FBI LA County Jail LASD Pandora's Box Paul Tanaka Sheriff Lee Baca The Feds U.S. Attorney

Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy James Sexton is Convicted

Celeste Fremon
Written by Celeste Fremon

On Tuesday afternoon Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy James Sexton was found guilty of obstruction of justice by a jury of seven women and five men.

The verdict was a surprisingly swift one. After closing arguments for the four-and-a-half-day trial, the jury left Judge Percy Anderson’s courtroom a few minutes after the noon hour Tuesday to begin deliberation, and returned with their decision at around 2:20 p.m. that same day.

Deputy Sexton—a former eagle scout with a West Point appointment who once interned for Vice President Joe Biden and was recently awarded a master’s degree at the University of Southern California—was 25 years-old and three years out of the sheriff’s academy when the events resulting in the charges against him took place in August and September of 2011. He received Tuesday’s news accompanied by his wife, brother, mother and father, plus a contingent of somber-faced LASD deputies, most of whom appeared to be close to Sexton in age.

Sexton’s father, Ted Sexton, a long-time former sheriff of Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, moved to Los Angeles in 2013 to work for Lee Baca and the LASD when the scandal-beleaguered Baca had fallen out with his once-close undersheriff, Paul Tanaka, and reportedly was desperate to hire someone whom he felt he could trust.

James Sexton is the seventh LASD sworn officer to be found guilty of obstruction of justice in connection with the FBI’s investigation into civil rights abuses by sheriff’s deputies inside LA County’s troubled jail system.

Specifically, Sexton was found guilty of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice because of his part in helping to hide federal informant Anthony Brown from his FBI handlers.

The trial that culminated Tuesday, was the second time that Deputy Sexton was tried for the same charges. His first go-round, which took place in May of this year, resulted in a hung jury, that split six-six.”

Paul Tanaka, who testified at both of Sexton’s trials and is running for sheriff, is believed to still be the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office.

When asked about the significance of Sexton’s conviction, government prosecutor Brandon Fox said that the verdict showed that, “…no matter if you’re low or high in the rank, if you commit a crime, the jury’s going to hold you liable for that crime. It’s not an excuse to say, ‘I was just this low level guy and other people told me to do this. And I didn’t exercise my own judgement.’

“I think something that all these convictions mean,” Fox said, is that its not okay to simply remain silent and to not disclose criminal acts that are going on. The thin blue line does not benefit anybody.”

Sexton, added Fox, confessed in his grand jury testimony to all the crimes of which he was charged.

“One of the differences between this trial and the first trial is that we provided evidence that Mr. Sexton is not a naive junior deputy.”

Of course, part of Sexton’s defense in his first trial had little to do with the following-orders-strategy, but pertained to the fact that he had reportedly cooperated with the FBI for over a year, meeting with federal representatives, either by phone or in person, at least 37 separate times. In this trial, however, most of the references to Sexton’s cooperation were prohibited.

As for those at the other end of the LASD chain of command, like Lee Baca and Paul Tanaka, who arguably issued the orders for whom the now-seven department members have been convicted, Fox declined to comment in any detail, but said he would welcome information from those to whom orders in question were given.

“I think here’s the message: to the extent that you’re following orders if you know that they’re unlawful, you’re going to be charged and if you’re charged you’re going to be convicted and if you’re convicted you should talk to us and tell us if there’s anybody else who ordered what you did.”

Sexton will be sentenced by Judge Percy Anderson on December 1. The other six defendants will be sentenced on Monday, September 22, at 8:30 a.m.


AND IN OTHER LA COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT TRIAL NEWS: THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT TRIAL INVOLVING LASD LT. ANGELA WALTON AND LASD COMMANDER JOSEPH FENNELL, BEGINS WEDNESDAY MORNING

We will have more on that trial later this week.

26 Comments

  • I worked @ Lynwood station when Lt.Thompson was a T.O. He pulled a lot of dirty 10-30 shenanigans. It finally has caught up to him. KARMA

  • Looking forward to Mr. Tanaka’s campaign re-kickoff this Saturday! Address is 9660 Telstar Avenue, El Monte. Hours are from 12-4 pm (to be followed on Monday by the sentencing of the first six deputies). Be there or be not-a-felon!

  • Celeste, very surprised you didn’t get Sexton’s attorney’s opinion in the verdict. This article seemed very one sided. I was hoping to read about the injustice of this verdict and how the prosecution cheated their way to victory. I hope Sexton will write a book about what the Feds,ALADS, Judge Anderson’s biased rulings and most importantly the king and prince of all liars Baca and Tanaka. I will say it again God Speed Sexton, your journey is just beginning and you will have the last say.

