Courts & Crime

California judge reviewing slain CHP officer's personnel file

MODESTO, Calif. — A judge Tuesday said he would review the confidential personnel files of slain California Highway Patrol officer Earl Scott and decide whether to hand over some of their contents to an attorney for Scott's alleged killer.

Scott was killed during a routine traffic stop in 2006 near Salida, Calif. Columbus Allen II of Stockton is charged with Scott's murder and could face the death penalty.

Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Hurl Johnson began an "ongoing" review of Scott's CHP file to look for potential issues such as allegations of excessive force, disciplinary actions, dishonesty or citizen complaints.

If they are deemed relevant, Johnson would turn over the information to San Francisco-based defense attorney John R. Grele. On Feb. 26, Johnson is scheduled to review of Scott's application to become a Modesto police officer.

Grele said any allegations of misconduct against Scott could be used during during the sentencing portion of the trial, when fellow officers plan to testify about the strength of Scott's character.

"We're going to have glowing tributes from his buddies at the CHP office," Grele said.

Allen, 34, of Stockton is charged with killing Scott about 4:40 a.m. Feb. 17, 2006.

The district attorney's office has charged Allen with first-degree murder and three special circumstances that could lead to the death penalty. He is being held without bail.

The slain officer was found at the edge of northbound Highway 99, just south of Hammett Road near Salida, holding registration papers for a Nissan Maxima registered to Allen's wife, Bertera.

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