Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Anonymous, Jan 18, 2012.
ACLU Sues Sheriff Lee Baca & Undersheriff PaulTanaka Over Long-Standing Deputy Violence Against Inmates
More trouble for Baca
Deputies change stories on jail visitor's beating, court records show
By Joel Rubin, Los Angeles Times, May 31, 2015
The sheriff's deputies all told the same story. A man visiting his brother in Los Angeles County Jail, they said, fought with them in a waiting area and had to be restrained. The five deputies involved in the struggle adamantly denied the man's allegations that he had been handcuffed and then beaten.
Their account remained unchanged under scrutiny from internal sheriff's investigators, the district attorney's office and the man's defense lawyers. No one wavered even when federal authorities obtained an indictment accusing them of assault and civil rights violations.
But two of the deputies have now changed their stories. With their trial set to open later this month, both have struck deals with prosecutors that require them to plead guilty to criminal charges and, if called on, to testify against their former colleagues, court records show.
Under the terms of the agreement he signed last week, Deputy Noel Womack gave prosecutors a new version of the violent 2011 encounter in a windowless, secluded room in the Men's Central Jail facility. Deputies, he said, beat the jail visitor even though the man was handcuffed and not resisting as he was held on the floor, according to a copy of the agreement reviewed by The Times.
Womack has agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge that he lied to FBI agents during an interview last month when he told them he did not know if the visitor was handcuffed, the agreement said. He admitted to lying again when he told the agents his supervisor had ordered him to punch the man and a third time when he said the strikes he inflicted on the man had been necessary, the agreement said.
The second deputy, Pantamitr Zunggeemoge, entered a guilty plea earlier this year, court records show. The agreement between prosecutors and Zunggeemoge, who faced several allegations of abuse and dishonesty, was sealed by U.S. District Judge George H. King, keeping its details secret.
But a court filing by another defendant last month said that Zunggeemoge, too, has told prosecutors that the visitor was handcuffed during the incident. In his statement to prosecutors, the filing said, Zunggeemoge said deputies had concocted a story that only one of the man's hands was cuffed to justify their use of force. The filing also said that Zunggeemoge has agreed to cooperate fully and testify for the government if prosecutors call him as a witness.
Though cutting deals to avoid lengthy sentences is a staple of the justice system, the prosecution's ability to extract guilty pleas in this case is striking because expectations of solidarity run deep among law enforcement officers. In their plea agreement with Womack, prosecutors said Womack's actions highlight the pressures deputies are under to put up a united front.
"Womack continued to lie because he had learned that once a deputy sheriff writes about an incident in a report, the deputy sheriff has to stick to that version of events, even if they are lies, from that point forward," prosecutors wrote. "Womack understood that he was never supposed to go against his partners."
Womack's agreement requires him to resign from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, and he will be banned from working in law enforcement. Prosecutors, for their part, will recommend to the judge that Womack receive no time in prison, according to his plea agreement. The judge could opt to disregard the suggestion and sentence Womack to as many as five years in prison, court documents show.
With Zunggeemoge's agreement sealed, what recommendation, if any, prosecutors will make on his behalf is not known. His attorney and Assistant U.S. Atty. Brandon Fox declined to comment.
The plea agreements mark the first time in the last two decades that a sheriff's deputy has been convicted in federal court of crimes related to excessive force, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office said. Last year, the office secured convictions against seven sheriff's officials accused of obstructing the FBI's investigation into claims of brutality by deputies in the jail.
The guilty pleas have scrambled the makeup of the approaching brutality trial, which is scheduled to begin June 16. In securing the deputies' help, prosecutors scored a potentially potent advantage in their effort either to extract more guilty pleas or convict the three remaining defendants at trial. Without the firsthand accounts from the deputies, the case would rest heavily on the ability of the beaten man and other alleged victims to convince jurors of what happened.
The allegations against the group stem from several encounters with visitors to the Sheriff's Department's main jail facility in 2010 and 2011. In each of the episodes, some or all of the deputies are accused of detaining people without legitimate reasons and, in all but one of the incidents, assaulting them in a room deputies used during work breaks.
Prosecutors portrayed Gonzalez in the indictment as a ringleader who "would maintain, perpetuate and foster an atmosphere and environment … that encouraged and tolerated abuses of the law by deputies."
