SANTA ANA, Calif. — The Latest on a grand jury report on informants in the Orange County jail system (all times local):
A grand jury says there is no evidence of a structured jailhouse informant program in scandal-wracked Orange County and the use of snitches has been primarily to ensure inmate safety, not investigate crimes.
After an 11-month civil investigation, Orange County grand jury foreperson Carrie Carmody said Tuesday the panel found a few “rogue deputies” on jail duty began to go beyond their assignments and investigate crimes.
She says inadequate supervision in the district attorney’s office and Sheriff’s Department has eroded the public trust but the panel found no conspiracy.
The report is titled “The Myth of the Orange County Jailhouse Informant Program.”
The report comes after a judge removed the county’s district attorney from the high-profile case of a mass killer after finding sheriff’s deputies lied or withheld evidence related to the use of jailhouse informants.
Since then, the scandal has grown, affecting a number of other criminal cases, and state and federal authorities are investigating the county’s use of snitches.
A grand jury will release findings from an investigation into the use of jailhouse informants in Orange County amid a long-running scandal over the use of the snitches.
The Orange County grand jury is expected to release its report on Tuesday. The panel’s investigation was civil, not criminal, in nature.
The report comes amid a scandal in the Southern California county over how authorities used jailhouse informants to chat up suspects and failed to turn over key evidence to their attorneys.
Once suspects have lawyers, authorities can’t use informants to extract information from them.
The U.S. Department of Justice is also investigating the county’s use of informants after a judge yanked prosecutors from the case of a mass killer upon finding sheriff’s deputies lied or withheld information about the snitches.