The Retrial of Lee Baca

Alzheimer’s-Stricken Lee Baca, Currently Appealing Felony Conviction, Gets a New Job as Professor

Taylor Walker
Written by Taylor Walker

On Monday, the University of Los Angeles College of Divinity in Compton announced it had selected former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca to join its ranks of professors.

Baca is currently out on bail as he pursues an appeal of a conviction for his part in what is colloquially known as Operation Pandora’s Box, a series of orders and actions that attempted to derail a federal investigation into brutality and corruption by deputies in LA County’s jail system.

(Seven members of the sheriff’s department were convicted of obstruction of justice—along with Baca, and former undersheriff Paul Tanaka—ostensibly for following orders handed down from the former sheriff  and his once feared second in command. An eighth department member who flipped for the prosecution, also received a federal prison sentence.)

In May 2017, Baca was sentenced to three years in federal prison after a jury found him guilty of one count each of conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal investigators.

Interestingly, in October 2017, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals approved Baca’s motion for bail pending his appeal based, in part, on the fact that they believed one portion of Baca’s appeal could have merit—the claim that U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson “erred by excluding expert evidence” of Baca’s Alzheimer’s disease.

Baca’s lawyers claimed that the ex-sheriff’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis meant that he did not have the requisite mens rea (criminal intent or knowledge that his conduct was illegal) to be charged with and convicted of making false statements to the feds.

Yet the college, and the now 76-year-old Lee Baca, appear to believe that the former sheriff has the cognitive strength to teach students.

Baca has, in fact, worked as a college professor in the past, at both Cerritos College and the University of Laverne, and has had the reputation as a talented, if oddly wandering, public speaker.

The evangelical Christian college’s Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Michael Miller, praised the ex-sheriff as a “gifted teacher” who “changed the dynamics within a workforce of over 18,000 people” and who has just the right skills to “greatly benefit our students and the community we serve in Compton, Watts, South Central Los Angeles and parts of Long Beach, as a University.”

In its announcement, the college pointed out that with Baca at the helm, the LA County Sheriff’s Department saved the city of Compton—home to the University of LA College of Divinity—more than $8 million when it took over the policing of Compton from the city’s local police department in 2000.

Baca also “believes that fundamentally that there is a greatness to every human being and that God is involved with every person’s life, whether they think so or not, and this belief makes him a perfect teacher and role model for Christian students,” Dr. Miller said.

Regarding Baca’s felony conviction, Miller indicated that he believed the prosecution was “politically based” and pointed out that, in his first trial, Baca “was voted 11-1 not guilty.” In the second trial, Miller said, “several former sheriffs testified against him in order to gain favor for themselves.”


Image courtesy of University of Los Angeles College of Divinity: Former LA County Sheriff Lee Baca and University of LA College of Divinity Vice President of Academic Affairs Michael Miller after signing Volunteer Agreement to become a professor at the Compton institution.

38 Comments

  • Oh my god, what next. Get ready for long talks of non-sense. He will stand in front of the class and forget why his there. Just blaze off into the sunset and be gone. You and your clowns destroyed the greatest law enforcement agency in the world. Enjoy that fact Professor Moon Beam.

  • I always find it interesting and highly subjective what people consider to be “over and find doth”.

    Slavery in the US = let it go
    Jewish Holocaust = we must never forget
    WWII Hiroshima/Nagasaki = let it go
    Becca/Tanaka gate = let it go
    H. Clinton Benghazi = let it go

    Interesting…….

  • Seriously…. He’s one of the greatest Presidents ever and in only a year and a half.
    Can’t argue with everything he’s accomplished.

    • President Trumps presidency will serve as an example that race alone is not the only form of prejudice and closed minded blind hatred. It will also serve as an example that hate, violence and “dirty politics” are not the sole domain of criminal conservatives and Republicans.

      Far Right Republicans = Tea Party

      Far Left Democrats = socialist leaning Democrats (i.e, New York and California)

  • Can’t let go of what Baca, Stonich, Waldie and Tanaka did to such a great organization. Can’t turn the other cheek – people like those villains will steal your wallet while you are not looking.

