The public defender who raised prosecutorial misconduct to try to spare the death penalty for the alleged worst mass killer in Orange County history is now trying to play the same card when it comes to one of the most twisted alleged killers in Orange County history.
You may recall Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders from such previous OC Weekly coverage as this:
That's about how Sanders publicly shamed Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas over the use/misuse (depending on your view) of jailhouse informants to get information out of defendants who already lawyered up in high profile cases. Besides the Mexican Mafia case, Sanders has done the shaming in relation to the death penalty case against the confessed Salon Meritage of Seal Beach killer, Scott DeKraai:
Like a TV Land show, Sanders is re-running the argument again, this time in the double-murder, death-penalty case against community theater actor Daniel Patrick Wozniak. Orange County Superior Court Judge James Stotler on Tuesday gave Sanders more time to make his latest government misconduct case. However, Stotler would not change the date of the trial, which is set to begin Feb. 13, despite Sanders protesting he can't be ready.
Wozniak is accused of the May 2010 slayings of 26-year-old Samuel Eliezer Herr of Costa Mesa and Herr's confidante Juri Julie Kibuishi, 23, of Irvine. According to police and prosecutors, Wozniak needed money for his looming wedding and honeymoon, so he killed his friend and Afghanistan war veteran Herr, later killed Herr's friend Kibuishi to make it appear that Herr killed her before fleeing the area, and then started to drain Kerr's bank account one ATM withdrawal at a time.
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Sanders claimed Tuesday that newly surfaced evidence in the Dekraai case is connected to how Wozniak's jailers treated him and argued he needed more time to file his motion. Stotler gave Sanders until Jan. 23 to make the filing and also granted the defense attorney's motion to subpoena records, including those detailing the placement of inmates from cell to cell and in disciplinary isolation.
The Sanders allegations boil down to this: Jailers with the sheriff's department illegally place jailhouse snitches near defendants who are already represented by an attorney to pry loose damning information.
But in the Wozniak's case, prosecutor Matt Murphy argues it is a Costa Mesa police arrest, not a collar for the sheriff's department, so the jailers would have no incentive to game the system. Besides, argues Murphy, he has historically refused to use information culled from jailhouse snitches on the way to becoming one of the top homicide prosecutors in California.