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CA: Public Defender seeks removal of OC DA from sex offender parole violation cases

The Orange County Public Defender’s Office is seeking to have the Orange County District Attorney’s Office removed from prosecuting five sex offenders accused of violating parole after they were released early from local lockup.

The parole violation cases involving a handful of sex offenders has become the highest-profile flash point in an ongoing battle over early release for some Orange County inmates in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer earlier this month publicly condemned a court commisioner’s decision to allow seven “high risk” sex offenders accused of cutting off or tampering with their GPS monitors be be released after spending days in county jail. The DAs office put out a community warning that included photos of the men and descriptions of past crimes they had been convicted of, and, in later interviews with local and national press, Spitzer alleged that their release was part of a larger effort by court officials to reduce the jail population.

Orange County judicial officials have not commented on the criticism, citing legal and ethical restrictions that bar judges and commissioners from speaking about active criminal cases. Public Defender Sharon Petrosino accused Spitzer of “fear-mongering” and distorting the facts of the cases to scare the public. read more

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