FAIRFIELD — A state prisoner charged in Solano County with possessing marijuana and heroin has the right to a court review of the personnel files for a California Department of Corrections officer who searched his cell, a state appellate court decided in a ruling filed Monday.
Lawrence Smith petitioned to set aside an order denying his request for discovery of the officer’s records and the First Appellate District said Smith established good cause for the Solano County Superior Court review likely to be done by Judge Harry S. Kinnicutt, whose previous ruling on the records check was overturned by the appellate court.
During a Jan. 14, 2013, search of Smith’s cell, officers said they found a baby powder container with a large bindle of marijuana and a second bindle – made from what appeared to be the finger of a latex glove – with heroin, according to the ruling.
Smith said he had no heroin but because he “does not sufficiently cower before correctional authority” he faces the drug charges.
The appellate court ruling states that, using the relatively low standard set in a previous court case, Smith satisfied the criteria and is entitled to an in-court review of the officer’s records.
Smith’s assertions are sufficient to “meet the low bar necessary to trigger the trial court’s obligation” to review the personnel file of the officer, the appellate court ruled.
An Oct. 23 conference is scheduled in Solano County Superior Court for Smith’s criminal case.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.