Kern County, California, is apparently no place to seek justice. The Kern County Sheriff’s Department is infamous for its handling of residents — both inside and outside the jail it controls. During a four-month stretch in 2013, the Sheriff’s Department was involved with three in-custody deaths. In two of the three cases, deputies applied a ton of force to arrestees, resulting in de facto death penalties for the crimes they allegedly committed.
The Kern County DA’s office is seemingly no better, although its members aren’t as likely to take such a hands-on approach. Instead, they’d be more apt to falsify confession transcriptions, like assistant DA Robert Murray did.
Kern County prosecutor Robert Murray added two lines of transcript to “evidence” that the defendant confessed to an even more egregious offense than that with which he had been charged—the already hideous offense of molesting a child. With the two sentences that state’s attorney Murray perjuriously added, Murray was able to threaten charges that carried a term of life in prison.
Here’s what Murray added to the transcript:
(Detective): “You’re so guilty you child molester.”
(Defendant): “I know. I’m just glad she’s not pregnant like her mother.”
Murray added this to the English translation of the confession transcription, but not to the Spanish version — the language used for the entire interrogation. He then handed this off to the defense, just as it was advising the defendant to consider a plea deal. It wasn’t until the defense requested the original recordings that Murray finally admitted adding statements the defendant never made — nine days after he turned his edited version over to the defendant.
Here’s Murray’s defense of his actions:
It was only after defense attorney Ernest Hinman confronted Murray about the altered version. Murray said he meant it only as a joke to be kept between the two men [Hinman and Murray].
Haha. Life and liberty are hilarious. It’s only someone’s life in the balance. No better place to deploy a little prosecutorial wit than in the transcript of a police interrogation.