In an affidavit, a sheriff's official disputed the accusations, saying Lesky had a history of threatening staff and inmates and violating jail rules. A judge sided with the department and rejected Lesky's claims.
Other officials said they are already beginning to see improvements.
"I tell you," said Lt. Jim Estep, "his behavior has improved 99%. He continues to write the things that aren't true. But when the video camera comes on, he's as nice as pie."
Despite the close monitoring, Lesky filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in March, accusing deputies of beating him during his previous jail stays and of continuing to harass him.
In a recent interview, Lesky insisted that his complaints were true. He said that despite the videotaping, deputies still intimidate him after they stop the camera. Officials strongly deny the accusation.
Videotaping the movements of inmates is rare for Orange County. In Los Angeles County, however, videotaping inmates known for filing complaints has become almost routine, said Parker, the Los Angeles County sheriff's sergeant.
"Primarily, it has to do with knowing what factually occurred, and if you had a videotape of what occurred, nobody questions what happened," Parker said.
Though some deputies at first balked at using video cameras, their feelings have changed, Parker said.
The videotapes can also keep a check on any improper behavior by deputies as well as inmates, he said. "People are more used to them now, and they don't want to say anything inappropriate and have it documented forever."
Though inmates enjoy little right to privacy under the law, it's unclear whether the practice of following Lesky with a hand-held camera might be interpreted as cruel or unusual punishment, said Blomberg of Florida State.