COURT WATCH: Police Misconduct Triggers Post-Conviction Request to Review Evidence in Old Case 

By Nouhamin Leoulekal and Steph Lopez 

ALAMEDA, CA – The defense here in Alameda County Superior Court last week maintained the prosecution is not providing discovery that could help the defense—a Brady violation—during a status conference hearing.

Deputy Public Defender Jenny Brandt requested a review of post-conviction evidence on behalf of the accused, who is currently serving 75 years to life for homicide, because the public defender strongly feels the accused qualifies for the Brady violation review.

The accused was convicted of homicide back in 2012 and is currently incarcerated.

The investigating officer from the initial trial now faces prosecution for felony charges of perjury and bribery related to a 2011 murder case, where they allegedly manipulated evidence and witnesses to secure a conviction.

DPD Brandt argues in light of this new information about the investigating officer’s misconduct, evidence from the accused’s initial trial should be reviewed. DPD Brandt said she “feels confident” that, upon review of the evidence, the court may uncover a potential Brady violation.

Judge Morris Jacobson stated the status conference hearing is not the appropriate procedural hearing to request such review, and suggested that a motion should have been filed for a discovery hearing.

DPD Brandt acknowledged this to be true, but details the struggle of attempting to access the discovery material from the District Attorney’s office and wants it to be noted on the record.

Despite having made at least 16 attempts to review the accused’s file, DPD Brandt said she has been repeatedly thwarted to gain access to these files, and accuses the DA’s office of “not complying with the constitution.”

Deputy District Attorney Timothy Wagstaffe stated he isn’t compelled to “just poke into the file” despite DPD Brandt’s accusation.

In response, DPD Brandt noted Penal Code section 1054.9, and under that, requests Judge Jacobson enforce the motion to give the defense access to discovery after having proven her good-faith efforts to obtain materials.

Judge Jacobson, however, did not sustain the request, but is allowing the defense to file a reply motion by Dec. 1 with the next hearing Dec. 13.

DPD Brandt agreed, but stated, for the record, “Every day (the accused) is in prison, is a violation of constitutional rights.”

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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