Crime & Justice

Former LA County Sheriff Lee Baca to remain free on bail as he pursues appeal

FILE: Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca (center) and his attorney Nathan Hochman (right) outside a federal court in Los Angeles.
FILE: Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca (center) and his attorney Nathan Hochman (right) outside a federal court in Los Angeles.
Frank Stoltze/KPCC

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca will remain free while he appeals his conviction in a jail corruption case, according to a ruling Wednesday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The court approved Baca's motion for bail, writing "that he is not likely to flee or to pose a danger to the safety of any other person or the community if released."

The appeals court disagreed with a lower court's findings that Baca had failed to prove his eligibility for bail and that he was appealing in an attempt to delay his imprisonment, reversing a decision in August to deny his request.

Baca, who ran the sheriff's department for 15 years, was sentenced in May to three years in prison after convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and lying. He is one of several high-ranking department officials implicated in a 2011 plot to block an FBI investigation into inmate abuse at a local jail. 

Baca has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, which his lawyers argued earlier this year merited a sentence of community service and home confinement. U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson nonetheless decided on the three-year prison sentence, telling Baca during the sentencing: "There comes a time when you have to accept responsibility."

Read the full decision below: