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Child Welfare Czar Further Delayed, LASD Oversight, Long-Term Price of Locking Kids Up…and More


In a closed session last week, the LA County Board of Supervisors broke off their contract with the firm chosen to identify candidates for the new child welfare czar. (If you are unfamiliar: this czar will be appointed to oversee much-needed reforms to the Department of Children and Family Services.)

The board, unsatisfied with the people recommended by the headhunting firm, will now restart the search for viable contenders for the position. Other reasons for the change of course included uncertainty about how much power the czar will have, and the arrival of two new Supervisors, Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis.

KPCC’s Frank Stoltze has more on the issue. Here’s a clip:

One key question is how much authority to give the new position. Antonovich cited this as another reason the board decided to change headhunters.

“The position was being sold as having more authority than it was really going to have,” he said. Oppenheim said county officials decided on the job description, not him.

Solis suggested any new job description should provide the child welfare director more authority, not less. McCroskey said the current description was unclear because of conflicting views on the board.

“It wasn’t clear what it is that the primary responsibility would be,” she said. “Are you there to coordinate different agencies ? Or are you there to direct other agencies?”

Solis said the board’s decision to hire a new headhunter and re-write the job description reflects a new day at the county Hall of Administration – especially as it relates to her and fellow newcomer Kuehl.

“We’re not just going to sit by and keep with the status quo or listen to the naysayers who say ‘oh, you don’t know enough about this,’ ” Solis told KPCC. “We are taking a new refreshing look at it, a new bite at the apple.”


On Tuesday, the LA County Board of Supervisors voted in favor of creating a citizen’s oversight commission for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. But what will that commission look like?

An LA Times editorial says the commission should not be comprised of five members chosen by the five Supes. That configuration would not have enough independence from the board. The editorial (as well as Sheriff Jim McDonnell), calls for a larger commission, one with non-board-appointed members who can only be ousted with good cause. Here’s a clip:

Will this new body remain a creature of the Board of Supervisors, or will it be granted some independence? Will it oversee the work of the department’s inspector general, or instead will it work in cooperation — or competition — with that office? Will it have power to subpoena documents? What sway will it hold over the actions of the sheriff, who will continue to report directly to voters and will, at least on paper, be accountable only to them? Can oversight be accomplished by a body that is merely advisory?

The answers to these and other questions are fundamental to the proper operation of the commission, which could become a useful tool for good sheriff-community relations and for transparency and accountability. Or, if the panel is put together with too little care, it could become another sedimentary layer of bureaucracy that consumes resources but offers little in return.


The new oversight commission should be seen differently, not as a instrument of the board but rather as something more independent, with a focus more on disclosure and accountability than on limiting financial liability.

A five-member panel would almost certainly consist of one appointee from each of the supervisors, serving as extensions of their offices, removable by them.

That’s one reason that Sheriff Jim McDonnell, the Coalition to End Sheriff Violence in Los Angeles Jails and The Times editorial board support a larger panel with members other than board appointees, each with staggered terms and removable only for cause.

The editorial also suggests county officials look to other municipalities with civilian oversight to see what’s working.


A new report from the Justice Policy Institute examines the long-term costs, including the collateral consequences, of locking kids up.

Examining data from 46 states, the study found states spent an average of $148,767 a year locking up just one kid in the most expensive kind of confinement. California was among the 10 states spending the most on incarceration ($570.79 a day, $208,338 a year). Beyond that, the report estimates the US loses between $8-$21 billion in long-term secondary costs of needlessly incarcerating kids, including lost education time, lost future earnings, and lost future taxes.

Among other recommendations, the report suggests community-based treatment and supervision, investing dollars in diversion programs, better tracking of recidivism and outcomes.

Here are some clips from the accompanying story:

“Every year, the majority of states spend $100,000 or more to lock up youth who are mostly imprisoned for troubled behavior or nonviolent offenses,” said Marc Schindler, executive director of Justice Policy Institute. “And compared to the huge long-term costs to young people, their families, victims, and taxpayers, that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. This is a poor investment and we must do better.”

The billions of dollars in hidden costs result from formerly incarcerated young people earning lower wages, paying less in taxes, as well as having a greater dependence upon government assistance and higher rates of recidivism. Research shows that the experience of incarceration increases the likelihood that young people will commit a new offense in the future…

Beyond these costs, the report also notes that the system does not affect all young people equally. African American youth are incarcerated at a rate nearly five times that of white youth, and Hispanic/Latino youth at a rate twice as high as whites. Even though young people engage in similar behavior, there are differences in the way young people of color and white youth are treated.

“The significant and multi-faceted costs of incarceration paint a troubling picture for young people, their families and communities, as well as taxpayers,” said Marc Levin, director of the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “Fortunately, proven alternatives to incarceration for holding youths accountable are not only cheaper, but most importantly are almost always the best answer for protecting the public and putting kids on the right track to being productive, law-abiding citizens.”


