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Anti-corruption prosecutor chosen to oversee Sheriff's Department

November 26, 2013|By Jack Leonard
  • Prosecutor Max Huntsman delivers his closing argument in the trial of Angela Spaccia, former assistant city manager of Bell, who is charged with misappropriation of public funds and other counts.
Prosecutor Max Huntsman delivers his closing argument in the trial of Angela… (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles…)

A corruption-tackling prosecutor has been selected to head a new agency that will scrutinize the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department with the power to conduct investigations inside troubled jails and elsewhere.

After months of searching, the Board of Supervisors offered the job Tuesday to Deputy Dist. Atty. Max Huntsman, a supervisor in the district attorney’s public corruption division who has been among the lead prosecutors in the trial of Bell city officials, according to county sources familiar with the decision.

Huntsman accepted the job of inspector general, and an announcement is expected Wednesday, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak until the announcement is made. Huntsman declined to comment.

Creating the office of inspector general was one of the key recommendations last year of a blue-ribbon commission that investigated allegations of violence inside the nation's largest jail system.

The commission, which included several former judges and a police chief, concluded there was a pattern of excessive force by deputies in the county jails. 

The panel called for an inspector general who would report to the Board of Supervisors and provide independent oversight of the Sheriff's Department, conducting its own investigations, monitoring jail conditions and reviewing the department's audits and inspections.

Such a move amounts to a historic transformation of the department's civilian monitoring and echoes reforms made by the city of Los Angeles two decades ago in the wake of the 1991 videotaped beating of Rodney G. King.

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jack.leonard@latimes.com

Twitter: @jackfleonard

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