top of page

A Just Cause Take Up the Case of Los Angeles Undersheriff Paul Tanaka

The Latest: Tanaka Order on Appeal Affirmed by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals 

A Just Cause continues its advocacy for Undersheriff Paul Tanaka of the Los Angeles Sherriff's Department. Unfortunately, The United States Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's verdict on August 31, 2017.  Access the full order at the link below...

Clemency Letter: Scott Craig of the LASD9  


Further Analysis Proves Prosecution Against Los Angeles County Sheriff Officials Was Illegitimate

LASD9 Prosecuted to Cover FBI Misconduct, Not for Obstruction of Justice, Alleges Advocacy Organization, A Just Cause - July 17, 2017, ReleaseWire

DENVER, (July 17, 2017) "The LASD9 case was not about obstruction of justice as the government contends, it was about the FBI and Los Angeles U.S. Attorney’s Office abusing its power to vindictively prosecute Sheriff Lee Baca and other LASD officials (Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, Capt. Tom Carey,

Lt. Stephen Leavins, Lt. Greg Thompson, Sgt. Scott Craig, Sgt. Maricela Long, Deputy Mickey Manzo, Deputy James Sexton, Deputy Girard Smith) for investigating a rogue FBI agent, who, during an FBI sting into alleged LASD deputy abuses, orchestrated the alleged illegal smuggling of cell phones and narcotics into a violent inmate informant housed at an LASD jail," says Lamont Banks, Executive Director of A Just Cause. "The FBI knew that smuggling a cell phone into the jail was reckless, dangerous and just plain wrong," adds Banks. "Congress needs to thoroughly investigate who in the FBI authorized the operation that violated FBI policy, California law and federal law," adds Banks.

The FBI website ( discussed the dangers of "Cell Phones as Prison Contraband" in July 2010 where it urged jail and prison officials to take "aggressive measures to detect [cell phones] because inmates used them to "facilitate criminal activity" that not only endangers "jail personnel and other prisoners, but the community at large."

"When the government brings an illegitimate prosecution to cover their wrongdoing, the evidence never measures up to the charges," says Banks. "After reviewing more of the details of the LASD9 case, I am baffled why federal judge Percy Anderson didn't dismiss these charges or how the LASD9 case made it into a federal court," adds Banks. "Today, AJC discusses more specific details of the government's case which provides virtually irrefutable proof that these local police officers were wrongly-convicted and imprisoned," says Banks.

A Just Cause first examines the testimony of Assistant Director-in-Charge Steven Martinez and questions whether the government had probable cause to believe the LASD was obstructing justice. The rest of AJC's examination centers around claims that 1) the LASD officials actually obstructed their investigation 2) Craig and Long lied to the FBI 3) LASD obstructed justice by disposing of a writ/court order to turn the FBI inmate informant over to federal agents and 4) Tanaka ordered the hiding of the inmate from the FBI.
"The evidence related to these allegations is virtually non-existent and supports A Just Cause's conclusion that this was a vindictive prosecution," says Banks.

TOPIC: Did the FBI really believe LASD was obstructing an FBI investigation or were they trying to cover their butts?

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge (ADIC) Steven Martinez testified that once LASD officials compromised the FBI's cell phone through a random search of Brown's property, he didn't think the FBI had a viable way of continuing the operation with Brown. Martinez told Baca that Brown should be placed in protective custody, testifying that he was concerned with Brown's safety and him being housed in an LASD jail after he was exposed as an FBI informant.

"Martinez's concern for Brown's safety is admirable and appropriate, but where was the FBI's concern about the safety of LASD staff, inmates and the public before they violated their policy and California law by orchestrating the smuggling of a cell phone into a violent inmate informant?" asks Banks.

"Furthermore, if Brown was no longer of value to the FBI, how did LASD officials obstruct justice when they moved Brown as part of their internal investigation for protective custody reasons?" asks Banks.
The government claimed that LASD officials conspired together to obstruct justice by moving Brown under the orders of Tanaka "to keep him away from the FBI. "Baca acted legally, ethically and responsibly consistent with his moral and legal obligation under California law to thoroughly investigate allegations by the FBI's own informant that Special Agent Leah Marx, and possibly other FBI officials, had smuggled multiple phones and narcotics into LASD jails," says Cliff Stewart, A Just Cause. According to the testimony of Captain Tom Carey, Baca ordered him (not Tanaka) to "conduct an investigation, get to the bottom of it, and keep Brown safe."

