LOS ANGELES — A grand jury in California that analyse an Orange County jailhouse informant program, which a Superior Court judge and a government court of appeals have agreed clearly prevails, issued an unsettling report last week claiming that it is a “myth” largely created by the protection in a mass murder instance and the media and that there is no widespread cheating by district attorney’s and sheriff’s officials, even though another ruling Friday in a murder occurrence again indicated it is true.
At the center of the scandal are allegations that sheriff’s deputies have for decades planted informants next to targeted inmates in the county’s incarcerates and have directed them to fish for incriminating proof to help secure sentences. While it’s legal for law enforcement authorities to use informants to help bolster examples, in many Orange County experiments, it’s alleged that the snitches questioned prisoners who were represented by lawyers, violating their right to counsel. Prosecutors are accused of presenting damning evidence gathered by the snitches in tribunal while withholding other evidence that could have been beneficial to the protection. That would violate a defendant’s right to due process.
While the Orange County grand jury conceded that there have been some breaches in a “small number” of cases, it’s largely due to” laxness in supervision” at the agencies, which, the grand jury announced, have moved to correct course.
The grand jury likewise found that ongoing hearings related to the misuse of informants inside county incarcerates, which are being conducted as part of criminal penalties period in the case provided for against mass executioner Scott Dekraai, are nothing more than a “witch hunt” that the grand jury intimated should be stopped.
Dekraai pleaded guilty to slaughtering eight people in a Seal Beach hair salon in 2011. He is still awaiting convicting while the courts wrangle over allegations of malfeasance in the use of a jail informant who was allegedly planted in a cell next to Dekraai. At bet is whether the court will impose a death sentence.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Orange County district attorney’s office have long denied that their officials have cheated to assure sentences. And the grand jury indicated that they should be believed.
But the grand jury’s findings wing in the face of years of case, a mountain of indication and multiple court rulings.
Just Friday, an appeals court unanimously substantiated a ruling that the district attorney’s office improperly withheld evidences on a jailhouse informant used in the 2005 double-murder trial of Henry Rodriguez, who was freed in May 2016 after investing 18 years in prison. His attorney told the Los Angeles Times that he was never contacted by the grand jury about Rodriguez’s case.
The grand jury’s findings have left many legal expert startled and deeply concerned that there must be an outside, independent probe of the allegations, beyond the investigation by the county’s grand jury.
” I was surprised and distressed by the grand jury report ,” Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of constitution at the University of California, Berkeley, told HuffPost.
Laura Fernandez, a senior Liman Fellow at Yale Law School who examines prosecutorial misconduct all over the commonwealth, used to say” this situation calls for a genuinely independent inquiry, one that requests real questions in the hopes of getting real answers .”
Here’s some of the reasons why the report left many feeling that an independent probe is desperately needed now more than ever before.