Letter Seeks Federal Scrutiny of OC’s Use of Jail Snitches


More than 30 retired prosecutors, prominent professors and other legal heavyweights signed on to a letter this week asking for a federal investigation of the use of jailhouse informants by Orange County, Calif., authorities, reports the Los Angeles Times. “We the undersigned share a firm belief in our criminal justice system and its overall ability to produce fair and reliable results,” according to the letter addressed to U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch. “Compelling evidence of pervasive police and prosecutorial misconduct in Orange County, however, has caused us grave concern.”

The signers — including UC Irvine law school Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, former L.A. County district attorneys John Van de Kamp and Gil Garcetti and national legal groups such as the ACLU — said they have turned to Lynch because the U.S. Department of Justice is the only independent entity that can investigate the scope of misconduct they believe may exist. The district attorney’s office disputed the premise of the letter. Jim Tanizaki, a senior staffer there, said, “We really have nothing to hide.”

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