Over the last year and beyond, we have been closely following the developments of former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca. Recently we wrote about a Federal Judge sentencing Baca to three-years in Federal prison for obstructing an FBI investigation into abuse of county jail inmates. Of course, Baca’s attorney is challenging the guilty verdict by way of appeals and his attorney had hoped to keep the former Sheriff out of prison during the process. One of the argument being that Baca, now 74-years old, is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Unfortunately for Baca, U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson rejected Baca’s attorney’s arguments for bail, and has ordered that Lee Baca should spend “his best remaining days” in prison, The Los Angeles Times reports. This does not mean that Baca will be sent to jail immediately, because his attorney will ask the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to overrule Anderson regarding bail during the appeal process. It could take several weeks or months for the court of appeals to decide, and Baca can remain free until such time.
A Cruel Rejection?
It appears that the former Sheriff abused his power and broke the law. Therefore, he, like anyone else, should be held accountable and serve his time. Alzheimer’s disease is a serious and deadly illness, some readers may feel that Judge Anderson’s bail rejection is cruel, considering that Baca may not be long for this world. However, the decision appears to be grounded in reason. Anderson pointed out that if the disease worsens while Baca appeals his verdict, Baca’s worsened mental state could “complicate or prevent resentencing or further proceedings,” according to the article. Anderson wrote:
“Moreover, given the progressive nature of Alzheimer’s disease, the delays in this action, and any additional delay before defendant begins serving his sentence should defendant be granted bail pending appeal, would continue to allow defendant to spend his best remaining days on bail rather than incarcerated. In the face of these concerns, defendant has offered no evidence and precious little argument of a non-dilatory purpose for his appeal despite repeated opportunities to do so.”
Baca’s best hope now is the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. We will continue to keep you up to date regarding this case.
Southern California Criminal Attorney
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