Tulare DA to begin releasing reports to defense attorneys in case of accused Visalia officers

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- Bryan Ferreira and Shane Logan are both out of custody.

Ferreira pleaded not guilty to a long list of felony charges during his arraignment in Visalia last month.

Since then, the case has been moved to Porterville, and on Wednesday, Logan also pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Prosecutors say Ferreira and Logan filed false police reports and lied about drug buys that didn't happen in order to obtain search warrants.

RELATED: 2 Visalia police officers arrested, facing several felony charges includes falsifying documents and perjury

After their arrests, the Tulare County District Attorney's Office announced they had dismissed more than 40 cases the officers were involved in, and said they would prepare reports for local attorneys interested in seeing a case reviewed.

In court on Wednesday, the prosecutor said she would like to release discovery, or police reports, in the case to area defense attorneys as soon as possible-in the form of CD's.

"Let's say for instance there was some sort of a drug case and that person was convicted at trial, and we now find out that the information was false, the evidence was false, there's actually a penal code section for that that allows us specifically to bring the case back to court and reopen it," said Ben Smukler, an attorney with the Tulare County Public Defender's Office.

Smukler was at the officer's hearing on Wednesday, arguing against a request by the district attorney's office that there be a protective order for the discovery, which would limit who sees it and how it is shared.

"So here you have the prosecutor saying, 'Well yes, here's this very public case,' Smukler said. "In fact they had a press conference on it. 'And we're prosecuting these two officers, but your honor, we don't want anybody sharing any of the information.' At first blush it looks like they're trying to protect the people that they're prosecuting."

The judge ordered the discovery given to defense attorneys should not be shared with anyone not directly involved with the cases in question.

RELATED: Informants, cell phone searches led to arrest of Visalia narcotics officers

The district attorney's office says they will now begin releasing discovery to defense attorneys.

Another hearing on the topic will take place on in about a month.

Neither officer is required to show up.

But they will be back for another hearing in early February.

The district attorney's released the following statement after Wednesday's hearing:

We are not attempting to protect defendants Ferreira and Logan. In this case as in every other, we are obligated to protect the defendants' right to a fair trial which means we cannot and will not try the facts of our cases in the media rather than the courtroom.

In this particular case, we have been attempting to provide the Public Defender and other defense attorneys, discovery to which they are entitled with a protective order insuring that our prosecution of defendants Ferreira and Logan is not compromised. The Public Defender would not agree to limit their receipt of discovery to the defense of current and prior defendants whose cases may be affected by the results of the investigation.

All we asked is that the facts of this investigation be confined to the courtroom pending a jury verdict as opposed being openly discussed on a national stage by outside organizations who may not have an interest in the right of the People of the State of California and these defendants'

to a fair trial. We are in complete agreement with the court*s protective order related to this investigation.
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