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LA Sheriff Scott Interview, LA Supes to Scrutinize Youth Indigent Defense, LASD IG Addresses Public, and Obama’s New Initiative for Young Men of Color

February 12th, 2014 by Taylor Walker

PATT MORRISON INTERVIEWS LA COUNTY INTERIM SHERIFF JOHN SCOTT

In an interview with the LA Times’ Patt Morrison, the new LA County Sheriff, John Scott, discusses why he was chosen as interim sheriff, and what he hopes to accomplish in the next ten months (when a permanent sheriff will be elected). Here’s a clip:

PM: Are more indictments coming?

JS: I’ve asked for a meeting with the federal prosecutor to see whether I can find out.

PM: You have at most 10 months before a new, elected sheriff comes in. What problems need fixing, and why did the Board of Supervisors believe you were the man to do it?

JS: They were looking for an individual who was not going to run for the position, and I had the unique perspective of working both L.A. and Orange County with [some] similar issues: problems in the jail and badges [issued to politicians or supporters].

The image has been tarnished. Things were done that are being investigated that certainly we’re accountable for, but the vast majority of deputies are doing a very professional job.

One of my goals is to restore an image but also the confidence of our public. Then we have accountability. Some things that were in place when I left, I want to restore.

We had SCIF, Sheriff’s Critical Incident Forum, a quarterly look at all the different factors that go into an operation. We determined if there were spikes or trends, and we analyzed why is this high or why is this low. It’s good to take metrics and analyze them and take good ideas and apply them across the board.

PM: Of the 60 reforms recommended by the Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence, how many have been done?

JS: Close to 50.

PM: So the hard parts are left?

JS: It’s hard in terms of financing. We have to find funding for some of the last components. Policy change and supervisorial monitoring are things we can do pretty quickly, but when you talk about a culture that exists, that takes more than a couple of years. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start.

PM: And you’ve been brought in to do the hard stuff and deliver bad news?

JS: I’ve done it before and I’m willing to do it again, because it’s the right thing to do.

PM: We may elect a sheriff in June, or there may be a runoff in November. How can you work with that timing uncertainty?

JS: My game plan is to push as much through as I can in 10 months. I feel it’s highly unlikely that there’s going to be a clear [winner] in June. I’m looking at this as a 10-month program, but I’m concentrating heavily on the first four months. I’ll [also] be reaching out to each of the candidates about their own plans and goals as we move forward.


LA COUNTY SUPERVISORS ORDER REVIEW OF JUVENILE INDIGENT DEFENSE IN LA

The LA County Board of Supervisors passed a motion (by Supe. Mark Ridley-Thomas) to conduct an analysis of the current juvenile indigent defense system, including how panel attorneys—private attorneys assigned to kids the public defender’s office cannot represent—are compensated.

The LA Times’ Abby Sewell has more on the Supes’ decision. Here are some clips:

Under-age criminal defendants who can’t afford a lawyer are generally represented by someone from the county public defender’s office. But when that office is already representing another defendant in the case or a special circumstance arises, lawyers from a separate panel step in to remove the potential conflict of interest.

Advocates argue that the switch creates another problem: The private lawyers the county contracts with for these cases, known as panel attorneys, are paid less — a flat rate of $319 to $345 per case — and may not represent their clients as vigorously.

“Children charged with crimes are not only entitled to competent representation but an opportunity to avoid the prison pipeline if it is at all possible to do so,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who proposed the review.

[SNIP]

The review will include looking at the compensation systems in other counties and the resources and training given to attorneys. It will also consider a set of guidelines for defense attorneys proposed by Michael Nash, presiding judge of the county’s Juvenile Court.


INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR LASD ADDRESSES COMMUNITY AT TOWN HALL MEETING

The new Inspector General for the Sheriff’s Department, Max Huntsman, spoke to the public for the first time at a town hall meeting on Monday. Huntsman, who took the role of independent LASD watchdog at the beginning of the year, discussed jail violence and recent indictments, and his intent to bring accountability to the department.

