Case # 12ZF0128     

Date: December 5, 2016


*OCDA had previously filed brief to turn the documents over to the court

SANTA ANA, Calif. – The Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) released a statement on the release of redacted special handling log by the Orange County Superior Court in People v. Scott Dekraai.

Discovery Hearings Conducted at the Request of the OCDA

On June 9, 2016, the People lodged the un-redacted SH Log with the court. In the first brief, the OCDA requested the court to temporarily seal the SH Log because it may contain privileged information. The other brief requested for an in-camera hearing in order to turn over the SH Log to defense. The OCDA filed the briefs to turn over the newly discovered SH Log.

On the same date of the filing, the OCDA also announced a concrete action plan in order to remedy any legal issues from the newly uncovered SH Log to ensure any constitutional rights of a defendant are protected. Since date, the OCDA has been working diligently to accomplish the action plan. The process is continuing and working through the justice system in order to ensure that the rights of all are protected, including the rights of victims, witnesses, and defendants.

The number one goal was to broadly make sure that any defendants that are entitled to discovery receive their discovery and/or any other remedy they are due, with a broad interpretation of the definition of discovery. The OCDA looked for primarily, discoverable material in SH Log entries indicating that inmate defendants made statements to in-custody informers – i.e., situations where inmate defendants’ Massiah v. U.S. (1964) 377 U.S. 201 rights are potentially implicated.

OCDA’s To Continue Analysis and Referrals

The OCDA legal review is continuing to analyze the entirety of the SH Log material to determine what other cases, if any, were affected, what Brady issues and Massiah v. United States (1964) 377 U.S. 201 violations, if any, need to be reported to defendants, the court, and the CAG. The OCDA has referred all materials to the CAG to be reviewed in their ongoing investigation of the OCSD.

Summary of SH Log Content

The SH Log was written by OCSD deputies working in the Special Handling Unit (SHU) inside the Orange County Central Jail. It contains entries dated from September 2008 to January 2013, consisting of descriptions of the work performed by the SHU deputies, including classifying inmates and making security and housing decisions. Numerous entries in the SH Log refer to inmates whom, the SH Log reveals, provided information to the deputies. These inmate informers were often kept in a particular sector of the jail. In exchange for their information, some informers were given favors by the deputies such as phone calls and visits. Much of the information which the informers are said to have provided to deputies concern matters of institutional security, such as information about the gang affiliation, or status within a gang, of a particular inmate to whom an informer had spoken. Generally speaking, usage of informers by jail deputies for institutional security purposes alone would be lawful.

The SH Log includes entries giving informal descriptions of activities which the deputies variously termed as “plans,” “capers”, and “operations,” which often included use of informers and covert recording devices. The deputies refer to previously disclosed, large-scale, multi-agency operations such as “Operation Black Flag” and “Operation Stormfront,” as well as smaller operations never before revealed, which the deputies seemingly self-styled with names such as “Operation Okie Doke.”

The SH Log also mentions outside law enforcement agencies interacting with special handling deputies about inmates and sometimes inquiring about running “operations,” The “operations” that are unfamiliar to the OCDA appear to be part of informal jail banter with insider references related to jail security and not case-related to the inmate.

Process for Court Review of SH Log

The court temporarily sealed the OCDA’s June 9, 2016, submission of the SH Log. Subsequently, members of OCSD and other law enforcement agencies submitted claims of privilege to the court concerning portions of the SH Log. The court read the entire SH Log and considered the claims of privilege. On Nov. 10, 2016, the court produced to the defense the portions of the SH Log that the court deemed to be the relevant and non-privileged “redacted Log”. The redacted Log was covered by a temporary protective order, restricting release to any outside parties, but the court denied OCSD’s request for a permanent protective order. OCSD asked the Fourth District Court of Appeal to overturn the trial court’s denial of a protective order, but the Court of Appeal denied OCSD’s request. The temporary protective order was lifted and the redacted Log became a public document.

Referral of SH Log to California Attorney General

OCDA has provided a full, unredacted copy of the SH Log to the California Attorney General’s Office (CAG), in cooperation with the CAG’s review of possible perjury by witnesses who testified at the prior hearings before Judge Goethals.

Assistant District Attorney Dan Wagner and Senior Deputy District Attorney Scott Simmons of the Homicide Unit are assigned to the hearings.