Friday, March 07, 2008

OC Sheriff personnel not criminally liable in death of Chamberlain- OCDA

OC Sheriff personnel not criminally liable in death of Chamberlain- OCDA

If we could have proven that any member of the Sheriff's Department, was criminally responsible for the death of Mr. Chamberlain, there is no question that indictments would have been issued

March 7, 2008

OCDA Tony Rackauckas announced today the conclusion of the criminal portion of a grand jury investigation into the beating murder of inmate, John Chamberlain and the indictment against three former inmates. Nine former inmates, in total now, face murder charges, with no other criminal indictments expected at this time based on the investigation. Their trial is currently scheduled to begin on June 13.

According to Rackauckas, the investigation was looking into whether there was a failure of duty or malfeasance by any Sheriff's jail personnel; whether any Sheriff personnel aided and abetted the murder of Chamberlain or was criminally liable in his death; whether there was a violation of existing investigative protocol; identify other inmate assailants; and any other facts involving the investigation into the Chamberlain matter.

During the nine months of service by the Special Grand Jury, 79 witnesses were called including 42 Sheriff's personnel and five retired Sheriff's officials, including former Sheriffs Michael Carona and Brad Gates.

Responding to critics “.. that based on the press accounts and rumors about the failure of Sheriff's personnel to perform their duties, the grand jury should have issued indictments against them”, Rackauckas, notes that, “ order to charge anyone with a crime, we must prove beyond a reasonable doubt all of the elements of the offense.” And proceeds to cite California Penal Code section 192(b) to support his argument, concluding that “If we could have proven a case that any member of the Sheriff's Department, from the lowest ranking to the top of the Department, was criminally responsible for the death of Mr. Chamberlain, there is no question that indictments would have been issued”, according to the DA.

Mr. Rackauckas then indicates that because “.. of the voluminous nature of the proceedings, the transcripts will not likely be available for public examination until approximately eight weeks from now” and promises that “as soon as I am legally able to reveal the facts presented to the Special Criminal Grand Jury, I look forward to submitting a detailed report to the Board of Supervisors and the public”. The Rackauckas adds “I want this report to facilitate a public dialog about how in-custody deaths should be investigated in Orange County. We are going to discuss what penal reforms should take place in Orange County and clean up our act”

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Injury Collision at Coto de Caza Drive and Vista Del Verde
While an eleven-year old male was running across Coto de Caza Drive at Vista Del Verde in the marked crosswalk on February 26, 2008 at 6:15 pm, according to a report filed by CHP investigating officer Hall and released by CHP spokesperson Christopher...

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