By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Asked Sanders: You wanted valuable consideration by prosecutors at your future sentencing hearing?
"True," said Perez without hesitation, as if he hadn't contradicted hours of prior testimony.
In the case of Dekraai, who already confessed to slaughtering eight people at a Seal Beach salon in 2011 and is facing a potential term of 400 years in prison and no possibility of parole if convicted, Sanders wants Goethals to punish prosecutors for alleged informant cheating by blocking their push for the death penalty. The judge, a former prosecutor and defense attorney, is taking the public defender's motion seriously. In addition to putting Perez on the witness stand, Goethals is allowing Sanders the extraordinarily rare opportunity to question Assistant District Attorney Dan Wagner, Dekraai's prosecutor, as well as deputy DAs Scott Simmons and Erik Petersen, their investigators, and jailhouse deputies. The public defender wants these officials to explain under oath the informant program and numerous suspected violations of court rules about hiding exculpatory evidence from defense lawyers. For example, initial documents the DAs released in discovery did not disclose Perez's Mexican Mafia membership and left the false impression that his contacts with DA-targeted inmates had been coincidental without deputy direction, according to Sanders.
To underscore his argument of government cheating, the public defender showed Goethals a bombshell, November 2011 memo Wagner's investigator sent Petersen, Perez's prosecutor. That record doesn't just outline the value of the hoodlum's snooping on Dekraai; it also documents a willful intent inside OCDA to keep Sanders in the dark.
"Inmate F [Perez] provided facts and intelligence about the events of the day of Oct. 12, 2011, that only Dekraai could have known," wrote OCDA investigator Robert Erickson to Petersen. "Those facts and intelligence will likely greatly enhance the prosecution of Dekraai, especially in the event there's an insanity plea entered by Dekraai. . . . I respectfully request that you keep Inmate F's name as it relates to the Dekraai case confidential. Nothing about Inmate F or his statements regarding the Dekraai case have [sic] been discovered to the defense."