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Name: Williams v. Superior Court
Case #: G036362
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 03/31/2006
Subsequent History: Rev. Granted 10/18/06: S145656

A defendant may file a sealed affidavit in support of a Pitchess motion to avoid revealing privileged information to the prosecution and police. Petitioner filed a sealed declaration in support of his Pitchess motion; however, the trial court refused to consider it unless a full copy was given to counsel for the custodian of records. Since nothing in the statutes outlining the procedure under Pitchess prohibits the filing of supporting declarations under seal, the Court of Appeal held there must be a balance between a requirement that the defendant make a plausible justification for requested discovery and the limitations on prosecutorial discovery so as not to force a defendant to reveal defense strategy. Accordingly, the trial court erred in not reviewing the affidavits in camera and deciding whether parts of them should be kept confidential.