O.C. Sheriff Sandra Hutchens Tesifies in Jailhouse Informant Case

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens testified Wednesday that her deputies may have flouted rules regarding jailhouse informants, but that such conduct was committed only “by a few.”

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens on July 5, 2017 answers questions from Asst. Public Defender Scott Sanders while testifying in a hearing on her agency's use of jailhouse informants in the case of convicted mass shooter Scott Dekraai. (Credit: Allen J. Schaben /Los Angeles Times)

“It is not something widespread,” Hutchens said under questioning from Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders, who alleges that the Sheriff's Department has engaged in an elaborate, decades-long jailhouse snitch operation that it took great pains to conceal from defense attorneys.

Asked to elaborate, Hutchens pointed to Seth Tunstall, William Grover and Ben Garcia, who worked as jailers in the so-called special handling unit that dealt with informers. “They are still under criminal investigation” by the California attorney general's office, Hutchens said.

Hutchens added: “There may have been a few deputies who took their duties to different levels than were authorized.”

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