Randy Orbach of "Redemption Song" Cover Story Gets 4 Years for Stalking Ex-Girlfriend

Photo by John Gilhooley/OC Weekly
Randy Orbach hold told the Weekly he put his criminal life behind him. Then he got arrested again.
Thomas "Randy" Orbach's "Redemption Song" hit a sour note when he was sentenced to four more years in state prison earlier this month.

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How Tony Rackauckas Took A Slam Dunk Death Penalty Case And Turned It Into His Worst Crisis

Kevin McVeigh
DA Rackauckas: If I only had a brain . . . I'd unravel every riddle for any individ'le, in trouble or in pain

Orange County's worst mass shooting, the so-called 2011 Seal Beach hair-salon massacre, began as a traumatizing event for all, but it has devolved into one of the most polarizing legal struggles to hit our legal system. The question isn't about Scott Dekraai's guilt. Dekraai admitted to police that he was the killer within minutes of the shooting. Controversy swirls, however, around the tactics of prosecutors and sheriff's deputies trying to impose a death-penalty punishment rather than a 200-plus-year prison sentence without the possibility for parole. With one embarrassing revelation after another, the battle has grown painful, especially for the baffled families of the victims. To help understand why Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Goethals, himself an accomplished former prosecutor, this month made a historic decision to recuse Tony Rackauckas and his district attorney's office (OCDA), we are providing a chronology of events:

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Federal Trial Begins to Determine Whether Anaheim Cop Daron Wyatt is a Dirty Detective

Josue Rivas / OC Weekly
Detective Wyatt (right) with arms crossed

"Why would an innocent man confess to a murder that he did not commit?"

The question posed by defense attorney Mark W. Eisenberg during his opening statement is at the heart of a dramatic civil trial alleging Anaheim police beat a false confession out of a man. Eisenberg's client, Rafael Garcia Miranda, charges that detective Daron Wyatt also threatened to have Child Protective Services take his six children away if he didn't tell the officer what he wanted to hear during an interrogation.

Miranda falsely fessed up to being the supposed gang "shot caller," all for a meager $150, for the January 17, 1998 murder of Elizabeth Ann Begaren, an off-duty corrections officer killed in cold blood on the 91 freeway in Anaheim. The real culprit was Nuzzio Begaren, Elizabeth's newlywed husband, who contracted her killers (the gunman is still on the loose) so that he could cash in on her $1 million life insurance policy.

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Ex-County Assessor Webster J. Guillory Has Felony Count Nixed, 2 More Now Misdemeanors

County of Orange
The felony case helped sweep Webster J. Guillory out of office.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Gassia Apkarian on Tuesday dismissed a felony count of filing false nomination papers against ex-county Assessor Webster J. Guillory and reduced two other felony counts to misdemeanors.

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OC DA to Retry Citizen Journalists For Unlawful Assembly After Hung Jury: Update

Gabriel San Roman / OC Weekly
AJ Redkey and PM Beers
UPDATE, MARCH 24, 11:40 A.M.:Two live-streamers narrowly escaped convictions yesterday for failing to disperse from a Kelly Thomas post-verdict protest last year. All but one juror favored finding the defendant AJ Redkey guilty of the misdemeanor offense. The jury similarly deadlocked 8-4 for PM Beers. The Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) office decided against dismissing the case and, in a gigantic waste of everybody's time, will press for a retrial next month.

"The case is about the right to protest and whether or not the police can use the negative actions of a very few people in the crowd as an excuse to shut down the entire protest," defense attorney John Raphling tells the Weekly. "Fullerton Police should have simply arrested the small handful of bad actors and respected the rights of the rest to speak out for justice."

Round 2 is scheduled to start on April 17 at Orange County Superior Court in Fullerton.

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Final Audit Report Shows Larry Agran's Great Park Plan Was A Debacle From Outset

Agran's "Great" Park had everything but the flying monkeys buzzing Munchkinland
Twelve years ago, Larry Agran, Irvine's career politician and mayor who'd never built anything, issued bold statements about his ability to build a "world-class" government park at the mothballed Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, and people, especially journalists, believed him.

"Move over, Manhattan," wrote an excited Christian Science Monitor reporter in April 2003. "Stand aside San Francisco. In Orange County, the final hurdle has been cleared for a 'county great park' that will exceed the size of Central Park and Golden Gate Park put together."

