Could Jeff Sessions Quash the Orange County Jailhouse Probe?

Civil rights advocates were appalled Tuesday when U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, speaking before a group of state attorneys general in Washington, said his Justice Department would “pull back” from civil rights investigations into police departments throughout the United States. The aggressive pursuit of local cops under the Obama Administration has hurt the morale of our public safety officers and hindered their ability to fight crime, Sessions believes.

"We need, so far as we can, to help police departments get better, not diminish their effectiveness. And I'm afraid we've done some of that," said the nation’s top lawyer. "So we're going to try to pull back on this.”

Some of those investigations are right here in California, including the highly-publicized jailhouse informant scandal out of Orange County. This probe is somewhat rare in that it affects the county’s sheriff’s department and district attorney’s office.

In light of Sessions’ remarks, some legal experts have questioned whether that case could end up on Sessions’ chopping block. Jonathan Smith, former chief of special litigation for DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, openly questioned the fate of the Orange County investigation in light of the comments.

“It doesn’t bode well,” he said.

In response, Sessions’ office offered this brief but pointed statement:

“The Orange County investigation continues.”