FBI Jail Jim McDonnell LA County Jail LASD Paul Tanaka Sheriff Lee Baca The Downfall of Paul Tanaka U.S. Attorney

OPERATION PANDORA’S BOX FINALLY GOES UP THE LADDER: The Day That Paul Tanaka and Tom Carey of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Were Federally Indicted

Celeste Fremon
Written by Celeste Fremon


“The allegations in the indictment include cover-ups, diversionary tactics, retribution and a culture generally reserved for Hollywood scripts.”

– David Bowdich, Assistant Director in Charge, LA offices of the FBI



THE ARRAIGNMENT

On Thursday, May 14, the day it actually happened, the mood among even the observers was of an almost theatrical unreality.

For weeks sources had dropped hints that former Los Angeles County undersheriff Paul Tanaka and, with him, former LASD captain William “Tom” Carey, were going to be federally indicted for obstruction of justice—and soon. But who knew? Eight months ago several sources close to the U.S. Attorney’s office said that a Tanaka indictment simply was not going to happen.

Carey, maybe, but not the former undersheriff. He was too wily, too untouchable.

Yet seven lower-ranking members of the department had been charged, convicted and handed prison terms for charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Specifically, according to government prosecutors, the seven deliberately got in the way of an FBI investigation into brutality and corruption in the LA County jail system. They reportedly did so by hiding a jail inmate turned confidential informant from his FBI handlers, falsely threatening an FBI agent with arrest, and trying to persuade potential witnesses to wrongdoing in the jails not to cooperate with the feds. These actions and others, which came to be known unofficially as Operation Pandora’s Box, were ordered, according to all credible accounts, by Tanaka, and to a much lesser degree, Carey. So were the feds really going to let the underlings take the whole big, bad hit, while the shot-calling guys at the top walked away unscathed?

As it turns out, the answer to that question is: no.

Both Paul Tanaka and Tom Carey learned for certain late Wednesday afternoon through their attorneys that a grand jury had indeed handed down indictments. In reality, however, both the indictees and the lawyers had all but known for weeks. And then there were subtle hints that went out to both the Carey and Tanaka camps that planning a vacation in May would likely be….unwise.

Paul Tanaka is, of course, the former number two of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and, at one time, the man who most insiders believed was all but guaranteed the top job after then-sheriff Lee Baca stepped down. But that was before a string of departmental scandals became public, before Baca “finessed” (his word) his once blindly trusted second in command into early retirement, before Tanaka hit back with verbal stiletto strikes delivered via the press, and before Baca resigned under still ambiguous circumstances on January 7, 2014.

Prior all that, Tanaka was Baca’s anointed successor, the crown prince, the guy whom nearly everyone in and around the department—everyone save Baca himself—believed truly ran the show. It was Tanaka who reportedly micro-managed nearly all important promotions, civil service rules be damned. He was also the person who could and would tank your career if you crossed him. He had to put his “people.” in place, Tanaka once confided in former LASD Commander Robert Olmsted. Because, he said, after Baca, he was going to be sheriff for the next 16 years.

Plus he’s the three term mayor of the city of Gardena.

Instead, at around 6:30 am on Thursday, Tanaka self-surrendered to federal agents at the FBI head quarters building in Westwood. Tom Carey too self-surrendered at around the same hour. Later that day, both men were led, in handcuffs, to holding cells inside the Edward Roybal federal building. Then at approximately 3:05 p.m. Tanaka was arraigned on 5 counts of obstruction of justice. Carey was arraigned right afterward. Tanaka wore a baby blue shirt, no tie, and sport coat, for the arraignment. Carey wore a bright white, long-sleeved Oxford shirt that looked very J. Crew-ish, no jacket. Neither were handcuffed anymore.

Both men were granted bail. Tanaka’s bail was set at $50,000, to be secured by a condo in Diamond Bar that is in his wife’s name. Carey’s bail was $100,000 but it was unsecured by either property or other assets. During the bond discussion, Judge Victor B. Kenton, the jurist presiding over the arraignment, wondered to Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Fox why Tanaka needed to be a bond at all—before acceding to the government’s wishes with some reluctance. (Since we’ve seen people charged with a couple of hand-to-hand sales of dime bags of meth slammed with a $100,000 in bail, no kidding, we wondered about his honor’s thinking, but that’s a conversation for another day.)

As is customary, both men were required to surrender their passports and firearms. (Carey didn’t have a passport, and Tanaka’s was out of date.) There was a small kerfuffle over the fact that Tanaka’s wife is an LASD detective thus legitimately needs her gun. Carey’s son, who lives in his father’s household, is also a sworn member of the sheriff’s department, so needs his gun as well. With a bit of back and forth, everyone settled on the notion of acquiring new lock boxes forthwith for the weapons of the spouses and offspring.

A joint trial for the two “co-conspirators” was set for July 7 in the courtroom of Judge S.James Otero—although absolutely no one involved thinks the trial will commence anywhere near that soon. Moreover, sources rate the chances at approximately 80 percent that Judge Percy Anderson will elect to snatch this juicy trial for himself, thereby moving Otero out. Anderson, those following closely will remember, presided over both of the trials of James Sexton (whom it took two trials to convict), and the trial the other six former department members who, along with Sexton, were convicted of obstruction of justice concerning the hiding of federal informant Anthony Brown and other actions designed to thwart the FBI’s investigation into chronic corruption and brutality in the Los Angeles County jail system.

UPDATE: Judge Percy Anderson did indeed manage to snatch the Tanaka-Carey case. But there are still no new trial dates.

Both men were released on bond at around 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon. They left the building with their lawyers, looking grim and rattled. Tanaka also had his wife beside him, a pretty woman who, on this particular afternoon, looked like she’d been through one hell of a 24 hours.


THE PRESS CONFERENCE

The news that two of the guys near the top of the LASD’s hierarchy were facing federal indictments was officially announced at Thursday’s 9 a.m. press conference where Acting United States Attorney Stephanie Yonekura laid out the charges:

Tanaka was charged with obstructing a federal investigation for allegedly “directing efforts to quash a federal investigation into corruption and civil right violations by sheriff’s deputies” in two of the county’s jail facilities, Men’s Central Jail, and Twin Towers, she said.

