Nevada County prosecutors say review of Hollitz cases could take months, 60-80 cases could be impacted
March 27, 2017
Prosecutors say the misconduct of a former Nevada County sheriff's detective could affect dozens of cases, not just the drug accusations against Joel Taylor Franks.
Allegations against former detective Mark Hollitz led a judge on Monday to dismiss all charges against Franks, granting a motion filed last week by prosecutors. In that motion Assistant District Attorney Joe Alexander claimed Hollitz's inappropriate relationship with an informant, among other accusations, warranted the dismissal of Franks' charges.
Defense attorney Stephen Munkelt, who represents Franks, said his client has been incarcerated since March 1, 2016. Records show he left the jail on Monday.
"Obviously, I'm delighted for Mr. Franks, who was facing a significant sentence," Munkelt said. "He has a chance to restart."
Franks' case is one of 60 to 80 in which prosecutors say Hollitz played a role. Alexander said Monday he anticipates the review of his cases will take weeks or months.
"I think the vast majority of these will not rise to the level of Joel Franks," the prosecutor added. "We're still going to take a hard look at all of them."
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According to Alexander, Hollitz' involvement in criminal cases spans a range. He wasn't a member of the Narcotics Task Force in every case. Additionally, he wasn't lead investigator or the search warrant author in all task force cases, and a case in which he was wouldn't necessarily require dismissal.
The accusations against Hollitz surfaced last Thursday when prosecutors filed their motion to dismiss in Franks' case. The motion claims Hollitz had an undisclosed, inappropriate relationship with an informant, and that he used that person to "set up" another informant who refused to cooperate with an investigation.
Alexander said his office has made no decision on filing charges against Hollitz. Alexander anticipates that decision will occur after he's left in May for his new job with the El Dorado County District Attorney's Office.
"Our investigation hasn't disclosed any misconduct by anyone else," Alexander said. "These are good officers. Sometimes it takes just one to damage the reputation of an entire agency.
"He was operating on his own and other officers had no idea what he was doing," the prosecutor added.
Hollitz couldn't be reached for comment.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4239.
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