DA Finds Fault With Prosecutors in Case of Worst Mass Killer in Orange County’s Historical past – NBC Los Angeles

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DA Finds Fault With Prosecutors in Case of Worst Mass Killer in Orange County’s History – NBC Los Angeles

The Orange County District Attorney's Office, Todd Spitzer, released a law enforcement exam on Monday for Scott Dekraai, the worst mass murderer in the district's history of confidential informant.

The review does not name ex-prosecutors Dan Wagner and Scott Simmons, who retired in December, but makes it clear that they are criticized throughout the report.

Simmons and Wagner said they would comment on the report after they had the opportunity to read it.

The report recommended Wagner and Simmons' discipline, but found that this was no longer possible because they were retiring. "Regardless, this report is available for review by government compliance and law enforcement agencies."

The report also found that "in the five other cases where confidential informants were also used," there is insufficient evidence to detect malpractice or misconduct by the prosecutor, "and the D.A.'s office." has undertaken significant reforms to address the shortcomings associated with use
from confidential informants. & # 39; & # 39;

The report is the result of a 15-month internal investigation that Spitzer ordered in April 2019 to investigate the so-called prison informant scandal.

Patrick Dixon, Spitzer special advisor and prosecutor with 37 years experience in the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, wrote the report with Steve Danley, a consultant who was previously Orange County hiring manager and auditor.

The authors found that prosecutors were so concerned that Dekraai would try to defend the madness and avoid the death penalty by misusing a confidential informant to get incriminating comments from the accused while the two were detained together.

Danley and Dixon concluded that the prosecutors were startled by what happened to Edward Charles Allaway, who committed the worst mass murder before Dekraai in 1976 and avoided the death penalty with an insane defense.

According to sources, Dekraai bragged about the murders of the confidential informant and said he felt "in the matrix", a reference to the film, as he continued his killing spree against his ex-wife and friends at the Meritage salon in Seal Beach after a hearing on custody that was directed against him before a family court. Eight people died and a ninth person survived the October 12, 2011 attack.

The informant scandal eventually led to the then judge of the Orange County Supreme Court, Thomas Goethals, overturning the death penalty as a punishment for Dekraai, who pleaded guilty to the salon massacre and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Spitzer attended the retirement ceremony for Wagner and Simmons on December 5, and promoted Wagner to the post of director of the North Justice Center in Fullerton after taking office.

A major problem in Dekraai's law enforcement was whether the confidential informant Fernando Perez was instructed to question Dekraai as a government representative, which would violate the law because an accused cannot be interviewed if he is already represented by a defense lawyer. Perez claimed in the testimony that he had heard Dekraai's comments on the murders, which was fine.

Goethals, now an appellate judge, ordered three rounds of hearings as further evidence of the confidential whistleblower program emerged.

A key issue in the first round of evidence hearings was whether Perez was deliberately taken to the cell next to Dekraai, which the sheriff's deputies rejected. However, evidence emerged later that records were found that tracked the defendants' movements that were rejected by MPs in the first round of evidence hearings.

The scandal resulted in plea agreements in other murders that allowed murderers to go free, including a person who had avoided life imprisonment. Spitzer partially replaced former district attorney Tony Rackauckas when he criticized Rackaucka's handling of the Dekraai indictment.

Dekraai's lawyer, deputy defense attorney Scott Sanders, waved the report over.

"This was not the report needed for those most affected by years of informant misconduct – defendants," said Sanders. "He identifies the misconduct in the Dekraai case by prosecutors who are no longer in the office, including Dan Wagner." – Misconduct that was identified by court and appellate courts years ago. No other current or past prosecutors or law enforcement officers are called. & # 39; & # 39;

Sanders added Spitzer previously said the U.S. Department of Justice had focused on 100 scandals for whistleblowers in prison, but no discoveries were made in these cases more than a year and a half after the current administration, and prosecutors continue to block the misconduct disclosure by members of the sheriff's department who ran the illegal whistleblower program.

"So are the defendants, whose rights have been violated by an illegal whistleblower program, in a better position than when Mr. Rackauckas headed the office? The answer is no, and this report certainly offers nothing to suggest otherwise", said Sanders said.

Paul Wilson, whose 47-year-old wife Christy was killed in the Seal Beach salon, also criticized the report. Wilson campaigned for Spitzer, but has since become a critic of the district's chief prosecutor.

"We knew all of this before (Wagner and Simmons) left the office," Wilson told City News Service. It's just the same old stuff. He says what we already knew about Wagner and Simmons, but is not accountable to anyone who is still in the office and did something wrong. It is absolutely ridiculous. & # 39; & # 39;

Wilson said he supported Spitzer because he promised reform.

"This was a Todd Spitzer who rolled out a red carpet and told me everything I wanted to hear," said Wilson. "I have been working with this office since 2011. This office is no different under Spitzer." it was under Rackauckas. It's the same office, the same corruption, the same rudderless ship with a different name on the door. & # 39; & # 39;

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