The non-indictments of both Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo—the officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner—have prompted conversations about ways to eliminate bias in police killing cases generally handled by local District Attorneys. Appointing special prosecutors or handing cases to the state DA’s office have emerged as potential work-arounds.

Slate’s Josh Voorhees has the story on another idea that is entering the discussion: an inquest. Here’s a clip:

How do we resolve this disjoint between a binary system that sees things only in black and white and the public’s need for an honest investigation of the shades of gray in between? One little-discussed option comes from Paul MacMahon, a law professor at the London School of Economics. He argues in a forthcoming Yale Law & Policy Review article that the solution may be an inquest, a quasi-judicial proceeding with medieval roots that has largely fallen by the wayside in the United States. Inquests—which are still common in England and Ireland—are called in the aftermath of an unexpected or unusual death. Typically, a jury, with the help of a judge or coroner, seeks to establish the facts of the case but, importantly, has no legal authority to indict or convict. Think of this as akin to a civilian review board, but with more power, a clearer task, and an actual platform to make sure its conclusions are heard.

How would such an inquest work? MacMahon proposes launching one automatically anytime a police officer kills someone in the line of duty. Having either a judge or coroner lead the jury would remove the apparent conflict of interest of a district attorney investigating an officer who he relies on to do his job. The inquest would have the power to compel witnesses to testify under oath, but unlike a grand jury, the proceedings would play out in public. The bigger wrinkle, though, is that the jury would have no power to decide the question of criminal or civil liability. The findings wouldn’t necessarily even be admissible as evidence in a court of law. Prosecutors would still be the ones to decide whether to take the case to the grand jury; the grand jury would still decide whether to indict the officer. But an inquest would bring a heavy dose of public accountability. In England, for instance, when an inquest concludes a homicide was an “unlawful killing,” the state doesn’t have to prosecute the case. If it chooses not to, however, it has to formally explain that decision.

The inability of an inquest to bring charges itself may sound like a weakness, but it’s what makes the process so valuable. Because the panel wouldn’t be preoccupied with the guilty/not guilty or indictment/no indictment binary, it would have more leeway to pursue the facts wherever they lead. “The inquest, more than any other institution, is charged with pursuing the truth—sometimes including the moral truth,” MacMahon writes. Inquests don’t just ask whether someone’s actions were justified in a legal sense, he says; they ask “whether or not a person’s conduct was justified in distinct and important ways from the question of whether or not the person should be held criminally responsible or liable to pay damages.”

In the case of Wilson or Pantaleo, then, an inquest could try to answer not just whether the officer was legally justified in his use of force, but whether the officer was right in a larger sense to do so. There’s no guarantee the inquest’s jurors would be able to settle that question once and for all, of course, but simply publicly attempting to would be a big step forward for a government that is struggling to convince communities of color that their lives matter in our criminal justice system…


  • Captain Tom Carey, formerly of IA was relieved of duty yesterday pending an administrative investigation.

  • When you have personnel of any rank assigned to I.A. / I.C.I.B. come under investigation it shows there is damage to the foundation of the department. A damaged foundation can bring a whole building down.

    I.A. & I.C.I.B. is suppose to be the real watchdogs of LASD. If they had done their job with integrity, fairness, accuracy, non-biases, and without the interferences of Executive order then there would have been no need for Micheal Gennaco & his O.I.R. crew.

    I said it in a previous entry, past and current I.A. & I.C.I.B cases need to be reviewed because the creditability of these 2 units is gone. Personnel from these units are/have been federally indicted, some convicted, and now some under Admin. Investigation.

    So what about the deputies that have been victimized by these unit members? If you find misconduct in some of their cases you have to review all of their cases, don’t take short cuts LASD Executives…

    @ 2 I am with you, and I hope karma shows her face in the worst way. It is time for the truth to come to light.

  • A Captain ROD? Unheard of. Oh wait, I forgot Tanaka is gone. Geez, looks like someone opened Pandora’s Box? I wonder if there are other captains, commanders and chiefs who stood by, aided and abetted Tanaka during his reign of terror who are about to be ROD as well? Sheriff, your entire organization is watching and waiting for you to act and show us there is not a double and triple standard as there has been over the last decade +. Pull the trigger and show us you mean what you say.

    Btw, any brass suddenly decide to retire of late? Why? I thinks so, good riddance.

  • Re: shine some light’s post — “I.A. & I.C.I.B. is suppose to be the real watchdogs of LASD. If they had done their job with integrity, fairness, accuracy, non-biases, and without the interferences of Executive order then there would have been no need for Micheal Gennaco & his O.I.R. crew.”

