Attorney Scott Sanders was defending two high-profile death penalty cases in California when he realized evidence in both cases was coming from the same jailhouse snitch.

After poring over thousands of pages of documents and listening to hundreds of hours of recordings, the assistant public defender in Orange County has concluded that prosecutors tried to cover up a jail informant program that he believes violates inmates' constitutional rights.

The 505-page motion seeking to strike the death penalty for a man charged with killing eight people at a Seal Beach hair salon has created a buzz among defense lawyers now pondering whether their clients were improperly approached by informants recruited by law enforcement.

Assistant District Attorney Dan Wagner says the allegations are unfounded.

A hearing could take place this month.