header image

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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
53°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
December 3
1887 - Prohibitionist Henry Needham purchases land in Newhall, attempts to establish "dry" colony [story]
H.C. Needham


Sheriff+Lee+Baca(CN) – A federal judge on Monday rejected former L.A. County Sheriff Leroy Baca’s bid to move his obstruction trial to another court and replace the prosecutor who has led several related cases against department officials.

U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson denied the motions at an afternoon hearing in his downtown courtroom, ruling that Baca had failed to show a “compelling need” to disqualify lead assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Fox.

During argument, Anderson used a football analogy to make his point, comparing Fox to New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady.

“This is sort of like a motion the coach of the Buffalo Bills would make to disqualify Tom Brady,” Anderson said to laughter in the courtroom.

Anderson, who has presided over several high-profile cases involving sheriff’s officials obstruction of an FBI investigation into civil rights abuses at county jails, also ruled against a change of venue.

The judge said the pool of jurors is large and diverse enough in the Western Division of the Central District of California for a panel of 12 impartial jurors to be found, even with media coverage of the case.

Reporting of Baca’s case had not inspired an outpouring of public passion that would create a presumption of prejudice, Anderson said.

Baca has said he would not get a fair trial on conspiracy and obstruction charges in Anderson’s courtroom because the judge is already convinced of his guilt. Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Otis Wright’s said Baca’s concerns are unfounded and declined the motion.

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

In August 2011, Baca asked his second-in-command, convicted Undersheriff Paul 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.

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

With a trial looming in December, Baca had asked Anderson to move proceedings to another courthouse, arguing he was prejudiced by media coverage. He suggested a trial in another district, or in Riverside County or Orange County.

The government responded in an Oct. 10 response that a move is not justified.

“While defendant’s case has received publicity, the press coverage has not ‘utterly corrupted’ the trial atmosphere or interfered with defendant’s right to a fair and impartial jury,” Fox wrote in the filing.

Baca also wanted the court to recuse Fox, who was present at the April 2013 interview and whom the retired official intends to call as a witness during the trial.

But Anderson said during the hearing that there are five other witnesses from the meeting who could testify during the trial, including FBI agents, assistant U.S. Attorneys, and Baca’s former attorneys.

In court papers, Fox said that Baca failed to show how only the prosecutor alone could offer the testimony he needs.

“Defendant’s motion is nothing more than an attempt to have the government’s lead attorney removed from the trial because defendant thinks he has a better chance to succeed without [assistant U.S. Attorney] Fox prosecuting him,” the filing states.

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 were 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


