DEMOND FINLEY, Petitioner, v. THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO, Respondent; THE PEOPLE, Real Party in Interest. (Cal. Ct. App., Aug. 30, 2023, No. A167311) 2023 WL 5620093, at *1
Summary: The San Francisco Superior Court erred in finding that Finley failed to make a prima case of an RJA violation, where the police officer stopped and searched his car for being parked in a “high crime area.” An expert testified that “high crime area” was routinely used by police to conduct pretext stops of Black people for minor offenses to search for contraband, and SFPD’s own stats showing Black people were stopped and searched at a higher rate than whites.
The Court of Appeal set a low prima facie bar in RJA cases and held that the trial court must accept the defenses proffered factual allegations and supporting evidence as true and could not consider the DA’s race-neutral counter evidence at the prima facie stage. The court remanded for a rehearing applying the proper prima facie standard.