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Judge Finds OC District Attorney Violated Racial Justice Act

Patch logo Patch 6/3/2022 Miranda Ceja
An Orange County judge ruled that racially charged comments made by OC District Attorney Todd Spitzer about a Black man who was convicted in a brutal Newport Beach double-slaying violated the state's Racial Justice Act. © Shutterstock An Orange County judge ruled that racially charged comments made by OC District Attorney Todd Spitzer about a Black man who was convicted in a brutal Newport Beach double-slaying violated the state's Racial Justice Act.

ORANGE COUNTY, CA — An Orange County judge ruled that racially charged comments made by OC District Attorney Todd Spitzer about a Black man who was convicted in a brutal Newport Beach double-slaying violated the state's Racial Justice Act.

Huntington Beach resident Jamon Rayon Buggs, 47, was found guilty in May for the 2019 double murder of Wendi Sue Miller and Darren Donald Partch in a Newport Beach condominium.

Judge Gregg Prickett agreed with defense attorneys for Buggs that Spitzer violated the Racial Justice Act during discussions with prosecutors about whether to seek the death penalty in the case, however, Prickett said Spitzer arrived at the proper "remedy" for the violation by not seeking a death sentence and opting to pursue the minimum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

RELATED: Huntington Beach Man Convicted In 2019 Newport Beach Double Homicide

However, Prickett found that Spitzer's statements suggesting Black men date white women to elevate their status in society were a violation of the newly enacted law.

Defense attorney Denise Gragg argued for a new trial for Buggs, but Prickett denied the request. Gragg characterized as "nuts" Spitzer's argument that his comments were addressing cross-racial identification issues in the case. George Turner of the District Attorney's Office, however, noted that the issue of mistaken identity due to racial bias ended up being a part of the defense's case in the trial.


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Meanwhile, Buggs himself asked Prickett on Friday to delay his sentencing so he could fire his lawyers and represent himself. Buggs, as he has in the past, espoused debunked "sovereign citizen" conspiracy theory arguments that he was not subject to the jurisdiction of the court.

RELATED: OCDA Reportedly Made 'Racist Comments' In Case Of Black Defendant

Buggs said he wanted to reset the clock legally so he could go back to the arraignment stage of the case, then refuse to enter a plea so he wouldn't "enter into a contract" with the state, acknowledging jurisdiction in the criminal case.

Prickett, however, was having none of it.

"You have this misguided belief somehow that we need your permission to be involved in these proceedings," Prickett told Buggs, according to City News Service. "We have jurisdiction over you. The offenses were committed in this county. ... This is not a civil situation. This is a criminal situation."

Buggs responded, "Then I'm a slave. I don't have a choice. That's what you're telling me. I'm a criminal before I'm a citizen."

Prickett sentenced Buggs to two life-without-parole prison terms, along with another 50 years to life.

City News Service contributed to this report.

The article Judge Finds OC District Attorney Violated Racial Justice Act appeared first on Orange County Patch.

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