One guy, a husky cop for District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, complained that his hand hurt following a violent, bloody Orange County courthouse incident in March.
The other guy, a criminal defense lawyer who'd just defeated annoyed prosecutors to win a new trial for one of his clients, wore the obvious facial impacts of being beaten to a pulp.
But yesterday, comedians inside the California Attorney General's office declared they conducted "a thorough and independent investigation" that left them baffled about who was the aggressor deserving criminal charges: unwounded DA investigator Dillon Alley or pummeled lawyer James Crawford.
"When viewed as a whole, the evidence shows two different versions of events," declared Julie L. Garland, senior assistant attorney general. "Both parties tell a different story about how the fight started, and both have two to three witnesses who generally corroborate their versions of events. And the incident was not captured on the surveillance video. Because of the conflicting evidence, it is not clear which party was the initial aggressor or which party may have been acting in self-defense."
Posing perplexed to justify inaction is nothing new inside the state's Department of Justice.
A deputy AG, Theodore Cropley, took a front row seat at special, 2014-15 evidentiary hearings in People v. Scott Dekraai , heard dozens of hours of perjury committed by sheriff's deputies in that death penalty case and couldn't muster the courage to bring charges there either.
(Important reality alert: Unless you are a cop, don't beat someone or lie on the witness stand because you definitely will be arrested and prosecuted in OC.)
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UPDATE: Jerry L. Steering, Crawford's lawyer, said he wasn't surprised by the AG's refusal to file charges and continues to maintain his client was the victim.
"Jim Crawford was brutally attacked by Dillon Alley," Steering told reporters in a written statement. "Alley walked up from behind Crawford, knocked him down by punching him on the side of his face, placed him in a headlock and used his free hand to punch [him] in his face and head about 10 times. If Crawford attacked Alley, why didn't Alley arrest him on the spot? After all, Alley was a certified on duty, full time peace officer in the State of California when he beat up Crawford."
According to Steering, he'll seek justice with a civil lawsuit inside Orange County's federal courthouse.