Nevada City, Calif. March 23, 2017 – Cliff Newell, Nevada County District Attorney, announced today that they have filed a motion with the Court to dismiss the cases of People v. Joel Franks.
In February the Sheriff informed the District Attorney’s Office that there were potential issues with former Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Hollitz that came to light after Hollitz resigned from the department in mid-February.
The District Attorney’s Office initiated an investigation that revealed that Hollitz engaged in misconduct while working as a peace officer. The misconduct was such that we cannot be confident in the integrity of his investigations. We further believe that the cases wherein he is the primary investigating officer are tainted in a manner that cannot be remedied. The result is that we are taking the extraordinary action of dismissing these cases.
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Although this leads to the exoneration of the accused, the benefit of maintaining the integrity of our prosecutions and the Sheriff’s past and ongoing investigations far outweigh the damage caused by dismissing a few cases. The District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit will be reviewing approximately eighty (80) cases attributed to Hollitz to determine if we can proceed with them. The investigation is ongoing.
Throughout the investigation the Sheriff’s Department cooperated and ultimately concurred with our decision to dismiss these cases. Hollitz’ aberrant behavior should in no way reflect negatively on the dedicated men and women of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Department.
Editor’s note: In response to a query by YubaNet, DA Newell stated “No criminal charges [against Hollitz] have been filed but, it is an ongoing investigation.”