LASD The Downfall of Paul Tanaka

Former LA Undersheriff Paul Tanaka Gets 5-Year Sentence & Scorching Lecture

Celeste Fremon
Written by Celeste Fremon

On Monday morning, U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson sentenced
former Los Angeles County undersheriff, Paul Tanaka, to five years in federal prison for the dual crimes of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Before his forced retirement in August 1, 2013, Tanaka was the second-in-command of the nation’s largest sheriff’s department—according to many, the real power behind the throne—and was widely considered to be the person mostly likely to replace Lee Baca as sheriff.

Instead, Tanaka, 57, is scheduled to self-surrender to federal marshals on August 1 of this year. (Unsurprisingly, his attorneys have already appealed his conviction, which will likely put off any self-surrendering for a while.)

In the minutes before the stony-faced Judge Anderson actually announced Tanaka’s 60-month sentence, the judge first took time to deliver a scorched-earth speech to the defendant about his “abuse of the public trust” and the “incalculable harm you have caused this community.”

And that was just for openers.

It helps to know that, in addition to Tanaka’s trial, Anderson, who was nominated to federal bench in 2002 by George W. Bush, presided over the previous obstruction of justice trials that resulted in the conviction of seven department members for attempting to derail the FBI’s investigation into brutality and corruption in the LA County jail system, which is overseen by the sheriff’s department. Anderson also presided over the plea deal and sentencing of former deputy Gilbert Michel, who was caught in an FBI sting for accepting a bribe from an inmate in return for bringing said inmate a contraband cell phone. (The inmate, Anthony Brown, turned out to be a federal informant.)

And Anderson managed to yank former sheriff Lee Baca’s plea hearing away from another judge to whom it was originally assigned. Thus it will be Anderson who will sentence Baca on July 11.

In short, this means that Percy Anderson is far more familiar with the facts of Tanaka’s case, and those cases that surround it, than even the best informed and most diligent jurist would ordinarily ever be.

This has turned to be bad news for Tanaka, for whom Anderson reserved an unusually strong expression of censure.


Anderson’s lecture of the about-to-be-sentenced Tanaka covered a lot of ground, including the fact that the judge found the defendant “evasive, combative and not credible” when on the stand in trial.

Most of the judge’s remarkably detailed criticism, however, had to do with the principles with which Tanaka allegedly “operated in his career.” The former undersheriff, said Anderson, “rewarded loyalty over honor,” and “derailed the careers” of anyone who got in his way. Anderson referenced such controversial Tanaka hallmarks as his infamous “work the gray” statements, which Anderson said communicated that “deputies would not be held responsible for aggressive behavior.”

Similarly, the judge said that Tanaka’s management style “undermined the authority of supervisors” who attempted reform, and “set the stage” for “an environment of aggressive deputy conduct,” and an “us versus them mentality” that resulted in hospitalized inmates, and falsified reports, to cover-up the LASD-perpetrated jailhouse brutality.

The evidence is “overwhelming,” said the judge, that the defendant “made no attempt to investigate and build cases against corrupt deputies.” To the contrary, Tanaka and his coconspirators attempted to convince witnesses “not to cooperate” with the FBI, seeming to focus only on “avoiding embarrassment” for the LASD.

“The most troubling thing about this troubling chapter” in the sheriff’s department’s history, Anderson told the former undersheriff, “is that your efforts to shield dirty deputies has been largely successful,” despite the government’s multiple convictions of deputies for brutalizing inmates.

“Those convicted deputies are a small fraction” of a “deputy culture” that Tanaka allowed to thrive, Anderson said. “Some of those deputies, remain with the department,” and have risen to high levels. As a consequence, Anderson said, “the public has little confidence” that the problem has been rooted out.


During much of this disquisition, Anderson stared down at Tanaka from the bench with the ferocity of a large-winged raptor, noting pointedly at one juncture that “you have shown no remorse.”

When U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker held a short post-sentencing press conference on the steps of the court building, her words echoed those of the judge. “His actions harmed the sheriff’s department, harmed law enforcement everywhere and the good men and women who strive every day to uphold their oaths and serve justice,” said Decker. “The sentence today demonstrated that, indeed, no one is above the law.”

In sentencing Tanaka, Anderson went above federal guidelines, which reportedly call for 41-51 months in prison. The 60 month sentence that Anderson finally imposed, was the term the prosecution had requested. Still, one got the sense that, while Anderson thought the five year stretch sent a strong message, he wouldn’t have minded going higher.

Tanaka—who wore a closely tailored black suit for the packed hearing, along with what appears to be one if his favorite ties, an elegant blue on blue striped number that went with his baby blue shirt—was stoic and mostly expressionless when the sentence was announced. In fact, perhaps the only time he spoke was when the judge asked him if he understood that if he violated his bail conditions in even the tiniest of ways, bail would be revoked.

“Yes, sir,” said the former undersheriff.

Tanaka’s family arrived in force for the hearing and, both before and after sentencing, did their best to offer Paul and each other steadying support.

Other court watchers mostly commented on Judge Anderson’s unusually vivid pre-sentencing tongue-lashing.


“I think that the judge made a very strong statement today,” said former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Miriam Krinsky, who was the executive director of the Citizens Commission on Jail Violence, and served as an advisor to Sheriff Jim McDonnell during his first year in office. It wasn’t so much about the case, she said. “It was really an indictment of an entire career and a culture of lawlessness that Paul Tanaka allowed to fester,” “I think the judge sent a strong message that this kind of gross abuse of the public’s trust by those whom we trust with keeping the community safe will simply not be tolerated.”

Anderson also seemed to be making the point, said Krinsky, that Tanaka’s policy of sidelining anyone who attempted reform, may have produced as situation where, those department members already convicted for wrongdoing, “may be merely the top of the iceberg in terms of misconduct.” And that there may be others in the department “who share the views of those who have been criminally convicted.”

It’s clear, said Krinsky, “that this is the beginning not the end of a process of reform and transformation of this department.”

