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California Supreme Seals Most Police Disciplinary Hearing Records

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  1. Freedom of Information
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The California Supreme Court, in a 6-1 ruling, said that the privacy rights of police officers subject to disciplinary proceedings trump the public’s right to know how departments are policing themselves. The decision said a state law that keeps police and sheriff’s department personnel records confidential also applies to proceedings before local commissions that review an officer’s firing or suspension. “This is just a tremendous loss in the ability to check up on what police officers are doing,” said Duke Law School professor Erwin Chemerinsky, a longtime police reform leader who filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case. (9/5/06)