Attorney David Chesley's Criminal Defense Blog

Former Deputy Sheriff James Sexton Convicted of Conspiracy and Obstruction of Justice

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A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy, James Sexton was convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of justice yesterday, August, 16th. Sexton, 29 was found guilty during a federal retrial. In Sexton’s first trial the jury could not agree, with their votes tied 6-6, the prosecutors decided to retry Sexton.

In a separate trial, Sexton’s six co-defendants were convicted and are awaiting sentencing.

James Sexton

List of Co-defendants:

Mickey Manzo

Gerard Smith

Steve Leavins

Scott Craig

Maricela Long

Greg Thompson


Sexton along with the other defendants were tasked with ensuring safety and security within the jails. In 2011, one the sheriff’s deputies found a contraband cellphone in the possession of inmate Anthony Brown.

Brown, who had been sentenced to 423 years in prison was working as an informant for the FBI in an investigation regarding the inmates’ civil rights. Sexton and the six co-defendants violated the law when they tried to protect their department from the FBI investigation.

Once the Sheriff’s department found out about Brown’s involvement with the FBI, Brown’s name was changed and computer records were altered so it would appear that Brown was released from the custody of the Sheriff’s department. After this Brown was guarded all day by deputies and he was being constantly moved throughout the Men’s Central jail. Then he was moved to a San Dimas station.

During the trial, testimonies indicated former Sheriff Leroy Baca and Paul Tanaka who is currently running for L.A. County Sheriff were briefed about the operation with Brown.

Tanaka testified explaining that Baca and himself issued the orders to keep Brown away from harm, but did they did not personally oversee the detail of the operation. According to Tanaka, those were left up to lower ranking members of the force.

During Sexton’s first trial, it was made known that Sexton was cooperating with both the U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI. This cooperation lasted for more than a year before he was indicted late last year. During Sexton’s retrial much of the testimony about his cooperation was excluded.

Prosecutor Brandon Fox commented on Sexton’s cooperation with the FBI with the following statement, “His cooperation involved him admitting that he committed obstruction of justice. And if you commit obstruction of justice you are going to be charged and you are going to be convicted.”

Sexton will be sentenced on December, 1st by Judge Percy Anderson. The co-defendants will be sentenced on Monday.

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