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[rough

 draft,  posted  online  to  satisfy  the  curiosity  of  my  friends.    This  is  what  
happens  when  a  former  civil  litigator  who  spent  a  lot  of  time  in  federal  court  
but  doesn’t  know  much  about  local  procedure  tries  to  fight  a  speeding  ticket.]  
 
SUPERIOR  COURT  OF  CALIFORNIA,  COUNTY  OF  SAN  MATEO  
TRAFFIC  DEPARTMENT,  CENTRAL  DIVISION  
 
          )   Case# 462602  
PEOPLE  OF  CALIFORNIA     )  
          )   DEFENDANT’S  MOTION  TO  COMPEL,  
v.             )   FOR  SANCTIONS,  AND  FOR  DISMISSAL  
          )  
PAUL  GOWDER       )  
          )  
 
Hearing  Date:  August  30,  20101  
 
Defendant’s  Motion  to  Compel,  and  for  Dismissal  
 
Pursuant  to  Local  Rule  9.9,  Defendant  sent  an  informal  discovery  request  to  

the  California  Highway  Patrol  and  the  District  Attorney  on  August  2  seeking  the  

materials  that  the  prosecution  is  required  to  disclose  by  Penal  Code  section  1054.    

He  has  received  no  response  whatsoever,  with  the  exception  of  one  telephone  call  

from  a  functionary  at  a  CHP  office  inquiring  as  to  where  the  request  should  be  

routed  (to  which  Defendant  responded).    Defendant  now  moves  the  Court  for:    

a)  an  order  compelling  the  production  of  the  materials  requested;    

b)  as  a  sanction  for  failing  to  respond  to  discovery  at  all,  and  in  order  to  

preserve  Defendant’s  right  to  a  fair  trial,  an  order  barring  the  People  from  

admitting  into  evidence  any  materials  or  statements  covered  by  that  section  

                                                                                                               
1  Local  Rule  9.9  requires  that  motions  to  compel  in  traffic  cases  indicate  a  hearing  date  before  the  

trial  date.    As  indicated  in  the  enclosed  affidavit,  however,  Defendant  has  called  the  Clerk  and  been  
told  that  the  clerk  will  not  calendar  a  hearing  date,  and  that  these  motions  are  ordinarily  heard  at  
time  of  trial.    In  compliance  with  local  rules,  Defendant  requests  a  hearing  on  August  30,  and  will  
appear  at  the  opening  of  court  on  that  date  to  ask  that  the  matter  be  heard  after  the  arraignments.      

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as  well  as  the  testimony  of  any  witness  who  have  not  been  disclosed,  or  

whose  statements  or  notes  are  covered  by  that  section;  and    

c)  in  light  of  the  fact  that  such  an  order  would  exclude  all  of  the  People’s  

evidence,  an  order  dismissing  the  prosecution.  

Memorandum  in  Support  

  Defendant  has  been  placed  in  a  highly  untenable  position  by  the  People’s  

recalcitrance.    He  sent  this  discovery  request  shortly  after  arraignment.    It  is  now  

August  23,  eleven  calendar  days  before  trial,  and  he  has  received  no  response  to  this  

request,  not  even  the  courtesy  of  an  objection.    At  this  point,  there  is  not  even  

enough  time  for  Defendant  to  receive  his  discovery  in  time  to  prepare  for  trial.    This  

is  so  even  though  Defendant  has  done  everything  he  can  to  obtain  discovery  quickly:  

filing  his  request  a  few  days  after  trial,  contacting  all  the  relevant  agencies  to  urge  a  

response  to  that  request,  and  filing  this  motion  immediately  after  it  has  become  

evident  that  no  response  will  be  forthcoming.    Even  under  the  best  of  conditions,  it  

would  be  unrealistic  and  unreasonable  to  expect  a  ruling  in  less  than  a  week.    It  

would  be  equally  unrealistic  to  expect  the  People,  after  being  ordered  to  comply  

with  the  discovery  laws,  to  actually  get  the  required  materials  into  Defendant’s  

hands  in  less  than  another  week.    And  by  that  route,  we  arrive  at  a  date  well  after  the  

actual  trial  date.    The  most  optimistic  possible  outcome  is  Defendant  only  finally  

receiving  his  discovery,  on,  perhaps,  the  morning  of  trial,  with  no  opportunity  

whatsoever  to  actually  prepare  for  that  trial.  