    • They stole the many wallets while our discerning press was watching. Lee Baca was, as described by Dr. Amy Chua, in the correct Political Tribe to have his mis & malfeasance excused away.

  • If your diminished mental capacity doesn’t prevent you from getting a job, it shouldn’t excuse you from committing crimes. We all know Baca was guilty of far more than what he was convicted of. This appointment smacks of some kind of twisted and convoluted payback.

    I say lock him up.

  • C: Do you think that Stonich, Waldie will register for the class? And Tanaka can register on line! BTW: What’s the starting pay? You’ll be shocked. Look into the favor Baca did for the VP of the school. Baca does not believe in God and said so many times. Maybe Omarosa has a tape? Last, can you cite a source who can attest that Baca is an accomplished speaker or teacher? Now, everyone go to the window and shout “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” You could be voted in as a man dressed as a woman and be on the ballot for Gov!!

  • College of Divinity? He probably thinks he’s teaching at a business school and that his grandmother is one of his students.

    Yep, the “greatest law enforcement agency in the world?” Say what? That agency has officers who use ketchup as a blood substitute to create evidence. How many on that list? 250? Where else can you pull that and keep your job? I’ve heard of teenagers who mess up a whopper by putting mustard on it when the customer said no mustard who lose their jobs. Here we have an agency where officers invent evidence and lie through ass and cant get fired. The greatest, huh?

    Ownership, yes, Trump is right up there with Roosevelt, Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, both Adams, Madison, the list goes on. He’ll be the fifth president on Mt. Rushmore, if we can find some orange rock.

    Conspiracy, you are correct, there are other forms of hated that rest on other than race. Some people hate buffoons, especially ones in the Orange hue. You have to love this Trump-Omarosa reality show. We have to be the laughingstock of the world. Maybe he’ll make up for it with his Space Force. He must have been watching Star Trek when he dreamed that one up. Amazing.

    • CF

      “Where else can you pull that and keep your job?”

      And get promoted to Sergeant afterwards–don’t forget THAT.

    • Yeah all the internal in-fighting, blatant disrespect for the President, congresswoman calling for people to attack members of the opposition party, riots in the streets of Portland, elected politicians spouting the virtues of the “ideology of capitalism”…..

      Oh Yeah…we are the laughing stock around the world.

      • ….blatant disrespect for the President? That pre-sweetened Kool-Aid is so addictive to the blind followers.
        Retired Admiral William H. McRaven called it correctly with his words to Trump. To be perfectly honest with you, even “Mad Dog” Mattis is sick of Trump’s bullshit. It’s just a matter of time as the writing is on the wall.

        • No truer words ever, spoken by a Decorated American Patriot.

          “He (trump) has humiliated us on the world stage and has divided us as a nation.”

          Priceless

          • Obama divided us more than Trump and his hate for law enforcement was evident from the start. Who didn’t see that coming from the “Community Organizer” President. On the last Law Enforcement Appreciation Day of his last year in office he said nothing about cops, not a word. Didn’t have to pretend he gave a damn about Blue anymore. Biggest fraud to ever sit in the Oval Office, lied as easily as anyone I’ve ever arrested but did it with style. The perfect leftist media hero.

  • Somebody needs to make sure the 9th Circuit learns of Leroy’s new position as well as mainstream media. Absent that, we need to find out what he’s taking because he must have found “a cure” for Alzheimers!

    • Captain Roller, I appreciate you use your real name to comment on this website, the majority of us are scared because as you know, the department uses dirty tactics and retaliation to silence any type of criticism.

      I worked under your command, and I remember you telling me, and the rest of my partners upon arrival at Century station more or less the following: “I don’t know your reasons for wanting to come to work at Century station, but if you came to do the wrong thing, and I catch you, I will do all I can to get you fired” You made the statement looking at us with a stern look, leaning forward toward us. You scared the heck out of me. Here I am at one of the toughest stations in the United States, wanting to prove to myself I can be a good patrol deputy and the commander is telling me if he feels I did wrong, he will use all his power to get me fired. Needless to say, I was more scared of you than of my training officers and more scared of you than getting killed by a Florencia gang member.