The reporter--who didn't know the mayor and his political scheming actually would be the final hurdles--went on to echo the mayor's oral machinations, declaring that "the area is considered America's leading laboratory of 'post suburbia' . . . "

Agran also provided the money quote, "We are finally moving forward with a plan that will transform the future of Orange County."

In pure Agranista form, the paper unquestioningly repeated his biggest lie in the title to a chapter in the article: "No cost to citizens."

Add you own exclamation point!

Those of us who for 12 years closely watched Agran and his Democratic political machine operate dictatorial control over the project didn't fall for the empty hype. Their operatives received lucrative, no-bid contracts for a public park that didn't yet exist. They wasted nearly $50 million on a park design plan that was laughably unattainable--a huge, man-made canyon and waterfalls!--the moment it landed on paper. Paranoid of being caught in various scandals, they treated park records with NSA-type secrecy. Agran conducted park spending business through his wife's private email account. Despite claiming otherwise, they planned to use a special tax scheme to boost park coffers until Gov. Jerry Brown killed such tactics. They ran fake Republican candidates to dilute their opponents' election strength. After years and years of spending several hundred million dollars without building a single, major promised feature, the Agran alliance finally lost power in 2012.

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James Anthony Rivas Faces Trial for Attempted Murder of Lady Jogger in Rossmoor

Categories: Court, Crime-iny

Courtesy of the Orange County District Attorney's office
James Anthony Rivas could get 11 years to life in prison with a conviction.
Remember James Anthony Rivas and his sad puppy eyes? They are scheduled to be facing the bench of Department W-9 in the West Justice Center of Westminster today, when the 20-year-old's trial for allegedly trying to murder a lady jogger by stabbing her multiple times is scheduled to begin.

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Weekender Updater: ISIS Terror Plea, Santa Ana's Most Wanted Convicted and Much More

FBI (inset El Modena High School)
"Homegrown terrorist" Fadi Fadi Dandach with 2012 El Modena High School grad Adam Dandach's class photo (inset)..
There is much to be updated about this week, including: an Orange resident pleading not guilty to terrorism charges amid allegations he tried to join ISIS in Syria; a man from Santa Ana Police's most wanted list being convicted of murdering his employer; a teacher pleading not guilty to murdering her live-boyfriend in Laguna Niguel; an appeals court upholding the conviction and stiff sentence for a B movie producer Ponzi schemer; many more charges filed against a tutor who allegedly helped Corona del Mar High School students cheat; a former Orange County Democratic Party chairman being sentenced for an extortion plot against the owners of the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin; a woman being sentenced for the retaliatory kidnapping and assault of a man for the benefit of her husband's white supremacist gang; and an Orange man copping to hit and run and manslaughter for killing three teens on Halloween night 2014 in Santa Ana.


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Supervisor Todd Spitzer Blasts District Attorney Tony Rackauckas For Corruption Scandal

R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly
District Attorney Tony Rackauckas defends his embattled office with reporters today while flanked by aides Susan Kang Schroeder and Scott Simmons
Following an Orange County judge's recent historic decision to recuse District Attorney Tony Rackauckas from the death penalty case against Scott Dekraai, guilty in the 2011 Seal Beach salon massacre, the solemn DA stood in front of reporters today on a mission.

In the ongoing law enforcement cheating scandal, Rackauckas wants residents to know that while there have been numerous screw-ups his prosecutors are "honest and hardworking," and that the real villain is a system that delays justice for the family and friends of Dekraai's eight murdered victims.

"I think the system has let them down," the DA said. "I'm trying to bring these [types of] cases to justice in a more expeditious way. It's getting worse, rather than getting better. The process has gotten more complicated over time."

During a morning court session with Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Goethals, the California Attorney General's office announced it would seek an appellate reversal of the judge's March 12 recusal order, claiming the move to ban the entire DA's office from the Dekraai case was unnecessarily excessive. Plus the AG's office doesn't want the extra work. Rackauckas supported the move and the judge pushed back the penalty phase of the case until July 24 while all of the parties wait for a three-member California Court of Appeal panel to rule. In reality, however, the appellate delays could take years to resolve.

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Jose Alberto Carrillo of DMV Accused of Taking Bribes in Exchange for Issuing Drivers Licenses

Categories: Court, Crime-iny

UC San Francisco
Hey, look at that paint dry.
A Department of Motor Vehicles employee who used to work in the Westminster office was arrested and charged Thursday with accepting bribes from customers in exchange for providing them California drivers licenses.

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