Exposed Connivances

It took a little time, but I have in my hands a copy of the emails exchanged between Judge LaDoris Cordell and Sheriff Laurie Smith.  People feel strongly enough about this I got several copies sent to me and I would like to make sure every one of you know I appreciate you all making sure I got a copy of this. Without you, we wouldn’t have been able to expose much of what we continue to expose.  Please continue to support the efforts to expose the wrongdoings of this administration, whether through us here, or other means, we are finally making headway.

While dismaying, what Laurie Smith had to say to Judge Cordell should not be surprising to anyone who has been forced to endure her histrionics. First thing that struck me, the sheriff is willing to try to take anyone’s credibility down with her intentional “misunderstanding” of a situation. Even LaDoris Cordell. What is the equivalent of “keystone cops” for a judge? I don’t know, but clearly if Laurie could have thought of a term, she would have thrown it in for good measure. Rich Robinson must still be in Hawaii.

The sheriff somehow believes that the Judge and others are accusing “numerous correctional deputies” for what happened in the jails last Thursday. Let me reiterate for you sheriff, because I’ve been told repeatedly you read my blog, no one is blaming your deputies for this. The more I hear, the more it sounds like your deputies were undermined and endangered by shenanigans from above. Let me state clearly, a single coincidence can be overlooked, but there are far to many here:

  • You put cameras on a floor that has (had) a low risk for issues when there are other areas having many more significant issues.
  • You had JUST changed programming from 1/4 tier to 1/2 tier. Something that could have been done safely with a little extra care and handling which you no longer have the staff for. Yes, “subject matter experts” surely recommended more programming, but I sincerely doubt they recommended it without taking all necessary precautions to ensure continued safety standards.
  • You had JUST reclassified a high ranking gang member and introduced him to the environment knowing there were potential growing issues between these two entities.
  • This all happened on a floor where a Blue Ribbon Commission member was seen clearly working the night before when you had the media there to install cameras. Which means to me, that person was either part and parcel or you were abusing her credibility as a commission member. Either way, it should be looked into, as with all the other issues with this incident.

While Judge Cordell did not accuse you of criminal action, sheriff, your deputies are wondering if you’ve engaged in exactly that, so stop trying to hide behind them on this. It’s offensive to most of your line staff that you would dare argue that it’s disgraceful someone would attack “your” deputies; I had to laugh out loud. You’ve been attacking your deputies for years. You’ve used them publicly as a crutch to hide your own failings repeatedly. You’ve publicly labeled them Keystone Cops, you all but told the public during election that they would be uncontrollable monsters if it wasn’t for your unappreciated “accountability” that keeps them, unwillingly of course, in line. You’ve possibly slandered at least two deputies for your own purposes, you’ve taken the very concept of innocent until proven guilty and thrown it out the door for your deputies. At various intervals you release information stating you’re “planning more arrests”, usually every time the deputies start to get a little mouthy about wanting the oversight they’re getting from the BRC. You’ve implied that every problem in the jails that you “didn’t know about” is solely the problem of deputies who were somehow broken and they all need to be investigated now and you’re just the person oversee it.

You’re a sickening hypocrite, sheriff… I would bet nearly any of the 1100 or so deputies in your organization would gladly take the oversight of Judge Cordell over you — and that should tell you something, sheriff. While many have issues with oversight, your organization is so corrupted, that “your” deputies are begging for someone to take a serious look at what has been happening. You’re not only disliked, more importantly you are distrusted. Most people can work for a boss they dislike — that is what professionals do. They can not work for a boss they distrust so much as to believe you would endanger your staff and inmates just to catch a moment on tape to feed the public. There is no way, even on this, they will consider getting behind you.

You state you “support independent oversight” — then why don’t you ask to have LaDoris and the Blue Ribbon Commission be allowed to extend their investigation into enforcement? Put your money where your mouth is. You plan on making an announcement on this topic shortly? Great, offer to expand their mandate – let them look at how you conduct and manage investigations, let them examine your budgets, let them see all the documentation into the SAB activity, among other things. Otherwise you’re just making noise. Who do you want to do the oversight? Your NAACP friends who mentioned they don’t want to see a consent decree in a jail that is among the worst in the state and whom you’ve gotten POST commission appointments for? Or La Raza whom you’ve held fast on letting even the worst and most violent offenders back onto our streets rather than call ICE when it’s an option? How many favors are you going to call in on your idea of “oversight”?

Your outrage sheriff over the Blue Ribbon Commission “demanding” they be allowed to do an investigation? Again, comedy material. You promised complete transparency in anything the BRC wanted to see. I quote, “I welcome the scrutiny…Let’s look. Is there a better way to do the job?”  It was a condition of Judge Cordell chairing this commission. I hope the public doesn’t forget the near failure to launch because of the games you and the Board of Supervisors tried to play leading Judge Cordell to believe this commission was an attempt to “polish the county’s image.” It turns out this exchange shows they intended the commission to be exactly that.