Tanaka’s attorneys, Dean Steward and Jerome Haig, also spoke after the hearing. They said they were “very disappointed” at the sentence, of course, and that they completely disagreed with the judge’s pre-sentencing remarks.

But they are also “very optimistic about our client’s chances on appeal,” said Haig. In fact, the attorney remarked as we chatted, that the fact Judge Anderson chose to allow a line of questioning about Tanaka’s Viking’s tattoo into the prosecution’s cross examination during the trial “is a big part of our appeal.”

In other words, the drama continues.

In the meantime, a three-judge panel at the 9th Circuit will hear the appeal of the seven department members previously convicted of obstruction of justice on July 5th.

Full updated story published at 7:45 p.m.


  • For proper closure it sure would be great if prior to reporting to Federal Prison, Tanaka bought an older model white Ford Bronco and had Chuck Antuna drive him through the streets and freeways of Los Angles County in a slow speed pursuit!

  • I’m sure that ex ALADS Prez FLOYD HAYHURST will be on Tanaka’s visitors list in the Federal Penitentiary along with the other Coin Holders and Cigar Club Cronies.
    Just think,three years ago on the 27th of June 2013 neither Leroy Baca, Paul Tanaka or Floyd Hayhurst saw their end coming. Hayhurst has other issues in his dot five civil case. Karma has no time limit.

  • Not enough punishment for a man that screwed over so many hundreds of competent and hardworking department members while rewarding buffoons lacking in ability and integrity. [WLA Edit! Come on, people!] Wow, the lack of Integrity is so ingrained in the folks who benefited from Tanaka. Very, very sad.

  • Legend has it he’s a 6th degree black belt in Malaysian Silat, the most violent martial art in the world. They say he took out a 6’4″ MMA fighter with a flying kick to the neck causing temporary paralysis. One time there was this fat deputy at Lennox who challenged him to a fight at an off training party. Paul C-clamped him on the throat, partially lifted him off the ground and pinned him between a bathroom stall door, nearly crushing his larynx. The boys had to pull him off. As for Leroy, I’m not sure how far running laps along the yard perimeter will help him when it comes to security. I’m told they are being booked under aliases, Pauline and Lee Ann. Can anyone confirm?

  • I predict PT will get absolutely nobody to come visit him. The loyal followers only followed the little leprechaun when they thought it would bring them their personal pot of gold, promotion. Now that PT’s stock has become worthless, nobody will follow him or visit him. He will be remembered for the absolute destruction he did to the reputation of the Sheriff’s Department. Many follows are playing hot potatoe with his name as if they never heard of him hoping the new sheriff will allow them to play in the executive sandbox.

    Too tall Paul has become the inch high ex- private eye.

  • Hopefully, the Appeal will be quick. Look forward to the arguments in July by the Fed Appeals Court and the Prison Sentence of the Convicted Deputies. They deserve to be in prison and there time is running out.

  • Paul should not even get an appeal. There was no appeal process for the people he screwed over. Lucky for him the justice system operates fairly, unlike the sheriff’s department under his LACK of leadership/command.

  • I hope they remand him on July 11th and make him sit in jail for his appeal…..what a loser…..glad to be retired and away from him and his loser so called friends…..Oh, thats right you had to give to his mayoral campaign in Gardena to be a friend. Loser and all the deputies who lowered themselves to his level.

  • Today was a day that hundreds of individuals, families and employees have waited years for. Paul Tanaka was sentenced to 5 years in Federal Prison. There are many like myself who lost their careers, pensions and more for doing what was right. Paul Tanaka is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
    To his constituents as Mayor of Gardena, he was the consummate politician. Mr. Nice guy. The problem solver and community leader. To those under his command on the Sheriff’s Department, he was feared and loathed. Anyone that he perceived to be in his way, cross him or dare to question his policies or authority, they were eliminated. Paul Tanaka made examples out of anyone who dared get in his way.
    Paul Tanaka controlled all promotions, transfers and directed internal affairs investigations as well. He used every available tool to micro manage every aspect of the department. Tanaka used his control to manipulate every level of command. He ran the department like it was a criminal enterprise. Loyalty and contributions to his personal political campaign was absolutely necessary. Promotional lists for every rank matched up to the fundraising reports of his mayoral campaign according to an investigation by Tanaka was known for his closed door meetings where he would yell and scream obscenities to make his point, and shame individuals in front of their peers and subordinates.
    Paul Tanaka had a perfect plan. He was going to be the next Sheriff. His arrogance was unmatched. He knew that no one could challenge him and he was well aware that Sheriff Baca paid no attention to what was happening within the department. Paul Tanaka was sentenced for one scandal that he presided over. The injustice is what he got away with. The lives, careers and individuals he destroyed along with the reputation of what could be a great law enforcement agency. Unfortunately, the Department is left filled with those individuals who discarded their oath of office to ascend under Mr. Tanaka’s command.
    There are many who were looking forward to today. Those of us who had our careers and lives wiped out by Tanaka are looking forward to the day that he is taken into custody to serve today’s sentence. Karma.

  • Nothing is more satisfying than seeing his smug look wiped off his face. He, along with many ICIB/IA investigators, ruined the lives of some good solid hard working deputies who were nothing more than victims of the department’s political witch hunts. Seeing the look on the faces of the convicted ICIB sergeants and Paul Tanaka when they were found guilty was priceless. ICIB and IA is full of nothing but cop hating investigators who will stop at nothing to nail an innocent deputy just to gain favor with their superiors. Does anyone know when the ICIB Convicted Felons are going to start doing their time in prison? I look forward to that day!

  • Where is the ex-captain from carson. speaking of obstruction of justice and a high school friend of pt. complete cover up

  • It’s a sad day for LASD. When I came on, all I wanted to do was be a good Cop. Work hard, you’ll be rewarded. Back when PT was taking his first swing at Gardena, myself and many others were asked to knock on doors on and off duty on his behalf. Being a Patrol Dep, I wanted nothing to do with politics. I personally told PT I was not interested. Well, when he began his rise to the throne, I was cut off from all promotions and coveted assignments. Years later, I’m still a Dep. too late for those Commander stars at this point. Thanks PT for ruining my future. And to all his cronies still lurking in the shadows (cmon, you know who you are should I post the old email group), a big middle finger to ya!!!

