Supreme Court of California Justia
Docket No. S227106

American Civil Liberties Union etc. v. Superior Court

Filed 8/31/17
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA
AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION
FOUNDATION OF SOUTHERN
CALIFORNIA et al.,
Petitioners,
S227106
v.
Ct.App. 2/3 B259392
THE SUPERIOR COURT OF
LOS ANGELES COUNTY,
Los Angeles County
Respondent;
Super. Ct. No. BS143004
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES et al.,
Real Parties in Interest.


Real parties in interest, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) of the
City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) of the
County of Los Angeles (collectively, real parties) employ automated license plate
reader (ALPR) technology in order to locate vehicles linked to crimes under
investigation. The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern
California (ACLU) and Electronic Frontier Foundation (collectively, petitioners
filed a request under the California Public Records Act (CPRA) for all ALPR data
collected during a one-week period. (Gov. Code, § 6250 et seq.)1 Petitioners
sought disclosure of this ALPR data “so that the legal and policy implications of
the government’s use of ALPRs to collect vast amounts of information on almost
exclusively law-abiding [citizens of Los Angeles] may be fully and fairly
debated.”
We initially granted review to determine whether the requested ALPR data
are exempt from disclosure as falling within the CPRA provision protecting police
and state “[r]ecords of . . . investigations” under section 6254, subdivision (f
(section 6254(f)). As relevant here, section 6254(f) protects from disclosure:
“Records of investigations conducted by . . . any state or local police agency.”2
After granting review, we requested additional briefing on a second issue:
Whether the catchall exemption in section 6255, subdivision (a) (section 6255(a)
authorizes real parties to withhold the requested ALPR data. Under section
6255(a), a public agency may “justify withholding any record by demonstrating
that 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.”
Petitioners conceded in the trial court that section 6254(f) protects from
disclosure the ALPR license plate scan data that matches vehicles linked to law
enforcement investigations under section 6254(f). They do not argue that real
parties’ use of the ALPR technology is unlawful. They contend only that ALPR
scan data are not exempt from disclosure under the CPRA.
1
All further statutory references are to the Government Code, unless
otherwise specified.
2
There is no dispute that ALPR data are public records (see § 6252, subd.
(e)) and no dispute that real parties are police agencies subject to the CPRA.
2
The trial court determined that the data requested came within section
6254(f)’s “[r]ecords of . . . investigations” exemption. The court also concluded
that section 6255(a)’s catchall provision authorized real parties to withhold the
data. The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment based on section 6254(f),
without reaching the section 6255(a) question. In light of our constitutional
obligation to broadly construe the CPRA in a manner that furthers the people’s
right of access to the conduct of governmental operations, and to narrowly
construe any exemptions (Cal. Const., art. I, § 3, subd. (b)(2)), we disagree with
the trial court and the Court of Appeal that the ALPR scan data at issue here are
subject to section 6254(f)’s exemption for records of investigations. In addition,
although we agree with the trial court that the public interest in nondisclosure of
raw ALPR scan data clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure of such
data (§ 6255(a)), we remand for further consideration of whether the raw data may
reasonably be anonymized or redacted such that the balance of interests would
shift and disclosure of the data would be required under the CPRA.
BACKGROUND
The relevant facts are generally not in dispute. The ALPR data collection
system at issue here utilizes high-speed computer-controlled cameras mounted on
fixed structures or on patrol cars. The cameras automatically capture an image of
the license plate of each vehicle that passes through their optical range. For each
image, the ALPR system uses character recognition software and almost instantly
checks the license plate number against a list of license plate numbers that have
been associated with crimes, child abduction AMBER alerts, or outstanding
warrants. This list of license plate numbers comprises the investigative “hot list.”
When a hot list match occurs, the system alerts either officers in a patrol car or a
central dispatch unit, depending on whether the ALPR unit that detects a match is
mounted on a patrol car or a fixed structure. Most license plate numbers that
3
ALPR units capture do not match the hot list and have no perceived connection to
any crimes, AMBER alerts, or outstanding warrants.3
The ALPR technology records each scanned license plate number, together
with the date, time, and location of the scan, and stores the data on confidential
computer networks. LAPD estimates that it records data from 1.2 million cars per
week. It retains license plate scan data for five years. LASD estimates that it
records between 1.7 and 1.8 million license plates per week. It retains scan data
for two years. When new investigations arise, real parties query their stored
databases to obtain any available location history of relevant vehicles. Both the
LAPD and LASD restrict database access to law enforcement.
On August 30 and September 4, 2012, petitioners sent substantially
identical requests under the CPRA to each of the real parties, seeking “records
related to those agencies’ use of ALPR technology, including ‘all ALPR data
collected or generated’ during a one-week period in August 2012, consisting of,
‘at a minimum, the license plate number, date, time, and location information of
each license plate recorded.’ ” Real parties withheld the requested plate scan data,
citing the exemption for law enforcement records of investigations under section
6254(f). Petitioners did not seek disclosure of the hot list itself or records of which
license plate numbers matched the hot list.
Petitioners’ CPRA request also sought disclosure of “any policies,
guidelines, training manuals and/or instructions on the use of ALPR technology
and the use and retention of ALPR data, including records on where the data is
stored, how long it is stored, who has access to the data, and how long they access
the data.” Real parties agreed to produce these records.
3
According to petitioners, “Typically, only about 0.2% of plate scans are
connected to suspected crimes or vehicle registration.”
4
On May 6, 2013, petitioners filed a petition for writ of mandate in the Los
Angeles County Superior Court to compel disclosure of the requested ALPR data.
In opposing the petition, real parties cited the exemption for records of
investigation under section 6254(f) as well as the catchall public interest
exemption under section 6255(a). After a hearing, the superior court
acknowledged the intrusive nature of license plate scanning as well as its potential
for abuse. The court concluded, however, that all of the requested data were
exempt from disclosure under both sections 6254(f) and 6255(a).
Petitioners sought issuance of an extraordinary writ in the Court of Appeal.
After conducting a de novo review (§ 6259, subd. (c)), the Court of Appeal
affirmed the trial court’s judgment, holding all data exempt from disclosure under
section 6254(f). The Court of Appeal did not discuss either section 6255(a)’s
balancing test or that statute’s potential application to any of the scan data.
DISCUSSION
1. The CPRA
The Legislature enacted the CPRA in 1968. (Stats. 1968, ch. 1473, § 39, p.
2964.) It was modeled after the 1967 federal Freedom of Information Act (5
U.S.C. § 552). (Los Angeles County Bd. of Supervisors v. Superior Court (2016) 2
Cal.5th 282, 290.) The CPRA explains that “access to information concerning the
conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every
person in this state.” (§ 6250.) To promote this fundamental right, the CPRA
provides that “every person has a right to inspect any public record, except as
hereafter provided.” (§ 6253, subd. (a).) “In other words, all public records are
