Court weighs alleged misuse of jail informants

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Updated: 3/18/2014 1:00 pm

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — An Orange County court has begun hearing evidence on allegations that authorities used jailhouse informants in high-profile murder and gang crime cases in violation of suspects' constitutional rights.

Judge Thomas M. Goethals on Tuesday heard allegations by assistant public defender Scott Sanders that authorities improperly used jailhouse informants to interrogate suspects and tried to cover it up. Prosecutors say the allegations are unfounded.

Sanders wants the judge to strike the death penalty from the mass murder case against Scott Dekraai and recuse the district attorney's office from the case. Dekraai is charged with killing eight people at a Seal Beach hair salon in 2011.

Jailhouse informant Fernando Perez says authorities told him not to ask inmates about their cases but if they confessed he could write it down.

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