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Public Defender on Diaz, Mara cases: 'scope of the corruption is pretty breathtaking'

Assistant District Attorney Scott Spielman rests his hands Monday, Oct. 24, 2016, in Bakersfield, Calif., on a file containing 64 letters that were sent to defense attorneys, alerting them to potential complications in cases that have already been closed. The complications have to do with evidence or testimony provided by former Bakersfield detectives Damacio Diaz and Patrick Mara, who were both recently sentenced in federal court for criminal acts.

The federal court system may be finished with former Bakersfield police detectives Patrick Mara and Damacio Diaz, but the fallout from their criminal activity is only just beginning in Kern County Superior Court.

Both detectives were heavily involved in dozens of criminal cases that all sides say now must be revisited in the interest of justice.

"How do you remedy two officers that came in and repeatedly lied and engaged in dishonest and fraudulent acts?" said Konrad Moore, the county's public defender. "The scope of the corruption is pretty breathtaking. We are potentially at the beginning of a very long road."

RELATED STORY | District attorney to send letters to defendants possibly affected by corrupt cops

Assistant District Attorney Scott Spielman is in agreement when it comes to the long road, and his office took the first step Friday, sending 64 letters to defense attorneys alerting them to potential complications with cases that, in some instances, have been closed for years.

"It's ethically, it's legally, it's morally imperative that we handle this in this way," he said Monday.

Why?

"So they could make a decision whether or not they'd like to pursue any type of court filing, either to withdraw their plea or for a new trial," Spielman said.

Each case will be different, but Moore believes his office's clients are owed significant concessions.

"I hope, I'm optimistic, that the D.A. will find their way to coming in to offer to vacate those convictions," he said, noting that some clients likely took a plea deal convinced that no jury would believe them over a uniformed law officer.

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