LOS ANGELES COUNTY HEADLINES
Friday, Dec 3, 2021
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials confirmed Friday 17 new deaths and 1,942 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 39,281 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday, Dec 3, 2021
To help ring in the holiday season, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger will host her annual party for youth served by the Department of Children and Family Services and their foster families at Six Flags Magic Mountain on Saturday, Dec. 4.
Friday, Dec 3, 2021
The Los Angeles County Lake Lifeguards begin the search for potential new lifeguard candidates with the Lake Lifeguard Test Saturday, Dec. 4 at the Castaic Aquatic Center.
Thursday, Dec 2, 2021
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has received confirmation of its first case of COVID-19 with mutations consistent with the new Omicron variant (B.1.1.529).
Thursday, Dec 2, 2021
Metro Los Angeles celebrated the groundbreaking Wednesday for the I-5 North County Enhancements Project, which will improve the operations and safety of the I-5 freeway for motorists in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Keep Up With Our Facebook
Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The Santa Clarita City Council will take a major step toward enhancing one of the city of Santa Clarita’s landmark amenities by holding a groundbreaking ceremony for the Central Park Buildout project on Monday, Dec. 6.
City Invites Community to Central Park Buildout Groundbreaking
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials confirmed Friday 17 new deaths and 1,942 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 39,281 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday COVID Roundup: Cases Among People Experiencing Homelessness Declines for 2nd Month in a Row
The city of Santa Clarita Planning Commission will hold its regular meeting Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 6:00 p.m.
Dec. 7: Planning Commission Regular Meeting
The first cohort of the College of the Canyons Low Observable Technician Pathway graduated on Nov. 23. 2021 at a special ceremony held at the college’s culinary arts center.
COC’s First Low Observable Technician Pathway Cohort Graduates
The Board of Trustees of the Santa Clarita Community College District is undergoing the redistricting process, and community members will have the opportunity to comment on revised trustee area boundaries at two upcoming public hearings.
Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees Undergoing Redistricting
The California Highway Patrol joins the American Occupational Therapy Association in recognizing Dec. 6 through Dec. 10, 2021, as Older Driver Safety Awareness Week.
Dec. 6-10: 2021 Older Driver Safety Awareness Week
On Wednesday, Dec. 1, College of the Canyons held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Don Takeda Science Center, which is named in honor of longtime biology instructor Don Takeda, who retired in 2017.
COC Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Don Takeda Science Center
To help ring in the holiday season, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger will host her annual party for youth served by the Department of Children and Family Services and their foster families at Six Flags Magic Mountain on Saturday, Dec. 4.
Supervisor Barger to Host Annual Foster Youth Holiday Party at Six Flags
The Los Angeles County Lake Lifeguards begin the search for potential new lifeguard candidates with the Lake Lifeguard Test Saturday, Dec. 4 at the Castaic Aquatic Center.
Dec. 4: Lake Lifeguard Test Starts at the Castaic Aquatic Center
1887 - Prohibitionist Henry Needham purchases land in Newhall, attempts to establish "dry" colony [story]
H.C. Needham
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has received confirmation of its first case of COVID-19 with mutations consistent with the new Omicron variant (B.1.1.529).
Thursday COVID Roundup: First Case of Omicron Detected in L.A. County
Andrew Ghassemi, senior vice president of Spectrum Commercial Real Estate, Inc., is pleased to announce the recent sale of a Class-A office building in Valencia.
Spectrum Real Estate Closes on $3.5M Sale of Valencia Office Building
Metro Los Angeles celebrated the groundbreaking Wednesday for the I-5 North County Enhancements Project, which will improve the operations and safety of the I-5 freeway for motorists in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Interstate 5 Improvement Project Breaks Ground in Santa Clarita
Do you take the easy route with a bag and tissue paper because your wrapping job looks like a crumpled mess?
Learn How to Wrap Gifts Like a Pro Thanks to JCI Santa Clarita
Commercial driver’s licenses, learner’s permits, endorsements and special certificates expiring between March 2020 and February 2022, are automatically extended through Feb. 28, 2022, the California Department of Motor Vehicles announced Thursday.
DMV Extending Commercial Driver’s Licenses, Learner’s Permits
1972 - Five wounded in Vagos biker gang shooting at Curtis & JoAnne Darcy's Acton '49er Saloon [story]
Darcys 49er
We are in the home stretch of the holiday season. I hope you have made plans to safely celebrate with family and friends. I also want to encourage you to keep safety in mind when shopping for that perfect gift for your loved ones.
City Manager’s Monthly Message – December 2021
La Mesa Junior High 8th graders will soon be building water bottle rockets as part of their science program, thanks to funding from California Credit Union through its Fall 2021 Teacher Grant program.
La Mesa Teacher Wins Fall 2021 Teacher Grant
Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control is celebrating the 'Paw"lidays by offering the gift of a new furry friend. 
Adoption Fees Waived Through End of the Year
Santa Clarita Artists Association is pleased to showcase an oil painting demo by Sharon Weaver on Feb. 21, 2022.
Artists Association Presents Oil Painting Showcase With Sharon Weaver
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station has once again begun collecting toys as part of the Annual Holiday Toy Drive.
Sheriff Station Seeks Donations For 2021 Holiday Toy Drive
The Santa Clarita Public Library turning the page towards a new month with events and programs for all to enjoy.
Adventure Awaits At Public Library This December
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Monday 18new deaths and 1,473 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 39,128 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Wednesday COVID Roundup: Omicron Variant Detected in Northern California
SCVNews.com
%d bloggers like this: