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Sheriff says Extra $61 Million Needed to Keep LASD Jails Safe…Supremes Contemplate FOIA Restrictions…and More


According to a report issued Tuesday by Richard Drooyan, the lead attorney for the Citizen’s Commission on Jail Violence, progress is being made in reforming the department’s jails, but a pile of money—namely $61 million—is needed to keep the scandal-plagued facilities safe.

Since the LASD’s budget it, at present $2.7 billion, that means that an additional 23 percent is needed solely for the jails to make such improvements as having an adequate number of supervisors in the facilities and creating an investigative process that works.

While it’s genuinely heartening that force inside the jails has dropped, particularly “significant force,” and it’s understandable that more supervisors are needed, but $61 million worth?

We have other questions about the matter, but they can wait.

In the meantime, Elizabeth Marcellino from the City News Service has more on the story. Here’s a clip:

….One major change was hiring of an assistant sheriff responsible for the custody division.

Terri McDonald, formerly the undersecretary of operations for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, is set to start work on March 18, sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said. McDonald will report directly to Baca.

“What we saw was a real gap in accountability between the jail facility and the sheriff. Now they’ve taken the first step,” Drooyan said. “I think things are moving in the right direction.”

Several of the people running the jails during the time frame reviewed by the commission are no longer with the department, including Daniel Cruz, formerly a captain at Men’s Central Jail, and former Assistant Sheriff Marvin Cavanaugh, once responsible for overseeing the jail system.

Both Cruz and Cavanaugh retired Jan. 1.

Drooyan said the sheriff and his department have been responsive to his requests, and that all of the recommendations that do not require significant funding should be implemented in 30-60 days.

But “in many ways, the toughest ones to implement” are still under way, Drooyan told the board. They include hiring additional supervisors, finalizing enhanced penalties for excessive force and revising the investigative process.


Robert Barnes at the Washington Post has the story.

Here’s a clip:

Virginia is virtually alone among the states in blocking those from beyond its borders from using its Freedom of Information Act to get state documents and records.

The question before the Supreme Court on Wednesday was: So what?

The court spent a spirited hour debating whether Virginia had a good reason for making a distinction between its residents and out-of-staters, or whether the state even needed one.

Two men — Mark McBurney of Rhode Island, who wanted to examine records from the state child support enforcement division, and Californian Roger Hurlbert, who operates a business obtaining real estate tax assessments — challenged what their Washington attorney, Deepak Gupta, called Virginia’s “discriminatory access policy.”

Gupta said it violated a provision of the Constitution meant to put residents of the states on equal footing, and also the dormant-commerce clause, which guards against economic protectionism.

But Gupta ran straight into Justice Antonin Scalia, who coincidentally is one of four justices who live in Virginia. Scalia said he remembered the advent of “government in the sunshine” laws that popped up around the country, starting in Florida, during the 1960s.

“It seems to me entirely in accord with that purpose of these laws to say it’s only Virginia citizens who are concerned about the functioning of Virginia government, and ought to be able to get whatever records Virginia agencies have,” Scalia said. “What’s wrong with that reasoning?”…

Read on.


A bunch of new NPR reports about how states are reconsidering their prison and sentencing policies as out of whack from a cost/benefit perspective.

Here’s the introduction to the an excellent overview on WBUR’s ON the Point. (The program itself deserves a listen.

The USA is number one in the world when it comes to the number of people in prison. Bigger than China. Bigger than Russia. America’s prison population is tops. 2.2 million. Bigger than fifteen American states. And its incarceration rate is number one. Three times – triple – any other nation’s. All that American imprisonment is very expensive. And very debatable when it comes to effectiveness, fairness – to justice itself. Now states across the country are reconsidering the mandatory sentencing policies and more that filled those cells. This hour, On Point: slimming down American prisons.

Here’s a link to two more stories on NPR’s All Things Considered as part of their series, “The Legacy And Future Of Mass Incarceration.”


  • So let me get this straight. Rogue deputies, some reportedly on steroids, were involved in an “alleged” number of questionable to illegal force incidents that are currently under investigation by the FBI, all under the watch of “hand selected” sergeants and “hand selected” lieutenants courtesy of the then Assistant Sheriff. These “hand selected” supervisors and managers determined virtually all, if not all, of these force incidents within policy. Deputies were given unfettered access to the then Assistant Sheriff to report any supervisor they determined to be mean and “caused morale problems,” with the boys. The then captain of that facility, who is trying to solve the problem, is rolled up to TST and labeled a morale problem and the then Assistant Sheriff comes to the facility, smokes cigars with “the boys” and tells them “I got your back.” Meanwhile, more “hand selected” sergeants and lieutenants are brought to MCJ and their force incidents increase even more, but they are all determined to be within policy. A “hand selected” captain is brought to MCJ to replace the “mean” former captain (did I mention he was rolled up to TST, oh, I did) and now questionable force incidents, even one captured on video, all seem fine, “I don’t see any problem with what I saw on that video.” The former captain, now commander, tells the new “hand selected” captain of MCJ his force incidents are out of line, but somewhere during this time, the new captain makes the infamous statement, “Fuck Olmsted, (his commander) I don’t work for him, I don’t even work for the Sheriff, I work for Tanaka,” is made, force packages are found hidden in boxes, cameras are not installed and Cigar Club coins are minted.

