Judge Disqualifies All Prosecutors in Orange County, CA due to widespread Corruption

Between San Diego and Los Angeles is Orange County, California. With more than 3 million residents, it’s larger than 21 states. If Orange County were a separate country, its economy would be the 45th largest in the world. Now known for Disneyland, the county may soon be known for having one of the most corrupt justice systems in the world. The width and depth and duration of the corruption truly boggles the mind. A case that should’ve been open and shut has blown the lid off some deep secrets.On October 12, 2011, Orange County experienced the deadliest mass killing in its modern history. Scott Dekraai killed 8 people, including his ex-wife, in a Seal Beach beauty salon. He was arrested wearing full body armor just a few blocks away. Without a doubt, Dekraai was the perpetrator. A dozen surviving witnesses saw him. He admitted to the shooting early on. Yet, nearly four years later, the case against him has all but fallen apart.

It turns out that prosecutors and police officers committed an egregious violation of Dekraai’s rights—so much so that Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals shocked everyone and removed the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, and all 250 prosecutors, from having anything more to do with the case.

The legal wrangling involved how Dekraai came to occupy a jail cell next to a prolific jailhouse informant. Prosecutors and jailers said it was a coincidence, but Dekraai’s attorney insisted it was part of a widespread operation to elicit incriminating remarks from defendants who were represented by lawyers, a violation of their rights.Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas’ conflict of interest in the Dekraai case “is not imaginary,” the judge wrote. “It apparently stems from his loyalty to his law enforcement partners at the expense of his other constitutional and statutory obligations.”

It turns out that Orange County has a secret system of evidence manufacturing and storage that they have used in countless cases, and the collusion is unraveling dozens of cases and may soon unravel the careers of countless prosecutors and law enforcement officers who’ve maintained it for decades. It’s called TRED.

In recent months, we’ve learned, over the objections of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), that the agency created TRED, a computerized records system in which deputies store information about in-custody defendants, including informants. Some of the data is trivial; other pieces contain vital, exculpatory evidence. But for a quarter of a century, OCSD management deemed TRED beyond the reach of any outside authority. In Dekraai, deputies Ben Garcia and Seth Tunstall committed perjury to hide the mere existence of TRED. Those lies didn’t originate from blind loyalty, however. The concealed records show how prosecution teams slyly trampled the constitutional rights of defendants by employing informants—and then keeping clueless judges, juries and defense lawyers.

These violations are beginning to cause cases all over the county to crumble.

Other cases involving informants who were eliciting illegal confessions have emerged, entire cases have collapsed, and more may follow. The story goes way back to the 1980s, as R. Scott Moxley explains at length in the OC Weekly, to a prosecutorial scandal that ended in the execution of one defendant and a lengthy sentence for his alleged co-conspirator. Their convictions were based on the testimony of various jailhouse informants even though they told conflicting stories. That scandal rocked the area then, and this new one shows eerie parallels.

Leonel Vega, a notorious gang member, was convicted of murdering a 17-year-old and was due to get life without possibility of parole. He may now be released in 2019 because of violations of his rights.Similarly, another case—one of the most egregious murders in the history of the county—has been bungled. Jeanette Espeleta, eight months pregnant, was kidnapped and murdered, but the DA’s office there has done the unthinkable.

Similar to Dekraai, government actors took the easily solvable Espeleta murder and unnecessarily cheated. In some ways, the Espeleta case is worse than the lingering aforementioned death-penalty trial that has garnered national attention. During the past 17 years, prosecution teams hid exculpatory evidence, secured tainted testimony, won convictions, and then duped state appellate-court justices into believing they never swerved from their sworn oaths. It’s an alarming situation that’s not based on speculation. While most prosecutors and cops I see in court are honest, some even significantly underpaid for their work, the record alone in the Espeleta mess proves OC’s criminal-justice system needs a cleansing.

