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