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Brady List Bill Now on Governor’s Desk, Veto Request Letters Needed

Bill Poses Threat to Local Public Safety and Autonomy

August 30, 2013
Now that SB 313 (De Léon) is on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown for action city officials are urged to submit a veto request letter immediately.
A sample letter is available online for city officials to use.
SB 313 creates a dangerous public safety precedent in that it prevents cities and public agencies from replacing or reprimanding officers who have been placed on Brady lists. The bill ties the hands of local governments from taking appropriate personnel actions against law enforcement officers. Current law requires state and local prosecutors maintain a Brady list consisting of public safety officer names identified by the department as untrustworthy or dishonest. In some circumstances, such officers have engaged in lying in an official capacity or similar acts that can tarnish an officer’s credibility.
The League has several concerns with SB 313. Cities should be able to take appropriate personnel action when an officer has been placed on a Brady list. If the sponsors are concerned as they’ve expressed about district attorneys wrongfully placing officers on a Brady lists the bill should be amended to deal with that narrow issue. Instead of dealing with the narrow issue the sponsors raise, the bill is unnecessarily punitive toward local governments and ignores the lack of due process in some jurisdictions.
The criteria for who is placed on a list can differ from county to county because sole discretion is left to the district attorney. This means that in some jurisdictions officers may not have any input. Some counties have implemented due process measures.  In Los Angeles County, for example, a panel reviews the case and issues a preliminary decision and the officer has the option to appeal that preliminary decision to a secondary panel. The author may also consider putting into place an opportunity for appeal once an officer is placed on a Brady list.

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