  • Well Paul Tanaka, you must be one proud puppy. You and you alone created this operation through your arrogance. Levin and Thompson carried your water and the rest of the lap dogs wagged their tails and got their heads patted. Smith wrote “This is one of the most important investigations in the history of the Department.” Well, I guess it was. The Tanaka 7 were played like fools and deep inside, they were simply doing all of this to please the little man in hopes of some type of reward. How’s it working for you, fellas? You are heading to the Big House and O’l Paul is running for Sheriff.

    And speaking of that, Paul’s latest campaign video is quite rich. He displays a coffee cup and says words to the effect, “I wish I could sit down with the voters to chat so they could see the real Paul Tanaka. Not the one generated by politics.” Well, we who have been around LASD truly know the “real” Paul Tanaka. He is self-absorbed with power, control and politics for self-gain. NONE of it was for the betterment of LASD, it was his own power play. Paul is as arrogant as they come, psychopathic and a tyrant. He uses everyone for his own purposes, it is his psychology, it is who he is. The Tanaka 7, everyone of them, were used by Paul. The hundreds of Cigar Club coin holders, they were his army, all used for his self-aggrandizing agenda. You don’t need a cup of coffee to listen to his story of self-importance. Lee Baca created this nightmare by setting the stage for Paul to grow into the person he truly is, the victim of bullies became the bully himself.

    To make my point, despite all the damage done inside of LASD by the likes of Paul Tanaka, as reported by WLA, Times, CCJV, all part of an on-going investigation by the FBI, despite being essentially fired or “finessed” out of the organization, what does Paul do? He runs for Sheriff. Why? He has a score to settle and he want’s it all at any cost. Despite the Tanaka 7 trials, despite a dismal 14% election return against McDonnell, what does Paul do? He continues to run, and why? It will never be enough until he can be Sheriff. Well Paul, it is never going to happen, never. And when this is all done, as with all tyrants, you will be reduced down to a Federal booking number. Oh, it’s coming. I think of all the time I had to sit in the room with you at the weekly Field Ops meetings and listen to you spew your hatred and unhinged anger just so you could prove to yourself how powerful you were. And I thought to myself, “This is all going to end like Humpty Dumpty.” And soon I will retire and live a wonderful life. And for you, your destiny and that of your followers like Antuna, it has already been written.

    Tanaka 7, the door has been opened for you by the AUSA, time for you to walk in and get out of the cold. Take the offer, Monday is just a few days away. Read it and Weep.

  • Dick Shinee collects double pay at ALADS…….One is ALADS general counsel and two is getting paid for individual cases ( he doles out other cases to other attorneys under his tutelage) Did you know that concerning any legal representation (within scope of duty) it has to be voted on by the Board of Directors. If they choose not to by show of hands…..guess what?

    Dick Shinee is also head counsel for the District Attorneys Office (L.A.County) as well as counsel for Pasadena Police Department. WOW. As Head Council for ALADS. His salary is more than 2 million. (Steck will/ can verify) Wake up members! Or become the laughing stock of all Police Officer Associations.

  • Good to finally see previous threads to expose the Operations at ALADS
    Only 2 ways to leave ALADS fully……. (1)Retirement or (2) Death. One can actually go to LASPA for representation or COPS LEGAL. Check their website.

    Now really. ………After the fiasco with ALADS legal (lack of) and Sexton, Do you really think that ALADS has your BEST INTEREST AT HEART. (IN THEIR HAND FOR SURE)

  • @Hardy Boys…
    I concur with you totally. You listed All of the Alphabet Characters. > ALADS + FEDS, Along with appointments to Judges. Whatever happened to votes by the people. ( No one beats Alads at appointments, look at their board) The voting members mean nothing to ALADS, only the monthly dues..

    Raging Waters anyone?

  • Hey “1980’s era,” you know what the worse part about Thompson was… He would, up until recently, brag about being a Lynwood Vicking, but failed to mention they essentially gave him Vicking status as a Sgt. What a dweeb. I can’t believe he bragged about being a Vicking, but he never earned it as a dep. I wonder if he still brags about sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with Tanaka during meetings??

