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California Cops' Internal Affairs Investigation Records Exempt from Disclosure under State PRA

The Press-Enterprise (newspaper) sued the city of Hemet, California in state court under the state Public Records Act (PRA), Cal. Gov't Code § 6250 et seq to compel disclosure of records pertaining to a police internal affairs investigation of a cop's drug use and ethics violations. The trial court ordered disclosure, and the city appealed.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals of California, 4th Appellate District, Division 2, found that Cal. Penal Code §§ 832.5 - 832.3, which created an evidentiary privilege for internal affairs investigations requiring those requesting such documents to show good cause. The Court found this privilege to be implicit in the PRA, and since the newspaper hadn't shown good cause, the Court reversed the trial court's order to disclose the records. See: City of Hemet v. Superior Court of Riverside County, et al., 37 Cal.App.4th 1411; 44 Cal.Rptr.2d 532 (1995).

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Related legal case

City of Hemet v. Superior Court of Riverside County