Tom Carey, the former head of ICIB-–the LASD’s unit that oversees criminal investigations within the department—was indicted along with Tanaka for “participating in a broad conspiracy to obstruct the investigation.” In addition, Carey was charged with two counts of “making false declarations” (basically perjury) for things he said in last year’s trials of former deputy James Sexton and six former members of the department, including two lieutenants, two sergeants, and two more deputies.

As she spoke to the hyped-up crowd of reporters, Yonekura used unusually descriptive language to describe the context in which the obstruction of charges against the two men were filed, particularly concerning Tanaka, whom she said (allegedly) didn’t merely obstruct justice regarding the Anthony Brown matter, but “had a large role in institutionalizing certain illegal behavior within the Sheriff’s Department” as a whole.

David Bowdich, the new the Assistant Director in Charge for the LA offices of the FBI, went further when he took the podium after Yonekura. “The allegations in the indictment include cover-ups, diversionary tactics, retribution and a culture generally reserved for Hollywood scripts.”

As mentioned above, the charges against Carey and Tanaka are similar to the obstruction of justice charges levied against the seven former department members convicted last summer and fall (and whose cases are being heard on appeal by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, this coming fall). Except, of course, Tanaka’s and Carey’s roles were supervisory in nature. In other words, they were the ones who allegedly gave the orders that led to the obstruction charges—and the convictions—of seven department members, not the ones who mostly carried out what higher-ups told them to do.


THE INDICTMENT

The joint indictment of Paul Tanaka and Tom Carey is a 25-page document that makes for interesting reading.

The first nine pages cover what are called Introductory Allegations. These are the sort of back story that puts the rest of the legal tale—namely the various “counts” that comprise the charges—into a larger narrative context. On page three, for example, the document states that:

“Defendants TANAKA and CAREY were well aware of allegations of rampant abuse of inmates at MCJ and TTCF [Twin Towers] and of allegations of insufficient internal investigations and enforcement of deputy misconduct by the LASD.”

It then goes on for the next two or three pages to give a list of examples of how Tanaka and, in some instances, Carey, ignored reports of deputy abuse of inmates when they were brought to them by such varied sources as a jail chaplain, an ACLU monitor, an LASD deputy, a lieutenant, a commander, and more.

The indictment also describes how Tanaka, in particular, allegedly seemed to foster misbehavior—as with his infamous “work the gray” speeches, or his reported 2007 threat to “put a case” on captains “who were putting the most cases on deputies,” and so on.

The remaining pages outline the “counts,” which basically have to do with ordering and/or overseeing the alleged hiding of inmate/informant Anthony Brown from the feds, surveilling and threatening FBI special agent Leah Marx, and attempting to threaten and cajole potential deputy witnesses from talking to the FBI—plus other related actions.

A careful reading of 25-pages is also intriguing in that it suggests, among other things, a list of possible witnesses that the feds could call at trial. (It most cases, the individuals mentioned in the indictment are not named, but comparing the anecdotal material in the document with, say, accounts of the Citizens Commission on Jail Violence hearings, and WLA’s own coverage of the LASD over the last few years, may offer relevant clues.)

In response to the indictment, both in a written statement and in conversation outside the courtroom, Tanaka’s two attorneys said that the charges against their client were “baseless,” and they were confident he would be exonerated of any wrongdoing.

“We’re not going to roll over, we’re going to fight it.”

If convicted of all the charges, Tanaka could get fifteen years in a federal prison. Carey, with his extra two counts, could do 25. Yet, judging by the sentences handed down to the other seven department members last year, where the longest term ordered was 41 months, should Tanaka and Carey be found guilty, their sentences too would likely be far shorter than the maximum.


AND WHAT ABOUT BACA?

At Thursday’s press conference, a good number of the questions asked by reporters weren’t about the recently indicted Tanaka and Carey, but about the man who most conspicuously was not indicted—namely former sheriff Lee Baca. He was, after all, present at many of the meetings laid out in the charges. And in several instances he was reportedly the guy who called the meetings.

Acting US Attorney Yonekura declined to say whether or not Baca was or was not the focus of any ongoing investigation. She mostly answered the blizzard of questions by stating that “Mr. Baca is not charged at this time,” and “We will continue to look at any evidence that comes to us.” As to how they could indict the number two guy, without indicting the number one guy, she said, “We’ve charged the cases we feel we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Meanwhile, back among the non-indicted working department members, once the news broke about Tanaka and Carey, Sheriff Jim McDonnell sent out this message to the troops:

“Today, the Department of Justice announced the indictments of former Sheriff’s employees Paul Tanaka and William Carey. The last several years have been hard on everyone. The indictments are part of a process that will run its course. During this time it is important for us to focus on our mission and look toward the future in demonstrating what the LASD is all about.

The US Attorney’s announcement is by no means a reflection on the tremendous work that you consistently do and the commitment that each of you provide to make a difference in the communities that we serve. The Sheriff’s Department is a national leader in law enforcement, an agency second to none.

I look forward to the future and continuing to work with you in moving the Department forward, not only in leadership, but in the eyes of the public.”

83 Comments

  • I thought I would have zero sympathy for anyone of high rank indicted but for Tom Carey… How did he draw the short straw and end up at ICIB when this happened? And where were Mannis and Abner? Why were they not yelling no, hell no. Or better resigning in protest. Even if they were bypassed in the decision making, they knew! Their subordinate is likely going to prison. How do you people sleep at night?

    Carey facing 25 years, Tanaka 15…. And where is Lee… He laid all the blame on Carey, calling him a micro manager and Tanaka! No one can find Lee for comment.

    For all you Chiefs who sat around EPC and never challenged Paul’s attitude towards IA, shame on you. Many of you were at or past retirement age and sat quietly saying nothing. some did leave in frustration, good, but you did not raise this publicly on your way out! Finally those who blindly followed Paul, how could you not see this and other actions by him as wrong?

