Supreme Court of California Justia
Docket No. S134072

Com. on Peace Officer etc. v. Super. Ct.

Filed 8/27/07 (precedes in sequence companion case, S134253, also filed 8/27/07)




IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA



COMMISSION ON PEACE OFFICER

STANDARDS AND TRAINING,

)


Petitioner,

S134072

v.

) Ct.App.

3

C045494

THE SUPERIOR COURT

OF SACRAMENTO COUNTY,

) Sacramento

County

Super. Ct. No. 03CS01077

Respondent;

LOS ANGELES TIMES

COMMUNICATIONS LLC,

Real Party in Interest.






This case presents the question whether the California Public Records Act

(Gov. Code, § 6250 et seq.) requires the Commission on Peace Officer Standards

and Training (Commission) to disclose the names, employing departments, and

hiring and termination dates of California peace officers included in the

Commission’s database. The Court of Appeal reversed the judgment rendered by

the superior court, which directed that the records be disclosed, because of the

appellate court’s conclusion that this information is obtained from peace officer

1


personnel records which, under Penal Code sections 832.7 and 832.8,1 may not be

disclosed except under certain statutorily prescribed circumstances. We conclude

that the records at issue are not rendered confidential by those two statutes and that

the records do not come within any of the exemptions contained in the Public

Records Act. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

Upon remand to the superior court, the Commission may seek to establish that

information regarding particular officers or categories of officers should be

excised from the disclosed records because the safety or efficacy of the officers

would be jeopardized by disclosure.

I.

The Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training is an agency

created within the California Department of Justice that is charged with

establishing standards of physical, mental, and moral fitness for peace officers.

(§ 13510, subd. (a).) It also “develop[s] and implement[s] programs to increase

the effectiveness of law enforcement” and provides education and training for

peace officers. (§ 13503, subd. (e); see also § 13500.) The Commission is

responsible for allocating state funds to local governments and districts for the

expense of training full-time peace officers. (§ 13523.)

Every law enforcement department that participates in Commission

programs and receives funding from the Commission is required to comply with

the Commission’s minimum selection and training standards for peace officers,

and must permit the Commission to inspect its records in order to verify claims for

reimbursement of funds or to confirm departmental compliance with Commission

regulations. (§ 13523; Cal. Code Regs., tit. 11, § 9030.) “Whenever a peace


1

All statutory references are to the Penal Code unless otherwise indicated.

2

officer of a participating department is newly appointed, promoted . . . or . . .

terminates,” the department is required to report that event to the Commission.

(Cal. Code Regs. tit. 11, § 1003.) Departments may submit the required

information either on a form or through the Internet, using a secure system that is

available only to registered users. The form includes the officer’s name, Social

Security number, date of birth, gender, address, race or ethnicity, rank, and

department. The information reported on the form includes the appointment date,

the type of appointment (new, promotion, demotion, or status change), the

appointment status (peace officer, reserve peace officer, dispatcher, or records

supervisor), time base (fulltime, parttime, or seasonal), pay status (paid or unpaid),

termination date, and reason for termination (whether resigned, discharged,

retired, deceased, or convicted of a serious crime).

The Commission maintains the reported information pertaining to each

peace officer in an electronic database. It also maintains training records for

persons who have taken Commission-certified courses. The Commission

currently maintains information from 626 participating departments, and has been

accumulating this information since the 1970’s. The Commission employs these

records to monitor compliance with its selection and training requirements, which

apply to new appointments, promotions, and lateral transfers of employees. It also

uses them to determine whether officers have met the training and experience

requirements for its intermediate and advanced certificates. The Commission does

not release these records to the public.

A reporter employed by the Los Angeles Times requested that the

Commission release information in its database pertaining to all new appointments

dating from 1991 through 2001. The information requested was the officer’s

name and birthdate, employing department, appointment dates, termination dates,

and reason for termination. The Commission denied the request, and Los Angeles

3

Times Communications LLC (the Times) filed a petition for writ of mandate in the

superior court, seeking release of the information under the California Public

Records Act. (Gov. Code, § 6250 et. seq (the Act).)

The Act exempts from disclosure any “[r]ecords, the disclosure of which is

exempted or prohibited pursuant to federal or state law, including, but not limited

to, provisions of the Evidence Code relating to privilege.” (Gov. Code, § 6254,

subd. (k).) In denying the request, the Commission relied upon Penal Code

sections 832.7 and 832.8, asserting that the requested information was obtained

from peace officer personnel records and accordingly was privileged and exempt

from disclosure. Section 832.7, subdivision (a) provides that peace officer

personnel records, and “information obtained from these records, are confidential”

and may be disclosed in civil or criminal proceedings only under specified

discovery procedures. Section 832.8 defines “personnel records” for purposes of

section 832.7 as “any file maintained under that individual’s name by his or her

employing agency and containing records relating to any of the following: [¶] (a)

Personal data, including marital status, family members, educational and

employment history, home addresses, or similar information. [¶] (b) Medical

history. [¶] (c) Election of employee benefits. [¶] (d) Employee advancement,

appraisal, or discipline. [¶] (e) Complaints, or investigations of complaints,

concerning an event or transaction in which he or she participated, or which he or

she perceived, and pertaining to the manner in which he or she performed his or

her duties. [¶] (f) Any other information the disclosure of which would constitute

an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

In support of its claim that the records at issue were obtained from peace

officer personnel records, the Commission submitted a declaration from Paul

Harman, the Chief of its Information Services Bureau. Based upon his prior

experience with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and “on

4

information and belief,” Harmon declared that the information provided to the

Commission by law enforcement agencies came from peace officer personnel

records.

At a hearing conducted by the trial court, the Times withdrew its request for

officers’ birth dates, explaining that it sought that information only for the purpose

of distinguishing officers with the same name. The Times explained that it was

interested in documenting trends in the movement of police officers from one

department to another, and that, for example, the Los Angeles Police Department

was understaffed because it had a high rate of attrition due to many officers

leaving employment at that department in order to work at other law enforcement

agencies. The Times also was interested in whether and why officers might be

hired by one agency after leaving a number of other agencies involuntarily.

The superior court entered a judgment ordering the Commission to release

each officer’s name, along with the appointing agency, date of new appointment,

and termination date.2 The Commission petitioned the Court of Appeal for

extraordinary relief under the Act, claiming the requested information is privileged

and thus exempt from disclosure. (See Gov. Code, § 6259, subd. (c).) The

appellate court agreed, issuing a writ of mandate directing the superior court to

vacate its judgment and enter a judgment denying the Times’ petition in its

entirety.

The Court of Appeal rejected the Times’ threshold argument that the

Commission had failed to prove the requested information was obtained from

personnel records maintained by the employing agency, despite the Times’


2

The superior court did not require the Commission to disclose birth dates of

the officers or the reasons for their terminations. The Times does not challenge
that aspect of the trial court’s judgment.

5

observation that the only evidence offered by the Commission on that subject was

the declaration of its records manager, Harmon, whose testimony was based in

part upon information and belief. The Court of Appeal, noting that the Times did

not suggest any other logical explanation for the origin of the information,

concluded that “as a matter of common sense,” the information sought by the

Times — names, employment and termination dates, and employment status —

necessarily was obtained from personnel records.

The Court of Appeal also rejected the Times’ argument that, because the

names of peace officers, their employing agencies, and their dates of employment

are not listed in section 832.8 as components of a peace officer’s personnel record,

they are not made confidential by section 832.7. Based upon its reading of the

“plain language” of the statute, the Court of Appeal interpreted the phrase “any

file . . . containing records relating to” the enumerated items to mean that “if a file

otherwise meeting the definition in Penal Code section 832.8 contains records

relating to items specified in subdivisions (a) through (f) of that section, then the

entire file is a personnel record and all of the items in the file are confidential.”

“In other words,” the appellate court reasoned, “it is not the enumerated items that

are protected, but any information in a file maintained by the employing agency

that contains records relating to any of the items specified in subdivisions (a)

through (f).” The Court of Appeal also concluded that, even if the statute applied

only to the types of information specified in section 832.8, the information sought

by the Times constitutes “employment history” within the meaning of subdivision

(a) of section 832.8.

II.

In adopting the California Public Records Act, the Legislature declared that

“access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business is a

fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state.” (Gov. Code,

6

§ 6250.) As the result of an initiative measure adopted by the voters in 2004, this

principle now is enshrined in the state Constitution: “The people have the right of

access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business, and,

therefore, . . . the writings of public officials and agencies shall be open to public

scrutiny.” (Cal. Const., art. I, § 3, subd. (b)(1).) The Constitution, however, also

recognizes the right to privacy and specifically acknowledges the statutory

procedures that protect the privacy of peace officers. Article I, section 3,

subdivision (b)(3) provides that nothing in that subdivision “supersedes or

modifies the right of privacy guaranteed by [article 1,] Section 1 or affects the

construction of any statute . . . to the extent that it protects that right to privacy,

including any statutory procedures governing discovery or disclosure of

information concerning the official performance or professional qualifications of a

peace officer.”

The Legislature, in adopting the Public Records Act, also was “mindful of

the right of individuals to privacy.” (Gov. Code, § 6250.) Accordingly, the Act

contains numerous exceptions to the requirement of public disclosure, many of

which are designed to protect individual privacy. (See Gov. Code, § 6254.) The

public is entitled to inspect public records unless one of the exceptions stated in

the Act applies. (Gov. Code, § 6253, subds. (a) & (b)). It is undisputed that the

information sought by the Times constitutes a public record and therefore must be

disclosed unless one of the Act’s exceptions applies.3

3

“Public records” include “any writing containing information relating to the

conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or
local agency.” (Gov. Code, § 6252, subd. (e).) “This definition is intended to
cover every conceivable kind of record that is involved in the governmental
process and will pertain to any new form of record-keeping instrument as it is
developed. Only purely personal information unrelated to ‘the conduct of the
public’s business’ could be considered exempt from this definition . . . .” (Assem.

(footnote continued on next page)

7

The Act exempts from disclosure “[r]ecords, the disclosure of which is

exempted or prohibited pursuant to federal or state law, including, but not limited

to, the provisions of the Evidence Code relating to privilege.” (Gov. Code, §

6254, subd. (k).) The disclosure of peace officer personnel records is limited by

Penal Code section 832.7, which, as noted above, provides that “[p]eace officer

. . . personnel records, . . . or information obtained from those records, are

confidential” and may be disclosed in litigation only under specified procedures,

which require a showing of good cause. (See Evid. Code, §§ 1043, 1045.) If

peace officer personnel records are ordered disclosed, they “may not be used for

any purpose other than [the] court proceeding” in which disclosure is ordered.

(Evid. Code § 1045, subd. (e); Alford v. Superior Court (2003) 29 Cal.4th 1033.)

Because section 832.7 deems peace officer personnel records and information

obtained from those records to be “confidential,” they are exempt from disclosure

under the Act. (Copley Press, Inc. v. Superior Court (2006) 39 Cal.4th 1272,

1284-1286; Gov. Code, § 6276.34.) The question before us is whether the

Commission’s records of the names, employing departments, and dates of

employment constitute “peace officer personnel records” under section 832.7.


(footnote continued from previous page)

Statewide Information Policy Com., Final Rep. (Mar. 1970) 1 Assem. J. (1970
Reg. Sess.) appen. p. 9.) The records at issue in the present case are retained by
the Commission, a state agency. They relate to the public’s business, because the
Commission uses them to monitor the compliance of participating departments
with Commission regulations, which is a requirement for eligibility for the
services and state funding provided by the Commission. (See § 13523; Cal. Code
Regs. tit. 11, §§ 1003 & 9030.) Information stored in a computer database
qualifies as a “writing” in this context, because that term is defined broadly to
include every “means of recording upon any tangible thing any form of
communication or representation . . . and any record thereby created, regardless of
the manner in which the record has been stored.” (Gov. Code, § 6252, subd. (g).)

8

A.

Peace officer personnel records are defined as “any file maintained under

that individual’s name by his or her employing agency and containing records

relating to” any of a list of enumerated types of information. (§ 832.8.) Although

the Commission is not the “employing agency” of the peace officers whose

information it maintains, its records nonetheless would be confidential under

section 832.7 if they were “obtained from” personnel records maintained by the

employing agency. (§ 832.7.)

Peace officers’ names, employing agency, and employment dates are not

among the items specifically enumerated in section 832.8 as components of a

peace officer’s personnel record. The Times contends that the term “personnel

records” includes only records of the types of information enumerated in section

832.8 — personal information; medical history; election of employee benefits;

employee advancement, appraisal, or discipline records; complaints, or

investigations of complaints; and other information the disclosure of which would

constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy. The Commission, on the other

hand, focuses on the circumstance that section 832.8 defines the term “personnel

records” to include “any file . . . containing records relating to” the enumerated

types of information. Relying upon this language, the Commission contends that

the Court of Appeal was correct in concluding that any information maintained in

a file that also contains any of the information enumerated in section 832.8

becomes a confidential personnel record.

