NEWS, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Lt. Mark Stichter, 714.904.7042, MKStichter@ocsd.org
Sheriff Sandra Hutchens Addresses Release of Special Handling Log
SANTA ANA, Ca. (December 05, 2016) – Today, pages from the special handling log were released by the Orange County Superior Court. The discovery of the log was part of a process initiated by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (“OCSD”) to respond to discovery requests and subpoenas in criminal cases. The process of discovering the logs, reviewing and submitting them to the court has been a methodical and coordinated endeavor. The OCSD has taken several steps to locate additional classification and special handling notes/records and to improve recordkeeping and internal processes.
The following is an outline detailing our efforts over the last ten months:
1. In February 2016, efforts were undertaken to locate any records or documents related to jail classification and special handling, including a department-wide memo to past and present classification/special handling deputies reiterating our priority in locating any records or documents. The memo was in response to personal notes provided to the department by an OCSD deputy. In March 2016 these efforts revealed the existence of the special handling log (“Log”) dated September 2008 through January 2013.
2. In March 2016 the Sheriff created a team of OCSD personnel (i.e., sergeants, lieutenants, a captain, a commander, and an Assistant Sheriff) specifically dedicated to reviewing the contents of the Log and determining the existence of any additional files or records.
3. On May 10, 2016 an un-redacted copy of the Log was provided to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (“OCDA”) for their review.
4. In May and June 2016, OCSD reviewed three computer drives utilized by members of the Special Handling unit, totaling over 72,000 files and 7,000 folders.
5. In June, July and August 2016 the Log was reviewed by OCSD over the course of numerous meetings to identify potential confidential/privileged information, and other potential documents.
6. In August and September 2016, OCSD invited the OCDA to review the classification/special handling computer drives.
7. In September 2016, OCSD policies pertaining to Special Handling, communication covers and confidential informants were reviewed and updated.
8. In September 2016, the Special Handling unit was dissolved. However, the classification detail (of which Special Handling was a part) is still responsible for managing Administrative Segregation inmates, Protective Custody inmates, and inmates who require additional custody protocols.
9. In September 2016, the Custody Intelligence Unit (“CIU”) was formed. The CIU is not a reincarnation of the Special Handling Unit. The purpose of the unit is investigative in nature, including interacting with city, state and federal law enforcement agencies; conducting operations inside OCSD jail facilities; managing confidential informants and maintaining informant documentation; investigating crimes committed inside the jail facilities; preparing intelligence/security briefings; and preparing various documents and discovery for court cases. The unit is comprised of one lieutenant, one sergeant, four investigators and two investigative assistants.
10. In October 2016, a search of every share computer drive in the Custody Division was initiated. Nineteen sergeants were assigned to review every document on the share drives.
11. On November 7, 2016 a search of the share drives containing more than 1.5 terabytes and more than 581,342 files was completed.
12. All documents located on the share drives that could potentially be responsive to any subpoenas, discovery requests are being reviewed pursuant to Brady vs. Maryland.
13. Since May of 2016, OCSD has been providing a variety of notes, emails, work logs, daily activity logs, memoranda, and other documents to the OCDA as a result of ongoing searches.
14. Training on proper record-keeping protocols, including legal holds has been conducted department-wide.
15. Since November 2014 the OCDA has provided training to the OCSD on discovery obligations pursuant to Brady. Furthermore, the OCDA has provided Brady training to every Orange County Sheriff’s Academy Class since March of 2015.
The members of OCSD and my leadership team remain committed to searching for and providing documents that are responsive to discovery requests and subpoenas. We will continue to cooperate with the Attorney General’s on-going criminal investigation. Our internal administrative investigation is still on-going and will be completed once the Attorney General’s criminal investigation is completed.