The six members of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department—who were convicted in July of obstruction of justice in connection with their interference in an FBI investigation into brutality and corruption by members of the LASD—were sentenced Tuesday morning by U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson.
Although Anderson set the sentences a little lower than those the government requested, he did not lower them by much. He was not going to hand down sentences that “trivialized” the actions of the defendants, Anderson said to the overflow crowd in the courtroom.
“They had a choice between right and wrong,” he said, looking at the defendants, and they “chose to reject” the right choices. “You broke the vow you made to protect the public.”
Andersen also talked about the “corrupt culture in the sheriff’s department,” that he said the defendants’ actions fostered.
“You don’t serve the public by intimidating witnesses, hiding an informant, threatening to arrest an FBI agent for the crime of simply doing her job,” Anderson said.
The defendants acted, he said, “not to further” their own investigation into corruption in the department, “but to stop a federal investigation.”
Such actions, he said, do irreparable harm to the public trust. “It destroys the fabric of our justice system.”
Anderson also made a point of remarking several times that the defendants have shown no regret for their actions.
“None of you have shown the slightest remorse,” he said.
The exact terms are as follows:
Gregory Thompson, 54, a now-retired lieutenant who oversaw LASD’s Operation Safe Jails Program (OSJ): 37 months in prison and a $7,500 fine.
• Lieutenant Stephen Leavins, 52, then assigned to the LASD’s Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau: 41-months in prison.
Gerard Smith, 42, a deputy assigned to OSJ under Thompson: 21 months in prison
Mickey Manzo, 34, a deputy assigned to OSJ also under Thompson: 24-months in prison.
Scott Craig, 50, a sergeant assigned to the Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau (ICIB): 33 months in prison.
Maricela Long, 46, a sergeant also assigned to ICIB: 24 months in federal prison.
Following the completion of their prison sentences, each defendant will serve one year on supervised release.
Anderson also reminded each of the defendants and their attorneys that they had 14 days to file an appeal or the opportunity for appeal will evaporate.
All of the six are required to surrender on January 2, allowing them to spend the holidays with their families.
“Percy Anderson is a judge who is usually not a man of many words,” noted Miriam Aroni Krinsky, the executive director of the Los Angeles County Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence. Krinsky is herself a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, so she is familiar with Anderson’s manner and moods. In watching him handing down verdicts on Tuesday, she said that the judge seemed unusually affected by what the case signified.
“This was as angry and as troubled as he gets,” she said.
Indeed, after the sentences were delivered, but before he dismissed the crowd, Judge Anderson looked out over those assembled, his expression anything but happy.
“There really are no winners today,” he said.