CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 30, 2011 |
The special commission investigating allegations of abuse inside the Los Angeles County jails is discussing the possibility of allowing jail deputies to testify anonymously. Some commissioners are considering the idea as a way to combat what the sheriff's independent watchdog described as a code of silence that exists among some jail deputies that has prevented investigators in the past from getting to the bottom of some abuse allegations. One commissioner, the Rev. Cecil Murray, said in an interview that he would even consider partial criminal immunity for deputies who admit involvement in a crime.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 28, 2011 |
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said Tuesday that he will create a task force to minimize the wrongful jailings of people mistaken for someone else. Baca's move came in response to a Times investigation that found hundreds of people have been wrongly imprisoned in recent years, with some spending weeks behind bars before authorities realized their true identities. "It's a horrible reality of what is basically the imperfect nature of the criminal justice system," Baca said in an interview.
December 2, 2011
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca needs to take and keep taking responsibility for the state of the jails he runs. For several months now, he has attempted to shift responsibility for the problems to anyone but himself. In October, Baca was more outraged by a federal investigation into the jails than the allegations of inmate abuse and deputy misconduct that prompted it. He even went so far as to suggest that the FBI was the real source of troubles in the jails, for its conduct in an investigation there.
November 23, 2011
In the coming weeks, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is expected to decide whether to approve a $1.4-billion jail construction project that would help ease overcrowding at Men's Central Jail and prevent the early release of some inmates. The county's chief executive and Sheriff Lee Baca argue that the plan, which calls for rebuilding one facility and expanding a second, would make the nation's largest jail system safer and cheaper to operate. It's hard to argue with the need or the logic.
November 12, 2011
What can the Board of Supervisors do to address reports of inmate abuse by sheriff's deputies in L.A. County jails? Not much, wrote editor-at-large Jim Newton in his Nov. 7 column, because the sheriff is elected by voters and cannot be fired or disciplined. The column prompted USC public administration professor David Lopez-Lee to write the following letter, which was published Nov. 9: "Jim Newton writes about L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca: 'Unlike the [Los Angeles Police Department]
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 10, 2011 |
Los Angeles County sheriff's officials have launched an investigation into the performance of a captain who until recently supervised the troubled Men's Central Jail, a source confirmed Wednesday. The probe into Capt. Daniel Cruz represents the first significant action against a high-ranking sheriff's official since public scrutiny of the department's jails intensified in recent weeks. In an interview Wednesday, Sheriff Lee Baca declined to detail why Cruz was put on leave.
November 7, 2011 |
It's understandable that the Los Angeles County supervisors, confronted with a series of troubling reports of violence against inmates by sheriff's deputies in the county jails, are appointing a special commission to investigate the department and recommend reforms. That was the approach Mayor Tom Bradley took in 1991 after the Rodney King beating rocked confidence in the Los Angeles Police Department and fueled public demands for change. The Christopher Commission ultimately became a model of modern police inquiry and helped restore confidence not only in the LAPD but in Los Angeles itself.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 8, 2011 |
A former sheriff's deputy at the center of an FBI probe inside the L.A. County jail system implicated himself and other jail employees in four cases of improper force against inmates, according to a letter written by Sheriff Lee Baca. Baca said the admission prompted him to create a 35-person task force of seasoned investigators and other experts to examine a growing number of allegations of deputy misconduct in the jails. The former deputy, Gilbert Michel, alleged criminal misconduct by other deputies, and investigators could forward their findings to the district attorney's office for possible prosecution, a sheriff's official said.
October 7, 2011
Oil and money Re "Proposed oil pipeline draws deep divisions," Oct. 3 Your Oct. 3 front page had an image of someone holding a sign touting jobs from the Keystone XL pipeline. Look at all the jobs the Fukushima nuclear power plant created! A Keystone pipeline in Nebraska leaked 21,000 gallons as recently as May. The tar sand oil the pipeline would carry would be shipped to an international terminal in Texas; most of this would not be oil for America. Those who think this carbon bomb has positive value for our country are very confused.
October 7, 2011 |
Last week, I added my name to a letter to Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. asking for a federal investigation into disturbing reports of assaults on inmates by L.A. County sheriff's deputies in jails. I have no idea what a neutral and objective investigation will reveal, but for the sake of the public, the Sheriff's Department and Sheriff Lee Baca himself, a thorough investigation is crucial. Managing a large network of custodial facilities like L.A. County's jail system is a gargantuan task, and it is complicated by the fact that many inmates have not only committed crimes but also have serious drug, alcohol and/or mental health issues.