The case centers on the altercation in late February 2011 with Gabriel Carrillo. Carrillo, who had come to jail to visit his brother, was detained with his girlfriend after Zunggeemoge became suspicious that the woman was carrying a cellphone in violation of jail rules.
Carrillo said something combative that angered one of the deputies, which led to the beating, according to prosecutors' account. Based on the deputies' reports and their testimony in court proceedings, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office pursued a criminal case against Carrillo on charges of assaulting law enforcement officers.
Days before the trial, the district attorney suddenly dropped the charges. Carrillo's attorney found evidence he said showed that Carrillo had suffered injuries on both his wrists consistent with being handcuffed during the struggle. The county later paid Carrillo $1.2 million to settle a civil lawsuit.
In the statement he gave prosecutors as part of his plea deal, Womack said he copied another deputy's report of the incident involving Carrillo to make sure his account was in line with the others. He added that he watched as Gonzalez later laid out all the deputies' reports on a table to compare them and "ensure their consistency."
Hm, seems Baca is teaching his deputies slappy-tech.
Karma is a real bitch, ain't it Baca?
your tears are delicious.
Where's the cult ? now that you are in trouble huh?
No more float riding for you eh?
BWA HA HA
Should also be listed in the police brutality thread?
Jasmyne Cannick @Jasmyne 20 hours ago
Sunday will be the five-year anniversary of the discovery of #MitriceRichardson's skeletal remains in a Malibu Canyon.
Jasmyne Cannick @Jasmyne 20 hours ago
I hope the death of #MitriceRichardson haunts retired @LASDHQ Sheriff Leroy Baca until the day he dies and all those who had a part in it...
Jasmyne Cannick @Jasmyne 20 hours ago
...I hope they all don't rest easy and understand their role in #MitriceRichardson's premature and untimely death.
What Happened To Mitrice Richardson? | Los Angeles Magazine
A recent college graduate, she was jailed briefly for trying to skip out on her dinner tab in Malibu, then freed in the middle of the night in a neighborhood far from home. She had no car, no ride, no phone, and no money. When she disappeared, it raised a flurry of questions about how the sheriff’s department handled her case. The discovery of her body a year later only raised more.
Deputies Convicted Of Beating Mentally Ill Inmate and Covering It Up | Cop Block
Two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies face up to 40 years in federal prison after being convicted on Monday for the beating of a mentally ill inmate and a subsequent cover up.
Bryan Brunsting and Jason Branum are among the latest to be convicted of the more than 20 current or former sheriff’s employees charged in connection with a federal abuse and corruption probe into the department.
The beating occurred on March 10, 2010 at Twin Towers Correctional Facility where a former deputy trainee said Brunsting had told him that an inmate identified as Phillip Jones had left his cell without permission and disrespected staff.
The trainee, whose testimony was used to procure the convictions, said Brunsting told him that he was going to “teach [Jones] a lesson,” before he and Branum beat and pepper-sprayed the unresisting inmate until he was “screaming and crying.”
The trainee, Joshua Sather, also testified that he saw Brunsting “spread [Jones’] legs and kick the inmate in his private parts.” As a result of the incident, Sather said he immediately quit his job and left the department.
Prosecutors said on Monday that the deputies attacked Jones in a locked hallway of the jail that didn’t have surveillance cameras and were attempting to teach deputy trainee Sather a lesson.
“That lesson was simple: This is how you beat an inmate,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Fox told jurors. “This is how things are done at Twin Towers. It was as much a lesson as much as it was a test.”
During the four days of testimony, prosecutors said the deputies attempted to cover up their misdeeds by lying in reports of the incident saying Jones was being combative. Sather testified that after the inmate was taken to the infirmary, the two huddled in a security booth “to get [their] stories straight.”
Attorneys for the defendants argued in court that “there was no cover up… because there was no beating” and claimed “Sather made it up,” but jurors deliberated for only 90 minutes before returning guilty verdicts against the deputies.
Brunsting, 31, and Branum, 35, were each convicted of three charges: conspiracy to violate Jones’ civil rights, depriving him of his civil rights under color of authority, and falsifying records.
