Judge Finds Extensive Law Enforcement Lying But Declines To Issue Meaningful Punishment

Josue Rivas / OC Weekly
Message delivered to Public Defender Scott Sanders: Being right isn't enough in OC
After months of highly embarrassing revelations involving incompetence and corruption during special evidentiary hearings tied to an ongoing mass murder case, Orange County's law enforcement breathed a collective sigh of relief today.

Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Goethals conceded police, deputies and prosecutors were "credibility challenged" after "undoubtedly" lying under oath in his court to fight allegations filed in an historic, 505-page, January 31 motion by Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders.

Let me repeat: law enforcement officials were caught lying under oath, news that surely would bring painful rebuke to protect the integrity of the criminal justice system, right?

But Goethals, who called government actions in the People v. Scott Dekraai "serious misconduct," chickened out after writing, "Many of the witnesses who testified during the course of this hearing were credibility challenged. These witnesses include current and former prosecutors. Others undoubtedly lied."

He couldn't muster the courage to issue any meaningful punishment for the public corruption, hence the sighs of relief inside the Orange County District Attorney's office, Orange County Sheriff's Department and Santa Ana Police Department.

Sanders, who represents Dekraai, had asked the judge to punish the misdeeds by recusing the DA's office or banning the office from seeking the death penalty in the case.

Goethals decided to block the government from using illegally obtained Dekraai jailhouse statements during the upcoming penalty phase, an essentially meaningless move--a wrist slap that was, in reality, more of a tender caress--because prosecutors months ago agreed not to use the statements.

To arrive at the controversial decision, the judge ignored overwhelming evidence of purposeful cheating (violating discovery obligations and abusing jailhouse informant programs) to label years of misconduct the result of simple negligence and not "malicious" acts that constitute "outrageous government conduct."

He ordered a Sept. 12 hearing to discuss a penalty phase trial date.

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Dekraai while Sanders wants his client to receive a 400-year-plus sentence without the possibility for parole for the 2011 murders of eight people at a Seal Beach salon.

As a result of Sanders' work, prosecutors were forced to admit they'd violated discovery obligations to share exculpatory evidence with defense lawyers in more than a dozen felony cases, including one completed murder case that now has to be retried.

Read this week's upcoming Moxley Confidential on Wednesday for more comprehensive coverage of the unheroic ruling.

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Email: rscottmoxley@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @RScottMoxley.

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The problem is society believes everything the da or Ada say. I know because I've been there.


So, simply put a sociopathic criminal in a jail cell with whomever for an hour or two.  Afterwards, give said sociopathic criminal the script and some time off of their incarceration (which means more crimes against the innocent as they soon end up right back in jail).  Then, incredibly, there are jurors who could believe any of the lies from the sociopathic criminal whether wearing orange or a suit.  People are rotting in prison by this formula.  Can you believe that?


Testilying is NOT A CRIME so move along, nothing to see here.

And by the way, file your high school civics book in the FICTION section of library, where it properly belongs.

paullucas714 topcommenter

What does this mean for the ones who were convicted by using these methods and informants? Do these cases get re-tried? Oh and WTF Goethels? The system is dead and must be redone. 


This is just one more reason in a long list of reasons why Tony Rackauckas should not be releceted.


this is some bullshit. fucking corrupted ass judge. fuck the system!

949girl topcommenter

So what happens to other people who were convicted based largely off the testimony of an informant within the past couple of years?  


But lying is. You are a sheep, believing everything that the d.a says


No. They will rot. There are people who served time for things they didn't do. God will have a field day with us.

fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter


They'll probably stay put....even though it's obvious they have legal precedent to demand a re-trial.

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