“It is a settled principle of statutory interpretation that language of a statute

should not be given a literal meaning if doing so would result in absurd

consequences which the Legislature did not intend.” (Younger v. Superior Court

(1978) 21 Cal.3d 102, 113; see People v. Shabazz (2006) 38 Cal.4th 55, 70;

People v. Pieters (1991) 52 Cal.3d 894, 898.) “To the extent this examination of

9

the statutory language leaves uncertainty, it is appropriate to consider ‘the

consequences that will flow from a particular interpretation. [Citation.]’ (Harris

v. Capital Growth Investors XIV (1991) 52 Cal.3d 1142, 1165 (Harris).) Where

more than one statutory construction is arguably possible, our ‘policy has long

been to favor the construction that leads to the more reasonable result. [Citation.]’

(Webster v. Superior Court (1988) 46 Cal.3d 338, 343.) This policy derives

largely from the presumption that the Legislature intends reasonable results

consistent with its apparent purpose. (Harris, supra, at pp. 1165-1166.) Thus, our

task is to select the construction that comports most closely with the Legislature’s

apparent intent, with a view to promoting rather than defeating the statutes’

general purpose, and to avoid a construction that would lead to unreasonable,

impractical, or arbitrary results. (People v. Jenkins (1995) 10 Cal.4th 234, 246;

People v. Simon (1995) 9 Cal.4th 493, 517; Fields v. Eu (1976) 18 Cal.3d 322,

328.)” (Copley Press, Inc. v. Superior Court, supra, 39 Cal.4th at pp. 1291-1292.)

Applying these principles, we conclude that the Court of Appeal’s

construction of section 832.8, although consistent with the statute’s language, is

unreasonable because it would lead to arbitrary and anomalous results. Under the

Court of Appeal’s interpretation, the circumstance that a document was placed into

a file that also contained the type of personal or private information listed in the

statute would render the document confidential, regardless of whether the

document at issue was of a personal or private nature, and regardless of whether it

was related to personnel matters. For example, as counsel for the Commission

conceded at oral argument, a newspaper article praising or criticizing the particular

act of an officer could be deemed confidential if placed into such a file. Also, the

same type of information could be rendered confidential in one law enforcement

agency if maintained in a file that also contained personal information, but would

not be confidential in another agency if maintained in a different type of file.

10

Furthermore, if records are stored in a computer in electronic form, it would be

difficult, if not impossible, to determine which records are contained in the same

virtual “file.”

We consider it unlikely the Legislature intended to render documents

confidential based on their location, rather than their content. We commented on a

similar question of statutory interpretation in Williams v. Superior Court (1993)

5 Cal.4th 337. There, we addressed the Act’s exception for law enforcement

investigatory files. (Gov. Code, § 6254, subd. (f).) We held that information in

investigatory files remained confidential even after the investigation had ended,

but also stated that “the law does not provide[] that a public agency may shield a

record from public disclosure, regardless of its nature, simply by placing it in a file

labeled ‘investigatory.’ ” (Williams v. Superior Court, supra, at p. 355.)

Similarly, we do not believe that the Legislature intended that a public agency be

able to shield information from public disclosure simply by placing it in a file that

contains the type of information specified in section 832.8.

Cases that have addressed the question whether a particular document is

included within the term “personnel files” for purposes of other statutes have

found the content of the document at issue, not the location in which it is stored, to

be determinative. For instance, in Braun v. City of Taft (1984) 154 Cal.App.3d

332, the court addressed the Act’s exception for “[p]ersonnel, medical, or similar

files, the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal

privacy.” (Gov. Code, § 6254, subd. (c).) The appellate court rejected the

argument that, because the exemption referred to “files, the Legislature intended to

exempt the entire file,” and that disclosure of some documents would not be

required if other documents in the file were exempt. (Braun, supra, at p. 341.) In

light of the Legislature’s policy favoring disclosure of public records, the court

11

concluded it was “unlikely that the Legislature intended an all or nothing

approach.” (Ibid.)

In Miller v. Chico Unified School Dist. (1979) 24 Cal.3d 703, we

interpreted former Education Code section 44031, which provided that a school

district employee must be given notice of, and the opportunity to comment upon,

materials in his or her “personnel files which may serve as a basis affecting the

status of [his or her] employment.” The plaintiff in Miller was a school principal

who claimed that the school board had violated former section 44031 when, in

demoting him, it considered several confidential reports to which he was not given

the opportunity to respond. The school district argued that the statute did not

apply, because the reports at issue never had been entered into plaintiff’s

personnel file. We rejected this argument. “A school district . . . may not avoid

the requirements of the statute by maintaining a ‘personnel file’ for certain

documents relating to an employee, segregating elsewhere under a different label

materials which may serve as a basis for affecting the status of the employee’s

employment.” (Miller, supra, 24 Cal.3d at pp. 712-713.)

Courts have reached a similar conclusion in interpreting the Public Safety

Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act, which provides that such officers have the

right to review any adverse comment placed in their personnel files and to submit

a written response. (Gov. Code, §§ 3305, 3306.) Police officers are entitled to

review reports of complaints or similar matters that could affect the status of their

employment, regardless of whether the information at issue actually was placed in

the officer’s personnel file. (Seligsohn v. Day (2004) 121 Cal.App.4th 518 [police

officers entitled to a copy of complaints filed against them with a college, even

though investigation of complaints was closed without any action being taken

against the officers and copies of the complaints were not placed in the officers’

personnel files]; Sacramento Police Officers Assn. v. Venegas (2002) 101

12

Cal.App.4th 916 [agency required to disclose to officer information contained in

its internal affairs files that did not result in disciplinary action against the officer];

Aguilar v. Johnson (1988) 202 Cal.App.3d 241 [officer was entitled to review a

complaint that was not investigated and was placed in a confidential investigative

file separate from his personnel file]; see also County of Riverside v. Superior

Court (2002) 27 Cal.4th 793 [rejecting argument that law enforcement agency was

not obligated to permit officer to review and respond to adverse comments

because a memorandum summarizing those comments was not prepared and

placed in his personnel file until after he was fired].)

Nor is there anything in the legislative history of sections 832.7 and 832.8

to suggest that the Legislature intended to render confidential any and all records

that might be filed along with those described in the statute. Section 832.7 is part

of a statutory scheme that attempts to protect both “the defendant’s right to a fair

trial and the officer’s interest in privacy to the fullest extent possible.” (People v.

Mooc (2001) 26 Cal.4th 1216, 1227.) Section 832.7 was included in Senate Bill

No. 1436 and enacted into law in 1978 in response to this court’s decision in

Pitchess v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County (1974) 11 Cal.3d 531 (Pitchess).

Pitchess held that a defendant seeking evidence to support his claim of self-

defense in a criminal prosecution for battery committed upon deputy sheriffs had

established good cause for the discovery of records of citizen complaints that had

been made against those deputies and involved the excessive use of force.

(Pitchess, supra, 11 Cal.3d at pp. 537-538.) After this court rendered its decision,

concerns were expressed to the Legislature that, in response to Pitchess, law

enforcement departments were destroying personnel records in order to prevent

discovery; in some instances, criminal charges had been dismissed because the

records to which the defendant would have been entitled no longer were available.

(See Sen. Com. on Judiciary, Analysis of Sen. Bill No. 1436 (1977-1978 Reg.

13

Sess.) as introduced, p. 7; Sen. Com. On Judiciary, Analysis of Sen. Bill No. 1436

(1977-1978 Reg. Sess.) as amended Apr. 3, 1978; Assem. Com. on Crim. Justice,

Analysis of Sen. Bill No. 1436 (1977-1978 Reg. Sess. as amended Aug. 7, 1978.)

As a result of these concerns, Senate Bill No. 1436 was enacted, requiring that

records relating to citizen complaints be maintained for a period of five years.

(Stats. 1978, ch. 630, § 4, p. 2083, amending § 832.5, subd. (b).) The statute also

established procedures, consistent with Pitchess, permitting discovery of peace

officer personnel records in civil or criminal cases only after an in camera review

of the records by a judge and a determination that the information sought is

relevant to the pending litigation. (Stats. 1978, ch. 630, §§ 1 & 3, pp. 2082-2083,

adding Evid. Code, §§ 1043 & 1045.)

It is apparent that the Legislature’s major focus in adopting the statutory

scheme here at issue was the type of record at issue in Pitchess — records of

citizen complaints against police officers. The new legislation required that those

records be maintained, but provided assurances to peace officers that such records

would remain confidential except as necessary in order to ensure a fair trial in civil

or criminal proceedings. Nonetheless, the legislation was drafted to include all

police officer personnel records, not only records of complaints and disciplinary

actions. Moreover, the specific categories of information listed in section 832.8’s

definition of personnel records were themselves broadly drafted. The statute

protects “[p]ersonal data,” including not only the items specifically listed but also

other “similar information.” (§ 832.8, subd. (a).) It also protects “[a]ny other

information the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of

personal privacy.” (§ 832.8, subd. (f).)

The categories of information listed in section 832.8 certainly are

sufficiently broad to serve the purposes of the legislation and to protect the

legitimate privacy interests of peace officers. To extend the statute’s protection to

14

information not included within any of the enumerated categories merely because

that information is contained in a file that also includes the type of confidential

information specified in the statute would serve no legitimate purpose and would

lead to arbitrary results. Therefore, we conclude that peace officer personnel

records include only the types of information enumerated in section 832.8.

B.

In light of the foregoing, the information sought by the Times is not

protected from disclosure by section 832.7 unless the request encompasses one of

the types of information enumerated in section 832.8. The Commission contends

that peace officers’ names, employing agencies, and hiring and termination dates

do constitute personnel records because they constitute “employment history . . .

or similar information.” (§ 832.8, subd. (a).) The Times argues that “employment

history” refers only to information about the individual’s previous employment,

that the information obtained by the Commission from the employing department

relates to the officer’s then-current status with that department, and accordingly

that this information is neither “employment history” nor “similar information.”

For the reasons discussed below, we conclude that the Times is correct.

The language of section 832.8, subdivision (a), viewed in isolation, is

ambiguous and susceptible to either interpretation. Accordingly, in construing the

phrase “employment history,” we keep in mind that “ the meaning of the

enactment may not be determined from a single word or sentence; the words must

be construed in context. ” (Title Ins. & Trust Co. v. County of Riverside (1989)

48 Cal.3d 84, 91.) “[W]hen a statute contains a list or catalogue of items, a court

should determine the meaning of each by reference to the others, giving

preference to an interpretation that uniformly treats items similar in nature and

scope. [Citations.] In accordance with this principle of construction, a court will

adopt a restrictive meaning of a listed item if acceptance of a more expansive

15

meaning would make other items in the list unnecessary or redundant, or would

otherwise make the item markedly dissimilar to the other items in the list.

[Citations.]” (Moore v. California State Bd. of Accountancy (1992) 2 Cal.4th 999,

1011-1012.)

Subdivision (a) of section 832.8 refers to “Personal data, including marital

status, family members, educational and employment history, home addresses, or

similar information.” Each of the items listed, including “employment history,” is

presented as an example of “personal data.” The items enumerated in subdivision

(a) do not constitute information that arises out of an officer’s employment.

Rather, they are the types of personal information that commonly are supplied by

an employee to his or her employer, either during the application process or upon

employment.4

Information relating to the officer’s current position, on the other hand, is

addressed in other subdivisions of section 832.8: “(c) Election of employee

benefits. [¶] (d) Employee advancement, appraisal, or discipline. [¶]

(e) Complaints, or investigations of complaints, concerning an event or

transaction in which he or she participated, or which he or she perceived, and

pertaining to the manner in which he or she performed his or her duties.” If we

were to interpret “employment history” to include information concerning the

officer’s current position, the phrase “employment history” in subdivision (a)


4

Peace officers must supply this type of personal information during the

application process. The Commission requires that every candidate for
employment as a peace officer complete a “personal history questionnaire,” which
includes, among other matters, personal identifying information, contact
information for family members, and educational, residential, and “employment
history.” (Peace Officer Standards & Training Admin. Manual, Com. Proc. C-1,
p. C-1; see also Peace Officer Standards & Training form 2-251 (02/06) [Personal
History Statement—Peace Officer].)

16

would encompass all of the information listed in subdivision (d) — “[e]mployee

advancement, appraisal, or discipline” — rendering subdivision (d) unnecessary

and redundant.

