Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens admitted that informants in local jails were placed next to targeted inmates but the practice wasn't as common as courts say they are.
“There is no (jailhouse informant) program, per se. There is activity.”
She also says that she relies on key advisers to get information on the informants and not necessarily from reports or court transcripts.
Her testimony comes during the hearing on the jailhouse informant scandal that has plagued the OC justice system for years.
This is connected to the trial of admitted mass murderer Scott Dekraai and how informants were used to get info on him.
Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals called for this hearing last month to find out if the department destroyed evidence related to informants, and why it took four years for them to turn over evidence in the case.
Goethals says he may even remove the death penalty from consideration for Dekraai, who killed eight people in a Seal Beach salon six years ago.
It is legal for informants to be used on inmates who don't have legal representation but for those like Dekraai who do, whatever information gotten can't be used against them.
Over the past five years, at least a half-dozen murder or attempted murder cases have come undone in Orange County because of informant problems and prosecutors not defense lawyers about key evidence that might help their clients.