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Attorney General Becerra Urges Review in People ex rel. Pierson v. Superior Court

Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a letter in the California Supreme Court today, urging it to grant review in People ex rel. Pierson v. Superior Court. In Pierson, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled unconstitutional a 2015 law that requires prosecutors to use public preliminary hearings, rather than closed-door grand jury proceedings, in cases involving peace officers’ use of lethal force. The law’s stated purpose was to increase transparency and accountability in court proceedings that determine whether charges will be brought against an officer who uses deadly force during an arrest.

The Attorney General expressed concern that the Court of Appeal’s ruling was not supported by the language or history of the California Constitution, and that its holding may have broader consequences.

 "As California’s chief law officer, I take very seriously my oath to defend and enforce the laws of our great state,” said Attorney General Becerra. “This case raises important questions about the power of the legislature under the state constitution and merits further review.”

Although the California Department of Justice had not previously been a party in the Pierson case, Attorney General Becerra is committed to participate in any future proceedings ordered by the Supreme Court.

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