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In  fact,  matters  are  much  worse  than  this.    Defendant  called  the  clerk  to  ask  

how  to  get  a  motion  to  compel  discovery  on  the  calendar  for  a  hearing,  and  got  the  

response  that  there  was  no  way  to  do  so  –  that  this  court  ordinarily  simply  handles  

such  motions  on  the  day  of  trial.    This  procedure,  while  doubtless  efficient,  leads  to  

the  same  unhappy  response:  Defendant  having  no  opportunity  to  prepare  for  trial,  

and  being  subjected  to  a  complete  trial  by  surprise.      

Nor  would  continuing  the  trial  solve  anything.    The  arraignment  in  this  case  

was  on  July  26.    The  current  trial  date,  September  3,  is  39  days  after  the  

arraignment.    Penal  Code  section  1382,  requires  the  Court  to  dismiss  any  infraction  

not  tried  within  45  days  of  his  arraignment.    Thus,  Defendant  is  entitled  either  to  

dismissal  or  to  a  trial  by  September  9.    As  September  3  is  a  Friday,  this  gives  the  

court  a  four-­‐day  window  in  which  the  trial  could  be  continued  without  violating  

Defendant’s  speedy  trial  rights.    Even  assuming  that  a  trial  could  be  rescheduled  in  

that  extremely  narrow  window,  Defendant  would  still  have  a  grossly  inadequate  

time  to  prepare,  thanks  to  the  People’s  failure  to  comply  with  their  procedural  

obligations.    That  is,  Defendant  would  have  a  grossly  inadequate  time  to  prepare  

even  assuming  –  as  is  unlikely  in  the  extreme  –  that  the  People  could  get  it  together  

in  time  to  provide  him  with  the  discovery  to  which  he  is  entitled  between  being  

ordered  to  do  so  on  September  3  and  a  trial  that  would  be,  at  a  minimum,  six  days  

later.    

Perhaps  there  would  be  a  hope  for  the  People  to  get  it  together  and  provide  

discovery  were  it  represented  by  counsel  at  the  trial  date.    But  Defendant  is  given  to  

understand  that  the  ordinary  practice  is  for  the  District  Attorney  to  not  send  a  

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prosecutor,  but  instead  for  the  citing  police  officer  to  simply  show  up  unescorted  

and  give  testimony  on  his  own.    Thus,  unless  Defendant  is  mistaken  about  this  

practice  or  the  District  Attorney  decides  to  make  an  exception,  a  police  officer  will  

have  to  report  the  court’s  order  to  his  superiors,  at  which  point  it  will  wind  its  way  

up  the  bureaucracy  –  no  attorney  for  the  People  will  be  present  to  prod  the  

administrative  machine  of  the  California  Highway  Patrol  into  action.  

This  woeful  absence  of  the  involvement  of  counsel  in  any  stage  of  these  

proceedings  is  to  blame  for  the  failure  of  the  People  to  respond  to  discovery  at  all.    

The  District  Attorney’s  office  does  not  take  any  action  when  a  discovery  request  is  

received  in  a  traffic  case,  simply  forwarding  it  to  the  Clerk.    Consequently,  no  lawyer  

has  looked  at  Defendant’s  request,  instructed  any  documents  or  witnesses  to  be  

disclosed,  or  reviewed  the  request  to  determine  which,  if  any,  parts  of  it  are  

objectionable  and  which  must  be  complied  with.    As  far  as  can  be  discerned  from  

Defendant’s  futile  attempts  to  get  some  kind  of  response,  and  many  telephone  calls,  

his  informal  discovery  request  has  fallen  into  a  Kafkaesque  bureaucratic  limbo  

within  the  California  Highway  Patrol,  which,  acting  without  any  supervision  from  

counsel  whatsoever,  has  simply  not  bothered  to  give  discovery.    Presumably,  if  some  

lawyer  had  at  some  point  become  involved,  he  or  she  would  have  informed  the  

appropriate  officials  (whoever  they  may  be:  Defendant  is  completely  in  the  dark  

about  the  CHP’s  internal  structure  or  division  of  responsibility)  at  the  California  

Highway  Patrol  that  discovery  requests  cannot  just  be  ignored.      

