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Grand Jury to Issue Report on O.C. Sheriff's Department 'Snitch Scandal'

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The Orange County grand jury will issue a report Tuesday on the "Snitch Scandal," which stems from allegations in the case against the worst mass killer in the county's history that informants violated the rights of multiple inmates over the years.

Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders, the attorney for Scott Dekraai, who has pleaded guilty to eight counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, filed a 500-page-plus motion in early 2014 alleging widespread abuse of informants in the county jails to help prosecutors win cases.

The allegations snowballed as Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals ordered evidentiary hearings that led to the judge removing the Orange County District Attorney's Office from the case.

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After Deputy Public Defender Scott VanCamp won the appeal, the California Attorney General's Office took over the case and is continuing to pursue the death penalty.

The allegations have also compelled prosecutors to cut deals with several defendants, including one killer who was released from custody.

Goethals is presiding over a third round of evidentiary hearings to determine whether he should dismiss the death penalty as an option because of the county's failure to turn over evidence in the case.

The sheriff's department's public information officer, Lt. Lane Lagaret, is expected to resume testimony in the hearings on Tuesday. Goethals also wants Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens to testify in the case this month.

Usually, the grand jury sends its reports to county officials a few days in advance, but not this time, a source said. In fact, members of the Board of Supervisors were expected to get copies during Tuesday's annual budget meeting.

 

Watch the SoCal Connected segment "Orange County Snitch Program Jeopardizes Justice"

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