Sealed documents detail allegations against former Nevada County Sheriff’s deputy
February 6, 2018
Nevada County prosecutors say former Nevada County Sheriff's Deputy Mark Hollitz will face no charges in connection with accusations he had an inappropriate relationship with a confidential informant, a decision made public almost a year after the district attorney revealed the allegations.
District Attorney Cliff Newell said an investigation of Hollitz, who resigned in February 2017, proved inconclusive.
Newell said prosecutors didn't believe they had enough legally admissible evidence, or corroboration and cooperation from confidential informants, to convince a jury that a crime had been committed.
"I believe them to the degree that we won't use Hollitz to testify (in cases Hollitz had a role investigating)," Newell said of the informants.
Hollitz declined to comment this week.
Newell's office in March 2017 accused Hollitz of having an "undisclosed, inappropriate relationship" with an informant, using that informant in an attempt to "set up" another informant who refused to work with Hollitz, and of improperly destroying Sheriff's Office records.
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The allegations led Newell to review 250 to 300 cases connected to Hollitz, who once served on the county's Narcotics Task Force. Out of those, he examined the specifics of 78 cases, he said.
If Hollitz played an essential part in the case, it was dismissed, Newell added.
The district attorney also reviewed search warrants attached to any case Hollitz touched. His review led to the dismissal of 13 cases, eight of them felonies, he added.
"At this point, as far as this office is concerned, we're done with Hollitz, unless something else was to come to light," Newell said.
Newell's office in March 2017 released a statement about Hollitz. According to that release, Hollitz left the Sheriff's Office the month before. A sheriff's official then contacted Newell's office that March about allegations of misconduct against Hollitz.
"The misconduct was such that we cannot be confident in the integrity of his investigations," the release states.
Sealed documents obtained by The Union reveal previously undisclosed details about the investigation into Hollitz.
According to those documents, sheriff's Capt. Shannan Moon — who's running for Nevada County sheriff — in early March 2017 contacted Newell's office about a possible sexual relationship Hollitz had with an informant. Investigator Colin Nelson and Chief Investigator Randall Billingsley then spoke with the woman at the Nevada County Jail who raised the accusations.
Both women — the one who revealed the alleged sexual relationship and the one who had it — have served as confidential informants. Their names have been withheld.
The woman who revealed the allegations said she'd worked as an informant and knew Hollitz, who in April 2014 asked if she'd help him "set up" someone in a marijuana sting. The woman knew the target's husband, a deputy, and called him about the sting. That led to trouble for Hollitz and damaged her professional relationship with him, the documents state.
According to the records, the woman who disclosed the alleged sexual relationship believed Hollitz started an investigation into her. In 2016, the woman who had the sexual relationship told the other woman that she had helped Hollitz set her up and that they were having a sexual relationship, the documents state.
Authorities spoke with the second woman on March 9, 2017, two days after interviewing the first.
Contacted via Facebook and email, that woman declined comment to The Union.
The woman told authorities in an interview at the District Attorney's Office that she'd previously lied to Moon, saying that she had no sexual relationship with Hollitz.
"She told Dep. Hollitz about the interview with Capt. Moon," the document states. "He responded by telling her that if it ever went to court, he would say they were just friends and he hoped (she) would say the same as well. She then went on to say that at the time of the Capt. Moon interview, she wasn't ready to talk about it, but then Dep. Hollitz stopped talking to her."
According to the second woman's interview, Hollitz around September 2015 no longer served on the Narcotics Task Force. She began meeting him in different spots — The Grange off La Barr Meadows Road, a Squirrel Creek church and a hospital — where they'd talk before or after his work shifts. Hollitz's job wasn't discussed.
"She said they did not, but added that he mentioned there was stuff going on at NSCO that he could not discuss," the document states. "(She) said she figured it was what was going on with Dep. (Jason) Mackey."
Hollitz and Mackey had overlapping service time on the Narcotics Task Force. During that time, Hollitz made accusations about Mackey's integrity in several cases.
At some point during their conversations Hollitz began making sexual comments, and the relationship became physical, the interview states.
The relationship involved about six sex acts over a year, documents state. When questioned, the woman said Hollitz never threatened her or used his position as a deputy to take advantage of her, calling the sexual contact consensual.
"She said that she thought that if she knew a cop, it might help get her out of trouble," the interview states.
The woman said she'd previously gotten out of a ticket for driving without her license on her, though it occurred before her physical relationship with Hollitz, the interview states.
Once Hollitz stopped talking to her, the woman said she needed to tell someone about the relationship. In December 2016 she told the woman first interviewed, who later disclosed the relationship, according to the record.
Two months later Hollitz quit his job, authorities said.
Hollitz's time with the Narcotics Task Force overlapped with Deputy Jason Mackey's tenure. Hollitz said he saw Mackey falsify information three different times.
Defense attorneys for over a year have attacked Mackey's search warrants in criminal cases.
Deputies serve on the task force for two to four years. Mackey has since rotated out. Hollitz's allegations played no role in the rotation, Undersheriff Joe Salivar said.
"We had a staffing change," he added. "We had a couple folks out for various reasons."
In June 2015 former Assistant District Attorney Glenn Jennings, who this week announced his candidacy for Nevada County district attorney, interviewed Hollitz and others about the allegations against Mackey.
In that interview Hollitz alleged that he found inaccuracies while proofreading two different search warrants Mackey wrote, in November 2014 and May 2015, respectively. In March 2015 Hollitz found an inaccuracy in a report penned by Mackey, documents state.
Afterward Hollitz wrote a letter to his superior requesting a transfer from the Narcotics Task Force, citing the allegations against Mackey.
Sheriff's Sgt. Guy Selleck in an interview said he had no first-hand knowledge of integrity issues with Mackey, except for one in which Mackey asked for a case's dismissal because of inaccuracies in an affidavit. Selleck added that he knew of Hollitz's accusations against Mackey and didn't trust the latter, reports state.
Grass Valley Officer Evan Butler in an interview also said he had no first-hand knowledge of inaccuracies or misstatements by Mackey, though he had doubts about Mackey after hearing Hollitz's accusations, according to the report.
An internal investigation into Mackey revealed no wrongdoing, authorities have said. The District Attorney's Office continues to prosecute cases in which Mackey was part of the investigation.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4239.
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