KPCC’s Rina Palta has the story. Here’s a clip:

…there’s been a question of what sort of oversight the department should have. An elected official, the sheriff is an atypical law enforcement leader in that he or she is accountable only to the voters – not a civilian oversight board, or elected officials, or an institutional watchdog.

Nevertheless, creating a way to monitor the department has been the goal of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors for several years. Supervisors have power over the law enforcement agency’s budget, but not much else. The answer was to create the office of the Inspector General and hire former public corruption prosecutor, Max Huntsman, to the post.

At a town hall organized by the office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and the Empowerment Congress, Huntsman acknowledged that while he lacks formal power, he’s hopeful that he’ll have the necessary tools to inspire change at the sheriff’s department.

“I can’t force change. I can’t order the sheriff’s department to do anything,” Huntsman said, noting to the audience that local and state law gives the sheriff sole authority over his or her department. “The power that I have comes from you.”

Huntsman noted that the vast majority of sheriff’s deputies are “heroes,” and that his job is to bring attention to those who fall short. He outlined his vision for the new office as a bridge between the community and the sheriff’s department.

…By hiring attorneys, retired police officers, and investigators to staff the inspector general office, he said he hopes to gain credibility with both the public and the department. The primary role will be to monitor department’s activities, audit expenditures, select which investigations to pursue, and lobby for changes, he said.

(Read on.)


OBAMA LAUNCHES EFFORT TO HELP YOUNG MINORITY MEN FLOURISH

On Thursday, President Obama will launch an initiative to stop the school-to-prison pipeline for young men of color across the nation. The initiative, “My Brother’s Keeper,” will connect businesses and non-profits to help keep kids in school and out of the justice system, and will evaluate programs aimed at helping young men of color “reach their full potential.”

The Washington Post’s Zachary Goldfarb has the story. Here’s how it opens:

President Obama will launch a significant new effort Thursday to bolster the lives of young minority men, seeking to use the power of the presidency to help a group of Americans whose lives are disproportionately affected by poverty and prison.

The “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative will bring foundations and companies together to test a range of strategies to support such young men, taking steps to keep them in school and out of the criminal justice system, a White House official said. Obama will also announce a more vigorous program to evaluate policies and publicize results to school systems around the country.

The effort will seek “to make sure that every young man of color who is willing to work hard and lift himself up has an opportunity to get ahead and reach his full potential,” the White House official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement. “The initiative will be focused on implementing strategies that are proven to get results.”

Posted in juvenile justice, LA County Board of Supervisors, LASD, Obama, Public Defender, race and class, School to Prison Pipeline, Sheriff John Scott | 34 Comments »

34 Responses

  1. loyalist Says:

    Sheriff Scott you are on the right path! Please keep going! Our Department is the Best law enforcement agency and I trust you will do what is right!

  2. J.London Says:

    So far, I agree. Talked to him yesterday and John is his usual unflappable self! What a difference from the last 14 years. 14 years of strife, corruption and gangs! To say that Baca didn’t know or was not served well by those Baca entrusted I politely say “bunk!” Baca ordered hide the FBI informant. Baca ordered the illegal giving of handguns to friends and cronies, Baca personally oversaw the Field Deputy program that cost taxpayers millions etc etc

    However, the notion does have some merit when one considers the incompetence and illegal activities of Myron, Stonich, Walide and the worst of all Paul Tanaka. Four zeros right in a row!

    Now, there’s an idea worth looking into; how does the sheriff select executives? Is it by giving away the answers to tests? Imagine where these, not too smart, cheaters are today?

