Corruptio optimi pessima. Roughly translated, the Latin phrase means, “Corruption of the best is the worst.” The phrase is often used to describe the case when a member of our society in a position of great power and respect is revealed to have abused his or her position to further his or her own cause.
Such is the case with former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, who recently pleaded guilty in federal court to lying to FBI agents. While Baca was leading the Sheriff’s Department, the FBI began investigating allegations that deputies routinely beat inmates and visitors in county jail. Baca and his staff allegedly sought to obstruct the investigation. By accepting the plea deal in which he admits to lying to federal officials, the retired sheriff will avoid the more serious charge of obstruction of justice and now faces a maximum of six months in federal prison.
Witness Hiding and Intimidation of Investigators
The crux of the charges against Baca stems from an interview in 2013 in which he misled FBI agents regarding his and his lieutenants’ involvement in the hiding of a key jail informant. Baca denied having any knowledge that his deputies interrupted the FBI’s interview with the informant to prevent further questioning. Continue reading →