  • I just read the article on PT in the times today. How could the FBI offer Baca such a sweet deal just to hang PT? I cannot wrap my mind around the feeling that the FBI is doing selective enforcement in that they could have taken the snakes head off and chose not to.
    The FBI went after every one of the officers convicted in Pandoras Box with a vengeance and they all got serious time. It is a sad day when Baca, who I guess didn’t have brain issue at the time, was in charge, got pissed off and ordered pandoras box to take place and gets the lightest sentence.
    I cannot imagine how all those with pending sentences are feeling knowing Baca got the lightest sentence of all.

  • Well now, the chickens have come home to roost. The pathetic little man stood before the court and was dressed down by Judge Anderson and then, his ass was handed to him. How fitting of an end to a tyrant’s career. Paul Tanaka had to listen the judge recap his miserable existence with LASD. Little Paul heard the words but in his true psychopathic persona, they really meant nothing to him. So in my books, the words spoken by Judge Anderson had equal relevance to all the coin holders that McD has retained and promoted and still sit in the throne room. But they too, care not. Judge Anderson’s words really struck a tone in identifying the ugly dysfunction that still exists inside LASD. The carcinomic seeds Paul Tanaka planted throughout LASD thrives to this very day, in the open for all to see. What does this mean to Tanaka? Nothin but a smile for he knows his legacy will live and carry on for years to come.

    All of this from the little man who decided being “one of the boys” was more important than doing the right thing. His Viking tattoo with his “OGCF” initials really spell it out, it identifies his soul. If you are a Black employee, how do you feel knowing Tanaka and at least three sitting captains to this very second are sporting the same ink, the same meaning, the same racist icon on their ankle, as PT? Arrogance and corruption is what brought Tanaka into the courtroom yesterday. It was all about power, absolute power and control for Paul. And to carry out his plan of complete domination, Paul promoted by rank or assignment, individuals who would do the goose step march whenever he snapped his finger. And thus is how Pandora’s Box unfolded. Morons and boot lickers did everything Tanaka ordered, and then some. Why? They all were told good things were in store because “Paul always takes care of his people.” Oh they were taken care of, right to Federal prison. And please, spare us all the pathetic, “they were just following orders,” they did it for personal gain, period.

    I had to laugh when I found out the overweight, disheveled and lonely Jim “The Enforcer” Ritenour attended yesterday’s sentencing. How fitting, the face of a coin holder was in court to watch his meal ticket walk the plank. On the other hand, Ornales was also in attendance to watch the very man who relieved him of his Narco command, calling him “the worst captain in the Department,” get a five year Federal prison sentence. Karma in full bloom. By the way Jim, did you squirm a little when Judge Anderson spoke about rewarding “loyalty over honor?” That line was written just for folks like you and those still in their positions, laying low. Well, the little man got what he had coming to him. Disgrace, dishonor and his name always attributed to corruption. Your personal life is in shambles Paul. You even had to give up being Mayor, you held on till the last breath, in true psychopathic form. It’s over Paul, it’s all over. Appeal all you want, retry the case as often as you wish, it will be the same result. It’s over Paul, now its time, to do the time.

  • AS A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the Constitutional rights of all men to liberty, equality and justice.

    I WILL keep my private life unsullied as an example to all; maintain courageous calm in the face of danger, scorn, or ridicule; develop self-restraint; and be constantly mindful of the welfare of others. Honest in thought and deed in both my personal and official life, I will be exemplary in obeying the laws of the land and the regulations of my department. Whatever I see or hear of a confidential nature or that is confided to me in my official capacity will be kept ever secret unless revelation is necessary in the performance of my duty.

    I WILL never act officiously or permit personal feelings, prejudices, animosities or friendships to influence my decisions. With no compromise for crime and with relentless prosecution of criminals, I will enforce the law courteously and appropriately without fear or favor, malice or ill will, never employing unnecessary force or violence and never accepting gratuities.

    I RECOGNIZE the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith, and I accept it as a public trust to be held so long as I am true to the ethics of the police service. I will constantly strive to achieve these objectives and ideals, dedicating myself before God to my chosen profession…law enforcement.

    I remember reading that for the first time and feeling a sense of pride and direction for my life. It wasn’t just words, it was a purpose and that oath had so much meaning for me.

    Tanaka forgot that code of ethics-all of it.

    It was gratifying to see Judge Anderson call Tanaka out for what he was and continues to be-an unethical liar with no respect for law enforcement or the men and women who remember and live by those 4 words, “to serve and protect”. Tanaka only served himself.

    When I left the courthouse yesterday, I felt a small measure of justice and a hope that the culture of deceit, cronyism and total disregard for the law that was created by Tanaka could possibly change.

    Until last night when my teenage daughter told me what her Lieutenant father told her.

    “What’s the big deal, it was only a phone”.

    THAT is what allowed Tanaka and his kind to flourish and helped foster more bad blood between the LASD and the public.

    There is no way to change the leadership that currently exists, just the hope the the rank and file don’t buy what is sold,can hold on to their honesty and integrity and can then eventually replace the trash that Tanaka sold prominent positions of leadership within the LASD to.

  • S. Diamond – Well said. I couldn’t have summed it up any better. I also liked what this judge had to say. He said what many of us have been saying for so long. But this time, PT had to sit there and take it and the whole world was listening. It’s a shame it had to come to this. None of this had to happen. PT would still be a lieutenant if not for bad leadership decisions to move him up despite his lack of integrity. And the reputation of the LASD would be intact today. But now we have to focus on rebuilding the department and making it great again. Personally, the line level and investigative branch is still the best in the country. It’s management that needs to be developed. We need leadership that will inspire us to work hard and do the right thing. We need managers who reward and promote the best of the best, help develop those struggling or who make minor mistakes, and fire the worst of the worst regardless of who they know. It’s not going to be easy but it has to happen.