They face a maximum of 40 years in federal prison when they are sentenced on August 22. Brunsting is also set to face an additional trial later this year for another force incident that occurred at the jail in August 2009.
I am sure that scientologist Lee Baca justifies this violence against "downstats" and "degraded beings":
Never feat to hurt another in a just cause. - L. Ron Hubbard
There's another report here:
Los Angeles Deputies Convicted for Beating Schizophrenic Man in Jail, Marking 21 Convictions in Federal Investigation
Schizophrenic? A good scientologist would see the victim as just another degraded being who pulled it in.
He's got Alzheimer's disease.
Ex-L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca has Alzheimer’s disease, but he still faces a 6-month prison term
Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, but he nonetheless should serve time in prison for lying to federal investigators during a probe into jail abuses by sheriff’s deputies, the U.S. attorney’s office has concluded.
In a court filing released late Monday, Assistant U.S. Atty. Brandon Fox confirmed rumors about Baca’s health, writing that an expert on Alzheimer’s had evaluated the former sheriff for the government and verified the diagnosis.
Calling Baca “a study in contrasts” for his high achievements in office and the ethical failures that were his downfall, as well as “a physically fit 74-year-old who is able to function in his daily life,” Fox urged U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson to sentence Baca to six months in prison. Baca is scheduled to be sentenced next month.
The punishment, Fox wrote, is “appropriate after taking into account all sides of defendant Baca, including his crime, his current health and his likely prognosis.”
I ain't buying it.
A criminal who has developed a bad memory? No way!!!
Does he remember riding on the COS float?
Scientology's bought and paid for political hack Lee Baca's crimes would make a magistrate's hair stand on end.
I don't think it's difficult to feign symptoms of Alzheimer's.
But, the blood tests and brain imaging in the diagnosis can't be faked.
I wonder if he was "diagnosed" by a scientology-friendly doctor?
After he gets released from prison, will he get auditing and proclaim that scientology cured him of Alzheimer"s?
(It's a progressive, incurable disease that only gets worse.)
A doctor chosen by the court agreed to the diagnosis but there a lot of people with early Alzheimers running around. Until it gets to a later stage it's not much of a disability
Early Alzheimers is ONE of the following symptoms
The very first signs of early Alzheimer's in Lee Baca's case manifested itself upon receipt of a federal indictment. In fact these symptoms are considered contagious only for the criminal element.
The cowardly Sheriff Baca will answer any and all questions regarding these charges with a question, one of these two questions exclusively in a slow slurry voice:
''......Do..........fish...........swim.......?'' or ''......Where's........my.......oatmeal.....?''
Faking Alzheimer's for one's defense shows the true nature of this scheming fraud who's been taking cult cash and providing them cover for decades.
I wonder if the good doctor did a brain scan and genetic test.
That doctor would be I. M. Gullible, M.D. friend of Megan Shields, M.D.
Is there any difference between scientologist stupidity and Alzheimer's?
Pete Demetriou @knxpete 19 hours ago
#Baca US judge kills plea agreement between Lee Baca and Feds.
Baca stunned. Next hearing 8/1/16.
#knxnews @KNX1070 @CBSLA
Judge says 6 months in prison for former LA county sheriff is not enough | RT America
A judge has rejected a plea deal that would have given former Los Angeles County sheriff up to six months in prison. Lee Baca pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during a probe of his department's attempts to cover up abuse by deputies at county jails.
US District Court Judge Percy Anderson said the plea agreement between Baca and prosecutors in the case “would trivialize the seriousness of the offenses … the need for a just punishment, the need to deter others," the Los Angeles Times reported. Anderson said Baca could withdraw his guilty plea. The deal would have meant up to six months in prison for Baca.
The agreement required Baca, 74, to plead guilty to lying to FBI investigators during an interview in April 2013 related to department corruption and deputy conduct. During the interview, Baca had said he did not know of attempts to intimidate an FBI agent who was involved in an investigation of the LA County Sheriff's Department's conduct, specifically allegations of deputy brutality at county jails, as well as corruption accusations.