subject to disclosure unless the Legislature has expressly provided to the
contrary.” (Williams v. Superior Court (1993) 5 Cal.4th 337, 346 (Williams).
Proposition 59, a measure submitted to the voters in 2004, enshrined the
CPRA’s right of access in the state Constitution: “The people have the right of
5
access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business, and,
therefore, the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and
agencies shall be open to public scrutiny.” (Cal. Const., art. I, § 3, subd. (b)(1),
added by Prop. 59, approved by voters, Gen. Elec. (Nov. 2, 2004).) The state
Constitution implemented this right of access with the general directive that a
“statute, court rule, or other authority . . . shall be broadly construed if it furthers
the people’s right of access, and narrowly construed if it limits the right of access.”
(Cal. Const., art. I, § 3, subd. (b)(2).) Although the CPRA provides for a broad
right of access, it “recognizes that certain records should not, for reasons of
privacy, safety, and efficient governmental operation, be made public”—including
certain records of investigations exempted under section 6254(f). (Haynie v.
Superior Court (2001) 26 Cal.4th 1061, 1064 (Haynie).) We turn first to the scope
of that exemption.
2. Application of section 6254(f)
Section 6254(f) exempts from mandatory disclosure certain “[r]ecords
of . . . investigations conducted by, or records of intelligence information or
security procedures of, . . . any state or local police agency,” as well as certain
“investigatory or security files.” (§ 6254(f).) This case requires us to construe the
exemption for records of investigations, rather than investigatory files (Williams,
supra, 5 Cal.4th at p. 341) or intelligence information (American Civil Liberties
Union Foundation v. Deukmejian (1982) 32 Cal.3d 440, 443 (Deukmejian)).
Our interpretation of the phrase “[r]ecords of . . . investigations” is guided
by familiar principles of statutory interpretation, as well the “constitutional
imperative” to construe CPRA in a manner that furthers disclosure. (City of San
Jose v. Superior Court (2017) 2 Cal.5th 608, 616–617 (City of San Jose); see
Sierra Club v. Superior Court (2013) 57 Cal.4th 157, 166.) The parties point us
toward various dictionary definitions that they believe advance their positions.
6
Real parties observe, for example, that Black’s Law Dictionary defines the term
“investigate” to mean “[t]o inquire into (a matter) systematically” or “[t]o make an
official inquiry.” (Black’s Law Dict. (9th ed. 2009), p. 902.) This definition and
the others suggested are not specific to the law enforcement or CPRA contexts,
however, and afford us only minimal guidance about the meaning of the statutory
text. It is enough to say that the definitions of which we are aware do not compel
(or even strongly suggest) an answer to the question before us. A closer
examination of the CPRA’s context, including the presumption in favor of access,
is required.
We previously construed the records of investigations exemption in Haynie,
supra, 26 Cal.4th 1061. Elgin Haynie claimed that he was injured by a Los
Angeles County Deputy Sherriff during a traffic stop and sought certain public
records regarding the incident. (Id. at p. 1065.) The sheriff’s department refused
to provide those records, instead disclosing a “ ‘summary of the event,’ ” which
asserted that the Deputy “ ‘received a call from a neighbor who saw several males
carrying guns enter an older model dark blue Ford van and travel down the road.
The deputy spotted a vehicle matching that description five minutes later and he
decided to conduct an investigation of the van.’ ” (Id. at pp. 1065–1066.) The
department asserted that the “[r]ecords of . . . investigations” exemption mooted
CPRA disclosure. (§ 6254, subd. (f).) Among other things, Haynie responded that
“ ‘records of investigations’ should be defined so as to exclude investigations that
are merely ‘routine’ or ‘everyday police activity,’ such as his traffic stop.”
(Haynie, supra, 26 Cal.4th at p. 1070.
We disagreed. (See Haynie, supra, 26 Cal.4th at pp. 1070–1071.) In doing
so, we discussed the risk that Haynie’s proposed interpretation might pose to law
enforcement operations. “Complainants and other witnesses whose identities were
disclosed might disappear or refuse to cooperate. Suspects, who would be alerted
7
to the investigation, might flee or threaten witnesses. Citizens would be reluctant
to report suspicious activity. Evidence might be destroyed.” (Id., at pp. 1070–
1071.) We also stressed, however, that “by including ‘routine’ and ‘everyday’
within the ambit of ‘investigations’ in section 6254(f), we [did] not mean to shield
everything law enforcement officers do from disclosure. [Citation.] Often,
officers make inquiries of citizens for purposes related to crime prevention and
public safety that are unrelated to either civil or criminal investigations. The
records of investigation exempted under section 6254(f) encompass only those
investigations undertaken for the purpose of determining whether a violation of
law may occur or has occurred. If a violation or potential violation is detected, the
exemption also extends to records of investigations conducted for the purpose of
uncovering information surrounding the commission of the violation and its
agency. Here, the investigation that included the decision to stop Haynie and the
stop itself was for the purpose of discovering whether a violation of law had
occurred and, if so, the circumstances of its commission. Records relating to that
investigation are exempt from disclosure by section 6254(f).” (Haynie, supra, at
p. 1071, italics added.
The facts of Haynie are quite unlike the facts here. Haynie concerned an
individual deputy stopping an individual driver, allegedly based on a single, close
in time tip from a neighbor. This case concerns the collection of enormous
amounts of bulk data. But Haynie at least implies that an inquiry must be
somewhat targeted at suspected violations of law (see Haynie, supra, 26 Cal.4th at
p. 1071) to qualify as an “investigation[]” under section 6254(f). The mere fact of
an inquiry is not enough.
Our case law recognizes that the CPRA should be interpreted in light of
modern technological realities. (Cf. City of San Jose, supra, 2 Cal.5th at pp. 618–
619 & fn. 4.) It is hard to imagine that the Legislature intended for the records
8
of investigations exemption to reach the large volume of data that plate scanners
and other similar technologies now enable agencies to collect indiscriminately.
Nothing in the text or structure of the statute suggests an effort to imbue the term
with a meaning that capacious. Indeed, section 6254(f) itself authorizes disclosure
of certain portions of records of investigations, such as certain “names and
addresses of persons involved in, or witnesses other than confidential informants
to, the incident.” (Italics added.) This language suggests that the Legislature did
not contemplate “investigation” of hundreds or thousands of individuals
simultaneously—nor, more to the point, an exemption that would cover all data
collected during such a far-reaching inquiry.
Of course, the mere fact that the technology for such mass data collection
was not in use when the Legislature enacted CPRA does not answer the question
before us. As Fourth Amendment jurisprudence illustrates, a provision can apply
to new and perhaps unanticipated technologies when the purpose behind the
provision will be served. (Cf. Katz v. United States (1967) 389 U.S. 347, 353
[wiretaps of phone booths are searches for Fourth Amendment purposes because
they impinge on the privacy interests the amendment was designed to protect].
As we recognized in Haynie, however, the animating concern behind the records
of investigations exemption appears to be that a record of investigation reveals
(and, thus, might deter) certain choices that should be kept confidential––an
informant’s choice to come forward, an investigator’s choice to focus on particular
individuals, the choice of certain investigatory methods. Such choices are far less
likely to be revealed where, as here, data are collected en masse. True, the
collection of ALPR data can shed light on certain choices, for example, that data
are being collected disproportionately in certain neighborhoods. But this kind of