  • The answer about why the seven didn’t supposedly show more courage is summed up in the passage from above:

    Prior all that, Tanaka was Baca’s anointed successor, the crown prince, the guy whom nearly everyone in and around the department—everyone save Baca himself—believed truly ran the show. It was Tanaka who reportedly micro-managed nearly all important promotions, civil service rules be damned. He was also the person who could and would tank your career if you crossed him. He had to put his “people.” in place, Tanaka once confided in former LASD Commander Robert Olmsted. Because, he said, after Baca, he was going to be sheriff for the next 16 years.

    So, you are one of the sergeants or deputies given orders, and likely never told that the FBI had a legitimate investigation (I haven’t been able to find anything that definitely shows they got that word, just possibly the lieutenants), and you have a choice between crossing this culture and what you have been led to believe are rogue FBI agents. What an impossible choice. There’s a reason they’re not already in prison.

  • I think Baca threw everyone under the bus already and is going to walk. His departure was oddly timed and his babbling excuses didn’t add up. Looking back now, he was probably snitching to the fed to save his own inept snake oil selling charlatan rear end, when in fact he should be in a bail hearing as well….

  • Handicapper, well said. If it is of any comfort, I hear Abner and Mannis are the focus of the Feds for Obstruction of Justice as well. That will have to play itself out in due time. Those two are an absolute disgrace to LASD. Abner, in her usual self-serving agenda, did sit by idly and with full knowledge, that all of this and many more unethical events unfolded. She always played, “I am woman, I am strong,” and portrayed herself as the Woman’s Rights champion of LASD when in reality, it always been about her, making rank not by achievements, but by those rather close and personal relationships. And Mannis, she is afraid of her own shadow and would do anything instructed. That is exactly why Tanaka promoted her to Captain and kept her at IAB. When her Tanaka Batphone rang, and orders were to squash an investigation, it was always, “Yes sir, I’ll take care of it.” And her promotion to Commander and remaining within the IA Division, once again, right where Paul wanted her.

    This chapter of the ongoing FBI investigation is still being written. The Paul Tanaka story of his reign of tyranny and all of those who took part, will be the focus of law enforcement ethics curriculum for the next twenty years.

  • I agree with some of the previous posters on this site. This didn’t happen overnight. I want to thank some of the old timers from the “good ole boys” network for making this happen. Now the new generation has to deal with the “sins of the fathers”. Again, thanks.

  • The Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau has been and sorry to say  is still  a mess  under Sheriff Mc Donnell.  Remember how they ignored the shenanigans of  Dan Cruz, Bernice Abram,  Jeff Donahue,  David Waters, and  Justin Bravo? Those are just the one that are public knowledge.  Their are still too many Tanaka loyalist in key positions in the Dept. A lot of the deputies that the FBI attempting to investigate back than and the subjects of the CCJV report are now on patrol. Sheriff Mc Donnell,  those who cannot remember the past or ignore it, are condemned to repeat it.  You’re six month in, it’s  time to really clean house.

  • Sachamoe: I don’t know Abner, but I can certainly attest to the lack of integrity or intestinal fortitude of Commander Mannis. I hope you are right and the indictments continue to target the enablers that help destroy the Department. More than willing to testify as a character witness if needed!

  • Sure glad to see the Justice system work. I would have liked to see those convicted Deputies given more jail time, but it was not my decision.

    I surmise that some people are going to start squealing on one another.

    Its funny how some of these people who write comments about the convicted Deputies feel they got a “raw deal” , but yet they never speak up for the people who were victimized.. How many people got beat up ? How many legitimate IAB cases were squashed ? Throw them in Jail !!!

  • Just Observing, you are right!! The justice system is working…just not the way you want it to.

    Thank God! The 9th Circuit realized how stupid this is and kept our guys out.

    You are proof a broken watch is right twice a day, but that’s just an age old observation.

    Maybe the Feds will make a meaningful case on things they were given such as helicopter parts sold off LASD crafts, murder for hires, political scams…. But it’s easier to let a grand jury do your dirty work and let a judge in your pocket run a kangaroo court.

  • @9 those 7 deputies convicted weren’t convicted of beating any inmates, in fact not one of these seven especially Sexton were ever accused at trial of beating anyone. Do you know anything about this case at all? Sexton actually tried to help the Feds get the bad corrupt people out. He met with them 38 times to give them information!!! He was their witness and the backstabbing Feds had career agendas up their rears and decided to turn on him. They were never out to stop inmate beatings. They were just looking for career moves and then stumbled upon Baca and Tanaks evilness and said “hey we can get these deputies instead”. They may convict Tanaka but the real evil is within Baca and where is his indictment? They may all serve time but the 6 deputies tried together was a zoo. NO ONE COULD GET A FAIR TRIAL. Limited time for the attorneys to present their case and a Judge who was out to get them all no matter what. Sexton’s trials was also pro prosecution. They edited his grand jury testimony, which should have never been admitted in the first place. Time will tell if the appellate court will do the right thing and let them have a real trial without a biased bad judge. Hope Sexton wins his case against ALADS and LASD. As far as Tanaka, he will get his, he will have the same sorry pathetic judge the others did. Jail will not be kind to him.

  • Sachamoe, your words are music to my ears. Chief Abner was a disgrace to the department and had full knowledge of Pandora’s Box. She was responsible for carrying out a lot of dirty work for Tanaka, including retaliating against employees left and right. She controlled the whole IA and ICIB apparatus and made it sing Tanaka’s song karaoke-style.

    There is a reason she jumped from Temple station captain to Baca’s aide as a commander. The only question now is how long will McDonnell allow unethical lieutenants and above remain in sensitive positions, knowing full well they engaged in major misconduct if not criminal misconduct. Sounds to me like all those who skipped working the hard line jobs because they had a coin should be forced to work those same positions under a new management system.

    Imagine that, working without a safety net, just like everyone else has had to throughout the last 15 years…

  • #6 Time To Clean House- you are so right… Take Lt. Carter for example, he works right next to the Sheriff everyday and was a Tanaka loyalist… Carter did not pass the lieutenants exam (band 3) however Tanaka had Carter and 12 other loyalists oral interviews changed from low 70’s to high 90’s through Goran and Waters who were appointed to do the department review and changed their scores. 11 of the 12 were immediately promoted bypassing candidates who scored band 2 on thier own accord, and many of those never got promoted. The Sheriff is not being told everything…..and they work right in his office.

