Posted on January 1, 2019

CA Criminal Defense Attorneys Have Access to Witness RAP Sheets

On January 1, 2019, penal code 11105(b)(9)[1] took effect mandating the California Attorney General to furnish confidential criminal records of witnesses against the accused to the defendant’s public defender or attorney or record. The statute however, does not expressly state when or exactly who, will furnish witness RAP sheets, and if it is mandated or must first be requested.

Prior to this law, the District Attorney or other prosecuting agency was statutorily obligated to disclose felony convictions or conduct involving moral turpitude since the defense does not have access to witness RAP sheets. It is unclear whether the prosecution will undertake the responsibility and disclose witness RAP sheets as part of this new law or if it must be requested from the California Department of Justice directly.

This new law will help assist criminal defense attorney’s in the investigation process by being able to full investigate the background of government witnesses. Though this sensitive and confidential information does carry safeguards to prevents the attorney public dissemination.

It appears that the California legislature is broadening the ability for defense attorney’s to investigate the truth of the government’s case meanwhile saving judicial time and resources for litigation over the disclosure of the prosecutor’s witness information.

For more information, or if you have been arrested or charged with a crime, then contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers for a free confidential consultation.

Footnotes:

[1] (9) A public defender or attorney of record when representing a person in a criminal case or a juvenile delinquency proceeding, including all appeals and postconviction motions, or a parole, mandatory supervision pursuant to paragraph (5) of subdivision (h) of Section 1170, or postrelease community supervision revocation or revocation extension proceeding, if the information is requested in the course of representation.

 

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