revelation seems far less likely to compromise current or future law enforcement,
and thus far less likely to prompt the concerns animating section 6254(f).
9
Not only are the concerns underlying the exemption only weakly implicated
by the disclosure of the ALPR data, but broadly exempting the data would inflict a
far greater blow to the public interest in disclosure than does exempting records
concerning more traditional investigations. For example, if all that mattered were
whether an agency sought to collect information in connection with a crime (as
opposed to no crime at all), real parties could reduce the hot list to a single license
plate number, scan literally every plate in Los Angeles, and be able to assert that
all of the data collected were exempt from CPRA disclosure as an “investigation”
regarding that single plate. In light of CPRA’s purpose of providing access to
information regarding government activities, we doubt that the records
of investigations exemption was intended to stretch that far.
Perhaps the most critical point, however, is one that the Court of Appeal
did not mention: Our constitution requires that CPRA exemptions be narrowly
construed, including the exemption for “[r]ecords of . . . investigations.”
(§ 6254(f).) Even before Proposition 59 was enacted, we recognized that not
every inquiry is an “investigation” in the relevant sense. (See Haynie, supra, 26
Cal.4th at pp. 1070-1071.
Accordingly, we hold that real parties’ process of ALPR scanning does not
produce records of investigations, because the scans are not conducted as part of a
targeted inquiry into any particular crime or crimes. The scans are conducted with
an expectation that the vast majority of the data collected will prove irrelevant for
law enforcement purposes. We recognize that it may not always be an easy task to
identify the line between traditional “investigation” and the sort of “bulk”
collection at issue here. But wherever the line may ultimately fall, it is at least
clear that real parties’ ALPR process falls on the bulk collection side of it.
Nor does the act of querying the database for information on particular
vehicles transform existing ALPR scan records into exempt “[r]ecords of . . .
10
investigations” (§ 6254(f)). A plate scan in itself always remains a result of bulk
data collection, rather than a record of investigation, even if it has the potential to
match a future search query. The fact that a database has been searched or that a
plate in the database has been matched in a search does not increase the concerns
identified in Haynie with respect to disclosure of the database. Moreover, a
contrary rule would enable an agency to exempt such data, purportedly to advance
some more traditional “investigation,” simply by searching the entire database.
Therefore, the bulk collection of raw ALPR data here is not exempt from
disclosure under section 6254(f). We do not decide, however, whether an ALPR
record that later becomes part of a more targeted investigation might properly be
addressed under the investigatory file exemption (§ 6254(f)) which applies to
certain “materials that relate to the investigation” if there is a “concrete and
definite prospect of enforcement proceedings.” (Williams, supra, 5 Cal.4th at p.
362; compare Haynie, supra, 26 Cal.4th at pp. 1068-1069 [records of investigation
exemption does not require concrete and definite prospect of enforcement].) We
next consider whether the ALPR raw data may be withheld under section 6255(a).
3. Application of section 6255(a)
Section 6255(a)—CPRA’s catchall provision (see Los Angeles County Bd.
of Supervisors v. Superior Court, supra, 2 Cal.5th at p. 291)—permits an agency
to withhold a public record if the agency demonstrates “that 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.” (§ 6255(a).
(See, e.g., Deukmejian, supra, 32 Cal.3d at pp. 452–454 [construing the
application of the catchall provision].) This “provision contemplates a case-by-
case balancing process, with the burden of proof on the proponent of
nondisclosure to demonstrate a clear overbalance on the side of confidentiality.”
(Michaelis, Montanari & Johnson v. Superior Court (2006) 38 Cal.4th 1065, 1071
11
(Michaelis).) Whether such an overbalance exists may depend on a wide variety
of considerations, including privacy (City of San Jose, supra, 2 Cal.5th at p. 626);
public safety (Long Beach Police Officers Assn. v. City of Long Beach (2014) 59
Cal.4th 59, 74 (Long Beach)); and the “expense and inconvenience involved in
segregating nonexempt from exempt information.” (Deukmejian, supra, 32 Cal.3d
at pp. 452–453). In balancing the interests for and against disclosure, we review
the public interest factors de novo but accept the trial court’s factual findings as
long as substantial evidence supports them. (Michaelis, 38 Cal.4th at p. 1072; see
CBS, Inc. v. Block (1986) 42 Cal.3d 646, 650-651 (CBS).
The trial court determined that the balance of interests under section
6255(a) weighed clearly against disclosure of raw ALPR scan data. We agree.
The trial court further determined, however, that even anonymized or redacted
plate scan data could be withheld. Because the trial court erred in reaching this
conclusion based on the present record, and because the inquiry requires additional
factual development, we will remand for further proceedings.
a. Unaltered plate scan data
As noted, petitioners seek disclosure of unaltered plate scan data, including,
“ ‘at a minimum, the license plate number, date, time, and location information of
each license plate recorded.’ ” Petitioners contend that, among other things, these
data could reveal whether law enforcement officers are using ALPR technology to
target particular individuals, neighborhoods, or organizations. The data could also
shed light on the degree to which ALPR technology threatens individual privacy
interests.
The trial court carefully considered these interests. It also recognized,
however, that disclosing unaltered plate scan data to the public threatens
individuals’ privacy. ALPR data showing where a person was at a certain time
could potentially reveal where that person lives, works, or frequently visits.
12
ALPR data could also be used to identify people whom the police frequently
encounter, such as witnesses or suspects under investigation (albeit to a lesser
extent than in the type of situation at issue in Haynie). In short, as the trial court
observed, “Members of the public would be justifiably concerned about LAPD or
LASD releasing information regarding the specific locations of their vehicles on
specific dates and times to anyone.” Although we acknowledge that revealing raw
ALPR data would be helpful in determining the extent to which ALPR technology
threatens privacy, the act of revealing the data would itself jeopardize the privacy
of everyone associated with a scanned plate. Given that real parties each conduct
more than one million scans per week, this threat to privacy is significant. We
therefore conclude that the public interest in preventing such disclosure “clearly
outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of” these records. (§ 6255(a).)4
b. Anonymized or redacted plate scan data
The trial court also considered whether the balance of interests at stake
might be altered if ALPR data were anonymized: “for example plate ‘G5123AP’
could have a random number ‘1111111’ assigned to it.” The court assumed for
argument’s sake that this possibility was “both workable and inexpensive.” It
rejected the possibility that anonymization of the ALPR data would alter the
balance of interests, reasoning that anonymization “would address the individual
privacy concerns, but it would not address the impact on law enforcement
investigation.” We conclude that the trial court placed too much weight on the
4
Recently enacted Civil Code section 1798.90.5 et seq. does not mention the
CPRA, and we do not decide its substantive application here except to note that it
prohibits public agencies from selling, sharing, or transferring ALPR data “except
to another public agency, and only as otherwise permitted by law.” (Id.,
§ 1798.90.52, subd. (a), added by Stats. 2015, ch. 532, § 3, eff. Jan. 1, 2016.) The
statute imposes civil fines for its violations. (Ibid.
13
mere possibility that law enforcement efforts would be frustrated. Because this
issue appears to require further factual development, however, we decline to