      Anyone who has worked for more than a day in the sheriff’s department knows that any action or inaction can be twisted according to the wishes of the master. That means the sheriff department will weaponize the justice system against the ones they want to destroy. Unfortunately, you became the victim of such power, because you rose up against the regime, they came after you. I remember the day, in that meeting Tanaka telling you, “you put fake cases on deputies” or something to that effect, and I will see a case is put against you. Shortly after that you were removed from your post, and I must admit, I was happy, I felt safer.

      However, that happened over a decade ago, yet, the problem I described has gotten worse. The current regime has fired and prosecuted so many deputies, the numbers are staggering. The sad part is the sheriff has done so, only for political gain, and yes, because “he felt” deputies acted wrong. Fortunately, the judicial system, (courts) and civil service has been reversing the sheriff’s feelings in record numbers, proving that just having a feeling against anyone is not a reason to destroy their lives and the lives of their families.

      I don’t mean to disrespect you, you did what you did because you had your reasons, which were yours only. I would like your comment and opinion on my thinking.

      • JC, the Department unfortunately still has people who believe in the Tanaka” mentality that the law does not apply to LEOs because they are “fighting the fight”. Unfortunately, they have lost sight of the reason most of us put on the badge in the first place – to serve and protect. I have always believed that as an officer of the law I am held to a higher standard – especially honesty and integrity. As a Captain, I also told everyone that if they were right, I would back them 100% no matter what. Yes, I was transfered by the little man for not playing the game, sent to ICIB where again I would not do wrong (sorry Tom Carey, you did it for them) and then given freeway therapy until I pulled the plug on my time after 39.5 yrs.

        The only thing I can advise you and others is that yes, there are still supervisors and deputies who will do the right thing no matter what. If you always remember to do the right thing, have integrity always, and think instead of just act or be influenced, the facts will speak for themselves. Remember, you have to be able to look yourself in the mirror every morning.

        Sorry, this forum should not stray off topic, but you asked. Leroy forgot the lesson and should now cut the B.S. and take his punishment like a man.

        • Captain Roller, thank you for replying to my comment and for sharing your thoughts. When I joined the sheriff’s department I was stupid and naive, I believed in justice and wanted to make a difference as a deputy sheriff. It did not take me long to realize that justice was a nice philosophy, and justice was dispensed by those in power. I saw situations in which the public and inmates, as well as deputies, were treated unjustly by the justice system, which includes, the Sheriff and the DA office.

          In December 1998 shortly after Sheriff Baca was sworn in, he visited my unit of assignment, a large jail. I was working in the kitchen area late at night, during my Early Morning (EM) shift. For some unknown reason, Sheriff Baca came roaming into the kitchen area. I happened to be alone with the Sheriff and I approached him. I wanted to share my thoughts as to what I believed needed attention. I wanted to the share problems that could be fixed then. He told me to take it up to the chain of command and refused to listen to me. Sadly, a decade or so later, the issues I wanted to share with the sheriff, were his downfall.

          If I had taken my issues up to the chain of command, my issues would have been obscured and turned against me, the sheriff would still have never known. So, I did what most do, shut up and keep doing the best I could, hoping I didn’t ever become the victim of a corrupted system of things being done according to who is in power.

          That was then, forward 20 years later and we have a knight, riding in his white horse, as the new sheriff, Jim McDonnell, better known as McBuckles. He has been shouting that he is for reform, transparency, and justice. The new sheriff has resulted worse than Baca who allowed his executives to run the sheriff department into the ground. McDonnell is currently allowing the Tanaka groomed executives do the dirty work for him, just like Baca did. Many deputies have approached Jim McDonnell with personnel issues that need immediate attention. Issues where his executives are wrong and need correction, he ignores and does not want to listen.

          Jim McDonnell wants stats to show his masters, he is delivering, by prosecuting, firing, and harshly discipline deputies, regardless of the rank, to show he is for real. The problem is that his allowing his underlings to manufacture cases against deputies, manipulating evidence, witnesses’ statements, and twisting the facts as you know they do, to get what they want, stats. Sheriff McDonnell does not care he has been destroying deputies and their families’ lives for his political gain.

