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What do officers have to disclose to testify as a witness? A ruling today explores that question




Police officers stand guard at a barricade following the sniper shooting in Dallas.
Police officers stand guard at a barricade following the sniper shooting in Dallas.
LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images

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A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge is expected to decide this morning whether or not a man convicted of drug charges will get a retrial.

Defendant Emil Alseranai claims his right to fair trial was violated. During his first trial, the defendant googled the testifying Sheriff’s Sergeant who arrested him. He discovered a civil jury had previously found the officer “liable of using false evidence or false testimony” in a different arrest.

So what parts of an officer’s record have to be disclosed before testifying in court? How much of the burden falls on the defense or prosecution teams? How much of an officer’s record is legally private? What are the reasons for an officer to disclose his or her record up front? Why might an officer choose not to mention a previous accusation?

Guest host Libby Denkmann in for Larry Mantle

Guests:

Jerry Coleman, special assistant district attorney for city and county of San Francisco; adjunct professor of law at University of San Francisco, where he teaches ethical prosecution

Ken Yuwiler, partner at Rains Lucia Stern law firm in the Bay Area