  3. Better times Says:

    Scott is a zero. Can’t wait for the election

  4. TanakaForSheriff Says:

    So how does the Sheriff select his underlings?
    I often hear habitual criminals stating the Sheriffs are the bigger gang bangers and a mafia operated legally in the open. It appears those assertions have some truth to it. The allegations about some of Men’s Central Jail deputies, specially the 2000 and 3000 floors were rumored to be true for decades, yet the problems were never addressed. It was a known fact that if an individual wanted to work on those floors, they had to be tough and be willing to “use force”. The sergeants assigned to those floors were US vs. Thompson’s kind. These people bullied not only inmates, but others deputies, and professional staff, (nurses, chaplains, etc.) as well. If it had not been because Tanaka promoted an inept, corrupted deputy to the sergeant position, the problems at Central Jail would have continued. The case US vs Gonzalez appears to depict this single employee as to the main actor in many of the major scandals at the Central Jail. This sergeant’s egregious actions exacerbated the issues.
    In an effort to circumvent the Bowman decision and the ensuing consent decree, Tanaka and his cronies began asking executives in the region two, for deputies who based on their opinion would be good deserving candidates for the sergeant position. Once those subjects were identified, they would be given the answers to the exams. This playing god action created other problem. The selected deputies were also sharing the exam answers with other inexperienced incapable deputies. The result was US vs. Gonzalez, US vs. Thompson types.
    Baca and Tanaka were playing to be god, altering the normal food chain cycle. So, there it is, this is how the dictators in the Sheriff’s department select their underlings.
    Unfortunately, Sheriff Scott will continue the same traditions, by evidence he has given his blessing to the last sergeant’s exam, in which people admitted cheating. In any other organization the exam would have been cancelled, and a new exam scheduled. Not in the Sheriff’s department, they “isolated” the problem and went on as if nothing had happened. They are still investigating.
    Sheriff Scott send the intent to promote list, it is rumored the list contains deputies with minimal patrol experience, never exposed themselves to the FTO, Detective, or other specialized assignments. In addition, it is alleged some of the future sergeants have sketchy backgrounds. How can these deputies effectively supervise FTOs, Detectives and specialized deputy positions when they did not even know such positions existed? They will move up the chain of command, exposing the county to major liabilities, and in the process, tearing the Sheriff’s Department down, as recently observed.

  5. Time to Clean House Says:

    Todd Rogers  won’t accept donations from LASD members, but he will be accepting campaign donations from LASD family members. 

    http://www.rogers4sheriff.com/donate-to-todd-rogers/

  6. J.London Says:

    6: Wrong again!!

  7. Observe and Report...... Says:

    The recent sergeant’s exam and those who will beo promoted from the lists can’t be any worse than some of the folks promoted into coveted positions the “old” way. The old way of promoting FTO’s for instance was frought with favoritsm and cronyism at the station level. That’s the whole reason for the whole re-vamp of the coveted testing process. Even though it’s not a perfect process by any means and still subject to manipulation, it gives everyone who tests for a coveted position a fair chance…..at least in theory.

    The sergeants exam is probably one of the few exams in LASD that really adheres to the civil service testing process. You study…take the test…pass/fail….and are then put into a band. Not like coveted positions where people are ranked and then chosen out of ranked order or “loaned” out to units as a way to by-pass those ahead on the list.

    It would not suprise me if some folks probably opted to try and promote to sergeant because they felt their chances for advancement were better (fair) relative to the whole coveted testing process.

  8. Integrity and Ethics Says:

    I hope Sheriff Scott evaluates the integrity and ethics of each of his executives to determine if they are qualified and if they are serving the organization as the public expects and deserves. Not just their own self-interest. I would also hope he seriously evaluates the lack of experience and value the Homeland Security Division Chief brings to the organization and considers the option to retain or to not his services. Sheriff Scott has the perfect opportunity to ensure his executives are committed to doing the right thing and that they each recognize the importance of their actions. Please just make sure they are people with integrity and solid ethical and moral compass.

  9. Integrity and Ethics Says:

    I hope Sheriff Scott evaluates the integrity and ethics of each of his executives to determine if they are qualified and if they are serving the organization as the public expects and deserves. Not just their own self-interest. I would also hope he seriously evaluates the lack of experience and value the Homeland Security Division Chief brings to the organization and considers the option whether to retain or to not retain his services. Sheriff Scott has the perfect opportunity to ensure his executives are committed to doing the right thing and that they each recognize the importance of their actions. Please just make sure whoever the executives are, they are people who have demonstrated integrity and the presence of a solid ethical and moral compass.