Taking into account the personal nature of the information listed in

section 832.8, subdivision (a) in contrast to the job-related nature of the

information listed in subdivisions (c) through (e), we agree with the conclusion

reached by the Court of Appeal in City of Los Angeles v. Superior Court (2003)

111 Cal.App.4th 883, 891-892, that section 832.8, subdivision (a) “presents a list

of general pieces of information that might be found on any resume or job

application, i.e., the subdivision (a) list would include basic status or identifying

information about the employee as he or she came to the job. It does not include

any information that would be specific to the current job . . . . Information that is

specific to the employee’s current status as a peace officer would not be ‘similar

information’ to the information covered by the statute.” (Cf., e.g., Garden Grove

Police Department v. Superior Court of Orange County (2001) 89 Cal.App.4th

430, 434 [birth date of police officer is “similar information” under § 832.8, subd.

(a)].)

We find no indication that the Legislature, in adopting sections 832.7

and 832.8, was concerned with making confidential the identities of peace officers

or the basic fact of their employment. Rather, the legislative concern appears to

have been with linking a named officer to the private or sensitive information

listed in section 832.8. The latter statute applies to files “maintained under that

individual’s name by his or her employing agency and containing records relating

to” the enumerated types of information. (§ 832.8.) Thus, the statute prevents the

unauthorized disclosure of the specified types of information concerning a named

officer. Conversely, a law enforcement agency “may disseminate data regarding

the number, type, or disposition of complaints” against its officers “if that

17

information is in a form which does not identify the individuals involved.”

(§ 832.7, subd. (c).) Under the statute, a personnel record is, by definition, linked

to a particular individual. (§ 832.8.) It seems unlikely that the Legislature

contemplated that the identification of an individual as a peace officer,

unconnected to any of the information it defined as part of a personnel record,

would be rendered confidential by section 832.8.

A name might be viewed as “personal data” in the broadest sense of that

phrase, because it relates to a person. “Personal” generally is defined to mean “of

or relating to a particular person.” (Webster’s 3d New Internat. Dict. (2002)

p. 1686; American Heritage Dict. (4th ed. 2000) p. 1311.) The word “personal,”

however, also carries a connotation of “private,” meaning “peculiar or proper to

private concerns,” “not public or general” (Webster’s 3d New Internat. Dict.,

supra, at p. 1686), or “[c]oncerning a particular person and his or private business,

interests, or activities; intimate” (American Heritage Dict., supra, at p. 1311). The

information specifically listed in section 832.8 subdivision (a) is the type of

information that is not generally known to persons with whom officers interact in

the course of performing their official duties; it is the type of information that, for

reasons of officer safety, should not be revealed to perpetrators or witnesses of

crimes. On the other hand, an officer’s name and employing agency is

information that ordinarily is made available, even to a person who is arrested by

the officer, in any number of ways—for example, the officer may identify himself

or herself, wear a badge with a name or identification number (as is required for

uniformed officers by section 830.10), or sign the police report.5


5

We do not suggest that the mere fact that officers’ names are available from

other sources necessarily means that the information cannot be considered
personal or private. (See Department of Defense v. FLRA (1994) 510 U.S. 487,

(footnote continued on next page)

18

Without a more specific indication in the statute, we hesitate to conclude

that the Legislature intended to classify the identity of a public official whose

activities are a matter of serious public concern as “personal data.” The names of

all public employees are viewed as public information under both state and federal

law. The Attorney General has long held the position that “the name of every

public officer and employee . . . is a matter of public record.” (State Employees’

Retirement Act, 25 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 90, 91 (1955) [concluding that state-paid

retirement benefits are a matter of public record]; see also County Payroll Records

as Public Records, 60 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 110 (1977) [county payroll records of

names and amounts received by retirees are public records].) Similarly, the names

and positions of federal employees, past and present, generally are available to the

public. (5 C.F.R. § 293.311 (2007).)6


(footnote continued from previous page)

500 [“An individual’s [privacy] interest in controlling the dissemination of
information regarding personal matters does not dissolve simply because that
information may be available to the public in some form”].) Rather, the public
nature of an officer’s name and activities is a factor we consider in determining
whether the Legislature intended to encompass officers’ names within the category
of “personal data.”

6

Courts in other jurisdictions also have concluded that the names of public

employees (including, in some instances, peace officers) are not exempt from
disclosure under state public records laws. (See, e.g. Freedom Newspapers, Inc. v.
Tollefson
(Colo.Ct.App. 1998) 961 P.2d 1150, 1155 [“[W]e do not read the statute
to exempt from disclosure an employee’s name simply because it is an item of
information contained in a personnel file”]; Magic Valley Newspapers v. Medical
Center
(Idaho 2002) 59 P.3d 314, 316 [“We conclude that had the legislature
intended to exempt employees’ names from disclosure, it would have expressly so
provided”]; Moak v. Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. (Pa.Comw.Ct. 1975) 336
A.2d 920, 923-924 [“Obviously, the identification of one as a police officer, a
position of trust and honor, is quite different from the disclosure of one’s
dependence upon public assistance, considered by many to be a mark of extreme
misfortune, and unhappily by some of incompetence. . . . [¶] . . . The court

(footnote continued on next page)

19

The public’s legitimate interest in the identity and activities of peace

officers is even greater than its interest in those of the average public servant.

“Law enforcement officers carry upon their shoulders the cloak of authority to

enforce the laws of the state. In order to maintain trust in its police department,

the public must be kept fully informed of the activities of its peace officers.” (New

York Times Co. v. Superior Court (1997) 52 Cal.App.4th 97, 104-105.)7 “It is

(footnote continued from previous page)

below, we believe correctly, decided that the disclosure of one’s identity as a city
police officer was not an invasion of his privacy”]; King County v. Sheehan
(Wn.Ct.App. 2002) 57 P.3d 307, 316, 318 (Sheehan) [“No Washington case has
held that public employees’ names are private and subject to the personal privacy
exemption. . . . [¶] . . . [P]olice officers are public employees, paid with public
tax dollars”].)

7

Indeed, the majority of courts have concluded that the public’s interest in the

activities of peace officers at every level is such that, for purposes of defamation
law, peace officers are public officials who must establish actual malice in order to
prevail on a defamation claim. (See Gomes v. Fried (1982) 136 Cal.App.3d 924,
932-934 and cases cited therein; see also Moriarty v. Lippe (Conn. 1972) 294 A.2d
326, 330-331 [“Although a comparatively low-ranking government official, a
patrolman’s office, if abused, has great potential for social harm and thus invites
independent interest in the qualifications and performance of the person who holds
the position”].); Roche v. Egan (Me. 1981) 433 A.2d 757, 762 [“The police
detective, as one charged with investigating crimes and arresting the criminal, is in
fact, and also is generally known to be, vested with substantial responsibility for the
safety and welfare of the citizenry in areas impinging most directly and intimately
on daily living: the home, the place of work and of recreation, the sidewalks and
streets”]; Rotkiewicz v. Sadowsky (Mass. 2000) 730 N.E.2d 282, 287 [“We
conclude, because of the broad powers vested in police officers and the great
potential for abuse of those powers, as well as police officers’ high visibility within
and impact on a community, that police officers, even patrol-level police officers
such as the plaintiff, are ‘public officials’ for purposes of defamation”]; Hall v.
Rogers
(R.I. 1985) 490 A.2d 502, 504 [police sergeant and his son, a special police
officer, were public officials; the court noted “the uniformity of treatment by other
state and federal courts of police officers as public officials”]; Annot. Who is
“Public Official” for Purposes of Defamation Action (1996) 44 A.L.R. 5th 193,
225, and cases summarized therein at pp. 281-313.

20

undisputable that law enforcement is a primary function of local government and

that the public has a far greater interest in the qualifications and conduct of law

enforcement officers, even at, and perhaps especially at, an ‘on the street’ level

than in the qualifications and conduct of other comparably low-ranking

government employees performing more proprietary functions. The abuse of a

patrolman’s office can have great potentiality for social harm.” (Coursey v.

Greater Niles Township Publishing Corp. (Ill. 1968) 239 N.E.2d 837, 841; Gomes

v. Fried, supra, 136 Cal.App.3d 924, 933, quoting Coursey.)

There is some tension between the public’s interest in peace officers’

activities (as recognized in these authorities) and the level of protection afforded to

peace officer “personnel records” in section 832.7, but we may assume that in

defining personnel records the Legislature drew the line carefully, with due

concern for the competing interests. Had the Legislature intended to prevent the

disclosure of officers’ identities as such, an obvious solution would have been to

list “name” as an item of “[p]ersonal data” under subdivision (a) of section 832.8.

(See, e.g., Civ. Code, § 1798.3, subd. (a) [defining “ ‘personal information,’ ” for

purposes of the Information Practices Act of 1977, as “any information that is

maintained by an agency that identifies or describes an individual, including, but

not limited to, his or her name, social security number, physical description, home

address, home telephone number, education, financial matters, and medical or

employment history”]; Code Civ. Proc., § 237, subd. (a)(2) [defining “personal

juror identifying information” as “consisting of names, addresses, and telephone

numbers”]; Gov. Code, § 11015.5, subd. (d)(1) [defining “ ‘[e]lectronically

collected personal information’ ” as “any information that is maintained by an

agency that identifies or describes an individual user, including, but not limited to,

his or her name . . . .”].)

21

Our decision in Copley Press, Inc. v. Superior Court, supra, 39 Cal.4th

1272, does not support the proposition that lists of names of peace officers,

identified in conjunction with their employing departments and dates of

employment, constitute confidential personnel records. In Copley Press, we held

that records of peace officer disciplinary appeals maintained by the County of San

Diego Civil Service Commission constituted confidential personnel records under

section 832.7, and that the Court of Appeal had erred in ordering disclosure of the

name of the deputy involved in a particular matter. We concluded that section

832.7, subdivision (a), “is designed to protect, among other things, ‘the identity of

officers’ subject to complaints.” (Copley Press, supra, 39 Cal.4th at p. 1297,

quoting City of Richmond v. Superior Court (1995) 32 Cal.App.4th 1430, 1440, fn.

3, italics added.) We disagreed with the statement in New York Times Co. v.

Superior Court, supra, 52 Cal.App.4th 97, that “ ‘[u]nder Penal Code section

832.7 and 832.8, an individual’s name is not exempt from disclosure,’ ” but our

disagreement was qualified: we concluded that this broad assertion was incorrect

“at least insofar as it applies to disciplinary matters like the one at issue here.”

(Copley Press, supra, at p. 1298.)

Unlike Copley Press Inc. v. Superior Court, supra, 39 Cal.4th 1272, and

City of Richmond v. Superior Court, supra, 32 Cal.App.4th 1430, the case before

us does not involve the identification of an individual as the officer involved in an

incident that was the subject of a complaint or disciplinary investigation. The

officers’ names, employing departments, and dates of employment were not

sought in conjunction with any of the personal or sensitive information that the

statute seeks to protect. We conclude that the information ordered to be disclosed

22

by the Commission is not “[p]ersonal data” within the meaning of section 832.8,

subdivision (a).8

III.

Finally, the Commission contends that even if the information sought by

the Times was not obtained from police personnel records as defined in section

832.8, the records at issue are nevertheless exempt from disclosure under the Act.

The Act exempts from disclosure “[p]ersonnel, medical, or similar files, the

disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal

privacy.” (Gov. Code, § 6254, subd. (c).) The Commission contends that peace

officers have legitimate concerns relating to annoyance, embarrassment, or

oppression, as well as physical threats to themselves and their families, that

outweigh any public interest in disclosure.

We assume for purposes of analysis that the records at issue may be

characterized as “[p]ersonnel . . . or similar files.” (Gov. Code, § 6254,

subd. (c).)9 The Act exempts such files only if their disclosure would constitute

“an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” (Ibid.) This exemption requires

us to balance the privacy interests of peace officers in the information at issue

against the public interest in disclosure, in order to determine whether any

invasion of personal privacy is “unwarranted.” The Commission has the burden of

demonstrating that the records at issue are exempt. (Gov. Code, § 6255.)


8

In light of our conclusions, we need not and do not address the parties’

contentions regarding the sufficiency of the declaration of Paul Harmon to
establish that the information at issue was obtained from peace officer personnel
files.

9

Unlike section 832.8, the Act does not contain a definition of personnel

files.

23

The public’s interest in the qualifications and conduct of peace officers is

substantial, a circumstance that both diminishes and counterbalances any

expectation officers may have that their names and employment as peace officers

will be confidential. Peace officers “hold one of the most powerful positions in

our society; our dependence on them is high and the potential for abuse of power

is far from insignificant.” (City of Hemet v. Superior Court (1995)

37 Cal.App.4th 1411, 1428.) A police officer “possesses both the authority and

the ability to exercise force. Misuse of his authority can result in significant

deprivation of constitutional rights and personal freedoms, not to mention bodily

injury and financial loss.” (Gray v. Udevitz (10th Cir. 1981) 656 F.2d 588, 591.)