  • The doors to ALADS hidden money trail will be be kicked in and exposed at upcoming civil trial against former ALADS President Macias.

    The court case will be open and all can view as it will be on public record. Pretty much Pandora’s Box II.

    The 7,500 plus membership will smell the coffee and wake up. Looking forward to it. I understand that Floyd Hayhurst, Dick Shinee and Bud Treece will reluctantly will make guest appearances. Should be interesting, since Floyd was in Tanaka’s Cigar Club and a Coin Holder.

  • I feel the need to address the poorly worded responses to my post.

    The convicted felons ( formerly known as the 7 deputies ) were judged by evidence by a lawful Grand Jury that led to a Federal Court conviction. The evidence presented at trial led to a conviction. You seem to disagree with the conviction. Perhaps the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will agree with your diminished opinion. Perhaps the 9th Circuit will uphold the convictions. Let us wait and see. Implying a Federal Judge runs a ” kangaroo Court” is unjust and childish.

    I am very familiar with this case. Are you ? Your comments seem to suggest a diminished view of the facts. Read the indictments and testimony before you write unfounded comments.

    Get it straight: THE 7 DEPUTIES WERE CONVICTED OF CRIMES AND FACE PRISON TIME ”

    This is tough times for people who made poor choices and did not do the right thing. Think out your responses in the future before you write your comments.

  • Now you are not just observing. You are participating.

    I am pretty familiar with the case as well.

    Highlighting the decision to let the government to edit grand jury testimony, and bringing to light a judge is one of the most overturned in the Nation and 2nd most recused in the circuit is not childish.

    How do you explain a former deputy and current whistleblower being allowed to maintain firearms if his testimony was such a sham? How do you explain not providing all the evidence to a jury? How do you explain the 6-6 mistrial and the 9th Circuit ruling without hearing the government’s response?

    So that’s Sexton.

    The other six; How do you explain the terrible jury instruction, which is the number one reason cases get overturned or the fact they had two holdouts magically dismissed?

    Just a few observations the rest of us have made.

    You aren’t the first quiet troller through these parts, and you want be the last.

    Poorly worded… please. Let see you introduce some more rational thoughts. Start with the fact they WERE facing prison time until the Circuit of Appeals issued a bond after they PROVED their BURDEN this case has possible judicial errors. This bond Is not something handed out everyday.

    In case you are hard of hearing, the 9th Circuit told Percy Anderson he was wrong for not granting the bond pending appeal.

  • Sorry, @15, but @9 made a valid point. You asked where the concern was for the jail victims, and @15 correctly responded that none of the seven deputies convicted were accused of, or convicted of abusing inmates. You should read the indictments yourself. In fact, none of the cases that went to trial did anything at all to protect the civil rights of inmates.

    However, the question of inmate civil rights is a good question – for the FBI. If this was all supposedly about protecting the civil rights of inmates, why didn’t they lead with charges proving it ? Surely, abuse of inmates is a more serious crime than obstruction ? But after years of poking around, they lead off with….obstruction.

    Why is that ? Because they obviously don’t have enough to prove it yet. They have themselves to thank for that, by foolishly entrusted an all-too-easily traced cell phone to someone completely unreliable, with no plan B for when the cell phone was inevitably found and traced to the FBI. Now fully alerted to the fact that the FBI was poking around very early on in the investigation, the LASD now had advanced warning.

    Yes, “the seven deputies were convicted of crimes and face prison time.” And, this is also true. Eight months after the first sentences were handed down, the seven are still free on bond. And will be until the fall. That’s ONE YEAR after sentencing. Sounds like some people in the justice system smell a terribly flawed conviction.

    Did the seven make bad choices ? Sure, because all they had available to them were bad choices. Defy your vindictive superiors in a toxic environment, and you know there’s hell to pay, or challenge the FBI (and remember, there’s no proof anyone told the sergeants/deputies that the FBI had a legitimate investigation). I challenge anyone lecturing the seven about “courage” to put themselves in those same shoes – it’s not the kind of thing most people will ever face in their working lives.

    Those seven people were thrown to the wolves, abandoned, and then vilified while their superiors went free. And now, the FBI is charging Tanaka and Carey and telling us they oversaw a place that was as awful as the plot of a Hollywood movie. If that’s the case, FBI and Department of Justice, then it should have gone a lot easier on the folks who had to survive that environment.

  • #15, it has been a while since I have commented, but your Spring Street point of view intrigues me.

    I was there for a lot of Sexton’s two trials, and it was perverted version of justice. I should also point out that he had a lot of support in his corner not just from family, but peers and teammates.

    People should not count him out.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-feds-tried-to-enlist-deputy-to-record-baca-attorney-says-20140317-story.html

    He was told he was in danger by the FBI!! He provided grand jury testimony that was designed to sink Greg Thompson so he could not harm anybody else. What would you have done if you ever had the courage to find yourself in that situation. BRAVO to Deputy Rathbun and Mr. Sexton for doing the RIGHT thing!

    The irony in all of this is his defense and defense team are keeping all of them out of prison. Check your perscription my friend.

    Those folks are not going to see the inside of jail cell, because the government got greedy. If you are going to make observations, make sure you try to keep them in context.

    I loved the press conference. The government loves to throw out the 7 convictions and 20 indictments, but cannot mention the case Maggie Carter flat out lost nor the 9th Circuit telling a peer he was wrong within 30 days of his ruling.

    That is now 10 LASD personnel not in jail and one district judge being told he was wrong. Factual observation from someone in the know.

    Just Observing is something a fat Sgt or condescending SA would say in a drive by shit talking manevuer.

    You are going to be like Boomer, Pink Owl, and CSN83: loud, wrong, and gone. Circle of trust code 1??

  • Folks, Mike Corona, the former sheriff of Orange County, was released on bond pending his appeal back in mid-2009. The same 9th circuit allowed him to remain free for around 18 months before upholding his conviction in early 2011…. And he’s just made it to a halfway house. I don’t think being allowed to remain free is necessarily an indication that the LA 7 are going to have their convictions and/or sentences overturned.

