By Darren Chaker
In People v. Rodriguez (Court of Appeal, Fourth District 3/7/11) the court held when appellate counsel raises a Pitchess claim, it is counsel's responsibility to ensure that the Pitchess materials are part of the record. In the trial court, appellant filed a motion seeking discovery of police officer personnel records (Pitchess v. Superior Court (1974) 11 Cal.3d 531 ( Pitchess). After viewing the personnel records in camera, the trial court determined that there were no records that were discoverable. On appeal, appellant requested the appellate court to make an independent review of the transcripts and records to determine whether the trial court properly denied the motion. However, appellant failed to ensure that the Pitchess records were part of the record on appeal.
The appellate court exercised its discretion and augmented the record to include the Pitchess materials and, after reviewing them, found no error. The appellate court stated that the reason it published the opinion was to remind appellate counsel of its "responsibility to ensure that the record is perfected in cases in which a Pitchess claim is raised."