The public has a legitimate interest not only in the conduct of individual

officers, but also in how the Commission and local law enforcement agencies

conduct the public’s business. As noted above, the Commission maintains the

records at issue in order to monitor participating agencies’ compliance with

Commission regulations, a matter of interest to the members of the public served

by those agencies. Furthermore, the Times has articulated a particular interest in

why and how often peace officers leave one agency in order to serve in another,

whether particular agencies are better able to retain more experienced officers, and

whether officers who are dismissed from one or more agencies nonetheless are

hired by another. The information contained in the Commission’s records would

enable the Times to trace officers’ movements from one agency to another and to

identify both general trends and specific instances of potentially inappropriate

employment practices, and to conduct followup research.10 The public clearly has

a legitimate interest in the matters that the Times seeks to investigate.


10

These particular interests would not be served if, as suggested by the

dissenting justice in the Court of Appeal, the Commission were to provide the

(footnote continued on next page)

24

The Commission has not established that the typical peace officer has more

than an insubstantial privacy interest in the fact of his or her employment as an

officer. “A particular class of information is private when well-established social

norms recognize the need to maximize individual control over its dissemination

and use to prevent unjustified embarrassment or indignity.” (Hill v. National

Collegiate Athletic Assn. (1994) 7 Cal.4th 1, 35 (Hill).)11 We recognize that

individuals generally have some level of privacy “interest in controlling the

dissemination of information regarding personal matters.” (Department of

Defense v. FLRA, supra, 510 U.S. at p. 500 [holding that home addresses of public

employees are exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act

(5 U.S.C. § 552 et seq.)].) We do not view the fact of an individual’s public

employment, however, as a personal matter. Furthermore, dissemination of

information concerning where and when a particular individual has served as a

peace officer is not likely to cause “unjustified embarrassment or indignity.” (Hill,

supra, 7 Cal.4th at p. 35.) To the contrary, a peace officer occupies an especially

honorable position, one vested with great responsibility, trust, and confidence.


(footnote continued from previous page)

information sought by the Times but redact the officers’ names and substitute a
“nonidentifying tracking designation.” Access to the officers’ names would
permit the Times to conduct followup inquiries regarding specific examples of any
trends identified by the Times and to examine their causes and effects.

11

Our decision in Hill, supra, 7 Cal.4th 1, defined the elements that must be

proved in order to establish a claim for invasion of the state constitutional right of
privacy. Although we find the definition of privacy used in Hill to be useful in the
present context, we do not intend to suggest that an intrusion upon a privacy
interest must rise to the level of an invasion of the constitutional right of privacy in
order to be recognized under Government Code section 6254, subdivision (c).

25

We find no well-established social norm that recognizes a need to protect

the identity of all peace officers. Peace officers operate in the public realm on a

daily basis, and identify themselves to the members of the public with whom they

deal. Indeed, uniformed peace officers are required to wear a badge or nameplate

with the officer’s name or identification number. (§ 830.10.) In support of its

contention that peace officers have a privacy interest in maintaining the

confidentiality of their names and employing departments, the Commission relies

upon the Legislature’s enactment of statutes that render peace officer personnel

records confidential. (§§ 832.7 & 832.8.) But because we have concluded that

those statutes do not protect an officer’s name, employing department, and dates

of employment, they do not support the argument that peace officers have a

recognized privacy interest in such innocuous information.

The Commission asserts that in light of the “dangerous and demanding

work” performed by peace officers, releasing such information to the public

creates a “potential for mischief.” We readily acknowledge that throughout the

state there are some officers working in agencies who, because of their particular

responsibilities, require anonymity in order to perform their duties effectively or to

protect their own safety. (See People v. Kunkin (1973) 9 Cal.3d 245, 256, fn. 14

[recognizing that disclosure of a roster of undercover narcotics agents could

subject the officers and their families to the possibility of danger].) If the duties of

a particular officer, such as one who is operating undercover, demand anonymity,

the need to protect the officer’s safety and effectiveness certainly would justify the

Commission in withholding information identifying him or her under Government

Code section 6255, subdivision (a), which permits records to be withheld if “on

the facts of the particular case the public interest served by not disclosing the

record clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record.”

The public has a strong interest in maintaining the safety and efficacy of its law

26

enforcement agencies. But “[t]he prospect that somehow this information in the

hands of the press will increase the danger to some . . . cannot alone support a

finding in favor of nondisclosure as to all.” (CBS, Inc. v. Block (1986) 42 Cal.3d

646, 652.) The means for protecting such officers is to segregate the information

relating to them from the records that are disclosed. The Act provides that if

material that is exempt from disclosure reasonably can be segregated from

material that is not exempt, segregation is required. (Gov. Code, § 6253, subd. (a);

see American Civil Liberties Union Foundation v. Deukmejian (1982) 32 Cal.3d

440, 453, fn. 13; Northern Cal. Police Practices Project v. Craig (1979) 90

Cal.App.3d 116, 124.)

The safety of peace officers and their families is most certainly a legitimate

concern, but the Commission’s contention that peace officers in general would be

threatened by the release of the information in question is purely speculative. “A

mere assertion of possible endangerment” is insufficient to justify nondisclosure.

(CBS, Inc., v. Block, supra, 42 Cal.3d at p. 652; compare Times Mirror Co. v.

Superior Court (1991) 53 Cal.3d 1325, 1346 [declaration of Governor’s security

director supported conclusion that release of his schedules would present a

potential security threat].) The Commission has not offered any persuasive

illustration of how disclosure of the innocuous information at issue could “create

mischief” for peace officers in general.12


12

The Commission cites Stone v. F.B.I. (D.D.C. 1990) 727 F. Supp. 622, 664-

665, in support of its contention that the disclosure of peace officers’ names would
constitute an invasion of privacy, but that case supports the opposite conclusion.
In Stone, an action was brought under the Freedom of Information Act seeking the
names of the FBI and local law enforcement officers who participated in the
investigation of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. The FBI opposed the
request, and the trial court held that the FBI had met its burden of proving that the
disclosure of the names “could reasonably be expected to constitute an

(footnote continued on next page)

27

In the trial court, the Commission argued that persons who were hostile

toward law enforcement officers generally (though not toward a particular

individual officer) might use the list of names to locate peace officers’ addresses

through other means (such as Internet resources) and harass them. It offered no

evidence that such a scenario is more than speculative, or even that it is feasible.13

Furthermore, by virtue of the visibility of their activities in the community, the

identity of many officers is well known or readily obtainable.14 The Commission


(footnote continued from previous page)

unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” (5 U.S.C., § 552, (b)(7)(C); Stone v.
F.B.I.
at p. 663.) The court rejected the plaintiff’s argument that the FBI’s
practice of generally encouraging publicity about its agents was relevant. “What
could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of an agent’s
privacy is not that he or she is revealed as an FBI agent but that he or she is named
as an FBI agent who participated in the RFK investigation.” (Stone v. F.B.I.,
supra, 727 F. Supp. at p. 665, original italics, citing Halloran v. Veterans Admin.
(5th Cir. 1989) 874 F.2d 315, 321 [“[O]ur concern is not with the identifying
information per se, but with the connection between such information and some
other detail ⎯ a statement, an event, or otherwise ⎯ which the individual would
not wish to be publicly disclosed”].) By contrast, in the present case, the
information sought merely would reveal that the named individuals had worked as
peace officers; it would not reveal their involvement in any particular case.

13

The Legislature already has taken steps to protect peace officers from

persons who might do them harm by requiring that at the request of an officer, his
or her home address as listed in Department of Motor Vehicle records be kept
confidential (Veh. Code, § 1808.4 subd. (a)(11)), and prohibiting the disclosure of
officers’ home addresses on voter registration cards (Elec. Code, § 18110). In
addition, the disclosure or distribution of a peace officer’s home address is, under
some circumstances, a crime. (Gov. Code, §§ 6254.21 & 6254.24 [posting the
home address or telephone number of any public safety official, including any
peace officer, on the Internet with malicious intent is a misdemeanor]; Pen. Code,
§ 146e, subd. (a) [disclosure of home address or telephone number of peace officer
or peace officer’s family member with malicious intent is a misdemeanor].)

14

The Washington Court of Appeals used similar reasoning in holding that

the provisions of its state’s public records law requires the release of the names
and ranks of a county’s peace officers. (Sheehan, supra, 57 P.3d at pp. 315-319.)

(footnote continued on next page)

28

has not provided any convincing rationale for its assertion that disclosing a

comprehensive list of officers’ names and employing departments (with the

exceptions noted above) would increase the threat to officer safety presented by

those with a generalized hostility toward law enforcement officers.

For these reasons, we conclude that the privacy and safety interests of peace

officers in general do not outweigh the public’s interest in the disclosure of the

information sought by the Times. The Commission’s records, however, may

contain some information that should be exempted from disclosure. The

Commission consistently has taken the position that all of the information sought

by the Times is confidential; the Commission did not assert in the superior court,

and has not contended on appeal, that information concerning particular officers or

categories of officers should be exempt from disclosure because of the special

nature of their duties. When the subject of undercover officers was touched upon

briefly at the hearing in the superior court, the court appeared to assume that

undercover officers would not be employing their real names and, accordingly,

that their identities would not be revealed if the records at issue were to be

disclosed. Because the issue was not fully explored in the superior court, it is not

clear whether the records at issue in the present case contain information that

might threaten to reveal the identities of undercover officers or other officers who

have an interest in maintaining anonymity. The interest of both the individual

officer and the public in peace officer safety and effectiveness is significant, and


(footnote continued from previous page)

“Names . . . are released on a regular basis as a necessary incident of everyday life.
Police officers release their names when they put on their uniforms, pin on their
badges and name tags, and appear in public each day. The County routinely
releases police officers’ names on a per-incident basis.” (Id. at p. 318.)

29

the Commission therefore should have the opportunity to demonstrate in the

superior court that information concerning particular officers should be exempted

from disclosure under Government Code sections 6254, subdivision (c) or 6255

and the applicable legal principles set forth in this opinion.

IV.

For the reasons stated above, the judgment rendered by the Court of Appeal

is reversed, and the case is remanded to that court with directions to remand to the

superior court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

GEORGE, C. J.

WE CONCUR:

WERDEGAR, J.
MORENO, J.
CORRIGAN, J.

30













CONCURRING AND DISSENTING OPINION BY KENNARD, J.




The majority holds that a public agency charged with improving and

maintaining the professional qualifications of California’s peace officers must

disclose for the years 1991 through 2001 the names, employing agencies, hiring

dates, and firing dates of all peace officers in the state. I agree with the majority

that the statutes in question require the release of the requested peace officer

names. But I do not agree that the relevant statutes permit disclosure of each

peace officer’s employing agency or agencies and the dates of each officer’s hiring

and termination by that agency or agencies, because in my view that information is

“employment history,” which the Legislature has expressly made confidential

under Penal Code sections 832.7 and 832.8.

I

The Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) is a

state agency that is responsible for statewide training and certifying the

qualifications of peace officers. It collects information maintained in a electronic

database on virtually every peace and custodial officer in the state. This case

arises from a request by the Los Angeles Times to POST for information from that

database listing the names, employing agencies, and hiring and termination dates

of all peace officers who served at any time from 1991 through 2001. POST

refused to release the information, maintaining that peace officer personnel

1



records are confidential under Penal Code sections 832.7 and 832.8. The trial

court concluded otherwise, and ordered POST to provide the requested

information to the newspaper. The Court of Appeal reversed, holding that the

information sought was confidential, and not subject to disclosure, because it was

obtained from a personnel file maintained by the peace officers’ employing

agency, and because it constituted “employment history,” an item expressly listed

as confidential in subdivision (a) of Penal Code section 832.8.

The majority here properly rejects the notion that the information sought is

confidential because it is the type of information that is normally contained in a

personnel file. Then it considers whether a named officer’s employing agency,

hiring dates and termination dates are employment history, and it concludes that

they are not, based on its determination that the term employment history, “viewed

in isolation, is ambiguous and susceptible” to interpretation. (Maj. opn., ante, at

p. 15.) Unlike the majority, I see no ambiguity in the statutory language, as I

explain below.

II

In determining the meaning of a statute we look first to its language as

“ ‘the most reliable indicator of legislative intent,’ ” giving the words used “ ‘their

ordinary and usual meaning,’ ” and construing them in their statutory context.

(Kibler v. Northern Inyo County Local Hospital Dist. (2006) 39 Cal.4th 192, 199.)

“ ‘If the plain, commonsense meaning of a statute’s words is unambiguous, the

plain meaning controls.’ ” (People v. King (2006) 38 Cal.4th 617, 622, quoting

Fitch v. Select Products Co. (2005) 36 Cal.4th 812, 818.)

In addition to this general maxim of statutory construction, of relevance

here is a provision of the California Constitution. In November 2004, the voters

passed Proposition 59, an initiative measure reaffirming a principle long ago

established by the California Public Records Act (Gov. Code, § 6250) that the

2



people have a right to access to information concerning the conduct of the

people’s business. (Cal. Const., art. I, § 3, subd. (b)(1).) Although the initiative

expressly preserved privacy protections contained in existing statutes, including

“any statutory procedures” concerning the “professional qualifications of a peace

officer” (Cal. Const., art. I, § 3, subd. (b)(3)), it also directed courts to narrowly

construe a statute “if it limits the [people’s] right of access” to information. (Cal.