resolve it in the first instance.
The trial court’s concerns about interference with law enforcement were
multifaceted. The court initially concluded that even if ALPR data were
anonymized before release, “[a] criminal could still use [that] data to follow law
enforcement patrol patterns and still could locate a particular randomized plate at a
particular location on specific days and times.”
The trial court appears to have placed significant weight on the possibility
that a criminal could use ALPR data to identify law enforcement patrol patterns.
The court did so based on the declaration of LAPD Sergeant Daniel Gomez. In
pertinent part, Sergeant Gomez claimed that an individual requesting ALPR data
could use the data to try and identify patterns of a particular vehicle.” (Italics
added.) However, Sergeant Gomez also seemed to cast doubt on the likelihood
that an individual could do so successfully, explaining that “[u]nlike law
enforcement that uses additional departmental resources to validate captured
[A]LPR information, a private person would be basing their assumptions solely on
the data created by the [A]LPR system . . . .” Nevertheless, we will assume, as the
trial court found, that a person could at least roughly infer patrol patterns from a
week’s worth of plate scan data.
The problem with this aspect of the trial court’s analysis is that, even
assuming patrol patterns can be inferred from ALPR data, there is little reason to
believe that this possibility points meaningfully toward “a clear overbalance on the
side of confidentiality” with respect to all the records sought. (Michaelis, supra,
38 Cal.4th at p. 1071.) For one thing, fixed ALPR scanners are just that—fixed—
so concerns about patrol patterns are inapplicable to the data they collect. For
another, the record does not appear to indicate that knowledge of where law
14
enforcement officers were during a particular week is a reliable guide to where
they will be at some precise moment in the future. The trial court did not find, for
example, that real parties conduct law enforcement in the same way that they
might operate a bus service—moving from point to point at particular times on
particular days, never deviating to attend to other business or emergencies. We
are not aware of substantial evidence that would have supported such a finding.
Likewise, the court did not determine how often any such routes change, nor
whether the addition of new mobile scanners would make it challenging to infer
that the absence of a patrol route in the past meant the absence of a patrol route in
the future.
The trial court’s judgment appears to rest on an additional error. The court
concluded that “an officer may make a hot list inquiry into the ALPR system and
receive a hit at any time, thereby converting a non-specific scan to evidence in an
individualized investigation. Segregation of records in a fluid computerized
environment is virtually impossible.” This conclusion was also based on the
declaration of Sergeant Gomez, who asserted that LAPD’s system “does not have
the capability as a native function to segregate data based on specific parameters.”
(Italics added.) At the least, the trial court was mistaken to the extent it suggested
that the burden of segregating records that might become exempt is relevant.
Section 6255(a)’s balancing analysis considers the “expense and inconvenience
involved in segregating nonexempt from exempt information.” (Deukmejian,
supra, 32 Cal.3d 440, 452–453.) If a record is not presently exempt from
disclosure, then an agency is not permitted to segregate and withhold it.
Moreover, a plate scan does not become exempt merely because it later surfaces in
a search of an ALPR database
The critical point is that a court applying section 6255(a) cannot allow
“[v]ague safety concerns” to foreclose the public’s right of access. (Long Beach,
15
supra, 59 Cal.4th at p. 74; cf. CBS, supra, 42 Cal.3d at p. 652 [“A mere assertion
of possible endangerment does not ‘clearly outweigh’ the public interest in access
to these records.”].) The trial court appears to have placed significant weight on
speculative concerns about possible disclosure of mobile ALPR patrol patterns,
without record evidence to support its conclusions. The court erred in doing so.
Notwithstanding our disagreement with the trial court’s reasoning, we do
not have a sufficient factual record to determine whether section 6255(a)’s catchall
exemption applies. We therefore will remand for further proceedings. On
remand, the trial court should conduct a new balancing analysis—one that includes
consideration of the feasibility of, and interests implicated by, methods of
anonymization petitioners have suggested. The trial court is free to explore other
methods of anonymization and redaction as well.
Petitioners have described two anonymization procedures. The first is the
substitution method discussed above: replacing actual license plate numbers with
fictional numbers. Presumably, each plate would be assigned its own unique
(fictional) number, because assigning a random number to each scan, even if
multiple scans concern the same plate, would be no more informative than simply
removing the plate numbers altogether. In exploring this possibility, the court
should evaluate the risk that a plate number could be inferred from a fictional
number. For example, if plate number “1111111” were repeatedly scanned in
front of an office building during the day time, and an apartment building at night,
it might be possible to infer the true owner of plate “1111111” and to track their
other movements. A second method would call for disclosure of two sets of
ALPR data: one that discloses the number of times that each license plate has
been scanned, and another that contains only the time, date, and location of the
scans.
16
With respect to the concern that patrol patterns might be discerned from the
anonymized data, petitioners suggest different ways to redact the exact date and
time of the scans, so that disclosed records would show a “heat map” of where
scans were taken during the week of data petitioners seek, without revealing as
much information about the mobile units that collected the scans or the license
plates that were subject to them. We note, however, as discussed above, that the
current record provides little, if any, support for the concern that the data would
enable private individuals to discern patrol patterns. Without such information, it
is difficult to see what public interest in nondisclosure could clearly outweigh the
public interest in disclosure of this redacted information, but we leave the issue for
the trial court to resolve.
The anonymization and redaction methods we discuss may be more feasible
than the trial court appeared to believe. Petitioners contend that, even using real
parties’ information system, it takes just “two computer clicks to export license
plate data onto a spreadsheet or other type of document, which the parties can then
modify.” Accordingly, the trial court’s analysis should go beyond whether a
method of removing exempt information is “a native function” of “[t]he system
utilized by the LAPD.” While real parties may not have designed their system to
facilitate CPRA disclosure as a “native function,” randomizing license plate
numbers or deleting columns from a spreadsheet, for example, would seem to
impose little burden. We leave the precise balance between effective
anonymization and redaction and burden to the trial court on remand. We remind
the trial court and the parties, however, that if the anonymized or redacted data are
ultimately released, the courts may exercise no restraint on how the data may be
used apart from the restrictions placed on its dissemination under Civil Code
section 1798.90.5 et seq. (See Deukmejian, supra, 32 Cal.3d at p. 451.
17
CONCLUSION
We affirm the Court of Appeal judgment insofar as it exempted raw ALPR
data from CPRA disclosure. We reverse the Court of Appeal judgment insofar as
it rendered anonymized or redacted ALPR data exempt from disclosure. We
remand the action to the Court of Appeal with instructions to remand the matter to
the trial court for further proceedings under section 6255(a) that are consistent
with this opinion.
CHIN, J.
WE CONCUR:
CANTIL-SAKAUYE, C. J.
WERDEGAR, J.
CORRIGAN, J.
LIU, J.
CUÉLLAR, J.
KRUGER, J.
18

