Orange County Defense Lawyer Files $10 Million Lawsuit After Courthouse Beating

A bloody Crawford shortly after the beatingEXPAND
A bloody Crawford shortly after the beating

James Crawford—a successful, Santa Ana-based criminal defense lawyer who claims Orange County district attorney's office (OCDA) investigator Dillon Alley "brutally" assaulted him in the courthouse last March—filed a lawsuit today seeking $10 million in damages.

The incident received nationwide attention because Crawford's work aided in unraveling District Attorney Tony Rackauckas' ongoing jailhouse snitch scandal and the attack occurred days after he'd convinced a California Superior Court judge that one of his homicide case clients, Henry Rodriguez, deserved a new trial after being victimized by OCDA misconduct.

"After a verbal exchange about what Investigator Alley thought about criminal defense lawyers and what Mr. Crawford thought of the unlawful actions of [OCDA], Alley attacked Crawford from behind, placed him in a headlock and punched him out on the 10th floor of the central courthouse until he was pulled off by Santa Ana Police Department officers," Crawford attorney Jerry L. Steering declared in a press statement this afternoon.

Steering, who is based in Newport Beach, also alleges Alley, a cop before joining the DA's office, received favorable treatment from other law enforcement officials who refused to file assault charges against their colleague.

"Crawford is now seeking redress for the attack and beating by Alley," said Steering. "So, in this matter, who will watch the watchman? A jury will."

Alley: His head hurt my handEXPAND
Alley: His head hurt my hand

Given the early status of the case inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana, there has been no formal response from the named defendants, the County of Orange and Alley, who has previously labeled Crawford the aggressor who wounded his fist.

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >