A Just Cause

Federal Judges Condone Outrageous FBI Misconduct by Failing to Dismiss Indictment Against LASD Officials

FBI Misconduct That Imprisoned Los Angeles County Sheriff Officials Could Have Resulted in Murder


Denver, CO -- (ReleaseWire) -- 06/14/2017 --"If not for the federal judges shirking their responsibility to justice by disregarding the outrageous conduct of the FBI, nine Los Angeles County Sheriff (LASD) officials, the "LASD9" (Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, Capt. Tom Carey, Lt. Stephen Leavins, Lt. Greg Thompson, Sgt. Scott Craig, Sgt. Maricela Long, Deputy Mickey Manzo, Deputy James Sexton and Deputy Girard Smith), would not be convicted felons and serving time in prison," says Lamont Banks, Executive Director of A Just Cause. "During a covert FBI sting into alleged LASD deputy abuses of inmates, federal agents allegedly committed a crime under both California and federal law and allegedly violated FBI policy when they orchestrated the smuggling of a cell phone into a violent inmate informant, Anthony Brown housed at an LASD jail, endangering not only the lives of LASD deputies and inmate population, but also the public," adds Banks.

After LASD discovered the FBI phone through a random search of Brown's property, Brown allegedly told LASD investigators that the FBI not only had smuggled multiple phones and narcotics into LASD jails but that he had loaned the FBI phone to other inmates. "Sheriff Lee Baca, with a moral and legal obligation to investigate violations of California law and keep his deputies and the public safe, ordered an immediate investigation to locate the alleged phones and narcotics and determine how many rogue deputies and FBI agents may be involved in the smuggling operation," says Banks. "Shockingly, Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Brandon Fox claimed LASD's investigation was a 'sham' and vindictively prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned the LASD9 on obstruction of justice charges for simultaneously investigating the FBI's alleged criminal conduct during the FBI probe," adds Banks. "The FBI allegedly engaging in criminal activity during their sting amounted to outrageous government conduct which required the courts to dismiss the case," contends Banks. "However, federal judge Percy Anderson decided to cover-up the FBI's alleged criminal conduct with the jury," says Banks.

According to well-settled U.S. Supreme Court law, federal judges "must" dismiss a prosecution and bar the government from invoking judicial processes to obtain a conviction when the government or its informants violates defendants 5th Amendment right of due process by being involved in criminal activity that violates "fundamental fairness, shocking to the universal sense of justice." Instead of dismissing the indictment, trial judge Percy Anderson covered up the FBI's alleged criminal activity by misrepresenting California law to the jury about the FBI's smuggling, claiming in a jury instruction that there were no violations of California Penal codes 4573(a) and 4575(a) against smuggling of contraband, because the FBI authorized the introduction of narcotics and cell phones into the jail and directed the informant to possess and use them. "California law ONLY permits the sheriff or person in charge of a jail or prison to authorize another person to bring in cell phones devices, instruments, drugs or other paraphernalia into a jail or prison, and there should be no exceptions for the FBI," says Lisa Stewart of A Just Cause.

California Penal code 4573(a) plainly states that "except when otherwise authorized by law, or when authorized by the person in charge of the prison or...by an officer of the institution empowered by the person in charge of the institution to give authorization, any person, who knowingly brings or sends into, or knowingly assists in bringing into or sending into...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. California Penal code 4575(a) states that "any person in a local correctional facility who possesses a wireless communications device, including a... cellular phone...who is not authorized to possess that item is guilty of a misdemeanor..."

Fox's assertions that the LASD's investigation into multiple cell phone and narcotics in their jails was a "sham" is contradicted by the FBI in an article on their website fbi.gov ("Cell Phones as Prison Contraband", July 2010) where the FBI says that jail and prison officials must take "aggressive measures to detect [cell phones]" because they are used by inmates to "facilitate criminal acts" that not only endangers "jail personnel and other prisoners but to the community at large." California's U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein said, " a cell phone should NEVER be in the hands of a prisoner", because they pose "a grave security concern for staff, inmates and the public."

In an April 15, 2016 USA Today article, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who is now the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, discussed how inmates in her state used a cell phone to order a hit on a correctional officer at his home. The gunman kicked in the front door and shot the correctional officer six times as retribution for the officer confiscating cell phones from inmates. "This shooting of the South Carolina correctional officer proves that the FBI's smuggling of a cell phone into a violent inmate is outrageous government conduct and was the equivalent of providing Anthony Brown and numerous other violent inmates with a gun or assault rifle that could have been used to harm LASD deputies or the public," says Banks. "This is exactly the type of outrageous government conduct that killed a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer," adds Banks.

