State’s AG Agrees to Take Over Orange County’s Mass Murder Case

The California Attorney General's Office has decided not to appeal a decision to kick Orange County’s District Attorney off of a high profile murder case. The state AG’s office will now take over the penalty phase of the Scott Dekraai murder trial, which involves the worst mass killing in Orange County's history.

Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals recused the DA's Office in 2015, saying Dekraai's right to a fair trial had been violated by false testimony and the withholding of evidence—part of a shocking jailhouse informant scandal that has rocked the county, its prosecutors, and law enforcement. An Appeals Court upheld the decision in November.

This may just be the tip of the iceberg for Orange County prosecutors. Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders has said that every case involving a jailhouse informant in Orange County from the past 30 years should be reexamined. Also on Tuesday, the state AG’s office argued against the DA’s removal from a separate murder case from 2006. There is proof of misconduct in that case as well, Judge Goethals said, and he will soon decide whether to recuse the DA once again.


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