What is a Pitchess Motion? | Criminal Defense Lawyer

June 24, 2016

A Pitchess motion is filed by the defense alleging law enforcement misconduct. For example, coercing a suspect to give an incriminating statement, excessive force, or fabricating probable cause or evidence. A Pitchess requires an attorney to submit an affidavit made upon “information and belief.” There is no requirement that a defendant submit any corroborating evidence. Notice must be given to the opposing party and a hearing will be scheduled to determine whether your lawyer has shown “good cause” to warrant an in camera review of the police officer’s personnel files.

In the in camera hearing, the judge will review the personnel records of the police officer. The judge will then determine whether opposing counsel is to turn over said records. For instance, if your lawyer alleges excessive force on the police officer, then complaints alleging verbal harassment may arguably not suffice.

If the judge orders opposing counsel to turn over such complaints within the officer’s personnel file, it may be incredibly useful when putting on a defense. For instance, if the police officer used excessive force against you, it will be helpful for another person who had a similar experience with the police officer to testify on your behalf. This shows that the police officer tends to act a certain way as he or she did in your case. Thus, building a stronger case for yourself.

For more information about filing a Pitchess motion, contact an Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers.

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