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Orange County Prosecutor Resigns Amid False Testimony Allegations

Former Orange County deputy district attorney Erik S. Petersen has resigned from his position in the wake of accusations that he provided false testimony in connection to a murder case last year. Petersen, who was also a major gang crimes lead prosecutor, has accepted a job in another state. His resignation will be effective September 18th and will impact several cases in the OC criminal justice system.

Here is some additional information about Petersen’s resignation:

  • The case in question involved mass murderer Scott Evans Dekraai, who shot and killed his wife and seven other bystanders in a Seal Beach beauty salon in 2011. It was the largest mass murder in Orange County history.
  • During a hearing in the case concerning trial irregularities, Petersen testified that informant evidence wasn’t released in another case because Terri K. Flynn-Peister, then an assistant U.S. Attorney from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, wanted the information withheld.
  • Later, in proceedings concerning the misuse of informants by law enforcement, Flynn-Peister testified that she did not tell Petersen to withhold the information. The Judge overseeing the hearing agreed that the court did not believe Petersen’s testimony, and stated that he unsuccessfully tried to shift the blame for his breach.
  • Petersen and the entire Orange County District Attorney’s office were recused from Dekraai’s case for improperly withholding evidence from the defense.

Petersen’s alleged conduct and resignation say a great deal about the fact that prosecutors have the ability to abuse their power and disobey the law. It also speaks volumes about the power we, as defense attorneys, have to expose such injustices. For example, the lead county public defender in the Dekraai case exposed a number of irregularities that impacted several defendants’ sentences and their rights to fair trials.

At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. our attorneys have spent years working in the Orange County court system. We know how prosecutors work to gain convictions, and we use this insight to help clients facing criminal allegations. By having our team on their side, our clients can rest assured they we will fight to protect their rights at all points of the legal process.