Const., art. I, § 3, subd. (b)(2).) The confidentiality created for peace officer

personnel records by Penal Code sections 832.7 and 832.8, which existed long

before the 2002 passage of Proposition 59, must be read in light of these

principles.

Penal Code section 832.7, subdivision (a), makes peace officer personnel

records “confidential.” Its companion statute, Penal Code section 832.8, describes

a peace officer’s personnel record as “any file maintained under the officer’s

name” and containing certain enumerated types of information—personal data,

medical history, election of employee benefits, employee advancement, appraisal

or discipline, and complaints about professional performance. (Pen. Code, § 832,

subds. (a)-(e).) The section’s focus is on “information” about an officer that is

confidential; indeed, after setting out various specific categories of information, it

concludes with the following catchall provision: “Any other information the

disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy.” (Pen.

Code, § 832.8, subd. (f), italics added.) Thus, the statutory confidentiality of

personnel records is accorded to enumerated, and to otherwise private, information

that is linked to a named officer. An officer’s name is nowhere mentioned in the

list of enumerated confidential information.

But employment history is expressly mentioned in subdivision (a), which

lists: “Personal data, including martial status, family members, educational and

employment history, home addresses, or similar information.” (Pen. Code,

3



§ 832.8, subd. (a), italics added.) Looking at the other items enumerated in

subdivision (a), the majority reasons that the examples of personal data set out are

all “basic status or identifying information about the employee as he came to the

job.” (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 17.) Such information is not “information that arises

out of an officer’s employment.” (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 16.) Accordingly, the

majority concludes, “employment history” is limited to previous employers and

previous dates of employment supplied by a job applicant. And the majority seeks

to bolster its conclusion that subdivision (a) concerns only information about

applicants for jobs by citing other subdivisions of the statute that, according to the

majority, apply only to current employees.

But subdivisions (b) through (e) of Penal Code section 832.8 make no such

distinction between applicant information and current employee information.

Although “election of employee benefits” in subdivision (e) applies to current

employees, “medical history” in subdivision (b) does not, because a peace

officer’s medical history both as a job applicant and as a current employee is

relevant to his current employment. In so narrowly construing the term

“employment history,” as used in subdivision (a) of Penal Code section 832.8, the

majority ignores the plain language of the statute to find ambiguity based on its

structure.

I would instead look to the plain language of the statute and give the term

“employment history” its commonly understood meaning: a listing of employers

together with the starting and ending dates of employment for each employer.

Under that definition the information sought by the Los Angeles Times is

employment history and therefore confidential under section 832.8 of the Penal

Code.

The Legislature has already decided that a peace officer’s employment

history is confidential. Whether that is a good or bad policy choice is not a

4



decision for this court to make. (Bonnell v. Medical Board (2003) 31 Cal.4th

1255, 1263.)

KENNARD,

J.

5













DISSENTING OPINION BY CHIN, J.




As a court, we have a “limited role” in interpreting statutes enacted by the

Legislature. (California Teachers Assn. v. Governing Bd. of Rialto Unified School

Dist. (1997) 14 Cal.4th 627, 632 (California Teachers).) Our role is “not to

establish policy” (Carrisales v. Department of Corrections (1999) 21 Cal.4th

1132, 1140) or to “inquir[e] into the ‘wisdom’ of” the Legislature’s “policy

choices.” (People v. Bunn (2002) 27 Cal.4th 1, 17.) It is to “follow the

Legislature’s intent, as exhibited by the plain meaning of the actual words of the

law, ‘ “ ‘whatever may be thought of the wisdom, expediency, or policy of the

act.’ ” ’ [Citation.]” (California Teachers, supra, at p. 632.) In short, we have

neither prerogative nor power “to substitute our public policy judgment for that of

the Legislature. [Citation.]” (Thomas v. City of Richmond (1995) 9 Cal.4th 1154,

1165.)

In my view, the Legislature’s intent, as exhibited by the plain meaning of

the relevant statutory language, was to include the information requested here

from the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (Commission)—

peace officers’ names, employing departments, and dates of employment—as

“personnel records” within the meaning of Penal Code sections 832.7 and 832.8.1

I therefore dissent from the majority’s conclusion, which, contrary to the

principles set forth above, improperly disregards the Legislature’s policy decision


1

All further unlabeled statutory references are to the Penal Code.

1



regarding the public’s interest in “the qualifications and conduct of law

enforcement officers” (maj. opn., ante, at p. 21), and substitutes the majority’s

different view on that subject.



I. THE REQUESTED INFORMATION IS CONFIDENTIAL UNDER SECTIONS

832.7 AND 832.8.




As the majority explains, the issue here is whether the Commission’s

records of officers’ names, employing departments, and dates of employment are

“peace officer personnel records . . . or information obtained from those records”

under section 832.7, subdivision (a). (Maj. opn., ante, at pp. 8-9.) If they are, then

they are “confidential” and they may “not be disclosed in any criminal or civil

proceeding except by discovery pursuant to” specified provisions of the Evidence

Code. (Pen. Code, § 832.7, subd. (a).) If they are not, then because they are

public records, they may be obtained through a request under the California Public

Records Act (CPRA) (Gov. Code, § 6250 et seq.), unless some other disclosure

exception applies.

Section 832.8 specifies the “mean[ing]” of the term “personnel records” for

purposes of applying section 832.7. It provides: “As used in Section 832.7,

‘personnel records’ means any file maintained under that individual’s name by his

or her employing agency and containing records relating to any of the following:

[¶] (a) Personal data, including marital status, family members, educational and

employment history, home addresses, or similar information. [¶] (b) Medical

history. [¶] (c) Election of employee benefits. [¶] (d) Employee advancement,

appraisal, or discipline. [¶] (e) Complaints, or investigations of complaints,

concerning an event or transaction in which he or she participated, or which he or

she perceived, and pertaining to the manner in which he or she performed his or

her duties. [¶] (f) Any other information the disclosure of which would constitute

an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” The question here is whether the

requested information at issue falls within any of these categories.

2



Under well-settled principles, to answer to this question of statutory

construction, we must “first look at the actual words of the statute, ‘giving them a

plain and commonsense meaning.’ [Citation.] ‘If there is no ambiguity in the

language of the statute, “then the Legislature is presumed to have meant what it

said, and the plain meaning of the language governs.” [Citation.] “Where the

statute is clear, courts will not ‘interpret away clear language in favor of an

ambiguity that does not exist.’ ” ’ [Citation.]” (People v. Tindall (2000) 24

Cal.4th 767, 772.) “ ‘One who contends that a provision of an act must not be

applied according to the natural or customary purport of its language must show

either that some other section of the act expands or restricts its meaning, that the

provision itself is repugnant to the general purview of the act, or that the act

considered in pari materia with other acts, or with the legislative history of the

subject matter, imports a different meaning.’ [Citation.]” (Leroy T. v. Workmen’s

Comp. Appeals Bd. (1974) 12 Cal.3d 434, 438 (Leroy T.).)

Under the plain and commonsense meaning of the relevant statutory

language, the records at issue here qualify as “personnel records” within the

meaning of section 832.8, subdivision (a). As noted above, in relevant part, that

subdivision defines “personnel records” as records relating to “[p]ersonal data,

including marital status, family members, educational and employment history,

home addresses, or similar information.” (Ibid.) In my view, the term “[p]ersonal

data” (ibid), as commonly understood, includes a person’s name. Notably, the

majority agrees that under the “general[]” dictionary definition of the term

“personal,” “[a] name might be viewed as ‘personal data’ . . . because it relates to

a person.” (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 18.) Indeed, this construction is consistent with

prior decisions in which we have characterized a person’s name as “personal data”

(Estate of MacDonald (1990) 51 Cal.3d 262, 265, fn. 2; Boyer v. United States F.

& G. Co. (1929) 206 Cal. 273, 275), and “personal information” (People ex. rel.

Orloff v. Pacific Bell (2003) 31 Cal.4th 1132, 1139). As for the officers’

employing departments and dates of employment, this information qualifies under

3



the common and ordinary understanding of the term “employment history,” which

is one of the listed examples of confidential “[p]ersonal data” in section 832.8

subdivision (a). (See American Heritage Dict. (4th ed. 2000) p. 833 [defining

“history” as “a chronological record of events”].)

In my view, the majority has not met its burden, as set forth above, to

justify its refusal to apply section 832.8, subdivision (a), “ ‘according to the

natural or customary purport of its language.’ ” (Leroy T., supra, 12 Cal.3d at p.

438.) Regarding officers’ names, the majority “assume[s] that in defining

personnel records the Legislature drew the line carefully” and would have

expressly “list[ed] ‘name’ as an item of ‘[p]ersonal data’ ” had it “intended to

prevent the disclosure of officers’ identities as such.” (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 21.)

The majority’s assumptions are inconsistent with the language of section 832.8,

subdivision (a), which defines “personnel records” as records relating to

“[p]ersonal data, including marital status, family members, educational and

employment history, home addresses, or similar information.” (Italics added.) As

we have often explained, the word “including” is ordinarily a term of enlargement,

not of limitation; it expands, rather than contracts, the meaning of a word.

(Flanagan v. Flanagan (2002) 27 Cal.4th 766, 774; Morillion v. Royal Packing

Co. (2000) 22 Cal.4th 575, 582.) Moreover, the phrase “or similar information”

also obviously expands the scope of the term “[p]ersonal data” as used in section

832.8, subdivision (a). (See Garden Grove Police Department v. Superior Court

(2001) 89 Cal.App.4th 430, 434 [“the term ‘similar information’ signifies [the

Legislature’s] intent to include other things relating to the listed items . . . which

are not expressly listed”].) Given the statutory language, the majority errs in

reasoning that the Legislature “carefully” drew a “line” between protected and

unprotected information and meant to exclude information other than that

expressly listed. (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 21.) Indeed, given the broadly inclusive

language the Legislature chose, the more reasonable conclusion is that the

Legislature would have expressly exempted an officer’s name from the protections

4



of section 832.7 had it intended to exclude this quintessential piece of “[p]ersonal

data.” (§ 827.8, subd. (a).)

The majority also argues that the word “personal” may “carr[y] a

connotation of ‘private,’ ” i.e., “ ‘proper to private concerns,’ ” concerning

someone’s “private business, interests, or activities; intimate.’ ” (Maj. opn., ante,

at p. 18.) Of course, had the Legislature intended to limit the scope of section

832.8, subdivision (a), to private and intimate information, the Legislature could

easily and clearly have done so simply by rewriting the provision as the majority

does when it refers to information that is “personal or private.” (Maj. opn., ante,

at p. 19, fn. 5, italics added.) Moreover, the listed examples of “[p]ersonal data”

in section 832.8, subdivision (a), affirmatively demonstrate that the Legislature

was not using the term in this sense. Among the listed items are “educational and

employment history.” (Ibid.) There is nothing particularly private or intimate

about a police officer’s educational or employment history.2 (Department of State

v. Washington Post Co. (1982) 456 U.S. 595, 600 [“employment history . . . is not

normally regarded as highly personal”].) Nor does that history relate only to a

police officer’s private business or activities. On the contrary, an officer’s

educational and employment history are highly relevant to something the majority

insists is of substantial “public” interest: the officer’s “qualifications” for a law

enforcement position. (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 24.) Given the Legislature’s express

inclusion of “education and employment history” as protected “[p]ersonal data”

(§ 832.8, subd. (a)), the majority errs in restricting the scope of “[p]ersonal data”

section 832.8, subdivision (a) encompasses based on the fact the word “personal”

may carry a connotation of private or intimate. (Cf. Ornelas v. Randolph (1993) 4


2

Nor, contrary to the majority’s assertion, are an officer’s educational and

employment history “the type of information that, for reasons of officer safety,
should not be revealed to perpetrators or witnesses of crimes.” (Maj. opn., ante, at
p. 18.)

5



Cal.4th 1095, 1101 [examples expressly listed in statute do not “share any

unifying trait which would serve to restrict the meaning of the [statutory]

phrase”].)

For a number of reasons, I also disagree with the majority that, given the

Attorney General’s “long held” view that “ ‘the name of every public officer and

employee . . . is a matter of public record,’ ” we should disregard the statutory

language’s ordinary meaning and require “a more specific indication” that

officers’ names are protected “[p]ersonal data” under section 832.8, subdivision

(a). (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 19.) First, neither of the two Attorney General opinions

the majority cites in support of its view (ibid.) specifically concerned peace

officers. (County Payroll Records as Public Records, 60 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 110

(1977); State Employees’ Retirement Act, 25 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 90, 91 (1955).)

Second, the earlier opinion, which served as the sole authority for the later one,

cited no authority and offered no analysis for its assertion that “it is a fact that the

name of every public officer and employee . . . is a matter of public record.”