    IAB and ICIB are not “the real watchdogs” internally; that’s what they pay managers (capts and above) for — to ensure subordinates are doing their jobs properly. If a scenario reveals itself indicating a possible violation of policy, procedures or law, then IAB and/or ICIB are tasked by a chief or above manager, to conduct an investigation to forward back to that manager to allow them to determine if the allegations are founded or will be filed for prosecution. I can tell you from many years of working at IAB — investigators don’t have an interest in dirtying or cleaning anyone up. They collect evidence, conduct interviews, follow up on initial information obtained and take it to the decision makers to classify the case.

    Re: Gennaco and OIR — their introduction into the process wasn’t needed; Leroy and Michael sold the BOS on an “independent” entity idea to ensure internal investigations were thorough and comprehensive, resulting in the BOS coughing up over $3M a year in taxpayer money to fund. Then Michael provided Leroy with a smoke screen, with a tool to distract from what was going on for fifteen years — all the corruption, all the outrageous promotions of mostly incompetent and undeserving sycophants of Moonbeam and Paul to prop up the Tanaka Dynasty. I don’t think shine some light’s comments were written out of malice, but perhaps out of a lack of familiarity with the process. ICIB and IAB are two separate units with two different functions — to lump them together with sweeping statements is just inaccurate. Whatever the former ICIB captain’s involvement in Pandora’s Box is found to be, let’s wait to see how things shake out before we cast labels on his unit or IAB. If he did the devil’s bidding out of loyalty because the little guy pulled him out of a career gone dormant and made him a captain, that will come out. ICIB and IAB will always be needed – someone has to do it, like it or not.

  • @ 5

    Your comment added clarity to the process and it is appreciated. @ 5 I will say this, if you were one of the ones in I.A. that did your job honorably than much respect to you. Just know everyone does not have integrity like you @5.

  • • InterestedParty Says:
    April 27th, 2013 at 4:17 pm
    I too was assigned to IAB, and 11-Boy, with all due respect to your #63 post, I must state my different experience with Executive interference in two very noteworthy cases of mine. One case involved a sworn supervisor assigned to 4th floor SHQ. A day or two after I was assigned the case, my captain informed me a directive came down commanding that several people I identified as witnesses for pending interviews would NOT be interviewed — that the subject would be my only interview and he was going to sit without representation and admit the allegations. I was also told my captain would replace my regular partner who would typically be sitting with me on the interview, and all questions to be asked, had to be pre-approved by my captain. In that same case, I advised this same IAB captain another higher ranked sworn employee needed to be named a subject – I was again told, “Cmdr. —- said you only have one interview.” The subject received minimal discipline and transferred directly to another coveted assignment. In the second case a few years later, during the first of multiple meetings with my captain and OIR regarding this case which involved multiple subjects, when I stated a particular sworn manager needed to be added and interviewed as a subject, I was told, “The Sheriff loves the guy, so no, that’s not going to happen.” Both cases were high-profile, high media interest cases and yes, there was interference and intimidation from above. Both of these cases occurred during the Baca Years. One might suggest, “Grow a pair, and tell your captain you’re not handling the case,” or do something heroic so the Sheriff and his princes know who’s in charge. The reality? Lee Baca and Paul Tanaka were then, and are now, in charge and they call the shots. Loyalty over merit promotions and loyalty over integrity actions equal the mess the Department is in.

  • I would suggest “growing a pair” would have shown more integrity than “going along with the program”. Your decisions contributed to the unethical behavior at the Unit and above. We are all faced with questions of integrity throughout our lives. Sometimes we win, sometimes we fail.
    I believe you are a thoughtful person who was put in a difficult position. I appreciate your posts.

  • @5) I’ll differ with you on IA & ICIB…They need to be revamped.

    They are part of the destruction that brought a “Black Cloud” over the Sheriff’s Department. I.E…..The Mel Gibson Caper. There are many more.

  • Wow. I didn’t know IA or ICIB were such coveted positions that guys would go along with unethical bullshit to keep their assignments. Or is it/ was it the likelyhood of not getting promoted again that keeps people going along with the program and not pissing off the big boys?
    If it’s the looking ahead to possible further promotions that nudges anybody to go along with that shit, are they not selling their integrity for the possibility of getting paid for it?
    Why not just cut a check to a campaign and cut through all the drama and bullshit? Selling your integrity for one thing, but not another, or picking and choosing when you’ll have integrity is like being sort of pregnant.
    It must be especially hard on those assigned to the “watchdog” units of IA and ICIB who chose to go along to get along, all the while knowing the bullshit that went on.
    I understand why they did it. I really do. It makes perfect sense. I hope they understand why I think they should feel ashamed of themselves. That makes perfect sense too.

  • I think it “took a pair” for interested party to admit the unethical behavior at IAB and his participation. No IAB investigator should ever be placed in that position. I thank him for his honesty.