See last page for addresses and telephone numbers for counsel who argued in Supreme Court.
Name of Opinion American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California v. Superior Court

Unpublished Opinion

Original Appeal
Original Proceeding
Review Granted
XXX 236 Cal.App.4th 673
Rehearing Granted
Opinion No.
S227106
Date Filed: August 31, 2017

Court:
Superior
County: Los Angeles
Judge: James C. Chalfant

Counsel:
Peter Bibring and Catherine A. Wagner for Petitioner American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of
Southern California.
Jennifer Lynch for Petitioner Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Katie Townsend for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, American Society of News Editors,
Association of Alternative Newsmedia, California Newspaper Publishers Association, Californians Aware,
The Center for Investigative Reporting, First Amendment Coalition, Los Angeles Times Communications
LLC, The McClatchy Company, The National Press Club, National Press Photographers Association,
Online News Association and Society of Professional Journalists as Amici Curiae on behalf of Petitioners.
First Amendment Project, James R. Wheaton and Cherokee D.M. Melton for Northern California Chapter
of the Society of Professional Journalists as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Petitioners.
Marc Rotenberg, Alan Butler, Jeramie Scott and Aimee Thomson for Electronic Privacy Information
Center as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Petitioners.
Jason D. Russell and Richard A. Schwartz for Senator Jerry Hill as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Petitioners.
No appearance for Respondent.
Jones & Mayer, Martin J. Mayer, James R. Touchstone and Deborah Pernice-Knefel for California State
Sheriffs’ Association, California Police Chiefs’ Association and California Peace Officers’ Association as
Amici Curiae on behalf of Respondent.
Michael N. Feuer, City Attorney (Los Angeles), Carlos de La Guerra, Managing Assistant City Attorney,
Debra L. Gonzales and Amy Jo Field, Assistant City Attorneys, Lisa S. Berger and Heather L. Aubry,
Deputy City Attorneys, for Real Parties in Interest City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Police
Department.


Page 2 – S227106 – counsel continued

Counsel:
Collins Collins Muir + Stewart, Eric Brown, Tomas A. Guterres and James C. Jardin for Real Parties in
Interest County of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Sheriffs’ Department.
Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley, Aleksan R. Giragosian, Michael G. Colantuono and Michael R.
Cobden for League of California Cities and California State Association of Counties as Amici Curiae on
behalf of Real Parties in Interest.


Counsel who argued in Supreme Court (not intended for publication with opinion):
Peter Bibring
ACLU Foundation of Southern California
1313 West Eighth Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 977-5295
Heather L. Aubry
Deputy City Attorney
200 North Main Street, Room 800
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 978-6956
James C. Jardin
Collins Collins Muir + Stewart
1100 El Centro Street
South Pasadena, CA 91030
(626) 243-1100
Opinion Information
Date:Docket Number:
Thu, 08/31/2017S227106

Parties
1American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California (Petitioner)
Represented by Peter Bibring
ACLU Foundation of Southern California
1313 West Eighth Street
Los Angeles, CA

2American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California (Petitioner)
Represented by Catherine A. Wagner
ACLU Foundation of Southern California
1313 West Eighth Street
Los Angeles, CA

3Electronic Frontier Foundation (Petitioner)
Represented by Jennifer Ann Lynch
Electronic Frontier Foundation
815 Eddy Street
San Francisco, CA

4Superior Court of Los Angeles County (Respondent)
Represented by Frederick Bennett
Superior Court of Los Angeles County
111 North Hill Street, Room 546
Los Angeles, CA

5County of Los Angeles (Real Party in Interest)
Represented by Tomas A. Guterres
Collins Collins Muir & Stewart, LLP
1100 El Centro Street
South Pasadena, CA

6County of Los Angeles (Real Party in Interest)
Represented by Eric Brown
Collins Collins Muir & Stewart, LLP
1100 El Centro Street
South Pasadena, CA

7County of Los Angeles (Real Party in Interest)
Represented by James Christopher Jardin
Collins Collins Muir & Stewart, LLP
1100 El Centro Street
South Pasadena, CA

8Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (Real Party in Interest)
Represented by Tomas A. Guterres
Collins, Collins, Muir & Stewart LLP
1100 El Centro Street
South Pasadena, CA

9Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (Real Party in Interest)
Represented by Eric Brown
Collins Collins Muir & Stewart, LLP
1100 El Centro Street
South Pasadena, CA

10Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (Real Party in Interest)
Represented by James C. Jardin
Collins Collins Muir & Stewart, LLP
1100 El Centro Street
South Pasadena, CA

11City of Los Angeles (Real Party in Interest)
Represented by Heather Leigh Aubry
Office of the City Attorney
200 North Main Street
800 City Hall East
Los Angeles, CA

12City of Los Angeles (Real Party in Interest)
Represented by Lisa S. Berger
Office of the City Attorney
200 North Main Street, Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA

13Los Angeles Police Department (Real Party in Interest)
Represented by Heather Leigh Aubry
Office of the City Attorney
200 North Main Street
800 City Hall East
Los Angeles, CA

14Los Angeles Police Department (Real Party in Interest)
Represented by Lisa S. Berger
Office of the City Attorney
200 North Main Street, Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA

15The California State Sheriffs' Association (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Martin J. Mayer
Jones & Mayer
3777 North Harbor Boulevard
Fullerton, CA

16The California State Sheriffs' Association (Amicus curiae)
Represented by James Touchstone
Jones & Mayer
3777 North Harbor Boulevard
Fullerton, CA

17The California State Sheriffs' Association (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Deborah Lynne Pernice-Knefel
Jones & Mayer
3777 North Harbor Boulevard
Fullerton, CA

18The California Police Chiefs' Association (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Martin J. Mayer
Jones & Mayer
3777 North Harbor Boulevard
Fullerton, CA

19The California Police Chiefs' Association (Amicus curiae)
Represented by James Touchstone
Jones & Mayer
3777 North Harbor Boulevard
Fullerton, CA

20The California Police Chiefs' Association (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Deborah Lynne Pernice-Knefel
Jones & Mayer
3777 North Harbor Boulevard
Fullerton, CA

21The California Peace Officers' Association (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Martin J. Mayer
Jones & Mayer
3777 North Harbor Boulevard
Fullerton, CA

22The California Peace Officers' Association (Amicus curiae)
Represented by James Touchstone
Jones & Mayer
3777 North Harbor Boulevard
Fullerton, CA

23The California Peace Officers' Association (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Deborah Lynne Pernice-Knefel
Jones & Mayer
3777 North Harbor Boulevard
Fullerton, CA

24League of California Cities (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Michael G. Colantuono
Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley, PC
420 Sierra College Drive, Suite 140
Grass Valley, CA

25League of California Cities (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Michael Ryan Cobden
Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley, PC
420 Sierra College Drive, Suite 140
Grass Valley, CA

26California State Association of Counties (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Michael G. Colantuono
Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley, PC
420 Sierra College Drive, Suite 140
Grass Valley, CA

27California State Association of Counties (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Michael Ryan Cobden
Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley, PC
420 Sierra College Drive, Suite 140
Novato, CA

28The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Katie Townsend
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 1250
Washington, DC

29American Society of News Editors (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Katie Townsend
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 1250
Washington, DC

30Association of Alternative Newsmedia (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Katie Townsend
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 1250
Washington, DC

31California Newspaper Publishers Association (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Katie Townsend
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 1250
Washington, DC

32California Aware (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Katie Townsend
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 1250
Washington, DC

33The Center for Investigative Reporting (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Katie Townsend
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 1250
Washington, DC

34First Amendment Coalition (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Katie Townsend
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 1250
Washington, DC

35Los Angeles Times Communications LLC (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Katie Townsend
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 1250
Washington, DC

36The McClatchy Company (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Katie Townsend
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 1250
Washington, DC

37The National Press Club (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Katie Townsend
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 1250
Washington, DC

38National Press Photographers Association (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Katie Townsend
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 1250
Washington, DC

39Online News Association (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Katie Townsend
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 1250
Washington, DC

