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People v. Christiansen

California Court of Appeals, Second District, First Division

September 30, 2014

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
KAREN A. CHRISTIANSEN, Defendant and Appellant.

APPEAL from an order of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County No. SA075027. Stephen A. Marcus, Judge.

Page 179

COUNSEL

Hillel Chodos, Philip Kaufler, and Michael A. Goldfeder for Defendant and Appellant.

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Lance E. Winters, Assistant Attorney General, and Margaret E. Maxwell, Deputy Attorney General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

OPINION

ROTHSCHILD, P. J.

Karen Christiansen appeals from the superior court’s order denying her request for the sealing and destruction of the fingerprint impressions obtained at the time of her arrest. We conclude that such fingerprint impressions constitute “records of the arrest” within the meaning of Penal Code section 851.8, [1] and we therefore reverse. (§ 851.8, subd. (a).)

Page 180

BACKGROUND

Christiansen was convicted on four counts of conflict of interest in violation of Government Code section 1090. She appealed, and we reversed her convictions, vacated her sentence and the restitution award entered against her, and directed the superior court “to enter an order dismissing all charges against her.” (People v. Christiansen (2013) 216 Cal.App.4th 1181, 1191 [157 Cal.Rptr.3d 451].)

On remand, Christiansen moved for dismissal of the charges and a finding of factual innocence under section 851.8, including “a concurrent order for all records of this arrest and conviction [to be] sealed and destroyed.” By the same motion, she also sought to have “all of her material identifiers removed from all State and Federal law enforcement criminal data[]bases forthwith” pursuant to section 299, including both DNA and “finger[]print impressions.” (Block capitals omitted.)

The People opposed Christiansen’s request for a finding of factual innocence. They did not oppose her request for dismissal of the charges and removal of her “post conviction DNA sample from the DNA database.” The People did, however, object to Christiansen’s “request to destroy fingerprints as fingerprints are maintained to track arrests as well as convictions and [she] cites no authority for their destruction.”

The court granted some but not all of the relief Christiansen sought. The court’s minute order dismissed the charges, vacated her sentence and the restitution award entered against her, and exonerated her bail on appeal. The court next turned to Christiansen’s request for relief under section 299 and granted it in part but denied it in part, stating that “[t]he defendant’s DNA that was collected is ordered destroyed, however the fingerprint impression obtained at the time of arrest is ordered retained.” The court then addressed the request for relief under section 851.8 and granted it in full, stating, “The defendant is declared factually innocent of the charge of which the arrest was made and [the court] orders the arrest record sealed and destroyed pursuant to Penal Code section 851.8(c).” At the hearing on Christiansen’s motion, her counsel also requested that ...


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