    Rea Manzo and Smith… Let me shed some light on those two… Those two were the biggest ass kissers in the dept. So much for Manzo bragging about it being “Siiiick” that he had a take home car, and was able to look into anybody’s email on the dept while he was on loan to I.A. Manzo is such an idiot… He and Smith knew exactly what they were doing and prided themselves on being “in the know” even though what they were doing was illegal.

    Manzo and Smith kissed enough ass and sucked enough d*** to eventually weasel their way back into OSJ. Everyone saw it. Manzo’s ass kissery talents were second to none…
    Lt. Thompson considered himself a hard chargin’ Lynwood dep/Sgt. I have never met a guy come from Lynwood/Century that takes into account ass kissing over hard work.

    If you weren’t part of the ass kissing crew, Manzo and Smith would be the first ones to stab you in the back and/or throw you under the bus to make themselves look better, and Thompson wouldn’t see thru that…I wonder if Smith and Manzo will “No ack” their cell-mates in prison the way they used to when they walked thru CJ/Towers/IRC?

    The end result is karma caught up to these guys who bragged about operating in Tanaka’s “Grey area.” They screwed over enough of their partners to make themselves look better along the way, that no one feels sorry for these guys. You guys bragged about doing what you were doing and knew it was wrong/illegal. You dumbasses actually thought Tanaka would have your back and take the heat for you when this thing went South??!!?!?

    Thompson also lost all respect among us. He knowingly led these guys down a path that will eventually lead them to prison in the hopes that his 10-30 antics would land him a commander spot somewhere. He did it to these guys and managed to protect his son, at least for now, who was just as deeply involved in this whole fiasco.

    Manzo, Smith, Thompson: Don’t drop the soap…

  • I have never understood why the dept. allowed rookie wet behind the ears new Deputies to work the gang unit in the jails.. They have no street experience at all with gang members.. I wonder if experienced patrol trained veteran Deputies had been working OSJ maybe this whole incident would have never happened….

    I spent 30 years of my life with LASD and have been retired for many years, I am ashamed and saddened of what has happened to what once the greatest police agency in the country…

  • Nicholas Rampone needs to be indicted for being an incompetent Lieutenant and killing an unarmed juvenile. Your not getting promoted to captain Nicholas. Be happy with what you have and retire.

  • @Retire Rampone. I don’t think this thread is an appropriate place to voice your beef with Nick. If you are a disgruntled Crime Lab person, take it up with your chain of command. This is not the time nor the place. Just say’en.

  • Yesterday I was driving south on Temple Street and saw a retired Commander doing cart wheels in front of the Federal courthouse. A former Chief then tried to push him into traffic. At the same time a shadow was cast on the east side of the Hall of Justice in the image of Peter Pitchess and Sherman Block. I was both saddened and awestruck. True story. Boomer!

  • Folks: Another perspective from the Associated Press via Sexton’s home-town newspaper the Tuscaloosa News:

    http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20140917/NEWS/140919585/1007/news?p=3&tc=pg

    Please note in the A.P. article that James Sexton was cooperating with Federal investigators up to the point where he was expected to wear a wire against his Dad, who was then Sheriff of Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, and had no connection with any wrongdoing in the LASD.

  • HBO is missing the boat. The dysfunctional drama that the LASD became under Baca is just begging to be a top rated series. The characters that make a series a hit are ALL there.

    The delusional nut job sitting at the top——Baca
    The sleazy disgusting asshole nobody likes——Waldie
    The spineless guys just rolling with the flow enjoying the perks—–Stonich and Cavanaugh
    The tyrant with the Napoleanic complex undermining them and running the show—–Tanaka
    The extreme kiss asses——Hellmold and Rogers
    The clueless, harmless, likable buffoon who’s only involved because his homey is——–Rhambo
    The incompetent gal who only has her job because of political correctness—-McDonald
    The small town sheriff trying to show everybody he can make it in the big city—-Ted Sexton

    The story lines from week to week wrote themselves with all the drama that the LASD suffered thru under the fools. It’s all there. It would be a hit.

  • Hardy Boy, while I agree with most of what you’ve said on other posts, I will take note of one issue, you referred to Sexton senior as a good man. Sorry, he is a world class idiot, an opportunistic politician who engaged in the pay to play scheme at the highest level and was rewarded with an undeserved executive appointment within the LASD. And when he showed up, he forgot to pack his humility with him – not the makings of a good man.

    A close friend of mine had the unfortunate duty of working closely with OSJ a few years back, when they were in their heyday under the Tanaka empire. Arrogance, hubris, and looking down their noses at everyone else, even patrol trained veterans, was their M.O. My guess is these folks won’t be putting down their OSJ time on their resumes anytime soon.

