DA rips grand jury report | TahoeDailyTribune.com

DA rips grand jury report

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Countering what he calls a personal attack, El Dorado County District Attorney Gary Lacy released a searing response to a grand jury report alleging inappropriate behavior.

Lacy wrote a 16-page response and included 13 exhibits of supporting paperwork to his claim that a “runaway” grand jury was on a witch hunt.

“By misconstruing, misinterpreting and misunderstanding the evidence they did collect, and misunderstanding the applicable law, the grand jury has reached findings which are inconsistent with the truth,” Lacy wrote in the response released Monday. “I have never in my 20 years of practice as an attorney and my 18 years as a prosecutor, seen a more egregious abuse of a government process designed to ferret out the truth for the benefit of the public.”

His comments were directed at the Criminal Justice Committee, a group of grand jurors investigating law enforcement agencies.

The 2002-03 final report included in its findings that Lacy hired a woman for clerical duties while in a relationship with her, involved himself in the woman’s court cases, had $1,254 unaccounted for in a personal office safe and lied to a court commissioner.

Richard Brunner, foreman of the grand jury, could not be reached for comment. El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Jerald Lasarow, the supervising judge of the 2002-03 grand jury, declined to comment since he hadn’t read Lacy’s response.

Lacy, the county’s district attorney since 1994, disagreed with 11 of the grand jury’s 13 findings. He disputed the credibility of a citizen — the father of the woman’s child — who complained of the alleged misbehavior.

“It is an unfortunate aspect of this grand jury investigation and a very poor reflection on the integrity of their entire process that the grand jury did not care to investigate the credibility of … whom they heavily relied on for information,” Lacy wrote.

Lacy contends the man filed false police reports — including one alleging Lacy and the woman conspired to kill her daughter and blame the man for it — just to harass the woman.

The grand jury also looked into Lacy engaging in improper discussions with then Commissioner Gregory Emery in 1999. Talks centered on discrepancies on two restraining orders concerning the woman.

The grand jury questioned whether Lacy broke a state bar rule when he improperly spoke to the commissioner, a judicial officer and gave a misrepresentation of facts to the citizen panel.

Lacy responded that the California State Bar contacted him in 2000. An investigation began and Lacy was cleared in April.

“When I provided the reports the state bar relied on for their investigation, along with their letter clearing me of any wrongdoing to the grand jury, the grand jurors appeared to be disinterested,” Lacy wrote.

It astonished the district attorney that his office wasn’t contacted to train the grand jurors in legal proceedings before the investigations took place. When Lacy and the woman testified before the grand jury, Lacy said there wasn’t an attorney present.

“There were a lot of irregularities that went on with this grand jury,” Lacy said.

The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors is preparing to release its own response to the grand jury report. Final amendments will be made at the Sept. 13 meeting. The completed response will be voted upon on Sept. 23 for final adoption.

Lacy’s response can be viewed under the press release section at http://www.co.el-dorado.ca.us/eldoda.

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