(State Employees’ Retirement Act, supra, 25 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. at p. 91.) Third,

that a public employee’s name is a public record is not in dispute here; on the

contrary, as the majority explains, “[i]t is undisputed that the information sought

[here] . . . constitutes a public record,” and the only issue is whether one of the

CPRA’s exceptions exempt that public record from disclosure.3 (Maj. opn., ante,

at p. 7.) Which leads me to the fourth and final reason I disagree with the

majority’s reliance on these opinions: the later one expressly recognized that

certain of the CPRA’s provisions “specifically exempt[]” otherwise public records

from disclosure, and it applied the very exemption at issue here, i.e., Government


3

Because the CPRA only requires disclosure of “[p]ublic records” (Gov.

Code, § 6253, subd. (a)), the question of an exemption’s applicability presupposes
that the information in question is a public record. Thus, that a public employee’s
name is a public record is of no analytical significance.

6



Code section 6254, subdivision (k), which exempts “ ‘[r]ecords, the disclosure of

which is exempted or prohibited pursuant to federal or state law, including, but not

limited to, provisions of the Evidence Code relating to privilege.’ ” (County

Payroll Records as Public Records, supra, 60 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. at p. 113,

quoting Gov. Code, § 6254, subd. (k).) For all of these reasons, nothing in the

cited Attorney General opinions justifies the majority’s demand for greater

specificity.4

I also disagree with the majority’s view that in passing sections 832.7 and

832.8, the Legislature was only concerned about “linking a named officer to the

private or sensitive information listed in” the latter section. (Maj. opn., ante, at p.

17.) By its express terms, section 832.7, subdivision (a), makes “confidential” all

qualifying “personnel records” and all “information obtained from these records,”

and it precludes “disclos[ure]” of all such records and information except as

authorized by statute. Thus, information that qualifies under section 832.8 as a

“personnel record[]” is confidential and may not be disclosed even if the proposed

disclosure would not be “link[ed]” to a particular officer’s name. (Maj. opn., ante,

at p. 17.) The Attorney General confirmed this view of the statutes in a 1988

opinion concluding that sections 832.7 and 832.8, as they then read, precluded

release to the public of summary and statistical information regarding citizen

complaints against peace officers, even if the officers were not identified. (71


4

The majority’s reliance on decisions from “other jurisdictions” (maj. opn.,

ante, at p. 19, fn. 6) is equally unconvincing. None of the cited cases involved
provisions similar to sections 832.7 and 832.8, two did not even involve peace
officers, and three were decided decades after the Legislature passed sections
832.7 and 832.8. (See Freedom Newspapers, Inc. v. Tollefson (Colo.Ct.App.
1998) 961 P.2d 1150; Magic Valley Newspapers v. Medical Center (Idaho 2002)
59 P.3d 314; Moak v. Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. (Pa.Comw.Ct. 1975) 336
A.2d 920; King County v. Sheehan (Wn.Ct.App. 2002) 57 P.3d 307.) For these
reasons, these non-California decisions are irrelevant to determining the intent of
the Legislature in enacting sections 832.7 and 832.8.

7



Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 247 (1988).) The Legislature responded to the Attorney

General’s opinion by enacting what is now section 832.7, subdivision (c), which

provides that a department “may disseminate data regarding the number, type, or

disposition of complaints . . . made against its officers if that information is in a

form which does not identify the individuals involved.” (See Stats. 1989, ch. 615,

§ 1, p. 2061.) This express authorization to release certain information “in a form

which does not identify” the officer (§ 832.7, subd. (c)) would be unnecessary if,

as the majority erroneously reasons, the statute only precludes disclosure of

confidential information that is “link[ed]” to a particular officer’s name. (Maj.

opn., ante, at p. 17.) Moreover, this exception to confidentiality is limited in two

important respects: (1) it applies only to a very small subset of the information

specified as confidential in section 832.8, i.e., “data regarding the number, type, or

disposition of complaints” made against officers (§ 832.7, subd. (c)); and (2) even

as to this small subset, it merely permits, and does not require, disclosure. (Ibid.

[department “may” disclose specified information].) In other words, the

subdivision authorizes a department to refuse to disclose the specified information

even in a form that does not identify the officers, and it confers no discretion to

disclose any of the other information section 832.8 makes confidential. Thus,

contrary to the majority’s analysis (maj. opn., ante, at pp. 17-18), subdivision (c)

of section 832.7 does not in any way support the majority’s view that the

Legislature, in passing sections 832.7 and 832.8, was only concerned about

“linking a named officer to the private or sensitive information listed in” the latter

section. (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 17.) On the contrary, in view of its limitations, as

described above, the subdivision actually supports the opposite conclusion.

Regarding officers’ employing departments and dates of employment, I

find equally unconvincing the majority’s justifications for ignoring the ordinary

meaning of the term “employment history” (§ 832.7, subd. (a)) and holding that

the term includes only “ ‘basic status or identifying information about the

employee as he or she came to the job’ ” and “ ‘does not include any information

8



that would be specific to the current job.’ ”5 (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 17.) The

majority first asserts that “[t]he items enumerated in subdivision (a) [of section

832.8] do not constitute information that arises out of an officer’s employment.”

(Maj. opn., ante, at p. 16.) Of course, this assertion ignores the common

understanding of the term “employment history,” and is true only if one interprets

that term as the majority ultimately does, i.e., to exclude any information

regarding an officer’s current job. In other words, the majority’s assertion, which

the majority offers as the first step towards its conclusion, already assumes its

conclusion. Moreover, the majority’s assertion is erroneous as to officers who

pursue education that is necessary to obtain, keep, or advance to a particular

position; as to these officers, aspects of their “educational . . . history,” which is

one of the items subdivision (a) enumerates, would in fact arise out of their

employment. The majority next asserts that interpreting the term “employment

history” in subdivision (a) to include information about an officer’s current

position would “render[] subdivision (d) [of section 832.8] unnecessary and

redundant,” because “all of the information listed in subdivision (d)” would be

“encompass[ed]” by the term “employment history” in subdivision (a). (Maj.

opn., ante, at pp. 16-17.) I disagree; in my view, although the name of a person’s

employer and the dates of the person’s hiring and termination clearly and

necessarily fall within the ordinary meaning of the term “employment history,” the

same cannot be said of any and all records relating to “[e]mployee advancement,

appraisal, or discipline,’ ” which are the records specified in subdivision (d).

Thus, although following the ordinary meaning of the statutory language would

produce some overlap between subdivisions (a) and (d), it would not, as the

majority asserts, render the latter completely redundant and unnecessary. Any


5

I note that an officer’s name meets these criteria. It is not clear, then, why

the majority concludes that section 832.8, subdivision (a), does not include this
information.

9



minor redundancy would not at all impair subdivision (d)’s distinct purpose: to

clarify that the records specified in that subdivision, which may or may not

constitute “employment history” under section 832.8, subdivision (a), nevertheless

are confidential “personnel records” within the meaning of section 832.7. Thus,

the majority’s analysis of the statutory language is unconvincing.

Moreover, the majority’s construction of the phrase “employment history”

is problematic when that phrase is viewed, as it should be, “in the context of the

statute as a whole.” (People v. Canty (2004) 32 Cal.4th 1266, 1276.) In

construing a statute, unless a contrary intent appears, we “presume[]” the

Legislature “intended that similar phrases be accorded the same meaning.”

(People v. Wells (1996) 12 Cal.4th 979, 986.) Section 832.8 contains two phrases

similar to “employment history”: “[m]edical history” (§ 832.8, subd. (b)) and

“educational . . . history” (§ 832.8, subd. (a)). Giving these two similar phrases

the same construction the majority gives the phrase “employment history” means

that only an officer’s prehiring medical and educational information is included in

the officer’s confidential “personnel records” under section 832.7. I see no basis

in logic, statutory language, or legislative history for making confidentiality

depend on whether medical and educational information about an officer relates to

a prehiring, as opposed to posthiring, period. And, because I believe the terms

“medical history” and “educational . . . history” include an officer’s posthiring

medical and educational information, I see no basis for interpreting the term

“employment history” in subdivision (a) differently. As the Commission argues,

“ ‘history’ cannot have one meaning in one subdivision of [the] statute, but an

entirely opposite meaning in the very next subdivision.”

The majority’s construction is also problematic in its application. The

majority states that section 832.8, subdivision (a), only includes information about

the officer “ ‘as he or she came to the job.’ ” (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 17.) Does this

mean that records reflecting posthiring changes regarding an officer’s “marital

status, family members, educational . . . history, [and] home addresses” (§ 832.8,

10



subd. (a)) are not confidential “personnel records” under section 832.7? The

majority also states that the term “employment history” only encompasses

information “relating to the officer’s current position.” (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 16.)

An officer who has been terminated does not have a current position with his or

her former department, so records of the former department (or information

derived from those records) regarding such an officer’s hiring and termination

would seem to qualify as “personnel records” under the majority’s construction.

Yet, the majority seemingly holds that even as to terminated officers, the

information requested here is not “[p]ersonal data” under section 832.8,

subdivision (a). (Maj. opn., ante, at pp. 22-23.)

Ultimately, there is little to support the majority’s construction other than

the majority’s own view of public policy.6 The majority asserts that the public has

a “substantial” interest “in the qualifications and conduct of peace officers” (maj.

opn., ante, at p. 24), and that the public’s interest “ ‘in the qualifications and

conduct of law enforcement officers’ ” is “ ‘far greater’ ” than its interest in the

qualifications and conduct of “the average public servant.” (Id. at pp. 20-21.) It is

in light of this policy concern that the majority declares itself “hesita[nt]” to

follow the ordinary meaning of the statutory language. (Id. at p. 19.)

Even were I to agree with the majority’s view of public policy—a matter on

which I express no opinion—I do not believe that view would justify the

majority’s construction. The Legislature has clearly and expressly articulated a

different view of public policy in the very statutes at issue here. As noted above,

among the records the Legislature has expressly made confidential are those


6

Notably, the majority cites nothing in the legislative history that support its

construction.

11



relating to an officer’s “advancement, appraisal, or discipline” (§ 832.8, subd. (d)),

and to “[c]omplaints, or investigations of complaints, concerning an event or

transaction in which [the officer] participated, or which he or she perceived, and

pertaining to the manner in which he or she performed his or her duties.” (Id.,

subd. (e).) This information goes more to the heart of an officer’s qualifications

and conduct than any other, and the Legislature’s decision to make it confidential

thus reflects a view of policy at odds with the policy view that drives the

majority’s construction. 7 As I noted at the outset, we have neither power nor

prerogative to substitute our view of public policy for the Legislature’s.

Indeed, the public itself, through an amendment to the state Constitution,

has also expressed a policy view different from the majority’s. As the majority

explains (maj. opn., ante, at p. 7), when the voters added a constitutional provision

declaring a “right of access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s

business” and making “the writings of public officials and agencies . . . open to

public scrutiny” (Cal. Const., art. I, § 3, subd. (b)(1)), they also expressly

preserved “statutory procedures governing discovery or disclosure of information

concerning the official performance or professional qualifications of a peace

officer.” (Id., subd. (b)(3), italics added.) Through this provision, the voters

ratified and endorsed the policy view the Legislature implemented by enacting

sections 832.7 and 832.8, subdivisions (d) and (e). Of course, we do not pass upon

the wisdom, expediency, or policy “of enactments by the voters any more than we

would enactments by the Legislature.” (Professional Engineers in California

Government v. Kempton (2007) 40 Cal.4th 1016, 1043.) Given that the

Legislature, through sections 832.7 and 832.8, and the voters, through a

constitutional amendment, have expressly protected the confidentiality of records


7

For this reason, the majority’s assertion that there is only “some tension”

between its view of public policy and the Legislature’s (maj. opn., ante, at p. 21) is
a significant understatement.

12



relating to the qualifications and conduct of police officers, the majority errs in

basing its construction on a view of policy contrary to that expressed by both the

Legislature and the electorate. I therefore disagree with the majority’s conclusion

that subdivision (a) of section 832.8 does not encompass records reflecting an

officer’s name, employing agency, and dates of employment.8

II. GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 6254, SUBDIVISION (C).




As the majority explains (maj. opn., ante, at p. 23), in resisting disclosure,

the Commission also relies on Government Code section 6254, subdivision (c),

which provides that the CPRA does not require disclosure of “[p]ersonnel,

medical, or similar files, the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted

invasion of personal privacy.” (Gov. Code, § 6254, subd. (c).) The majority

rejects this argument, finding that “the privacy and safety interests of peace

officers in general do not outweigh the public’s interest in the disclosure of the

information sought.” (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 29.) In light of my conclusion that the

requested information is encompassed within Penal Code sections 832.7 and

832.8, subdivision (a), I need not decide whether Government Code section 6254,

subdivision (c), also applies. I do, however, have several comments about the

majority’s analysis.

