d. - big.· in the court of appeal of the state of california fourth appellate district, division

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  • IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

    FOURTH APPELLATE DISTRICT, DIVISION THREE

    PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA,

    Plaintiff and Appellant, Case No. G051696

    v.

    SCOTT EVANS DEKRAAI,

    Defendant and Respondent.

    Orange County Superior Court, Case No. 12ZF0128 The Honorable Thomas M. Goethals, Judge

    APPELLANT'S OPENING BRIEF

    KAMALA D. HARRIS Attorney General of California GERALD A. ENGLER Chief Assistant Attorney General JULIE L. GARLAND Senior Assistant Attorney General HOLLY D. WILKENS Supervising Deputy Attorney General THEODORE M. CROPLEY Deputy Attorney General State Bar No. 181364

    600 West Broadway, Suite 1800 San Diego, CA 92101 P.O. Box 85266 San Diego, CA 92186-5266 Telephone: (619) 645-2286 Fax: (619) 645-2012 E-mail: Theodore.Cropley@doj.ca.gov

    Attorneys for Appellant

  • TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Page

    Statement of Appealability ........................................................................... I

    Introduction ................................................................................................... !

    Statement of Case and Facts ......................................................................... 2

    Argument .................................................................................................... I 0

    The trial court abused its discretion in recusing the entire Orange County District Attorney's Office from prosecuting the penalty phase ofDekraai's trial because Dekraai failed to demonstrate that the District Attorney has a "conflict of interest" that renders it unlikely that Dekraai will receive a fair trial ............................................................................................ I 0

    A. Legal standards .......................................................... II

    B. The Orange County District Attorney's Oftice has no conflict of interest warranting recusal.. .......... l2

    I. The Orange County District Attorney's Office does not suffer from a conflict of interest ............................................................ 13

    2. Even assuming that the Orange County District Attorney's Office suffers from a conflict of interest, any such "conflict" does not prt:iudice Dekraai's right to a fair trial ........................................................... I 7

    Conclusion .................................................................................................. 27

  • TABLE OF AUTHORITIES

    Page

    CASES

    Brady v. Maryland (1963) 373 U.S. 83 ............................................................... 14, 15, 19,24

    Bullen v. Superior Court (1988) 204 Cal.App.3d 22 ...................................................................... 21

    Hambarian v. Superior Court (2002) 27 Cal.4th 826 ............................................................................ 18

    Haraguchi v. Superior Court (2008) 43 Cal.4th 706 ............................................................ 11 et passim

    Hollywood v. Superior Court (2008) 43 Cal.4th 721 ...................................................................... 11, 16

    In re Brown (1998) 17 Cal.4th 873 ............................................................................ 14

    In re Lee G. (1991) 1 Cal.App.4th 17 ......................................................................... 26

    Massiah v. United States (1964) 377 U.S. 201 ................................................................. 4, 5, 12, 18

    Mendibles v. Superior Court (1984) 162 Cal.App.3d 1191 .................................................................. 19

    Michigan v. Lucas (1991) 500 U.S. 145 ............................................................................... 20

    People ex rel. Clancy v. Superior Court (1985) 39 Cal.3d 740 .............................................................................. 24

    People ex ret. Younger v. Superior Court (Rabaca) (1978) 86 Cal.App.3d 180 ...................................................................... 27

    People v. Badgett (1995) 10 Ca1.4th 330 ............................................................................ 19

    11

  • People v. Brophy

    TABLE OF AUTHORITIES (continued)

    Page

    (1992) 5 Cal.App.4th 932 ....................................................................... 20

    People v. Bryant (2014) 60 Cal.4th 335 ............................................................ 11 et passim

    People v. Cannedy (2009) 176 Cal.App.4th 1474 ................................................................. 20

    People v. Conner (1983) 34 Cal.3d 141 .............................................................................. 21

    People v. Edwards (1993) 17 Cal.App.4th 1248 ................................................................... 20

    People v. Eubanks (1996) 14 Ca1.4th 580 .......................................................... 12, 19, 21,27

    People v. Gamache (2010) 48 Cal.4th 347 ............................................................................ 22

    People v. Gonzales (1994) 22 Cal.App.4th 1744 ................................................................... 20

    People v. Hamilton (1989) 48 Cal.3d 1142 ...................................................................... 18, 20

    People v. Hayes (1990) 52 Cal.3d 577 .............................................................................. 19

    People v, Jenkins (2000) 22 Ca1.4th 900 ............................................................................ 19

    People v. Merritt (1993) 19 Cal.App.4th 1573 ................................................................... 20

    People v. Millwee (1998) 18 Cal. 4th 96 .............................................................................. 20

    iii

  • People v. Parmar

    TABLE OF AUTHORITIES (continued)

    Page

    (200 1) 86 Cal.App.4th 781... ............................................................ 18, 26

    People v. Superior Court (Greer) (1977) 19 Cal.3d 255 .............................................................................. 21

    People v. Superior Court (Humberto S.) (2008) 43 Ca1.4th 737 ............................................................................ 21

    People v. Turner (1994) 8 Cal.4th 137 .............................................................................. 20

    People v. Vasquez (2006) 39 Cal.4th 47 .............................................................................. 21

    People v. Wimberly (1992) 5 Cal.App.4th 773 ....................................................................... 19

    People v. Zamora (1980) 28 Cal.3d 88 ................................................................................ 20

    Taylor v. Illinois (1988) 484 u.s. 400 ............................................... : ............................... 20

    Young v. United States ex rel. Vuitton et Fils S.A. (1987) 481 u.s. 787 ............................................................................... 18

    iv

  • STATUTES

    Evidence Code

    TABLE OF AUTHORITIES (continued)

    Page

    1040 ....................................................................................................... 6 1042 ....................................................................................................... 6

    Penal Code 1054.5 .................................................................................................. 20 1424 ....................................................................................... 1 et passim

    CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS

    United States Constitution VI Amendment ......................................................................................... 4

    v

  • STATEMENT OF APPEALABILITY

    This appeal by the Attorney General of California, following the grant

    ofDekraai's motion to recuse the Orange County District Attorney's Office

    ("OCDA"), is authorized by Penal Code section 1424. 1 Section 1424

    states, in pertinent part, "An order recusing the district attorney from any

    proceeding may be reviewed by extraordinary writ or may be appealed by

    the district attorney or the Attorney General."

    INTRODUCTION

    In January 2014, Dekraai filed a motion to recuse the OCDA alleging

    that the OCDA and the Orange County Sheriffs Office ("OCSO") were

    intentionally failing to disclose to defense counsel in multiple cases details

    about the use of confidential informants in the jail. While the recusal

    motion was being litigated, the OCDA agreed that Dekraai's rights had

    been violated in connection with the use of an informant and voluntarily

    stipulated that evidence obtained through the informant would not be used

    in the case. Additionally, Dekraai pled guilty as charged to eight counts of

    premeditated first degree murder, and admitted the multiple-murder special

    circumstance allegation, and one count of attempted murder. After

    extensive evidentiary hearings, the trial court granted Dekraai's motion and

    recused the OCDA from the case. The trial court erroneously relied on

    systemic problems within the OCSO and misconduct solely attributable to

    the OCSO in this case to find that the OCDA had a cont1ict of interest that

    likely would deny Dekraai a fair trial. Furthermore, recusing the OCDA is

    not an appropriate remedy as a matter of law for the "conflict" identified by

    the trial court.

    1 Hereafter, all statutory references are to the Penal Code unless otherwise indicated.

    1

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