Admittedly,  Defendant’s  request  for  informal  discovery  is  more  complex  than  

is  perhaps  typical  in  traffic  cases.    However,  each  specific  request  falls  under  the  

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category  of  exculpatory  evidence,  which  section  1054  specifically  requires  to  be  

provided.    Part  of  his  planned  defense,  for  example,  relies  on  technical  claims  about  

the  inability  of  police  radar  to  accurately  record  his  speed  under  the  conditions  

under  which  he  was  citied  –  a  defense  that  requires  evidence  about  the  operation  of  

that  device  to  establish,  evidence  that  is  held  by  the  California  Highway  Patrol,  and  

is  referred  to  in  items  2,  3,  4,  7,  8,  etc.  of  his  discovery  request.    Others  directly  track  

the  language  of  the  statute  –  item  12  tracks  section  1054.1(c)  and  (f),  item  13  tracks  

1054.1(f),  item  14  uses  the  exact  language  of  1054.1(a),  item  15  tracks  1054.1(b),  

etc.    Even  if  the  People  think  that  other  items  in  his  discovery  request  are  

objectionable,  there  is  no  possible  question  that  he  is  entitled  to  compliance  with  

those  items  that  are  directly  drawn  from  the  language  of  the  statute.    That  the  

People  are  obliged  to  provide  those  materials  even  if  they  do  not  provide  anything  

else.    The  CHP  would  have  known  that,  and,  presumably,  complied  with  it  while  

objecting  to  any  allegedly  objectionable  parts,  if  they  had  been  supervised  by  an  

attorney.  

  While  Local  Rule  9.9  specifies  that  informal  discovery  requests  are  to  be  

directed  to  “the  police  agency  that  issued  the  citation”  (i.e.,  the  California  Highway  

Patrol),  Penal  Code  section  1054.1  rests  the  responsibility  for  providing  discovery  

on  “the  prosecuting  attorney,”  i.e.,  the  District  Attorney,  and  it  is  the  District  

Attorney’s  failure  to  supervise  the  execution  of  his  statutory  responsibilities  by  

police  agencies  that  has  led  us  to  this  pass.    While  it  is  true  that  the  People  are  not  

obliged  to  supply  a  prosecutor  in  person  at  every  traffic  infraction,2  this  does  not  

                                                                                                               
2  Thus  was  the  holding  in  People  v.  Marcroft,  6  Cal.App.4th  Supp.  1  (1992).  

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mean  that  the  District  Attorney  can  neglect  the  responsibility  to  supervise  the  

conduct  of  prosecutions,  even  at  a  distance,  or  that  it  is  fair  or  consistent  with  due  

process  for  Defendant  to  be  prejudiced  by  the  failure  to  provide  such  supervision.  

Ironically,  Defendant  actually  asked  the  Court,  at  his  arraignment,  if  the  

September  3  trial  date  would  give  him  enough  time  to  secure  discovery  from  the  

People  after  the  arraignment.    The  Court  optimistically  assured  him  that  he  would  

have  plenty  of  time  –  an  assurance  that  would  doubtless  have  been  true,  if  the  

People  had  made  any  effort  whatsoever  to  comply  with  their  obligations  under  

California  law.      

In  another  traffic  infraction  case,  the  Court  of  Appeal  had  the  following  to  say  

about  how  traffic  proceedings  should  be  conducted:    

So  long  as  traffic  violations  are  adjudicated  in  court,  the  letter  
and  spirit  of  misdemeanor  procedure  should  be  followed.  
Alleged  traffic  violators  are  now  offered  an  opportunity  to  
contest  the  validity  of  their  citations  by  a  court  trial.  This  is  
often  the  only  contact  citizens  have  with  the  court  system.  It  
is  important  that  the  proceedings  appear  to  be  fair  and  just.  
An  appearance  of  arbitrariness  is  to  be  avoided,  even  in  the  
crowded  conditions  of  traffic  court  proceedings.  
 
People  v.  Kriss,  96  Cal.App.3d  913,  921  (1979).  

This  principle  is  not  consistent  with  permitting  traffic  court  defendants  to  be  

denied  discovery  and  subjected  to  trial  by  surprise.      

Sanctions  Required  

Pursuant  to  Penal  Code  section  1054.1,  the  remedies  for  the  People’s  failure  

to  make  discovery  are  in  the  Court’s  discretion  and  are  “including,  but  not  limited  to,  

immediate  disclosure,  contempt  proceedings,  delaying  or  prohibiting  the  testimony  

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of  a  witness  or  the  presentation  of  real  evidence,  continuance  of  the  matter,  or  any  

other  lawful  order.”    While  the  statute  goes  on  to  provide  that  exclusion  of  witness  

testimony  is  a  last  resort,  that  last  resort  has  been  reached.  

