Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said in court documents he wants his case to be heard by a different judge in either Orange or Riverside County because he doesn't believe he'll get a fair trial in connection with a jail corruption scandal, reports the Los Angeles Daily News.
Three motions were filed by Baca's attorneys last week in federal court. One motion requested that U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson be disqualified for harboring a biased view of Baca's involvement of abuse of inmates in Los Angeles County jails.
Baca pleaded guilty in February to lying to investigators in an April 2013 interview when he said he did not know that Sheriff's Department officials planned to approach an FBI special agent who was investigating the abuses. Baca, who retired in 2014, had still been the sheriff during the FBI investigation.
But during his sentencing on July 18, Anderson rejected the former sheriff's plea agreement with prosecutors, saying it was not tough enough. The judge told Baca that a six-month sentence trivialized his role in a series of events that led to deputies covering up abuses, looking the other way and altering records, "all of which led to fostering an us-versus-them mentality" inside Los Angeles jails.
Baca later pleaded not guilty, and an indictment alleged that he conspired to obstruct justice, obstructed justice and lied to federal agents during their investigation of abuses occurring within Men's Central Jail and Twin Towers Correctional Facility that began in 2009. His attorneys have argued against the obstruction charges.
In the latest motion, Baca's attorneys said Anderson was a member of the Independent Commission of the Los Angeles Police Department. Known as the Christopher Commission, the members authored the 1991 report detailing the misconduct of the LAPD leading up to the Rodney King beating. Because of his involvement, Anderson has a biased view of law enforcement, Baca's attorneys say in the motion.