Sheriff’s Captain to Stand Trial in O.C. in Donations Case

Times Staff Writer

An Orange County sheriff’s captain accused of illegally soliciting campaign donations for Sheriff Michael S. Carona has been scheduled to go on trial April 24.

Los Angeles County Judge Dewey Lawes Falcone, who was assigned the case after the entire Orange County bench recused itself because of potential conflicts, will still preside over the trial but agreed that Capt. Christine Murray had a right to be tried by a jury in Orange County.

Falcone was assigned the case by the state Judicial Council after a recusal order by a presiding judge in Orange County. Court officials said the order was standard in cases involving sheriff’s personnel because the department provides security and bailiffs for the county’s courthouses.


During a hearing Friday, Falcone said he would ask Orange County court officials for a pool of 45 potential jurors, and that he expected the trial to last 10 days.

Senior Assistant Atty. Gen. Gary W. Schons, the lead prosecutor, submitted a list of 29 potential witnesses that includes sheriff’s advisor Michael J. Schroeder, campaign manager John Lewis, two former assistant sheriffs and 17 other ranking department officials.

Murray’s attorney, Jennifer Keller, has not yet submitted a witness list.

Murray, a decorated investigator, has pleaded not guilty to 16 misdemeanor counts of soliciting donations from other department employees for Carona’s reelection campaign.

The allegations date to early last year, when an internal investigation found that Murray had improperly downloaded a list of employee names with home addresses and telephone numbers from a computer in the sheriff’s executive office, and used the information to solicit contributions, according to court papers.