Orange County DA Scandal Reaches The Intercept
Illustration by Bob Aul / OC Weekly
There are a lot of good reasons to check out The Intercept this week. The online investigative website is opening up its Edward Snowden archive, publishing 166 leaked articles from the National Security Agency (NSA) internal newsletter SIDToday. There's also an interesting article by Glenn Greenwald inviting journalists and researchers to submit requests to the website for access to information the Intercept may have but hasn't released yet.
For Orange County readers, however, the most intriguing article concerns the ongoing Orange County District Attorney's Office corruption scandal. Titled "Anatomy of a Snitch Scandal: How Orange County Prosecutors Covered Up Rampant Misuse of Jailhouse Informants," the article, by reporter Jordan Smith, suggests that DA Tony Rackauckas is sadly mistaken if he thinks the imbroglio is going away anytime soon. But as Smith argues, the scandal—which has led to at least a dozen felony convictions being overturned so far—doesn't just involve prosecutors, but also the Orange County Sheriff's Department and numerous local police departments.
As Smith recounts, the zeal of police and prosecutors to ensure slam-dunk convictions by illegally using jailhouse informants to obtain incriminating statements from suspects ensnared everyone from Latino high school kids wrongfully accused of participating in gang-related drive-bys to deranged mass killers like Scott Dekraai, who in October 2011 murdered his ex-wife and several of her co-workers at a Seal Beach salon.
Hat tip to Smith for interviewing Weekly reporter R. Scott Moxley for her story, and for eliciting the following, humorous quote from the DA's office, which has Moxley knows all too well, has repeatedly sought to shirk responsibility for embarrassing scandal by blaming it all on the media. "Your questions show a slanted bias and our participation appears to solely serve as a filler," an unnamed OCDA spokesperson told Smith. "We don't believe you are interested in being fair." That's right, nothing to see here, folks.
(You can read an archive of Moxley's coverage here).