Police disciplinary records will become more secret under a far-reaching ruling Thursday by the California Supreme Court, reports the Los Angeles times. The court ruled 6 to 1 that the public may not have access to police discipline records filed during administrative appeals, including the names of officers who have been terminated, unless the officers waive their rights to privacy.
The decision is expected to shut down public access to information about officers who come before civil service commissions, civilian review boards and other panels that hear police discipline cases. The ruling does not, however, automatically close records in cases that go to Superior Court. “That will be the next battleground,” said a lawyer who represented San Diego in a lawsuit brought by the media. As a result of Thursday’s decision, “We have pretty much of a secret police force in this state,” said another lawyer.