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Sheriff’s lieutenant takes stand in obstruction trial

Posted: June 12, 2014 5:54 p.m.
Updated: June 12, 2014 5:54 p.m.

One of six sworn Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officers accused of obstructing a federal investigation into the Los Angeles County jail system took the stand Thursday.

Lt. Stephen Leavins, 52, of Valencia, who worked for a section of the Sheriff’s Department that scrutinizes the actions of deputies, is one of six sheriff’s officers named in the obstruction case. The trial is in its second week at the downtown Los Angeles federal courthouse.

Last week, prosecutors finished presenting their case against the officers, paving the way this week for defense lawyers to present their case.

Leavins was among 18 sworn Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officers named in a December FBI probe into allegations of corruption and of civil rights abuses in the jail system.

The Valencia resident was assigned to the LASD’s Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau, which scrutinizes the conduct of LASD deputies.

The alleged obstruction occurred when Sheriff’s Department personnel assigned to Men’s Central Jail learned an inmate was an FBI informant and was cooperating in an FBI civil rights and corruption probe of the jail, prosecutors said.
On Twitter @jamesarthurholt




stevehw: Posted: June 13, 2014 9:58 p.m.

Uh...what was his testimony? For that matter, what was last week's testimony?

Has anyone on this rag's staff taken a journalism class, ever?

DMeyer: Posted: June 13, 2014 8:03 a.m.

Good point stevehw, it would be nice to know what this Lt is saying, and based on his title it appears that he is a supervisor in the Sheriffs internal affairs unit.

Last week the LA Times had an article on the testimony of Paul Tanaka on this case. Tanaka directed and approved of the actions of these deputies, this case will go nowhere just like Sexton's case. The Feds are wasting time and resources going after the underlings, if there was malfeasance done it was because of Baca and Tanaka, that's who they should be going after.

Word is that Baca has a lot of political cover and has dirt on a lot of powerful people, maybe that's why he is getting a pass. I hope that's not the case.

JpCazedores: Posted: June 13, 2014 10:45 a.m.

Paul Tanaka's testimony was a joke. "could be, might of been, quite possible" etc... skirted all questions asked. Sure the head brass is the ultimate fall guy but if these other Deputies knew they were in the wrong and didn't come forward then they have a problem.

Unreal: Posted: June 13, 2014 10:51 a.m.

If I was beaten in jail I would sure as hell want the deputy who beat me to be charged not just his boss!

I also wondered where the info on what the gist of the testimony was.

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