In the OC, Suspects Don’t Get an Attorney: They Get an Informant

This post originally appeared on the ACLU of Northern California website.

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning...”

For anyone who watches legal dramas and cop shows, this line is pretty familiar. Under the Fifth Amendment, anyone in police custody has the right to be advised by an attorney during questioning. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work.

But if you’ve been charged with a crime in Orange County sometime over the past several decades, the following scenario appears to have played out all too frequently. One night you’re in your cell, when another inmate begins talking to you. He expresses interest in your well-being and builds your trust by giving you advice about how to make it in the jail. Eventually, he starts to ask you about your case. 

Little do you know that deputies with the sheriff’s department placed you and this jailhouse informant together — the informant posing as just another inmate — so that the informant could illegally question you about your case. Even worse, when that informant becomes a witness at your trial, the prosecution never reveals how you actually came together or shares the full story of the witness’ history as an informant.

Shocking evidence has emerged of a system-wide violation of defendants’ rights being orchestrated in Orange County, California. And the illegal use of jailhouse informants that has been uncovered so far appears to be just the tip of the iceberg. Both the sheriff’s department and the district attorney’s office are implicated in grave misconduct. And as far as we can tell, the corruption has been going on for over 25 years.

We estimate that thousands of people in Orange County may have had their civil rights violated while navigating a criminally dysfunctional justice system. At the same time, informants have enjoyed benefits, ranging from dismissal of charges, reduction of sentences, and, even in some instances, protection from prosecution for crimes as serious as murder.

Not only has the Orange County Sheriff’s Department been secretly facilitating efforts by jailhouse informants to elicit statements from fellow inmates, but the Orange County District Attorney’s office appears to have systemically concealed evidence about these informants from defense attorneys, including evidence that would exonerate defendants.

Though a number of journalists have reported on the widespread miscarriage of justice being orchestrated Orange County, we don’t yet know how far this misconduct has gone.

Last week, the ACLU joined with several organizations and experts to call on the Department of Justice to open an investigation. The situation in Orange County is too big, and too political, to be handled by any other entity.

There is significant evidence of prosecutorial and law enforcement misconduct going on for decades. We need the DOJ to get to the bottom of this, and fast.

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Anonymous

Jail THESE SOB's. At once, no bail, in Fed lockup.

Anonymous

Ask the DOJ, hell they are the one's who taught them how to do it.
Don't ask the fox to investigate a disturbance in the chicken coop!!

Anonymous

Perhaps charges of malicious persecution should be added on top of atl other possible charges.

Anonymous

The use of criminal informants for corrupt activities is NOT only in OC, but Massachusetts. I've been reporting cops sending criminal informants into my home to commit crimes and also sending them into homes on fishing expeditions. I've been ignored for 5.4 years. It's on my timeline. facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009584360350

Anonymous

The use of criminal informants for corrupt activities is NOT only in OC, but Massachusetts. I've been reporting cops sending criminal informants into my home to commit crimes and also sending them into homes on fishing expeditions. I've been ignored for 5.4 years. It's on my timeline. I wanted to add these cis were assisting them with placing illegal surveillance in my home, and I was married to one of these troopers. It's on my timeline. If you can't access the link, try using my email kennykix02136@gmail.com They continue hacking into me so I am unable to get this information out. facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009584360350

Jacki Livingston

I was an employee of the county for 14 years. I came to you for help, when I found that employees of the county were engaged in embezzlement and money laundering, and the district attorney was involved. You did nothing. I begged for help, because I was being harassed, threatened and assaulted, it led to my being forced out of my job, and being blackballed, I cannot find another job. I am not a criminal. I am not in jail. But you use the resources from money donated to help criminals, but not an honest, disabled woman being railroaded? You know nothing about the real filth of the county, using nursing home patients and a rigged computer system to get rich. You all make me sick.

Anonymous

You have got to be kidding me!!! With everything wrong with this country (on both sides of the political aisle), you all are concerned over a jailhouse informant being put into a cell with you or another person whom you may or may not know??? Next you are going to say that the admissions of guilt of committing a crime was manipulated by the informant. No wait... Maybe the informant committed the crime and is framing the innocent person in their cell. Tired of criminals crying about being put in prison where they belong. If you do not want to be in a 10 x 10 room, then do not be a criminal. You each have the freedom of choice, right or wrong, your choice. I wonder how each of you bleeding hearts would feel if the criminal in question, had committed the crime against one of your family members. Now here is where you each get to use the old lie that most crimes (like drugs, auto-theft, vandalism) is a victimless crime. Billions of dollars wasted each year on property crime alone!! Now shut the hell up and either be part of the solution, or remain part of the problem.

