Audit Finds “Systemic Problems” With Evidence Booking in Orange County

Four Orange County sheriff’s deputies have been fired and seven others disciplined after an internal audit revealed “systemic problems with evidence being booked outside policy.”

The audit was not readily shared with the public, but unearthed by the Sacramento Bee. Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer told the publication that his office only learned of the audit last week. The results of the review were also hidden from defendants, said Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders.

As part of the review, officials scrutinized over 98,000 reports and more than 27,000 evidence bookings handled Feb. 1, 2016, through Feb. 1, 2018. They found that about 30% of evidence was booked late.

Department policy requires deputies to book evidence by the end of a shift. On average, it took 3 to 4 days.

“Two of the department’s six patrol sections took more than four days” to book evidence, according to the Bee.

This raises serious questions about the evidence’s integrity and potential Brady Act violations. Sanders called it “a crisis in Orange County.” He also bemoaned the secrecy surrounding the report.

Sheriff’s officials told the Bee that “immediate measures were taken to ensure personnel were educated” on evidence policy after the audit.