- Associated Press - Friday, June 10, 2016

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - Authorities in Orange County, California, have acknowledged an extensive log detailing the handling of jailhouse informants was kept by sheriff’s deputies but never released despite court hearings last year over the use of snitches in the high-profile case of a mass killer.

The district attorney’s office has turned over more than 1,100 pages of notes to the judge who oversaw the investigation and said the material impeaches the testimony of deputies who took the stand.

It was not immediately clear how many criminal cases could be affected by the newly discovered information. Prosecutors are sifting through the material to find out.

“There are informer names on almost every page as well as numerous mentions of high-profile inmates and frequent confidential informer (CI) interaction with numerous inmates, including high-profile inmates,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement late Thursday.

The revelation came as the Southern California county’s use of jailhouse informants is being investigated by state Attorney General Kamala Harris. Some legal scholars and advocates have also asked for a federal investigation.

After last year’s hearings, Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Goethals found deputies lied or withheld information about the use of snitches.

He pulled the district attorney’s office off the death penalty case of convicted Seal Beach salon shooter Scott Dekraai and turned the prosecution over to the state attorney general’s office, which has appealed his ruling.

Authorities cannot use jailhouse informants to deliberately seek out information from defendants who are represented by attorneys.

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said she was not aware of the log until it came to light in another criminal case in February. Since then, the agency has turned over all the information to county prosecutors and the state and has retrained jail staff on record-keeping procedures, she said in a statement.

“It is important for the public to know that we have been responsive to all subpoenas, discovery requests and legal mandates based on our knowledge at the time,” she said.

The attorney general’s office said in a statement that dozens of witnesses have been interviewed in its investigation and new evidence has recently been produced.

“At every step, Attorney General Harris’ goal has been to complete a thorough investigation and uncover any and all criminal misconduct in this case and to ensure that justice is served,” it said.

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