    I also want to thank Celeste for all her hard work in reporting on this issue and for giving the LASD employees a place to express their frustrations. I don’t come here often, though I do find the comments fascinating. But there are many who never had their voices heard like they were heard on WitnessLA. This is far better (and cheaper) than seeing a therapist! Thank you Celeste!

  • @really: She probably wore a wire for the Feds and is now in witness protection. Naw…she’s sitting on that yaught with her gangster/thug boyfriend, Grahm

  • @ 11. Ironic that Judge Anderson recognizes that many of LASD’S higher echelon who were connected to Tanaka still remain. The longer they remain makes it harder for McDonnell to be credible. Many lives and careers were ruined due to “YES MEN” and those who had no grit and sat by in silence, as the department was ran like a 1800’s era Slave Plantation. Totally embarrassing.

  • Yes, what Judge Anderson had to say was on point and also true that Tanaka didn’t hear a word of it. And neither did many on EPC. Recently, I saw a podcast, where another ink stained idiot from IAB, was jerking off Larry King as to how well IAB does their job. Really Donny? Did you show them your tat and where your real allegiance is?

    For those of us who did come forward and tried to change the system I ask that you never change. True, you won’t be an A/S or get to use child prostitutes for your pleasure while the captain at Narco but, at least, you stood your ground. Never while your out there do you GIVE UP!

    McD doesn’t have a clue and he needs to clean house but who will take their places? More of the same? Doesn’t McD sound just as clueless as Baca? Sometimes I think so!

    Some feel that many others got away, especially past U/S whose names are not fit to mention on this day of justice. But, I know, first hand that these guys are suffering more than any jail could have provided.

    Will justice ever come for the innocent of days gone by? Most likely not, but just because you retired with executive rank doesn’t mean you have honor!

  • @ Questions, your comment that Tanaka and EPC did not hear a word of Judge Anderson’s lecture is simplistically, true. I have more respect for Michel for reading his statement before sentencing than I do anyone on EPC. Michel was corrupt to the bone and was given a gift with his light sentence. He did not make a “mistake,” nor have a momentary lack of judgement. He did what he did for the sake of corruption. But at least he had a Come to Jesus moment and took responsibility. Not Paul, oh no sir, his warped persona would never allow him to do that. As far as his career with LASD, he was literally handed everything, he did not earn those bars and stars, they were gifted to him by Baca, every single step of the way, it was a gift. No difference than Eric Parra or Jim Helmold; their ranks and positions were literally given to them. They didn’t work hard for anything, he’ll, Parra was a Watch Commander on EM’s for 90 days somewhere in R-III (I think it was San Dimas), told to lay low then, Bingo!, transferred to SEB. From there, a smooth elevator ride. Yet you listen to him, he thinks he’s all that. It has been very well documented and validated that Parra and Helmold were BOTH bundle boys for Tanaka. You did not get into a Tanaka political fundraiser without being personally cleared by Parra and Hellmold. Yet look where they are today, they never earned anything, it was all a gift and continues to be. After more than 18 months at the helm, McD is perfectly happy with promoting and retaining Tanaka’s clones, with his eyes wide open. There is no honor at the top, it was stripped away years ago and it appears that is how it will continue.

  • The Circus of LASD now has a smaller cast of clowns and character. On deck will be Macias vs ALADS in October. Trust me,it wont be boring. Alads Counsel Dick Shinee on the witness stand is worth calling in sick on that day. Find out how your monthly dues are spent and on whom. See behind the scenes. LASD Parent Organization MEBA to every Police union will be monitoring this trial. Can’t wait

  • I’m so very glad Tanaka finally got what he deserves. PT you’ re soon to be an inmate, convicted felon and just plain evil. 2 of the evil 4 are guilty but Waldie and Stonich should also feel ashamed. They protected Baca and Tanaka and many of the ass kissing cronies. They promoted several of the current high ranking executives that sit and condemn good hard working street cops for chicken shit policy violations . Eric Parra was one of Tanaka’s money man and all around punk. He helped Tanaka screw over many of us that stood up and did the right things. Now he’s putting on internals against every jail deputy he can and usually convicts them before they talk to them. And let’s not forget Buddy Goldman. Picking up Larry’s laundry and doing all his cover ups. These were just the starters. Great job in Belflower buddy. 2 brave deputies are shot and rescued by Heros are not even out of ICU and your plotting to find fault and ordering MCB to investigate not wearing a vest in an undercover mode inside shorts and tee shirts. I guess you have never done police work like many of us have. You can’t hide a vest under a tee shirt you dummy. How could you do that when the real warriors are still dealing with trauma of the event. I guess you’ve never been in that kind of shit. All of the cronies at EPC should do the right thing and quit in shame just like the 4 evil guys but of course they have no honor. Those 4 and all the promotees of corruption have dis honored the badge that many good retired and current Deputies. McDonnel and Tyler clean up EPC ….

  • #15 & #21,

    You guys nailed it. This is not about getting it right or the truth. It is about making sure the narrative “looks” right for the DOJ and Jim McD.

    How both Tanaka and Baca get less time than the folks they sent into this mess (there are more than just the convicted too), is besides me?

    Let’s just all Keep Calm and Be Honest. Just like we did when we said we were not going to run for Sheriff.

  • 5 years is nothing, he should have got more. Looks like pay back is coming Baca’s way with his brain going. There’s still plenty of Lts., and Captains that need to be dealt harshly with because they turn the other way when their Sgts., or deputies do wrong.

  • @ no. 22 and 25. You are both so correct, too bad MC D cares more about the publics perception of him, than he does about morale on this Dept. If he did those two clowns would be long gone.

  • He got 5 years which is more than I thought he would get. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will meet July 5th. We will all have a answer soon on the other cases. @lonestar what makes you think Sexton deserves to go to prison? He testified for the Feds, was cheated out of his appointed attorney for the Grand Jury hearing and how can you obstruct justice when the Feds never came looking for Anthony Brown? The prosecution couldn’t get a conviction the first time so they hand picked his Grand Jury testimony. They would have found Mother Theresa guilty with all the cheating that went on in that trial. In the end we will see if those that really deserve justice will get it. Baca could get the death penalty and never get what he deserves.

