no reasonable cause exists to believe that he committed the charged offense. If he does so, the burden then shifts to the prosecution to respond. Evidence may consist of declarations, affidavits, police reports, or any other evidence which is material, relevant and reliable, including evidence previously suppressed. Acquittal of the charge of the offense alone does not prove innocence. Here, appellants, the medical director and licensed vocational nurse of a care facility, were acquitted of dependent adult abuse of the patient in their care. Following the acquittal, the court granted their request for a finding of factual innocence. On the People’s appeal, the court reversed, finding that evidence presented at trial provided reasonable cause to believe appellants were criminally negligent, notwithstanding the jury verdict.