An Irvine man has launched an online petition calling for the arrest and prosecution of an investigator with the Orange County district attorney's office who was involved in a confrontation at the Santa Ana courthouse.
The investigator, Dillon Alley, became involved in an altercation with a defense attorney Wednesday at the courthouse that left the attorney battered and bloodied.
Alley, whose identity was revealed in court documents, has been accused of slamming the defense attorney's head into a bench and pummeling him.
The change.org petition calling for his arrest has garnered more than 900 digital signatures over the last two days. It calls on Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris to "arrest, prosecute and convict Dillon Alley" of felony assault.
"Had Mr. Alley been a Public Defender investigator and attacked a prosecutor, we can be reasonably certain that he would have been arrested immediately," wrote the petition's creator Andrew Levine. "It's time to hold the employees of prosecution offices to the same standards."
About 10:30 a.m. defense attorney James Crawford was advising a woman who had been subpoenaed to testify as the victim of a brawl. Alley was there to watch over the woman, Crawford's lawyer, Jerry Steering, previously told The Times.
After the pair traded insults and tossed a paper clip at one another, Steering said Alley attacked Crawford, leaving his eye badly swollen.
Paul Meyer, an attorney representing the district attorney investigator, said his client was also injured in the brawl, but he declined to specify how.
Meyer and the district attorney's office had previously refused to identify Alley.
Lt. Steve Prendergast of the Gardena Police Department said Dillon Alley worked there as an officer from 1992 to 2006 and was "honorably separated."
The incident comes as the office of Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas is embroiled in an embarrassing controversy that shows no signs of abating. Numerous convictions, including homicide cases, have fallen apart amid claims by defense lawyers that authorities improperly withheld information about jailhouse informants.
In late February, an Orange County Superior Court judge ordered a new trial for Crawford's client Henry Rodriguez, 39, who was convicted of participating in the murder of a 22-year-old woman. The judge ruled that authorities had improperly withheld records showing a key prosecution witness had been an informant in numerous cases.