    Karma is a bitch, as they say. As a matter of fact, karma comes in many forms, and it will catch up to all the arrogant a-holes who routinely destroy careers out of insecurity, sheer entertainment, or out of spite. Of particular note is how they seem to age in fast forward, and no amount of rank or reward will erase that stain on their soul, and they know it – it’s what eats them alive from the inside.

  • @14 Oh Well, you hit the nails on their heads. It sounds like the book Celeste is working on. HBO is right behind.

  • Hey, “is that your 2-4”, your code should be 10-50 since you not only like to operate behind fictitious, statements, names, and probably sexual preferences. Sounds like you are very jealous of these MEN who took an oath to PROTECT and serve. If you were on the force instead of mopping the floors you would be fully aware that as soon as an inmate says “I’m scared for my life”, standard protocol is to do EXACTLY what Manzo and Smith did. [WLA EDIT]

  • 10-10a… So let me get this straight.. When an inmate says they r scared for their lives, standard protocol is to get the sheriff and undersheriff involved, have unlimited o.t. To supposedly protect this guy, move him from jail to jail, have meetings about hiding thisindividual, hide him from the FBI, think ur a badass for playing this secret squirill shit, and them threaten FBI agents with jail time???

    Wow, times have changed because I always thought standard procedure was to initially transfer these guys to the green light fish row until one was able to confirm or disprove their claims, but I guess I’m wrong.

  • 10-10A,
    You can quit with the “It was done for the inmate’s safety” bullshit. The jury wasn’t ‘t stupid enough to buy that bullshit. I’ve got news for you, there isn’t one swinging dick who comments here who will buy that bullshit.
    Cut it out.

  • 2-4, lets face it. You are either a custody assistant, or a long time custody deputy who has evaded patrol. Your whining over being allegedly no acked, as well as your brilliant yet uninformed take on the situation is a dead giveaway. I’m sure you’ve always thought you would make a fine street cop, and show everyone else how to do it. But I’m betting you’re not. You’re just a disgruntled, angry little man. It’s all good to have your opinion of the misguided operation at cj. But by kicking these deputies while they are down, by making a joke of them possibly going to prison, you are the a-hole in this case. If you spend enough time around some real deps, you will find that while we often won’t get along, we always roll to an assistance request. I could try explaining the whole dynamic of that to you and some of the other shit talkers on this site, but I won’t waste my breath. Any real cop understands what I am saying.

  • The tragic part about this is James left his position as a Deputy in The Tuscaloosa County to come to LASD. We still have the trials of the rest of those indicted to go through. Outside of those indictments look at what we also have going to court.  Lt. Walton vs.  Commander Fennel,  Deputy John Rose,  charged  with 17 felonies in connection with his alleged  sexual relationship with an underage girl. Deputy Francisco Gamez, on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and gun charges. At the end of the day, prosecutors are   sending a message.  As members of law enforcement, we should be smart enough to know right from wrong.  Paul  still apparently can’t believe he won’t be our  next Sheriff despite having a hand in making this mess. 

    http://www.abc3340.com/story/26559648/son-of-ex-tuscaloosa-county-sheriff-convicted-of-obstruction-of-justice-in-probe-of-civil-rights-abuses-at-jail

    http://www.dailynews.com/government-and-politics/20140920/paul-tanaka-insists-he-is-still-running-for-los-angeles-county-sheriff

  • #4, “read it and Weep”, U da man-or woman! Very well said; your explanations were spot on. Thank you for taking the time to write the truth. Some won’t agree, but removing their blindfold may be their Panacea!

  • Hard times: actually, I am a patrol dep, and no matter what my personal or professional opinion of these guys was, or anyone else for that mater, I would have still rolled to back. I, unlike some OSJ guys, never dodged patrol and continue to put in extensions.

    Believe me, I never had an issue being no ack’d, but I saw them do it to several others. I never understood what made these guys think they were better than anyone else. They were the apitamy of salty. And they had NO patrol experience. Instead of helping out their partners, they would bring them down. On that note, I’ve worked operations with SEB deputies. These guys are the cream of the crop, and of all people, I’ve seen them Sir-ing the custody deps that were there helping out and processing evidence. Now THAT is the type of guys u respect and emulate.

    If it sounds like I’m kicking them when they r down, then so be it. I’ve seen them do it to other guys on SEVERAL occasions. This time, it finally caught up to them.

Leave a Comment