LATimes9.30Witness’ Dubious Legacy

The bizarre history of June Patti raises questions about key testimony that led to a murder conviction in 1998

SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
June Patti had a hunger to be heard.

A large woman with scarlet-dyed hair and a loud, raspy voice, Patti was a known drug addict who presented herself as a paralegal. Raised in the Redondo Beach area, she moved to northwest Washington state in the 1990s and soon became a local fixture, quick to phone law enforcement.  One year she called 800 times, recalled Skagit County Sheriff Will Reichardt.

For a decade, Patti was involved in more than 2,000 police calls or cases in the county. She was accused of theft, trespassing, fraud and harassment in some, but many incidents involved her complaints and tips about other people.

The Skagit County public defender’s office even kept a document known as “the June Patti brief “that included observations that Patti was not credible. It was filed whenever Patti’s name was mentioned in a case.

“We would get dismissals based on our June Patti brief alone,” said Keith Tyne, the office’s director.

June needed to occupy the center stage and nothing helps like claiming to be a victim or a witness.

Patti as a credible witness was a “laughable” idea, Tyne said.

But not in Los Angeles County.

Sixteen years ago, Patti’s testimony in a murder trial in a Torrance courtroom helped send a woman to prison for life. read more