"If FBI agents are suspects in LASD's investigation, what makes the FBI think their agents should be allowed to speak to Brown, who is also a suspect?" asks Banks. Once it was determined that the FBI had potentially broke the law, endangered the lives of LASD staff and became a threat to the security of the jails and the public, their investigation became illegitimate and LASD was in their right not to permit them into the jails until they completed their investigation," argues Stewart.

TOPIC: Should Sgt. Scott Craig and Sgt. Maricela Long have been charged with lying to the FBI about FBI Agent Leah Marx being a suspect and did they have probable cause to arrest her?

The government charged and convicted LASD investigators Sgt. Scott Craig and Maricela Long for lying to Marx about being a named suspect in their investigation. Keep in mind that trial judge Percy Anderson told the jury that LASD "has the authority to investigate potential violations of state law," which "includes the authority to investigate potential violations of state law by federal agents." A Just Cause has learned that during the LASD investigation, both agent Marx and FBI agent David Lam, indeed, were named suspects in a felony complaint (form SH-AD-49) filed by Sgt. Craig based on interviews with Brown and Deputy Gilbert Michel who implicated Marx in a smuggling operation. "Where is the lie?" asks Banks.

Although Marx's orchestrating the smuggling of the cell phone is not in dispute and that her actions were a violation of California law, Judge Anderson still concluded that Craig didn't have "probable cause" to threaten Marx with arrest, claiming it was an act of intimidation. Videotape shows that Craig and Long's encounter with Marx was hardly intimidation as Judge Anderson contends and was described by the LA Times as a "surprisingly polite exchange." (See video at "If the FBI doesn't want to face the threat of arrest by Los Angeles County law enforcement then they should avoid violating California laws," says Banks. "The FBI is not above the law and sergeants Craig and Long shouldn't be in prison for enforcing California law," exclaims Banks.

TOPIC: LASD disposed of a writ to turn over informant for FBI questioning

Trial transcripts show that government witness Linda K. Farrar of the U.S. Marshals Service testified that she received an email from a federal prosecutor requesting that she serve a writ (court order) to the LASD to transfer FBI inmate informant Anthony Brown into federal custody for questioning. Farrar responded to prosecutor's email telling him that she was leaving town but would turn over the writ to Yolanda Baines to file with LASD in her absence. Farrar testified that she had nothing to do with the writ after leaving, vaguely remembered the specifics surrounding the writ, and didn’t know if Baines actually faxed the writ, that Yolanda Baines no longer worked with the Marshal's service and that the government didn't know where she was. "It is completely unrealistic that the federal government didn't know where Baines was or how to locate her to testify in the LASD9 case," says Stewart.

"The only so-called evidence provided by the government was a fax transmission record that showed "something" was sent from the Marshal's fax machine to an LASD fax machine and Farrar's claim that she had sent thousands of writs/documents to that particular LASD fax number," adds Stewart.

"The government never proved that the writ in question was sent and their failure to call Baines to testify speaks volumes and raises justifiable suspicions about whether the writ was actually faxed," contends Stewart. "The government clearly failed to prove LASD officials obstructed justice by disposing of the writ," says Stewart. "I really don't like criticizing juries but I have to question whether or not this jury was sleeping during trial or seriously evaluated the credibility of the government's evidence," adds Stewart.

TOPIC: Tanaka Ordered the Hiding of the FBI Informant to Obstruct the FBI Investigation

Tara Adams, the government's star witness claimed that three deputies’ unknown to her showed up in jeans and windbreakers and asked her to modify the inmate database to show the Brown had been released.

Adams says when she refused, citing that she needed a court order. Adams testified that the deputies asked her "Are going to tell Tanaka no?" and she responded that she would need something in writing from Tanaka (which she never received). Adams further states that the deputies threatened to call Tanaka on their cell phone and she could personally tell him no. However, when asked if the deputies actually called Tanaka, Adams said no, but said she "suspected" Tanaka gave the orders.

"Not a single LASD official involved in the investigation or a government witness involved in the case has ever said Tanaka gave them an order to hide Brown or to obstruct the FBI investigation in any way," says Banks. "It is obvious Baca ordered and directed the investigation in his April 12, 2013 interview with the FBI, where he told investigators he was the macro-manager and Captain Carey was the micro-manager," says Banks.


