County of Los Angeles v. Superior Court was a case before the California Second District Court of Appeal, Division Three in 1993 concerning arrest records.
This case established that the California Public Records Act only mandates the release of current police reports and that historical reports are only accessible through trial discovery laws.
- On September 18, 1992, Kusar, a legal secretary for a local firm, made a public records request for all documentation relating an arrests made by Deputy Sheriffs Jeffrey Bailey and Charles Morales during the ten year period from 1981-1991.
- The material had been previously denied, on May 19, 1992, through discovery law requests made via pending litigation involving the two officers alleged assault and battery of an individual.
- On November 17, 1992, the trial court granted Kusar's request and ordered the material released.
- The Sheriff's office immediately appealed the decision arguing that the records were exempt under the California Public Records Act section 6254(f), which exempts all but current police records.
Ruling of the court
The trial court ruled in favor of Kusar, ordering the arrest reports released.
The Court of Appeals overruled the trial court, ruling in favor of the county instead, and ordering the documents exempt from records requests.
By examining the history of the legislation, the court determined that a narrowly construed and limited reading of the releasable material is appropriate. It determined that the legislator's intent of passing the law was to order the release of only current police activity, in order to protect the press's ability to report on it. The court further determined that the release of the documents more appropriately fell under the Penal code and the laws for discovery of information within trial, which had already been ruled on. The court thus determined that the documents were exempt under the California Public Records Act.