Judge throws out ex-L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca's plea deal, saying six months in prison not enough | Los Angeles Times
Baca must now choose among several unappealing options. He could go ahead with the sentencing and accept whatever punishment Anderson has in mind. He could withdraw his guilty plea and go to trial, taking his chances with whatever charges the government might decide to bring. He could negotiate a new deal with federal prosecutors for a longer sentence that the judge would find more acceptable.
Delicious tears are delicious
Unappealing choice is unappealing. Jail, broke and in jail, or just broke.
Oh dear, how sad, never mind.
Lee Baca indicted for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, lying to FBI
KABC-TV, August 5, 2016
A federal grand jury indicted former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca for conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstructing justice and lying to the FBI over corruption inside county jails.
In 2010, the FBI launched an investigation into civil rights abuses and corruption inside the jails. In February, Baca had agreed to plead guilty to one felony count of lying to the FBI about his knowledge that sheriff's officials approached and threatened to arrest an FBI agent in 2013.
Baca ended up withdrawing his guilty plea when a judge rejected a plea deal with a maximum six-month sentence. The judge called it "too lenient" and said that it did "not fairly measure this defendant's culpability."
The 74-year-old was charged Friday in a three-count indictment. If convicted on all counts, Baca could face a maximum of 20 years in federal prison.
He is expected to be arraigned at a later date, which has not been set yet.
Following news of the indictment, Baca's attorney, Nathan Hochman, said in a statement, "These new charges represent punishment by this United States Attorney's office for our client's decision to seek a trial. The United States Attorney's Office has already admitted in court the weakness of its obstruction case against Lee Baca. This trial will be vastly different than the others. We look forward to this process and believe that Mr. Baca will be vindicated after all of the evidence is finally presented."
As a result of the FBI's investigation, 20 current or former member of the sheriff's department have been convicted on federal charges for helping to cover up corruption in the jails.
Yes one you have to pay for.
Hey Lee! Maybe you should give Scientology a jingle?
Maybe they can help you out?
BWA HA HA
BWAH AH HA HA HA AHA AHA HAHA AHAHA HAHAH!!!
Lee arriving to speak for Scientology in 2010
Oh Lee, that was a LONG time ago, the COS has forgotten all about you.
L.A.'s DA Allows Cop to Quietly Plead to Lesser Charge in Recorded Beating of Black Man
JasmyneOnline, August 8, 2016
If you can pull yourself from the drama that is former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, we have an update for you in the case of Los Angeles Police Officer — or soon to be former Officer Richard Garcia.
When last we spoke about Officer Richard Garcia, I detailed for you how then 22-year-old Clinton Alford was allegedly riding his bike on Avalon Boulevard near 55th Street in South Los Angeles when undercover detectives approached him. He thought he was being jacked for his bike and so he took off running. The chase was on from there but Alford didn’t get very far because I’m told one officer managed to use his baton (in a very questionable way) to take him down in a most heinous fashion. As a couple of more officers joined in the fray, another officer rolled up, jumped out the car and kicked Alford right in the head as if he was kicking a field goal for the score. Alford continued to receive punches to his head, body blows by an officer using his elbow, all while he was lying motionless on the ground.
That officer was Newton Division’s own Richard Garcia who at the time was a ten-year veteran of the Department working in the Parole Compliance Unit. He allegedly hasn’t worked in the field since the incident became public. We’ll come back to this later.
With much fanfare, in April 2015, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced filing felony assault under the color of authority criminal charges on Garcia, charges that could have resulted in three years in prison for Garcia. Could have. (People v. Richard Garcia, BA435794)
What D.A. Lacey didn’t come back and tell the good people of Los Angeles was that on May 26, 2016 her office allowed Garcia to quietly plead to one felony count of PC 149 (assault under color of authority) with his sentencing stayed for one year so that he could complete 300 hours of community service and make a donation to an organization that services victims of crime or a similar organization. At the end of that year, Garcia will be allowed to withdraw his plea, plead to a misdemeanor count of PC 149 and be placed on two years probation. Garcia is also ordered to stay away from his victim Mr. Alford and remain free of any new arrests or convictions during this time period.
If Garcia fails to comply he will be sentenced to the felony violation of PC 149 which is punishable by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars, or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or both.
Eric Leonard @LeonardFiles 4 hours ago
Former LA County Sheriff Lee Baca pleads not guilty to new corruption indictment.