  10. Biggdogg Says:

    How about performance mentoring for captains and above. Check their PPI and department personnel file. He will find all the POE violations and much more. Neal is really great at research and tracking paperwork. How about a spread sheet to show at a glance their background.

  11. Vickie Says:

    Read the Sunday Times Looks PT maked a deal with FBI back in Dec. to help fry all the minnows!

  12. Investigative Mind Says:

    After reading the L.A. Times last night….it does NOT look good for PT period.

  13. The Past Says:

    Vickie, you could take the Times article and look at it many ways. Tanaka will offer it as evidence of standard practice. Truth though is different. On the surface the order outlined in the memo seems very reasonable, the need to protect the inmate is clear. If you have the inmate well protected why would you move him here & there, change his name in the system and pretend he doesn’t exist? The effort is anything but standard practice and nonsensical, unless you are trying to hide him from the FBI. I can’t see how anyone can be fooled by the overtly, in your face interference with the FBI.

  14. It's Come To Jesus Time Says:

    The burning question for Tanaka backers. Who is going to subpoena Tanaka? The defense or the prosecution? This is a no win situation for T. If he’s going to be subpoenaed by the defense, how could his testimony help them? How else could his testimony help the defendant(s) other than to say they were following orders? If that’s the case, why hasn’t he already come out publicly and “backed” those indicted? That’s the question T supporters need to ask themselves before they knock on another door, donate money, shake another hand or tell anyone else that he “backs deputies”. What if the prosecution subpoenas him? Is he going to testify he had no knowledge and leave them swinging in the breeze? It is truly come to Jesus time for T supporters. Does anybody really think Deputy Smith would send that e-mail without T’s knowledge? Seriously? Really? Are T supporters so gullible that they really believe that? T followers are soon going to be faced with a cold hard fact. It is an either/or scenario, neither one of which makes T look like he “backs” deputies or subordinates. The fact that the investigation is ongoing doesn’t stop T from walking into the prosecutor’s office and saying: “Listen, those guys were following orders”. Nor does it stop him from holding a press conference saying it. From all appearances, it seems like T is simply trying to play a politics and see if he can come out of this unscathed. But the obvious reality, to cops, is that those guys weren’t doing that and not reporting to supervisors about it. Anybody who believes nobody above Thompson had knowledge the informant was being hidden is too stupid to be a cop.
    So we are right back to where we started. WHY has T not come to their defense already? There’s only one realistic explanation for T’s failure to do so. It would make him look bad. Real bad. And there all you T supporters have it. Rather than come to their defense, he is still playing politics, trying to get elected sheriff while they swing in the breeze. That’s the cold hard reality of the situation. It is come to Jesus time for all those T supporters who claim T “backs deputies”. He is a politician first. If it is going to cost him politically to back deputies he won’t do it, unless he is forced to because of a subpoena.

  15. Stuff Says:

    So what PT is saying is that he had to hide Anthony Brown from other deputies for fear of the inmates safety from the Departments own deputies by re-booking him under an alias and purging his records from the system. LASD did this to protect AB (informant) from their own deputies? MCJ has had the most notorious inmates known to man that have had “kill on sight” contracts on their lives from the Mexican Mafia, Aryan Brotherhood and other people but the Department has never resorted to the these tactics as used in the Athony Brown case? This explanation/excuse from the “Command” is comedy at its best!

  16. Investigative Mind Says:

    #14 and #15: Great written statements on this blog and God knows this is just going to get worse for many department members. I hope Sheriff Scott can make this change for the better sooner than later. A busy week ahead before supervisors movement next weekend from the transfer list posted on Friday.

  17. CSN83 Says:

    Integrity and Ethics, well said. I have always felt that the Homeland Security Chief was a ” Bully”. Ask people who are under his command if you are uncertain. I don’t understand why he never learned the art of negotiating.

    As we are all seeing the times are changing and he will be held accountable for what he is and has done tof this department. I am thinking that Karma just waits for the right time to “right things” and his time is coming to a close.

