The judge handling the sentencing trial for mass murderer Scott Evans Dekraai said Friday that misuse of jailhouse informants by Orange County prosecutors and Sheriff’s deputies may cause him to consider “the nuclear option,” throwing out the death penalty in the case.
Orange County Sheriff’s deputies were openly and actively encouraged to cultivate jailhouse informants to aid prosecutors and the department covered its tracks as revelations about the program unfolded in court, according to a 72-page motion filed by Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders Thursday.
Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Goethals Friday ordered Sheriff Sandra Hutchens to retain all relevant jail informant records after disclosures that the county Board of Supervisors had at one point approved a policy allowing such records to be destroyed.
Nearly four years ago, a Superior Court judge requested that the Orange County district attorney’s office turn over a large cache of records having to do with jailhouse snitches. The fallout from that request continues today.
The county grand jury is investigating alleged illegal conduct by prosecutors and sheriff’s deputies relating to an informants network inside county jails. Grand jurors are being aided by a former United States attorney.
In a 185-page motion, Scott Sanders, who represents convicted double-murderer Daniel Patrick Wozniak, argues his client’s looming death sentence should be blocked because of error by the prosecution team and bias by the judge.
For nearly two weeks, Superior Court Judge John D. Conley has refused to unseal a motion filed by the public defender for Daniel Patrick Wozniak, which represents the double murderer’s last-ditch effort to avoid the death penalty.
Recently disclosed Orange County sheriff’s deputies records refute previous testimony in the case against mass murderer Scott Evans Dekraai, according to court documents filed Thursday by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas’ team.
New disclosures about Orange County sheriff’s deputies hiding another secret cache of records about jail informants is threatening to postpone the May 20 sentencing of convicted double-murderer Daniel Patrick Wozniak.
Two prosecutors from the Orange County District Attorney’s office are running for Superior Court judgeships, aiming to take the bench alongside judges who’ve called them out for misconduct in the jailhouse informants scandal.