  • I’ve had the time to digest all that transpired these last few days, and the comments from so many good people, past, present, and future of the department. I don’t know who authored it, but that famous quote: “Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee” seems an appropriate summation of Tall Paul’s courtroom experience.

    I’ve given McDonnell plenty of time to make true his campaign promise of “fresh eyes.” The promise of a new start was squandered day one, and every day since “Fresh Eyes” Jim has been in office has been a wasted one. As has been said before, you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit, period. What part of that do you not understand, Sheriff?

    The sole reason you were voted into office was to reform the LASD and restore a lost reputation of excellence. Retaining a corrupt management team, trying to paper over gross miscarriages of justice, and looking the other way while your executive staff CONTINUES TO PLAY THE EXACT SAME GAME TANAKA TAUGHT THEM just shows that your election was a huge mistake. Brass snaps, really?

    McDonnell, you are NOT a reformer, you are merely a place holder for the county’s political establishment, that’s all. You are following the fake progressive Baca playbook to a “T,” including the tear jerker cause for your camera time and assurances for a gullible electorate.

    The presidential elections are demonstrating a nationwide revolt against establishment political figures and business as usual practices. 2018 will be a watershed year for Los Angeles County elections, as well. It’s time to dump the establishment politicians and vote in someone who has both the ability and the know how to clean the LASD and set it on the right track.

    We’re coming for you, Jim. You had your chance, and now that you made your bed, lie in it.

  • Judge Anderson, a self righteous SOB, should be removed from office and those involved in this sham indicted. You do not break the law to enforce the law. Did anyone hear that? I’ll say it again. You don’t break the law to enforce the law. Smuggling a phone into custody is a felony the last I heard. It’s tantamount to placing a little coke in a well known crook’s pocket because you can’t seem to catch him dirty. But then again, many Deps have done something comparable while others concurred or ignored those slight imperfections. Most Feds wouldn’t know a crook unless he slapped them upside the head or was led into the courtroom by a bailiff. I was always amazed at all the ass kissers who hooked their wagon to someone in the chain and then cried like babies when their found they were with the wrong guy. They made the coffee and then the guy they were making it for didn’t make the cut. Most of the department members were never impacted by a thing PT or Baca did. All they had to do was come to work and do their jobs. Most of us did. Those who believe that this has done something for the department are wrong. It has done nothing. McD is just another suit who used his position on that custody committee to ingratiated and improve his positioning to run for Sheriff. The department is still run by those who value their position over the best interests of the department and it members. If you believe this has changed anything, you are wrong. Tanaka gets five years because the FBI’s feelings were hurt. The other Deps get time because the FBI’s feelings were hurt. Federal Judges support this hogwash because the FBI’s feelings were hurt. Some of you need to reevaluate your understanding of justice. Crooks get less time for doing much more.

  • 31: All they had to do is turn the i/m over and we were done. But, oh no not us! By your so-called outrage the crooks from Arco-Narco would still be stealing and committing crimes. These are called “stings” for a reason.

  • @31 John, I think your rant against the feds is misplaced. Yes, crooks get less time for “doing much more,” but keep in mind, crooks aren’t charged with enforcing the law. Crooks aren’t supposed to be the ones the community has confidence in and trusts to uphold the law and do the right thing. Whether you agree to it or not, law enforcement officers are (and in my opinion should be) held to a higher standard. And that means a higher level of consequence for failure to uphold “our end” of that relationship with the community.

  • I am sure we all remember the warnings about taking someone down who out ranked you. You could testify against someone your equal or lower ranked but if you took on someone over you that was it, you were done.
    What is the difference now? Highest ranking wins?

  • John,

    Kudos to Judge Percy Anderson. He’s done an admirable job of presiding over these cases.

    Nobody was charged because the “FBI’s feelings were hurt.” They were charged because they interfered with an FBI investigation by hiding their informant and by making the classic “Guido Visit” to the home of agent Marx.

    You’re absolutely right that “You do not break the law to enforce the law.” Introducing the cell phone into the jail was both illegal and unwise. The federal prosecution team has argued that the federal agents are exempt from state law in the performance of their duty, but the Ninth Circuit has ruled that they are not. But the remedy for the federal violation is not to frustrate their investigation. It is to file charges. If Mr. Tanaka was so concerned that the FBI conduct rose to that level, then the matter should have gone to the District Attorney for the filing of charges.

    At the same time, I keep hearing that the smuggling of the cell phone into the jail was a ‘Felony”. Can you or anyone else cite the statute so providing?


    In 2011 Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 26, which made it a misdemeanor to smuggle a cell phone to an an inmate in a CA prison, or for an inmate to posses a cell phone. It is my understanding that also applies to county jails. Prior to SB 26, it was a firing offense for correctional workers, but not a crime.

  • @ LATBG. The Author was Ernest Hemingway

    @ John Stites. Don’t hate the Judge or the FBI for doing their job. The deputy who gave the phone to i/m Brown was already dirty. He just got caught.

    @ Still to come: Deputies are not aware of the knock out blow coming to ALADS & Richard Shinee… but they will.

  • Celeste,

    Thanks for the quick follow-up to my question. SB26 produced Penal Code section 4576. That section makes it a misdemeanor crime to smuggle a cell phone into a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation facility.

    The events surrounding Inmate Anthony Brown occurred in the L.A. County Jail, which is not a CDCR facility.

    Both Dr. Baca and Mr. Tanaka have insisted that the act of smuggling the cell phone was felony level crime, and that statement has been repeated many times over.

    We’re kinda overdue for a fact check on the claim. Is there anyone that can cite the statute that makes the cell phone smuggling a FELONY?

