Innocence LA County Board of Supervisors LASD LGBTQ Paul Tanaka Sheriff John Scott Solitary

LASD News Roundup, the Post-Release Life of the Exonerated, Solitary Confinement Debate Gains Steam…And More


When Assistant Sheriff Jim Hellmold and Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell, both candidates for Los Angeles County Sheriff, tried to set up campaign websites, they found most of their viable options were already purchased. Not only that, the bought up sites (, for instance) redirected to a site for former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka.

Tanaka’s campaign denied any involvement when contacted, and asked the web hosting company to shut down the redirecting sites shortly thereafter.

The LA Times’ Robert Faturechi has the story. Here’s a clip:

When Jim Hellmold decided to run for sheriff of Los Angeles County last month, he knew that one of the first things his campaign needed was a website. He figured would make the most sense.

Except when he typed the address into his browser it took him to an already established site promoting one of his competitors: former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka.

So he tried another:

Again, he was directed to a site boosting Tanaka.

“I was left with ‘Hellmold-the-number-four-sheriff-dot-com,” the assistant sheriff said. “I look rinky-dink.”

Across town, Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell, who decided to run for sheriff around the same time, was having a similar experience. Basic domain names with his name were already taken and leading him to a site for Tanaka…

“Apparently he bought everything he thought I wanted,” McDonnell said. “I was disappointed. I thought, you know what, we’re all cops trying to run for a job and hopefully we respect each other.


A new California bill, introduced by Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), would create a permanent civilian oversight committee for the LA County Sheriff’s Department.

For months, the LA County Board of Supervisors have been discussing the possibility of an oversight commission. On Tuesday, the Supes voted to have IG Max Huntsman, (interim) Sheriff John Scott, and county counsel to look into what kind of oversight would work for the department. (Read about it here, if you’ve missed it.)


People who are exonerated after spending time in prison rarely receive monetary compensation, and when they do, it takes years to travel through the court system. Exonerees given the assistance that everyone else released from prison receives.

In 2013 alone, 87 people were freed after wrongful incarceration.

Over the weekend, the NY Times’ Alan Feuer had a worthwhile story (we didn’t want you to miss) about the lack of support offered to the unjustly imprisoned upon their release. Jeffrey Deskovic, a fellow exoneree who is working to bridge that gap. Here are some clips:

A sprawling literature exists describing the challenges of re-entering society after serving time in prison, an experience that is marked by depression and disorientation, and is hard enough for those who have been rightfully punished for their crimes. But what about those who are wrongly sent away as the victims of mistaken identity or prosecutorial error? The justly incarcerated are likely to have access to a battery of post-release services like health care, housing aid and social-work assistance, but those who should not have been locked up in the first place are rarely given treatment to address their special needs, and are often left to fend for themselves, finding the cure for their “disease” in one another’s company.

“There was a gap for men like us and I wanted to fill it,” said Mr. Deskovic, who spent 16 years in prison for a rape and a murder he did not commit. After his release in 2006, he filled that gap with the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, a product of a settlement with his jailers that is focused on helping the innocent who found themselves imprisoned to manage the financial and emotional results of their own release.

A combination of advocacy organization and support group, the Deskovic Foundation, since its creation in 2012, has collected a small, tightknit brotherhood of exonerated inmates, a society of the wronged whose members have been forced to come together and assist one another in the absence of assistance from anyone else.

When Eric Glisson, improperly imprisoned on a murder charge for 17 years, was recently planning at age 40 to open Fresh Take, his juice bar in the Bronx, Mr. Deskovic offered him marketing advice and bolstered his credit by co-signing the lease. When Mr. Lopez, convicted of a killing he did not commit, was freed from prison last winter after serving more than 23 years, Mr. Deskovic replaced the clothes he was arrested in with an outfit from Macy’s and put him up for six months — rent free — in the foundation’s apartment in Washington Heights.


“People who have been wrongly convicted don’t have any reason to trust authority,” said Karen Wolff, a social worker with the Innocence Project. “The irony is it impacts their ability to deal with the people there to help them — with their lawyers, the social-service agencies they go to, even with potential bosses down the line.”

Then, of course, there are “bitterness issues,” Ms. Wolff said.

“The first year out is critical in their ability to transition back to life,” she added, “and there is no central place, no single institution that can tell them, ‘O.K., this is what we took from you, now here’s what we’re going to give you back.’ ”

It is widely assumed that exonerated inmates can simply make a claim against their jailers and walk away, like Mr. Deskovic, financially set for life. But only 29 states have laws that permit the wrongfully imprisoned to sue for compensation, and even in those states, the cases often languish in court for years.


The debate about solitary confinement, an issue we often point to on WLA, has really been heating up, at both the congressional and state levels.

On Tuesday, a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the issue had so many attendees that the committee had to move to a larger room.

NPR’s Carrie Johnson talks about the hearing with Melissa Block on All Things Considered. Here’s a clip:

BLOCK: And it was just last week that we saw New York announce sweeping changes to solitary confinement for inmates in state prisons there. Why are we hearing so much about this practice right now?