40Eletronic Privacy Information Center (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Alan Butler
Electronic Privacy Info Center
1718 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC

41The Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (Amicus curiae)
Represented by James R. Wheaton
First Amendment Project
1736 Franklin Street, 9th Floor
Oakland, CA

42The Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Cherokee Dawn-Marie Melton
First Amendment Project
1736 Franklin Street, 9th Floor
Oakland, CA

43Jerry Hill (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Richard Adam Schwartz
Attorney at Law
300 South Grand Avenue, Suite 3400
Los Angeles, CA

44Jerry Hill (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Jason David Russell
Skadden Arps et al LLP
300 South Grand Avenue, Suite 3400
Los Angeles, CA

45Society of Professional Journalists (Amicus curiae)
Represented by Katie Townsend
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 1250
Washington, DC


Disposition
Aug 31 2017Opinion: Affirmed in part/reversed in part

Dockets
Jun 15 2015Petition for review filed
Petitioner: American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern CaliforniaAttorney: Catherine A. Wagner Attorney: Peter Bibring Petitioner: Electronic Frontier FoundationAttorney: Jennifer Ann Lynch
Jun 16 2015Record requested
Jun 16 2015Note:
Court of Appeal record has been imported and is available in electronic format.
Jun 19 2015Received Court of Appeal record
one doghouse
Jun 30 2015Request for extension of time filed
by James C. Jardin and Heather L. Aubry, counsel for real parties in interest, requesting extension to August 4, 2015, to file answer to petition to review.
Jul 6 2015Extension of time granted
On application of real parties in interest County of Los Angeles, City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Police Department and good cause appearing, it is ordered that the time to serve and file the answer to petition for review is extended to and including July 13, 2015.
Jul 15 2015Answer to petition for review filed
Real Party in Interest: County of Los AngelesAttorney: James Christopher Jardin Real Party in Interest: City of Los AngelesAttorney: Heather Leigh Aubry Real Party in Interest: Los Angeles Police DepartmentAttorney: Heather Leigh Aubry Answer to petition for review filed.Due on 07/13/2015 By 7 Day(s) Pursuant to CRC, rule 8.25(b)
Jul 27 2015Reply to answer to petition filed
Petitioner: American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California Petitioner: Electronic Frontier FoundationAttorney: Jennifer Ann Lynch
Jul 29 2015Petition for review granted
Votes: Cantil-Sakauye, C.J., Werdegar, Chin, Corrigan, Liu, Cuéllar and Kruger, JJ.
Jul 29 2015Letter sent requesting certification of interested parties/entities
Aug 7 2015Certification of interested entities or persons filed
Electronic Frontier Foundation, Petitioner Jennifer Ann Lynch, Retained counselAmerican Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California, Petitioner Peter Bibring, Retained counsel
Aug 10 2015Request for extension of time filed
Counsel for petitioners requesting a 60-day extension to October 27, 2015, to file opening brief on the merits.
Aug 13 2015Extension of time granted
On application of petitioners and good cause appearing, it is ordered that the time to serve and file the opening brief on the merits is extended to and including October 27, 2015.
Aug 14 2015Certification of interested entities or persons filed
County of Los Angeles, Real Party in Interest James C. Jardin, Retained counsel Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Real Party in Interest James C. Jardin, Retained counsel
Aug 14 2015Certification of interested entities or persons filed
Los Angeles Police Department, Real Party in Interest Heather Leigh Aubry, Retained counsel City of Los Angeles, Real Party in Interest Heather Leigh Aubry, Retained counsel
Oct 26 2015Opening brief on the merits filed
Petitioner: American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern CaliforniaAttorney: Peter Bibring Petitioner: Electronic Frontier FoundationAttorney: Jennifer Ann Lynch Opening brief on the merits filed.Due on 10/27/2015 By 60 Day(s)
Oct 26 2015Request for judicial notice filed
Petitioner: American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern CaliforniaAttorney: Catherine A. Wagner Petitioner: Electronic Frontier FoundationAttorney: Jennifer Ann Lynch
Oct 30 2015Notice of substitution of counsel
Lisa S. Berger in as counsel for Real Party in Interest City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Police Department. (intra-office change of counsel)
Nov 4 2015Request for extension of time filed
Counsel for real party in interest requesting a 60-day extension to January 25, 2016 to file answer brief on the merits.
Nov 10 2015Extension 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 answer brief on the merits is extended to and including January 25, 2016. No further extensions will be contemplated.
Nov 24 2015Request for extension of time filed
by James C. Jardin, counsel for County of Los Angeles requesting an extension to January 26, 2016 to file answer brief on the merits.
Dec 3 2015Extension 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 answer brief on the merits is extended to and including January 26, 2016. No further extensions will be contemplated.
Jan 26 2016Answer brief on the merits filed
Real Party in Interest: City of Los AngelesAttorney: Lisa S. Berger Answer brief on the merits filed.Due on 01/25/2016 By 61 Day(s)
Jan 27 2016Answer brief on the merits filed
Real Party in Interest: County of Los AngelesAttorney: James Christopher Jardin (Filed pursuant to CRC 8.25(b).)
Feb 3 2016Request for extension of time filed
Counsel for petitioner requesting a 45-day extension of time to April 1, 2016, to file the reply brief on the merits.
Feb 10 2016Extension of time granted
On application of petitioners 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 April 1, 2016.
Apr 1 2016Application to file over-length brief filed
Submitted by counsel for petitioners for permission to file over-length reply to answer brief on the merits.
Apr 5 2016Order filed
On application of petitioners and good cause appearing, the request to file the reply brief in excess of 8, 400 words is hereby granted.
Apr 5 2016Reply brief filed (case fully briefed)
Petitioner: American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern CaliforniaAttorney: Peter Bibring Petitioner: Electronic Frontier FoundationAttorney: Jennifer Ann Lynch Reply brief filed (case fully briefed).Due on 04/01/2016 By 45 Day(s)
Apr 5 2016Request for judicial notice filed
Petitioner: American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern CaliforniaAttorney: Peter Bibring Petitioner: Electronic Frontier FoundationAttorney: Jennifer Ann Lynch
Apr 29 2016Application to file amicus curiae brief filed
Counsel for the California State Sheriffs' Association, the California Police Chiefs' Association, and the California Peace Officers' Association requesting permission to file amicus curiae brief in support of respondent.
May 2 2016Application to file amicus curiae brief filed
Counsel for League of California Cities and California State Association of Counties requesting permission to file amicus curiae brief in support of respondents.
May 3 2016Permission to file amicus curiae brief granted
The application of the California State Sheriffs' Association, the California Police Chiefs' Association, and the California Peace Officers' Association for permission to file an amicus curiae brief in support of respondent is hereby granted. (See Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.520(f).)
May 3 2016Amicus curiae brief filed
Amicus curiae: The California State Sheriffs' AssociationAttorney: Martin J. Mayer Amicus curiae: The California Police Chiefs' AssociationAttorney: Martin J. Mayer Amicus curiae: The California Peace Officers' AssociationAttorney: Martin J. Mayer
May 4 2016Permission to file amicus curiae brief granted
The application of League of California Cities and California State Association of Counties for permission to file an amicus curiae brief in support of respondents is hereby granted. (See Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.520(f).)
May 4 2016Amicus curiae brief filed
Amicus curiae: League of California CitiesAttorney: Michael Ryan Cobden Amicus curiae: California State Association of CountiesAttorney: Michael Ryan Cobden
May 4 2016Request for judicial notice filed
Amicus curiae: League of California CitiesAttorney: Michael Ryan Cobden Amicus curiae: California State Association of CountiesAttorney: Michael Ryan Cobden
May 4 2016Application to file amicus curiae brief filed
Counsel for the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists requesting permission to filed amicus curiae brief in support of petitioners.
May 5 2016Application to file amicus curiae brief filed
by Katie Townsend, counsel for The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, American Society of News Editors, Association of Alternative Newsmedia, California Newspaper Publishers Association, Californians Aware, The Center for Investigative Reporting, First Amendment Coalition, Los Angeles Times Communications LLC, The McClathy Company, The National Press Club, National Press Photographers Association, Online News Association, and Society of Professional Journalists requesting permission to file an amicus curiae in Support of Petitioner.
May 6 2016Application to file amicus curiae brief filed
by Alan Butler, counsel for Electronic Privacy Information Center requesting permission to file an amicus curiae in support of petitioner.
May 10 2016Permission to file amicus curiae brief granted
The application of The Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for permission to file an amicus curiae brief in support of petitioners is hereby granted. (See Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.520(f).)
May 10 2016Amicus curiae brief filed
Amicus curiae: The Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional JournalistsAttorney: Cherokee Dawn-Marie Melton
May 16 2016Permission to file amicus curiae brief granted
The application of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, American Society of News Editors, Association of Alternative Newsmedia, California Newspaper Publishers Association, Californians Aware, The Center for Investigative Reporting, First Amendment Coalition, Los Angeles Times Communications LLC, The McClathy Company, The National Press Club, National Press Photographers Association, Online News Association, and Society of Professional Journalists for permission to file an amicus curiae brief in support of petitioner is hereby granted. (See Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.520(f).)
May 16 2016Amicus curiae brief filed
