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Secret report on sheriff eavesdropping to be used in court

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A county-commissioned report into allegations of illegal eavesdropping by Sheriff Pat Hedges has found its way into court, but even there it's to remain closed to the public eye.

A federal judge has agreed to an order allowing attorneys for Chief Deputy Gary Hoving, whose office Hedges has acknowledged secretly videotaping in 2006, to view the report as part of an ongoing civil rights lawsuit against Hedges, Undersheriff Steve Bolts, and the county. The report was also provided to the attorneys for the defendants.

At issue is an investigation the county Human Resources Department commissioned retired judge James Warren to perform. Although the report is completed, county attorneys have denied media access to it, citing state law protecting the privacy of police personnel records.

"It is the county counsel opinion that the protection of police officer records is absolute," a county attorney told the Board of Supervisors on April 8.

Both sides have agreed to keep the report private.

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