  • #31,
    Well shit. Seems what you “heard”, the word on the street, the grapevine, etc. is wrong re: it being a felony. Your logic is also flawed. I don’t imagine you have a problem with narco using informants to do controlled buys, do you? Aren’t they having the inf. break the law, in order to enforce the law? At the most basic level, your logic would prevent patrol cops from breaking CVC laws while responding to hot calls or going in pursuit.
    Your indignation with the feds is noted. That doesn’t make your dog a hunter. Your dog barks up the wrong tree.

  • Penal Code 4575(a) cell phone info

    4575. (a) Any person in a local correctional facility who possesses
    a wireless communication device, including, but not limited to, a
    cellular telephone, pager, or wireless Internet device, who is not
    authorized to possess that item is guilty of a misdemeanor,
    punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).
    (b) Any person housed in a local correctional facility who
    possesses any tobacco products in any form, including snuff products,
    smoking paraphernalia, any device that is intended to be used for
    ingesting or consuming tobacco, or any container or dispenser used
    for any of those products, is guilty of an infraction, punishable by
    a fine not exceeding two hundred fifty dollars ($250).
    (c) Money collected pursuant to this section shall be placed into
    the inmate welfare fund, as specified in Section 4025.
    (d) Any person housed in a local correctional facility who
    possesses a handcuff key who is not authorized to possess that item
    is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county
    jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine of up to one thousand
    dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. As used in
    this subdivision, “handcuff key” means any device designed or
    intended to open or unlatch a handcuff.
    (e) Subdivision (b) shall only apply to a person in a local
    correctional facility in a county in which the board of supervisors
    has adopted an ordinance or passed a resolution banning tobacco in
    its correctional facilities.

  • They department was trying yo make it a Felony by adding a Conspiracy to bring in the cell phone.

  • I get a big laugh at the convicted criminals appealing their convictions instead of admitting to what they did. It seems to be a recurring theme at these trials with Judge Anderson making mention that the criminals do not admit to their actions and show remorse.

    I say let them spend their money on appeals and have their guns and freedom taken away. It serves them right. Destiny awaits them !

  • @ 41: I’m not a lawyer, but in USA v. Gonzalez. et al (beating of visitor at Visitor’s Front, MCJ) visitor Gabriel Carillo was found to have a cell phone in his possession. This was referred to as a misdemeanor level offence throughout the trial, by both defense and prosecution, undisputed by either side.

    The smuggled cell phone by Gilbert Michel to Anthony Brown was also referred to as a misdemeanor offence in Sexton I and II and Thompson et al. There never was an issue regarding misdemeanor v. felony by either defense or prosecution in these trials. This was the level of offence they both used.

    Re controlled buys, etc., refer to Public Authority Law.

  • No, a cellphone in custody is a misdemeanor. The confusion may be that bribing an executive officer (like giving a deputy money to take a cellphone into custody) is a felony. Just a thought.

  • So what else isn’t news?
    That the LASD employs several highly qualified individuals and many more who are adequately qualified available for promotion for every opening in the upper ranks. That one of the best predictors of success is the extent to which the superiors feel a level of comfort and familiarity with the potential candidates for promotion.
    So did Jim Hellmold bundle envelopes for Tanaka? Well, he must have done a good job and been pleasant to be around. He earned high marks as well in his other assignments of driving Baca’s wife to the beauty parlor, dropping off Baca’s shirts at the hand laundry and picking up flea medication from the veterinarian office for Baca’s old poodles.
    That’s just how tradition is carried on.
    Besides dedication and hard work, what else could Deputy Lee Baca do to stand out among all the other qualified, promotable individuals?
    What he could do was have the dumb luck of meeting and becoming an object of fancy for Saul Block, who then put in the blessings on young Baca’s career with his brother Sherman the Sheriff of L.A. County.
    When William Bratton was hired on to turn around the LAPD, among all the new faces greeting his arrival was someone he could immedeately feel comfortable with – Boston born and bred Jim McDonnel.
    Now that he’s the new L.A. County Sheriff, we find out that he’s just like the old Sheriff.
    He tolerates corruption and promulgates nepotism.
    He also takes care of the people who really count – the people of wealth, power and prestige.
    Any crimes less than aggravated felony with serious injury committed by a member of the elite can be smoothed over and tucked away. More serious crimes get V.I.P. treatment to ease the burden of consequences.
    That was how Lee Baca ran LASD. Baca proudly wore his badge of special treatment for V.I.P’s.
    Baca sought publicity to showcase the two-track system of law enforcement.
    ho can forget Paris Hilton?
    or Mel Gibson’s bottle of tequila which Baca told the world was kept secure in the safe in his office at SHQ.
    Mel’s tequilla bottle was Baca’s undisputable metaphor:
    I’m the Sheriff and the keeper and protector of the evidence of the crimes of the wealthy and well-connected of L.A. County, under my watch they shall never become the newspaper headline or the prosecutor file.
    That’s why they can’t give Baca jail time for his litany of crime. They owe him the favor in return for 14 years of protection from consequences of D.U.I., O.D., spousal battery and abuse, soliciting prostitution, possession of contraband, etc.
    That applies not only to celebrities.
    That includes
    current and former elected office holders, judges, university deans, mayors, bankers, corporate exec’s, rabbi’s, ministers, visiting dignitaries and their spouses and family members.
    Jim McDonnel was chosen to succeed Baca not because of his role on the Citizen’s Commission on the County Jails.
    McDonnel was chosen for his ability to oversee the two-track system which insulates the elite from publicity of their peccadillos and consequences of their transgressions.
    McDonnel’s benefactor and point man for the wealthy and well-connected is billionaire property manager and developer Ric Caruso.
    If you aren’t satisfied with the pace of reform under Sheriff McDonell, then go complain to Caruso.
    But complaining probably won’t force any real change.
    The only thing that has a possibility of breaking the logjam at LASD is for Bob Olmsted to file papers for the next election for Sheriff and then hit the ground running.

