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Civilian Oversight of LASD Back on the Table….LAPD Union Spokesman Unwisely Axed….Report Looks at Barriers Barring 2nd Chances for Americans With Criminal Records….New Sentencing Date for Sexton


One brand new member of the LA County Board of Supervisors, Hilda Solis, has joined veteran board member Mark Ridley-Thomas in championing the idea of a civilian oversight commission for the long-troubled sheriff’s department.

Next Tuesday, December 9, Ridley-Thomas and Solis, will introduce a motion to establish such a commission.

This past summer, MRT and termed-out supervisor, Gloria Molina, did all they could to get a similar motion passed without success. At that time, termed-out supe Zev Yaroslavsky was considered the swing vote who might provide the third favorable vote necessary for passage, but no swinging ever took place. Mike Antonovich has been firmly in the NO camp all through discussions of the matter, and Don Knabe, who was, at one time, thought to be a far outside possibility as a swing vote, never came over to the YES column either.

Now, however, Solis and Ridley-Thomas appear to have their third supporter in newly sworn-in supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who had expressed strong support for a civilian commission while on the campaign trail.

Kuehl then reaffirmed her support in an interview on Thursday.

Back in the summer, one of the strongest voices in favor of the creation of the commission was the man who, as of Monday, has taken over the helm of the sheriff’s department, Jim McDonnell. A few weeks prior to the board’s decision to vote down the commission proposal this past August, McDonnell issued a lengthy statement explaining why he supported the idea, which he called “a necessary long-term investment in creating a better-run department.”

The statement read in part:

I support this concept and believe that there is great value in creating an independent civilian oversight body that would enable the voice of the community to be part of the LASD’s pathway forward. A civilian commission can provide an invaluable forum for transparency and accountability, while also restoring and rebuilding community trust in the constitutional operation of the LASD.

The Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence, on which I served, underscored the need for comprehensive and independent monitoring of the LASD and its jails and recommended the creation of an Office of Inspector General (the “OIG”) – an entity that is now in the process of formation. While our Commission opted not to express any view regarding a civilian commission, I believe that the time has come for the creation of an empowered and independent citizens’ commission to oversee and guide the work of the OIG and help move the Department beyond past problems.

Though a civilian oversight commission may be a new concept for LASD, it is not new to me or to law enforcement in general. Indeed, I spent many of my 29 years at the LAPD working with its citizens’ Police Commission. I have also worked with a citizens’ commission as Chief of Police in Long Beach. I have seen first-hand the value of empowering the community’s voice and welcome the opportunity to work with the Board of Supervisors, legal experts and community groups in developing the best possible model of civilian oversight for the LASD…..

At the time, John Scott—who acted as interim sheriff after the unexpected resignation of former sheriff Lee Baca last January—told ABC7 reporter Robert Holguin that he was generally for the commission but felt it was too soon to form one.

The Ridley-Thomas/Solis motion (which you can read in full here) also proposes the formation of a “working group” that will have 90 days to put together recommendations regarding the citizens commission’s “mission, authority, size, structure, relationship to the Office of the Sheriff and to the Office of the Inspector General.”

(We would presume and hope that the working group would also make recommendations about the proposed commission’s relationship with the board of supervisors. While a citizen’s commission would be the board’s creation, it should not be its creature.)

The working group would be made up of the sheriff (or his designee), the inspector general (or his designee) and one group member to be appointed by each supervisor.

Barring anything unforeseen, look for the civilian oversight commission to finally get a go-head next Tuesday.


In a move that has surprised many LA reporters who cover police issues, the LAPD’s union, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, has parted ways with longtime spokesman Eric Rose. A favorite of several administrations worth of department leaders, Rose is known for his breadth of knowledge of local law enforcement, and his ability to communicate with journalists in such a way that has repeatedly benefited both the union and the LAPD.

Most learned about Rose’s departure when he sent out a note early in the morning of Saturday November 29, explaining that Englander Knabe & Allen, the firm in which he is a partner, would no longer be representing the league. Rose has been the voice of the union for 19 years.

The LAPPL’s decision to acquire a new spokesman is viewed by some department watchers as a desperation-driven maneuver by union leadership frantic to find some way to pressure city officials into forking over a new-and-improved contract. (Good luck with that. In July, the department’s rank file rejected a proposed contract because, despite its multiple concessions, it contained no cost-of-living adjustment [COLA]—nevermind that, due to the city’s $242 million budget shortfall, no other city employees were getting COLAs either, including firefighters.)