JOHNSON: In the last couple of years, a lot of different factors have come together. There have been efforts by states to save a lot of money and reduce violence in prisons and also a critical massive advocacy by the ACLU and some researchers. And now, today, we saw some bipartisan interest in the U.S. Senate.

One fact that came out today was that it cost about $78,000 a year to house somebody in the federal prison system in solitary. That’s three times as much as it cost to put somebody in a regular prison unit. And, Melissa, here, as in so many areas of law and order around the country, states are leading the way. Mississippi and Maine have been early adopters of reforms in this area. And even in Texas, state lawmakers last year have passed legislation to study solitary confinement.


Another new California bill, AB 2501, would ban the use of “gay panic” or “trans panic” as a defense strategy in criminal cases. Under the bill (to be introduced by Assemblymember Susan Bonilla in partnership with Equality California), a defendant would no longer be able to blame an alleged crime against another person as having occurred due to fear caused by the victim’s orientation or gender identity.

Here’s a clip from Assemblymember Bonilla’s website:

“It is reprehensible to learn that criminal defendants are encouraged by their defense counsel to employ a ‘gay panic’ or ‘trans panic’ defense in an attempt to receive a possible lesser charge or avoid conviction,” said Assemblywoman Bonilla. “A panic attack defense allows a criminal defendant to claim that violence against the LGBT community is somehow understandable or acceptable due to the victim’s orientation or gender identity. With this bill, we are making it very clear that it is never acceptable, and that there is no place for prejudice against people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

AB 2501, sponsored by Equality California, a statewide advocacy organization for the LGBT community, would prohibit the use of a “panic defense” to qualify for a conviction of voluntary manslaughter instead. Current law calls for the jury to be instructed that their verdict should not be influenced by bias against a victim.

(And a quick shout out to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer for target="_blank">vetoing the bill that would have allowed businesses to use their religious beliefs as an excuse to refuse service to the LGBT community.)


  • Tanaka is desperate to hold on, but he can’t. This is all slipping away, he can’t control it and that goes against the grain of the controller. The wheels have come off, Paul, you are riding on the axels, its over. The LA Magazine article written by Celeste, it is a death blow. You have been exposed for who you really are, who we’ve known you have been for years. It’s all over Paul. You and your desperate band of pirates are all done. Watch how quick they will kick you to the curb when the Feds make their move.

  • Yes, Hellmold it is juvenile of Tanaka to do this, but no more juvenile than having a smoking/drinking private patio with numbered challenge coins. The same patio that you frequented. A factually iron clad article from Celeste in LA Magazine and now this for the Tanaka camp? Paul you have been exposed for what you are, now disappear!

  • From the LA Times article:
    “Within an hour of the Times’ conversation with Eiben, the sites were down. Eiben said the campaign contacted the Web hosting company and asked that the sites be taken down because they were not authorized by the campaign.”

    I call BS…You can’t simply call a web company and ask that they take a site down, no matter who you are. Only the owner of the web site and/or the person(s) who created it can. (Unless there’s criminal activity or alleged violations of copyright, and those must go thru the DMCA safe-harbor process.)

  • IT guy you are correct. Allegedly retired Deputy Ron Duval bought and redirected the domains. He is now a Web designer.

  • This move with the domain sites is no more desperate than, say, having busses bring your “supporters” to a candidate forum. Like everything you’ve done I guess you have to buy peoples support by rewarding them with something, like maybe a free ride! How pathetic!

  • Desperate measures from a desperate little man. Hey Paul, you are running out of time in the legitimate world. Try the underworld. Maybe your tactics would be more useful and accepted in the mafia. At least you could be known as what you really want to be known as, “Godfather.”

  • Wow! You have to love this site! I kept getting text messages about a post written by “Nancy Drew,” who is probably some guy that dresses like a woman, that I finally came here to read what was written.

    I don’t visit this site and I sure as hell don’t listen to the mudslinging here. My time is valuable and I have a lot more positive and productive things to do in my life than to waste it sitting around a computer eating donuts all day anxiously waiting for someone to post something! They are like a bunch of high school kids on FaceBook. They are nothing more than trolls!

    It gives a bunch disgruntled trolls who think they are in the know, or they have a source that knows, a forum so they can make a comment just to get their chance at name bashing and making false and uninformed accusations! They are ball less trolls who hide behind the anonymity of this blog, just like a Chihuahua behind a chain-link fence!

    These are guys who never amounted to anything so they never made it to their dream assignments. These are guys who couldn’t carry the booking gear of any real cop! This is the only way they can get their names (Fake) in the lime light.

    With that being said, Nancy Drew is so uninformed it makes me laugh.

    Nancy Drew Says:

    “IT guy you are correct. Allegedly retired Deputy Ron Duval bought and redirected the domains. He is now a Web designer,” and that post was supported by J London;

    J.London Says:

    “My sources say the same. Pretty sad Ron!” (Again, troll J London has a “source” so he can post as if he is in the know. I think that’s SAD J. LONDON!!)