  • To “Oh Well”, “Oh No” and “Oh Crap” You can bitch & whine all you want.

    Baca will not be indicted. Period. It is what it is.

  • #15 I never said they weren’t convicted. I said they didn’t receive a fair trial and hoped they would win an appeal especially Sexton. I also believe Judge Percy Anderson is as evil as Baca and Tanaka. You don’t get on the top 10 worst Judge list for being fair and unbiased. Sexton’s Grand Jury testimony was hacked to death and should not have been admissible in court. Thanks to ALADS Sexton’s attorney no showed the day he testified before the GJ. ALADS get ready your enema is coming!! “Just Observing ” I want you to know I thought this response out totally before replying. I am well informed, read testimony and know the facts of Pandora’s Box.

  • The tragic part about this whole case and other issues within LASD, is our failure to stop problems before the molehill becomes a mountain. If Baca and Tanaka had the guts to rid the dept. of problem deputies, would he and others be facing jail? I will never understand the mentality of protecting a bad employee. At the end of the day when things go sideways, you stand alone and  have to face the music. Those you lie to protect ride off into the sunset unharmed. There is   no honor in protecting a brother or sister who’s a punk. Sexton, you did the right thing to rid the dept. of   people Britton, Orr, and Thompson. I’m sorry the F.B.I didn’t see it that way. 

  • Well, #17-#19, the facts are they are convicted. They are felons and have been sentenced to jail time. The facts have been heard and their guilt has been determined. They are awaiting to have their appeal heard. Big Deal ! Thousands of people appeal their convictions. Let us wait and see the outcomes.

    As for your opinions on faulty court procedures, that’s all they are…your opinions. ( Like it really matters) You apparently have your hopes pinned on some imagined ” get out of jail free card”

    Perhaps there are people trolling these stories and act as commentators to try to drum up some sort of public support to put pressure on somebody, but the facts remain they are convicted criminals. They are not folk heroes and they need to serve their jail time to deter other people from criminal activity. Many people feel this way.

    You cannot bully me with your attacks. I have my opinion and you have yours. The Justice System has found them GUILTY !

  • Just, nobody is bullying you. You aren’t a victim.

    You are entitled to an opinion, and you are dodging questions about the foundation of the conviction.

    See you this fall and let’s see who is right.

    Fact: they are not in prison yet. I thought convicted felons go to prison so why are they not there AT THIS TIME or scheduled to REPORT?

  • The Justice System has also said they are not going to prison.

    Why is that so hard to understand? I guess that is not a fact worth considering.

    It is not hard to look at the whole picture. I am not saying they are not convicted. It is just they were given a bond by an appellate panel after a Federal Judge told them they were convicted and to report to already assigned facilities.

    I am saying the system is working and disappointed in the way this case came about.

    I forgot you cannot argue with the Federal Government especially when they post. I should probably stop responding before I “obstruct justice.”

  • Just Saying,
    It’s obvious you need a couple of things pointed out to you.
    #1. I didn’t post a thing on this thread before your awesome and oh so eloquently explained comment in #22. I must be in your melon if you’re making preemptive comments. Lol.
    #2. Your tone seems to infer that you are at least somewhat pleased Baca hasn’t been indicted. If that’s the case, it’s sad. Real sad.
    Ok champ, your turn. Standing by with baited breath for your next profound comment that will enlighten us all.

  • @25 you are obviously not of police mentality. They were sentenced to PRISON, not jail. And, their trial and conviction was based on FBI garnered “evidence” It is a matter of opinion, I suppose as to their degree of guilt. My opinion after reading copious blogs is they were indicted to get to the top players,, If this is the case, their conviction should be overturned on appeal. As I watch the movement of the pieces, i.e. the re-assigned judge etc, it does not past the stink test. If those convicted and indicted for the obstruction ( not civil rights violations) were simply following orders and not for promotional purposes, then how in the hell can you make an argument for more “JAIL” time. It would appear you #1 have little or no knowledge of the law or this case. Stand down, 25 !!

  • “Just Observing” you are to involved in “your own opinion” to be just observing. Which means you are one of the following, one of the prosecutors, one of the Feds involved in this case, someone from ALADS or one of the deputies Sexton wrote up for bringing drugs in to the thugs at LASD. This last scenario is disturbing on all levels because he was receiving death threats. You have a deep seated reason for wanting these 7 to serve jail time. We will wait to see what happens, but for now THERE is a reason they aren’t in jail.

  • McDonnell you need to evaluate the brass (Assistant Sheriff’s and Chiefs) who is currently besides you. Those folks are Tanaka spies and have dedicated their times to stealing what they can from the Department.Look in to there history and you shall see….Chameleons is what they are! Be careful or you will wind up like Baca! It’s reality, face it, address it and don’t jeopardize yur name, ethics, integrity and professionalism as a leader that can turn it around And make it right

  • McDonnell don’t let those executives fool you. Be concerned with the ones that honor you the most. Right now your like the dog handler who is distributing the treats – those executives will do any tricks for you. They will tell you what you want to hear. Ask them how many told Baca the truth.
    Look at how many kissed Tanakas ring. Ask Helmhold how many fundraisers he had for the emperor – city club??? Hummmm. Wolaks at Gardena??? Hummm…
    Goldfinger (Goldman) at West Hollywood….hummmm and it goes on…..

  • Just Observing,
    I’ve said it since day one and I’ll say it again. The people involved in Pandora’s Box do not belong in prison. They pose no threat to society. They won’t be committing crimes in the future. Yes, they were convicted. There’s no need to argue back n forth over the specifics of the trial. The real question is: Is justice served by them serving prison time?
    They are guilty of felony stupidity and a few are guilty of felony arrogance.
    They’ve lost their career, their retirements, and most importantly their honor. That you would want to pile on them by seeing them take up bed space in an already over-crowded federal prison tells one all they need to know. Fat Lady Hasn’t Sung called it exactly right. You’re not just observing, you have at least an emotional investment in the case.
    Cut the bullshit. You’re not some unbiased observer with no dog in the fight.

  • Jack I am not gone just watching you go after folks that don’t always agree with you. Instead of slamming Sexton once again for his actions I think letting this all play out in court is the right thing to do.
    It does not surprise me that anyone from me to the courts are so wrong about this and you are so right.

