On Thursday afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson issued an order denying former LA County sheriff Lee Baca’s motion for bond pending the appeal that Baca’s attorneys have filed with the 9th Circuit.
“[T]he Court concludes that Defendant has failed to raise a substantial question likely to result in reversal or new trial,” Anderson wrote in the nine-page order.
Baca is currently scheduled to self-surrender on July 25 to begin serving his three-year sentence in federal prison.
Yet, it is unlikely that the former sheriff will actually be required to surrender on that date. Baca’s lead attorney, Nathan Hochman, told WitnessLA that he will file a motion on Monday appealing Anderson’s denial, and asking the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to grant Baca bail while the court considers his appeal.
According to Hochman, his client should get a stay on the self-surrender once motion is filed on Monday with the 9th.
The stay, however, would not guarantee that the 9th circuit will grant bond.
The appeals court did grant bond to former LA County deputy James Sexton while he waited to appeal. The court similarly granted bond to the other six who, like Sexton, were convicted of obstruction of justice charges, although all seven ultimately lost their appeals.
Under the same circumstances, former undersheriff Paul Tanaka was not granted bond. (His appeal has yet to be ruled on by the 9th.)
Judge Anderson’s lengthy ruling on the bail issue explained in detail why he believed Baca was unlikely to get a reversal or a new trial, and thus why granting of bond would only be for “the purpose of delay.”
According to Anderson, in Baca’s “attempt to meet his burden to raise a substantial question likely to result in reversal or a new trial,” the former sheriff presented six questions that are, in brief, the following:
(1) whether the Court erred in excluding evidence that Defendant cooperated with an unrelated investigation conducted by the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division;
(2) whether the Court erred in excluding evidence that Defendant established, supported, and worked with the Office of Independent Review (“OIR”);
(3) whether the Court erred in excluding evidence relating to Defendant’s responses to excessive force within Los Angeles County’s jails;
(4) whether the Court erred in excluding portions of Defendant’s interview with federal investigators conducted in April 2013 that Defendant sought to introduce;
(5) whether the Court erred in precluding evidence of Defendant’s Alzheimer’s disease; and
(6) whether the Government presented sufficient evidence to sustain a conviction on the false statements count.
Then Anderson went on to explain his opinion as to why Baca had “failed to raise a substantial question likely to result in reversal or new trial.”
(You can read the rest of Anderson’s order here: LASD – Baca – ORDER denying bond on appeal
Meanwhile, we have heard no news as to whether Baca’s diagnosis of early stage Alzheimer’s disease has worsened.
“Alzheimer’s disease is not a get out of jail card,” Anderson said shortly before he announced on May 12 of this year that he was sentencing Baca to 36 months in federal prison, with a year of supervised release.
The former sheriff was convicted of lying to federal officials and conspiring to obstruct an FBI investigation into the corruption and brutality that plagued the agency he presided over as Los Angeles County sheriff.
The photo above, by WLA, was taken in May 2017 on the day the former sheriff was sentenced.