U.S. Attorney’s Office: Resignation Won’t Affect OC Jailhouse Snitch Investigation

The resignation of U.S. Attorney General Eileen Decker will not affect the Department of Justice’s investigation into the Orange County District Attorney’s office and Sheriff’s Department use of jailhouse informants, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Central District of California office in Los Angeles.

“The investigation is continuing,” said spokesman Thom Mrozek in a brief email statement. “The departure of the U.S. Attorney will not affect the investigation.”

Decker and 45 other U.S. attorneys  were asked by President Donald J. Trump to resign last week. It’s a procedure that has been followed by other presidents when they take office.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Justice announced in December they were opening a civil rights investigation into the years-long covert use of informants in county jails by the Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s office. The informants provided information for use against defendants in criminal trials.  According to court testimony, the Sheriff’s and DA’s offices violated defendants’ constitutional rights by not disclosing that information to their attorneys.

In a speech in early March, Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a group of state attorneys general that he intends to “pull back” the Justice Department’s monitoring of police misconduct, according to the Orange County Register. 

The Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., which is conducting a joint investigation with the U.S. Attorney’s office, did not immediately respond to questions about whether that would apply to the department’s probe in Orange County.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas has pledged to cooperate with the federal investigation.

Sheriff Sandra Hutchens is expected to appear at an evidentiary hearing on March 30 in the case of Scott Evans Dekraai, a mass murderer responsible for a 2011 shooting at a Seal Beach nail salon that killed eight people. It was Dekraai’s public defender, Scott Sanders, who uncovered the use of jail house informants as well as evidence that favorable information was withheld from defense lawyers.

Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals has ordered the hearing to explore how Hutchens handled informant records and whether she withheld or destroyed evidence about the program.

Decker has been replaced by Acting U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Brown, who previously occupied the number two position at the Los Angeles office, the largest Justice Department satellite office outside of Washington, D.C., according to a press release. It covers seven counties: Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.

“We will continue our important work, which includes civil and tax litigation; defending the rights of both the government and its agents; and fighting national security threats, violent and organized crime, drug trafficking, hate crimes, financial fraud, public corruption, crimes against children, and the myriad of other threats to our public safety,” Brown said in a statement released Tuesday.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

  • Jacki Livingston

    Sheriff Hutchens is whoring out her deputies to Spitzer as his personal guido squad, going to the homes of people who dare to challenge him pubically, to threaten them into silence. If you ask me, that woman should have been fired for such a misuse of taxpayer resources, to protect a cowardly liar like Toddykins from having to face the truth about what an impotent, cowardly, lying, sniveling little weasel he is, who hides behind wifey’s skirts. Puhleeze…that is what passes for law enforcement?

  • OCservant_Leader

    If just ONE politician (and their immune public servants) was held accountable for the lying, cheating and stealing they do on the daily…AND they lost their prized PENSION…we will begin to see a culture change in OC.

    It’s called a deterrent to crime.

    I’ve got March 30th — marked on the calendar…popcorn is ready.

    • verifiedsane

      Governmental corruption is many times like a spider web….interrupting a single strand of the web seldom stops the governing spider from devouring it’s prey. I just happen to believe it will take more than one political example to change this institutionalized culture of corruption. These corruption schemes are rarely pulled off by a single lone wolf perpetrator. It takes a lot of collusion & networking with additional secretive winks and nods along the way to make the criminal machine function improperly against the governed. Though, I do agree with your sediment for accountability.

      • OCservant_Leader

        You are right of course but can we just even start with ONE conviction with loss of pension?

        The pension is the real prize. There is no fear of losing it -this is why they are so brazen.

        In the OC – it would take an entire generation for all relatives & appointees to age out of the system.

        These are the “crew” who are the “invisible” hands of the criminal BOS.

        And that’s if we started Today – stopping the SOP of nepotism & cronyism.

        The current CEO appointed all of his family members and they are getting large checks on direct deposit. His family became millionaires- over night.

        Thank you taxpayers!

  • LFOldTimer

    I noticed that former Sheriff Baca of LASO went down in flames yesterday in the L.A. Federal courthouse for interfering with a feebie jail investigation and lying to the feebies.

    Hopefully the feebies and the DOJ are as concerned about the corruption in the OC jails as they are about the L.A. jails.

    Let’s keep our fingers crossed that there’s somebody left who cares about the integrity of our justice system.

    The feebies are our second to the last line of defense.

    The only remaining defense would be torches and pitchforks. I pray it doesn’t come to that.

    Forget about the mainstream media. They sold out years ago.

  • verifiedsane

    We will just have to wait and see…..the bursting damn of public corruption is flooding OC…It would be quite gratifying to see the FBI and DOJ step in and do something about it…