ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY PRESS RELEASE
Date: July 6, 2015
SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) announced today that a new independent, external committee has been created to thoroughly examine OCDA policies and practices regarding the use of jailhouse informants. The Informant Policies and Practices Evaluation Committee (IPPEC) is comprised of legal experts from outside the OCDA, including retired Orange County Superior Court Judge Jim Smith, retired Los Angeles County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Dixon, former Orange County Bar Association President Robert Gerard, and Blithe Leece, an attorney who specializes in ethics law and professional responsibility. Legal scholar and ethics expert, Professor Laurie Levenson of Loyola Law School, will serve on IPPEC as an advisor.
The creation of IPPEC follows a thorough in-house investigation conducted by the OCDA into legal questions raised concerning the use of in-custody informants and their effects on the rights of defendants who have been charged with crimes. The investigation resulted in policy and personnel changes to ensure that no material or technical violations of a defendant’s rights occur in the future. The changes include: new leadership and personnel; additional staff in the Gang Unit; new internal committee headed by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas to review and approve or disapprove the use of an in-custody informant in a criminal case; and an updated informant policy manual to establish new guidelines for the use of informants. Continue reading