    Now we fast forward to the Jail Commission testimony and it is revealed Olmsted, with documents in hand, brings all of these MCJ issues to his Chief and is told, “Let the captain fail.” Memos reviewing a handful of force incidents by third parties indicating serious incidents of policy violations occurred, IAB not notified, some rise to the level of criminal misconduct yet all found to be within policy by the captain who does not report to his commander nor chief. Olmsted then goes to the “play Assistant Sheriff” (Cavanaugh) who is now, by title, in charge of Custody Division, and exposes all of the problems at MCJ saying he wants the captain moved and investigated. Cavanaugh tells Olmsted he is not allowed to do anything within his own division unless Tanaka gives him permission. Olmsted, with documents in hand, goes to the other Assistant Sheriff of patrol and tells him he has serious force problems at MCJ and a “hand selected” captain that is out of line. A short time later, Olmsted is told that Cavanaugh wants him moved to PDC (yea Marv, that is how you have historically solved problems, you move the person who is trying to fix the problem) and things begin to unravel. Olmsted goes twice to Baca and exposes these problems and ends up talking to a flower pot. Now credible witnesses tell the Jail Commission things are completely out of control at MCJ, deputies answer only to the “other Assistant Sheriff” because they smoke cigars with him and he “has their back,” Burns doesn’t remember anything, Cavanaugh doesn’t remember anything and Tanaka says “No one, not a sergeant, a lieutenant, a captain, a commander nor a chief, ever told me there was any force problems at MCJ and if they say they did, they are a liar.”

    And as the Beatles song goes, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make,” Baca tells the Commission “I had no idea there was a problem, and by the way, if you don’t like what I am doing, quit re-electing me,” Tanaka is promoted to Undersheriff, Baca calls Cavanaugh into his office and fires him because despite ALLLLLLLLL the evidence and testimony that Cavanaugh sat in his office and played Army while Tanaka ran his (Cavanaugh’s Division) shop, Marv, according to Baca, is to blame. Burns retires, Cruz is shown the door, most of the “hand selected” lieutenants are promoted to captain, Tanaka is in charge of IAB/ICIB, but then that becomes a problem so that is taken away from him along with any input to Custody Division, oh man, I’m leaving out about four other paragraphs of “fixes” to the MCJ problem.

    Oh, we need 61 million bucks and another Assistant Sheriff assigned “only to Custody Division” who will report “directly to the Sheriff” and not the Undersheriff, and alllllllllllllll of that is going to fix the problems generated at ONE facility within Custody Division. There appears to be no problems at ANY other facility but MCJ, yet we need to spend all this money and all of this effort to fix what one strong captain and strong lieutenants and sergeants could do if they were simply allowed to do their job like most other commands. MCJ has been open since the early 60’s and it has all worked in one fashion or another, but now we need 5 Commanders, another Assistant Sheriff, a jillion new policies and 61 million bucks allllll for MCJ. Wow. Don’t you just love the politics and bureaucracy of LASD? The people directly responsible for all of this are promoted and the rest are collateral damage and thrown under the bus all the while, the tax payers get the shaft. Thank God there are no problems within Field Operations or Detective Divisions, I can only guess what that fix would be. One more thing, whispers from the 4th floor are, “this is all going to go away, just give it time.”

  • “Tells From the Crypt”

    I hope you feel better now after that at least 30 minute typing therapy session…..lololol now squeeze your ear lobes and hummmmmm….lol…

  • @Really……. it felt great. I said what I needed to say, but know that I held back. Be glad when the Feds finish what they are doing and we can see what pans out. Hopefully in 2014, we will have a new sheriff who will be a change agent and literally, clean house. Cigar Club members, need not apply.

  • Regardless of whether or not the Sheriff can weather this storm and be reelected, one thing is certain. Paul Tanaka’s chances of ever becoming the Sheriff of LA County are over. There has been too much damage done to his public image. He is unelectable via the ballot box, and the BOS will never accept him as an appointment from Sheriff Baca.
    Is that a good thing or bad thing? That all depends, like any other political argument, on who you are talking to.
    Rest assured however, that it’s devastating to Tanaka. He’s a politician at heart ( or he wouldn’t have been the Mayor of Gardena).
    For those detractors of Paul Tanaka, who have come forward or leaked info. to the media, because they wanted payback as a motive for Tanaka “ruining their careers” (whether real or perceived) they have definitely accomplished their mission.
    His career has gone as far as it’s going to go. He has no chance of becoming sheriff.
    His dream is dead.

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