So egregious are the violations that the Public Defenders Office filed this 500+ page motion detailing instance after instance of cases where men and women have had their essential rights violated.Speaking to Dahlia Lithwick, of Slate,

Laura Fernandez of Yale Law School, who studies prosecutorial misconduct, says it’s amazing that both the sheriff’s office and the DA’s office worked together to cover up the misconduct: “From my perspective,” she says, “what really sets Orange County apart is the massive cover-up by both law enforcement and prosecutors—a cover-up that appears to have risen to the level of perjury and obstruction of justice. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors in Orange County have gone to such lengths to conceal their wide-ranging misconduct that they have effectively turned the criminal justice system on its head: dismissing charges and reducing sentences in extraordinarily serious cases, utterly failing to investigate unsolved crimes and many murders (by informants—in order to prevent that evidence from ever getting to defense lawyers), while simultaneously pushing forward where it would seem to make no sense (except that it conceals more bad acts by the state), as in the case of an innocent 14-year old boy who was wrongfully detained for two years.”

Now, Al Jazeera has launched a full investigation and has uncovered never-before-heard audio files of conversations between illegal informants.

The U.S. government is prohibited from using informants to gather information on defendants who have retained counsel; doing so violates their right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. But in court filings, Sanders claims the jailhouse informants in Orange County were acting as government agents, taking direction from law enforcement.

Faced with a possible life sentence, Oscar Moriel, a jailhouse informant spoke to Orange County law enforcement about how his memory “might be able to fall back into place” if they could help him out somehow.

Now, prosecutors in Orange County are unethically steering cases away from Judge Thomas Goethals, who kicked them off the case in the Seal Beach murders and has been persistent about their violations in other cases.

For years, Thomas Goethals has weighed the fates of some of Orange County’s most violent criminals. But since the judge began presiding over heated hearings probing the misuse of jailhouse informants, dozens of prosecutors have steered criminal cases away from his courtroom.Since February 2014, the district attorney’s office has asked to disqualify Goethals—a former homicide prosecutor and defense attorney—in 57 cases, according to court records.

In 2011, records show, prosecutors made disqualification requests against Goethals just three times. In 2012, zero times. In 2013, only twice.

The surge of disqualifications began around the time the Superior Court judge agreed to allow wide-ranging hearings that brought prosecutors’ mishandling of informant-related evidence under harsh scrutiny.

In essence, the District Attorney’s Office is abusing a very particular law to protect themselves from the scrutiny of Judge Goethals.

In a tactic informally called “papering a judge,” prosecutors have repeatedly invoked Section 170.6 of the state’s code of civil procedure, which allows lawyers a peremptory challenge to disqualify a judge they deem “prejudiced” against their interests. They do not have to prove prejudice or explain their reasons.

Speaking to R. Scott Moxley of the OC Weekly, Scott Sanders, a public defender, stated,

“Not a single prosecutor or officer has been held accountable for the illegal and unethical conduct that has taken place,” he said. “This shows that there are far too many members of the OCDA and OCSD who either endorse cheating or lack the courage to stand up to their colleagues who cheat.”Rackauckas believes Sanders is overdramatizing the mess. The DA claims errors by his staff and police agencies can be solved by training sessions and increasing his annual budget. Part of that training is apparently nefarious. His deputies have spent the past six months demanding judges seal records so reporters cannot monitor questionable maneuverings.

Now, the Dean of the Law School at UC Irvine in Orange County is calling for a federal probe into the misconduct. If prosecutors and law enforcement officers in Orange County are so willing to lie, cheat, and break the law in the name of justice in the ways that we have discovered, what else have they been willing to do? Who might’ve been wrongfully convicted? Who else has had their rights trampled – no matter the seriousness of their crimes?How deep will this rabbit hole go and who will fight against the truth coming out to protect their careers?

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About arnash

“When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” - Mark Twain - Politicians and diapers - change 'em often, for the same reason. "Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other." Ronald Reagan "Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views." William F. Buckley, Jr. “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” - Bertrand Russell The people are the masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it. Abraham Lincoln “Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” - George Orwell “Satan will use a lake of truth to hide a pint of poison”.
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4 Responses to Judge Disqualifies All Prosecutors in Orange County, CA due to widespread Corruption

  1. arnash says:

    I can vouch for the Lincoln County, OR…

    DA & sheriff’s departments being about as crooked as they come. Civil forfeiture, targeting people with fungible assets, but not enough liquid resources to defend themselves.