Eric Leonard @LeonardFiles 5 hours ago
Baca's attorneys told the judge they'd like to delay trial to 2017. Judge set October, 2016 trial date.
Eric Leonard @LeonardFiles 4 hours ago
Ex Sheriff Baca leaves federal court without comment.
John and Ken @johnandkenshow 3 hours ago
Hour 2 of today's show!
[Follow that link for a recording of reporter Eric Leonard discussing Baca's court appearance today.]
Tonight, CNN aired an episode of This Is Life With Lisa Ling titled Locked Angeles. The description in the TV listings reads "Lisa Ling gets access to the Los Angeles County Jail, like no one before her, to understand what goes into managing the country's busiest jail."
Baca is mentioned briefly but only in passing. The report centers on the challenges involved and how they are being addressed now. I found it worthwhile and if the prison staff's comments are to be believed, encouraging.
CNN repeats the program this coming Sunday.
LA Times: Former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca found guilty on obstruction of justice and other charges
by Joel Rubin and Victoria Kim
March 15, 2017, 4:15pm
Lee Baca, the once powerful and popular sheriff of Los Angeles County, was found guilty Wednesday of obstructing a federal investigation into abuses in county jails and lying to cover up the interference.
The verdict, which jurors reached on their second full day of deliberations, marked a devastating fall for a man who in his 15 years as sheriff built himself into a national law enforcement figure known for progressive ideas on criminal justice issues. Baca, who is 74 and suffers from the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, now faces the likelihood of time in federal prison.
Baca showed no emotion as the verdicts were read in a packed downtown courtroom.
“I disagree with this verdict,” Baca told reporters afterward. “My mentality is always optimistic. I look forward to winning on appeal.”
Speaking outside after the verdict was read, the jury foreman, a 51-year-old salesman from Los Angeles, knocked down Baca’s central claim that he was unaware of the malfeasance others in the department were carrying out.
“The leader runs the ship,” the foreman said. “He made the choice to be there. Step up to the plate and be responsible.”
The conviction is a significant victory for a team of public corruption prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office who opted to retry Baca following a mistrial late last year. In that trial, the jury deadlocked 11 to 1 in favor of acquitting the former sheriff.
Acting U.S. Atty. Sandra Brown said “this verdict sends a clear message that no one is above the law.... With a career in law enforcement, he knew right from wrong. And he made a decision that was to commit a crime … and when the time came, he lied — he lied to cover up his tracks.”
To get to Baca, prosecutors methodically worked their way up the ranks of a group of sheriff’s officials who were accused of conceiving and carrying out a scheme to impede the FBI jail inquiry. In all, 10 people — from low-level deputies to Baca and his former second in command — have been convicted or pleaded guilty. Several other deputies have been found guilty of civil rights violations for beating inmates and a visitor in the jails.
Prosecutors argued that Baca was part of a conspiracy, hatched in the summer of 2011, to obstruct attempts by the FBI to investigate allegations of corruption and abuse by deputies in his jails.
Although Baca delegated day-to-day handling of the obstruction plot to his trusted undersheriff, Paul Tanaka, he helped direct it and was kept apprised of developments from his place at the top of the command chain, prosecutors led by Assistant U.S. Atty. Brandon Fox told jurors. The scheme, prosecutors argued, included efforts to keep FBI agents away from an inmate who had been working for them as an informant, manipulating potential witnesses in the federal inquiry and intimidating an FBI agent.
In his closing words to the jury before they began deliberating, Fox excoriated Baca, comparing him to a cowardly chess king who remained safely back while dispatching pawns and other underlings to do his “dirty work.”
Baca’s defense attorney, Nathan Hochman, had tried to convince jurors that while Baca was upset over the FBI’s decision to secretly infiltrate his jails, he never attempted to get in the way of the federal investigation. It was Tanaka alone who directed the effort to foil the federal inquiry, Hochman contended, saying the undersheriff took advantage of the trust Baca put in him to pursue his own agenda. Baca, his lawyer argued, did not know what was going on.
Jurors convicted Baca of three felonies: obstruction of justice, conspiracy and making false statements to federal investigators.
More at source - http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-baca-verdict-20170314-story.html
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