Related Documents Public Defender’s Motion

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014 8:23 pm | Updated: 10:11 am, Mon Feb 17, 2014.

A huge cache of records alleging the Orange County district attorney’s office and law enforcement agencies utilized a long-running informant program to violate defendants’ rights was unsealed last week in Orange County Superior Court.

Attorneys from the public defender’s office allege in a 505-page motion “outrageous government conduct … by prosecutors and law enforcement” denying defendants their constitutional rights to counsel, a fair trial and due process.

According to the motion, prosecutors and police designed a secret intelligence-gathering operation in Orange County jails, with Sheriff’s Department deputies collecting information from strategically placed inmate informants but not properly disclosing such activities to defendants’ attorneys.

The motion, which reportedly is backed by some 20,000 pages of records and tape recordings, had been sealed the previous week at the request of prosecutors, who were concerned about exposing informants to harm.

(Click here to read the full motion.)

It describes a pattern by the district attorney’s office, the Sheriff’s Department and other local law enforcement agencies that “exploited the lack of transparency in an investigative program run within the jails. This has allowed them to gather and introduce evidence in violation of the Sixth Amendment with impunity.”

High-Profile Murder Cases

The release of the lengthy motion and exhibits by Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Goethals came during proceedings leading to the pending murder trial of Scott Evans Dekraai, accused of killing eight people in 2011 at a Seal Beach beauty salon.

But the allegations compiled by Dekraai’s public defender attorneys are already spreading to other cases such as the pending murder trial of Daniel Patrick Wozniak, a Costa Mesa community actor facing trial for a 2010 double murder, where one victim was beheaded and dismembered.

In highly spirited arguments on Feb. 14, a prosecutor and Scott Sanders, the public defender for both Dekraai and Wozniak, debated the actions of the district attorney’s office before Superior Court Judge James A. Stotler, who is hearing the Wozniak case.

To read entire story, click here.