    I am not retired! I still carry a case load at Homicide. Had you done any investigative work (Do you know what that is?), you would have seen that I am still active.

    I see that someone finally told you how to check the “whois” info on a domain name and you correctly noted that I bought

    Nancy Drew Says:

    “Note the Registrant name, and it’s public information:

    Yes, I did buy it. I also bought the .com, as well as AND .org. And yes, they all point to his website…

    (Yes, I am a Paul Tanaka supporter. At least I chose a side. Many of you won’t make a decision one way or the other. I have more respect for someone who chooses the candidate they feel is best, than those of you who are just sitting back waiting.)

    …That is a common SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tactic used by internet marketers. In fact, I own several hundred domains which point to various websites that I promote and when people use my domains to make a purchase, I make money. What’s illegal about that? That’s called affiliate marketing. Google it.

    That is a far cry from buying domains in the names of other candidate’s, which if you checked out the whois info on those domains the same way, you will see that I DID NOT do what you falsely accused me of. (BTW, I resell domains so I do not use GoDaddy.)

    That’s the type of crap that goes on here! I want nothing to do with this site or the airing of our department’s dirty laundry. I still love this department!

    Although I have over 31 years on and can retire in April, I plan on staying a few more because I love what I do. The funny thing is, I still think it’s about sending bad people to prison for a long time. Many of you forgot about that! Many of you hid out in cushy assignments or worked EM’s so you could sleep because you’re lazy trolls!

    To see the satisfaction on the face of a murdered victims family after the guilty verdict is read is worth all of the hours (Many uncompensated) of work that goes into a case. As the saying goes, it’s priceless.

    So to all of you trolls, you are not doing anything to credit or repair the reputation of this dept. You are a big part of the cancer that is killing it. Celeste thanks all of you for the backlinks and traffic which are making her blog one of the top’s in the nation.

    Many of you TROLL’s will blast me now for calling you out. Go ahead as I will not revisit this site or reply. Have at it! It won’t hurt my feelings! Or if you have something to say, call me at Homicide; (323) 890-5500. definition of a TROLL: One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.

    Need I say more?!

    Duval is 10-98!

  • Ron Duval quote: “That’s the type of crap that goes on here! I want nothing to do with this site or the airing of our department’s dirty laundry. I still love this department!”

    You apparently love the department so much you’re supporting the one man who is bent on destroying it, Paul Tanaka!

    Now I want to know how long you’ve been assigned to Homicide and how did you get there. Did you test and come out on top or did the old “loan” two step to bypass the testing process?


    Okay, I was quite busy over the last few days and, as a consequence, I mistakenly let through several comments that called people out by name, and now things are going off the rails.

    My fault, admittedly.

    On one of the other threads, I deleted a few of those comments and will delete more if they turn up.

    On this thread, I’m leaving them be, but it stops here.

    Please dial it back people. Y’all know better.

    Thank you.


  • LATBG, I am as “Anti-Tanaka” as one can be, but if you are wondering how Ronnie Duval got to Homicide it was by being an amazing street cop and Gang Investgator. Ronnie earned his position at Homicide the good old fashion way. If you ever wanted an investigator to handle a Homicide case you had interest in, he would be the man you would want. I posted this because I knew Ronnie would not reply to your question.

  • Agreed about Ron. Having known him for many years, he is a diligent hard working street cop. Now LATBG, division 4 needs that female from lock up for a prelim

  • Stuff, if that’s the case then good for him. The ongoing problem will remain, however, in the questionable folks that Tanaka sent to several prominent units, to the point he handpicked the entire bureaus. That is very bad.

    We will just have to attribute his support of Tanaka as a blind spot, and not reflective of his character.

  • Ron Duval is one of the best detectives LASO has. He is very well respected in the investigative world.

    Good man!

  • I’ve never met Ron Duval but if I do, I’m buying that man a beer. It appears as though the man has a solid reputation and pedigree. He sends people to prison which is a skill not possessed by the custody seniors and court lock-up deputies who post here on a daily basis. And to think, you people had the gall to accuse this man of getting to homicide by virtue of his affiliations and not on his merit and reputation.

    You’re losers of the highest order. All of you.

  • I worked with Don Ruval, Great Cop (Almost as good as me!) and a very articulate individual! He is a legend as a gang detective, and a hard worker in my book.

  • Gravy, like I said before, good for Duval. Can you say the same for others in several prominent bureaus? No you can’t, and you know it. Maybe one day we will have a department that values the Duvals of the world over the current crop of gutless wonders that have wreaked havoc on our department.

    And by the way, don’t assume either the work location of people who post here, or denigrate ANY position on the department. Every position is needed in order to advance the public’s interest. To state otherwise is wildly inaccurate and indicative of the Tanaka mind-set that has divided the department hopelessly.

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