A Just Cause

After Arpaio, Trump Should Pardon Los Angeles County Sheriff Officials Says A Just Cause

Presidential Pardons Needed Because 9th Circuit Denies Justice for Local Law Enforcement


Denver, CO -- (ReleaseWire) -- 09/06/2017 --"Make no mistake, in vast majority of federal criminal cases, federal judges and DOJ prosecutors are on the same team," says Lamont Banks, Executive Director of A Just Cause. "Federal prosecutors would not have a 98% conviction rate without the support of a crony federal judiciary. The United States would not have the dubious distinction of American citizens being 25% of the world's prison population without many judges' tag-teaming with prosecutors to guarantee they win convictions at any cost. It's virtually impossible for human beings to consistently achieve 98% success in any human exercise without cheating or being crooked in some way," says Banks. "Compare Bernie Madoff, who maintained high returns on investments irrespective of depressed market and economic conditions because he was engaged in a criminal Ponzi scheme, to U.S. federal prosecutors who maintain high conviction rates irrespective of being engaged in unlawful, egregious misconduct. An independent federal judge committed to the Constitution, fair trials and justice in America is the exception, not the rule. Justice for the LASD9 must come from somewhere, hopefully through President Trump," says Banks.

In the wake of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirming the conviction of former LASD Undersheriff Paul Tanaka (case no. 16-50233), A Just Cause will be aggressively seeking presidential pardons for Tanaka, former LASD Sheriff Lee Baca and eight other LASD officials that are part of the LASD9 (Captain Tom Carey, Lt. Steven Leavins, Lt. Greg Thompson, Sgt. Scott Craig, Sgt. Maricela Long, Deputy James Sexton, Deputy Mickey Manzo, Deputy Girard Smith). "These LASD officials were vindictively prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned for investigating the unlawful conduct of the FBI that literally endangered the lives of LASD deputies, the public and inmates. It's as simple as that," says Banks. A Just Cause has issued numerous press releases in recent months on the FBI and U.S. Attorney's unlawful conduct available for Congress and the public to view at the following links:

1) http://bit.ly/2eQbxAo "DOJ Prosecutor Used Character Assassination to Wrongly-Convict Former Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka

2) http://bit.ly/2iPj8Uh - "Federal Judge Condones Outrageous FBI Misconduct by Failing to Dismiss Indictment"

3) http://bit.ly/2wtWvrv - "Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka and Other LASD Officials Allegedly Wrongly Convicted"

4) http://bit.ly/2vS0zzO - "A Just Cause Discusses Alleged Crimes and/or Abuses by Feds in Prosecution of Los Angeles County Sheriff Officials

5) http://bit.ly/2gqB572 - "Further Analysis Proves Prosecution of Los Angeles County Sheriff Officials Was Illegitimate

"Let's talk a little common sense as non-cronies about the LASD9 case. Look at the obtuse remarks of 9th Circuit appellate judges Kozinski, Reinhardt and Christen in their crony opinion affirming the conviction and imprisonment of Undersheriff Paul Tanaka and then you'll see the hypocrisy of Judge Kozinski by comparing the Tanaka opinion to his statements about prosecutorial misconduct and its unfairness to criminal defendants in his 2015 Georgetown Law Review article" says Banks.

"First, it is illogical, irrational and just plain stupid for anyone to believe that Sheriff Lee Baca, Undersheriff Paul Tanaka and eight other LASD officials who have dedicated their lives to public service and spent decades protecting the public, just woke up one morning and decided they would conspire together to violate federal law by obstructing an FBI investigation," says Cliff Stewart of A Just Cause. "That being said, there obviously is something very suspicious and nefarious about the LASD prosecution as evidenced from the disturbing facts published in the AJC press releases mentioned above," adds Stewart. "The 9th Circuit Tanaka opinion shows that judges Kozinski, Reinhardt and Christen are disingenuous, cold, mechanical thinkers who show favoritism to federal prosecutors, who are members of their government family, and are void of empathy for families, children and spouses," says Stewart. "If the prosecutor wants a conviction, federal judges will give them the conviction irrespective of their misconduct," adds Stewart.

Much of Tanaka's August 7, 2017 oral arguments before the 9th Circuit, centered around the fairness of the trial related to the misconduct of federal prosecutors in poisoning the jury against Tanaka by painting him as a member of an alleged gang of deputies that were the subject of a 30-year-old civil lawsuit for abusing citizens in the Lynwood community. Kozinski implied during arguments that Tanaka deserved being a victim of prosecutorial overreach about the alleged gang because Tanaka said he worked at Lynwood station and opened the door for misconduct. In their opinion Kozinski, Reinhart and Christen said the prosecutor's questions about Tanaka's alleged Viking affiliation "were clearly asked in good faith." "This good faith conclusion is outrageously absurd and the epitome of cronyism and bias against Tanaka," says Banks, "and here's why:"

(1) Tanaka was not a named party in the lawsuit, (2) the judge in the lawsuit said the alleged gang was "neo-Nazi, white supremacist gang that terrorized blacks and Latinos and Tanaka, as a Japanese-American, would not be welcome in a white supremacist clique, (3) the Viking was a symbol of Lynwood station pride and their mascot and a mural of a Viking was on the wall at the station. For intramural sports, such as softball, the Lynwood team was known as the Vikings, (4) Hispanic and African-American deputies at Lynwood at the time also had Viking tattoos and certainly could not have been members of a white supremacist gang. Captain Antuna, a Hispanic, who worked with Tanaka at Lynwood and testified at his trial, has a Viking tattoo, and (5) the frivolous lawsuit was dismissed.

