AJC Makes Case that Feds Allegedly Violated FBI Policy, Supreme Court Law, Criminal Law & Endangered the Lives of LASD Deputies & Public
Denver, CO -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/23/2017 --There is no doubt that the LASD9 (Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, Captain Tom Carey, Lt. Steve Leavins, Lt. Greg Thompson, Sgt. Scott Craig, Sgt. Maricela Long, Deputy James Sexton, Deputy Mickey Manzo and Deputy Gerard Smith) were wrongly-convicted," says Lamont Banks, Executive Director of A Just Cause. "Sheriff Lee Baca had the law on his side and should have stood his ground and defended LASD professionals under his leadership who followed his orders to investigate the FBI, for not only enlisting the services of a violent career criminal to investigate alleged LASD deputy abuses, but smuggled cell phones and narcotics into LASD jails," says Banks. "Using a violent career felon, who had just been sentenced to over 400 years in prison by the California justice system, to investigate California law enforcement officials is outrageous government conduct," adds Banks.
"Federal Judge Percy Anderson and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Fox allegedly teamed up, placed FBI officials above the law, and abused their power as federal officials in a retaliatory, vindictive way to lock up local law enforcement for investigating criminal conduct by rogue FBI agents," contends Banks. "The Los Angeles media failed miserably in their adversarial duty to challenge the absurdity of the government's claims that 9 dedicated and highly-decorated law enforcement officials suddenly conspired together to violate criminal laws when they spent decades enforcing laws and protecting Americans," adds Banks. "If a conviction sounds too crazy to be true, it probably is. Consider the following:" Banks asks the public.
TOPIC 1 - The FBI enlisted the services of career criminal and armed bank robber Anthony Brown, who had been recently sentenced to over 400 years in prison, for the purpose of unlawfully smuggling a cell phone into an LASD jail to investigate other law enforcement officers.
The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said that "the use of informants to investigate and prosecute persons engaged in clandestine criminal activity is fraught with peril...[informants] must be managed and carefully watched by the government." The FBI admitted they didn't have positive control of Brown or the cell phone, and Brown told LASD investigators he allowed other inmates to use the FBI's phone. The poor judgment of the FBI put LASD deputies and the public in danger. Imagine Brown, angry over a 400-year sentence imposed by a California judge, using the cell phone to order a hit on the judge, an LASD deputy, district attorney, witness, jury member or their families or allowing other inmates to do so.
TOPIC 2 - FBI Special Agent Leah Marx who orchestrated the smuggling of a cell phone into Brown at an LASD jail, not only allegedly violated FBI policy which required her to notify Sheriff Baca or Undersheriff Tanaka, but allegedly committed a felony under both federal and California law.
On August 10, 2010, the Cell Phone Contraband Act (18 U.S.C. 1791, Providing or possessing contraband in prison) made it a felony to smuggle cell phones into prisons. California's U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein spoke about the Act. "This bill would close this loophole by defining cell phones as contraband material under federal law," said Feinstein. "As a result, ANY person smuggling, or in possession of a cell phone could potentially serve up to a year in prison," adds Feinstein. "A cell phone should NEVER be in the hands of a prisoner. The presence of these cell phones poses a grave security concern for staff, inmates, and the public," added Feinstein. "We know that inmates use these cell phones to conduct drug trafficking operations and even conducting credit card fraud," explained Feinstein.
In 2010, the FBI issued a bulletin to LASD and all other law enforcement agencies related to the Act and in July 2010 posted an article on their website (fbi.gov) titled "Cell Phones as Prison Contraband" discussing the "real and potential dangers" to the staff, inmates and public when inmates have cell phones. Yet, a year later, under the guise of a federal sting, Marx and two other FBI agents orchestrated the smuggling of a cell phone into a violent criminal at an LASD jail.
California Penal Code, section 4573 states that "ANY person who (without authorization of the person in charge of the institution) knowingly brings or sends into, or knowingly assists in bringing into, or sending into...any county, city and county or city jail...where prisoners or inmates are located under custody of any sheriff...is GUILTY OF A FELONY punishable by imprisonment… for two, three or four years.
