FBI LA County Jail LASD Paul Tanaka The Feds U.S. Attorney

Will Barry Bonds 9th Circuit Ruling Affect LASD “Pandora’s Box” Appeals?….(& Further Indictments?)


On Wednesday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling en banc, overturned former San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds’ felony conviction for obstruction of justice, also forbidding the feds to retry Bonds on the same count.

Last year, a three-judge panel of the 9th didn’t give Bonds a reversal, so his attorneys petitioned for an en banc rehearing—meaning they wanted the whole court. Bonds and his lawyers got it, and the new ruling—as we learned on Wednesday—went in a very different direction.

The court found, in a 10 to 1 decision, that Bonds’ meandering obfuscation in answer to the one of the prosecutors’ questions did not “materially” get in the way of the government’s investigation into the illegal distribution of steroids. In other words, the baseball star’s dodging of a question he didn’t want to answer wasn’t all that, you know, obstruct-y.

Moreover, Judge Alex Kozinski, who wrote a concurring opinion, seemed to be chiding the prosecutors for stretching the definition of obstruction the point that, the judge suggested, practically anyone in the vicinity of a federal investigation could get charged.

For instance, here’s a clip from Kozinski’s opinion:

Because the [obstruction of justice] statute sweeps so broadly, due process calls for prudential limitations on the government’s power to prosecute under it. Such a limitation already exists in our case law interpreting section 1503: the requirement of materiality. Materiality screens out many of the statute’s troubling applications by limiting convictions to those situations where an act “has a natural tendency to influence, or was capable of influencing, the decision of the decisionmaking body.” Put another way, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the charged conduct was capable of influencing a decisionmaking person or entity — for example, by causing it to cease its investigation, pursue different avenues of inquiry or reach a different outcome.

And there’s this:

We have no doubt that United States Attorneys and their Assistants would use the power to prosecute for such crimes judiciously, but that is not the point. Making everyone who participates in our justice system a potential criminal defendant for conduct that is nothing more than the ordinary tug and pull of litigation risks chilling zealous advocacy. It also gives prosecutors the immense and unreviewable power to reward friends and punish enemies by prosecuting the latter and giving the former a pass.


This is the question that we understand is being tossed around by some of the various defense attorneys representing each of the seven former members of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department convicted of obstruction of justice around the hiding of federal informant Anthony Brown.

On the surface we would imagine that the actions of the six former LASD folks convicted last summer, and those of former LA County Sheriff’s deputy James Sexton convicted in the fall, are quite different from the on-the-stand phumphering of Barry Bonds. On the other hand, if the 9th is feeling less-than-friendly toward prosecutors’ use of obstruction as a charge in general, suggesting—as Kozinski seems to do in some of the verbiage above—that the feds are overreaching with their use of the statute, will their cranky view extend far enough to cause any of the seven convictions to be similarly overturned?

And if that is any kind of possibility, could it also cause the feds to hold their collective fire on any new indictments that we keep hearing rumored could be coming this spring?

(cough) Tom Carey and Paul Tanaka (cough, cough)

We don’t pretend to know the answers to any of these queries, but we thought you’d like to know that the questions are, in certain quarters, in the air.


  • This LA case obstruction is very different, just like you said C. This involves multiple persons, acting in concert, whose acts were spread over a period of time and which were done purposefully to damage, and obstruct, an on-going federal criminal investigation. After which, multiple persons continued to act in concert (i.e. “conspiracy”) to cover up in the ill-fated attempt to keep their illegal criminal acts from seeing the light of day. They purposefully intimidated, and threatened lawful investigators and parties critical to the criminal investigation, in an active attempt to “hush” those witnesses and dissuade the Federal agents. Additionally, multiple persons, in continuity of preventing the truth to be revealed, did testify less than truthfully under oath. I think that the number of persons involved here, the effort that they put into concealing their criminal acts, the length of time they remained focused on keeping those criminal acts from being revealed, will prove to be far removed from the Bonds case issues.

    As an aside, when any criminal is caught committing a crime, it is common knowledge that their arrest for said crime is not their first attempt to commit that (or any other) crime. Just saying…

  • One can never predict what the most liberal and most overturned court in the land will ever do, that’s why they are more often than not, a judicial joke. But it is wishful thinking and false hopes that equate to billable hours to think refusing to answer a question (Bonds) and ALL the things The Tanaka 7 did will be looked upon in the same light.

  • Let’s all hope and pray the convictions are overturned. It would be nice to see the Feds and Witness LA get a lil egg on their faces. I’ll be watching with my sleeves rolled up, ink showing, and chewing my favorite tobacco delicacy. Don’t like it, come an git me!

  • As always you guys here know it better than most… Less we forget there were over 120 other sworn personnel involved in this operation. Three divisions in colussion is not a conspiracy.

    You also got a deputy who refused to wear a wire and was punished. Sounds real familiar to the language in the Bonds ruling. But hey we are in a forum full of legal scholars who know not to take these rulings literally but rather evaluate the course and sentiment of the judicial process. Sounds like they don’t like the use of “obstruction” and secret grand juries. You guys keeping hooking for 148 and running your mouths.

    The reality of the day is: none of the 7 in prison, government overreach, zero accountability for execs, ALADS back pettling, and bottom feeders throwing stones without keeping/being smart enough to see the larger picture. I’m sorry, but the 7 are in a certain demographic that is popular to demonize in Law Enforcement today. The other reality is the operation was far more diverse than that group to include the Major Crimes under covers used to ask about the FBI phone. Where are their 1503 charges?!?

  • I am still waiting to see charges filed against Baca, Tanaka and the people responsible for beating up prisioners. What a joke!!! The Feds are scum and we’re just looking for something to up their careers.
    The case against Sexton was weak. He never threatened the FEDS. He tried to help them get the real criminals and paid dearly. His attorney no showed and was told by the Feds you aren’t a target( his mistake was believing them). What liars!!! I believe in justice but not the tainted kind. Give the jury all the facts. Sexton deserves another trial with a real judge. ALADS better watch out their time is coming to. Sexton may get another trial who knows, but their will be other trials and ALADS and the LASD aren’t going to be happy campers!!!

  • Unfortunately they were occupants in the vehicle of P.T. Loser. They kicked Sexton out of the car, when he saw other shit in the trunk.

    Why do you think it’s called Pandora Box.

    This simply does not compare to the Barry Bond’s case, no matter whose court it’s in.

  • @Fat Lady hasn’t sung yet: Glad to see that I’m not the only one that is aware of ALADS con game and dirty tricks.
    They messed over their own (Sexton) with selective representation, yet they expect credence with the County Board of Supervisors…really? Crying out loud!

    Bet you weren’t aware that the President & Vice president get an additional retirement from ALADS. Guess who is paying for it? Yes..the members.

    How about an TOTAL & CLAIRVOYANT AUDIT. Members pay for everything. anyway, so why not?

  • The fed case is obstruction. Obstruction from what? Everyone has access to 240 year looser Anthony Brown now. It’s pretty clear he never had any kind of information on any case of civil rights violations going on at MCJ or anywhere else for that matter.Agent Marx’s tactics (giving a psychopath a phone inside a jail and dating a suspected deputy to pump him for information) is kinda Icky if you ask me. Seeing Baca and Tanaka in prison would be hilarious, I’m sure they more than deserve it (like every other politician in the world ). But giving the FBI this much power.. I’m afraid that isn’t going to end well.

  • @12
    The bottom line is that ALADS is no different from Charles Keating & Bernie Madoff. It is just a matter of time before they implode.

    Deputies are being pimped without an buyout.

    The only way out is:
    2)Promotion to Sgt

  • Pandora’s box? Gadzooks! The only thing missing is cell phone video. The department’s reputation is still reeling and the fun hasn’t even started yet.

  • One of Many, there is another way, however it requires work. LASPA tried over a decade ago and almost succeeded, and they had less than a tenth of the organizing tools available today. There is nothing preventing deputies from organizing and throwing the bums out of office, or overturning agency shop, or changing the bylaws to open up elections to all members in a truly democratic fashion.

    ALADS has rigged the election process for years to shield themselves from a popular uprising, and I guess members just like to sit there and get “serviced” with their union dues. Look no further than Les Robbins and Dick Shinee – still running the show after all those years, still laughing all the way to the bank courtesy of lazy, gutless deputies who are afraid to speak their mind.

    Apathy is profitable, just ask the ALADS board of directors.

  • I knew the department was crazy but last night at work the word on the yard is we can no longer use the term “Inmate”. The 8th floor liberal propeller-heads and Big Red want us to start calling inmates “Clients”. Have we lost our minds wtf is wrong with this department, get rid of Big Red, the 40+ loser Fender and all others. Sheriff, I am totally ashamed to be a deputy at this point.

  • LATBG…….You hit the ball outta the park.

    If one Googles the California “Articles of Incorporation” you will find out, that every voting member is eligible to be on the ALADS Board of Directors.

    The 75% rule made and adopted by Floyd Hayhurst was to ensure his uninterrupted tenure.(It was thwarted in 2013 election)

    The 75% attendance rule is not legal. ALADS started the hidden payments to the President and V.P. only after Agency Shop was adopted. It is very lucrative. $$$

  • Change this web page to “WitnessLASD.com” no one even comments on any of the other articles in this forum…. Kinda funny. Also, there is still plenty of Retalition and injustice in the department, but witness LA turns a blind eye, now that the mission was accomplished. Don’t get me wrong that mission needed to happen, goodbye Mr. t, little t, get it…..

  • LATBG: Correction > {CALIFORNIA CORPORATION CODE} for the rules governing Corporations. Yes including your ripoff agency ALADS.

    Giving the members yearly family day at “Raging Waters” ain’t cuttin it.

    The only overhead that ALADS has are the clouds that dispenses Pixie Dust over the members head. Last election time the Board of Directors was positioning a raise for the President & Vice President. I wouldn’t doubt if they don’t already have it.

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