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4 Deputies' Cases Are Sealed

January 20, 2006|Jack Leonard | Times Staff Writer

A judge ordered the Los Angeles County Civil Service Commission on Thursday to temporarily seal the appeal cases of four sheriff's deputies whose discipline was overturned by the commission.

The decision was a partial victory for the Assn. of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs -- a union representing thousands of deputies -- which had asked the court to seal all law enforcement "personnel records" filed in appeal cases before the commission.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Dzintra I. Janavs put off a decision on that larger request, which pits advocates for police officer privacy rights against supporters of open government.

Janavs said more time was needed to properly consider the legal issues involved.

Janavs said another judge -- David P. Yaffe -- would hear arguments on the request Feb. 8. In the meantime, her order blocks from public view four cases that The Times has sought to review. The Times, along with county lawyers, opposed the sealing request.

Appeals cases filed with the Civil Service Commission by deputies and other law enforcement officers have been public for decades.

But the largest deputies union has argued that state law requires Sheriff's Department internal affairs documents, which are normally considered confidential, to be kept from public view when they are filed in appeals cases.

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