L.A. County D.A.’s Office Seeks to Improve Transparency Regarding Police Misconduct

Defense attorneys in nine felony cases said prosecutors failed to inform them that a deputy who testified had previously admitted writing inaccurate reports and giving inaccurate testimony. Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey is working to improve such disclosures. (Credit: Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

Defense attorneys in nine felony cases said prosecutors failed to inform them that a deputy who testified had previously admitted writing inaccurate reports and giving inaccurate testimony. Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey is working to improve such disclosures. (Credit: Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office had plenty of evidence that Sheriff’s Deputy Gary Novelich had credibility issues.

He admitted during job interviews with two other law enforcement agencies that he had written 20 to 100 inaccurate arrest reports and given inaccurate testimony in court, according to a district attorney’s memo.

Nevertheless, Novelich continued testifying in criminal cases, and prosecutors didn’t share the information. When the deputy took the stand, defense attorneys and judges had no idea about his previous admissions.

California’s secrecy laws protecting the confidentiality of police discipline — the strictest in the nation — have helped keep misconduct out of view in courts where officers testify against defendants. But a Times review of law enforcement and court records found that prosecutors also have failed to notify defendants about alleged wrongdoing by police witnesses.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.