A former Orange County Superior Court clerk now known as “the fixer” and the “inside guy” has been accused of fixing more than 1,000 drunk driving violations and traffic tickets. Though authorities have not released his name, at least one attorney is willing to hire a private investigator to learn the identity of the clerk so he can be cross-examined regarding the forgeries.1
A grand jury began hearing testimony in July from at least some of the people who paid the “the fixer” thousands of dollars to reduce their plea, dismiss their case, drop charges, or reduce the penalties for their offense, most of which were DUI convictions. Currently, authorities believe that the former clerk altered 1,058 cases between 2009 and 2015.2
Some defendants thought their cases were resolved, while many of the attorneys had never heard of the people they were recorded as defending. At least one defendant was recorded as serving time for their offense, even though they had never been to jail.3
As the investigation continued, authorities determined that Latino defendants seemed to be targeted by the scheme. Judge Thomas Borris of Superior Court in Westminster grilled each defendant as they stood before him, having them explain why their resolutions should not be vacated. Borris reinstated many of the fines and fees the defendants thought were erased, and said they could discuss a plea bargain with the prosecutor, while others were taken straight to jail.
One defendant admitted paying about $8,000 to have his drunk driving arrest “fixed.” He said that a friend had told him that an inside guy could help him right away, and have the offense “taken care of.” Borris ordered the man to return to court for sentencing and as he left the court, an FBI agent handed him a subpoena to appear in federal court as a witness against “the fixer.”4
Through it all, it was unclear if some defendants were victims or if they participated in the fraud. At least one attorney argued that his client’s due process rights were being violated by the unfair reopening of the cases.
The falsified cases were first discovered in March 2015 when an official with the court noticed the files for a DUI cases were irregular. That led to administrators finding more than 1,000 altered cases within hours of finding the first. All files were accessed with the former clerk’s ID. The clerk’s name is being withheld from the press as the matter moves forward in the grand jury.
Authorities say that the Orange County Superior Court system is working with computer technicians to prevent something like this from occurring again in the future.
Share Your Feedback With Us
We at Wallin & Klarich would like to hear from you about this topic. Do you believe that the court violated the defendants’ rights by summoning them all back to court because of the allegedly fraudulent actions of the former clerk? Why some defendants admitted to paying the “fixer” to reduce their charges or penalties, what do you think should happen to the cases of those who did not participate in the fraud? What do you think should happen to the clerk for his actions? Please feel free to leave your comments below.
1. [http://www.ocregister.com/articles/dinari-669022-cases-county.html ]↩
2. [http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-grand-jury-oc-courthouse-tampering-20150630-story.html ]↩
3. [http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-clerk-illegally-fixes-tickets-20150619-story.html ]↩
4. [http://www.latimes.com/local/orangecounty/la-me-oc-fixed-tickets-20150620-story.html ]↩