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Iggy Awards
Iggy Award

Commissioner Gregory H. Saldivar

Defendant was cited for a violation of Vehicle Code 22350 (50 entering into a 35mph zone, actually only about a few hundred feet of the adjacent 45 mph zone according to the officer's testimony).

Defendant sent a discovery request and asked/obtained from the court clerk a continuance in order to give time for a reply he had received exceptionally short notice of his trial de novo date, only 11 days.

Twelve days later (and 10 days before the continued trial date) defendant received a reply asking for a $10 fee to be paid first. Defendant paid the fee but did not get a copy of the items requested under discovery until 10 minutes before trial. The officer said that they did not have sufficient time to reply after they received the $10 payment, so he'd only let Defendant consult his evidence file for a few minutes before trial.

Defendant told the Commissioner that the situation had created a "significant and unfair disadvantage" and requested a continuance. The Commissioner ordered that the case should proceed immediately.

At trial the Defendant raised a speed trap defense which the judge disallowed based on false testimony by the officer.

In their Response Brief on the appeal, the prosecution tried to argue that the Agency's untimely reply to the discovery request was not willful. Appellant replied that the Agency's letter asking for a $10 fee to be paid before they would provide discovery shows that the delay was "voluntary, intentional, not accidental", and hence willful, and that while it was conceivable that the agency might not have known that such delay was in violation of PC 1054.7, ignorance of the law is not a legal excuse in general, and is inexcusable when it's coming from a law enforcement agency.

The Appellate Division did not address the speed trap and false testimony issues, but focused on the discovery question. They ruled that the People did not meet their obligation to provide discovery in this case and the denial of a continuance in this case was an abuse of discretion. Consequently the order reverses the trial court and "the cause is remanded with directions to dismiss the charge".

The prosecution and the cops should be grateful that we only award Iggys to those on the bench.

the Iggy

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