Surrounded by staff, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, center, listens as The Orange County Board of Supervisors meets with Robert Gerard and other authors of the Orange County District Attorney Informant Policies & Practices Evaluation Committee Report at The Orange County Hall of Administration in Santa Ana on Tuesday. Joshua Sudock ?Staff Photographer)
By Meghann M. Cuniff / Staff Writer
Updated Jan. 13, 2016 8:34 a.m.
The Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday told the district attorney and sheriff to estimate how much it will cost to implement an outside legal committee’s reform recommendations in the wake of the county’s jailhouse informant controversy.
The board’s resolution also directs District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and Sheriff Sandra Hutchens to explain if they reject any recommendations and to avoid purging any records related to confidential informants.
After a public discussion, supervisors met in closed session with Rackauckas before Chairman Todd Spitzer emerged to announce directives issued to the county’s top law enforcement leaders.
Rackauckas later accused Spitzer of mischaracterizing the discussion during Tuesday’s private meeting; officials cited a possible federal investigation as the reason for the closed session.
Rackauckas said he already planned to issue a written response to the committee report – issued Jan. 4 by an outside committee of legal experts he invited to review his office’s use of jail informants. Rackauckas also noted that his office had enacted many of the suggested changes even before the report came out.
“This is kind of like an attempt to indicate he’s in charge,” Rackauckas told the Register. “Having a discussion and talking about what our intentions are is one thing. To have him turn that into a claim that he directed us to do all three things is quite another.”
Spitzer in response said the board didn’t discuss or ask Rackauckas’ permission about anything. He said the only thing Rackauckas discussed with supervisors was the written report.
Despite the board’s resolution directing the DA and the sheriff to take or not take certain actions, Spitzer said: “We didn’t order him to do anything. We asked cooperatively. The whole point here is not that we’re ordering him to do it, it’s that the board is engaged in this discussion.”
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