Amicus curiae: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the PressAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: American Society of News EditorsAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: Association of Alternative NewsmediaAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: California Newspaper Publishers AssociationAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: California AwareAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: The Center for Investigative ReportingAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: First Amendment CoalitionAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: Los Angeles Times Communications LLCAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: The McClatchy CompanyAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: The National Press ClubAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: National Press Photographers AssociationAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: Online News AssociationAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: Society of Professional JournalistsAttorney: Katie Townsend
May 17 2016Permission to file amicus curiae brief granted
The application of Electronic Privacy Information Center for permission to file an amicus curiae brief in support of petitioners is hereby granted. (See Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.520(f).)
May 17 2016Amicus curiae brief filed
Amicus curiae: Eletronic Privacy Information CenterAttorney: Alan Butler
May 27 2016Received:
Original Proof of Service for Application for to File Amici Curiae Brief and Amici Curie Brief of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 12 Media Organizations
Jun 17 2016Response to amicus curiae brief filed
Petitioner: American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern CaliforniaAttorney: Catherine A. Wagner Petitioner: Electronic Frontier FoundationAttorney: Jennifer Ann Lynch (filed with permission)
Jul 1 2016Application for relief from default filed
Counsel for Senator Jerry Hill requesting permission to file untimely amicus brief in support of petitioners.
Jul 5 2016Application to file amicus curiae brief filed
Counsel for Senator Jerry Hill requesting permission to file amicus curiae brief in support of petitioners.
Jul 11 2016Permission to file amicus curiae brief granted
The application of Senator Jerry Hill for permission to file an untimely amicus curiae brief in support of petitioners is hereby granted. (See Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.520(f).)
Jul 11 2016Amicus curiae brief filed
Amicus curiae: Jerry HillAttorney: Richard Adam Schwartz
Aug 11 2016Response to amicus curiae brief filed
Real Party in Interest: County of Los AngelesAttorney: James Christopher Jardin (Filed pursuant to CRC 8.25(b).)
Sep 27 2016Change of contact information filed for:
Deputy City Attorney, Lisa S. Berger, counsel for real parties in interest City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Police Department.
Jan 25 2017Oral argument letter sent
Dear Counsel: Please be advised that the court could set this case for argument within the next few months. Schedules showing the court's oral argument dates and locations for the next twelve months can be found at http://www.courts.ca.gov/supremecourt.htm by clicking on "calendars, " and then accessing the "Oral Argument Calendar Dates" documents. Any counsel who believes good cause exists to avoid scheduling oral argument for a particular date (including counsel who, before receiving this letter, have previously asked to avoid certain dates) should inform the court within 7 calendar days of receiving this letter with a detailed explanation for such cause. Thereafter, counsel must immediately update the court on an ongoing basis as additional conflicts constituting good cause may arise. Examples of conflicts previously found to constitute good cause to avoid scheduling argument on any particular date include significant health-related issues; prepaid and nonrefundable travel arrangements booked in advance of the court's notification regarding oral argument; and significant family events such as marriage. Examples of conflicts previously found not to constitute good cause include scheduled trial and hearing dates in lower courts; conflicting professional seminars, meetings, or conventions; and planned significant family events that do not conflict with the actual dates on which argument might be held. Once the court files an order setting this case for oral argument, that date will not be changed absent exceptional cause, such as a medical emergency. Immediately upon filing of the calendar setting this case for argument, the court will send counsel an email communication with (1) a copy of that document; (2) an appearance sheet, upon which counsel must provide the names of the attorney or attorneys who will present argument, along with further instructions governing any request to divide argument time; and (3) a general notice regarding appearance for oral argument before the court. If a party wishes to bring to the court's attention new authorities, new legislation, or other matters that were not available in time to be included in the party's brief on the merits, the party must comply with California Rules of Court, rules 8.630(d) and 8.520(d).
Jan 31 2017Notice of Unavailability of Counsel Filed
Counsel unavailable March 8-10, 2017, and June 1-2, 2017. Electronic Frontier Foundation, Petitioner Jennifer Ann Lynch, Retained counsel
Feb 1 2017Letter sent to:
Jennifer Ann Lynch, counsel for Electronic Frontier Foundation Letter from the court dated February 1, 2017, informing counsel for petitioner that the request filed on January 31, 2017, to avoid oral argument dates of June 1-2, 2017, is not supported by good cause.
Mar 6 2017Supplemental briefing ordered
The court requests that the parties serve and file supplemental letter briefs addressing the following question: Whether the catchall exemption of Government Code section 6255, subdivision (a) applies to any or all of the automatic license plate reader (ALPR) data collected by real parties during the one-week period in August, 2012, that is the subject of this court's review under the California Public Records Act. (Gov. Code, § 6250, et seq.) Amici curiae that have filed briefs in this matter may also file supplemental briefs addressing the above question if they choose. All initial briefs addressing the above question must be served and filed simultaneously on or before April 3, 2017. Any reply to the supplemental briefs must be served and filed on or before April 17, 2017. The parties may explicitly rely on their briefing in the Court of Appeal to the extent it addresses the above question. No extensions will be granted.
Mar 29 2017Supplemental brief filed
Amicus curiae: League of California CitiesAttorney: Michael G. Colantuono Amicus curiae: California State Association of CountiesAttorney: Michael G. Colantuono
Apr 3 2017Supplemental brief filed
Real Party in Interest: City of Los AngelesAttorney: Heather Leigh Aubry
Apr 3 2017Supplemental brief filed
Petitioner: American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern CaliforniaAttorney: Peter Bibring Petitioner: Electronic Frontier FoundationAttorney: Jennifer Ann Lynch
Apr 4 2017Supplemental brief filed
Amicus curiae: The California State Sheriffs' AssociationAttorney: James Touchstone Amicus curiae: The California Police Chiefs' AssociationAttorney: James Touchstone Amicus curiae: The California Peace Officers' AssociationAttorney: James Touchstone (Filed pursuant to CRC, rule 8.25(b))
Apr 4 2017Supplemental brief filed
Real Party in Interest: County of Los AngelesAttorney: James Christopher Jardin (Filed pursuant to CRC, rule 8.25(b))
Apr 14 2017Reply to supplemental brief filed
Real Party in Interest: City of Los AngelesAttorney: Heather Leigh Aubry
Apr 17 2017Reply to supplemental brief filed
Petitioner: American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern CaliforniaAttorney: Peter Bibring Petitioner: Electronic Frontier FoundationAttorney: Jennifer Ann Lynch
Apr 17 2017Reply to supplemental brief filed
Amicus curiae: The California State Sheriffs' AssociationAttorney: Deborah Lynne Pernice-Knefel Amicus curiae: The California Police Chiefs' AssociationAttorney: Deborah Lynne Pernice-Knefel Amicus curiae: The California Peace Officers' AssociationAttorney: Deborah Lynne Pernice-Knefel
Apr 18 2017Reply to supplemental brief filed
Real Party in Interest: County of Los AngelesAttorney: James Christopher Jardin (Filed pursuant to CRC, rule 8.25(b))
May 17 2017Case ordered on calendar
To be argued on Tuesday, June 6, 2017, at 9:30 a.m., in Los Angeles.
May 18 2017Case ordered on calendar
To be argued on Tuesday, June 6, 2017, at 9:30 a.m., in Los Angeles. ** First amended calendar issued this date. Please note that People v. Page (Timothy Wayne), S230793 is to be called and continued to the September 2017 calendar.
May 22 2017Application filed
Application to divide oral argument time. County of Los Angeles, Real Party in Interest James Christopher Jardin, Retained counsel City of Los Angeles, Real Party in Interest Heather Leigh Aubry, Retained counsel
May 24 2017Order filed
The request of counsel for real parties in interest in the above-referenced cause to allow two counsel to argue on behalf of real parties in interest at oral argument is hereby granted. The request of real parties in interest to allocate to James C. Jardin 15 minutes and Heather L. Aubry 15 minutes of real parties in interest's 30-minute allotted time for oral argument is granted.
May 30 2017Received:
Notice of Intra - Office Change of Assigned Attorney. County of Los Angeles, Real Party in Interest James Christopher Jardin, Retained counsel City of Los Angeles, Real Party in Interest Heather Leigh Aubry, Retained counsel
Jun 1 2017Request for judicial notice granted
Petitioner's request for judicial notice of SB 1097 and its supporting legislative materials that discuss the 1976 amendment to Government Code section 6254, subdivision (f), filed on October 26, 2015, is granted. (Evid. Code, § 452, subd. (c).) Petitioners' request for judicial notice that includes three exhibits of public records and meeting notes in support of the 2004 Proposition 59 ballot measure and its legislative history, filed on April 5, 2016, is granted. (Evid. Code, §§ 452, 459.) Amici Curiae League of California Cities and California State Association of Counties motion for judicial notice of background materials on Senate Bill 34, enacted as Civil Code section 1798.90.5 et seq., filed on May 4, 2016, is granted. (Evid. Code, § 452, subd. (c).)
Jun 6 2017Cause argued and submitted
Aug 30 2017Notice of forthcoming opinion posted
To be filed on Thursday, August 31, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
Aug 31 2017Opinion filed: Affirmed in part, reversed in part
We affirm the Court of Appeal judgment insofar as it exempted raw ALPR data from CPRA disclosure. We reverse the Court of Appeal judgment insofar as it rendered anonymized or redacted ALPR data exempt from disclosure. We remand the action to the Court of Appeal with instructions to remand the matter to the trial court for further proceedings under section 6255(a) that are consistent with this opinion. Majority Opinion by Chin, J. -- joined by Cantil-Sakauye, C. J., Werdegar, Corrigan, Liu, Cuéllar, and Kruger, JJ.
Oct 13 2017Remittitur issued
Oct 24 2017Received:
Receipt for Remittitur.