  • Question? Is Chief Goldman going to make a challenge coin for Sheriff McDonnell like the one he made for Tanaka??? Just asking Chief???

  • After reading the absurd comments from some of the posters on this board, it appears that they have a stake in this issue and just want to keep the issue alive. They haven’t accepted the fate of the convicted criminals and are trying to stir public opinion to rally to their cause. Well, good Luck !!! Keep doing your Comedy Clubs , cigar smokes and ?

    Your better off getting a part time job and get ready to put money on their books in jail…And yes , I use the term jail vs prison…..There is a reason….

  • I used the word “jail” in my post too!! I still think you are tied to this case somehow. We have different opinions as to how the seven got into this mess. You believe they had a choice and their trials were fair and they were convicted on not tampered evidence. We all agree they were convicted and may serve time. I am not trying to sway anyone because we all have formed opinions. Not trying to change yours because people like you only see one way!! I formed my opinions on the facts in this case. The Judge allowing tampered GJ testimony, ALADS not providing an attorney to Sexton, Judge Anderson Kangaroo court and they Feds setting up a man that was their witness. He met with them 38 times to give them information to help get rid of the worst LASD has to offer and then Anderson disallowing Sexton’s help to be admitted in his second trial. We both want the same thing JUSTICE, but differ on how that needs to be achieved. Have a great day!!

  • Well stated @40. Additionally, was not the FBI operative a lifer. These folks have tons of integrity . i wonder what cushy facility Brown is at now. Not to see the yellow justice of this case is to admit blindness to it, But, you are right. Some people will only see what the want to see.

  • @Fat Lady…….You cite one of the most valid reasons why deputies are fed up with ALADS and going to LASPA.

    ALADS has ZERO CREDIBILITY. Deputies who get in trouble, would be better off as a Pro Per in a kangaroo court.

  • Anthony Brown was serving over400 years!! That phone the FBI provided him, was used while in his possession to call known gang houses. That phone could have caused someone’s death.

  • Just Observing,
    Jail vs. prison? There is a reason you differentiate? Would you care to explain that to a dumbass like me? Is there some county “jail” where they could serve out their sentences? If their bond was revoked and their appeal denied tomorrow. would they be in a county jail a month from now?

    I’m a stupid bastard. Ask anybody who’s been around here for awhile.
    You need to explain to me how in #15 you said: ” Get it straight: THE 7 DEPUTIES WERE CONVICTED OF CRIMES AND FACE PRISON TIME”.
    And then in #39 you say use the term “jail vs. prison”, as if it has some hidden or at least veiled explanation of your position.
    It’s ay over my head. Could you explain it to me please? My capacity to understand things like this is, as you so eloquently stated, “diminished”. Give a guy who rode the short bus to school a break. Explain it to me.
    Thanks in advance.

  • Just Observing,
    I know my above post is poorly worded, has bad grammar, bad punctuation and several misppelled (sic?) words. If you could please overlook that most important part of the post, and lower yourself to my level to solely address the content, it would’ve greatly appreciated.
    You need to dumb it down for “diminished” people like me.

  • Feel bad for the seven. They all have my support. I will think of each as I drive my unit, sleeves rolled up, ink showing, chewing my favorite tobacco product.

  • Agree with Get a Grip at # 21. Look at the date of the signed indictment: October, 2014… a month after the convictions. I reason they used the sworn open court testimony of the 7 to go back to the GJ to SECURE indictment of Tanaka and Carey (as if they didn’t have enough direct GJ testimony already). I further reason they will do the same to get Baca. Testimony from Tanaka and Carey has already placed Baca in the meetings, participating and giving orders. Done deal. And just like the 7, T and C will testify their orders came from on high.

    As soon as they learned this was a legitimate FBI investigation Brass should have stood down and any orders given should have been to cooperate. Anyone who has ever seen even a bad cop show on TV knows Fed always trumps local. Brass certainly knew this and as far as the 7 are concerned, well, ignorance is no excuse under the law. Hell, you ARE the law. and if YOU can’t recognize an overt act you all need to go back to Sheriff school!

  • EDITOR’S NOTE:

    #48, a very small factual correction: The October 2014 date on the indictment is the date that the grand jury was seated, not the date that the indictment was filed. That particular grand jury was hearing testimony on the issue of obstruction of justice well into 2015.

    C.

  • @ Just Observing.

    Don’t fall into the fray of antics/semantics by the Nitwits who knit picks the jail/prison term. Yes there is a difference and we all know this.

    Those who have nothing new or valid (even interesting) definitely don’t show it by trying to mainline the ant hill. Those on the sidelines are harmless. Hold your ground.

  • Just a question as I am not taking a position. Is it kosher for PPOA to solicit support for Tom Carey.? Did PPOA solicit support for the 7…….. just curious.

  • I thought Fed GJ was seated in the spring in LA (or so I heard). Oh well, no matter. Explains the time gap between convictions and T/C indictment only a week ago. Had to bring this year’s GJ up to speed. Thanks for the blow by blow.

  • Regarding #47, don’t know if anyone else caught on to “as I drive my unit”. This closes all doubt that TT badboy has not worked patrol, maybe not on the department at all. This is the last time I will acknowledge TT. He adds nothing to the conversation.

  • I will keep it very simple for them and not tell them what they really , really want to know.

    Definition of jail as defined by dictionary:

    jail

    noun
    1.The definition of a jail is a place where people are held for trail, or where people who’ve been convicted of a crime serve out a sentence.

    An example of a jail is San Quentin Prison.
    _________________________________

    That is a simple definition as defined by a dictionary. You really don’t know what’s going on…..

  • @No mas. The reason for “nit -picking ” jail vs. prison was to illustrate “Oberving’s minimal knowledge of the case. Since you decided to take up the cause and name call in the process, if you too had a modicum of knowledge the Justice system , you would have chosen a different side . Incidentally, you too are displaying more than your share of immaturity, You might also want to be either a little more careful or enlighten yourself of the “sideline” folks.

    Just saying.
    @54.. good work. I think your take on TT is probably right on. No mas and Observing, too.

