Court records might have been fal­si­fied

O.C. judge is re­vis­it­ing cases that ap­pear to have been ‘re­solved’ through tam­per­ing.

Los Angeles Times - - THE STATE - By Emily Fox­hall and Christo­pher Gof­fard emily.fox­hall@la­times.com christo­pher.gof­fard@la­times.com

At­tor­ney Char­maine Druyor said she­was puz­zled when she re­ceived a no­tice two weeks ago order­ing her to ap­pear Fri­day in the West­min­ster court­room of Judge Thomas Bor­ris. It con­cerned a man whose charge of driv­ing on a suspended li­cense had been dis­missed in 2012.

Druyor, a crim­i­nal de­fense at­tor­ney in Or­ange, was listed in court files as the at­tor­ney of record. But she didn’t re­mem­ber the sup­posed client’s name and couldn’t find in her com­puter any sign that she had rep­re­sented him.

The man, who was also sum­moned to court Fri­day, seemed con­fused as well. “When he saw me he knew for sure I wasn’t his at­tor­ney,” Druyor said.

It is one of scores of cases Bor­ris ex­am­ined Fri­day as part of a probe into record tam­per­ing at the court­house. The ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties ap­par­ently in­cluded the use of real lawyers’ names in cases they never han­dled, with the aim of mak­ing the charges go away.

Bor­ris told de­fen­dants — who be­lieved their cases had been set­tled — to show why their res­o­lu­tions shouldn’t be va­cated. FBI agents were at the court­house in­ter­view­ing de­fen­dants. The FBI, the Or­ange County dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice and court of­fi­cials would not dis­cuss the case.

“I’ve never seen any­thing like this,” Druyor said. “Some­one fal­si­fied records. We don’t know how many [de­fen­dants] were vic­tims and how many were part of the fraud.”

She said her sup­posed client’s dis­missal was va­cated, and he was al­lowed to plead guilty and pay a fine. In some cases, the judge or­dered war­rants for the de­fen­dants’ ar­rest.

Lolita Kirk, a Santa Ana crim­i­nal de­fense at­tor­ney, re­ceived a no­tice to ap­pear be­fore Bor­ris con­cern­ing three dif­fer­ent de­fen­dants. Court records in­di­cated they had been her clients, but she told the judge she had never rep­re­sented them.

In one case, she said, court records in­di­cated a de­fen­dant had served time in jail, but on Fri­day the court called the jail and found the de­fen­dant had not. So the judge had the de­fen­dant taken into cus­tody.

Kirk spec­u­lated that some­one had been paid to fix the records. “I don’t know whether there’s a fraud be­ing per­pe­trated against de­fen­dants,” she said. “It’s all spec­u­la­tive.”

For the next two Fri­days, she said, Bor­ris’ docket is dom­i­nated by sim­i­larly re­called cases.

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