On Monday, Daily News columnist Rick Orlov called the LAPPL’s action “another sign of its recent internal strife.”


A just-released report by the Center for American Progress called One Strike and You’re Out: How We Can Eliminate Barriers to Economic Security and Mobility for People with Criminal Records looks at the multiplicity of ways that a single criminal conviction, even for a minor offense, can permanently damage an individual’s ability to rebuild his or her life even years after release from jail or prison.

Here’s how the report opens:

Between 70 million and 100 million Americans—or as many as one in three—have a criminal record.

Many have only minor offenses, such as misdemeanors and nonserious infractions; others have only arrests without conviction. Nonetheless, because of the rise of technology and the ease of accessing data via the Internet—–in conjunction with federal and state policy decisions—having even a minor criminal history now carries lifelong barriers that can block successful re-entry and participation in society. This has broad implications—not only for the millions of individuals who are prevented from moving on with their lives and becoming productive citizens but also for their families, communities, and the national economy.

Today, a criminal record serves as both a direct cause and consequence of poverty.

It is a cause because having a criminal record can present obstacles to employment, housing, public assistance, education, family reunification, and more; conviction can result in monetary debts as well. It is a consequence due to the growing criminalization of poverty and homelessness. One recent study finds that our nation’s poverty rate would have dropped by 20 percent between 1980 and 2004 if not for mass incarceration and the subsequent criminal records that haunt people for years after they have paid their debt to society.

Failure to address this link as part of a larger anti-poverty agenda risks missing a major piece of the puzzle….

And there is this:

…The lifelong consequences of having a criminal record—and the stigma that accompanies one—stand in stark contrast to research on “redemption” that documents that once an individual with a prior nonviolent conviction has stayed crime free for three to four years, that person’s risk of recidivism is no different from the risk of arrest for the general population.

Put differently, people are treated as criminals long after they pose any significant risk of committing further crimes—-making it difficult for many to move on with their lives and achieve basic economic security, let alone have a shot at upward mobility.

The United States must therefore craft policies to ensure that Americans with criminal records have a fair shot at making a decent living, providing for their families, and joining the middle class. This will benefit not only the tens of millions of individuals who face closed doors due to a criminal record but also their families, their communities, and the economy as a whole.

The full report is 50 pages long, and features lots of interesting data, plus a series of recommendations for policy change, so worth reading for those of you with an interest in the topic.


Former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy James Sexton, who was scheduled to be sentenced on December 1, will now be sentenced by Judge Percy Anderson on Monday, December 15.

(Earlier, federal prosecutors had switched Sexton’s sentencing date from this past Monday-–the day that the new sheriff would be sworn in—to December 8th. Then more recently the feds agreed to the second date change at the request of Sexton’s attorneys.)

Sexton, if you’ll remember, was the seventh sworn member of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to be convicted of obstruction of justice charges 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 in mid-September of this year of charges 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 September trial was the second time that Deputy Sexton had been 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.

The other six department members, who were sentenced in late September, received sentences by Judge Anderson that ranged from 21 months to 41 months, with an additional year of superversion after their release.

The six are required to surrender for their terms on January 2.

If Sexton is sentenced to prison, he is expected to be asked to surrender within a similar time frame.


  • “Today, a criminal record serves as both a direct cause and consequence of poverty.”

    I’ll buy the first argument, but the second one is specious. A criminal record is a matter of choice, and a subset of those in poverty. There are many, in fact the majority, of those in poverty who chose to be law-abiding. Claiming poverty as causative of crime is fallacious.

  • The Pandora’s Box Fiasco is over, however Sexton’s assistance in exposing the ugly head of the LASD did not benefit him.

    He lost his badge but not his integrity. It’s unfortunate and sad. I wish him well.

    We really had no choice (however a GOOD one) outside of now Sheriff McDonnell, to right the ship. I also wish him well.

    This department will return to greatness. I’m still proud to say that I work for the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department .

  • Wow….Surprised to see that LAPPL has been described as having “Internal Strife” Sound familiar? It took a pair “top & bottom” to say NO to their last offer of a contract.
    I hope ALADS does better with Les Robbins leading and assisting. THE 2-2-2 joke of our last contract was embarrassing. No need for blame. They’re in the wind, with a lot of ALADS funds gone with them.

    ALADS Board. ……membership is watching and listening.

  • James Sexton: Let us not forget his Federal troubles began when he refused to wear an FBI wire against his dad, who was, at the time, Sheriff of Tuscaloosa County in Alabama and had no knowledge of LASD wrong-doing:


    I cannot help but think that if he had retained his Alabama lawyers he would’ve had a different outcome at his Federal trial.

