Friday, March 18, 2016

OCDA statement refutes defense attorney James Crawford's Legal Eagles Brawl account

Posted by CotoBlogzz

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA - The  Central Justice Center in Santa Ana was the site of Bloody Wednesday at the OK Corral,  where two legal eagles went at it, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. According to accounts in the local media, defense lawyer James Crawford ended up bloodied up 

"in the aftermath of a courthouse beating he says was committed by a DA investigator."

Crawford's swollen face and bloody shirt resulted after one of DA Tony Rackauckas' investigators "pummeled" him in the midst of a brief, terse exchange about who was more sleazy: defense lawyers exposing the systematic cheating involving jailhouse informants or prosecutors and police who've repeatedly violated constitutional rights and hidden evidence to win convictions."

The version of the same account as told by the Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) is quite different.  According to the OCDA:

Two sides of the same coin - I tend to believe the OCDA's account, perhaps not to the nth degree

An OCDA Investigative Assistant was assigned to translate for OCDA Investigator Dillon Alley and was present during the altercation and signed a declaration under penalty of perjury which is summarized in part:

At approximately 9:55 a.m. on March 9, 2016, Alley was in court and began a conversation with a witness and her husband in the Arroyo case near the benches outside of the entrance to Department C-38. Two men then approached the OCDA Investigative Assistant and Alley. The first man asked the witness her name and Alley calmly asked who he was.

The second man, later identified as Attorney JAMES CRAWFORD, said something like, "What difference does it make? I was appointed by the judge to represent her; Crawford's tone was needlessly confrontational and unprofessional; CRAWFORD did not give his name, but ESPINOZA introduced himself as a court interpreter;

Alley calmly informed Crawford that he was the OCDA Investigator on the case and was asking Crawford to identify himself because Alley believed the witness had been harassed by members of one of the defendant's family. The witness and Crawford then went "down the hall away from us so they could talk."

After talking for a few minutes, Crawford, the court interpreter, and the witness came back to where Alley, the witness' husband, and the OCDA Investigative Assistant were.
CRAWFORD walked behind ALLEY and placed his face about three to six inches from ALLEY's ear; I heard CRAWFORD call ALLEY a "f*****g a*****e";

As Crawford was walking away, Alley asked Crawford what he had just said.
CRAWFORD stopped, looked at ALLEY, and said, 'Look at you, you fat f**k'; ALLEY said to CRAWFORD, "F**k you"; The witness then stated, "Look at how he (CRAWFORD) is behaving. I don't want him to be my lawyer.

Crawford then walked in front with the court interpreter to Department C-40 as Alley walked a short distance behind. Alley was walking approximately four to five feet behind Crawford when Alley flicked a mini binder clip at Crawford, which struck the lower part of the back of Crawford's jacket. Crawford stopped, picked up the binder clip, and threw the clip forcefully at Alley. Alley raised his hand to block the binder clip.

CRAWFORD was infuriated; CRAWFORD struck ALLEY in the face with his hand; ALLEY and CRAWFORD began to fist fight, striking each other multiple times; As they fought, CRAWFORD ended up on the floor with his back against the edge of the bench; ALLEY and CRAWFORD continued to hit each other; ALLEY primarily struck CRAWFORD in the face;  CRAWFORD's punches were at ALLEY's torso, which he hit multiple times;"

Another OCDA Investigator near Department C-40 attempted to pull Crawford and Alley apart as Orange County Sheriff's Department deputies and other law enforcement personnel arrived.

ALLEY attempted to back away from CRAWFORD; ALLEY raised his hands in the air and said, 'I'm a DA investigator. He hit me first'; As ALLEY attempted to back away, CRAWFORD had both of his hands on ALLEY'S necktie; As ALLEY tried to back up, CRAWFORD pulled on ALLEY's tie in a downward motion toward him (CRAWFORD); Law enforcement personnel surrounded CRAWFORD and ALLEY; CRAWFORD finally let go of ALLEY's tie; CRAWFORD stood up and lunged at ALLEY again; CRAWFORD kicked ALLEY in the upper thigh; CRAWFORD attempted to punch ALLEY a few more times; ALLEY continued to back away from CRAWFORD during CRAWFORD's attempts to revive the fight; OC Sheriff's personnel had to hold CRAWFORD back to stop him from starting another fight with ALLEY; I saw a large red mark on ALLEY's left cheek and injuries to his hand;"

Following the altercation, the OCDA Investigative Assistant accompanied the witness to Department C-40. The witness "told me she did not want CRAWFORD to represent her and later asked the court to give her a different lawyer." The witness went on to say that, "she could not believe CRAWFORD's behavior and that CRAWFORD had started the fight by hitting ALLEY first."

The court relieved Crawford as the witness' counsel and "CRAWFORD left the courtroom smiling and waving at someone seated behind me."

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