  • I agree with you Bandwagon, it did take a pair for Interested Party to admit his going along to get along. It was probably eating at him for quite awhile. My guess is that in hindsight, he had handled it differently. I hope that is the case. I will give him the benefit of the doubt.
    Live and learn. Nobody’s perfect.

  • I have worked both IAB and ICIB, before the Tanaka regime drove LASD into the LA River. I NEVER received direction from ANYONE at ANYTIME at ANY rank on how a case was to be resolved. I conducted fair, clean, impartial and thorough investigations, period. I personally have gone to Division Chiefs advocating for deputies in Founded investigations giving them mitigating circumstances for their consideration. And I will say, in my time at those Bureaus, I never saw an employee screwed regarding discipline, at least in the cases I was involved in, I saw nothing but fairness. I did work with a few folks, very few, who had no business at IAB, and they only lasted a few months. By far, a majority, not all, of the folks I worked with had excellent credentials, solid field experience as deputies and sergeants, and knew the difference between a thief and someone who just made a mistake of judgment.

    All of this changed when Tanaka took charge of the IA Division, and actually long before. He ran that Division and everyone of rank did his bidding in those units. They will soon be exposed. And to the IAB Sergeant who posted above saying that he/she “took direction” on an IA case(s), shame on you. I would have told that Captain, Commander or Chief to kiss my ass, I will be dammed if I would have taken that kind of direction and thrown an investigation like that. Roll me up? I would have owned LASD, but more importantly, maintained my integrity. I sleep very, very well at night.

    Today, Sexton was served an 18 month Federal Prison sentence. The bulk of the Tanaka Seven will start their sentences on January 2, 2015, a few short weeks away. Happy New Year, fellas. Where is the Little Man? I heard he will be in Hawaii enjoying the holidays. By January 3, you guys will be all but forgotten. A sad ending for those who thought they were going to gain big points with the emperor. A very sad ending because some of you are great people. But then some of you aren’t, and it was only a matter of time.

  • Calling them the Tanaka 7 is certainly letting Leroy off the hook. Tanaka might have been running the show, but do any of you really think Baca wasn’t on board? Baca wouldn’t of stepped down if he wasn’t up to his eyeballs in Pandora’s Box. Baca gave the orders. Tanaka was his field general.
    What’s absolutely incredible is how Baca made the decisions he did after his meeting with the feds about it. If there was ever any question of Baca’s arrogance, sanity or decision making ability his actions/orders after that meeting with the feds certainly puts that question to rest.
    To leave Baca’s name out when referring to the people sentenced to prison is definitely letting him off the hook.
    To me they will always be the B-T 7.

  • Tom Carey is not the only brass who was knee deep in Pandora’s Box. What is the Department waiting for, a formal invitation? The retaliation machine is still alive and well, in spite of the new sheriff in town. It’s time to put some people out of their misery, and start relieving those responsible of duty. It’s also time to clean house at IAB, ICIB, Homicide, EOB, Majors, and OSS of all those Tanakites who got there without a clue as to what they were doing. Long on connections and short on qualifications, their presence in these critical units will remain a drag on the Department’s ability to reform and move forward.

    There was nothing illegal or against department policy to be a fool and align oneself with the little emperor. Assuming they didn’t participate in many of the unethical and illegal acts the Baca/Tanaka crowd did, we are still left with a rather large group of individuals, mostly of rank, with questionable morals and ethics – and little to no line experience. Now would be the time to take inventory of all these fools and pull them back from assignments they don’t belong in. That whole notion of “soft landings” needs to be replaced with a new one, called reality. Patrol and custody are the life and blood of the organization, but for some strange reason executives never value the line swine working these positions. The favored sons and daughters, herein after referred to as Joe Bitchin, never spent more than a New York minute toiling on the line with the unwashed heathens. I think it would be quite appropriate to force them back on the line and work for a living.

    I realize some of them may be terrified to have to work without a safety net – bummer. Some may be forced to demonstrate their competence or face the consequences – double bummer. Guess what? It’s what most of the department, the unsung heroes who never besmirched their honor or tarnished the badge, have to do every day they report to work and lace up their boots.

  • Fact: Former president @ ALADS> F.H & G.H, along with counsel were anti – Sexton. Ask them and watch them turn red and stutter

  • @ Inside Source. Don’t waste you breath on ALADS. You’re already waste your money paying dues. Legal representation is decided by the board vote. (No it is not automatic) even within “Scope of Duty”. Double Dare you to ask them.

    Surprisingly it is not known to membership that the Pesident and Vice Pesident of ALADS get an monthly “Auto Allowance” of $830.00 in addition to 5% added to their deputy salary.

    Talking about TRANSPARENCY. ………

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