    The Community Corrections dept is every bit as bad, they routinely jail probationers or parolees for being too poor to pay their ‘supervision’ & various other ‘fees’ & use them as profit centers for their department and local ‘therapists’.

    They just manufactured a totally bs charge & colluded to pick up and send a non-violent, intellectually disabled man to Kansas to face a 17-45 month sentence for something he demonstrably did not do. They denied access to me, (I have his full power of attorney), or legal representation before he was extradited. They claimed he’d signed a waiver of the extradition hearing, but wouldn’t let me see it or the warrant and refused to allow me to talk to him and ask if he really signed it or under what circumstances.

    I’ve seen them in action for a dozen years. Crooked as all hell. And no mechanism to report them up the chain of command to the state.

    Grrrrr. We need to get the criminals on the right side of the damned bars.

    FWG RN FarWestGirl May 29,

    How many other DA’s offices are doing similar …

    Most of them, best I can tell. Explains why I’m a recovering attorney.
    rstsummers Jun 1
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Please tell me you don’t really think that this is about party affiliation. I live in one of the most conservative and republican parishes in the south and our District Attorney of 30+ years has just been indicted on multiple felony charges; last year, our coroner was sentenced to federal prison; the year before that, the mayor of the third largest city in the parish was also sent to prison; less than a year ago, another mayor from a small township was indicted and is currently awaiting trial.

    Our sheriff is currently being investigated and no one will be surprised if he is indicted before the year is out. They are all republicans, at least on paper. I don’t know if you noticed, but there is no screening process for registering for a particular political party and none of them care what you believe in or if you’re murdering, raping and pillaging in your spare time or as a full time occupation. They just want your money and your sheeply vote on election day.

    I’m also an attorney and will likely have my license revoked because I had the temerity to stand up to a pair of judges who refused to abide by the law or consider evidence before they rendered a decision. Well, if they want it, they can have it, since its worthless if you’re actually someone who believes in the Rule of Law and serving justice rather than a judge system. Our justice system is a farce and the only thing shocking about this story, to me, is that the judge is holding the DA and the sheriff’s department accountable. Imagine that – a judge who believes in due process! Now that’s shocking.
    jnmccool May 29
    ~~~~~~~~~~~

    A big story.

    Let me just suggest that what we have here is a failure to comprehend that the right which adhere to an individual person — i.e. the presumption of probity and innocence unless and until guilt is proven — does not properly apply to either artificial bodies (corporations) or public servants. The latter simply aren’t entitled to the same rights and privileges as an individual person because by joining an organization and taken an oath to uphold the law, they have given up their right to self-interest.

    So, in this case, we seem to have officers of the court (prosecutors and agents of law enforcement) claiming a right to remain silent for themselves, even as they violate those rights by sicking informants on defendants.

    It seems a bit strange that in the name of equality they are violating individual rights.
    The thinking seems to be that, if the accused get to remain silent and keep secrets, then the prosecutors get to do that, too.
    Somebody forgot to tell public servants that, in exchange for a paycheck, they have surrendered their autonomy and have an obligation to follow the law.

    That the law as it applies to civilians is different from the law as it applies to public officials hasn’t registered. The law says to civilians “thou shalt not,” while it says to public servants “thou shalt.” Civilians have to avoid injuring someone else; public servants have to do what they are told.
    hannah May 29
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The existence of TRED seems like prima facie evidence that Orange County needs to be investigated. Exculpatory evidence stored in a place where defense attorney’s don’t get to see it? That’s called “framing” where I come from.
    blue aardvark May 29,

    The Orange County government is a cesspool.

    The last Sheriff we had is a convicted criminal. In the 1990’s we went bankrupt as a result of having an incompetent and corrupt Tax Collector/Treasurer, who bet the County finances on the kind of risky investments that led to the crash of 2008.
    This sort of dishonesty along with denials and cover-ups is a hallmark of a government that could do so much better (this is a very affluent County) if only we could do a thorough housecleaning here and put some folks with integrity in charge rather than the good old boy system we’ve had going on here for as long as I can remember.
    elwior May 29
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    this seems to show with excessive privilege

    comes excessive abuse as the richest among us are convinced that the sans culottes are only a week away from scaling the ramparts of privilege and murdering them all in their beds. Therefore, their concern is not the civil rights of defendants as most of them will never receive a traffic ticket and those who do run afoul of the system can afford the best of defenses, but rather that the bad guys not get a chance to do bad things to them.

