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2014 California Rules of Court

Rule 5.546. Prehearing discovery

(a) General purpose

This rule must be liberally construed in favor of informal disclosures, subject to the right of a party to show privilege or other good cause not to disclose specific material or information.

(Subd (a) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(b) Duty to disclose police reports

After filing the petition, petitioner must promptly deliver to or make accessible for inspection and copying by the child and the parent or guardian, or their counsel, copies of the police, arrest, and crime reports relating to the pending matter. Privileged information may be omitted if notice of the omission is given simultaneously.

(Subd (b) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(c) Affirmative duty to disclose

Petitioner must disclose any evidence or information within petitioner's possession or control favorable to the child, parent, or guardian.

(Subd (c) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(d) Material and information to be disclosed on request

Except as provided in (g) and (h), petitioner must, after timely request, disclose to the child and parent or guardian, or their counsel, the following material and information within the petitioner's possession or control:

(1)Probation reports prepared in connection with the pending matter relating to the child, parent, or guardian;

(2)Records of statements, admissions, or conversations by the child, parent, or guardian;

(3)Records of statements, admissions, or conversations by any alleged coparticipant;

(4)Names and addresses of witnesses interviewed by an investigating authority in connection with the pending matter;

(5)Records of statements or conversations of witnesses or other persons interviewed by an investigating authority in connection with the pending matter;

(6)Reports or statements of experts made regarding the pending matter, including results of physical or mental examinations and results of scientific tests, experiments, or comparisons;

(7)Photographs or physical evidence relating to the pending matter; and

(8)Records of prior felony convictions of the witnesses each party intends to call.

(Subd (d) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(e) Disclosure in section 300 proceedings

Except as provided in (g) and (h), the parent or guardian must, after timely request, disclose to petitioner relevant material and information within the parent's or guardian's possession or control. If counsel represents the parent or guardian, a disclosure request must be made through counsel.

(Subd (e) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(f) Motion for prehearing discovery

If a party refuses to disclose information or permit inspection of materials, the requesting party or counsel may move the court for an order requiring timely disclosure of the information or materials. The motion must specifically and clearly designate the items sought, state the relevancy of the items, and state that a timely request has been made for the items and that the other party has refused to provide them. Each court may by local rule establish the manner and time within which a motion under this subdivision must be made.

(Subd (f) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(g) Limits on duty to disclose-protective orders

On a showing of privilege or other good cause, the court may make orders restricting disclosures. All material and information to which a party is entitled must be disclosed in time to permit counsel to make beneficial use of them.

(h) Limits on duty to disclose-excision

When some parts of the materials are discoverable under (d) and (e) and other parts are not discoverable, the nondiscoverable material may be excised and need not be disclosed if the requesting party or counsel has been notified that the privileged material has been excised. Material ordered excised must be sealed and preserved in the records of the court for review on appeal.

(Subd (h) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(i) Conditions of discovery

An order of the court granting discovery under this rule may specify the time, place, and manner of making the discovery and inspection and may prescribe terms and conditions. Discovery must be completed in a timely manner to avoid the delay or continuance of a scheduled hearing.

(Subd (i) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(j) Failure to comply; sanctions

If at any time during the course of the proceedings the court learns that a person has failed to comply with this rule or with an order issued under this rule, the court may order the person to permit the discovery or inspection of materials not previously disclosed, grant a continuance, prohibit a party from introducing in evidence the material not disclosed, dismiss the proceedings, or enter any other order the court deems just under the circumstances.

(Subd (j) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(k) Continuing duty to disclose

If subsequent to compliance with these rules or with court orders a party discovers additional material or information subject to disclosure, the party must promptly notify the child and parent or guardian, or their counsel, of the existence of the additional matter.

(Subd (k) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

Rule 5.546 amended and renumbered effective January 1, 2007; adopted as rule 1420 effective January 1, 1990.

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