In my view, the majority’s analysis of the public interest in disclosure is

inconsistent with the view of that interest the Legislature and the voters have

expressed. Like its analysis of Penal Code section 832.8, the majority’s analysis

of Government Code section 6254, subdivision (c), depends heavily on the


8

Because the majority declines to decide whether the Commission

adequately established that the information in its possession came from files
maintained under the officers’ names by their employing agencies (maj. opn.,
ante, at p. 23, fn. 8), I also decline to address that issue. (See Cal. Rules of Court,
rule 8.516(b)(3) [“court need not decide every issue the parties raise”].)

13



majority’s view that “[t]he public’s interest in the qualifications and conduct of

peace officers is substantial.” (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 24.) According to the

majority, the public has a “legitimate interest” in discovering “why” peace officers

leave a department and whether a department is hiring officers who have been

dismissed from other departments, because this information will facilitate

identification of “specific instances of potentially inappropriate employment

practices.” (Ibid.) In my view, the Legislature has already spoken on this subject,

by expressly providing in sections 832.7 and 832.8, subdivisions (d) and (e), that

an officer’s personnel file is not an appropriate source of information on these

subjects. And, the voters have ratified the Legislature’s policy decision by passing

a constitutional provision that expressly preserves “statutory procedures governing

discovery or disclosure of information concerning the official performance or

professional qualifications of a peace officer.” (Cal. Const., art. I, § 3, subd.

(b)(3).) The majority’s analysis improperly ignores these expressions of policy by

the Legislature and the voters.

I also question several other aspects of the majority’s analysis. In light of

its holding that sections 832.7 and 832.8 “do not protect an officer’s name,

employing department, and dates of employment,” the majority concludes that

these statutes “do not support the argument that peace officers have a recognized

privacy interest in” that information. (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 26.) Because, as

earlier explained, I disagree with the majority’s construction of sections 832.7 and

832.8, I disagree with the majority’s conclusion.

I also question the majority’s view that disclosure of all officers’ names is

necessary to serve the public’s interest in tracing officers’ movements and

identifying general trends and specific instances of potentially inappropriate

employment practices. (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 24, fn. 10.) To serve this asserted

interest, it is unnecessary to disclose the identity of all officers in the Commission’s

records, most of whom no doubt have rarely or never transferred from one

department to another. Instead, this asserted interest can be fully satisfied by using

14



a two-step process in which the requested information is first disclosed with

nonidentifying tracking designations substituted for the officers’ names, followed

by disclosure of the names of the relatively few officers whose movements may

merit further inquiry. This approach would be entirely consistent with the CPRA,

which requires “deletion” of any exempt material that is “reasonably segregable”

from nonexempt material. (Gov. Code, § 6253, subd. (a).)

I next question the majority’s reliance on the fact that officers’ names may

be otherwise accessible to the public in various ways. (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 26.)

In construing exemption 6 of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C.

§ 552,(b)(6)), which is similar to Government Code section 6254, subdivision (c),

in that it applies to personnel files “the disclosure of which would constitute a

clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy,” the high court stated: “The

privacy interest protected by Exemption 6 ‘encompass[es] the individual’s control

of information concerning his or her person.’ [Citation.] An individual’s interest

in controlling the dissemination of information regarding personal matters does

not dissolve simply because that information may be available to the public in

some form.” (U.S. Dept. of Defense v. Federal Labor Relations Authority (1994)
510 U.S. 487, 500.) The majority’s analysis gives no consideration to this aspect

of an officer’s privacy interest.

Finally, I am also not convinced of the majority’s view that release of the

requested information poses no threat to the safety of officers and their families.

(Maj. opn., ante, at pp. 27-29.) Notably, in 1990, the Legislature amended

subdivision (a) of section 832.8 by adding “home addresses” to the list of

examples of confidential “[p]ersonal data.” (Stats. 1990, ch. 264, § 1, p. 1535.)

According to the amendment’s legislative history, one of the Legislature’s

purposes in adding “home addresses” to the list was to protect officers and their

families. (Assem. Com. on Public Safety, Analysis of Sen. Bill 1985 (1989-1990

Reg. Sess.) as amended May, 16, 1990, p. 2.) Given that publicly available

databases on the Internet make it easy to link a name to an address, the release of

15



an officer’s name would not seem to pose much, if any, less of a safety risk than

would disclosing an officer’s home address. (See Frank v. City of Akron (6th Cir.

2002) 290 F.3d 813, 819 [“Most individuals’ addresses . . . are readily available on

the Internet”].) Contrary to the majority’s suggestion, in light of the accessibility

of information through the Internet, it would be entirely “feasible” for someone

hostile toward the police to use the list of names to locate peace officers’ addresses

in order to “harass them” or their families. (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 28.) Moreover,

in light of the Legislature’s acknowledgment of the dangers faced by officers and

their families, I do not agree with the majority (id. at p. 27) that we can simply

dismiss this threat as being “purely speculative.”9 (See King County v. Sheehan,

supra, 57 P.3d at p. 315 [it is “naïve . . . to believe that police officers who are

identified on anti-police web sites . . . by name and home address . . . could not

thereby be placed in danger or subjected to harassment”].)

Ultimately, the majority concedes that in light of “the privacy and safety

interests of” some officers, the requested records “may contain some information

that should be exempted from disclosure.” (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 29.) The

majority assigns to the Commission the responsibility for making the showing

necessary to establish that information concerning “particular officers” should not

be disclosed. (Id. at p. 30.) In my view, the Commission, which is not the

officers’ employing department but is merely an agency that collects information


9

The statutes the majority cites (maj. opn., ante, at p. 28, fn. 13) do little to

support its view that the possibility of harassment from disclosure of an officer’s
identity is “speculative” and that such harassment may not even be “feasible.” (Id.
at p. 28.) Three of the cited statutes only limit address disclosures done with
malicious intent (absent an officer’s “written demand” for nondisclosure). (Gov.
Code, §§ 6254.21 and 6254.24; Pen. Code, § 146e, subd. (a).) The remaining
statutes place limitations on only two potential sources of address information:
records of the Department of Motor Vehicle records, if confidentiality is expressly
requested (Veh. Code, §1808.4, subd. (a)), and voter registration cards (Elec.
Code, § 18110).

16



from numerous employing departments, is poorly suited to identify and assert the

privacy and safety interests of the individual officers identified in its records.

III. CONCLUSION




“[A]side from constitutional policy, the Legislature, and not the courts, is

vested with the responsibility to declare the public policy of the state.

[Citations.]” (Green v. Ralee Engineering Co. (1998) 19 Cal.4th 66, 71.) Thus,

“[w]hen the Legislature has spoken, the court is not free to substitute its judgment

as to the better policy.” (City and County of San Francisco v. Sweet (1995) 12

Cal.4th 105, 121.) Our constitutional role is simply to “follow the Legislature’s

intent, as exhibited by the plain meaning of the actual words of the law,” whatever

we may think of its wisdom, expediency, or policy. (California Teachers, supra,

14 Cal.4th at p. 632.) Because I believe the majority’s holding substitutes the

majority’s view of policy for that of the Legislature, as expressed by the plain

meaning of the words in section 832.8, subdivision (a), I dissent.

CHIN,

J.

I CONCUR:

BAXTER, J.

17



See last page for addresses and telephone numbers for counsel who argued in Supreme Court.

Name of Opinion California Commission on Peace Officers Standards & Training v. Superior Court
__________________________________________________________________________________

Unpublished Opinion

Original Appeal
Original Proceeding
Review Granted
XXX 128 Cal.App.4th 281
Rehearing Granted

__________________________________________________________________________________

Opinion No.
S134072
Date Filed: August 27, 2007

__________________________________________________________________________________

Court:
Superior
County: Sacramento
Judge: Lloyd Connelly

__________________________________________________________________________________

Attorneys for Appellant:

Bill Lockyer and Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Attorneys General, Jacob A. Appelsmith, Assistant Attorney
General, Vincent J. Scally, Jr., Elizabeth Hong and Michael E. Whitaker, Deputy Attorneys General, for
Petitioner.

Law Offices of Jones & Mayer, Martin J. Mayer and Paul R. Coble for California State Sheriffs
Association, California Police Chiefs Association and California Peace Officers Association as Amici
Curiae on behalf of Petitioner.

Rains, Lucia & Wilkinson and Alison Berry Wilkinson for The Legal Defense Fund of the Peace Officers
Research Association of California as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Petitioner.

Kasey Christopher Clark and Joshua C. Walters for Cause Statewide Law Enforcement Association as
Amicus Curiae on behalf of Petitioner.


__________________________________________________________________________________

Attorneys for Respondent:

No appearance for Respondent.

Attorneys for Real Party in Interest:

Davis Wright Tremaine, Kelli L. Sager, Alonzo Wickers IV, Rochelle L. Wilcox; and Karlene W. Goller
for Real Party in Interest.

Law Offices of Merrick J. Bobb and Merrick J. Bobb as Amici Curiae on behalf of Real Party in Interest.




1






Page 2 – S134072 – counsel continued

Attorneys for Real Party in Interest:

Levy, Ram & Olson, Karl Olson; Thomas W. Newton; Jon Donnellan; Stephen J. Burns; Harold W. Fuson,
Jr.; Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, James E. Grossberg; Charles Glasser; DLP Piper Rudnick Gray Cary,
James Chadwick; Peter Scheer; Lucy A. Daglish and Gregg P. Leslie for California Newspapers Publishers
Association, Hearst Corporation, Contra Costa Newspapers, Inc., McClatchy Company, The Copley Press,
Freedom Communications, Inc., dba The Orange County Register, Associated Press, Bloomberg News, San
Jose Mercury News. California First Amendment Coalition and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of
the Press as Amici Curiae on behalf of Real Party in Interest.

Alan L. Schlosser, Mark Schlosberg; Peter Eliasberg; Law Offices of Amitai Schwartz, Amitai Schwartz,
Lisa Sitkin; and Jordan C. Budd for ACLU of Northern California, ACLU Foundation of Southern
California and ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties as Amici Curiae on behalf of Real
Party in Interest.

2







Counsel who argued in Supreme Court (not intended for publication with opinion):

Michael E. Whitaker
Deputy Attorney General
300 South Spring Street, Suite 1702
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 897-2092

Kelli L. Sager
Davis Wright Tremaine
865 S. Figueroa Street, Suite 2400
Los Angeles, CA 90017-2566
(213) 633-6800


3

Opinion Information
Date:Docket Number:
Mon, 08/27/2007S134072

Parties
1Los Angeles Times Communications, Llc (Real Party in Interest)
Represented by Kelli L. Sager
Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP
865 S. Figueroa Street, Suite 2400
Los Angeles, CA

2Los Angeles Times Communications, Llc (Real Party in Interest)
Represented by Karlene W. Goller
Los Angeles Times
202 W. First Street
Los Angeles, CA

3Superior Court Of Sacramento County (Respondent)
720 9th St. Dept 33
Sacramento, CA 95814

4Commission On Peace Officer Standards & Training (Petitioner)
Represented by Michael Erickson Whitaker
Office of the Attorney General
300 S. Spring Street, Suite 1702
Los Angeles, CA

5California State Sheriffs Association (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Martin J. Mayer
Jones & Mayer
3777 N. Harbor Boulevard
Fullerton, CA

6California State Sheriffs Association (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Paul R. Coble
Jones & Mayer
3777 N. Harbor Boulevard
Fullerton, CA

7Peace Officers Research Association Of California (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Alison Berry Wilkinson
Rains Lucia & Wilkinson, LLP
2300 Contra Costa Boulevard, Suite 230
Pleasant Hill, CA

8Cause Statewide Law Enforcement Association (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Kasey Christopher Clark
Cause Statewide Law Enforcement Association
2029 "H" Street
Sacramento, CA

9California Newspapers Publishers Association (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Karl Olson
Levy Ram & Olson, LLP
639 Front Street, Suite 400
San Francisco, CA

10California Newspapers Publishers Association (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Thomas Ward Newton
CNPA General Counsel
1225 Eighth Street, Suite 260
Sacramento, CA

11Hearst Corporation (Amicus curiae)
959 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10019

12Mcclatch Company (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Stephen J. Burns
The McClatchy Company
2100 "Q" Street
Sacramento, CA

13Freedom Communications Dba Orange County Register (Amicus curiae)
Represented by James E. Grossberg
Levine Sullivan & Koch, LLP
1041 Skyline Drive
Laguna Beach, CA

14Copley Press (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Harold W. Fuson
Copley Press, Inc.
7776 Ivanhoe Avenue
P.O. Box 1530
La Jolla, CA

15Bloomberg News (Amicus curiae)
731 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10022

16California First Amendment Coalition (Amicus curiae)
534-4th Street, #B
San Rafael, CA 94901

17Reporters Committee For Freedom Of The Press (Amicus curiae)
1101 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1100
Arlington, VA 22209