  • Farewell to LASD, Farewell ALADS.
    Days away from my new assignment at another agency, where the pay is better and the union dues cheaper with less drama.

    Everyone at my next assignment shakes their head at the whole situation in LOS ANGELES COUNTY specifically RAISES + RECRUITING + RETIREMENT.

    I’ll miss the great guys that I worked with and the instructors that were part of training. Nothing else.

  • With all the problems with the Department and the PT loyalist, why would the new sheriff promote a cigar smoking/coin holder to the gang unit as a Captain. Nothing ever changes…..

  • The recent Captain Promotion to OSS should NOT be a surprise. The majority of the corrupt executives were Tanaka picks who still run the moves at LASD. Until they’re purged nothing will change! Good Job Sheriff!!!

  • The recent Captain Promotion to OSS should NOT be a surprise. The majority of the corrupt executives were Tanaka picks who still run the moves at LASD. Until they’re purged nothing will change!

    Good Job Sheriff!!!

  • O’B — I find it inappropriate for our union to use their email list to reach out to union members to solicit contributions for one person (yeah, they mentioned “the 7,” but the trust of the solicitation was for Tom). Personally, I too like Tom Carey. But considering how he voluntarily jumped in the car with the little guy, unfortunately, he’s kind of got himself in a tough situation. Also, the email refers to the prosecutions as part of a “pissing match” between two law enforcement agencies. Really? There was rampant corruption inside LASD for more than a decade. The prosecutions are a result of that corruption. Those that got caught up in it to further their own careers, though I feel sorry for where they now find themselves, to characterize that corruption as a pissing match, does a disservice to all those employees who were not involved in it and who continued to do their jobs well in spite of the corruption. At the helm of POPA and receiving complaints from members for many of the years of this dark period, Brian did little to hold Baca accountable on his membership’s behalf. I’m sure that’s not a popular position, just my 2 cents.

  • Proud ole Retiree, your actually arguing with a dictionary definition of a jail/prison because it does not fit with your definition ? LOL…Expand your mind.

  • Just Observing,

    You are officially a dumb ass.

    There is a huge distinction between jail and prison. Just as there is a distinction between a robbery and burglary.

    Have fun thinking you are the World’s smartest person. While these folks may have been sentenced to prison, they will never go there for the work they did in County of Los Angeles Jail.

    That’s a riddle you won’t understand. I just did a face palm on your behalf. Such an ignorant comment from a person calling folks out. Honestly, there is a legal distinction between the two and you completely failed to comprehend or use the term correctly.

  • Interested party, spot on. I find the use of PPOA’s email list to solicit funds for someone indicted by the feds as disgusting and a misuse of the union’s property. Moriguchi is stepping out on a very thin branch.

    Given the abject failure of PPOA to do ANYTHING to reign in the corruption of the Baca/Tanaka administration, which caused the destruction of hundreds of PPOA member’s careers, I find it sickening that Moriguchi finds his voice to support a manager indicted for just cause. Brian, where were you when Baca and Tanaka were destroying careers for mere sport? How much evidence did you need to move forward and show some leadership? Did you bother emailing the membership to see if there was support for a vote of no confidence? Did the thought of trying that cause you to soil your pants in fear? Or were you to busy rubbing elbows and trying to fit in the pecking order of union subservience to county politics? Is there a payoff for you Brian on the way out?

    When there are more questions than answers, I think it’s time for Brian to step aside. I know I don’t want my union supporting criminals, past, present, or future.

  • @61 I.P., your post is quite refreshing. I’m so tired and frankly, disappointed with reasonable minding people trying to minimize Tom’s involvement in Pandora’s Box. The rationalization and manufactured excuses are so delusional, they are absurd. I like Tom as much as the next person, but he did the unthinkable and most inexcusable of all; he “allowed” his subordinates to step into harm’s way. There was no “pissing contest,” that is a childish statement. PB was a conscious decision to obstruct justice, period. It was a conscious decision to hide Brown and pump him for information, period. They all did this to please the little man and enhance their careers and that is the bottom line. A pissing contest PB was not.

  • Wow. The new Captain at OSS proves Tanaka lives on. Here is
    A guy who spent a minute in patrol and off
    To Homicide and then a Chief’s Aide. McD your first promotion
    And you ,,, or the ones you listened to,, blew it. Of
    All the hard working Lts on this Department and
    A Tanaka guy is your first promotion. A lot
    Of folks were hoping for change and you just
    Sent the Message it is not coming. Hell, you might as well bring
    Goran back as a Chief.
    McD. You have to make changes at the top. You already told your
    Command staff that NONE of them are competent enough to be your
    Aide. You have to bring in a guy who has been gone for 5 years.
    Anyone you are considering to make Captain please look at the resume
    If they worked OSS. MCB Homicide Narco from 2007 to 2013 at sgt or above
    You can be guarnateed they were a Mr T man. Just review the resume of the Lt
    In your office. He does not need to be a Captain. He needs a real Lt job
    To prove himself. If you continue to promote non deserving Lt over Lt
    Who have 10 years at rank and working their ass off you will crush
    A lot of the Ops Lts on this department who for the most part run the
    Units. Your a good man Jim. But you are being played by Tanaka loyalists

  • LATBG and Sachamoe, thanks. In retrospect, it’s now not surprising the likes of Burns, Mannis and McSweeney would play dumb and/or make double-talk why promotions were not happening out of IAB. In hindsight, it’s also no shock why they (and Gennaco) would direct, without sufficient ethical explanation, something the commander out of the Sheriff’s office or the U/S wanted done or not done in an IAB investigation, contrary to long-proven standards of comprehensive, ethical investigative procedure to apparently engineer a certain outcome. When the top ordered certain involved individuals WOULD NOT be interviewed, they had a purpose in mind, and to me, it wasn’t honorable. As revolting as the behavior of our superiors in the chain of command was, the inaction that our union president displayed in responding to the corruption was so much more disgusting and inexcusable considering his position in the organization whose mission was to protect the membership from such abuses. In speaking with peers throughout the department, they too felt betrayed by our union.