          I would still give McDonnell a break if he was sacrificing innocent deputies to achieve his goals of reform, I would still give him a break if he was planting evidence, or his executives lying to frame a deputy who is dirty. However, he nauseates me because he has been promoting Tanaka appointees who have had a very sketchy past, who should not be deputies, to begin with. Jim McDonnell does the talk but does not do the walk, he allowed one of his top executives to retire when said executive was caught by the CHP with a stolen vehicle yet has prosecuted lower-ranking deputies who were falsely accused of stealing a pair of glasses. I can list a lot of examples, but I would have ICIB/IAB trying to find out who I am to silence me. You know my fear is not an exaggeration it is a true possibility.

          Jim McDonnell has quickly learned that to stay in power, he needs a group of people who are willing to do the dirty work for him. He has an attorney telling him how to “work in the gray area”, how to get “creative” to frame deputies into misconduct, and how to falsely justify steep penalties, and yet given it a resemblance of justice.

          So yes, many of his executives have tattoos, and there will be many more. Deputies are grouping together to defend and protect themselves from this corrupted system, who currently, is focused on hunting deputies down, instead of criminals terrorizing the communities. The ICIB/IAB groups, (aka Gestapo) are larger than many municipal police departments, that can give you an idea where the current sheriff priorities are.

          I wish I could as well tell you who I am so that you could put a face to my comment, but if I did, I would have the Gestapo after me. I hope one day I can also put my real name and share my story. I agree with you, doing the right thing, and staying true. Yet, it is concerning, because the Gestapo lies, and manufactures stories, just like Lau Maya asked in one of her stories, how do you win when the police lie?

          • JC

            “How do you win when the police lie?”

            In any kind of hearing, whether its a LACERA retirement hearing or something on a Superior Court docket, any provable lie told by LASD will result in not only the lie being tossed but “the whole book”–everything.

            The principle here is that nothing a liar says is trustworthy.

            For that, though, you’ll need a good attorney, and you yourself will have to be squeaky clean.

        • Captain Roller, good for you. I shared the same advice with people that worked for me. I saw young employees attach their career to a “rising star” instead of earning their way up, and toss aside common sense and their values in the process. This often led to bad outcomes personally and professionally as regimes changed, secrets spilled, etc. There is no honor among thieves and integrity does matter – at all levels. You represent the best of the badge. I hope you are enjoying your well earned retirement.

          JC, feeling your pain. It’s disheartening to read the sincere concerns you and others have shared. When morale is that bad, personnel leave for greener pastures with other agencies and others will retire the second they can leave. That’s a huge loss to the County and it’s residents.

          It frankly sounds like LASD is going through a horrific period of corruption in some critical areas. Ironic that the lessons of Baca and Tanaka have apparently not been absorbed by others. Manufacturing cases, manipulating witnesses and twisting evidence to fit a goal constitutes serious and likely illegal misconduct. I hope that Deputies and their representative organizations are going after those that engage in such behavior. I would suspect that ultimately, some brave souls are going to need to speak with US Attorneys about civil rights violations and work together on a long term investigation, as I doubt that much will happen at the County level in the current climate. In the meantime, stay strong. Wishing you the best.

    • EDITOR’S NOTE:

      “Um,” good question. I’m jammed this morning, but I’ll try to get an answer this afternoon. When I do, I’ll update the post but also leave a note in the comments area.

      C.

      • Celeste,

        Thanks for making the effort to learn the status. I’ve been following the case. The parties submitted their briefs to the Ninth Circuit late last year, but the Court has not yet even scheduled argument. It really looks like someone is stalling here.

  • Baca is only relevant because he still lives in the minds of many, rent free mind you. Everyone reaps what they sow whether you know their timeline or not. Aside from the Baca flashback, deputies will never be satisfied with anyone who is or will become Sheriff of Los Angeles County. They “turned” on McDonnell and they’ll also “flip” on Villanueva, should he become Sheriff. ALADS has already proven that.

