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California

4 Orange County deputies fired after audit finds widespread mishandling of evidence

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department in Santa Ana
Of 15 deputies criminally investigated, four deputies were fired and seven disciplined.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Four Orange County sheriff’s deputies have been fired after an audit found systemic lapses in the handling of evidence.

The audit discovered that nearly one-third of the evidence collected by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department from February 2016 to February 2018 was booked beyond the agency’s one-day policy, the Orange County Register reported Monday.

Some bookings were tardy by more than a month, creating questions about chain of custody.

Fifteen deputies were criminally investigated in connection with the probe, but the district attorney’s office declined to file charges. Besides the four terminations, seven deputies were disciplined, and four cases are pending.

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The audit showed a lack of consistent and accurate entries and no system of accountability.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Braun said the department had since improved the booking of evidence.


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