    He has been a liability for the department since Baca brought him in. I wonder just how much the county will have to pay and contracts we might loose because him.

    Don’t blink

  18. Nancy Drew Says:

    Don’t forget the HS chief cleaned some house. LD certainly needed to go. From what I’ve seen of him he brings more good than bad. Granted he did not come up our ranks but I’ve only seen positive change from him. IMO Chief WM is the bully.

  19. Jack Dawson Says:

    CSN83,

    You have stooped to a new all time low. As I read your post, I interpret your comments to mean his son being indicted is his deserved karma.

    Truly an adult at work if that’s what you meant. Then you try to cover your tracks with examples of a captain being held accountable for lying and Sgt being moved for taking advantage of OT. Way to go… Keep firing in the facts especially since this blog was talking about PT.

    Nothing to see here says the good tankaite.

  20. CSN83 Says:

    Jack you totally missed my comment. It was not intended to his son, I never said son, why would you think I was talking about his son??????? Captain lying, Sgt moved.

    You have lost me totally. Maybe you missed #9.

  21. Investigative Mind Says:

    Nancy Drew…Chief WM can be at times difficult; but when you have facts, evidence and a face to face like some of us had in the past with him…..he can be reasoned with to a point. Just NEVER let down your guard and never play all of your cards.

  22. Ron E Says:

    This was posted on Tanaka’s FB page by a Deputy supporter. Wake up sonny boy, Paul doesnt care about you, me, or anyone but himself. Example: why would one with definite culpability let men and women he claims to support hang. Get real, see you at the debates. Are you “working the door” youngster?

    Hey all you fence sitters, I’m putting you on BLAST. Its time to decide who you support for Sheriff. I support Paul Tanaka. Many of you say you support him, so now it’s time to SHOW your support. June 3rd is right around the corner. LA County doesn’t need two LAPD’s. I joined the Sheriff’s Dept. not LAPD or Long Beach P.D. I admire Paul’s 33 year career with the LASD. He is the most qualified candidate for the job. If you’re an LASD employee and live in La County you have the opportunity to pick your Boss. Let’s “ALL” help PAUL TANAKA become the next Sheriff. And for those of you who can’t decide, I don’t want to see you at the Victory party on June 3rd., because if I’m working the door… you’re not getting in!

  23. radar Says:

    Ron E……you’re so right…..everyone swore that P.T. would be arrested by now. Some things won’t be denied. He has the most votes for the tan and green machine.The bottom smoochers, will come out after the election. Paul does have to lighten up in some area’s though. ……If he is willing to be flexible, then he’s in.

  24. Thanks a lot Says:

    21 and 22……have you read the Times today? Uh oh!!!

  25. LATBG Says:

    Radar, I think you missed the point of Ron E. If PT is the best the LASD has to offer, then McDonnell is a shoe in come November. However, cooler heads will prevail, and the young doorman will be working the door at the Metro Detention Center visiting area. He can hold that door open for all the Tanaka koolaid drinkers visiting the indicted. I wonder if Susie Ayala, one of the indicted, will be asking Paul to give her back the $1,500 she donated to his campaign? Being relieved of duty without pay is quite a burden on a family, so why would the Tanaka campaign keep her cash? That only adds insult to injury…

  26. Getagrip Says:

    I think the pro Tanaka folks have made the switch from Kool-aid to crack! PT for sheriff? You gotta be high!!

  27. Investigative Mind Says:

    I think Tanaka should give back their money and pay their bills on top of it while being off ROD with no pay.

  28. You don't like it? Tough! Transfer! Says:

    Do any of you think Tanaka is going down in flames? Why do you think he has raised so much money? He has soooo many groups that rely on a Sheriff for cudos, kickbacks, badges, cars, you name it. Why in hell then would the residents of Los Angeles County vote for morality?

    Just like the state of Ohio during the 2012 elections, the ballots will be skewed to support the right (or wrong) person.