As for “ongoing investigation” into this matter, sheriff, if this hadn’t been caught on cameras, conveniently, and you didn’t need to shore up your reputation, there would have been no investigation. As it is, it’s a pretty clear cut and dry case — after all you have video, right? You released it to the public, something you don’t do on an active investigation, right?

And LaDoris Cordell “convinced one media outlet to provide at platform”? Sheriff you are far from a media neophyte. You are a downright pro at media manipulation. Are you really going to try to convince people that you hadn’t a clue that they would go to the judge for a quote? Please. I was born, but not yesterday.

Your attack on a black, female judge with a rather illustrious and notable career in law as being unaware of law and court decisions based on racial segregation…*ANYWHERE*…was jaw dropping. While maybe you disagree (again on disingenuous grounds) with Judge Cordell, claiming she’s ignorant of segregation law is hilarious and pain inducing all at the same time. Your rant about SCOTUS decisions is irrelevant as while those involved were “black and brown” as many have put it, that was not the basis of the segregation — their gang affiliations and positions would have been the reason for segregation. Honestly sheriff if you can’t figure that much out, you don’t belong in law enforcement. You know that and you’re being flat out disingenuous and offensive. Given this latest outburst, I have to wonder if the PR firms contract is over and the county won’t extend it for you, because I can’t see anyone recommending instigating the actions of the past few days hoping for positive PR.

As for the Judge’s comments “flying in the face of numerous recommendations from subject matter experts” are you trying to tell me that those experts told you that it was acceptable to allow people who were intending harm to each other to program together as a part of their recommendation for more out of cell time? I seriously recommend you go back and review with those subject matter experts because I think you got it very wrong.

I think that your attempt to throw the Prison Law Office under the bus on this is rather amusing. A desperate attempt to put your bad decisions in the context of their positive efforts. Stand on your own two feet and recognize a failure when you have one and stop desperately scrambling for excuses.

It’s funny, sheriff, how LaDoris Cordell has gone from a trusted community leader in police oversight to someone with an agenda in your opinion as soon as it appeared she was no longer looking just at the deputies, but possibly at you as well. That seems a little unfair sheriff, offering transparency of all the deputies wrongs — from criminal to basic human error — so they could be shredded in the media, but expecting no one to look at you and your administrations possible actions in regards to this very curious camera situation.

I’m pretty amazed that you claim you’re going to file a CPRA request for documents that have been public for weeks. Are you that disengaged from the commission you felt it so important you be on that you don’t realize every document, electronic or paper, your commission generates is public? I find it a particularly audacious threat after you apparently met Judge Cordell in private and secret to attempt to manipulate her according to the email exchange. But we’ve seen your communications go public before where you attempted to intimidate and manipulate outcomes.

I have to say I’m not at all surprised to see you attempting to attack the unions again. But it did surprise me, when you’re already likely guaranteed several law suits, that you walked out of your office with confidential and legally protected internal investigations with the intent to show them to an outside individual yet again. That was bold.

That you demanded that the commission not find for a change of leadership so the deputies don’t have “ammunition” against you for yet another run for office, is a stunning revelation, though not entirely unexpected. Do you really believe that you could convince LaDoris Cordell the entire purpose of this commission should be to back your next election? Do you really think the deputies don’t already have enough ammunition against you? Do you realize all these actions just verified that you fully intend Hirokawa to be thrown under the bus as he retires to protect you, Cortese and Chavez?  Sheriff, at this point, the commission finding that you are as much a part of the problem as anything else may just be icing on the cake once we figure out just how much this will cost taxpayers in lawsuit settlements.

You want LaDoris Cordell’s emails? I want to know all your communications with the rest of the board members. You must have found unmitigated success in bringing other commission members to your side in order to have found the gall to attempt to manipulate Judge Cordell. I think the commission should question Rick Callender who brazenly tried to head off any discussion on a consent decree as unnecessary. I was shocked that a highly placed individual in the NAACP would be against a consent decree in a jail where 4 people have died unnecessarily, many more are claiming injury, deputies are openly stating the system has broken down, and there is little to no oversight, training, and accountability. It was almost like being in an alternative universe. Dennis Grilli attempting to make it sound like deputies were probably stonewalling the investigation? Really? Perhaps what we need to know, Sheriff Smith, is not what is in LaDoris Cordell’s emails, but what is in yours and who you have secretly met with on the commission to address your agenda of positive fodder for your election.  You know, in some states interfering with the efforts of a commission in this manner is actually illegal.