  • If he had retained his Alabama lawyers?????? They are the ones that told him to testify for the grand jury!!!!!! He was in a bind when His ALADS a laywer NO SHOWED, he called his attorney in Alabama and his attorney spoke to the FEDS! THEY ASSURED HIM HE WASNT A TARGET!!!!!! LIARS LIARS LIARS!!!!!! He testified and you all know the rest of the story!!!! James wanted to help get rid of the bad at LASD. That is the only crime he committed. ! For all you that are in law enforcement word to the wise!!! NEVER EVER EVER BELIEVE THE FEDS!!!!!! They are the scum of the earth and they day in hell is coming!!!!!! This is not over yet!! Like I said the FAT LADY HASNT SUNG YET!!! I will let you know when she does!!!!!

  • The young man turned 30 today. He has already begun to take steps to turn his life around that would take most people years to achieve.

    #2 & #4, you raise points that leave us all shaking our heads. If you read the things that were said about him in the sentencing memo (filed publicly people… so was his trial date), it makes you wonder what really happened in the Feds investigation.

    Although #4, Tom O’Brien is not chopped liver. A 6-6 hung jury is a bit of a statistical anomaly. The second trial was a kangaroo court with hacked FGJ testimony taken completely out of context. Let’s see what the 9th Circuit has to say about it.

    We respect our judicial system so much in America these days. What will happen if they overturn this? Time will tell.

    Until then, keep your head up and moving forward.

  • @ 5

    I don’t know James Sexton but it seems that his heart was in the right place doing his law enforcement job but he was easily manipulated. 100% of the blame is on LASD management not the feds. LASD and himself put him in his current predicament. Nobody is saying it easy to tell your supervisor “No” when you feel they are giving you a questionable order but be prepared for the consequences of following that order.

    You say the feds are lairs, than what is LASD? There are plenty of cases and evidence to show LASD has lied, cheated, committed misconduct amongst other things to get convictions, wrongfully terminate deputies, and cover up crimes and misconduct as special favors. If this was not true than the feds would not be investigating LASD in the first place. So I assume you are saying you never lied to a suspect before? As long as you tell the truth in dispositions and court, any other time is fairgame. This happens all day long in every law enforcement department across the U.S.. Suspects lie, and investigators lie, it is a cat and mouse game.

    LASD is like being apart of a dysfunctional family, and you know your family is dysfunctional, but nobody from the outside of your family better not say anything or you are ready to go to war.

    How exactly did James want to help get rid of the bad apples in LASD? You can’t wait until you are caught up in a case and want to share information to save yourself. Did Sexton not see any corruption and misconduct being covered up prior to pandora’s box? Did Sexton not know the rumors of management being incompetent, untrustworthy, and shady before being asked to do his role in pandora’s box? If anyone wants to clean up LASD than what information are you sharing about bad apples now? Who is going to go to the new Sheriff and tell him about past and current misconduct that should be investigated?

    I don’t see how you blame the feds for LASD ‘ S dysfunctional family. You may not like the outcome of the federal cases, or who they chose to bring to trial first, but I have not heard of any civil rights being violated in the processes of these current convictions. That can not be said for the way LASD enforced/ uphelded the law. LASD conducted business in a lawless manner.

    I want to end with saying, I have no opinion of rather James Sexton is guilty and should go to jail or not. That is what his jury trial was about and if he is granted an appeals court trial than best of luck. I was more so saying, I think you anger is misplaced with the feds.

  • @Shine, the “tone” of dysfunction and corruption came DIRECTLY from the top. And God save your ass if you did not walk the line. Tanaka turned LASD into his personal machine of destruction by his secret meetings with his rats “Whose talking about me, what’s being said? What do you think about your captain, sergeants and lieutenants? Are the deputies in my corner? I will need them and their money when I run for Sheriff.” There is verifiable evidence line deputies were emailing executives and Tanaka directly, complaining about supervisors and managers who were simply doing their job. All of this has been discussed in great detail. The Henchmen were everywhere and at virtually every rank. They were all in, for personal gain. That is why people went along or simply kept their eyes closed and mouth shut. The Baca/Tanaka administration will provide the foundation for law enforcement study on police corruption to the like of NYPD and Serpico.

    The sad part, Scott and Tyler continued to promote these corrupt individuals over the last year for reasons, I will never be able to figure. All eyes are on McD and what reorganization and promotions occur over the next 100 days.