    In order to circumvent the bad guys, they don’t mind if the elected officials and local LE wink at civil rights and tend to bend the law to favor the wealthy.

    While it appears there may be a housecleaning in this county, long overdue admittedly, there are many other privileged localities just as corrupt just as rotten and just as in need of a housecleaning
    entlord May 29,

  2. arnash says:

    Dekraai isn’t going to walk over this

    Without a doubt, Dekraai was the perpetrator. A dozen surviving witnesses saw him. He admitted to the shooting early on. Yet, nearly four years later, the case against him has all but fallen apart.

    You might consider an update or a correction that Dekraai entered a guilty plea. As far as I can tell from the linked LA Times story, the case against him now is the sentencing phase only. So, it’s not like he’s going to be walking out of his prison cell because of anything done by the DA’s office – fortunately. The case is just going to continue longer than it should.

    Otherwise, however, this diary highlights a problem with the justice system overall and it’s not limited to Orange County or any one state. Prosecuting offices are not unlike any other organization; who gets promoted and put in charge often relates to politics more than performance and abilities. But if a private company goes under, it’s just part of the system. Who should oversee the office of the District Attorney or the US Attorney? And judges are not immune to personal issues, either but there is little oversight for them as well.

    And of course, a lot of it comes down to money. The justice system in general suffers from a lack of resources and they’re usually left begging by local governments.
    Darmok May 29
    ~~~~~~

    I was going to say something bad about Orange Co. but the fact is, if they are doing these sorts of things there, they are doing them elsewhere as well. OC is not famous for inventing things afresh, although they are in the vanguard of extreme prosecution and punishment.
    Publius2008
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I think jailhouse snitches should have been disqualified from testifying decades ago. There have been too many cases when they’ve been shown to be serial liars.
    sceptical observer May 29, 1:14p
    unrecommendable 18

    Actually …they have been systematically bribed and corrupted.
    twigg May 29,
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Inside jails people are well aware of it but some

    learned the hard way when after being booked they found themselves in a holdover cell waiting to be assigned to a tank and met another inmate that was a good listener. Few people that get arrested have anything else on their mind as they sit in jail and a lot of people talk about their case, so the situation is ripe.

    I just hope this creates a lot more new inmates out of these criminals in particular and I don’t see how this does not warrant the DoJ’S involvement, even to lead the investigation.
    aliasalias May 29, 2:32p
    unrecommendable 5
    No one here is disqualifying jailhouse informants

    the disqualification of the DA’s office was not based on the fact that there were jailhouse informants. It was because the DA’s office failed to turn over evidence to the defense.

    That’s explained in the story here. http://www.latimes.com/local/orangecounty/la-me-jailhouse-snitch-20150313-story.html

    This does not affect the constitutional parameters of when jailhouse informants are allowed. For an explanation, see here. http://www.americanbar.org/publications/criminal_justice_magazine_home/crimjust_spring2003_jailhouse.html
    coffeetalk May 29,
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    It’s also because the DA’s office specifically urged the snitch to question the defendant, after Miranda rights had come into play. The records show that they frequently provide the snitch with specific questions to be asked. (See the linked newspaper article.)

    So, given what your link (very informative, thank you) says about Kuhlman v. Wilson, none of the snitch’s questioning was legal. And the evidence the DA’s office failed to turn over, perhaps among other things, was evidence of their having violated the parameters of Kuhlman v. Wilson.

    IANAL, and you are, but your ABA link is admirably clear on this point. Only jailhouse informants’ information passively received, not that actively sought by prosecutors, may legitimately be used.

