More than 80 San Francisco police officers have criminal histories or misconduct records that the Police Department withheld and prosecutors did not disclose to defense attorneys in cases in which officers testified, a failure that could put hundreds of felony convictions in jeopardy, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The potential fallout could be far more severe than that caused by the cocaine-skimming scandal at the police drug lab, which prompted prosecutors to dismiss more than 600 narcotics cases.
“We are not potentially talking about possession of cocaine cases – we are potentially talking about very serious felonies,” said Lael Rubin of the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office who oversees that county’s disclosure process and leads training seminars on the subject for prosecutors in California. “This is huge,” said San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, whose lawyers represent the majority of felony defendants tried in the city. “It will make the problems at the crime lab look like small potatoes.”