  29. jingle bells Says:

    P.T. is still standing. I’m not a pro- tanaka person. He is not liked by many and I don’t agree to all that he’s done. However, with an admonishment from the feds and an oversight commission watching him. I think he’ll do ok. He has the people and some payola. It will boil down to him and Mcdonnel. Just add up the facts. He will not be indicted. Don’t underestimate him.

  30. J.London Says:

    29: you’re dreaming!!

  31. LATBG Says:

    Jingle Bells, claim what you will, you are a pro-Tanaka person, and you have the right to be one. There is no such thing as Tanaka doing OK. He was handed the keys to the car, and drove that sucker right over a cliff. There are no second chances. If by some miracle he avoids jail, he should graciously retire quietly, count his ill-earned pension, and find another line of work.

    His mere presence on the ballot is an insult to every honest deputy on the department, and to the hundreds of individuals whose careers he destroyed while he built his empire. Make no mistake, Tanaka is the architect of all the department’s problems.

    I’ve added up the facts, and Tanaka would need more than $10 million to overcome the bad publicity he’s already earned, on top of what’s coming his way by the feds and the very eager editorial boards, ready to weigh in on the race. Over ten years in office, and more than a decade as Baca’s purse-man, and all he could come up with was $380K?

    The only thing that has been underestimated is the gullibility of the dwindling crowd that still supports him. The only admonishment he’s getting from the feds is found in the Miranda waiver when he gets hooked.

    It will boil down to two top-tier candidates, Olmsted and McDonnell. They both are viable candidates with distance from Baca and his corrupt ways, and that is how the public views them as we speak. Second-tier candidates will spend a fortune they don’t have trying to convince voters they are not part of the problem (Rogers, Hellmold) or the actual problem (Tanaka). Bottom tier, Gomez and Vince, mean well, God bless their courage, but they are not viable.

    My opinion, I will not be presumptuous to call them facts.

  32. Hellmold will be Tanaka's Downfall Says:

    Hellmold will get the African-American vote. He’s already pandering to it. It’s a designed strategy cooked up by Baca and his Golden Child to keep Tanaka from being elected sheriff. Why else would the Golden Child announce outside First AME Chirch? It makes perfect sense. Baca talks Hellmold into entering the race to keep the one Baca sees as his Judas from taking the reins. He tells Hellmold that he must get the black vote at all costs. Hellmold will do it through loyalty to Baca. Couple that with Tanaka’s Viking affiliation, and Paul won’t get 3% of the black vote. If blacks show up to the polls in big numbers, and their goal is to keep Tanaka from becoming sheriff, Paul can’t win even if he makes a run-off. If Tanaka makes a run-off with any other candidate the black vote simply switches from Hellmold to the other candidate. All that money paid to Bishop Turner over the years won’t go to waste in Baca’s eyes lol.

    Just a theory. Politics. Got to love it. Or not.

  33. IthacaBoomer Says:

    LATBG- “You’ve added up the facts,” laugher. You have done absolutely no research to back your statement, because there is nowhere to look. So please stop speaking as if your words are fact, because you are being presumptuous. This election is nothing more than a publicity contest and the one candidate you keep focusing on has burned through a lot of ink in recent months. The only things you haven’t seen is his name on a charge sheet which I’m sure makes you extremely nervous. You’re candidate, Olmstead, comes off as angry and irrelevant. The second tier candidates you named, Rogers and Hellmold were brought in to clean up the mess. How quickly you forget. Just remember, we’re all on the count down, 12 months to your retirement. Yeah right!!! That’s about as accurate as Olmstead being Sheriff. And for those of you who thought the ALADS forum was on the up and up…You’re wrong!!!. Hopefully I was nice enough? Boomer.

  34. Senate Bill 1062 is alright with me. Says:

    Ithaca Boomer, I believe LATBG is on track with his comment. Rogers and Hellmold are from the same mold. Get it? How can you honestly look at yourself and think either of them could run this department? that would be insane.

    If they are so squared away, why didn’t the Supervisors tap either of them to be the interim boss? Exactly my point.

    LATBG, your post is legit.

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