Opinion: This new law requires police transparency. Now district attorneys must do their part
After decades of secrecy surrounding police misconduct, California has a new law that is designed to restore trust in our criminal justice system. And what we’ve seen since Senate Bill 1421 took effect in January has been both illuminating and deeply concerning, demonstrating why the measure was necessary to ensure that law enforcement is both transparent and accountable.
Records released so far have revealed a number of unreported sexual assault cases involving police officers, as well as instances of dishonesty. These revelations suggest that to ensure that outcomes in our criminal justice system are fair and just, it is not enough to make this information public in theory.
Also, relying on newspapers and individuals to request such records will not guarantee that dishonesty by officers will be revealed or that court cases don’t involve lying witnesses. District attorneys throughout the state must start requesting all police misconduct records that are disclosable under SB 1421 in order to safeguard our justice system and make sure every conviction is justified.
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