Allen attorney wants files on investigators

A defense attorney Tuesday asked a judge to open the personnel files of dozens of law enforcement officers who helped investigate Columbus Allen Jr. II, a Stockton man accused of killing a California Highway Patrol officer during a 2006 traffic stop near Salida.

Attorney John R. Grele of San Francisco filed 11 motions seeking information about alleged officer misconduct or dishonesty.

Among those targeted were the Modesto and Turlock police departments, the sheriff's departments in Stanislaus and Alameda counties and the California Highway Patrol.

The information sought can include previous incidents of use of force, allegations of excessive force, citizen complaints and information gathered during pre-employment background investigations.

Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Hurl Johnson did not rule on Grele's request Tuesday but will continue to hear testimony behind closed doors today.

Johnson previously denied Grele's attempt to open the personnel files of slain CHP officer Earl Scott.

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

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.

His trial is scheduled to begin July 26 in Sacramento, where it was moved after a successful change-of-venue motion by the defense.

Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at or 578-2337.