2014 Election LASD LWOP Kids Sentencing

West Virginia Eliminates Juvie LWOP….Deputy Clique Sexually Harasses LASD Women, Candidate’s Gag Call Criticized

EDITOR’S NOTE: LIGHT POSTING TODAY….as I’m a bit under the weather. More news coming tomorrow.


The state of West Virginia voted on Friday to make all those sentenced as juveniles in adult court to be eligible for parole after 15 years, a decision that lawmakers hailed as maintaining public safety as well as being sound policy.

The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth has the story:

Here’s a clip:

West Virginia has eliminated the practice of sentencing children to die in prison. Every child convicted and sentenced in adult court will be eligible for parole no later than after serving 15 years. With this new law, West Virginia is among a growing number of U.S. states that have either abandoned this sentence or severely limited its use. The U.S. is the only country in the world that imposes this sentence upon children.

“We applaud West Virginia for responding in a meaningful way to the recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings that children are ‘constitutionally different’ from adults and should not be subject to our nation’s harshest punishments,” said Jody Kent Lavy, director & national coordinator of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth. “This new law ensures young people are held accountable for harm they have caused in a way that accounts for their unique characteristics as children and offers them hope of a second chance.”

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed HB 4210 into law on Friday. The bill passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support in the House of Delegates and unanimously in the Senate.

“This bill demonstrates that we take seriously our responsibility of caring for young people and for making sure our communities are safe,” said Sen. Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Under HB 4210, children who are convicted of serious crimes will be held accountable for their actions. However, they will also be given a meaningful opportunity to demonstrate later in life that they have been rehabilitated and deserve a second chance. This bill represents our understanding that children are different from adults and that our courts need to take these differences into account when dealing with children. It is also sound fiscal policy for West Virginia, allowing us to maintain public safety while ensuring that we make the best use of our state’s limited financial resources.”


In a lawsuit filed last week, Guadalupe Lopez, a ten year veteran of the force who is now getting her law degree, describes how members of an 80 member deputy clique who called themselves the Banditos sexually harassed, threatened and demanded sex from her as part of “training” when she was transferred to the department’s East LA station in 2011, according to a story first broken by NBC’s Andrew Blankstein.

Here is a clip:

Guadalupe Lopez, who was assigned to the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s station in Boyle Heights beginning in 2011, is seeking unspecified damages for alleged sexual harassment, hazing and retaliation that included being run off the road by another deputy, being slammed into a wall while she held a loaded shotgun, and having a dead rat placed under her car after she reported objectionable behavior, according to the lawsuit.

There were about 80 deputies associated with the Banditos, whose full members sported numbered tattoos of a skeleton with a sombrero, bullet sash and pistol, the suit alleges. Probationary deputies, meaning trainees, were allegedly described as “prospects” or “puppies.”

Female trainees were expected to “submit” and “provide sexual favors for male training officers and their associates,” according to the 33-page suit filed by attorney Jason M. Wymond. The suggestion was that if a trainee provided these favors, she would become a full-fledged patrol deputy rather than being forced to work at a Los Angeles County jail, where most deputies begin their careers.

“Plaintiff was made to understand that she was expected to be ‘One of the Girls,’ which included drinking, partying, and the fulfillment of the ‘sexual needs’ of her male training officers and their associates,” the complaint alleges.

Several other lawsuits alleging sexual harassment by superiors have been filed in the last two years against the sheriff’s department, as have other lawsuits reporting threats and repeated retaliation aimed at department members who attempt to report wrongdoing in the LASD.


Assistant Sheriff James Hellmold, who is one of seven candidates running for sheriff, is in the news for using what sounds like an attempt at an east Indian accent in a 2010 faux complaint call that the Los Angeles Times reports was part of a prearranged skit recorded for a watch commander’s retirement party.

LAT’s Robert Faturechi reports:

The gag call starts out with Hellmold asking for “the watching commander,” a play on the traditional title of watch commander. In accented English, Hellmold says: “Deputy sheriff don’t care about the community….That’s why I call now.”

Back in 2010, when The Times first inquired about the call, a sheriff’s spokesman mostly defended the incident, calling it a “prearranged sound bite” that “did not influence public safety.”
But records reviewed by The Times show that after the newspaper’s inquiry, Hellmold received “documented counseling” in connection with the joke. Hellmold’s boss at the time wrote “you disguised your voice in a manner that sounded representative of another ethnic group.”

WLA obtained the recording as well, and learned from LASD sources that the call was criticized by department members at the time as immature and showing less than ideal judgement for someone of Hellmold’s then rank of captain.

On Friday, Hellmold’s campaign spokesman told the LA Times that the “candidate ‘certainly meant no disrespect” with the gag, ‘and regrets if anyone may have taken offense.'”


  • I have a real problem with people filing lawsuits years later.Sorry but I can’t help but feel this is a humbug BS lawsuit from someone that couldn’t make it in patrol…

  • I just read the lawsuit and somehow does not surprise me since this happens in other units. Department tries to cover things up and other incidents are reported which shows there are rampant problems everywhere.

    Gosh, this is horrible.

  • Roy, I don’t know the truth of this lawsuit either, but your logic is flawed.

    If someone doesn’t go through the Department’s avenues first, like IAB/ICIB/POE complaints, then their lawsuit isn’t valid, and they would also (rightly) be considered not giving the department a chance to police themselves.