Rob

We the people, formerly known and respected as "Americans", have had our rights revamped and skewed to the point the ACLU is no longer a voice that strikes anything close to fear in any of 'our' three branches of govt. What are you doing about the cops and DA (though their office supposedly did not know) about LAPD using Sting Ray to wiretap
anyone and everyone's cell calls ? With impunity now for years since your organization has lost whatever teeth it may have had. With that said, I'm sure there are some hardworking good people that believe they are making a difference.. We need differences that make a difference!
Rob Norman

Cecilia

As an injured worker, I have been the target of a plethora of crimes here in Orange County, CA and Los Angeles. I have been informed by the National Center for Victims of Crimes and other injured workers that I am a "Targeted Individual". A person who is targeted via relentless and heinous crimes which are meant to destroy the individual financially, professionally, physically and mentally. They are used also to destroy the credibility of the target as well. This is done no doubt to protect those who commit these heinous crimes from potentionall litigation. These crimes are referred to as "organized gang stalking". They can be covert and overt. According to current information available, the State of CA has been the most active in these crimes against residents.
I've learned that the WCAB here in Orange County, CA also participates in crimes against injured workers. I have been systematically maimed during workers comp medical procedures. The last lumbar ESI, I was brutally forced under anesthesia against my advance directives and maimed from my skull down to my tailbone. I was injected with some sort of chemicals that dried out the ligaments in my spinal column, the muscles, nerves, tendons and other soft tissue in my body were also maimed. AGONY AND TRAUMA to say the very least. Being an educate and independent, successful woman, I have made countless attempts to get medical treatment for the prolific damage done to my body. I have also turned to law enforcement, the O.C. District Attorney's office, Assemblymen, Senators, Governor Jerry Brown, Congresswoman Mimi Walters and many others for help and NO ONE WILL HELP. I've turned to the WCAB, the DWC and the DIR - all to be turned away saying that they can't help. My medical records inside and outside of workers compensation have been falsified. I am followed to medical appointments, the grocery store... etc. I have been overtly aggressively stalked and harassed. My phone is tapped, my e-mails hacked, my home has been intruded upon on several occasions - while workers comp documents were stolen as well as my medical history and my food has been tainted on several occasions with chemicals that have harmed my nervous system, soft tissue and cause my heart to beat fast. My personal property has been vandalized and more. My home has been covertly SKUNKED almost on a daily basis since September 18, 2015 - inside my home via electronic beaming - I have no idea how it is done but I am told that it is military grade covert tactics. I've learned that CA is one of the most corrupt states in the nation. CA is said to be the "organized stalking capital" of our nation. It must be! For our government officials to participate against a person in such a way, to condone the heinous crimes and harassment that I am still the target of as are many! Medical crimes to harm a persons body and the medical professionals to falsify medical records without any ramifications or help from those who are supposed to be there for us - is proof that our government is complicit. Government at the City, County, State and Federal levels. What happened to our America?
The O.C. District Attorney's workers comp fraud division told me in Sept. of 2014 that they receive approximately 30 calls a month from injured workers complaining of crimes that they are the target of related to their workers comp claim. Why isn't something done to curb, deter or prosecute these crimes? Where do we turn? Even our O.C. Supervisors are under investigation for corruption and one is married to the Presiding Judge of the Anaheim WCAB where my case was assigned. Without my knowledge, Judge Gordon of the Anaheim WCAB removed a two page document from my 84 pages of Exhibits at a meeting before the trial and replaced it with a document that the defense attorney, Charles Bentley, handed her during the meeting. She also asked me questions before the trial as the defense attorney sat and listened to my answers, causing him to take his witness - the HR Mgr. where I used to work and was injured at work - Metropolitan Home Mortgage, off the docket that day! During the trial, the defense attorney was texting as Judge Gordon was reading questions to me from either her computer or a cell phone. She also did not allow me to present my case during the trial. I was not permitted to go through my 84 pages of Exhibits and explain evidence of falsified medical reports and falsified workers comp documents - that were both produced by my former employer and WC medical providers. What a sham!
There is no doubt that Orange County, CA is a fraud laden County of corrupt individuals. But moreover, they are willing to collude together to have injured workers maimed into disability for strategic reasons. Because I have been unable to get any help through any avenue that I have taken, I developed a Facebook account called "Crimes Against Injured Workers" and "O.C. California - Crimes Against Injured Workers". If our government officials and medical providers can be persuaded to commit heinous acts of violence and other crimes against injured workers, then, it is my desire to warn the public, lest they be brutally maimed as I have been.
There is no defense to forcing an injured worker under anesthesia and maiming their body into chronic pain and permanent disability. None!

Sam

I'm a ti in Torrance, ca. I'm being gang stalked on a daily basis, my phone, computer, car and home have all been hacked. Please contact me at sambruin7@yahoo.com.

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