Briefs
Jun 17 2016Response to amicus curiae brief filed
Petitioner: American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern CaliforniaAttorney: Catherine A. Wagner Petitioner: Electronic Frontier FoundationAttorney: Jennifer Ann Lynch
May 17 2016Amicus curiae brief filed
Amicus curiae: Eletronic Privacy Information CenterAttorney: Alan Butler
Oct 26 2015Opening brief on the merits filed
Petitioner: American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern CaliforniaAttorney: Peter Bibring Petitioner: Electronic Frontier FoundationAttorney: Jennifer Ann Lynch
May 4 2016Amicus curiae brief filed
Amicus curiae: League of California CitiesAttorney: Michael Ryan Cobden Amicus curiae: California State Association of CountiesAttorney: Michael Ryan Cobden
Jul 11 2016Amicus curiae brief filed
Amicus curiae: Jerry HillAttorney: Richard Adam Schwartz
May 16 2016Amicus curiae brief filed
Amicus curiae: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the PressAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: American Society of News EditorsAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: Association of Alternative NewsmediaAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: California Newspaper Publishers AssociationAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: California AwareAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: The Center for Investigative ReportingAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: First Amendment CoalitionAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: Los Angeles Times Communications LLCAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: The McClatchy CompanyAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: The National Press ClubAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: National Press Photographers AssociationAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: Online News AssociationAttorney: Katie Townsend Amicus curiae: Society of Professional JournalistsAttorney: Katie Townsend
Aug 11 2016Response to amicus curiae brief filed
Real Party in Interest: County of Los AngelesAttorney: James Christopher Jardin
Apr 5 2016Reply brief filed (case fully briefed)
Petitioner: American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern CaliforniaAttorney: Peter Bibring Petitioner: Electronic Frontier FoundationAttorney: Jennifer Ann Lynch
May 3 2016Amicus curiae brief filed
Amicus curiae: The California State Sheriffs' AssociationAttorney: Martin J. Mayer Amicus curiae: The California Police Chiefs' AssociationAttorney: Martin J. Mayer Amicus curiae: The California Peace Officers' AssociationAttorney: Martin J. Mayer
Jan 27 2016Answer brief on the merits filed
Real Party in Interest: County of Los AngelesAttorney: James Christopher Jardin
May 10 2016Amicus curiae brief filed
Amicus curiae: The Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional JournalistsAttorney: Cherokee Dawn-Marie Melton
Jan 26 2016Answer brief on the merits filed
Real Party in Interest: City of Los AngelesAttorney: Lisa S. Berger
If you'd like to submit a brief document to be included for this opinion, please submit an e-mail to the SCOCAL website