  • @lonestar Sexton first had to have committed a crime. Why would he admit to something he didn’t do? I hope you keep on laughing. I will too when he is given a new trial!!! The prosecution and the Feds will have egg all over their face. It is easy for you to sit back and laugh until it is you being falsely accused. He was a good deputy and didn’t deserve to have his life destroyed. Yes, he was asked to wear a wire and refused. It wouldn’t matter if it was his father or someone else he wasn’t going to do it. He helped the Feds and some of you may have forgotten had death threats against him when he found out other deputies were bring drugs into the jail. He did his job and the very people that should have had his back turned on him including the Feds. Keep on laughing @lonestar you were probably one of the ones that should have helped protect him.

  • #40,
    “Dr. Baca”.
    That’s hilarious.
    Next time you can refer to him as ZenMaster or Shaman. If you insist on calling him “Dr.”, shouldn’t “Witch” be in front of “Dr.”?

  • #47, your not in the Know. Many people make ignorant comments without really knowing all the facts. All another trial for these convicted criminals is going to do is cost more money. Whats the convicted Deputy who works at Home Depot going to do for funds ?

    I wish you the best.

  • #51, I am in the know and one of them isn’t working at Home Depot. He is also the one who told ALADS/ Dick Shinee they were out their depth. Hired his own lawyer from Paul Hastings.

    It’s called excercising their Constitutional Rights. You know; the ones all cops and military swear to protect? It doesn’t just work for certain people you think are innocent or entitled to them.

    Respect the process and cheer for your team. Don’t be a sore loser though.

    BTW- three judge panel has two Bush appointees and 1 OBama. Before you get excited about the Obama appointee, this Justice ruled in favor of Bonds’ Obstruction case to be overturned.

    So that’s why….

  • @ 51. Alads will pay the legal funds for the former deputy now working at Home Depot. The price for a few is paid off the backs of many. There’s always ALADS CARES (which incidently mirrors legal representation) who picks and chooses who will and who won’t get assistance. Last I heard was that ex president of ALADS Floyd Hayhurst will be an Uber driver in the Maserati purchased while at ALADS.

  • @42 and 43,


    PC 4575 only creates criminal liability for Inmate Brown. It doesn’t create any criminal liability for Agent Marx. Additionally, it’s also only a misdemeanor offense. I’m looking for that FELONY offense that Dr. Baca and Mr. Tanaka were so concerned about.

    I do understand your argument about 182 PC (Conspiracy). Yes, it’s true that a conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor (or even an infraction for that matter) can be punishable as a felony, but I’ll challenge anyone to show me where such a case has been successfully prosecuted.

    Mr. Tanaka wrote commendations to several department members who supported Operation “Pandora’s Box” noting their participation in one of the most important investigations undertaken by the department. Does a “hummer” of a Conspiracy case really rise to that level?

  • I think Quasi Moto is spot on. As I said earlier, McDonnell is just the place holder for the political establishment in LA County. One more element to the long list of misdeeds to be covered up: the massive pay to play schemes involving contracts with the county, legal work, and decisions from the LAFCO. Palms need to be greased continuously to make county government work for the benefit of the select few 1%ers.

  • @lonestar you haven’t a clue to my knowledge and you showed your ignorance because Sexton isn’t working at Home Depot!! I can’t speak for the other deputies but if they are working there at least they are working trying to put food on the table for their children that are totally innocent and depending on their Dads income. @lonestar you are a bitter old man with nothing nice to say about anything. Have a good night. Oh and by the way good luck to you Sexton with the appeal and Roll Tide!!!

  • @Rick D, I don’t believe Baca and Tanaka were worried about a felony against them with this cell phone. The criminal report was written as a Conspiracy to bring in a cell phone into the LA county jail. 3 FBI agents were listed as the conspirators to bringing in the phone to Inmate Brown. That is the potential felony warrant that ICIB went after Agent Marx.

  • Just think that Pandora Box was labeled as the most important operation ever involving LASD. Really? More like Keystone Cops running scared. Though speculative, I’m willing to bet that the flip phone that Inmate Brown secured had nothing credible on it. Instead of patience and common sense, P.T.(aka Barnum) panicked and was spooked. The rest is history and the joke of every LEO

  • In August this mess initiated by Baca and Tanaka will have dragged out 5 years. I continuously read comments that slash the character and integrity of our fellow deputies throughout the Department. To the point you have turned on each other. “A Cardinal Sin” in our profession. Some of you appear to see a custom and practice of Prosecutorial Misconduct nationwide. Please look to Baltimore as an example. To those of you who suggest that our own should not exercise their Constitutional Right to defend themselves is to demonstrate ignorance and incompetency as a law enforcement officer. It does not take much courage to write an anonymous post. But seven former deputies who followed orders are demonstrating courage and sacrifice. In today’s policing environment for everyone’s sake I hope they are successful should we one day be in the same boat.

  • An interesting observation while perusing these comments. There is absolutely NO support, no sympathy, no statements of outrage that Too Tall Paul is heading to the big house. News Flash, Paul, you were simply tolerated, you were “used” for personal gain by your followers. They stuff your pocket with a little cash, buy you a box of cigars, click their heals and YOU think they are loyal. They used you Paul, and in return, you gave them promotions, job assignments thinking they would be there for you. Well, who was there for you on Monday? Not the crew from the helipad campaign announcement, none to be seen. Only Jim “The Enforcer” Ritenour and Spence. It’s going to be a very lonely five years, Paul. Plenty of time to think of all the good people you screwed over, an organization you personally left in shambles and a family you shamed and dishonored. Arrogance and insecurity goes hand in hand, get help Paul. Sheriff McD, there are lots of lessons to learn; there are other Tanaka’s still on the job.

  • @57,

    Peacemaker, Thanks. The 182 PC is about the only angle that could make a felony out the affair (and only notionally at that).

    Do you know if the warrant was ever presented to a judicial officer, and if so, what was the response?

  • ICIB had the handle on the investigation. I do not know if they ever tried to file the 182 and/or if the warrant was just a ruse to see if Agent Marx would crack.

  • LASD will NEVER, EVER try to punk the FBI again… this life or the next. Lessons learned.

  • @63


    If you can separate yourself from your diatribe against Jim Ritenour, please give a closer read to Penal Code section 182 defining the crime of Conspiracy and the range of punishments for that offense.

