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Case Name DOJ Investigation of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and Sheriff’s Department PN-CA-0040
Docket / Court docket unknown ( No Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Policing
Case Summary
On December 15, 2016, the DOJ opened this investigation pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. 14141, into the patterns and practices of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

According to the ... read more >
On December 15, 2016, the DOJ opened this investigation pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. 14141, into the patterns and practices of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

According to the DOJ Press Release, the investigation began because of a series of high-profile condemnations of Orange County’s judicial system. The state appellate court had issued a ruling that described constitutional abuses by local prosecutors and deputies as “systemic,” and affirmed an Orange County Superior Court judge’s decision to remove the county’s entire district attorney’s office from a high-profile mass murder case that has become embroiled in a scandal over a jail informant program.

As a result, the investigation focused on allegations that the district attorney’s office and the sheriff’s department systematically used jailhouse informants to elicit incriminating statements from specific inmates who had been charged and were represented by counsel, in violation of the Sixth Amendment.

Additionally, the investigation sought to determine whether the district attorney’s office committed systematic violations of defendants’ due process rights by failing to disclose promises of leniency that would have substantially undermined the credibility of the informants’ trial testimony.

This was investigation was conducted jointly with the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California.

The matter appears to be ongoing.

Ginny Lee - 04/12/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Assistance of counsel (6th Amendment)
Due Process
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Special Case Type
Out-of-court
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 14141
Defendant(s) Orange County District Attorney’s Office
Orange County Sheriff’s Department
Plaintiff Description This is a DOJ Investigation, conducted jointly with the U.S. U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  New York City to Pay Up to $75 Million Over Dismissed Summonses
New York Times
Date: Jan. 23, 2017
By: Benjamin Weiser (New York Times)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Data examining the Department of Justice's civil rights investigations of local and state police departments
Marshall Project
Date: Jan. 17, 2017
By: Tom Meagher (Marshall Project)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  The Civil Rights Division’s Pattern and Practice Police Reform Work: 1994-Present
https://www.justice.gov/
Date: Jan. 4, 2017
By: U.S. Department of Justice (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  An Interactive Guide to the Civil Rights Division’s Police Reforms
https://www.justice.gov/
Date: Jan. 4, 2017
By: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Bravo v. Board of Commissioners of Dona Ana County
http://www.bazelon.org/
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?
Date: Nov. 13, 2015
By: Kimbriell Kelly, Sarah Childress and Steven Rich (Frontline/Post)
Citation: Washington Post (Nov. 13, 2015)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Federal Enforcement of Police Reform
Date: 2014
By: Stephen Rushin (University of Illinois College of Law, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program )
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Press Release
PN-CA-0040-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/15/2016
Source: U.S. Dep't of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Housing and Civil Enforcement

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