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May 22, 2017

CONTACT: Matt Morrison, Communications Director

Phone: (714) 834-5498 Mobile: (678) 908-6949

Supervisor Todd Spitzer Requests U.S. Attorney General Takeover:

Orange County District Attorney is Jeopardizing Our Legal System

(Santa Ana, CA) – Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer, Third District, is requesting U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to take emergency action by consent decree over the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

“Continuing revelations of scandal emerging from the office under D.A. Tony Rackauckas is now beyond critical proportions,” Supervisor Spitzer wrote to Attorney General Sessions. “I am respectfully requesting that you expand the current Department of Justice investigation into new allegations of corruption and documented misconduct. As it is within your power to do so, I urge you to take control the OCDA office by consent decree.”

Supervisor Spitzer, a former Assistant District Attorney, is taking this action as an individual, not on behalf of the Board of Supervisors or the County, noting the Board is not a law enforcement entity and therefore the recent allegations which now include on-going acts of felonious conduct must be addressed by a law enforcement agency.

Already deemed a ‘rudderless ship’ by the D.A.’s own hand-picked evaluation panel, Rackauckas’ office has been rebuked by the Orange County Grand Jury and remains under investigation by the California State Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Last year, the OCDA was removed from prosecuting the penalty phase of the worst mass-murder case in Orange County history. Judge Thomas Goethals ruled the prosecution withheld evidence from the defense provided by a jailhouse snitch in the penalty phase of the felony proceeding already decided by a guilty plea. A deeper probe revealed a snitch scandal dating back at least four years, resulting in the vacating or reduction of six murder convictions.

Since the Department of Justice opened an investigation in to the notorious Orange County snitch scandal last December, further damning evidence of potential criminal actions within OCDA operations under Rackauckas have come to light:

  • A liability claim was filed by the D.A.’s former Chief Investigator after he was relieved of duty in April, 2017. The action filed by former lead investigator Craig Hunter allegesD.A. interference with political corruption investigations and improper campaign activities.
  • In April 2017, it was revealed Rackauckas hired an unauthorized private defense attorney to represent a Deputy District Attorney in State Bar disciplinary proceedings. She is accused of withholding exculpatory evidence in a child abuse case.
  • The most recent revelation is a Superior Court ruling on May 17, 2017 that a Deputy District Attorney under Rackauckas displayed “serious misconduct” by failing to reveal exculpatory evidence in a 2006 first-degree murder case resulting in conviction. 

The high-profile scandal continues to draw scrutiny from the national press for more than three years. CBS News’ 60 Minutes aired a segment on, Sunday, May 21, 2017, in which Tony Rackauckas contradicted himself and the members of a blue ribbon panel he convened to investigate his office.

When confronted by the interviewer with his own IPPEC report describing the office as, “a must win mentality”, “a rudderless ship” and “a failure of leadership”, the D.A. dismissed the written report by saying the findings were not what members of the blue ribbon panel told him privately. Tony Rackauckas continues to argue that everybody investigating the wrongdoings in his office are not trustworthy. Tony Rackauckas cannot be trusted.

“The District Attorney’s actions have left the County, the courts, the judicial system, and the public no other course of action,” Supervisor Spitzer continued. “I am respectfully requesting that the U.S. Department of Justice expand the current investigation and employ all resources to restore order immediately and halt the continuing decay within our County judicial system.”


Attachment: Letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions

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