In his campaign to expose Orange County law enforcement corruption, Paul Wilson—who lost his wife in the area’s worse, senseless mass murder in 2011—published a recent editorial pressuring an oddly resistant California Attorney Xavier Becerra into holding dirty cops accountable.
A superior court judge found that multiple Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) deputies repeatedly lied on the witness stand in 2014, 2015 and 2017 during proceedings in People v. Scott Dekraai, a controversial death penalty case.
By refusing to file perjury charges in what has become known nationally as the embarrassing OC snitch scandal, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas protected the badged liars because the fibs they told benefited his prosecutions and AG Becerra—like his fellow Democrat predecessor Kamala Harris—has remained as worthless as our DA.
In the opinion piece published this weekend in the Orange County Register, Wilson called the AG’s alleged 39-month investigation into OCSD’s tactics “fake” and remains outraged that so many high-ranking law enforcement officials tolerate corruption in local police agencies.
“As a pro-prosecution, pro-law enforcement member of the public, I fully supported the effort to have the shooter [of my wife and eight other innocent people] executed for his crimes, Wilson wrote. “But, along the way, the case fell apart for reasons none of us could have never imaged. It was hijacked by deputies and their supervisors who simply refused to stop lying in court. The perjury was plain to see, even for those of us who desperately pretended it wasn’t happening. [Rackauckas] wouldn’t stand up to the dishonest, so a brave judge named Goethals threw them off the case.”
Wilson asked to meet with Becerra last year, but the AG refused, instead sending junior staffers to listen to his complaint and refusing to answer what, if any, action they’d taken in months in their investigation.
(The AG, whether a liberal Democrat or conservative Republican habitually defend law enforcement corruption and incompetence during appeals.)
Perhaps more alarming for Wilson, Becerra, who is up for election in November, posed for the media in May standing with OCSD officials, including Assistant Don Barnes, who have worked strenuously to shield the department from accountability.
Wilson states “words can’t describe the disgust” he felt watching Becerra and Barnes play buddies.
“AG Becerra, I wanted to be wrong about you and your agency, but the unwillingness to take on OCSD is obvious,” he wrote. “The OCSD is laughing at the lack of accountability. If there are no prosecutions [of dishonest deputies], rest assured that laughter will translate into more cheating, more cases destroyed, and the blame will rest squarely with the attorney general’s office.”
Wilson, who was featured in a May 2018 OC Weekly cover story, “implored” Becerra to appoint a truly independent counsel to take over the investigation.
According to the Orange County Registrar of Voters, Barnes has not collected more than 50 percent plus 1 of the vote from the June election and, if that status continues, will face-off against challenger Duke Nguyen in November.
R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.