  • Why are there deputies still paying $100.00 per month in dues to ALADS when they don’t have to. My station is currently in the process of dropping them. Are the deputies at your station or facility or court aware that ALADS still has to represent you? ALADS Board Members are making decisions that are not in the best interests of the majority of deputies. With that being said, why continue pay $1200.00 annually. WAKE UP!

  • Baca just put a noose around his own neck and now he is kicking the lever. The 9th District is reviewing some type of constitutional challenge to his conviction, not that he has Alzheimer’s. He is using his alleged dementia as a reason NOT to go to prison if the 9th tosses his appeal.

    The Government is going to call bullshit on his “illness” by his new position as The Guru Of Nonsense at this institution of higher learning. If I recall correctly, Judge Anderson already stated his decision was three years with Tanaka as his cellmate. When the Defense argues that Leroy should be given Home Confinement because of his “condition,” I imagine Anderson will point to this story and say, “The Defendant can teach in a Federal institution, take him away.” Leroy will fit right in here in beautiful Colorado. I’m sure he will ask for a toga, incense and a Sitar to be issued. He will also demand he be referred as Dr. Maharajah Baca, Baghwan Of Bullshit. And Paul will be his disciple, just like the old days.

  • CF; I would vote for a tax increase to pay for Trump’s face to be put up on Mt Rushmore.

    Not because he deserves it in any way.
    Not because I want my taxes increased.

    Just to see what it would do to you Snowflakes. Your hands would be shaking for so long, you wouldn’t be able to pick up the video game controller for a month. The indentation on Mommy’s couch would fill in because you would be gone blocking freeway entrances and breaking windows. You all would go over the deep end and need to be committed. Hmmmmm, maybe I’m on to something??

    Priceless

  • All,

    It’s worth checking out the “Los Angeles University – College of Divinity.” This “institution” appears to be little more than a degree mill. Please note the following:

    1) The main campus and administrative offices are located in a “CopyKat” rental mailbox.

    2) The University’s “Events Center” is a pay-per-use gymnasium.

    3) The “University” lacks any form of governmental accreditation, and also lacks accreditation by primary private accreditation agencies. It does claim private accreditation by an organization that I’ve never heard of. That organization’s website does not include “Los Angeles University” among it’s members.

    Methinks there’s definitely a scam going on here. I’ll leave it an open question whether Dr. Baca is the scammer or the scamee.

    As to the question asked by a previous poster about how Dr. Baca would present standing in front of a classroom, I’d have to ask how he (or the class) would possibly fit into that mailbox?

  • CF, before Baca took over the Dept, the nitwit who falsified the evidence with taco sauce would have flipping burgers for a living – or hired on with Maywood PD. As I said earlier, Baca and his cronies ruined a great department that, for the most part, did the right thing.

    Yes, there were problems as there in any large organization. But to see what has happened since Baca came in to office is mind-boggling. That is why so many of us hold him and his cohorts in such contempt.

  • Folks:

    For the upcoming election the Santa Clarita Valley Signal has interviewed both Sheriff candidates, and LASD.News has kindly published both interviews.

    In his interview Candidate Villanueva stated that an LASD Sergeant was ROD’d for five years–yes, FIVE–and when returned to duty received only a ten day suspension for his transgression. No further details given in the interview.

    Can anybody beam more light on THAT?

    My calculation is that the ROD was imposed before McDonnell, and the punishment imposed by McDonnell.

    Anybody?

    • Cognistator, I believe the sergeant in question may have something to do with an incident involving Assistant Sheriff Rivero. It may have to do something to the like of a traffic collision investigation while DUI in which Rivero was a supervisor while assigned to OSS. I tried to find a nice memo written by an anonymous writer and published by Surruo.com, but I have a feeling that the website was taken down by the inquisition led by Sheriff Jim McDonnell. Than memo explained how all involved in that incident was investigated and disciplined, however, Rivero was cleansed of any wrongdoing by those in power. Someone may have something different, but I think that maybe it…

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