Former San Bernardino Deputy District Attorney Mary Izadi has joined the Orange County Sheriff's Department as a constitutional policing adviser. ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: sheriffadviser.0817 Ð 8/16/16 Ð LEONARD ORTIZ, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER - _DSC5600.NEF - In the wake of a recent jail escape and an ongoing jailhouse snitch scandal, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens has hired a new adviser to look at "high-risk issues" and determine how the department can address them. Former San Bernardino Deputy District Attorney Mary Izadi came on as the sheriff's department's "constitutional policing adviser."

Former San Bernardino County Deputy District Attorney Mary Izadi has been hired by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department as an adviser on constitutional issues. (Leonard Ortiz / Staff Photographer)

Published: Aug. 16, 2016
Updated:   Aug. 17, 2016 – 7:50 a.m.

Amid an ongoing jailhouse informants scandal that suggests Orange County sheriff’s deputies may have violated defendants’ civil liberties, Sheriff Sandra Hutchens has hired a full-time adviser to review her department’s practices to ensure they are constitutionally sound.

Mary Izadi, who recently served for 11 years as a deputy district attorney in San Bernardino County, said her job will be proactive, aimed at seeking out potential problems in the Sheriff’s Department before they occur. She will report directly to Hutchens.

“To the extent that there are any constitutional violations, I’ll find them and I’ll make sure to avoid having them happen again,” she said Tuesday, her fourth day on the job.

The Board of Supervisors approved the “constitutional policing adviser” position in March at Hutchens’ request. At the time, the sheriff framed the hire as a response to a national trend of increasing public examination of law enforcement actions, and said the job would involve analyzing high-risk issues and reducing incidents that might lead to litigation.

Her search for a new adviser came amid accusations that deputies in her department have cultivated a team of jailhouse informants to get confessions illegally, withheld evidence from defense lawyers and lied on the witness stand. The scandal has led to six criminal cases unraveling.

Hutchens has said the jailhouse informants controversy was not the impetus for creating the position, but said she thought it was “a good time, given that we still have federal Department of Justice looking at our jails.”

In addition to advising the sheriff and analyzing department policies and procedures, Izadi will monitor internal personnel investigations, review jailhouse deaths and deputy-involved shootings, and keep up to date on new laws and legal interpretations.

Some of Izadi’s listed monitoring duties currently also fall to the Office of Independent Review, which answers directly to supervisors and is charged with providing civilian oversight of the Sheriff’s Department’s internal investigations.

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