One crooked cop gets a major judicial takedown

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office has a long, troubled history of corruption at the top.

Back when esnl reported for the late, great Santa Monica Evening Outlook, Peter Pitchess had repeatedly won reelection as sheriff, and a high official in his department told esnl Pitchess was regularly seen gambling at an illegal casino in Marina del Rey. An official of the state Attorney General’s office told us Pitchess has received a deep discount on a Chicago mob-funded real estate investment.

Pitchess retired with a legally unblemished record, unlike a more recent incumbent, as the Los Angeles Times reports:

A federal judge on Monday threw out a plea agreement that would have given former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca a maximum of six months in prison, saying the sentence was too lenient considering Baca’s role in obstructing an FBI investigation into the county jails.

Addressing a downtown courtroom packed with Baca’s supporters, U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson said the deal “would trivialize the seriousness of the offenses … the need for a just punishment [and] the need to deter others.”

Baca, 74, had pleaded guilty in February to a single charge of lying to federal investigators. But the former sheriff’s involvement in trying to derail the investigation reached further than that, Anderson said.

At stake was what the investigators were trying to expose, Anderson said: an “us-versus-them” culture in which deputies covered up for one another and responded to inmates with enough violence to send them to the hospital.


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