FBI policy, just like California law required the FBI to obtain authorization of Baca or Tanaka before introducing contraband into THEIR jails to ensure the safety and security of the THEIR deputies, the public and the inmate population. "Imagine how the feds would have responded if LASD officials smuggled phones and narcotics into a violent inmate at a federal prison?" ponders Banks.
"Sheriff Baca concluded that THE FBI COMMITTED A CRIME TO INVESTIGATE A CRIME, yet when Tanaka confirmed Baca's statement at trial, a biased Judge Anderson gave Tanaka a tongue lashing and told the jury to disregard the statement about the FBI's alleged criminal conduct," says Banks.
TOPIC 3 - Brown told LASD investigators that Marx had smuggled multiple phones and narcotics into the jails. Sheriff Baca, not knowing how many phones or how much narcotics had been smuggled into the jails, or even how many deputies or FBI agents were involved in the smuggling operations, ordered Brown to be put into protective custody. AUSA Fox ridiculously asserted in court that the LASD investigation into the FBI smuggling was a "sham."
In February 2010, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said, "a detention facility is a unique place fraught with serious security dangers." "Indeed, attempts to introduce drugs and other contraband into [prison] premises...is one of the most perplexing problems of prisons." The United States Supreme Court in the 1980 case of Hughes v. Rowe made it clear that:
"Prison officials must be free to take appropriate action to ensure the safety of inmates and corrections personnel" and "has also repeatedly recognized that the judiciary, 'ill-equipped' to deal with 'complex and difficult' problems of running a prison, must accord the decisions of prison officials great deference... [Furthermore] prison administrators...should be accorded wide-ranging deference in the adoption and execution of policies and practices that in their judgment are needed to preserve internal order and discipline and to maintain institutional security."
"Both AUSA Fox and Judge Anderson have absolutely no experience running jails or prisons and are naive and ignorant to the policies and practices of LASD," says Lamont Banks, Executive Director of A Just Cause. "Instead of arrogantly calling LASD's investigation a "sham", Fox and Judge Anderson should have followed the law of the Supreme Court and deferred to Sheriff Baca, Undersheriff Tanaka and the professionals at LASD on how to deal with the FBI's smuggling of cell phones and narcotics (as alleged by Brown) into their jails that endangering the lives of THEIR deputies and the public," says Banks. "The only thing that was a sham was Fox's frivolous prosecution," exclaims Banks.
TOPIC 4 - Fox claimed that LASD officials conspired to obstruct justice by hiding Brown "in order to keep him away from the FBI."
"This claim by Fox was dishonest because he was in possession of a report written by FBI agent David Lam that said Assistant Director-in-Charge Steven Martinez, told Baca to put Brown in protective custody which is the proper procedure after Brown was compromised as a snitch for the FBI," says Stewart.
Again, Fox and Anderson show willful blindness or Neolithic ignorance to protective custody issues in jails and prisons and should have respected the decisions of the experts at LASD. Veteran LASD detective Mark Lillienfield allegedly testified during trial that moving of inmates in jails for protective custody reasons is "legal", "ethical," "safe," "and something he's done hundreds of times." Capt. Carey testified that Baca's orders were "conduct an investigation, get to the bottom of it, keep Brown safe." Don't forget, SCOTUS said the experts (jail administrators), NOT prosecutors or judges, should be given "wide ranging deference in... execution of policies and practices...to maintain institutional security."
Sheriff Baca had a legal and moral obligation as well as the public authority to investigate potential unlawful conduct in his jails. And the FBI failed in their legal and moral obligation not to violate laws and endanger LASD staff, the public and the inmates in LASD jails while conducting their federal probe. "Federal prosecutors, with the assistance of Judge Anderson, abused their power and imprisoned local police, damaged and/or destroyed their careers and immensely hurt families, "says Banks. "A Just Cause will not relent until these police officers are exonerated. Stay tuned for further discussion" concludes Banks.