In the autumn of 2009 the Phoenix field office of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) launched Operation Fast and Furious in which the ATF allowed firearms to be purchased illegally by straw-purchasers from Mexican drug cartels in the U.S. and then transported back to the Mexico drug cartels who purchased them without interdiction of law enforcement. Some of those very guns were recovered at the scene of a December 15, 2010 firefight that resulted in the killing of Border Protection Agent Brian Terry. After U.S. Senator Charles Grassley wrote a letter to the ATF head about the allegations that the agency had used inappropriate law enforcement tactics, and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform issued a subpoena for documents about Operation Fast and Furious and asked for an investigation into the allegations in Grassley's letter, the Attorney General responded in a letter saying the tactics used in Operation Fast and Furious were "fundamentally flawed" and "completely unacceptable."

Like the ATF with the firearms transported to the cartels, the FBI admitted they didn't have positive control of the cell phone given to Brown at the Men's Central Jail (MCJ), LASD's largest and most violent jail that houses some of America's most dangerous gangs including the Crips, Bloods, Aryan Brotherhood and the Mexican Mafia who are directly tied to the Mexican drug cartels. "If Brown, who admitted he loaned the phone to other inmates, gave it to members of these dangerous criminal organizations, many of whom are awaiting trial, they could have and may have ordered the killing of witnesses, prosecutors, judges or their family members," says Banks. "Surely, Attorney General Sessions and Congress would find the FBI's inappropriate law enforcement tactics that put the lives of LASD deputies and the public in danger as fundamentally flawed and completely unacceptable as they concluded in Operation Fast and Furious that killed a federal law enforcement agent," suggests Banks.

Six LASD9 defendants argued in their joint appeal to the 9th Circuit (9th Cir. case no. 14-50440) the theory that 1) if the FBI had committed no crime they would never have lawfully investigated the FBI and be accused of obstruction of justice and 2) that the jury was wrongly instructed about the legality of the FBI's actions under California law, but the judges side-stepped the issues by spuriously focusing on the legitimacy of jury instructions.

"The failure to deal with the FBI's misconduct must be laid squarely at the feet of Judge Anderson and the 9th Circuit appellate judges Ferdinand F. Fernandez, Richard R. Clifton and Michele T. Friedland who offloaded that responsibility to the jury (as discussed in paragraphs 3 and 4 above) by bamboozling them with a false jury instruction, claiming that California law permitted the FBI to authorize the smuggling of drugs and cell phones into LASD jails," says Banks. Three U.S. Supreme Court justices (Brennan, Stewart, and Marshall) discussed in their 1976 dissent in the Hampton v. United States case that "the determination of the lawfulness of government conduct must be made-as it is on all questions involving the legality of law enforcement methods-by trial judge, not the jury."

"Notwithstanding the unlawfulness of the FBI's smuggling operation, A Just Cause questions the FBI's extremely poor judgment and recklessness of using Anthony Brown as their informant, since he had already been guaranteed to die in prison after being sentenced to 435 years and had nothing to lose or gain except using the contraband for the benefit of himself and other inmates," says Banks. "AUSA Fox's contention that LASD's investigation into additional cell phones and narcotics allegedly smuggled by the FBI was a sham and obstruction of justice is absolutely crazy," adds Banks. "It's as impermissible for the FBI to orchestrate the secret smuggling of a cell phone into an LASD jail to endanger the lives of deputies and the public, as it was for the ATF to permit straw-purchases of firearms for transport across the border to Mexican drug cartels or to approve bombing a building to kill a terrorist while FBI agents and innocent civilians are inside," says Banks.

"The FBI allegedly committed a crime to investigate an alleged crime and after they got caught by LASD investigators, U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker and AUSA Fox vindictively convicted Sheriff Baca and nine LASD officials directly or indirectly involved for investigating the FBI for allegedly violating California law," exclaims Banks. Borrowing the words from the Supreme Court Justice Brennan in the Hampton dissent, the LASD9 case "is nothing less than an instance of 'the Government...seeking to punish for an alleged offense which is the product of creativity of its own officials," concludes Banks.

A Just Cause is asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to dismiss the indictments against the LASD9 and asking congressional judiciary committees to conduct or request an investigation into the FBI's outrageous misconduct in the LASD9 case.

Please note that this press release has been revised from its original content.