    But yes, for better or for worse the system still does have a place for jailhouse informants. Just not a place whose limits the OC DA’s office respected in the slightest.
    nicteis May 29,

    Agreed Lying because they have been threatened or beaten by the police, or lying for a better outcome for themselves. But when it is not just happenstance, and a snitch is planted to act for the prosecution, it is illegal.
    Kudos to Scott Sanders, the Assist Public Defender, for uncovering this and doing an incredible job documenting.
    onislandtime May 29,

    A Snitch doesn’t care what he says or who is the target. All these Sociopath/Psychopaths want is out the door or better conditions while inside. They would frame somebody for an extra blanket or some ice cream from the commissary. ALL testimony/information from jailhouse snitches is going to be tainted. Just look at the moral character of them. Such testimony should be outlawed.
    TV Sterling Jun 5,
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    More than Just Records

    The sheriff’s department was actively moving inmates and placing them with known informants that they had in their informant data base. The particular informant in this case was working with the DA’s office in gang cases. The DA would intentionally not turn over information about the extent of the informants use in other cases, the deal he had been given and the arrangements to place him with specific defendants.

    When a defendant is represented by an attorney, an informant that is acting on behalf of the government cannot question another inmate. They pretended that it was just casual conversation and not an interrogation but the the TRED system disclosing the movement of the informants and the informant files that finally were turned over to the Public Defender proved that this was a government operation. That makes the obtaining of the conversations unconstitutional and a violation of the defendant’s 6th amendment rights.

    I was a DA and a Public Defender in Orange County. I know all the parties involved. The judge in this case is an ex DA from a time period when that office wasn’t sleazy like it is now. He was in charge of the law and motion department. He is an excellent judge and probably didn’t go far enough. All of the DAs involved should have been reported to the bar and the case should be investigated by the Attorney General’s office for obstruction of justice and suborning perjury.

    The DAs office not only is using 170.6 papers to transfer the case, they are intending to run another DA against this judge when his term is up for election.
    westcoastdefender May 29
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    It was not Just the concealment of records. It was also the blatant perjury that occurred during the original hearings on the issue. Cops and DAs assumed that their lies would just be accepted by the court because they usually are. And this is the system that some people believe should decide who lives and who dies.
    Dekraai’s attorney is only arguing that the system is too polluted for that decision to be made appropriately (assuming it can ever be made appropriately).
    DParker May 29

  3. arnash says:

    Wouldn’t be surprised if it were all of California

    To be perfectly honest…

    GREAT diary and really, when are we going to learn that we CANNOT TRUST THE LAW ENFORCEMENT SYSTEM, especially in California (and Florida, and I’m sure a lot of other states too, but CA and FL have a “too big to fail” mentality to both of them).

    We need to make sure that people realize that these objections are not the objections of radicals or miscreants but the objections of ordinary, everyday individuals refusing to abide by the massive corruption in the United States, period. Until then, this will continue to be dismissed and there will be apologists for it.
    mahakali overdrive May 29
    ~~~~~~~

    I lived behind the Orange Courtain It’s another country.

    In 2004 I became Precinct Captain in Newport Coast. They gave me the list of registered Democrats in my district. I was horrified to find out there were only 3! I did voter registration and I added 2.
    It’s wall to wall Fox News country.
    Shockwave May 29
    ~~~~~~~~~~

    asdf

    The U.S. government is prohibited from using informants to gather information on defendants who have retained counsel; doing so violates their right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.

    Comments:

    1. The Al Jazeera article from which the above quote was taken provides no source for this claim;

    2. The Orange County judicial system is not the “U.S. government”;

    3. Defendants may waive their right to remain silent at any time they so choose and may say anything they wish to anyone they wish;

    4. This operation has allegedly been ongoing for 30 years, yet jail occupants (as opposed to prison occupants) typically cannot remain in jail beyond a year, meaning the turnover rate for informants had to have been considerable, making much of the alleged improprieties seem plausible .

    There are MANY other “facts” alleged in the diary that should not be taken at face value.
    Neuroptimalian May 29
    ~~~~~~~~

    A Represented Defendant

    There is a US Supreme Court case, Massiah v. United States, 377 U.S. 201 (1964), that holds once you have legal representation, the police or their government agent, which this informant was, cannot interrogate you or question without your attorney.

