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It’s Official: André Birotte is the New Federal Judge in Town!

On Tuesday, in a unanimous vote of the U.S. Senate, André Birotte Jr.
was confirmed to become the newest judge of the federal District Court in Los Angeles.

The cloture vote to end debate that came earlier in the day may have been a party-line-driven 56-43. But when it came to the actual vote to confirm Birotte, partisan quarrels were put aside and the final tally was an easy 100-0.

Since 2010, André Birotte, 47, has served as the U.S. Attorney of California’s Central District, the nation’s most populous, which has the responsibility for all federal litigation in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Under Birotte’s tenure, his office oversaw a complex variety of cases that spanned issues ranging from gang violence and narcotics sales, to terrorism, public corruption, white collar crime, cyber crime, and the nether world of financial predators–and more. The cases themselves included such high profile indictments as the bribery and money laundering charges brought against California state senator Ron Calderon and his brother, former state assembly member, Thomas Calderon—and, of course, the indictments of 21 members of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, who were charged as part of a still ongoing federal investigation into brutality and corruption inside the nation’s fourth largest law enforcement agency.

Among his other accomplishments as the U.S. Attorney, Birotte reinstated the district’s public corruption and civil rights sections, which had been disbanded. He also instituted an unusual amount of outreach into the various communities his office served.

“We have to be willing to listen to the community,” he said a few months into his first year as U.S.A.. “So we’re going to do outreach like never before.”

Birotte also repeated often that his office must be justice driven. “Firm but fair,” he said. “But more than anything, justice-driven. It’s not just about winning.”

The son of Haitian immigrants, after graduating from Tufts University in 1987 with a degree in psychology, followed by Pepperdine University School of Law four years later, Birotte began his legal career in Los Angeles as a deputy public defender. In 1995, he moved to the prosecutorial side of things as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the same Central District office he now heads.

In May 2003, the Los Angeles Police Commission unanimously selected Birotte to serve as the LAPD’s Inspector General after a nationwide search. His selection came at a time when the department was reeling disastrously from the aftermath of the Rampart scandal and struggling to figure out how to redefine and reform itself within the confines of a federal consent decree. Birotte is generally acknowledged as an important part of that reform.

While he was still serving as LAPD IG, Birotte was nominated for the job of U.S. Attorney by President Barack Obama, in December 2009, after being recommended for the four-year term by Senator Dianne Feinstein following a selection process by a bipartisan advisory committee created by Feinstein..

“As Inspector General of the Los Angeles Police Commission, André has managed to earn the enthusiastic support of both the police officers he is charged with investigating, and the community organizations that often raise concerns regarding police behavior,” Feinstein wrote regarding Birotte’s nomination. “This ability to command respect from all sides bodes well for his nomination to lead federal law enforcement efforts in the communities of the Central District.”

Indeed, and those same qualities bode well for André Birotte’s soon-to-begin tenure as LA’s newest federal judge.

Birotte will replace Judge Gary Feess who is taking senior status.

POSTSCRIPT: By summer’s end, Senator Dianne Feinstein is is likely to send a recommendation to President Obama for a nominee to replace Birotte as U.S. Attorney.

There is much speculation what effect the appointment of a new U.S. Attorney will have on such high profile cases as the continuing investigation of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.

So stay tuned.


  • Good for Andre. One case does not a career make. No doubt “frick & frack” and his cousins, “doom & gloom” are busting their seams in the wings with a plethora of conspiracy theories, but LASD isn’t the center of the universe nor the only story in town. Life goes on, albeit badly for those who sold their souls. And please don’t give me more shopworn trash about soldiers left on the field — more like minions undone by blind ambition, theirs and the Grand Pooh-Bah, Leroy and his wicked Vizier, Paul. But enuf potshots. Heads are exploding. Let the whining begin.

  • Obviously his body of work makes it clear that he is deserving of the appointment. However, I would have liked to see Andre Briotte stay until the job was done. And it’s not done. They have only nibbled around the edges of the shit sandwich that is the LASD. Until executives start to get indicted, no one at the US Attorney’s office can say they have addressed the corruption issues in the LASD.

    Purging the LASD and pushing the agency through the necessary changes is not the only case for the US Attorney Central CA District, but it is the most ground breaking and historically significant.

    The LAPD’s corruption was largely bottom up, a la Rampart. The LASD’s corruption problems are top down, and that makes the corruption that much more difficult to root out. If the US Attorney’s office thinks that by convicting two Lieutenants, two Sergeants and a few Deputies, that they have cleaned up the LASD, they are deluded.

  • So I just listened to the “This American Life” episode where the LASD corruption and FBI investigations are outlined. Sgt. Maricella Long clearly tells the FBI on a recorded phone call that to get further information, the FBI would need to contact the Undersheriff.

    Let me get this straight: Sgt Scott and Sgt Long are heard on tape stating that the Undersheriff is aware of, supportive of and is the contact person for the crime that Long and Craig were convicted for…So why then, is Tanaka not under indictment?

    There is no excuse for the FBI to be plucking low hanging fruit only. The guys that got convicted largely deserved their convictions. I’m not saying they didn’t.

    So it’s a fact that Tanaka and Baca have clearly been named in court testimony, grand jury testimony and in evidence (recordings) as being in charge of, or at the very least, involved in the obstruction of justice currently being prosecuted by the feds. Yet they have not been indicted.

    Well that stinks. Stinks to high heaven. Any decent cop can see that the only indictments and convictions thus far have come down on foot soldiers.

    Why are the executives getting off the hook? Andre Briotte sure talks about fairness and justice. He just doesn’t seem to have been practicing it in his investigation into the LASD. I’m sure it has nothing to do with Baca and Tanaka’s political connections or special relationships with current and former federal government agencies and officials. Of course not. No way. Pffft.

  • Wild Turkey, I think your concern over the political side/potential within the US Attorney’s office is understandable, one I share, but think you’re being unfair to the FBI. The FBI doesn’t make the decision to prosecute, the US Attorney does & we ALL know how painfully slow & political that can be. The decision to prosecute B/T and other command staff will be vetted in Washington.
    The profoundly sad fact in all of this, is that LASD had a rock solid & positive working relationship with the LA office of the FBI. That positive relationship can & will return with the change in leadership that has already occurred. Meanwhile back off of the FBI, they have a very distasteful investigation to complete, one that you can thank Baca & his crew for. Thank you Sherm for not handing off & giving us Baca. Thank you PM, BS, & PT for removing the ingredients that constitute a top tier professional law enforcement agency, the “angle of respose” has be liquified.
    Finally, please US Attorney give us peace by completing the job!

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