The Sheriff has made an ill-advised decision to cave to outside groups and appeal a well-reasoned Appellate Court decision affirming Pitchess procedures comply with Brady, and are the proper and constitutional process which must be followed by the department. Sheriff McDonnell's claim that the decision did not provide the "clarity" needed regarding Pitchess is inaccurate; it provided a clarity he disagrees with, as demonstrated by his inaccurate assertion criminal cases will be imperiled if he doesn't appeal. Had the Sheriff's assertion been true, his position would not have been soundly rejected by the Appeals Court.
ALADS filed suit following the Sheriff's invention of his "Brady list" so that our members and their families could continue to enjoy the privacy that is guaranteed to all employees. The July 11, 2017 Court of Appeal decision in ALADS v. Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles, could not be clearer, more concise, or more grounded in past Supreme Court decisions in upholding that privacy right. As the court noted, the interpretation given to the Pitchess statutes was predicated on over 40 years of appellate and supreme court law, with the justices stating quite clearly that Pitchess is the ONLY mechanism by which law enforcement personnel files and the contents thereof can be released.
As important as our concerns about invasions of privacy are, the fact that this list is a product of seriously flawed processes by which the department determines there has been wrongdoing by a deputy. Political considerations, bias, grudges, faulty analysis, and outright misrepresentation have plagued the Sheriff's Department's investigatory and disciplinary process for decades and the result has been a staggering 60% reversal of department findings upon appeal to the Civil Service Commission and other neutral third-parties.
Two courts have now told Sheriff McDonnell he is wrong; if the Supreme Court accepts review, then that will be the final word. There are far reaching personal and professional consequences for an employee to be wrongfully labeled by the Sheriff's Department's flawed disciplinary process as a problematic deputy and placed on the Sheriff's Brady list. It is for those reasons that ALADS has, and will continue, to use the legal process to ensure our members' privacy rights are not invaded for purposes of political gain.