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Name: Teal v. Superior Court
Case #: D043340
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/02/2004

The trial court abused its discretion in ordering the defense to turn over subpoenaed information to the prosecution. The defendant was charged with attempted murder and other offenses after he threw a man off of a third-floor hotel balcony. After the prosecutor failed to comply with an informal discovery request, the defense sought formal discovery of the criminal records of various involved parties under Penal Code section 1054.5, subdivision (b). The trial court denied the request for the rap sheets, so the defense served a subpoena on the relevant law enforcement agencies to obtain records for the defendant, the victim, and two other individuals. The defense also sought motel records for potential witnesses to the events. The criminal records were subpoenaed directly to the court, and the court reviewed the documents outside the presence of the prosecution. After that review, the court agreed to let the defense have the law enforcement records, but required that the prosecution be provided with copies. The trial court also refused to release the motel records. The appellate court first determined that the trial court properly denied the initial discovery request if the law enforcement agencies were not the investigating agencies but were instead third parties. However, the trial court’s order requiring the defense to turn over information to the prosecution regardless of whether that evidence would be used at trial constituted an abuse of discretion. The defense was also entitled to limited disclosure of some of the information contained in the motel records.