In their written opinion, Kozinski, Reinhart and Christen excused AUSA Brandon Fox's misconduct by saying Tanaka's testimony about having "no tolerance for deputies who wore a badge and violated the law," gave the prosecutor, in essence, the "good faith" right to poison the jury with lies that Tanaka was involved in an alleged deputy gang that abused citizens. Kozinski, Reinhart and Fox stated that the prosecutor's misconduct "was error" and "although we find no plain error, we disapprove of the prosecutor's use of the term 'deputy gang' to introduce its closing argument, given that Tanaka did not admit he was a member of a sheriff's gang and the prosecution did not offer admissible evidence that such a gang existed."

In the opinion, Kozinski, Reinhart and Christen say nothing about trial Judge Percy Anderson abusing his discretion by permitting the prosecutorial poisoning of the jury with this 30-year-old Viking tattoo nonsense. Then they slap the hand of the prosecutor for engaging in misconduct for intentionally poisoning of the jury and says the poison wasn't potent enough to affect the decision of jury because the trial judge "admonished the jury that it could only consider the Vikings related testimony...for its bearing, if any, on the question of the defendant's intent and credibility and for no other purpose." They affirm that it is ok for Tanaka to spend five years in prison after receiving an unfair trial. "Absolutely pathetic!" says Banks, especially when Judge Kozinski in his 2015 Georgetown Law Review article "Criminal Law 2.0," said that judges "have no convincing reason to believe that jury instructions...constrain jury behavior" and that the "presumption" that juries follow instructions is "actually more of a guess that [judges] have elevated to a rule of law."

"If Kozinski is uncertain if jurors actually follow instructions given by judges, why would he risk the liberty of Tanaka on the jurors ability to eliminate poison injected into them about Tanaka being an abusive deputy gang member, based on an admonishment by the judge to only use the poison in a constructive way in evaluating Tanaka's intent and credibility?" questions Banks. "When prosecutorial misconduct could have prejudiced jurors negatively against a defendant, the defendant facing the loss of his liberty deserves a much greater deference to trying to rationalize and excuse misconduct when prosecutors and judges are responsible for ensuring a defendant receives a fair trial," asserts Banks. "Unfortunately, Kozinski, Reinhart and Christen are more concerned with protecting the trial judge and the prosecutor than a defendant's right to a fair trial," contends Banks.

The 9th Circuit panel also claims that "Tanaka did not demonstrate that Sheriff Baca's testimony would have 'directly' contradicted that of immunized government witness, Deputy Mickey Manzo, nor that [denying Baca] immunity would distort the fact-finding process as to deny Tanaka of his right to a fair trial."

"You have got to be kidding," says Stewart, A Just Cause. "To say that the testimony of Sheriff Lee Baca, who was elected 4 times by the people of California to lead the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for 15 years, would not have directly contradicted a rank-and-file deputy is the Mount Everest of folly," adds Stewart. "These judges simply did not give Tanaka a fair opportunity to defend himself with his liberty at stake," says Stewart.

In an April 2013 interview with the FBI, Sheriff Baca told federal agents on three occasions that Tanaka was in no way involved in LASD's investigation of the FBI which refutes the government's central allegation that Tanaka directed the investigation and gave orders to obstruct the FBI's investigation. During the interview, Baca said he was the "macro-manager" and "Captain Carey and Lt. Leavins" were the "micro-managers." Although court records show Manzo never said Tanaka gave any orders during the investigation, the government deceitfully spun Manzo's testimony about events to present Tanaka as directing the investigation. "Let's be truthful here. If Baca had testified that Tanaka was not involved in the investigation and the jury found him truthful, Manzo's testimony would have been soundly marginalized and likely would have resulted in Tanaka being found not guilty," says Stewart. "But since that wouldn't help the prosecutor win the conviction and maintain their impossible 98% conviction rate, the federal judges couldn't let that happen," says Stewart.

"There are countless ways in which a prosecutor can prejudice the fact-finding process and undermine a defendant's right to a fair trial," said Kozinski in his Georgetown article. "In criminal cases, judges have an affirmative duty to ensure fairness and justice because they are the only ones who can force prosecutors...to comply with due process."

"Obvious lip service and hypocrisy from Kozinski," says Banks. "He and his colleagues in the 9th Circuit were not interested in ensuring justice for Tanaka or the other LASD9," adds Banks. "Our system of justice is far from perfect and something is very dark and disturbing about a nation whose prosecutors and judges, especially at the federal level, have an insatiable desire to dole out felonies and lock-up Americans," says Banks. "There is something desperately sick and depraved about American prosecutors and judges making American citizens 25% of the world's prison population," adds Banks.

"I am deeply troubled and saddened by the wrongful imprisonment of these law enforcement officials and the lack of concern and efforts by our judges and prosecutors to ensure American citizens get a fair shake in a court of law," says Banks. "We don't have to lock everyone up!" laments Banks. "On behalf of the LASD9 and Sheriff Lee Baca, A Just Cause is asking all American citizens and members of Congress, some of whom have direct access to President Trump, to join with us in urging him to do justice and pardon these dedicated public servants who helped keep Americans safe," says Banks.

To view the 9th Circuit opinion to compare with facts from AJC press releases, click on http://bit.ly/2w0px0c and to view letter requesting clemency from wrongly-convicted LASD Sgt. Scott Craig sent to President Trump click on (http://bit.ly/2gFHKy2). "You will see that these law enforcement professionals were vindictively convicted and imprisoned by our federal government," concludes Banks.