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Appeals Court Overturns Denial Of Access To Grand Jury Material

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A California appeals court ordered a trial judge to reconsider his denial of access to grand jury material to a man who claims he spent 24 years in prison on a wrongful murder conviction.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza refused to grant Thomas Goldstein access to raw materials received by grand juries in the late 1980s and 1990 in investigating misuse of jailhouse informants. Goldstein wanted the material to support his false imprisonment claim against the City of Long Beach, Los Angeles County and county officials. His 1980 conviction was overturned more than two decades later because prosecutors failed to tell his lawyer about their arrangement with a jailhouse informant, who testified against Goldstein in exchange for reduced sentences. The state court has discretion to review Goldstein's request if he can show he needs the report "for the purposes of public justice or for the protection of private rights," Justice Klein wrote.

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