Kamp, 040683 CAAGO, AGO 81-712

Docket Nº:AGO 81-712
Case Date:April 06, 1983
Court:California
 
FREE EXCERPT
JOHN K. VAN DE KAMP Attorney General
RODNEY O. LILYQUIST Deputy Attorney General
AGO 81-712
No. 81-712
California Attorney General Opinion
Office of the Attorney General State of California
April 6, 1983
         THE HONORABLE H. L. RICHARDSON, MEMBER OF THE CALIFORNIA STATE SENATE, has requested an opinion on the following question:          Where a district attorney does not have court ordered authorization, what legal restrictions are placed upon him under Penal Code section 832.7 in obtaining access to the personnel records of a police officer?          CONCLUSION          Where a district attorney does not have court ordered authorization, he need only be duly investigating the conduct of a police officer or police agency when lawfully obtaining access to the personnel records of a police officer under the provisions of Penal Code section 832.7.          ANALYSIS          The question presented for resolution concerns the construction and meaning of Penal Code section 832.7.1 The statute provides:
"Peace officer personnel records and records maintained pursuant to Section 832.5, or information obtained from such records, are confidential and shall not be disclosed in any criminal or civil proceeding except by discovery pursuant to Section 1043 of the Evidence Code. This section shall not apply to investigations or proceedings concerning the conduct of police officers or a police agency conducted by a grand jury or a district attorney's office."[2]
         We are asked what restrictions are placed upon a district attorney in obtaining access to the personnel records of a police officer where the provisions of Evidence Code section 1043 are not followed. We conclude that as long as the district attorney is duly investigating "the conduct of police officers or a police agency" as specified in section 832.7, he need not first obtain a court order for access to the records in question.          Preliminarily, we note that the Legislature and the courts have generally allowed public access to government files relating to the conduct of official business but not to those files...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP