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Kelly Thomas trial: Request for employment records approved

A judge has allowed the disclosure of the employment records of two former officers charged in the death of Kelly Thomas.
December 27, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A judge ruled on Friday that prosecutors can see the confidential employment records of two former Fullerton police officers on trial in the death of a homeless man. The documents could play a crucial role in the trial.

Prosecutors requested to review the employment records in an effort to rebut testimony from a key defense witness.

Manuel Ramos is charged with second-degree murder and Jay Cicinelli is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Kelly Thomas, a 37-year-old homeless man.

Prosecutors filed a motion last week seeking the confidential documents, stating, "The People have a good faith belief that the administrative records will contain evidence of violations of departmental policy with regard to the conduct of each defendant."

Prosecutors say the evidence is relevant to impeach defense witness Fullerton Police Cpl. Stephen Rubio, who helped train Ramos and Cicinelli in use-of-force techniques.

Rubio testified he viewed the surveillance video of the violent run-in between Thomas and Fullerton police on July 5, 2011. Cicinelli is seen Tasing then hitting Thomas in the head with it after Cicinelli is heard saying he ran out of options.

Rubio testified Cicinelli's and Ramos' conduct did not violate departmental policy, although Rubio testified Ramos ' use of profanity may have been a "slight" policy violation.

Prosecutors want to see the results of any internal affairs investigation into the officers' conduct to rebut Rubio's testimony and to show why Ramos and Cicinelli are no longer with the Fullerton Police Department.

The judge did not order that the documents be handed over on Friday, which leaves time for an appeal. The documents are expected to be handed over on Jan. 3, unless that appeal is successful. The judge has not yet ruled how much of the evidence jurors will see.

The jury will return to court from a two-week break on Jan. 6.

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