With many insiders scratching their heads about the recent grand jury report on jailhouse snitches, focus is increasingly on the upcoming race for DA in 2018. Amidst lingering questions about current DA Tony Rackauckas’ leadership and the judgment of his challenger, Supervisor Todd Spitzer, a third option has arisen out of Chapman University’s law school, Professor Mario Mainero.
The Sheriff’s Department withheld documents from court disclosure, believing a section of the California penal code didn’t require the department to turn them over, retired Sheriff’s Lt. Catherine Irons testified Wednesday.
Orange County’s civil grand jury said ongoing court hearing about possible misuse of jailhouse informants have turned into a “witch-hunt,” and should stop after the grand jury determined there is no “systemic, widespread informant program.”
Despite a critical grand jury report on the horizon and two sets of ongoing lawsuits from Sheriff’s Special Officers and Deputy Sheriff’s rank and file arguing her department is politicized and mismanaged, OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens keeps playing it cool.
Commander Jon Briggs testified Tuesday the jail house informant scandal developed because high management turnover left junior deputies with too much control, meaning “inmates were running the asylum on occasion.”
The contents of the Special Handling Log — notes kept by deputies on informants and other inmates — are at the center of a hearing which explores whether Sheriff’s Department officials withheld or shredded key documents.