  • @ 66) & 67)
    Looks and sounds like the same M.O. as ALADS. Selective Representation. Speaking of “Vote of no Confidence”……..That is a 1st place tie between ALADS and PPOA. Hopefully the same Federal Branch of Government that is watching ALADS will take a look-see at PPOA. Stepping down is a is more gracious than being booted out.
    This and most conversations about ALADS and PPOA would be nil if the memberships money did not fund these gambling halls. Another reason why the contract negotiations are in the toilet and members want to bail out like a building on fire, which is pretty much an accurate description.

  • MCJ K6G Says, there is no reason for name calling. I ask you to stop it.

    I merely quoted the definition of “jail” from a dictionary. You disagree with that definition. Go to the writers of the dictionary and explain to them they are wrong and how you are right. Good luck with that ! While you are at it, go to the Federal Judge and explain it to him how he got it wrong also. I am sure he will listen to your diminutive opinion.

    It occurs to me the same ignorance is showing up in several posts on this site. Quite possibly its the same person just using different names to post their absurd opinions. Perhaps its one of the convicted felons trying desperately to keep the issue alive so they have a glimmer of hope. If the convicted police felons get the criminal conviction reversed, Amen. All anybody should want is justice. If the convicted criminals do not get their judgments reversed, my hopes and dreams are that they find inner peace while serving their time and take advantage of the opportunity to change their ways.

    But please do not resort to name calling.

  • 68-PT lives on – you are correct. I mentioned this before, the guy McD is bringing back that left 5 years ago is cancer.. Very disturbing.

  • Just Observing,
    “And yes, I use the term jail vs prison…..There is a reason….”

    Pardon me. I didn’t realize that you were simply using that term because you’re so much smarter than everyone else. I didn’t realize you simply needed to show everybody just how smart you really are and the awesome command of the English language you have. After your explanations it’s quite apparent now why you used the term. So you could bait us in to pointing out the difference between jail and prison, and then you could look like the smartest guy in the room by dropping that bomb ( in your eyes) in #55.
    And once again, the person feeling the need to show how much smarter they are than everybody else looks like the biggest idiot.
    Just keep referring to a dictionary and feeling good about yourself. The rest of us will keep laughing at you. Thanks for the entertainment.

  • I understand the new sheriff wants to start fresh with no divisions among the employees like Tanaka had done, but to promote poorly qualified lieutenants to captains is not a step in the right direction. Forget for a moment lieutenant, now captain, Burson was/is a Tanaka loyalist who lived and benefited every minute of it, cigar coin in hand. He has no experience! Similarly, lieutenants Cater and McWaid, who both are in key spots as executive aides. Carter, the new Sheriff’s aide, has zero lieutenant experience and has been on Team Tanaka since he was a deputy at Lennox. McWaid, who remodeled Tanaka’s kitchen, begged his way into Tanaka’s favor and hasn’t done anything as a lieutenant except for handling the one special project, parolees. Look at the resumes Sheriff.

  • Since it appears that Sheriff McDonnell is either unwilling or unable to address the past and on-going corruption within his department, it may be time for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the F.B.I. to have the LASD placed into a federal conservatorship.

  • Tanaka and Carey will be tried in court. Yes, many bloggers were affected, however don’t allow this to consume your life. Karma has them right where they should be.

    Most of the major players are gone including Floyd Hayhurst of ALADS who iironically left in a Maserati “looking behind his back” all the way to the bank.

    No one involved in this circus will walk away unscathed. Time has already proven this. Even those who were involved and being promoted under the new regime will have their hat handed to them before this chapter in LASD is over.

  • Thank you at #74!!! “Just Observing” suffers from low self esteem and has the need to make everyone else seem stupid. Just ignore him, all he wants to do is engage and enrage!!! We all have an opinion in this case and people like “Just Observing” aren’t going to change mine. I have made no bones about it, I STAND WITH SEXTON!!! Whether he serves time in jail or prison ( that was for you JO) I will still support him in his quest to clear his name. Good luck to those that got caught up in this mess, critics say you didn’t have a choice. You did have a choice and it was damn or be damned!! The LASD is corrupt and there were a few trying to fix it and Sexton was one of them. I use to respect the FBI but not anymore. We all want justice, but not at the expense for those that were trying to achieve it. #rolltide #rollsexton #enemaforALADS

  • Poorly qualified, you are not kidding. Peel back another layer of the onion and you will find boatloads of captains, commanders, and chiefs who skipped ranks, did a New York minute on the line, and spent the bulk of their careers ass-kissing and boot-licking on the fourth and eighth floors. It’s a well travelled path, and those who are on the receiving end of all the attention did it themselves to get to where they are – they know how to recognize pure talent!

    If McDonnell wants to break this dysfunctional paradigm, he needs to start by creating standards for each rank, along with minimum requirements of experience on the line. We really don’t need any more Roosevelt Johnsons out there pretending they earned their positions.

  • Matt burson is a quality guy. unless you worked with him you should reserve your comments. he worked OSS for years. AS to all Homicide, Narco, deputies being unworthy of promotion thats ridiculous. Sean Mcarthy was firestone, oss, homicide, and never in Tanakas Car. Tanaka was a phony and finally got what he deserved, but several others skated. the seven guys arrested was a joke, and hopefully they will be vindicated. Tom Carey is a great man and it is baloney what happened to him. the two guys that should have gone were Ornelas and Parra who ran that Team as a Commander, but they both had diarrhea of the mouth at Grand Jury Hearing. The whole thing stinks, and you listen to the tough talking guys like Floyd Hayhurst comment on this blog who was a terrible cop at industry and a very disgintled employee. Just saying. Tanaka being gone is the best thing that ever happened to the department. Piety

  • That still doesn’t alleviate the fact Burson was a Tanaka groupie, complete with cigar coin. There are plenty of “quality” guys that go nowhere without political patronage. Ain’t that right Piety?

  • Piety, we only worked together for a short time, and it was my privelige. You are a stand up guy, that speaks the truth. I only wish that someday the truth will finally come out about the Parra’s and the Ornelas’s of the Dept. I know if you ask Ralph, he will be more than happy to tell you all about himself and his illustrious career. You made it to Commander, so enjoy your retirement.

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