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Rivero v. Lake County Board of Supervisors

California Court of Appeals, First District, Third Division

December 19, 2014

FRANCISCO RIVERO, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
LAKE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, Defendant and Respondent.

Lake County Super. Ct. No. CV411638

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COUNSEL

Jones & Mayer, Paul R. Coble, Martin J. Mayer, James R. Touchstone and Ryan R. Jones for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Randolph Cregger & Chalfant and Thomas A. Cregger for Defendant and Respondent.

OPINION

McGuiness, P.J.

Plaintiff Francisco Rivero, the sheriff of Lake County (Rivero or sheriff), filed a petition for writ of mandate to compel defendant Lake County Board of Supervisors (county or board of supervisors) to provide him with independent legal counsel in a dispute with the district attorney. The impetus of the request was the district attorney’s announced intention to designate Rivero as a Brady[1] officer, the consequence of which would be that, if Rivero were called to testify in a criminal trial, the district attorney would be required to disclose to the defense that Rivero had previously provided false information in an official investigation. The court granted the writ and directed the county to provide independent legal counsel for Rivero pursuant to Government Code section 31000.6.[2]

After the district attorney chose to designate Rivero as a Brady officer, the county moved to clarify and limit the court’s ruling providing Rivero with independent counsel. The court granted the motion and entered an amended judgment providing that the county’s obligation to provide Rivero with independent counsel extended only to discussions and negotiations with the district attorney prior to the determination to list Rivero as a Brady officer.

On appeal from the amended judgment, Rivero argues that the trial court erred in limiting the scope of representation afforded to the sheriff under section 31000.6. We agree with Rivero. His right to independent counsel

Page 1191

should have extended to a legal challenge to the district attorney’s designation of the sheriff as a Brady officer while Rivero served as sheriff. We ...


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