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'Code of silence' marks rift between Calif. agencies

The criticism of sheriff deputies by the D.A.'s office is the latest in a string of clashes between the agencies.

By Christopher Goffard
Los Angeles Times

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. — For decades, it was unquestioned wisdom in Orange County that bringing a criminal case against a law officer was a laughably unlikely possibility. Under Brad Gates, the self-styled "cowboy" who ran the Sheriff's Department for nearly a quarter-century until the late 1990s and enjoyed the endorsement of John Wayne himself, critics long decried what they saw as an excessively cozy relationship between prosecutors and deputies.

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