Los Angeles

Ex LA County Sheriff Remains Free While Corruption Conviction is Appealed

Former LA County Sheriff, Lee Baca, 75, was convicted of conspirary, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators.

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca will avoid prison for a little bit longer after his attorneys on Monday asked a federal court to let him remain free while his corruption conviction is appealed.

Baca's attorneys filed the request with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals a day before the former sheriff was scheduled to report to prison for a three-year sentence for attempting to derail an FBI investigation.

Baca's surrender will be automatically delayed until the court rules, a process that could stretch into several weeks as the two sides are given time to provide their legal arguments.

"Sheriff Baca, who is 75 years old and suffering from Alzheimer's disease, is not a danger to the community, nor a flight risk," Baca's attorney Nathan Hochman said in a statement. "The law requires that Sheriff Baca receive bail pending appeal if he has raised substantial and debatable issues from his trial."

The U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, which prosecuted Baca, declined comment on the development.

Baca asked a lower court last Thursday to be allowed to remain free while his conviction moves through the appeals process. That judge rejected his request, so his attorneys took their request to the higher court.

He was convicted in March of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators.

Prosecutors said he and top aides tried to hide an informant from FBI handlers investigating alleged jail beatings and other abuses.

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