PITTSBURG – Three criminal cases have been thrown in to turmoil due to police misconduct records being hidden. New trials have been requested along with dismissal of convictions. Responsible for secreting the police misconduct records was The Pittsburg Police Dept. Allegations that the records were intentionally withheld come from the Contra Costa Public Defender’s Office. Police now acknowledge documents should have been handed over. The officers in question were Elisabeth Ingram and Michael Sibbitt. The Pittsburg Police Dept acknowledges they “inadvertently” failed to impart the files.
Sentencing has since been passed on the three defendants. However those convictions have been questioned and whether they received fair trials. Post conviction reviews are rare. This though is the most recent development over allegation of Pittsburg Police wrongdoing. This along with claimed falsifying of police reports to manipulate crime stats. As well as retaining police records from court cases. The three cases in question do not necessarily relate to the police misconduct records. However such files, as a matter of routine, are requested pre trial by defense attorneys. These documents are frequently shared with judges. They then make a decision as to whether the material is relevant to the case.
In respect of the cases outright dismissal can be justified. That is if intentional and gross misconduct are proven. Deputy Public Defender confirmed this on Monday in a motion. Further “It is likely that the Pittsburg Police Department has engaged in deliberate suppression of exculpatory evidence.”
A former Lieutenant had sent memos and warnings that the records should be turned over as part of pre hearing (Pitches Motions). The warnings over the police misconduct records were made to the chief of police. The reports hidden relate to 2014 and beating cases. Fellow officers had turned in Ingram and Sibbitt for using flashlights to beat suspects. A post conviction Pitches motion review was requested in early June. The first such request (Three cases) ever seen. For further reference in respect of the defendants and police actions please follow this link.