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Why do we continue to elect sheriffs instead of appointing them?




Two Los Angeles sheriffs could be held liable for withholding information after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said they were not immune from liability.
Two Los Angeles sheriffs could be held liable for withholding information after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said they were not immune from liability.
Photo by greg lilly via Flickr Creative Commons

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Obstructing justice and lying to federal officials. A jury convicted former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca on Wednesday of crimes that could result in as much as 20 years in jail.

The whole Baca debacle has raised a basic question: why do we elect our sheriffs? Most police chiefs are appointed by mayors and city councils. But Sheriffs? They have to be law enforcement officials AND politicians. Does that even make sense?

For more, Jessica Levinson from Loyola Law School spoke to A Martinez. She broke down where the sheriff election system comes from, why it may never go away and how this system discourages diversity.

To listen to the full interview, click the blue play button above.