FROM Lee Baca
Sheriff Baca Makes About-Face on Immigration Policy LA County Sheriff Lee Baca has been a supporter of the federal Secure Communities program. The fingerprints of all arrested suspects are sent to immigration officials, and if they’re flagged, the suspects are detained—even for low-level infractions. LA Police Chief Charlie Beck is opposed to Secure Communities as a hindrance to law enforcement—and the ACLU has sued Sheriff Baca for denying bail to the detainees. But yesterday, the Sheriff abruptly changed his position.
Realignment Filling LA County Jails The US Supreme Court has ordered that California state prisons be relieved of over-crowding, and the state is implementing " realignment ," which means turning inmates over to counties. Sheriff Lee Baca joins us to speak about the realigment, as well as this weekend's report that he has used jail duty as a way to punish deputies accused of wrongdoing.
Can LA Supervisors Get a Handle on LA County Jails? LA County Supervisors have stepped into the controversy over brutality by deputies against inmates in Sheriff Lee Baca's County jails. The ACLU has reported numerous incidents of violence, intimidation and excessive force, backed by civilian witnesses. The Board is asking the Sheriff to implement specific recommendations made by a Special Counsel and the Office of Independent Review . It'll appoint a seven-person commission and provide it with staff to investigate and make new recommendations.
Sheriff Lee Baca Answers Calls for His Resignation Two weeks ago, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca told Which Way, LA? he was "not in denial" about violence by deputies in LA County jails. He said he'd already looked into cases reported by the ACLU and others. Since then, he's promised to re-examine cases of alleged abuse and to improve inmate safety. One especially disturbing incident, reported by the LA Times , involved a highly-regarded rookie, who resigned after he says a supervisor forced him to beat a mentally ill inmate in Twin Towers.
Sheriff Responds to Reports of Beatings in the Jails The FBI is investigating reports of abuse in the jails, and the ACLU has reported dozens of stories about inmates brutalized by Sheriff's deputies. We speak with Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca about the claims of abuse and about the impact of new inmates on county jails.
Realignment Plan for Paroled Prisoners Leaves County Scrambling Prisoners, parolees and those recently charged with non-serious, nonviolent, non-sex-related offenses will become the responsibility of California's 58 counties. Los Angeles County will certainly get the lion's share. But yesterday the Board of Supervisors delayed adoption of a plan to deal with them , even though they'll begin to arrive on the first of October. LA County Sheriff Lee Baca joins us for an update on California's new law to reduce overcrowding in state prisons.
Starting Over from Scratch with Emergency Communication System Ever since September 11, 2001, when New York's first responders could not reach each other, LA County and its many cities have been working on a plan for police, firefighters and hospital personnel to share a communications system. Now the Regional Interoperable Communications System oversight board has decided to scrap a proposed contract with Raytheon and start all over again. That means deadlines might not be met for $283 million in federal money, a big portion of a total cost estimated at $700 million. Sheriff Lee Baca is a member of the oversight board.
Crime, Punishment and Constitutional Rights in California According to yesterday's ruling by the US Supreme Court, California has two years to reduce the prison population by more than 30,000 inmates. The five-vote majority said overcrowding is so bad it violates the constitutional protection against "cruel and unusual punishment," even causing unnecessary deaths. The four dissenters warned in different ways about a flood of criminals loosed on the streets of the biggest state in the union. Governor Brown's Corrections Director said his goal "is not to release inmates at all." He already has a plan to send non-violent, less serious offenders to county jails.
Should Local Law Enforcement Work with Immigration Authorities? The Obama Administration says the program Secure Communities is "crucial" to finding criminal immigrants and deporting them. The fingerprints of every person booked by local police are checked by Immigration and Customs Enforcement with the stated goal of exporting illegal immigrants convicted of serious crimes. But the reality is different. ICE's own files reveal that in Illinois nearly one-third of those deported had no criminal convictions at all. Democratic Governor Pat Quinn says he's pulling out of the program. The Sheriff of San Francisco, with 30 years on the job, says he's pulling out, too. In Los Angeles, the ICE website shows that 12,741 immigrants have been deported because of the program since August, 2009, but one-fourth, or 2,961, had no criminal convictions at all. We hear from both sheriffs, and from an organization that gathered much of the data on Secure Communities from ICE files under the Freedom of Information Act.
Charges of Favoritism Dog Sheriff Baca On Saturday, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was accused of favoritism in an LA Times editorial . In two previous articles and one since, the paper reported that Baca personally intervened on behalf of two people in Beverly Hills. In the case involving Ezat Delijani , Baca asked District Attorney Steve Cooley how to appeal a prosecutor's decision to reject forgery charges the real estate magnate made against a tenant. In the other case, Guess founder Georges Marciano claimed employees had embezzled $1.4 million. Baca personally ordered an investigation that took a detective 500 hours before he and prosecutors found no criminal wrongdoing. Both men have given the Sheriff gifts and contributed to his charities. Baca joins us to discuss the allegations.
Proposition 19: Marijuana Is Back on the Ballot Again Medicinal marijuana use has been legal in California since Prop 215 passed 14 years ago. Proposition 19 on this November's ballot would legalize recreational use for Californians over 21. It would be subject to taxes, fees and regulations by the state and local governments. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst says it could save "several tens of millions of dollars" a year for law enforcement, jails and state prisons.
State Money Troubles Lead to Release of Prisoners In California, criminals who violate the conditions of parole are often sent back to prison to serve the rest of their sentences. But now some are getting a second early release. Today's Los Angeles Times reports that 89 parole violators have been let out of state prisons in the last two months, because county sheriffs are refusing to hold more serious criminals until there's room for them in state prisons. We hear more about the situation from LA County Sheriff Lee Baca and Seth Unger, spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Sheriff’s Department Has Backlog of Untested Rape Kits In recent weeks, LAPD Chief William Bratton conceded that DNA evidence in 7,000 rape cases was stored in freezers without being examined. Additional staff will be hired and private labs will be paid to clear up the backlog. Now it turns out that the Sheriff's Department of LA County has stored untested DNA from 5,635 cases. Nobody knows how many cases have gone unsolved, how many rapists have gone free or how many innocent people have been convicted. Maybe the evidence wasn't needed at all. We talk with Sheriff Lee Baca and others.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?