Penal  code  section  1054.1  expressly  requires  the  People  to  disclose  “[t]he  

names  and  addresses  of  persons  the  prosecutor  intends  to  call  as  witnesses  at  trial”  

and  “[r]elevant  written  or  recorded  statements  of  witnesses  or  reports  of  the  

statements  of  witnesses  whom  the  prosecutor  intends  to  call  at  the  trial.”    That  

section  plainly  requires  the  disclosure  of  the  name  and  address  of  the  citing  officer  

(if,  in  fact,  the  People  intend  for  him  to  testify),  as  well  as  his  recorded  notes  –  

material  that  Defendant  needs  in  order  to  prepare  for  trial.    Without  these  materials  

he  does  not  know,  for  example,  how  the  citing  officer  alleges  to  have  measured  his  

speed  (Did  he  use  a  radar  device?    Did  he  “pace”  him?    Did  he  make  a  visual  estimate  

of  his  speed?),  whether  or  not  the  citing  officer  alleges  that  he  made  any  admissions  

about  his  speed  or  any  other  facts  (a  disclosure  expressly  required  by  section  

1054.1(b)),  or  anything  else  that  might  enable  him  to  go  into  trial  other  than  utterly  

blind.    Under  such  circumstances,  how  can  he  be  expected  to  put  on  a  defense?    

Nor  is  Defendant  either  obliged  or  inclined  to  surrender  his  statutory  speedy  

trial  rights  to  accommodate  the  derelictions  of  the  People.    And  the  People’s  failure  

to  comply  with  their  discovery  obligations  hardly  constitutes  good  cause  for  the  

Court  to  extend  the  statutory  45  day  period  on  its  own  initiative.      

What,  then,  is  to  be  done?    Defendant’s  statutory  (and  constitutional)  speedy  

trial  rights  cannot  be  abrogated.    Defendant’s  statutory  right  to  discovery  cannot  be  

abrogated.    Denying  discovery  or  ordering  immediate  disclosure  and  expecting  

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Defendant  to  prepare  for  trial  on  the  spot  or  on  no  more  than  a  couple  days  notice  

would,  in  addition  to  denying  him  rights  expressly  provided  by  statute,  also  deny  

him  a  fair  trial  and  run  afoul  of  the  principles  of  due  process,  as  well  as  the  

principles  expressed  in  Kriss.    Holding  the  District  Attorney  or  the  California  

Highway  Patrol  in  contempt,  while  it  might  offer  Defendant  some  cathartic  relief,  

will  not  offer  him  a  fair  trial  untainted  by  surprise  evidence.  

Under  such  circumstances,  no  lesser  sanction  than  the  exclusion  of  all  

evidence,  statements,  and  witnesses  that  should  have  been  disclosed  will  preserve  

Defendant’s  right  to  a  fair  trial.    

Since  the  People  are  required  to  disclose  all  witnesses  that  will  appear,  as  

well  as  all  evidence  to  be  admitted,  excluding  the  improperly  undisclosed  evidence  

means  excluding  all  the  People’s  evidence.    And  excluding  all  the  People’s  evidence,  

in  light  of  the  burden  of  proof,  means  that  this  prosecution  must  be  dismissed.      

 
 
Respectfully  submitted,  August  23,  2010:    
.         _______________________________________  
              Paul  Gowder  
 
 
 

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 SUPERIOR  COURT  OF  CALIFORNIA,  COUNTY  OF  SAN  MATEO  
TRAFFIC  DEPARTMENT,  CENTRAL  DIVISION  
 
 
          )   Case# 462602  
PEOPLE  OF  CALIFORNIA     )  
          )   DEFENDANT’S  AFFIDAVIT  IN  SUPPORT  
v.             )   OF  MOTION  TO  COMPEL,  FOR    
          )   SANCTIONS,  AND  FOR  DISMISSAL  
PAUL  GOWDER       )  
          )  
 
 
State  of  California,  County  of  _______________________  
 
 
BEFORE  ME,  the  undersigned  Notary,  _______________________________________________  on  
this  ______  day  of  August  2010,  personally  appeared  before  me  
__________________________________________________,  who  being  by  me  first  duly  sworn,  on  
________  his  oath,  deposes  and  says:  
 
 

1.    I  am  over  18  years  old  and  a  resident  of  Santa  Clara  County,  California.    I  swear,  

certify,  and  affirm  that  the  following  is  true  and  correct,  under  penalty  of  perjury.  

