Friday, May 29, 2015

Massive Conspiracy and Illegal Conduct by Orange County Prosecutors and Law Enforcement

An article entitled "You’re All Out" at Slate recounts how a California judge has disqualified all Orange County prosecutors from working on a capital case because of evidence that law enforcement and the district attorney's office worked together to obtain an illegal confession and conceal exculpatory evidence. Moreover, this conspiracy went beyond just this single case, but had become a standard practice. The County even maintained a database of the undisclosed exculpatory evidence in cases. From the article:
In an explosive moment following a hearing last year, Sanders revealed that the Orange County Sheriff’s Department has maintained a massive, secret, 25-year-old computerized record-keeping system called TRED. These TRED documents were full of potentially exculpatory data, but the agency officials had systematically refused to turn any of them over, or even acknowledge their very existence, to defense counsel.

In his March order, Goethals wrote: “It is now apparent that the discovery situation in this case is far worse than the court previously realized. In fact, a wealth of potentially relevant discovery material—an entire computerized data base built and maintained by the Orange County Sheriff over the course of many years which is a repository for information related directly to the very issues that this court was examining as a result of the defendant’s motion—remained secret, despite numerous specific discovery orders issued by this court, until long after the initial evidentiary hearing in this case was concluded and rulings were made.”

Laura Fernandez of Yale Law School, who studies prosecutorial misconduct, says it’s amazing that both the sheriff’s office and the DA’s office worked together to cover up the misconduct: “From my perspective,” she says, “what really sets Orange County apart is the massive cover-up by both law enforcement and prosecutors—a cover-up that appears to have risen to the level of perjury and obstruction of justice. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors in Orange County have gone to such lengths to conceal their wide-ranging misconduct that they have effectively turned the criminal justice system on its head: dismissing charges and reducing sentences in extraordinarily serious cases, utterly failing to investigate unsolved crimes and many murders (by informants—in order to prevent that evidence from ever getting to defense lawyers), while simultaneously pushing forward where it would seem to make no sense (except that it conceals more bad acts by the state), as in the case of an innocent 14-year old boy who was wrongfully detained for two years.”
 While we most often thing of "without rule of law" to be anarchy, it can also take the form of "rule by law" where there are laws, and police or troops to enforce those laws, but the principles of "rule of law" have been abandoned in favor of tyranny. Nazi Germany, for instance, had "rule by law"--it was just selective in how, when and against who laws would be enforced.

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