Baca to Face the Music May 15, US District Judge Says
By Terry Miller
Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is expected to be sentenced in May, according to Federal prosecutors.
Baca was found guilty last week of three felony counts related to the jail corruption that brought down Undersheriff Paul Tanaka and several other high ranking officials in the embattled LASD under Baca’s tenure until his premature ‘retirement.’
Tanaka [ Baca’s number 2 man] was sentenced June 27 2016, to five years in prison for his role in a 2011 conspiracy to derail a federal probe of misconduct in the county’s jails.
The investigation in that case kept the scrutiny on the top cop, Baca himself and left the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Dept. seeking new leaders with a clean bill of health.
Tanaka, 57, was sentenced for his conviction in April 2016 of felony charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice. He was also ordered to serve two years of supervised release after he gets out of prison and pay a $7,500 fine..
Tanaka was the ninth sheriff’s official to be convicted of criminal conduct based on the circumstances surrounding the hiding of inmate-informer Anthony Brown, a scheme that involved witness tampering and the threatened arrest of an FBI special agent assigned to the jails investigation.
Sheriff’s deputies connected the phone to the FBI, which had been conducting a secret probe of brutality against inmates.
Seven former sheriff’s lieutenants, sergeants, and deputies who were convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of justice received prison sentences ranging from 18 to 41 months.
Tanaka faced a maximum of 15 years in federal prison. Now Baca faces 20.
U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson, who also sentenced Tanaka, chose May 15 as the date when Baca is due in court.
Baca was found guilty by a federal jury of obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice and giving false statements in the jail scandal.
If Baca is sentenced to the full amount of 20 years, the former top law man will be 94 years old when he is eligible for parole. Experts, including his attorney, say that Baca has Alzheimer’s and the courts should be lenient. The prosecution doesn’t agree.