    California law is really quirky, and often doesn’t make a lot of sense. The crime of Conspiracy is a good example.

    The Penal Code provides a potential felony for all conspiracies, even if the underlying crime is only a traffic infraction (it doesn’t even have to be a misdemeanor). Where the underlying crime is a misdemeanor, or infraction, the Conspiracy is a “Wobbler”. It can be punished as a misdemeanor or a felony.

    You have misquoted the Penal Code with regard to the punishment for Conspiracy where the underlying crime is a misdemeanor. Here is the actual text of the pertinent portion of the section:

    “When they conspire to do any of the other acts described in this section, they shall be punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.”

    Please note that the “pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170” makes the offense a felony.

    The conspiracy law is useful. It does make some sense to punish the members of a criminal enterprise that commits crime more severely than the individuals committing the same crime, but there also has to be some sense of responsibility in the bringing of charges. That’s one reason the D.A. does an independent review of a case before filing, and it’s also why I ask if a judicial officer reviewed this case.

    I’ve never seen a case where felony charges were filed on a misdemeanor case where government agents were acting (albeit stupidly) in good faith.

  • Getting back to the root of the issue, Baca was at the helm. His many merry minstrels were doing his bidding at his whim. You ask anyone who was working near him and they will tell you he was crazy. Not crazy smart, just crazy. But his followers drank the cool-aid and followed. Not so blindly, either, which I find truly distasteful and idiotic. IF they had blindly followed, I might say they were blinded by his BS or nonsense, but they followed him fully knowing how crazy he was. I think that shows the darkness of their hearts and souls. That team of merry men and women ruined or messed with many good people and their lives, but Baca didn’t care. People who COULD HAVE made a difference and COULD HAVE/SHOULD HAVE stood up and done the right thing were cowards and turned their faces while people went like lambs to slaughter.

    The three most responsible or irresponsible cowards are/were Abner, Mannis & Ault. The three stoog-ettes. Utterly incompetent and wouldn’t know the side of a radio car if it slapped them upside the head — at ANY rank! So what does Baca do? He promotes two of three — why not? They were incompetent at the lower rank, so let’s promote them.

    So here’s the rub or the question I want to throw out there…. If Sexton and all of those involved in Pandora’s Box were guilty because they supposedly followed PT’s orders, are the 3 stoog-ettes guilty of collusion and other trumped up charges against all of the people they pushed to screw over? Oh, and let’s not leave out Diana Teran who seems to hate any sworn member of the Department and pushes for heavy discipline or firing!!! She who gets SO pissed off when sworn staff disagree with her uninformed and disrespectful opinions on police involved incidents. She’s in the same ballpark as Mannis and Ault as far as how much time any of them have spent working a radio car OR a jail!

    No. You won’t find much sympathy for those running/ruining the ship in the past. Anything and just about anyone is better than what was there previously.

  • I’ve got no use for the little man or his posse. But I give Jim Ritenour credit for showing up on what he knew would be a really bad day. The rest of the Coin Holders were laying low, playing “who me,” desperately hoping that the Sheriff never runs a google image search of Paul Tanaka. If he does, he’ll see a significant portion of his command staff standing behind the little man cheeking.

  • @CSN83. Sounds like to me that you were held accountable for conduct perhaps 3-5 years ago. Perhaps some introspection into how you were responsible for your own actions are in order instead of blaming others. You come off as a person holding a grudge.

  • Accountability: You sound like an apologist for a corrupt administration playing the ” disgruntled employee” card. Perhaps CSN83 has been unjustly victimized by the prior administration and has a legitimate right to carry a grude. I think your Chief’s waiting for her coffee.

  • @bandwagon. We might likely disagree on this matter. The Department has endured and continues to endure a number of employees who make excuses or blame others for everything. A promotion they didn’t get or deserve, etc. Just do your job and be the best employee you can be. I can assure you I don’t make coffee for my boss nor would I expect others to make coffee for me. I am optimistic that the future is bright given current developments and the accountability delivered by the judge.

  • Accountability, your position is the furthest from accountable I can think of. Who gets promoted or demoted matters little compared to how. As long as political patronage rules emolument decisions, then there is no bright future like the one you tout.

    The policies, practices, and programs that gave us Tanaka are alive and well. You just sound giddy thinking you’re going to hitch your.wagon to a winner. That doesn’t speak well of your qualifications, if any. There is no bright future until we get a sheriff who has the guts and the know-how to turn the department around. McDonnell falls short on both counts.

  • @latbg I don’t consider myself giddy. I did have higher hopes with regards to Sheriff McDonnell. I admit, I am an optimist and I did expect more. I have no need to hitch my wagon…there is nothing in it for me… I am just hoping for a brighter future for LASD. I agree concerning the policies of Tanaka being alive and well…there are a number of disciples still there…

  • Accountability….I am not sure where you are coming from. Perhaps you are one of the spineless ones who looked the other way when peoples careers were brought to an abrupt halt.

    Being in closed door meeting and not stepping up when Baca was wrong…. yea spineless. And it is still going on with Baca and Tanaka gone. What the hell. Who is in charge now?

    Now the lower ranking officers are going to jail and the middle MAN/WOMAN is still hiding in their office praying know one opens a case to see just what they were up to during Pandoras Box and even before.

    This is not about anything I am apart of. Just would like to see justice to all instead of a small group who followed orders and did a stupid thing. If you are going to punish some for this than all should be brought into the big picture for what they did or chose not to do.

    Were talking about Accountability right???

  • In summary, what your saying is absolutely correct.

    This so called professional organization is simply a “corrupt culture” that operates with impunity.

    These individuals are low level educated individuals that are arguably “ urban terrorist roaming the streets of California ( well their all over the country actually) under the guise of a law enforcement organization.

    Frankly, far to many escaped the clutches of the law / and those folks will continue their appalling course of conduct, for many years to come.

    Hey, what can we do here? It’s not like we’re getting the cream if the crops as far as integrity and intelligence!

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