"It is clear from the government's evidence, or lack thereof, that the prosecution and imprisonment of the LASD9 was unwarranted and done solely for the purpose of covering up poor judgment of and FBI to arrange for the smuggling of a cell phone," says Banks. "A Just Cause has great respect for federal, state and local law enforcement in this country, but U.S. Attorneys vindictively prosecuting and imprisoning its local law enforcement partners for investigating rogue FBI agents for violations of state law is reprehensible," adds Banks.

"A Just Cause is working hard to have the LASD9 pardoned and have their good names, reputations and constitutional rights restored to them as well as pushing for Congress to investigate who in the FBI authorized this reckless and dangerous smuggling operation that endangered their lives and the public-at-large," says Banks. "We ask everyone to keep the LASD9 and their families in their thoughts and prayers as they suffer through this horrible injustice," concludes Banks.

DOJ Prosecutor Allegedly Used Character Assassination to Wrongly-Convict Former LA County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka 

A Just Cause Discusses Tanaka's Personal & Professional Record to Debunk Prosecutor's Lies at Trial - June 1, 2017, ReleaseWire


DENVER — The prosecution of former Undersheriff Tanaka and eight other Los Angeles County Sheriff Department (LASD) officials came after Sheriff Lee Baca allegedly took full responsibility and admitted he personally ordered and directed an investigation into FBI agents orchestrating the smuggling of cell phones and narcotics into a violent inmate housed at an LASD jail as part of an FBI sting. Although both federal law and California law makes it clear that orchestrating the smuggling of cell phones into a county jail is a felony, Assistant United States Attorney Brandon Fox put the FBI above the law, alleging 1) that there was no probable cause for LASD to investigate the FBI, 2) that the LASD's investigation was a "sham" and 3) prosecuting and wrongly-convicting nine LASD officials who followed Baca's orders and conducted a lawful investigation, of obstruction of justice for interfering with the FBI's investigation.

In an April 2013 FBI interview, Baca allegedly told the FBI that 1) he was the "macro-manager of the investigation," 2) Captain Carey and Lt. Leavins were the "micromanagers" and 3) stressed three times the Tanaka was not directly involved in the investigation. When the FBI specifically asked Baca who would be the person who was the closest thing to being the leader that is micro-managing what is happening, Baca's alleged response was: "That would be Captain Carey." When the FBI, trying to implicate Tanaka, specifically asked Baca who he seeks advice from when making decisions on "tough issues," Baca responded: "No one." 

"We believe that the facts and evidence indicate that Fox may have vengefully prosecuted and imprisoned Tanaka for testifying for his subordinates instead of the government," says Lamont Banks, Executive Director of A Just Cause...


Los Angeles County Sheriff Officials & IRP6 Are Victims of Similar Prosecutorial Abuses, Says a Just Cause 

Federal Judges Gave Prosecutors Leeway to Obtain Convictions by Devious Means - May 11, 2017, ReleaseWire


DENVER — There is no doubt that the LASD9 (Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, Captain Tom Carey, Lt. Steve Leavins, Lt. Greg Thompson, Sgt. Scott Craig, Sgt. Maricela Long, Deputy James Sexton, Deputy Mickey Manzo and Deputy Gerard Smith) were wrongly-convicted," says Lamont Banks, Executive Director of A Just Cause. "Sheriff Lee Baca had the law on his side and should have stood his ground and defended LASD professionals under his leadership who followed his orders to investigate the FBI, for not only enlisting the services of a violent career criminal to investigate alleged LASD deputy abuses, but smuggled cell phones and narcotics into LASD jails," says Banks. "Using a violent career felon, who had just been sentenced to over 400 years in prison by the California justice system, to investigate California law enforcement officials is outrageous government conduct," adds Banks. 

"Federal Judge Percy Anderson and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Fox allegedly teamed up, placed FBI officials above the law, and

 abused their power as federal officials in a retaliatory, vindictive way to lock up local law enforcement for investigating criminal conduct by rogue FBI agents," contends Banks. "The Los Angeles media failed miserably in their adversarial duty to challenge the absurdity of the government's claims that 9 dedicated and highly-decorated law enforcement officials suddenly conspired together to violate criminal laws when they spent decades enforcing laws and protecting Americans," adds Banks. "If a conviction sounds too crazy to be true, it probably is. Consider the following:" Banks asks the public.  

