[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

SCVNews.com | Court: Baca Can’t Have a New Judge | 10-14-2016
Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
68°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
July 27
1876 - 223-foot Soledad train tunnel completed; last tunnel on line linking L.A. & S.F. [story]


baca031913a[CN] – A judge has denied former LA County Sheriff Leroy Baca’s move to disqualify a federal judge who has overseen several high-profile cases involving sheriff’s officials obstructing an FBI investigation into civil rights abuses at county jails.

In September, Baca moved to recuse U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson, claiming he would not get a fair trial on conspiracy and obstruction charges because the judge is already convinced of his guilt.

U.S. District Judge Otis Wright’s 11-page order on Thursday said Baca’s concerns are unfounded and declined to grant the retired official’s motion.

Baca took issue when Anderson had said at a July sentencing hearing that Baca was part of a “wide-ranging conspiracy” to obstruct the FBI’s probes at Men’s Central Jail and the Twin Towers Correctional Facility.

But Wright said Anderson was only citing court records as well as evidence the judge heard in three related cases he had presided over, including the trial of Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, who was convicted in April for conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

“All of these matters could have been consolidated and tried together,” Wright wrote. “They are that closely related.”

Baca is accused of participating in a conspiracy to hide informant Anthony Brown from investigators after an FBI phone smuggled into Men’s Central Jail by Deputy Gilbert Michel was found in his cell by jailers.

In August 2011, Baca asked Tanaka to investigate how the phone had ended up with Brown. The following month, Baca instructed officials to “do everything but put handcuffs” on FBI agent Leah Marx, who was investigating the case, the government says.

This year, Baca agreed to plead guilty lying to prosecutors in April 2013 about his awareness of the conspiracy and his knowledge his officials were going to approach Marx. But Baca withdrew his guilty plea after Anderson said at the retired official’s July 18 sentencing that the government’s recommendation of a six-month sentence was too lenient and indicated that he would receive a harsher sentence.

Anderson said it was “one thing to lie to” prosecutors and “another thing entirely, as the evidence has shown, where the chief law enforcement officer of the County of Los Angeles is involved in a wide-ranging conspiracy to cover up abuse and corruption occurring in the Men’s Central Jail.”

Baca said in court papers filed last month that Anderson’s comments show he will not remain impartial.

Judge Wright disagreed.

“Could anything said by Judge Anderson at the sentencing hearing be reasonably construed to evidence a deep-seated favoritism or antagonism that would make fair judgment impossible? No,” Wright wrote.

Wright said that Anderson said nothing to signal he had reached a predetermined outcome and had only stated his reasoning for rejecting a six-month sentence.

“He discussed the sentences he had handed down to other members of the conspiracy, all of whom where subordinates of Baca and all of whom were acting either at his direction or with his knowledge in carrying out his directives,” Wright wrote. “He also addressed, as he was required to do, the issue of unwarranted sentencing disparities among members of the conspiracy who had been found guilty of similar conduct.”

He added, “These were all proper.”

With a Dec. 6 trial date on the calendar, Baca asked to remove his case to another courthouse, arguing he has been prejudiced by media coverage of the case. He wants the case moved to another district or to either Riverside or Orange counties.

Baca also wants the court to recuse prosecutor Brandon Fox who was present at the April 2013 interview. Baca says that he intends to call Fox as a witness during the trial.

The government responded to both motions earlier this week.

If a federal jury finds Baca guilty, he faces a maximum of five years in prison on the conspiracy charge, 10 years for obstruction and up to five years in prison for making a false statement.

Twenty current or former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials have been convicted in connection with the crimes, according to federal prosecutors.

 

