Los Angeles, CA–Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca who ran one of the largest police departments for close to 15 years and was forced to resign in 2014, saw his appeal rejected today by a federal appeals court judge.
Baca, 76, was convicted May 2017 to three years in prison on conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and making false statements.
His department became the center of public scrutiny after the FBI launched an investigation in beatings and brutality of inmates at Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles, and reports of guards sneaking in contraband.
Baca, who did not take the witness stand during trial, has been free pending his appeal.
The investigation into Baca began after officers at Men’s Central Jail found an inmate with a phone tracing back to the FBI.
In attempts to hide the inmate from the feds, the officers became involved in a scandal that involved trying to erase the inmate from jail records.
Baca, an East Los Angeles native born to an undocumented seamstress, had been the Los Angeles Sheriff from 1998 until 2015 and spent over 40 years with the department.
His defense tried to argue that his diafgnosis with Alzeihmers played a role in him making false statements to the FBI along with his not being able to remember exact details of events.
However, Baca’s defense was unable to prove that he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s during the period of investigation.
After lower-ranking officers were arrested in connection to the corruption scandal, they detailed taking orders from their higher ups, including Baca, his right hand man Paul Tapanka, and eight other officers.
Baca can still request the 9th Circuit Court or the U.S Supreme Court to review the ruling.
10 other officers were convicted in connection to the conspiracy case and 11 others were arrested for crimes the FBI uncovered during the investigation.