On June 19, 2015, the Los Angeles Times ran a news story about a case that has been occurring in Orange County, California. The story is about an Orange County clerk who has appeared to have illegally fixed up to 1,000 misdemeanor traffic cases and DUIs with forged records and fake plea deals, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The clerk’s actions are now being investigated by county prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to Jeffrey Wertheimer, legal counsel for the Orange County Superior Courts, there are approximately 1,000 cases that date back to 2010 across Orange County.
Wertheirmer said that it appears as if the cases are tied to one clerk who ceased working for the courts in recent months. He wouldn’t say as to whether the clerk was fired or if he left voluntarily. The authorities have not released the suspect’s name.
In many of the cases tied to the clerk, either punishment was never given or defendants received heavily reduced penalties, the Las Angeles Times reported.
Latino Defendants Were Primarily Targeted
The clerk targeted primarily Latino defendants, who were steered into a scheme that illegally and fraudulently resolved their cases. Many of the attorneys recorded as representing clients contend that they had never represented them, said Wertheimer.
According to Wertheimer, the courts are seeking to correct all of the cases; some began last week and are being continued in the courthouse in Westminster. Thus far, dozens of defendants have been summoned with their defense attorneys to appear before the judge.
The LA Times reports that the alleged misconduct was uncovered when another court employee discovered an incomplete DUI case. Because of that questionable case, the court decided to review all of the cases handled by the same clerk.
The illegal case resolutions are now being investigated by an Orange County public corruption task force.
Virginia Landry Speaks About Case
In the LA Times article, Orange CountyDUI Attorney, Virginia L. Landry said that attorneys from her firm and others were called to the court for clients that they had never heard of before. Landry said that her suspicion is that someone used the names of firm attorneys in an effort to make the case resolutions appear legitimate.
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