Ex-LA Sheriff Denied Bond Ahead of Conviction Appeal

LOS ANGELES (CN) – Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has been denied bond pending the appeal of his conviction for obstructing a federal investigation into county jails.

In a ruling on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson said Baca did not “raise a substantial question likely to result in reversal or new trial” after the convicted ex-official introduced six grounds to support his case.

Earlier this year, Anderson sentenced Baca to three years in prison for obstructing an FBI probe into corruption and civil rights abuses at two county jails.

Baca said Anderson should have let him introduce evidence during retrial that he had aided a civil rights investigation into deputies accused of harassing minorities in Section 8 housing in Antelope Valley, as well as his work with the Office of Independent Review. Baca also pointed to excluded evidence that he had ordered deputies to undergo training to defuse violent situations with inmates, as well as evidence related to his Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

But Anderson said none of the six grounds merited a retrial and that Baca had not persuaded him that the appeal was “not for the purposes of delay.”

“Both individually and collectively, the court’s evidentiary rulings were not error and did not deprive defendant of his constitutional right to present a defense,” Anderson wrote in the 9-page order.

Earlier this year, a jury found that over six weeks in August and September 2011, Baca conspired with his underlings to thwart an investigation into inmate abuse at two jails by hiding inmate-informant and violent felon Anthony Brown within the jail system. The conspiracy began after jailers discovered a covert FBI operation into Men’s Central Jail and the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, after pulling a smuggled cellphone out of a potato bag from Brown’s belongings.

Baca has been ordered to surrender to authorities on July 25, but could renew his request for bond with the Ninth Circuit.

Anderson has presided over 10 cases connected to the scheme that has led to 21 convictions, according to U.S. Attorney Office in LA. Baca was the 10th member of the Sheriff’s Department convicted in the scheme. Former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka is also serving a five-year sentence in federal prison.


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