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
Loading...
Related Content
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Wednesday, Jul 26, 2017
Bob Danis, Korean War Veteran, Senior Center Star, Dies at 85
Bob Danis, Korean War veteran, United States Air Force interpreter, singer, trumpet player and Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center band leader, died Tuesday in Valencia. He was 85.
Wednesday, Jul 26, 2017
House Passes Knight’s ‘SECRET’ Act; Senate Next Stop
Legislation introduced by Representative Steve Knight (CA-25), known as the Securely Expediting Clearances through Reporting Transparency Act, H.R. 3210, or SECRET, passed the House today with a unanimous, bipartisan vote.
Wednesday, Jul 26, 2017
Sheriff’s Department Seeks Clarity on Brady Decision
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said the department would seek further legal clarity on its obligations to conform to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brady decision.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1876 - 223-foot Soledad train tunnel completed; last tunnel on line linking L.A. & S.F. [story]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, puppies and pints abounded at fundraiser Tuesday evening. Plus, the passing of a local legend. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Bob Danis, Korean War veteran, United States Air Force interpreter, singer, trumpet player and Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center band leader, died Tuesday in Valencia. He was 85.
Bob Danis, Korean War Veteran, Senior Center Star, Dies at 85
Legislation introduced by Representative Steve Knight (CA-25), known as the Securely Expediting Clearances through Reporting Transparency Act, H.R. 3210, or SECRET, passed the House today with a unanimous, bipartisan vote.
House Passes Knight’s ‘SECRET’ Act; Senate Next Stop
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said the department would seek further legal clarity on its obligations to conform to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brady decision.
Sheriff’s Department Seeks Clarity on Brady Decision
California Senator Scott Wilk will update the Santa Clarita Valley business community on state and local water projects at the SCV Chamber of Commerce's next "Good Morning SCV" breakfast on August 9.
August 9: Wilk Water Update at ‘Good Morning SCV’ Breakfast
CalArts alum Roger Holzberg (BFA 76), a cancer survivor and former creative director/VP at Walt Disney Imagineering, co-founded Reimagine Well, a revolutionary company that creates immersive healing experiences and builds custom virtual reality theaters in hospitals for pediatric and adolescent cancer patients.
CalArtians Collaborate on ‘Infusarium’ for Youth Cancer Patients
The monthly meeting of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission will take place at the Metropolitan Water District office in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday, July 27 starting at 9 a.m.
July 27: Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission Meeting
Providence St. Joseph Health and Well Being Trust jointly announce the first round of $10 million in grants and contracts to mental health and wellness initiatives that will help vulnerable Californians.
Providence, Well Being Boost Mental Health Initiatives with $10 Million in Grants
The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health is partnering with Univision to host a mental health and immigration awareness telecast on Thursday, July 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on KMEX, Channel 34.
July 27: County, Univision Host Mental Health, Immigration Telecast
The FBI and Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station warn of kidnapping scams and offer tips about what to do if you get one of those calls.
FBI, Sheriff’s Officials Warn of Virtual Kidnapping Scams
Garrett Hampson totaled four hits and the Lancaster JetHawks outhit the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes but lost, 11-4, on Tuesday night at LoanMart Field.
JetHawks Outhit, But Don’t Outscore Quakes Tuesday
Local singer-songwriter Savannah Burrows headlines a show also featuring country cover band Double Wide at Central Park on Saturday, July 29, at 7 p.m.
Savannah Burrows, Double Wide Bring Country to Central Park
Celebrate the benefits of vaccination during August, National Immunization Awareness Month.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month
Here's a list of the streets in Santa Clarita set for the city's Road Rehab Project from July 25 to August 4.
July 25-August 4: Santa Clarita Roads in Rehab
The California Highway Patrol's Newhall station will host a "Start Smart" driving class for teens at the station on Saturday, August 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
August 19: Newhall CHP ‘Start Smart’ Teen Driver Class
2002 - Hollywood premiere of Disney's "The Country Bears," filmed at Golden Oak Ranch in Placerita Canyon [story]
For 42 years Soroptimist International of Valencia has been committed to the Live Your Dream program awarding cash grants to disadvantaged women.
Aug. 1: Summer “Wine” Down to Raise Funds for Disadvantaged Women
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, A bear sighting was reported in Newhall Tuesday morning. Plus, the Child & Family Center and Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita Valley are going forces and planning to merge. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Tuesday, July 25, 2017
The California State University (CSU) has partnered with the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) to develop the next generation of clean energy entrepreneurs.
CSU Receives Grant; Will Fund Workshops for Clean Energy Entrepreneurs
The largest-ever concert series devoted entirely to the music of renowned composer John Luther Adams (Music BFA 73) takes place this week (July 26-July 30). Hosted by SFJAZZ, the festival takes place in several venues in San Francisco, including the Miner Auditorium, Grace Cathedral and the Sutro Baths at Lands End in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Concert Series Devoted Entirely to CalARTS Alum
The Child & Family Center and Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita Valley have announced their intention to join forces and merge into a single organization to better serve the needs of the growing Santa Clarita community.
DVC Merging Into Child & Family Center
Local artist Chrystal Walker presents a one-woman show at FastFrame Valencia, located at 24204 Valencia Blvd., during September.
Sept. 1: One-Woman Show on Printmaking by Local Artist
Santa Clarita deputies are investigating a report of a bank robbery at the Logix location on McBean Parkway.
Suspected Serial Bank Robber Hits Logix in Valencia
Santa Clarita’s night-time commuters might notice some slowing on the freeway in the coming weeks, due to some road construction projects, officials said Tuesday.
Officials Issue Travel Alert for LAX Commuters
Knowing that up to 70 percent of residential water is used for landscaping, it’s no surprise that conscientious homeowners are looking for efficient irrigation methods to minimize water waste, and lower household water bills.
Aug. 19: CSUN-al Offering Class on Water-Saving Methods for Home and Garden
CHP officers and Fish and Wildlife officials were unable to locate a bear reported near Calgrove Boulevard and Wiley Canyon Road, in Newhall on Tuesday morning.
Bear Sighting in Newhall
Despite robust closed escrow sales in June, California pending home sales slipped for the sixth consecutive month, suggesting an impending slowdown in the state's housing market as the peak homebuying season winds down, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today.
State Sees Downward Trend in June Home Sales
On Saturday, August 19, 2017, test your strength, stamina, and endurance at the 12th Annual Plane Pull fundraiser at the Long Beach Airport.
Aug. 19: Annual Plane Pull Benefiting Local Non-Profit
Trey Killian tossed seven shutout innings to lead the Lancaster JetHawks to a 3-0 win over the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Monday night at LoanMart Field
Killian Gets 7th Win; Throws for Seven Shutout Innings
According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, air quality will be unhealthy for sensitive individuals in Santa Clarita Valley Tuesday.
Air Quality Advisory for Sensitive Individuals in SCV
Rep. Steve Knight’s (CA-25) bill, H.R. 2333, Small Business Investment Opportunity (SBIO) Act of 2017, passed the House Monday with unanimous support.
Knight Bill to Improve Small Business Investments Unanimously Passes House
1915 - Pioneer Juan Batista Suraco buried in a family graveyard, currently unmarked, in Bouquet Canyon near Benz Road [story]
The Los Angeles Dodgers Monday reinstated left-handed pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu from the 10-day disabled list, put Clayton Kershaw on the DL with low back strain, among other roster moves.
Dodgers Roster Moves: Kershaw & McCarthy on DL, Ryu Reinstated
Sierra Bancorp, parent of Bank of the Sierra, today announced its unaudited financial results for the three- and six-month periods ended June 30, 2017.
Sierra Bancorp Reports Earnings for First Half of 2017