18San Jose Mercury News (Amicus curiae)
Represented by James Montgomery Chadwick
DLA Piperrudnick Gray Cary, LLP
2000 University Avenue
East Palo Alto, CA

19Bobb, Merrick J. (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Merrick John Bobb
PARC
520 S. Grand Avenue, Suite 1070
Los Angeles, CA

20California Police Chiefs Association (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Martin J. Mayer
Jones & Mayer
3777 N. Harbor Boulevard
Fullerton, CA

21California Police Officers Association (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Martin J. Mayer
Jones & Mayer
3777 N. Harbor Boulevard
Fullerton, CA

22Aclu Foundation Of San Diego & Imperial Counties, Inc. (Amicus curiae)
Represented by John David Blair-Loy
ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties
P. O. Box 87131
San Diego, CA


Disposition
Aug 27 2007Opinion: Reversed

Dockets
May 17 2005Received premature petition for review
  counsel for real party LOS ANGELES TIMES COMMUNICATIONS LLC.
May 18 2005Petition for review filed
  counsel for real party LOS ANGELES TIMES COMMUNICATIONS LLC.
May 23 2005Record requested
 
Jun 2 2005Received Court of Appeal record
 
Jun 6 2005Request for depublication (petition for review pending)
  real party Los Angeles Times Communications, LLC
Jul 12 2005Time extended to grant or deny review
  to and including August 16, 2005
Jul 27 20052nd record request
  for the rest of the record
Jul 27 2005Petition for review granted (civil case)
  Votes: George, C.J., Kennard, Baxter, Werdegar, Chin, and Moreno, JJ.
Jul 29 2005Received Court of Appeal record
  C045494 - Vol. 2
Jul 29 2005Letter sent to:
  All parties enclosing a copy of the grant order and the certification of interested entities or persons form
Aug 9 2005Certification of interested entities or persons filed
  petitioner Commission on Peace Officer Standards & Training
Aug 12 2005Certification of interested entities or persons filed
  by RPI Los Angeles Times
Aug 22 2005Request for extension of time filed
  opening brief/merits to 9-9-05>> real party Los Angeles Times Communications LLC
Aug 25 2005Extension of time granted
  to serve and file the opening brief on the merits to and including September 9, 2005.
Sep 9 2005Request for judicial notice filed (granted case)
  2 volumes>>real party Los Angeles Times Communications, LLC
Sep 9 2005Opening brief on the merits filed
  real party Los Angeles Times Communications, LLC
Sep 19 2005Request for extension of time filed
  answer brief/merits to 10-31-05>>petitioner California Commission on Peace Officer Standards & Training
Sep 29 2005Time extended to grant or deny review
  To October 31, 2005 to file petitioner's Answer Brief on the Merits.
Oct 20 2005Request for extension of time filed
  answer brief/merits to 11-14-05>>petitioner California Comn on Peace Officer Standards & Training
Oct 21 2005Extension of time granted
  On application of petitioner and good cause appearing, it is ordered that the time to serve and file the answer brief on the merits is hereby extended to and including November 14, 2005.
Nov 15 2005Answer brief on the merits filed
  by petitioner (California Cmmission on Peace Officers Standards & Training) (Filed in Sacramento)
Nov 29 2005Request for extension of time filed
  to 12-19-2005 to file Real Party Los Angeless Times Communications' Reply Brief on the Merits
Dec 2 2005Extension of time granted
  On application of real party in interest and good cause appearing, it is ordered that the time to serve and file the reply brief on the merits is extended to and including December 19, 2005.
Dec 19 2005Reply brief filed (case fully briefed)
  Los Angeles Times Communication LLC, real party in Interest
Dec 19 2005Request for judicial notice filed (granted case)
  supplemental request for judicial notice filed by Los Angeles Times Communications LLC
Jan 13 2006Received application to file Amicus Curiae Brief
  CA State Sheriffs Assn., CA Police Chiefs Assn. and CA Peace Officers Assn., applicants Paul Coble, Martin Mayer, counsel application and brief in support of petitioner
Jan 17 2006Received application to file Amicus Curiae Brief
  ACLU of Northern California, Southern California, and San Diego & Imperial Counties in support of Real Party in Interest Los Angeles Times Communications.
Jan 18 2006Received application to file Amicus Curiae Brief
  The Legal Defense fund of the Peace Officers Research Association of California in support of petitioner
Jan 18 2006Received application to file Amicus Curiae Brief
  California Newspapers Publishers Association, Hearst corporation, et al. in support of RPI. Received Motion for Judicial Notice
Jan 18 2006Received application to file Amicus Curiae Brief
  Merrick J. Bobb supporting real party Los Angeles Times Communications LLC
Jan 18 2006Received application to file Amicus Curiae Brief
  Cause Statewide Law Enforcement Association in support of petitioner [ Received all three packages ]
Jan 23 2006Permission to file amicus curiae brief granted
  The application of California State Sheriffs Association, California Police Chiefs Association, and California Peace Officers Association for permission to file an amicus curiae brief in support of petitioner is hereby granted. An answer thereto may be served and filed by any party within twenty days of the filing of the brief.
Jan 23 2006Amicus curiae brief filed
  California State Sheriffs Association, California Police Chiefs Association, and California Peace Officers Association in support of petitioner.
Jan 23 2006Permission to file amicus curiae brief granted
  On application of Legal Defense Fund of the Peace Officers Research Association of California for permission to file an amicus curiae brief in support of petitioners is hereby granted. An answer thereto may be served and filed by any party within twenty days of the filing of the brief.
Jan 23 2006Amicus curiae brief filed
  Legal Defense Fund of the Peace Officers Research Association in support of petitioner.
Jan 23 2006Permission to file amicus curiae brief granted
  The application of Cause Statewide Law Enforcement Association for permission to fle an amicus curiae brief in support of petitioner is hereby granted. An answer thereto may be served and filed by any party within twenty days of the filing of the brief.
Jan 23 2006Amicus curiae brief filed
  Cause Statewide Law Enforcement Association in support of petitioner.
Jan 23 2006Permission to file amicus curiae brief granted
  The application of ACLU of Northern California, ACLU Foundation of Southern California, and the ACLU Foundation of San Diego and Imperial Counties for permission to file an amicus curiae brief in support of real party in interest is hereby granted. An answer thereto may be served and filed by any party twenty days of the filing of the brief.
Jan 23 2006Amicus curiae brief filed
  ACLU of Northern California, ACLU Foundation of Southern California, and the ACLU Foundation of San Diego and Imperial Counties in support of real party in interest.
Jan 23 2006Permission to file amicus curiae brief granted
  The application of California Newspapers Publishers Association, Hearst Corporation, Contra Costa Newspapers, Inc., McClatchy Company, The Copley Press, Freedom Communications, Inc., dba The Orange County Register, Associated Press, Bloomberg News, San Jose Mercury News, and California First Committee for Freedom of the Press for permission to file an amicus curiae brief in support of real party in interest is hereby granted. An answer thereto may be served and filed by any party within twenty days of the filing of the brief.
Jan 23 2006Amicus curiae brief filed
  California Newspapers Publishers Association, Hearst Corporation, Contra Costa Newspapers, Inc., McClatchy Company, The Copley Press, Freedom Communications, Inc., dba The Orange County Register, Associated Press, Bloomberg News. San Jose Mercury News, and California First Committee for Freedom of the Press in support of real party in interest.
Jan 23 2006Request for judicial notice filed (granted case)
  Amicus Curiae California Newspapers Publishers Association, et al.
Jan 24 2006Received:
  Amicis Curiae Application and Brief of Merrick J. Bobb in support of RPI (received in the L.A. Office on 1-18-2006) (routed to staff)
Jan 30 2006Request for extension of time filed
  by California Commission on Peace Officers Standards & Training, petitioner. Request time to file answer briefs to ACLU & California Newspapers' a/c briefs
Jan 31 2006Received:
  From the L.A. Office a faxed copy of petitioner's (Commission) extension of time request to 3-20-2006 to file Petitioner's Response to Amicus Curiae Briefs of the ACLU and California Newspapers
Feb 3 2006Permission to file amicus curiae brief granted
  The appilcation of Merrick J. Bobb for permission to file an amicus curiae brief in support of real party in interest is hereby granted. An answer thereto may be served and filed by any party within twenty days of the filing of the brief.
Feb 3 2006Amicus curiae brief filed
  Merrick J. Bobb in support of real party in interest
Feb 3 2006Extension of time granted
  On application of petitioner and good cause appeairng, it is ordered that the time to serve and file Answer Briefs to Amicus Curiae Briefs of (1) ACLU Northern California, ACLU Foundation of Southern Calfornia, and the ACLU Foundation of San Diego and Imperial Counties, and (2) California Newspapers Publishers Association, Hearst Corporation, Contra Costa Newspapers, Inc., McClatchy Company, The Copley Press, Freedom Communication, Inc., Associated Press, Bloomberg News, San Jose Mercury News and California First Committee for Freedom of the Press is extended to and including March 20, 2006.
Feb 14 2006Response to amicus curiae brief filed
  Real parties Los Angeles Times Communications LLC responding to A.C. Brief of Legal Defense Fund of the Peace Officers Research Association of California.
Mar 20 2006Request for judicial notice filed (granted case)
  California Commission on Peace Officers Standards & Training, petitioner
Mar 20 2006Response to amicus curiae brief filed
  California commission on Peace Officers Standards & Training, petitioners to A.C. Brief of The California Newspapers Publishers Association
Mar 29 2006Received:
  Amici Curiae's ( California Newspapers Publishers Association et al.) Opposition to Petitioner's Motion for Judicial Notice.
Apr 6 2006Filed:
  Amici Curiae's (California Newspapers Publishers Assocition et al.) Opposition to Petitioner's Motion for Judicial Notice [ Filed with Permission ]
May 4 2006Received:
  Notice of substitution of counsel for David Blair-Loy in place of Jordan Budd as counsel for Amicus Curiae ACLU Foundation of San Diego and Imperial Counties
Jun 22 2006Received application to file Amicus Curiae Brief
  /brief under separate cover Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs ("ALADS") supporting petitioner California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training attorney Helen Schwab, retained
Jul 6 2006Application to file amicus curiae brief denied
  The application of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs to file an amicus curiae brief is denied as untimely. (See Cal. Rules of Court, rule 29.1(f)(2.)
Dec 20 2006Supplemental briefing ordered
  Real Party in Interest Los Angeles Times Communication LLC, on or before January 4, 2007, may serve and file a supplemental reply brief responding to the argument of California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training that the records at issue are exempt from disclosure under Government Code section 6254, subdivision (c).
Jan 4 2007Supplemental brief filed
  Reply Brief Real paties in Interest Los Angeles Times Communications LLC
May 2 2007Case ordered on calendar
  to be argued on Wednesday, May 30, at 9:00 a.m., in San Francisco
May 17 2007Received:
  petitioner California Commission on Peace Officers Standards & Training's Notice of Additional Authorities Attorney Michael E. Whitaker
May 18 2007Supplemental brief filed
  RPI Los Angeles Times Communication LLC Alonzo Wicker
May 25 2007Request for judicial notice granted
  The Motion for Judicial Notice filed by Real Party in Interest Los Angeles Times Communications LLC on September 9, 2005, is granted. The Supplemental Motion for Judicial Notice filed by Real Party in Interest Los Angeles Times Communications LLC on December 19, 2005, is granted. The Motion for Judicial Notice filed by Petitioner California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training on March 20, 2006, is granted.
May 30 2007Cause argued and submitted
 
Aug 24 2007Notice of forthcoming opinion posted
 
Aug 27 2007Opinion filed: Judgment reversed
  Judgment of the Court of Appeal is reversed and remanded to that court with directions to remand to the superior court. Opinion by George, C.J. -- joined by Werdegar, Moreno, Corrigan, JJ. Concurring and Dissenting Opinion by Kennard, J. Dissenting Opinion by Chin, J. -- joined by Baxter, J.
Sep 27 2007Remittitur issued (civil case)
 
Oct 3 2007Received:
  Acknowledgment of receipt for remittitur, signed for by Kathi Rutherdale, Deputy.

Briefs
Sep 9 2005Opening brief on the merits filed
 
Nov 15 2005Answer brief on the merits filed
 
Dec 19 2005Reply brief filed (case fully briefed)
 
Jan 23 2006Amicus curiae brief filed
 
Jan 23 2006Amicus curiae brief filed
 
Jan 23 2006Amicus curiae brief filed
 
Jan 23 2006Amicus curiae brief filed
 
Jan 23 2006Amicus curiae brief filed
 
Feb 3 2006Amicus curiae brief filed
 
Feb 14 2006Response to amicus curiae brief filed
 
Mar 20 2006Response to amicus curiae brief filed
 
If you'd like to submit a brief document to be included for this opinion, please submit an e-mail to the SCOCAL website