Orange County Men's Central Jail

Three inmates escaped from the Orange County Central Men’s Jail on January 22, 2016. The facility was built in 1968. Erika Aguilar/KPCC

Erika Aguilar
May 05, 2016 – 09:36 PM

Orange County sheriff’s officials have assigned an investigative sergeant to monitor how and if jailhouse informants will be used with the Sheriff’s consultation after deputies failed to disclose records to the court on the department’s inmate informant program.

Dozens of notes about logs that tracked interactions with jailhouse informants from 2008 to 2013 were released this week during a court hearing for a double murder case in which an informant was used during the investigation.

Originally, officials say, deputies failed to disclose the notes and their superiors didn’t know the records existed.

The case at hand involves Daniel Patrick Wozniak, 31, convicted of killing a woman and man in 2010. His defense attorney, public defender Scott Sanders is trying to convince a judge not to sentence his client to death.

Sanders has argued county prosecutors and deputies routinely omit evidence on jailhouse informants that the defense has the legal right to view, like in the Wozinak case.

Orange County Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Mark Stichter said upper command staff was not aware that the notes on inmate informants existed and deputies who kept them say they didn’t realize the defense was entitled to the material.

“For us it becomes a matter of making it a teachable moment,” Stichter said. “Discuss and continue training on what is discoverable as a law enforcement officer and the notes that you keep.”

This isn’t the first time the Orange County Sheriff’s Department has been called out in court for not disclosing records to defense attorneys about jailhouse informants.

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens has been in hot water for the past year over how her deputies have mishandled information about the department’s inmate informant program.

The state attorney general’s office launched a criminal investigation March 2015 into at least two deputies suspected of lying in court about records kept inside the jails on informants. A representative from the California Attorney General’s office declined to comment Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department also has an internal, administrative investigation ongoing. Stichter said no one has been placed on administrate leave because of it.

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