    IAB investigations can take up to 12 months, you should know this, scheduled meetings with Commanders Chiefs etc., can take months to wait for and on and on.

    So what you’re saying is, if you wait to file a lawsuit in 2014 for events that happened in 2011/12, then your lawsuit is of questionable validity.

    But wait. She endured it for a while. Then she complained to a sergeant. She went through the complain process. Went out on stress, went through some transfers. Talked to commanders. Talked to ALADS. Basically, she did everything she was supposed to do to AVOID a lawsuit. And when all that failed, she filed a lawsuit.

    Something tells me that if she filed immediately in 2011/2012, you’d be saying “she shouldn’t file until she lets the department try and fix this.” Which would put her at around 2014.

    It’s not like this happened to her ten years ago. Or even five. She took time to go through the process inside the department first, and if anything that shows she isn’t lawsuit happy.

    On top of that ELA has had a BAD reputation for YEARS of being hard on trainees far beyond the acceptable levels of giving them lots of calls, not letting them eat, long hours, etc.,

    It is common knowledge that you better have a lot of money if you went to ELA, because the OGs would demand cash from you when you were a trainee, under duress and intimidation. That sounds a lot like extortion.

    This is a reasonably timed lawsuit that dovetails with the reputation the station has had recently. Come up with a better argument.

  • It smells to me. It has that familiar odor of a patrol trainee who couldn’t make it going for the gold after the fact.
    It’s all there. T/O’s fabricating reports, demanding sexual favors, being “violent”, failing to roll for back-up, etc. It could all be true. However, the rule, rather than the exception, has been when these allegations are made by patrol failure trainees they turn out to be gross exaggeration’s if not outright lies.
    The plaintiff’s have nothing to lose because there is no price to pay for making false allegations. Their reputation has already been tarnished due to their failure, so why not go for a payday?
    That’s been the rule. This case could be the exception.

  • My favorite part is one of these bandito brochas was transferred and then allowed to return and be a TO.

    Keeping it real low profile gents.

  • Jack,
    It’s also, peculiar you might say, that the plaintiff was carrying a “loaded shotgun” inside the station. Could that be an indication of the plaintiff’s inability to retain or refusal to practice the things the plaintiff was taught on training? Or is ELA training their folks to check the gauges and load or unload them inside the station nowadays?
    Just sayin.
    That might be an indicator of why the plaintiff “had trouble” on training.

  • Completely bogus and baseless lawsuit. Rolled up, grasped for straws, and now wants a fat payday. We’ve all seen this before. Question is will the Department cave? Hope not, there’s tons of ELA female deputies standing in line to set this weak caper straight. No biz in patrol, especially not in my radio car! Boom.

  • I will only comment on the “extortion” issue where trainees are required to pay large amounts for parties and other events. This happens in the ELA Detective Bureau and other specialized units where search warrants being served are slowed down as a result of the investigating officer having to buy elaborate meals for whomever assists them on the raid. It works like this. Detective “A” has a named armed robber with a warrant in the system and a good tip on where he is hiding. In order to get a team of detectives to accompany him, he has to purchases expensive meals either before or after the raid. While this may seem like a harmless ritual, what it does is put extreme pressure on the investigator to make sure he has the $100 plus to pick up the tab and also to risk the possibility of his warrant suspect not being home and then having to cover a second or third round of meals for the team of 5-10 detectives. The end result is that eventually the hazing and stringent traditions make the detectives maintain a “low profile” to not be the butt of ridicule

  • Often the truth lies between the two sides.

    I’d bet that this female trainee was sexually harassed. It’s a sad truth that in this line of work, the aggressive type A personalities that are best suited for crime fighting are also often boorish and inappropriate.

    But at the same time, it sounds like she’s just another patrol failure grasping for straws like Boomer suggested. It ain’t the first, and won’t be the last.

    If you have a sexual harassment gripe, then POE it. Sounds like she did. Sounds like IAB and ELA handed out some punishment as a result. A review of the punishment should definitely be ordered to make sure that inappropriate behavior was addressed.

    If everything was appropriately addressed, then we have dual track for a reason. Stay in custody and free up a spot for someone who has what it takes to get off patrol training.

  • Did James Hellmold lapse into a daydream that he became Assistant Sheriff by rising up through a merit-based promotion system and holds his own as a legitimate candidate in an authentic election for L.A. County Sheriff?

    If so, the alarm just sounded – daydream over. Back to reality. Selected for promotion based on his ability to serve the needs of the powers above and lack of potential to challenge their power or threaten their control.

    Mr. Hellmold, don’t mistake this ballot for a spontaneous exercise of authentic electoral democracy.

    This is a set piece, Mr. Hellmold, and you have been cast as a handsome place holder with the approval of Producers Yaroslavsky-Antonovich-Knabe and Executive Producer Mr. Caruso.
    If you want to keep your career in this business, then kindly follow directions of the line producer/location managers Skelton/Shalman/Shimpock.
    They will make sure everything is right when the spotlight shines on you, Mr. Hellmold.

    Remember to practice your lines at home in front of the mirror. Your big scene is tentatively scheduled in 2 weeks – when you announce your withdrawal from the campaign and pledge support to Chief MacDonnel.

  • I hear the female deputies assigned to East Los Angeles have come forward and released a statement.

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