2.    On  August  2,  2010,  I  mailed  an  informal  discovery  request  to  the  California  Patrol  

(CHP)  and  the  District  Attorney  at  the  following  addresses:    

California  Highway  Patrol    

Golden  Gate  Division    

1551  Benicia  Road  

Vallejo,  CA  94591  

(by  certified  mail,  return  receipt  requested)  

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San  Mateo  County  District  Attorney  

400  County  Center,  3rd  Floor  

Redwood  City,  CA  94063  

San  Mateo  Court,  Central  Division,  Traffic  Department  

800  North  Humboldt  Street  

San  Mateo,  CA  94401  

California  Highway  Patrol  (headquarters)  

P.O.  Box  942898  

Sacramento,  CA  94298  

California  Highway  Patrol  (Redwood  City  office)  

355  Convention  Way  

Redwood  City  CA  94063  

3.    The  attached  letter  is  a  true  copy  of  the  informal  discovery  request  sent  to  those  

offices,  save  for  a  typographical  error  in  a  zip  code  that  was  corrected  by  hand.    The  

attached  return  receipt  is  the  return  receipt  I  received  from  the  U.S.  postal  service  

indicating  its  receipt  by  the  CHP.  

4.    I  have  received  no  response  whatsoever  to  my  discovery  requests,  except  for  one  

telephone  call  on  August  4  and  one  on  August  5  from  a  CHP  employee  from  the  

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Golden  Gate  Division  named  Karen,  who  said  her  supervisor’s  name  is  Vera,  and  

whose  number  is  707-­‐648-­‐4180.    Karen  said  that  she  contacted  me  to  ask  for  the  

name  of  the  citing  officer  so  that  she  could  route  the  request  appropriately.    I  gave  

her  that  officer’s  name  and  then  heard  nothing  more  from  the  CHP.    

5.    I  called  the  Clerk’s  office  at  650-­‐573-­‐2617  on  August  20,  2010,  and  was  told  that  I  

could  not  calendar  a  motion  to  compel  discovery  in  a  traffic  court  case  –  that  such  a  

motion  would  simply  be  handed  to  the  Court  and  ordinarily  be  heard  on  the  trial  

date.    

6.    I  called  the  District  Attorney’s  office  at  650-­‐363-­‐4636  on  August  20,  2010.    I  

spoke  to  a  woman  going  by  the  name  Terry,  who  was  the  supervisor  of  the  person  

who  originally  answered  the  phone,  and  who  declined  to  give  her  name.    Terry  

confirmed  to  me  what  the  person  who  answered  the  phone  transmitted  as  from  her:  

the  District  Attorney’s  office  does  not  take  any  action  on  informal  discovery  

requests  received  in  traffic  cases,  but  simply  forwards  them  to  the  Clerk.      

7.    I  called  the  California  Highway  Patrol’s  Redwood  City  office  at  650-­‐369-­‐6261  on  

August  20,  2010,  and  was  told  that  the  person  whose  responsibility  it  is  to  handle  

informal  discovery  requests,  one  Kelly  Kettell,  was  out  of  the  office.    I  left  her  a  

voicemail  inquiring  as  to  the  status  of  my  discovery  request.    As  of  the  filing  of  this  

motion  and  affidavit,  I  have  had  no  response.  

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8.    I  called  the  CHP  Golden  Gate  Division’s  central  office  at  707-­‐648-­‐4180  on  August  

20,  2010.    The  person  answering  the  phone  had  no  idea  how  informal  discovery  

requests  were  handled,  and,  to  all  appearances,  did  not  even  know  what  one  was.    I  

eventually  was  transferred  to  the  voicemail  of  one  Vera,  who  I  assume  to  be  the  

same  Vera  mentioned  in  #3  above.    I  left  her  a  voicemail  inquiring  as  to  the  status  of  

my  discovery  request.    As  of  the  filing  of  this  motion  and  affidavit,  I  have  had  no  

response.  

9.    At  this  point,  I  have  no  idea  what  testimony  or  evidence  might  be  offered  against  

me  at  trial,  beyond  the  bare  information  contained  on  my  copy  of  the  citation.    I  also  

have  no  idea  what  has  happened  to  my  informal  discovery  request.    I  have  no  way  of  

finding  out  about  either  except  by  bringing  this  motion.      

 
              ________________________________________  
              Paul  Gowder       [date]  
            51  Dudley  Ln.  #213  
              Stanford,  CA  94305  
 
Subscribed  and  sworn  to  before  me,  this  ____________  day  of  August,  2010.      
 
 
 
___________________________________       NOTARY  PUBLIC  
 
 
___________________________________  
Notary  Public  
 
              My  commission  expires:  ____________  
 
 

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