    By arranging placement of the informant and working with him as to how to approach the defendant, they violated his 6th amendment rights. And, they didn’t disclose these arrangements. It is not a Mirada right violation or a 5th amendment violation.
    westcoastdefender May 29
    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Local governments are also prohibited from using informants as government agents to elicit statements from represented people. And jail occupants can absolutely stay in jail longer than a year as did many of the informants in OC. Not only should the facts in the diary be taken at face value, they represent only the tip of the iceberg. Among other things, an innocent man (innocent of the allegation that made him eligible for death) was executed behind an OC conviction based on informant testimony about which evidence was withheld and which was contradicted by testimony in his co-defendant’s trial.
    DParker May 29
    ~~~~~~

    Now it’s down to a foreign press organization to do our supposedly ‘Free & Powerful & Patriotic’ investigative journalism for us. Remember the days when Clark Kent was a hard working reporter & a flying crime fighter in tights at the same time? Well now a corps of MUSLIM backed Reporters has to do our dirty work while our own press corps does what? I guess they only report on who is ahead on ‘Survivor’ or ‘Dancing With The Stars’ now; You know those pithy, important & incisive topics that strengthen our Democracy. The only time they get controversial now is when they dare to report that some Televangelist MIGHT not be a wonderful & saintly personage, especially if the news is salacious & titter worthy (or even off color). When the American Storm Troopers finally hit the streets & the detention camps open for business they may carry the story on page three. Maybe.
    TV Sterling Jun 5
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I think the best quote from the TRED…article is this.

    The TRED revelations, 17 years late in this case, demonstrate the government can’t be trusted to obey court rules to surrender evidence helpful to the defense and could prompt a third trial for Rodriguez.

    “This is a due-process disaster zone,” said Scott Sanders, the assistant public defender who forced disclosure of the TRED system late last year. “The sheriff’s department created a records system in 1990 and has pretended it is immune from court disclosure. How many more convicted defendants were cheated during the past 25 years?”
    delver rootnose May 29
    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    Laura Fernandez of Yale Law School, who studies prosecutorial misconduct, says it’s amazing that both the sheriff’s office and the DA’s office worked together to cover up the misconduct…

    Seriously!? Finds it amazing DA & cops collude!? Hey LF – many judges are in on it too. Looks like the only honest Judge in Orange is Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals.
    GreatLakeSailor May 29,
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The feds used phoney fiber analysis for 30 years or something. [along with lead metallurgy bullet analysis (“unique to each box” Lying IDIOTS!!! A.N.)] People were convicted of murder and many other things based on the completely false fiber evidence from the government labs.

    I don’t think the American justice system has ever been anything but a disgrace. Right from the get go. It would be great if we could as a nation face this reality and try to fix it somewhat.
    onionjim May 30
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    How Far Does Retribution for Exposi Corruption Go?

    Certain counties in California, which shall remain nameless, have horrible reputations for corrupt conspiracies between law enforcement agencies, judges and court clerks. Suffice it to say that if there is a large “minority” population in the county, its likely that the county is one of the pervasively corrupt ones. This stuff has been going on for decades. The main “new thing” in the Orange County case is the use of a computer system.

    In one Southern California county, the police and sheriffs deputies in patrol cars had lists of automobile license numbers of civil rights attorneys, defense attorneys, police disciplinary commission members and their spouses, so that the cops could try to “bag” those people in retribution for trying to expose corruption, discipline cops or vindicate victims rights under 42 U.S.C. 1983. I learned this information from a woman friend who was on a civilian police disciplinary commission. She didn’t know about the “bag them lists” until after she accepted her appointment. Her husband was warned about the “bag them lists” from a State legislator. The woman commissioner had 2 little kids, and she quickly became terrified of the cops over whom she was supposed to sit in judgment. She sat at the table in our firm’s lunch room one day and unloaded her fears to about 20 not-criminal-lawyers, who to a man told her “just quit if you are scared of retribution.” One “civil rights lawyer” resorted to having a variety of girlfriends lease cars in their own names so that he could safely drive around our county.