    As for Sexton, Thompson et.al., after January 2, they will be all but forgotten. That’s the way it always plays out.

  • He was the FEDS witness and yes he believed they were going to get the sheriff and Tanaka. Was he gullible? Probably so. Young and came from a law enforcement family where he was taught to do the right thing. He came to California and was surrounded by corruption and wanted to change what he witnessed. Please don’t tell me all you upstanding law enforcement people don’t do what you are told!! He followed orders or would have been branded his whole career. The FEDS had no intention of going after the “big fish”. They just wanted a conviction and they weren’t interested in getting the guilty. They prosecuted all 7 but Sextons case was different. He fully cooperated with them, met with then almost 40 times. Gave them information to indict the ones giving the orders. He was testifying to bring about change. Why did,his ALADS attorney no show? Why did the Feds assure him he wasn’t a target? That isn’t a Lie?? I could understand it all if they had at least indicted Baca and Tanka. When they left them out of the equation, it made the Feds all look dirty!!! I also believe you should put all the evidence in his GRand Jury Statement and not pick the exact words you want the jury to hear. Talk about censorship. There were lessons learned in this case and he will pay dearly but he will come out on top and Baca and Tanaka will be shown their true colors. The Feds will continue to prosecute for pay raises and job promotions. They are liars and cheats and this isn’t the only case they lied and cheated to get their dream ending. #7 if you truly believe the Feds don’t operate in a lawless manner then you are nieve. I hope the new sheriff cleans up the department and this never happens again. I want someone to tell me why the big brass weren’t indicted. I have asked this question several times and I WANT SOMEONE TO ANSWER THAT!! Don’t tell me they didn’t have the evidence because they did. Baca is now living the big life on his retirement. He retired early and must have given the FEDS “something” to keep his rear out of jail!!!! Oh and # 8 this is for you!!!!!!!!

  • @ 7) The division within the FBI, that filed on and prosecuted Sexton was not the division that Sexton assisted. He was definitely used and abused both by the FBI and the Sheriff Dept.
    Also interesting to know is that a lot of deputies. ..(yes a lot) were sacrificial lambs in ( the department in cahoots with Alads Attorney Dick Shinee)

    There were definitely several degrees of separation between (Tanaka, Hayhurst & Shinee) Another reason why Sexton was “Set Up” with a no-show attorney from Alads when needed for inital Pandora Box representation.

    The division still exists within Alads. That’s a whole other story.

  • @ 10

    I don’t think anybody is without flaws and I am not naive to believe the feds don’t have their share of problems. I agree with you they might not have been truthful with James Sexton but that is how most investigators work. They manipulate you to get the evidence they need for their case.

    As far as the brass being indicted, I can only speculate that the feds are working the lower level cases to build the evidence to go up the chain of command. The higher you go, the more you have to cross your t (s) and dot you I (s). For example, when they indict mob bosses they have to build their case with all the soldiers and lower ranking mafia members. Mob bosses don’t get their hands dirty so you have to connect them to running a criminal enterprise to indict them on Federal Rico Act laws. This process takes time, some times years to build enough evidence to take down a boss. Baca and Tanaka were not just the leaders of LASD, they were politicians as well. You don’t just walk into their office and through cuffs of them because others testified they gave unlawful orders. “IF” the feds indict them I am sure they are making their case air tight. Now if the feds officially conclude their investigation into LASD without
    indicting higher up the chain of command then be upset. For now have patience, they move slow and methodically.

    @ 11

    I second you on deputies career being ruined for sport by management. I have a feeling karma is going to come around and get executives that treated subordinates unfairly. Some of these executives that was a part of mass retirement within the last few years better enjoy their retirement. I have a feeling they are going to be pulled into some cases that may cost them their freedom.

  • I will be truly shocked if the FEDS indict the upper crust at LASD. I may be wrong but that is my belief. If they do at least that would be some consolation to those going to jail. If not then other means can show the world what these leaders have done and bring justice to those that deserve to be behind bars. Baca and his crew need to pay not just for the present case but for all the bad they have done their whole career. These men are the face of evil.

  • Jim McDonnell,

    Welcome to what was the best Law Enforcement agency in the country. Get settled and take it all inn. Now, lean back and wonder why all those executives are still hanging around. Really, after 60 should you not just go. You are our change agent, start by cleaning the ranks. We have executives that should have retired decades a go. We have executives that just graduated from high school. We have executives that never worked the field.

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