RIVERSIDE- Riverside County Supervisors discussed the findings of a grand jury report for the first time. It’s a direct rebuke against District Attorney Rod Pacheco, accusing him of using “fear and intimidation.”
The grand jury report also states the D.A. wasted half a million dollars on his Executive Division at a time when the D.A. is coming to the county saying he can’t cut anything out of his budget.
“I just asked if there’s anything that would help us with our budget problem. We have to cut our budget and the D.A.’s office is very important in that regard,” said County Supervisor Bob Buster.
News Channel 3 uncovered an FBI investigation into the District Attorney’s office in 2007 and we first revealed the grand jury investigation last year.
When approached with our knowledge of the grand jury investigation in 2008, Pacheco responded, “You know, I don’t know anything about that. In fact, I have contact with the Grand Jury on other matters if they were in need is me. They’ve never asked any of our folks to go and talk to them. So, I don’t know anything about that. Seems a little funny to me.”
But, this year’s grand jury surprised Pacheco with their findings.
Local judge Gary Tranbarger added the numbers showing problems for D.A. Pacheco. Since he took office, only 43 percent of people got convicted as charged. 26 percent got a lighter sentence than charged. That’s lower than most other California counties.
A recent editorial by Riverside County Public Defender Addison Steele says the Public Defender’s office is winning too many cases. It claims D.A. Pacheco forces his prosecutors to file charges they can’t prove.
We went to the District Attorney’s office for an on-camera interview.
None of the members of the Executive Division would come downstairs.
Instead, they sent us an email stating, “Had the members of the Grand Jury taken the time and opportunity to discuss their concerns directly with the District Attorney, their purported findings, at the least, might have sustained a higher level of credibility.”
The District Attorney denies the grand jury claims and says crime is down on his watch. County Supervisors are just beginning to react to the grand jury report, most deciding to wait and see.
“We don’t like to go with our gut reactions here. We like to resolve particularly very important budget issues because the District Attorney’s Office has a key role in our justice system, we certainly don’t want to impede that,” added Supervisor Buster.
County leaders have 90 days to respond to a grand jury deadline.
To read the full grand jury report, click HERE.
To read the District Attorney’s response, click HERE.