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Sunday
Mar192017

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Bay Area): Alameda County District Attorney, Oakland Fire Department/Oakland City Attorney's Office, controversy: "Oakland denies prosecutors access to Ghost Ship fire report" ....  

* East Bay Times:  "Oakland denies prosecutors access to Ghost Ship fire report" - From the EBT:

OAKLAND — In an escalating legal feud over the investigation into the Ghost Ship tragedy, Alameda County prosecutors have tried without success in recent weeks to pry the completed draft report of the deadly fire from the city’s hands.

The District Attorney’s Office has been seeking the critical report for the past month from the Oakland Fire Department and City Attorney’s Office, and legal experts contacted for this story say the city’s delay in handing it over may violate the law. Emails obtained by this newspaper through a public records request detail the bizarre dispute and the growing frustration of the DA’s Office.

“If the Oakland Fire Department has submitted a report to your office for review, a copy of the unredacted, unedited report must also be submitted to the prosecuting agency for review,” lead Ghost Ship prosecutor David Lim wrote in a Feb. 28 email to Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker. It was the final email exchange between the two sides.

The city refuses to budge until a final report is completed, said Oakland City Attorney spokesman Alex Katz on Friday. “The report is in draft form, but it is in the final stage of technical review and will be final imminently,” said Katz, adding that there’s no dispute on the fire’s cause. Lim explained in his emails the position of the District Attorney’s Office on how a draft report must be turned over to prosecutors, DA spokeswoman Teresa Drenick said. She declined to comment further.

Former Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge LaDoris Cordell, like Lim, cited Brady vs. Maryland, the U.S. Supreme Court case on due process that requires prosecutors to share all evidence with the defense, as to why Oakland officials must share the draft report. “In my view, the fire department and the city attorney must turn over everything they have (unredacted, unedited) re: the investigation into the Ghost Ship fire,” Cordell wrote in an email. “The failure to do so could result in placing the DA in violation of Brady.” 

Criminal defense attorney Daniel Horowitz said the draft status of the report makes no difference, and the city is suppressing evidence. “If there is evidence in the case, when the DA wants to see it, they can see it,” Horowitz said.

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The difficulties between the parties began in late February .................