Can a non-involved person obtain a criminal police report about someone else? Or can atty tell me what happened?

Asked over 1 year ago - San Francisco, CA

A family member was arrested & his story of what happened doesn't match up w/ the initial charges at all. He plead no contest to 2 of 5 charges & made a deal & is now serving jail time. He has a history of lying even about unimportant things. The rest of the family would like to know what happened.

Can I order a copy of the police report?
Unfortunately we do not know where it happened except to say all proceedings were in San Francisco. Nor do we know the exact date of arrest, which department/precinct or police report number. Even if I had this info, would they even send it to me since I am not an involved party?

Would it be inappropriate to ask the PD or DA to send us a copy of the initial police report or directly tell me basics of what happened?

Additional information

PD did not return my phone call. May have been instructed by family member not to talk to us.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Charles K. Kenyon Jr.

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . I am not surprised that the PD did not return your call. He/she is not your lawyer and would not be serving the client by talking with you. The prosecutor may be willing to tell you where you can get a copy of the police report. If you go to the court where he was convicted, you should be able to get a copy of the criminal complaint. A "probable cause" portion of that complaint will usually contain information about what the police thought happened and tell you which jurisdiction was involved.

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  2. Chris J Feasel

    Contributor Level 17

    Answered . No you cannot order a copy of the report - you are a "non involved" party, so you don't get one. The PD is not going to talk to you yet if the case hasn't gone to court. Hire an attorney, who can get a copy of the report, and perhaps he/she will speak to you about the case (but most certainly can't give you a copy of the report).

    Mr. Feasel is a former prosecutor in San Mateo County (CA) with over 10 years of criminal law experience. Nothing... more
  3. William A. Jones Jr.


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I agree with Attorney Kenyon's very able response to your question. As neither he nor I are licensed in CA, see what local counsel advise on this issue.

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