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San Diego County decide takes up OC homicide case, prosecutorial misconduct allegations – Orange County Register

On the floor, the speedy query earlier than San Diego County Superior Courtroom Decide Daniel Goldstein is whether or not to dismiss homicide expenses towards Paul Gentile Smith, whose conviction in Orange County was overturned as a result of proof was withheld that would have helped his protection.

However the deeper problem is the destiny of Ebrahim Baytieh, the prosecutor in that case and now an elected Orange County Superior Courtroom decide. Baytieh is accused by Smith’s new lawyer of concealing proof within the Smith case for greater than 10 years and overlaying up the unlawful use of jailhouse informants by prosecutors and legislation enforcement.

Goldstein took up the case Friday, assembly the attorneys and asking them to return Dec. 8.

Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders is hoping to have an evidentiary listening to that may drive Baytieh and sheriff’s investigators to testify.

“We definitely hope Decide Baytieh can reply to the allegations,” Sanders stated. “And sheriff’s deputies have a second alternative to do what is correct and testify within the case they investigated.”

Prior to now, the deputies have invoked their constitutional proper to not incriminate themselves.

Baytieh is prohibited as a decide from responding to media inquiries, in line with a spokesman for the Orange County Superior Courtroom.

Since Baytieh is a sitting decide, the case was kicked by the Orange County bench to San Diego County, presumably to keep away from a battle of curiosity.

At problem is using a number of informants on Smith by Baytieh and sheriff’s investigators, even after the defendant was formally charged and had an lawyer, which is prohibited by legislation. Authorities disclosed solely one of many three informants to Smith’s protection attorneys and made it seem that Smith’s admissions got here randomly and weren’t the product of an organized snitch operation.

A recorded interview by sheriff’s investigators of one of many informants detailed how Smith’s rights have been violated, nevertheless it was not turned over to the protection till 10 years after Smith’s trial.

Smith was convicted in 2010 of killing and burning the physique of a childhood pal in Sundown Seaside. Nonetheless, the conviction was thrown out by a decide in 2021 after sheriff’s investigators refused to testify about their use of informants. A brand new trial is pending.

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