RIVERSIDE – Two former clerks of the Riverside County Superior Court have been indicted by a criminal grand jury for conspiring to commit the crime of violation of a court order.
Angela Franz, DOB: 3-8-76; and Michelle Valdez, DOB: 4-29-65, both of Thousand Palms, were indicted on April 14, 2022, and the indictment was unsealed at their arraignment on July 19, 2022. The arraignment for both defendants was continued to Aug. 18, 2022, at 8:30 a.m. in Dept. 64 at the Hall of Justice in Riverside. Franz and Valdez were arrested after being indicted. They were booked and posted bail.
Both defendants were working in the court clerk’s office at the Larson Justice Center in Indio on Jan. 16, 2020. An investigation revealed that a law enforcement officer provided the court with a search warrant request and asked that the documents be sealed because they contained confidential information regarding an ongoing investigation. The search warrant request was brought before a judge that same day. The judge signed the warrant and ordered it sealed.
Shortly before 5 p.m. the same day, it is alleged that Franz pulled the warrant from the court system, printed it, and then provided it to Valdez. Both defendants had been court clerks for several years and would know that reviewing, printing, and sharing a sealed court document in this manner would be against the law.
The case, INF2200875, is being prosecuted by Deputy DA Francisco Navarro of the DA’s Public Integrity Unit.
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