Former Sheriff Baca
17 January 2020
Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was ordered to report to prison by Feb. 5 to begin serving a three-year prison sentence for a corruption conviction. Baca, 77, has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He has been free on bail while appealing his obstruction of justice conviction three years ago. The U.S. Supreme Court declined his final appeal. He challenged his convictions at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on grounds, including that jurors should have been told of his Alzheimer’s diagnosis. He resigned in 2014 when his corruption scandal surfaced.
He was convicted of lying to the FBI and trying to thwart the agency’s investigation into corruption in the jail system in Los Angeles. He and his colleagues also tried to intimidate an FBI agent by threatening to arrest her.
In 2011 when Baca and his top deputies learned that an inmate was acting as an FBI informant, they moved him to different locations booking him under false names. This manoeuvre stopped the investigations into civil rights abuses by guards but exposed corruption among the high ranks of the department including Baca and his assistants. Both Baca and his deputy, Paul Tanaka, were convicted and Tanaka was sentenced to five years in prison. Tanaka received an accounting degree from Loyola Marymount University and was also a Certified Public Accountant.
On February 10, 2016 Baca pleaded guilty to “lying twice about his involvement in hiding a jail inmate from FBI investigators” and to knowing that his subordinates had threatened an FBI special agent investigating Baca’s department.
Because of this investigation more than 20 members of the department, including lower level deputies who beat inmates, were convicted.
Baca graduated from East Los Angeles College. In 1971, he received a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles. In 1974, he earned a Masters of Public Administration degree from USC. In 1993, Baca received a Doctorate of Public Administration degree from USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development.
Miamiherald reported.