Home / Badge Abuse / National Sheriff of the Year Pleads Guilty, Rats Out Deputies, Exposing Rampant Corruption

National Sheriff of the Year Pleads Guilty, Rats Out Deputies, Exposing Rampant Corruption

Los Angeles, CA — Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca shocked everyone Wednesday when he pled guilty to lying to federal investigators — reversing years of insistence he had been unaware of the corruption and civil rights abuses which were once rampant throughout the county jail system he headed for 15 years.

In return for an agreement with prosecutors that they would not seek a prison sentence longer than six months, Baca admitted he had willfully made a number of false statements during the corruption probe and agreed not to contest a number of other allegations against him.

“Today’s charge and plea agreements demonstrate that illegal behavior within the Sheriff’s Department went to the very top of the organization,” said U.S. Attorney for California’s Central District, Eileen M. Decker, reported KTLA. “More importantly, this case illustrates that leaders who foster and then try to hide a corrupt culture will be held accountable.”

Filed in a federal court Wednesday morning, Baca admitted in his plea arrangement that he was aware his subordinates planned to approach the FBI agent in charge of the corruption probe in her home and he would not contest he directed deputies to “do everything but put handcuffs on” her, according to the L.A. Times. Additionally, Baca lied about his role in hiding an FBI informant inside the jail system — a plot given to his second-in-command, Paul Tanaka — so investigators could not contact him.

Brown had been transferred to a separate jail facility under a fake name during the probe — which Baca had falsely claimed was a move to protect the inmate from deputies.

Tanaka will stand trial in March on charges of obstructing the same federal investigation, though he has pled not guilty. Attorneys for Tanaka plan to call Baca as a witness, and said the former Sheriff’s guilty plea has not changed those plans.

Baca’s guilty plea stems from false statements given to agents in the 2013 investigation of abuse and corruption at the L.A. County Men’s Central Tower and Twin Towers Correctional Facility.

“During this interview, Sheriff Baca lied,” Decker stated. “He lied when he stated that he did not know that members of the Sheriff’s Department had approached an FBI agent outside her home, and he lied when he stated he was unaware of efforts within the Sheriff’s Department to keep the FBI informant away from the FBI.”

Identified by the L.A. Times as Anthony Brown, the informant had received a cell phone smuggled into the jail by a sheriff’s deputy who had been bribed, for the purposes of documenting beatings of inmates and other abuses by deputies, which would then be sent to the FBI.

“This inmate and cooperator was essentially made to disappear within the jail system when deputies learned he was cooperating with the FBI,” said Decker.

So far, the sweeping corruption investigation has led to the conviction of more than a dozen employees of the Sheriff’s Department.

While the depth of the corruption and civil rights abuses are shocking, Baca’s guilty plea evidences at least a modicum of possible justice. As the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, who agree Baca deserves to be punished, said of Wednesday’s developments:

“The plea agreement sends a strong message that no one is above the law. There must be zero tolerance for this type of failed leadership. This by no means undermines the dedication and hard work of the more than 9,000 deputy sheriffs who put their lives on the line protecting L.A. County residents.”

  • LA is no surprise as far as corruption !

  • Rats who stink together sink together..

  • America does love its corruption!!!

  • Everyone knew he was a crook but nobody did anything.

  • They’ll kill him, he has an ugly mouth

  • It’s always the Sheriff or Police of the Year that are the most corrupt :/

    • even in the wild west the law and crooks changed sides often.

    • Steve Black And in may cases they were both at the same time

    • Like Wyatt Earp

  • What’s that? Corruption among those in positions of authority? The hell you say!

  • Hahah funny. If in jail in California they will treat him like a king in a private weekend jail.

  • 15 years and he gets less than 6 months? That’s outrageous!

  • Snitches get stitches.

  • Hero to zero in a day. I love it when these hippocrates go down.

  • Free Steven Avery

  • Need to come investigate Ottawa County Ohio Attorney General, won’t be hard to find the corruption once an honest person starts looking around here…

    • What’s up in Ottawa county ? I’m in Hancock, just south.

    • There is an old saying Joseph “Follow the money” lol…

  • they are usually latent , sometimes overt psychopaths, needing to have constant validation, then when found out, take as many people with them as possible because it’s always someone else’s fault.

  • They don’t get housed with General Population.

  • theyre all corrupt its just some dont get caught there isnt one thats above reproach and everyone of them has a price

  • A pig that snitches will end up with stitches

  • He will never be behind bars.

  • I have a DEEP wish and hope that at some point soon, all mankind, not just western peoples, will come to a consensus to choose a date/week/month/year during which everyone can come forward to expose their wrong-doings WITH NO JUDGEMENT AND NO CONSEQUENCES — provided they intend to start fresh the next day and live/act/make decisions that are NOT corrupt of damaging. MERCY. Complete ABSOLUTION. Why ???? Because most people who are currently involved in corruption and immoral dealings are doing so based on “group pressure” and are just trying to survive in a corrupt system. My belief is that 99% of people would prefer not to have to be part of a corrupt system to be able to life a decent and fulfilling and comfortable life. milka

  • …….

  • give the crooks a fair trial and lock ’em up.

  • reap what you sow

  • Don’t worry, he committed many more crimes than he is confessing to

  • You’ll never hear that man fart again…

  • I HOPE HE BE A BABY IN JAIL ,FUCKING ASSHOLE

  • who said that power corrupts?

  • Be better to let the people of his county ,deal out the punishment towards him…. lets say a public Tar & feathering and run out of town on a rail…

  • Darcie Donohoe Snyder

    Let me get this right… he gets 6 months for 15 years of corruption? and they call that justice…..

  • This is what I’ve always believed. For corruption to exist, it must be supported from the very top position.

  • Jennifer Rivera

    hyty

  • Hope he gets put behind bars, he surely deserves it!

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  • Joe

    This reminds me of recently when I worked for the Kansas Department of Corrections at Lansing, Kansas. When a Captain reported to the Warden that an employee said that he was calling the FBI to report corruption at the Lansing prison, a group of prison officials the next day ransacked his house and dumped the entire contents of his desk and dresser drawers into boxes (not knowing what was in them), then took the boxes of items back to the prison to go through to see if there was anything that may interest them. A prison official admitted that they did this. They appear to have been looking for evidence to conceal. They have ignored the former employee’s requests to return the property. One of the drawers contained $600.00 which was the man’s rent and utilities for the next month. The money was never returned nor was anything else. The former Lansing Correctional Facility employee fears retaliation because he has already been harrassed after he complained.