Friday, February 07, 2020

People v. Cerda (Cal. Ct. App. - Feb. 7, 2020)

I talked about this topic earlier this week.  So I had it in mind when I read the second footnote of the only published opinion from the Court of Appeal today.

That footnote reads:

"To protect the personal privacy interests of the victims, other than Gerardo Salazar who was killed, we will refer to each by first name and last initial. (Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 8.90, subd. (b)(4).)."

That strikes me as exactly the right balance (as well as the correct interpretation of the rule).  For the living, there's little need for crime victims to be mentioned in a published opinion.  Not that I think it's bad (at all) to be a crime victim, or to be remembered in Google as such.  But I'm confident that some people would prefer to just put the whole thing behind them, forever, so to accommodate their interests, since we can't tell who'd prefer to be forgotten and who's just fine with their names in press, we use initials.

Whereas for the dead, there's good reason to remember them.  By name.  We are in large part what we leave behind.  So for murder victims, the least we can do is to have a permanent memory of their existence in the California Appellate Reporter when we discuss the circumstances of their demise.