TOPIC 1 - The FBI enlisted the services of career criminal and armed bank robber Anthony Brown, who had been recently sentenced to over 400 years in prison, for the purpose of unlawfully smuggling a cell phone into an LASD jail to investigate other law enforcement officers.


The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said that "the use of informants to investigate and prosecute persons engaged in clandestine criminal activity is fraught with peril...[informants] must be managed and carefully watched by the government." The FBI admitted they didn't have positive control of Brown or the cell phone, and Brown told LASD investigators he allowed other inmates to use the FBI's phone. The poor judgment of the FBI put LASD deputies and the public in danger. Imagine Brown, angry over a 400-year sentence imposed by a California judge, using the cell phone to order a hit on the judge, an LASD deputy, district attorney, witness, jury member or their families or allowing other inmates to do so. 

TOPIC 2 - FBI Special Agent Leah Marx who orchestrated the smuggling of a cell phone into Brown at an LASD jail, not only allegedly violated FBI policy which required her to notify Sheriff Baca or Undersheriff Tanaka, but allegedly committed a felony under both federal and California law...


Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka and Other LASD Officials Allegedly Wrongly-Convicted 

Turf War Results in Feds Vindictively Pursuing Conviction of Los Angeles County Law Enforcement - April 18, 2017, ReleaseWire


DENVER — On September 27, 2011, the LA Times reported that the "FBI orchestrated an undercover sting" to smuggle a cell phone into an inmate at a Los Angeles County Sheriff Department (LASD) jail and about Sheriff Lee Baca's public comments that the FBI's actions were criminal ( "Our review of the case shows the FBI may have engaged in misconduct and possibly committed a crime that endangered the lives of LASD deputies," says Lamont Banks, Executive Director of A Just Cause. "When Baca ordered a lawful and legitimate internal investigation into alleged FBI misconduct, the FBI cried obstruction of justice, claiming the Baca and subordinates who were conducting the investigation against FBI agents were interfering with their federal probe," adds Banks. "As a result, Undersheriff Paul Tanaka and eight other LASD subordinates were wrongly convicted and sent to prison for following orders of Baca to investigate," says Banks. "A Just Cause is hurting for these, their spouses and their children and will fight to vindicate them and tell their side of the story where the mainstream media failed to do so," adds Banks.

The facts, evidence and common sense indicate that Los Angeles federal prosecutors may have vindictively pursued Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka and eight other highly-decorated and dedicated LASD officials (Captain Tom Carey, Lt. Steven Leavins, Lt. Greg Thompson, Sgt. Maricela Long, Sgt. Scott Craig, Deputy Mickey Manzo, Deputy Gerard Smith and Deputy James Sexton) on obstruction of justice charges after Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca publicly accused the FBI of misconduct and pursued an arrest of an FBI agent. Baca believed he had a legitimate gripe and justification to decry misconduct after FBI agents participated in smuggling a cell phone into a violent inmate imprisoned at a LASD jail, which could have endangered the lives of his deputies. According to's "Ex-Los Angeles County sheriff awaits verdict in 2nd trial" article dated Mar 14, 2017, Baca's attorney said, "Baca thought the FBI committed a crime when agents had the cellphone smuggled to the inmate informant", which A Just Cause believes was the flash point for igniting a turf war between the FBI and LASD resulting in the collateral damage of numerous alleged wrongful convictions of subordinate LASD officials.

Unbeknownst to Baca, the FBI was conducting a secret probe into LASD deputy abuses and had solicited the help of violent inmate Anthony Brown to use a cell phone to gather evidence of alleged beatings and to induce/entrap deputies into accepting bribes for smuggling contraband. Brown had been convicted of multiple armed robberies and was awaiting transfer to a state prison after being sentenced to over 400 years in prison. A source tells A Just Cause that FBI policy requires federal agents to notify the number one or two ranking officer when conducting a covert investigation at a local police agency which apparently didn't happen, because both Baca and Undersheriff Tanaka were unaware of the probe or that the cell phone was smuggled into the jail. It's baffling that the FBI would provide a cell phone to a violent inmate when the FBI website discusses the dangers of inmates using cell phones to "facilitate criminal acts." ...

bottom of page