    The real world is that these vast, entrenched systems of corruption arising out of hatred towards minority group members (who are presumed to be criminals) their lawyers are not killed off by one judge “taking a stand”. He’ll be voted out of office, or retire, and things will be back to the same old same old. If there is a U.S. Dept. of Justice investigation, and a “clean up your law breaking” order issued against the law enforcement/prosecutorial system in Orange County, the cops and prosecutors will find a way around the court order.
    Cynical Observer May 30
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    This story is a not so shocking tale about over zealous prosecutors forgetting that their job is to seek the truth, not to “win” a conviction at all costs. As a criminal defense attorney of more than 43 years, one might say my view of what’s going on in Orange County is skewed. That may be because I’ve never been a prosecutor. However, one thing I’ve always maintained, though police and prosecutors may find the various Constitutional safeguards an impediment to the way in which they’d like to do their jobs, if they’d only follow the mandated rules, the defense would never win a case. Because of the defense’s ability to catch them in a lie, or, at the least, in the appearance of an impropriety, we constantly win cases we shouldn’t. In attempting to achieve “justice” at any cost, they only achieve the opposite. Their actions threaten us all.
    phillymike Jun 1,
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Equal Justice Under the Law

    You are only entitled to the justice you can afford no matter where you are in the US. Our freedom and constitutional rights are a fraud and a sham. We are not free and we have no rights. The almighty dollar decides every issue and grants the only power, freedom, and rights available in our corrupt system of government.
    DCreamer Jun 1
    ~~~~~~~~~~

    No accountability for prosecutorial misconduct!

    There is NO accountability for prosecutorial misconduct. Not the systemic, office-wide variety. For that, prosecutors enjoy immunity from civil and criminal prosecution.

    EVEN in cases in which prosecutorial misconduct is found by appellate judges, this does not trigger automatic action by the State Bar.

    EVEN in cases in which the State Bar is involved, consequences are rarely applied and those consequences not very serious.

    In the politically-motivated wrongful prosecution of Ted Stevens, prosecutors appealed the temporary suspension of their license to practice law AND WON. They will not suffer any consequence for their wrongfulness in hiding evidence that showed Stevens was not guilty nor will they suffer any consequences for pursuing criminal prosecution against an innocent person for political purposes. http://www.adn.com/

    Police can be sued – which is why we see a lot of litigation against police for their wrongful conduct, but prosecutors, even if sued, are likely to bow out when court finds immunity protects them from their wrongfulness. THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE before there can be much meaningfulness in criminal justice reform.
    objkshn Jun 1,
    ~~~~~~~~~~
    I agree. I’ve always had so much contempt for these government lawyers who are willing to literally sacrifice innocent lives to advance their careers. Personally I believe any prosecutor who consciously sacrifices someone’s freedom and life for their own personal gain is the lowest of criminals and therefore should be subject to prosecution. Not only are the defendants being harmed but the victims and their families are being betrayed and violated.
    lawless Jun 1, 6:33p

    A Crooked Cop is worse for society than Ten street criminals; A crooked Lawyer is worse for society than a Hundred street criminals; A crooked Judge is worse for society than a Thousand street criminals. DO THE MATH.
    TV Sterling Jun 5,

    Orange County CA has the reputation for being the most politically and religiously conservative area in our State. I’m glad the whistle’s been blown on these lying lawyers. It’s this kind of lawyer that gives the entire profession a bad name. They should be disbarred without delay. Even the slightest hint of impropriety should be met with a draconian response.
    RichardB Jun 1,

  4. arnash says:

    How about the Public defenders who won’t Defend? How many little shit towns & counties send dozens of Po’ Folks to jail & prison on bogus “Plea Bargains” because they won’t take ANY cases to trial?
    Do you realize how much financial burden is placed on the jail & prison systems when EVERY POOR PERSON has to automatically accept a bad plea bargain on veiled threat that they will otherwise spend FOREVER in jail or prison? How about the resentment in the poor sections of town when only Po’ Folks go to jail?
    In many places only a notorious crime by a Rich Folk even gets to trial too, because they always get away with it. High powered legal maneuvers always carry the day if you are Rich. This two tiered system is so entrenched that it will eventually cause the courts to collapse. It is a major reason we have so many people locked up. What happened to America? Is it past fixing?
    TV Sterling Jun 5

    http://m.dailykos.com/story/2015/05/29/1388819/-Judge-disqualifies-all-250-prosecutors-in-Orange-County-CA-because-of-widespread-corruption

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