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Alternate view of Oakland Police Dept. "Riders" prosecutions by DA Tom Orloff
by Steve White (boatbrain [at] aol.com)
Thursday Jun 24th, 2004 5:35 PM
An explanation, with legal citations, for the inherent conflict of interest Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff has in prosecuting the Oakland "Riders" renegade cops
Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff has been soundly criticized for losing the first "Riders" trial, and now has decided to retry the three accused officers, on those charges for which the jury was hung in the first trial.

Various community groups, particularly churchs with primarily African American congregations, have pressured Orloff for the retrial, but have not questioned his ability to be objective, or any potential conflicts of interest Orloff has in prosecuting the case.

Rather than looking to Orloff to do it over again, the critics would be better off asking him to recuse himself, and hand the case over to the Attorney General, or Federal prosecutors. Here's why:

The City of Oakland has already paid 117 litigants, who claimed abuses by the OPD, a $10.5M settlement. Of those 117, many had already been successfully prosecuted by Orloff's office, but have had their convictions reveresed. The settlement appears to be a payoff to prevent the circumstances of their cases from being brought to light.

The actions of Mr. Orloff, and his subordinates, should be investigated by some outside party. How did the DA's office wrongfully prosecute over 100 people? Did the attorneys in the office always believe the Riders phony testimony, or did they suspect it was perjured, but pretend to believe it because it was just easier?

An outside investigation is necessary to determine what went wrong, and what internal controls have been put in place, if any, to ensure bad cops will not automtically be "believed" in the future.

As for Orloff prosecuting the "Riders" he has chosen to only prosecute crimes which allegedly took place while his ex-rookie cop, star witness, rode with them for less than two weeks.

The City of Oakland felt the 117 claims of OTHER wrongdoing by the OPD was worth $10.5M, but Orloff is not even looking at those claims, because his own office might be found very badly deficient, or even criminal, if all the facts came to light in those cases.

It's time for another prosecutor to take a complete look into why the other cases were prosecuted at all, and Orloff to recuse himself from this case.
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Attorney General would not interfere in Orloff's case because they are old buddiesSteve WhiteFriday Feb 2nd, 2007 3:52 PM

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