Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy accused of beating 5-year-old son in Lancaster

A roll of yellow crime-scene tape is left on the windshield of an L.A. County sheriff's vehicle.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Jim Devoe, who is assigned to the Lancaster station, was arrested on suspicion of felony child abuse on May 1, according to a Sheriff’s Department spokesperson.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy who had been placed on leave was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of abusing his 5-year-old son, according to department officials and documents reviewed by The Times.

Jim Devoe, a deputy working as a bailiff in the Antelope Valley Courthouse in Lancaster, was arrested May 1 on suspicion of felony child abuse, according to a Sheriff’s Department spokesperson.

Authorities began investigating after Devoe texted the boy’s mother to tell her the child had suffered injuries from falling off his bike, according to a document reviewed by The Times. The mother immediately went to Devoe’s home to pick up both of their children and saw the boy had serious bruising and swelling on his face, the document shows.


Devoe and the child’s mother are divorced and have two children together, including the injured boy, according to the document.

When interviewed by Sheriff’s Department investigators at an area hospital, the boy and his brother both said Devoe had punched the child, according to the document.

“The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department expects all of its members to hold themselves to the highest ethical and professional standards at all times,” the department said in a statement. “Department members who engage in misconduct, especially criminal misconduct that preys on a vulnerable population, will not be tolerated and will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Devoe could not be reached for comment. Records show he was released later that day on $100,000 bail.

“Cases are supposed to be tried in court, not in the press. But I can’t let these outrageous lies go unaddressed. Jim loves his children. He is not an abuser, and he did not abuse his son,” the deputy’s attorney, Anthony Salerno, said in an email to The Times. “There is a fuller story here, and I’m confident that once the actual truth comes out in the appropriate venue justice will be done.”

The Assn. for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the union that represents rank-and-file deputies, said it was unaware of the case.


“The allegations, if true, obviously do not reflect the values of our organization,” said union President Richard Pippin. “That said, anyone accused of wrongdoing is entitled to due process and deserves to start with a presumption of innocence, regardless of their chosen profession.”

Tiffiny Blacknell, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, said the case was still under review for filing. Sheriff’s investigators also presented prosecutors with a criminal case for negligence against Devoe’s girlfriend, who is a clerk in the Antelope Valley Courthouse, “based on the fact that she was present as a guardian/girlfriend of parent and failed to provide adequate medical care,” according to the document.

Devoe has been on administrative leave for several months, according to the document reviewed by The Times. Two law enforcement sources said the deputy was placed on leave after several allegations of misconduct, including an allegation that he possessed illegal steroids.

Salerno denied the steroid allegation, noting his client has passed drug tests. Instead, Salerno said, the deputy was placed on leave after “his driver license was suspended due to speeding at an extremely high rate.”

Records show Devoe began working for the Sheriff’s Department in 2015. Three years later, while attempting to pull over a speeder on Lancaster Boulevard, Devoe caused a three-car crash when he made an unsafe left turn and rammed a vehicle. One driver was hospitalized. Devoe was not wearing his seat belt but was uninjured, according to a county report.

One of the drivers sued, and the county settled for $125,000. It’s not clear whether he faced disciplinary action, as many types of law enforcement disciplinary records are not public in California.